Game Length: 30 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 3 players, but can go up to 7 without losing appeal.
7 Wonders is a card-based game where you and up to 6 other players work to build an empire based around one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Its primary mechanic is drafting – that is, choosing one option from a hand of cards, then passing the remaining options to a neighbour while receiving your other neighbour’s unchosen cards. It is easy to teach and learn, and the components contain excellent and evocative artwork.
In 7 Wonders, players will progress through three ages, each with a hand of 7 cards. They will need to choose between playing several types of cards – there are a range of avenues to victory, such as pursuing military or science, or just having enough raw resources and money to choose whatever you want in the later rounds. Picking the correct balance of cards while maintaining freedom of action and reacting to what your neighbours build is crucial to victory in 7 Wonders.
One of 7 Wonders‘ best features is its ability to scale from 2 players up to 7 players without greatly increasing the amount of time it takes to play the game. With a standard turn-based game, you can expect a four player game to take roughly twice as long as a two player game, but with 7 Wonders, all players take their turns simultaneously. This alone has helped 7 Wonders become one of the most-played game at board game meets, but it helps that the game has sharp design as well.
7 Wonders is a much more tactical game when played with fewer players. With less players, you can be guaranteed to see some of your drafted cards again, and there will be less duplicate cards, making it possible to deny other players their strategies by building or burying the cards they need. With more players, there is a very real chance that you and your neighbours just won’t be able to acquire the resources you need to finish your wonders, and one player may snag easy victory points by steamrolling his military-light neighbours with minimal forces while an enormous and expensive arms race occurs on the other side of the table, causing the game to become more luck-based.
7 Wonders is easy to teach and learn, and makes an excellent step on the way to heavier styles of board games. It also has a number of expansions that serve to add other avenues to victory and change the flow of the game, and comes highly recommended to those who want a compelling drafting game that can play up to 7 players without getting too slow.