Sunday, November 7, 2010

7 Wonders Review

Since I’ve been logging games here on BGG, I’ve decided to write a review for every hundredth game played. I’ve begun calling it the Every 100 Games Series and enjoy the mystery of what game I will review next. My 2,100th game played was 7 Wonders.

I think I first heard about 7 Wonders on one of the many Gathering of Friends reports that came out. I put it on my wish list as one to think about for the future. Then on Saturday of GenCon 2010 my wife and I heard a very excited voice yelling out with a French accent, “7 Wonders demo starting now”! I immediately pushed Krista over to the table and we joined the 7 player game. It was great! Three months later, a buddy brought his copy over and we played 3 games in a row. Here is what I like about the game and some potential complaints I could see people having about the game.

First, I love the quick play time. Whether playing with that game at GenCon with 7 people or the games we played yesterday with 4 and 5 people the game took right around 30 minutes. This is a rare thing in board games. Often it seems, the more players you add, the more time you are adding to your game. 7 Wonders does an excellent job of not doing it.

Second, the simplicity of the game is its biggest plus side. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that I can teach this game to non-gamers and gamers alike. One of the ladies we played with last night has just been getting into games and had absolutely no problem picking up the mechanics and playing competitively. You don’t have to have a huge big plan and over analyze each turn, you just keep one card and move on. This decision gets even easier as the rounds go on, because you have less and less cards to choose from.

Third, the game is just fun. It’s really fun to see your wonder going up, getting that 3rd matching science symbol, or hoping that temple comes back around to you. The military mechanic also makes for some good fun as you keep trying to out build your neighbor. Then there is the hope that your neighbor on your left plays the clay pit, because along with the stone your other neighbor has you can put that important card into play.

Potential Dislikes
First, the price could be a downer for people. Essentially, 7 Wonders is a card game. There are 7 player boards that come with it and some wood coins and a few cardboard military victory points, but it is a card game through and through. $50 MSRP for a card game, especially one that has not an absolute boatload of them is tough to swallow.  I say all this though, but I do have it on pre-order, because I think it is that good of a game.

Second, I think people will complain about player interaction in this game, especially when playing with 4+ players. There aren’t any attack cards where you can directly mess with your opponent. Unlike Fairy Tale, where you only play 3 of the 5 cards you draft, in 7 Wonders you play all the cards you keep. This means it is a bigger pill to swallow to just keep a card to stop your opponent from getting it. Also, when playing with 4 or more players, especially 7 players you can’t do much to effect the others. I think the sweet spot for this game might be 3 players, so everyone’s military affects everyone else’s.

As I’ve already said, I have 7 Wonders on pre-order for when the English edition makes it over here to the United States. So, I obviously think it is that good. My suggestion for you though is this. If you enjoy games that are quick, simple, and don’t have player conflict you should pick this game up. If you absolutely have to have that conflict and want to be able to directly attack someone in your card games, then I’d try it before you buy. However, I am someone that likes a bit of meanness in my games, but despite no real meanness in 7 Wonders I love it! It started out as a solid 9 out of 10 for me and I can see it moving up to a 10. I foresee several dozens of plays in my future.

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