When I was younger I was always fascinated by ancient cultures and the amazing things they built. I loved watching those old TV shows that would try to explain how the pyramids were built, or how the Druids of Stonehenge must have had some advanced technology to get those stones in their spots. Here we are now with me at a much older, but I am still enthralled by those ideas, and now I get to build these ancient wonders with a deck of cards, a wonder board, and some cardboard tchotchkes.
In 7 Wonders you are given one of seven wonders (get it?) with which you are to build up a civilization around. You do this by playing cards that give you resources, science, culture, military, commerce, or guilds. Each card group affects the game in unique ways, with individual cards also giving different benefits. Resources are required to build additional buildings, science gives victory points (VP), culture also gives VP, military allows you to attack other cities at the end of each age giving you VP and giving them negative VP, commerce can give you money, VP, resources, or even the ability to buy resources from your neighbors for cheaper, and guilds are just crazy, each guild has a different effect.
One of the most interesting parts in a game of 7 Wonders is that everyone plays a single card at the same time, then you pass the remaining cards to the player on the left. This allows everyone at the table to see all the cards and makes strategy that much more difficult. If you are playing a chain of science cards and your neighbors notice your plan, it is entirely possible for them to get rid of that oh so important card just to spite you. This one aspect changes the dynamic of the game from being a version of multiplayer solitaire. And it adds both replay value and a bit of a social element.
My only complaint with 7 Wonders is that the two player rules really lose a lot of what makes the game fun. When you only have two players the swapping of hands really loses a lot of the bite that makes the game so enjoyable. It starts to turn into you planning out all your moves for the age and hoping the other player doesn’t use the cards you want.
If you have at least a three player group I highly recommend 7 Wonders. The rules are incredible simple, the art is great, play is fast, and it scales very well from three to seven players. A two player game can be fun, but there are much better games that scale down to two.
You can pick up 7 Wonders from our Amazon link here.