7 Wonders is one of a growing series of games that I call “modern classics”. It’s simple to learn and easy to play, but it takes several plays to master. As the leader of one of the great cities of the ancient world, you must choose which path to victory you will take – to build your Wonder and to claim your place as the greatest civilization in the world!
Players choose (or are dealt) one of seven ancient cities. During the course of the game, players collect resources, make scientific discoveries, develop commercial institutions, strengthen their military, or build their great Wonder. Each of these actions can produce victory points, and the object of 7 Wonders is to have the most victory points when the game ends (at the end of three rounds, or “ages”).
7 Wonders is a drafting game at heart. Each player chooses a single card from their hand to play. Everyone reveals their card at the same time and pays resources for their card or interacts with their neighbor to collect resources. The remainder of their hand is then passed to their neighbor. This continues until all the cards have been played and the round ends.
Because there are multiple ways to win, 7 Wonders can seem a little daunting to a newcomer. It is hard to know what cards to play and in what order on your first, or second, playthrough. New players find themselves just “winging it” to make it through. However, once you are familiar with the basics of the mechanics, the game goes very quick, and you are much more likely to know what cards are best to play.
The game itself is high quality. The box is solid and sturdy, and the box insert is formed with wells for keeping all the game bits separate. Instructions are clear and thorough, and the game designer was kind enough to include both the complete instructions and a handy reference guide. There is no board; each player has a card in their play area to help them keep track of their resources, Wonder, currency, etc. The playing cards feature great artwork and are high quality, but I would still recommend card protector sleeves.
7 Wonders can play normally from 3 to 7 players, and there are instructions included for a 2 player variant. Recommended ages are 10 and up. Play time takes 45 minutes to an hour, but allow more time when you are first learning in order to account for the learning curve.
If you find you enjoy 7 Wonders and yearn for more, there are a couple of expansions available to add to your gaming experience. These include 7 Wonders:Leaders and 7 Wonders:Cities.