Wednesday, April 27, 2011

7 Wonders

At last! The phenomenon known as 7 Wonders has arrived in my home. And it highlighted to me the dangers of being taught a game poorly.

You see, I'm not the first member of my usual group to have a copy of this one. I'm also not the first one to bring it to game night. And I had to fight to get it to the table, because the person who taught it previously had one rule wrong.

I guess that's why Asmodee keeps bringing me back to GenCon ...

7 Wonders is a drafting game. If you've done Magic drafts, this won't seem that foreign to you. You start with a hand of seven cards, and you'll choose one and pass the rest of your hand. The difference is that you're not building a deck - you're building a city. And you immediately use the card you've drafted. You can build it, you can cash it in for money, or you can use it as a build marker to represent construction of your city's Wonder.

Cards have a fair amount of info on them, too. In the upper left is the build cost. The top center shows you the effects of the building. Some of them provide resources, some of them provide victory points. Some provide military strength. There are some other effects, too, such as discounts for purchasing materials from your neighbors or advancing science (which is points at the end of the game).

After you've drafted (and played) six of the seven cards, the 7th card is discarded. Players then compare military to their neighbors and place victory point markers on their boards based on their military standings. But don't get too reliant on the military. At most, you will earn eighteen points from military strength.

You repeat this for three Ages. After the third age, players calculate their scores. There's the points from the military, there are points for having money, there are points granted directly by buildings, and there are points that some buildings give you based on what else you (or your neighbors) have built.

Highest score wins.  It's that simple.

The most common criticism I have seen on the 'Geek is "It's lighter than I had expected!" As I've discussed previously, I think there's a place for light games - and this one actually as more depth than you think it does. Especially at the 4-5 player level.

It bears mentioning that in some ways this game plays completely differently with four players than it does with six or seven. The rules are the same, but you'll see what's left of your starting hand multiple times, so you may see cards you want returned to you later in the round.

Unlike most games, you don't need a degree of table awareness. You really only need to keep track of what the players to your left and right are up to, because they're the only ones you will interact with. The only awareness beyond that is a matter of keeping track of which cards have been built so you have an idea of what may be available to you.

All in all, I can see why this game rocketed up the charts on BGG (at the time I'm writing this, it's in the top 20). It's one of the better games in my collection - it won't beat Dungeon Twister on my list of favorites any time soon, but it's definitely up there.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:51 PM

    Excellent summary. I haven't played a lot yet, but I do find myself looking at everyone's cards not just my neighbors to see if I can screw up their plans and perhaps bury or discard a card they are trying to get.