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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sharp and fast card game, 11 Oct 2011
By 
Toby Frith (Tunbridge Wells) - See all my reviews
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: 7 Wonders Board Game (Toy)
Antoine Bauza made one of the best games of recent years with Ghost Stories and has followed up with another classic. The premise is simple; 3 to 7 players choose an ancient wonder at random and then over the course of 3 ages in which they play a total of 6 cards each, they try to amass as many points as possible by building structures. At times this is a little bit like multi-player solitaire, but with a couple of crucial differences that I'll explain later.

Components-wise, this is a beauty. There's no main board - instead each player has a small one each that denotes their wonder (such as the Colossus of Rhodes or Pyramids of Giza) and they then play their cards alongside or put them under it to show everyone what buildings they've created so far. The cards, which are the meat of the game, have some wonderfully evocative artwork. I would however recommend getting some sleeve protectors because they'll get a fair bit of wear and tear in this game given the amount of dealing and shuffling. There are also some tokens to denote military victories and money.

The crux of the game is simple - you build your civilisation by laying cards from your hand as structures such as a mine, watch tower, market or baths according to what is in your hand. However, to do so, you need resources. There are seven in total - natural ones like minerals, clay, wood and stone, which are plentiful, and three manmade ones - papyrus, glass and cloth - which aren't so. These are vital to obtain later in the game. Each wonder starts off with one resource and you can also buy resources that your immediate neighbours produce (without their consent) as well. So it's not necessary to have all resources if you have access to them, but make sure then that you have enough money to do so. Fortunately you can also make things easier for yourself by creating commercial buildings, which can obtain money for you, provide resources themselves or make buying resources off your neighbours cheaply.

In total there are seven types of structure (7 is a recurring theme!). Military structures will determine how many points you score off your immediate neighbours, but beware being sucked into an unnecessary arms race! Civilian structures award just victory points, but require plenty of materials. Technology/Science structures can provide a multitude of points depending on how many you build and also allow you to build other types of buildings free of charge. Within 7 Wonders is a technology tree, which if you're lucky, can allow you to build a whole raft of structures free without obtaining the necessary resources. Beware taking the science path though, because more often than not your fellow players will see what you're doing and deny you the necessary cards! Finally, in the last age, Guilds allow you to score points depending on what your neighbours have built.

So how do you play the game? You choose your wonder at random and then everyone is dealt a hand of 7 cards. The mechanic is that you choose one card per turn to play at the same time and then pass the rest of your hand face down to your neighbour. As such, you really have to make a tough decision on what to play on each go - do you lay a card you want but then potentially provide your neighbour with what they want?. This means that preset strategies don't really work, making for some interesting play. You can also deny other players cards that they may really want by discarding them (for 3 money) or adding them to your wonder. After six cards have been played, the next age begins and after three ages in total, you calculate points and the one with the most wins.

Each wonder has specific abilities that are gained upon building the various stages which give the game a much more asymmetrical feel and helps replay value enormously. They're well balanced - some give you victory points and money, whereas the more intriguing ones allow you to play an extra card at the end of each age or play a discarded card for free. In the Bauza tradition, each Wonder also has two versions you can play, a side A and B.

What makes the game so enjoyable is that it's fast, simple to pick up and has a ton of strategies to work on. What you get in your hand and what wonder you're given will determine what you go for and whilst Ages 1 and 2 are very much laying the foundation for all the big cards of Age 3, it never feels like you're falling behind at any point and indeed, the Guild cards are nicely placed for those whose initial strategies may have failed to pick up points. You'll return to this game time and time again trying to lay the foundation for your ancient civilisation.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good quick game for several players, 3 Jun 2011
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This game has some great advantages. It can be played well with only 3 players (We have not tried the 2 player variant) but up to 7 players can play and this does not excessively change the game. It is also relatively quick, a game can be completed in under 30 minutes including set up. The game play itself is satisfying without being gripping and the feel and quality of the game are very good. My eight year old still needs a lot of help to decide how to play, children need to have good levels of concentration to enjoy this. Over all a good game and well worth adding to your games cupboard for those times when you only have time for a short game or there are 6 or 7 people wanting to play.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonder, 2 April 2013
By 
Mr. D. Pearce (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 7 Wonders Board Game (Toy)
It doesn't take long to see why this game has numerous accolades to its name. Simple to learn and a joy to play, 7 Wonders has the three things I often look for in a board game: flexibility, good components and a strong theme. The flexibility I refer to in this case is the rules. Although there is not a great deal to the rules of 7 Wonders - you'll have them all figured out by the end of the first age - there is enough going on for adults or more serious gamers to enjoy with family and non-gamer friends who will like the fact that there aren't 100 rules/phases to remember. And with various satisfying ways to score points, you will find that most games are different from each other. 7 Wonders is essentially a euro-game in card form (think Kingsburg: The Card Game), it requires you to build a collection of cards for your city/wonder of the ancient world over three ages (three decks) that culminate in a point scoring finale, where you find out how your set of cards stacks up against your opponents. Some have called this game multiplayer solitaire but I think that is a bit unfair, as there is always a small amount of interaction between players and what cards your neighbouring cities have can make or break your game.

The artwork is pretty and all the cards are pleasant to look at, the tokens are thick card and also nice, I like how the coins are non-circular - a nice touch given the era you playing in.

I'd imagine players over 8-10 years old will be able to grasp the rules of this game, the symbols are probably the biggest barrier to learning the game (for all ages) but they are pretty intuitive, only the scoring could pose a problem for youngsters but since that happens once at the end of the game it shouldn't be an issue.

I played this with experienced gamers and the family. Everyone started out fairly indifferent on first impressions but by the end of the game everyone wanted to play again. Highly recommended game, and especially nice to have another game that seats more than 5 people.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good game, 11 Jan 2013
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: 7 Wonders Board Game (Toy)
Best way to approach to this game is to watch a walk through on the internet. Rodney Smith and his 2 children have produced a really good series of 3 gameplay videos on YouTube. Watch these for approximately 60 minutes in total and you will know how to play the game and have a good grasp of some of the finer points as well. Thereafter you will find a simple game that is also really deep and complex with many winning strategies but has good balance. The healthwarning is that it is very addictive. The Leaders add-on is worth getting. We (my family that is) will probably try the Cities extension this weekend and see how it goes. If you are thinking about buying this product just go right ahead, it's excellent!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect game for those who do not have a lot of time to play, 15 July 2013
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This review is from: 7 Wonders Board Game (Toy)
I love to play strategic boardgames with friends, but unfortunately we hardly find the time to play long lasting games. 7 Wonders is the perfect solution: It takes 30-45 minutes to finish a game, there are several possible tactics to win the game and its simply fun!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun for all ages, 30 Jun 2013
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: 7 Wonders Board Game (Toy)
This game is easy to learn and yet has a lot of depth. The basic idea is to build up your civilisation over three ages, and maximise your points by the end of the game. In the first age you are building up resources, in the second age you refine your tactics and start to develop the direction of your civilisation, and in the third age you try and go all out for maximum points.

You can chose to be militarily focused, or go for science, or even build up the civil society. and up until the end of the game you have no idea who has won :)

I have played this with a mixed group of adults and children, and the kids enjoyed the game just as much as the rest of us. We all played on an even basis. I have also played this with a group of adults who were all new to 7 Wonders, and we played all night with each game being close in points. Everyone had fun and nobody felt left out.

The game plays through in about 30 minutes, meaning you can either use it as a filler or play multiple games in one session. You can try out different tactics, adapt to the cards you get given, and try and anticipate what other players will do.

A great game that will please novice gamers and regular players alike. Simple to learn and yet with a depth of tactics that will have you coming back again and again. I sugest investing in some card sleeves to make the game more durable. I have used Mayfair and UltraPro sleeves and both work well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Challenge!, 3 Jun 2013
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This review is from: 7 Wonders Board Game (Toy)
A great game for everyone to play! A real challenge and very educational as well for the whole family to enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent game for family and friends, 8 Mar 2013
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This review is from: 7 Wonders Board Game (Toy)
I like the fact that everyone plays at the same time, and it doesn't take too long. Beautiful graphics too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good fun but bewildering, 5 Jan 2013
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This review is from: 7 Wonders Board Game (Toy)
This is quite a fun game - rules initially seem complex but are in fact easy.
Although this is a strategy game a lot depends on luck and what your opponents do
so the game play is a little chaotic - you need planning and luck.
Worth a shot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Board Game, 2 Jan 2013
By 
B. Guerra (Lisbon, Portugal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 7 Wonders Board Game (Toy)
Awesome Board Game. Highly recommended to all board games enthusiasts (Although a bit hard to get into). Several awards in 2011.
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