Player boards *7
Wonder Cards *7
148 Age Cards (49 Age 1 & 2, 50 Age 3)
46 Conflict tokens
70 Coins valued 1 and 3
Cards for Expert 2 player version
How to play
The object of the game is to win.
Winning is accomplished by having the most Victory Points.
Each player chooses one of the 7 Wonder boards to play. Each Wonder has its own resource and unique 3-tier build tree requirements/rewards.
Starting with a hand of 7 cards, players choose 1 card to play and pass the rest of the hand to the player on their left (the game is played in 3 ‘Ages’, in age 1 and 3 the hand is passed to the left, in age 2 it is passed to the right). Players then reveal their cards and play them accordingly, provided they have the necessary resources in play to do so. If a player cannot play their chosen card, they can buy the available resources from their nearest neighbouring players sat to their left and right for 3 coins per resource (this doesn’t limited that player’s availability to their own resources). Alternatively, a player can choose to not play the card and use it towards building their Wonder (again according to the cost) and receive the reward for doing so. These cards are played face-down, meaning that players expecting to get that particular card won’t know it’s no longer available. Mwa Haa Haa!
The cards in each consecutive Age will also require the presence of a previously played card, in which case it can be played for free, otherwise the resource cost is still required. Age 3 contains no resource cards, introduces the Guild cards and each card comes with a hefty price tag.
Card types are resources (unrestricted) and structures (limit of 1 card of each structure per player):
Brown Raw Materials or Grey Manufactured Goods: Once built will provide resources for the player (and at a cost, the neighbours) to build a new card each turn. They cannot be exhausted by can only be used once each turn, though copies may be purchased by the neighbours. Does not appear in the third Age. Brown resources cards can hold a multiple of that resource, whereas grey resource cards only have 1 of that resource.
Yellow Commercial Structures: Either injects extra cash into the player’s stash according the card rules at that time or allows trade with the neighbours for 1 less cost. Some cards provide points as well as or instead of coins.
Green Scientific Structures: 3 types. Scoring is the number of each type squared plus 7 for sets of all 3. They are also generous in the free placement of later buildings. Ignoring duplicates, there is one of each type in each stage.
Blue Civilian Structures: Victory Points, nuff said.
Red Military Structures: At the end of each Age players gain + or – Victory points if their military might is greater than of less than each of their two neighbours’.
Purple Guilds: These cards only turn up during the third Age and will grant Victory Points according to their game text (generally along the lines of x Victory Points for every y Brown Cards, etc).
Each turn is simultaneous, with players choosing a card, passing the rest along, then acting on their chosen card. Play continues like this until players are holding the last card of the Age, which is discarded. Armies then do their thing and the next Age is dealt out. Rinse and repeat, but passing cards in the opposite direction.
At the conclusion of the third Age, the armies to their thing again (the Victory Points are bigger in each Age for the winning armies).
Out comes the score booklet and pencil and players then tallied up all their accumulated Victory Points.
|Number of players||3-7|
|End game conditions||18 rounds played|
|Victory condition||The most Victory Points|
|Replayability||Oh, yes please!||With 7 different Wonders to try out, coupled with your game being affected by what the two people sitting next to you have, there are many different game routes you can take.|
|Reading Requirements||Reading-furiously-while-players-waiting||Ordinarily I’d class the level of reading a bit lower, but with simultaneous turns, a player can find themselves trying to comprehend just what the heck their card does while well aware the everyone else has already finished.|
|Rules Comprehension||Did I do that right? No idea.||There’s a lot going on in this game and it’s easy to get stuff wrong, and nobody noticing.|
|Game-Breakability||Not another 7!?||If you’re playing downstream to an experienced player or someone else collecting the same stuff you are, you’ll never get the cards you want. In the second Age you can exact your revenge, but you’ll pay for it in the third Age. If you make sure you sit to the right of said player, you might get a better chance.|
|Durability||Use as directed||Bunch of cards and cardboard tokens. Just don’t spill anything on it.|
|Box Size||Under Arm||A nice square box makes for excellent storage.|
|Play Area||Dining Room Table||The personal player boards (Wonders) are not too big, but by the time you’ve got your structures and resources placed, a decent acreage has been taken up, particularly with 5-7 players.|
|Component Stability||Indoors or no wind||Nothing to fall over, no dice to throw on the floor.|
|Storage Layout||Organised||Been awhile since I last played this. Will update next time I get a look-see.|
|Aesthetics||Photogenic||Everything is beautifully illustrated. Even the tokens have had effort thrown at them.|
|Turn Time/Involvement||Continuous||With every turn being simultaneous, with neighbours buying your resources and so forth, play is pretty much constant, until someone gets stuck on what they’re doing.|
|Game Length||We’ll get a couple of games in before bedtime||With 18 rounds and 3 army scoring sessions, this can be a lengthy game if you’re unfamiliar with the mechanics., but once you know what you’re doing, you can get multiple games into an evening, easily.|
|Setup Time||Minutes||Most of this time is spent removing the excess cards from the three decks to match the number of players. Otherwise, choose a board, shuffle three decks, dole out money, done.|
7 Wonders completely removes the turn-time mechanic that can bog-down most games. Everyone is involved in it almost 100% of the time. Even if you’ve finished a bit earlier than everyone else, you’re still paying attention to what your two neighbours are up to regarding the strength of their armies and what resources they have in case you don’t and what they don’t have so you can monopolise. This is true regardless of the number of players as it still all happens at the same time. The only difference between 3 and 7 players playing is the time it takes to deal the cards to everyone and the Army resolutions at the end of each Age, which is the only part of the game where everything drags to a stop. Sometimes this can be a welcome break.
The boards and tokens are standard chunky, so there’s no warping but all look great.
This is quite a complex game where players have to manage armies, resources, scientific icons, money, the Wonder and making sure they have enough of the right stuff in place ready for the Guild cards in the third Age.
Do you specialise in making the biggest army, or collecting all the science cards, or go for everything and hope the spread wins through? This could be too much to handle, for some.
Can take a couple of games to get the hang of it – but then that’s true for almost anything. Seriously, this is the worst thing I can come up with.
Constant player participation, a goodly chunk of gamey goodness to sink your teeth into.
The Winner’s Circle!
There are some, but not got or played them.