Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Thursday 17 December 2015

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- 7 Wonders

Game: 7 Wonders

Manufacturer: Repos Production

Designer: Antoine Bauza

Year: 2010

7 Wonders is definitely one of the major board games that for me is a must-play for people getting into the board game hobby. In the same way that you might recommend Pandemic for someone who hasn’t tried a cooperative game, Stone Age for someone who hasn’t tried a worker placement, I’d definitely think of 7 Wonders for a gamer who hasn’t tried drafting. (Although for a non-gamer something like Sushi-Go is more likely to be the recommendation.) It took us a while to get round to acquiring a copy of 7 Wonders, but I was able to pick up an unwanted copy (still in shrink) from Gumtree (the UK equivalent of Craigslist).

7 Wonders is a game for 3-7 players (it does have a 2-player variant, but we’ll talk about that later). Each player takes a wonder which will be comprised of 3 or 4 build stages. When each stage is built the player gets a bonus, usually either end of game victory points or a special ability that no other players can benefit from, however a player can chose to ignore these wonder stages and score victory points by other paths. The game proceeds in three ages where the players draft the cards – each player starts with a hand of cards, chooses one card and passes the rest onto the next player round the circle.

A city at the end of Age I. One card has been used face down to construct the first wonder stage, by using one wood which the player owns and paying an adjacent player 2 gold for 1 wood.
The cards available in each age increase in power but also in cost. The cost to build a card is either gold or resources – you pay a cost in gold to the band but to build using resources you must either own one of each of the resources required or obtain them by paying 2 gold to one of your neighbours who has the resource you require. The cards available include raw materials, manufactured goods, civilian structures, commercial structures, military structures, scientific structures and guilds. Most of the different cards have a different way of scoring you end of game victory points;
  1. ·         Commercial Structures (Yellow) and Guilds (Purple) – Can score you end of game victory points which are usually dependent on what cards you’ve built or what cards you opponent has built eg. 1 VP per brown card you have in your city.
  2. ·         Military Conflicts (Red) – Can score you points at the end of each round. At the end of each age you compare your military to each of your neighbours and if you have athe larger military you win the battle. You lose 1 VP for a loss and gain an increasing number of victory points for a win in each round.
  3. ·         Civilian Structures (Blue) – Scores the number of victory points depicted on the cards.
  4. ·         Scientific Structures (Green) – Scores you points for set collection at the end of the game. There are 3 different science symbols – a set of three unique symbols gets you 7 victory points. However if you collect matching symbols then your victory points are equal to the number of cards in the set squared eg. 4 points for two tablet cards or 9 points for 3 cog cards.

At the end of Age 3, everyone’s victory points are added up in each category and the winner is the player with the highest total.
Adding up the victory points in each category.
I love to play 7 Wonders with any number of players from 4-7. With 3 players, everyone is adjacent to each other so the challenges of trading are not as great, but with any more than 3 there seems to be no problem with the game length, due to the simultaneous selection and the fact that this means there is no downtime. We have tried the two player variant also, where you each take turns to control and manipulate a dummy 3rd player. I actually quite enjoy this element of the game because it gives you another opportunity to dump cards your opponent really wants and can also mean that if you build lots of resources you need for the dummy player then you can give them your gold rather than giving it to your opponent. I find this much better than some 2-player variants where the ‘dummy player’ really is dumb and random luck dictates their success.

Most people in our gaming groups have played 7 Wonders a lot, but there is still an appetite to get it to the table, even though our copy is not expanded. I would love to try some expansions, but I definitely want to try before I buy because I think the base game is really solid and don’t know what I want an expansion to add. 7 Wonders gets an 8/10 from the Yellow Meeple.

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