I'm finally caught up with my reviews! My 5,300th game played was 7 Wonders on a Sunday afternoon with my buddy Ryan from Minnesota and my wonderful wife. I was surprised, I had not reviewed this game yet since it currently is my 4th most played game ever with 83 plays. So here is the review of a game that I've played many times, so you know that I know it in and out.
In 7 Wonders 2-7 players, are controlling ancient civilizations building up their science, military, commerce, and industry, not to mention their specific ancient wonder like the Pyramids or the Colossus! It is a drafting game, simply meaning you get a group of cards, choose one, then pass the rest to your neighbor. It is all done simultaneously, so nobody has their own turn.This is done over three ages and the the scores are added up for the winner. You have to balance getting resources, in order to build better buildings in the future, with money to buy resources from your neighbors, with just working on your wonder to right your name in history! Usually games take about 30 minutes, with any number of players.
The art in this game is what drew me in. I think it is absolutely great. It shows temples, market places, fortresses, and all the other ancient world buildings you would expect to see in glorious and detail color drawings. There are a ton of large Tarot sized cards, 7 wonder boards showing the wonders of the ancient world, and tokes for money and military points. The iconography makes sense for the most part, though it can be a bit overwhelming for a new player.
Strategy & Tactics
Without expansions, the game can be very much a tactical experience. You do need to take into account what you'd like to do in the future and what your opponents are doing in order to at least consider taking a card that they want. However, the more of a specific type of card you get, the more likely you will get more of that type of card, since some cards allow you to build the next age's card for free. The game does seemed balanced, but like any other game, if you allow your opponent to do something unfettered, then you will probably lose.
I love 7 Wonders. Without a doubt one of the greatest games of all time in my opinion. I remember playing it for the first time at GenCon on a prototype version and immediately trying to purchase it from them there, even though none were for sale. What really makes it shine is that 7 players can play it, it is a deep filler game, and it only takes 30 minutes to play even with that many players. They are going to do 7 expansions for it (at least that is what I've heard) so there will be plenty of variability if you want it. Though I've only bought the Leaders expansion and am happy with just it.
Family Gamers - Surprisingly to me, this is not a great family game, unless your family are gamers. I've played it a few times with my family and icon confusion ensued. It became more of a stressful game than a fun game at that point.
Civ Games Fans - I think this is a try before you buy. In my mind most people looking for a civ game want a deeper game than this, but if you are looking for a civ themed game, then for sure pick this up, because the art really gives it that feel.
People Who Don't Like Confrontation - This game is perfect for you. There is some military in it, but you don't get to choose who you fight and it isn't that personal. So let your war mongering husband (which often is me) build that huge military. He can't wipe you out anyways.
*Every 100 Games Series - Back in March of 2006 I began tracking each session of the various board and card games I play. I soon got the idea to write a review on every 100th game I played, one because I like writing reviews, and two because it is interesting to see what game I review next. You can find a list of all of them here: Every 100 Games Series Reviews. All images are from BGG and if you follow their URL you can find them there.