There are some games, simple, yet so innovative that the moment they hit the market, become instant hits. 7 Wonders is one of them. With a load of awards already won, let’s see what makes this game unique.
7 Wonders is essentially a card game in which each player Deathknight control of one great ancient city: Rhodes. Alexandria, Ephesus, Balon, Olympia, Halicarnassus or Giza and tries to make it the leading city of the Ancient world. To achieve this goal, players must exploit natural resources, develop commerce relationships with neighbouring cities, advance in technology and raise a powerful army. Moreover players have the opportunity to built a wonder in their city in order to earn more victory points or other bonuses. The wonder is built in 3 stages (except one city which uses 2 stages). The game takes place over 3 Ages through which the relevant card deck is used. In each Age players have the opportunity to develop their cities and build a wonder playing 6 cards chosen though a drafting system,similar of that used in Magic The Gathering. At the end of the third Age players count their victory points and the player with the most VP is declared the winner.
At the beginning of the game each player is assigned a city randomly (there is also the option of each player choosing the city he/she prefers) as well as the side of the city they will play. Each player board is double-sided (A & B sides) with each side having different requirements and bonuses for each stage of Wonder building. Each city is able to produce a resource, shown in the upper left corner of the board.
At the beginning of each Age, each player receives a hand of 7 cards, dealt randomly, from the corresponding deck. Each Age is made up of 6 game turns. During each turn the players put into play a single card, simultaneously.
A game turn takes place as follows:
1. Choose a card
3. Give your hand of cards to the player sitting to your left or right and receive another hand of cards from the player sitting next to you.
All cards represent a specific structure and are of the following type:
- Brown Cards (Raw Materials). These are resource structures. They supply one of more units of wood, clay, stone or ore
- Gray Cards (Manufactured goods). These are structures that produce manufactured goods: Loom, papyrus and glass.
- Yellow cards (Commercial structures). These cards may earn coins, produce resources, change commerce rules and sometimes earn victory points.
- Red cards (Military structures). They represent military structures which grant military power.
- Blue cards (Civilian structures). These cards award victory points
- Green cards (Scientific structures). These cards represent technology advancement and score victory points depending on progress in three different scientific fields.
- Purple cards (Guilds). They earn victory points depending on the number of same-color cards or stages of wonders built the player or/and his neighbours.
After choosing a card, comes the action phase of the game, in which players can choose between 3 different actions:
- build the structure they chose in the previous step. Each card has a cost in resources or coins but some resource cards can be played for free. Moreover building specific structures during an Age allows you to build for free some other structrures in the next Age e.g if you build the Scriptorium in Age I, you can build for free the Library in Age II. If you don’t have enough resources to build a structure you can always trade with your neighbouring cities as long as they produce the resource you are looking for. You must pay 2 coins to get the resource you want (but building some commerce (yellow) structures you may reduce this cost to 1 coin).
- build a stage of the wonder paying the relevant cost (shown on the player board) and using the chosen card as a construction marker
- discard the chosen card to get 3 coins
After choosing a card and performing an action with it, players give the remaining cards to the left (for Ages I and III) or to the right (for Age II) and the game continues this way until players receive the last 2 cards, in which point, players must choose one card and discard the other. At this point which is the end of an Age, military conflict begins and players battle with their neighbours comparing the number of shields on their structures (red cards) with each neighbour and gaining a conflict token (positive or negative) for each battle. The game now progresses to the next Age, until all 3 Ages are completed.