After we got 7 Wonders for Christmas, we took it to my brother’s house. We played 2 or 3 games of it and then my sister-in-law said, “We need to get this game!” My brother replied, “It will be here on Tuesday. I already ordered it on Amazon Prime.”
In 7 Wonders, you have a small board in front of you, but it is more of a card game than a board game. The game consists of 3 ages. In each age you start with a hand of 7 cards, pick one to play, and then pass the cards to the next player. After all of the cards are played, you pick up the hand that was passed to you, play a card, and pass the hand again. This continues until you have played 6 cards.
Then, new hands are dealt from a different deck of cards. Since you are using different decks, the cost and the benefits of the cards increase each age.
Most cards have a production cost listed in the top left corner. In order to play a card, you must produce that resource. So you need to play some production cards early in the game. After that, there are many different kinds of cards you can play and many different strategies you can implement.
The goal of the game is to score as many victory points as possible. As with most good games, there are many ways that you can score victory points.
What I like about 7 Wonders:
- The boards have pictures of the wonders, but they have the name of the cities. Now I know that the Mausoleum was built in Halicarnassus.
- The little boys very quickly understood how to add negative numbers when scoring their military points.
- The idea of passing the hand of cards is new (at least to me) and has a big impact on strategy.
- Gideon likes the different special abilities in the second stage of the wonders.
- Isaiah likes that you can win even if you score no points in a category (or even -6 in military).
What I don’t like:
- I feel a little unsettled “building” some of the wonders, because some of them were idols. I try to just think of them as historical objects and “building” just means placing 3 cards face down on the table, so it isn’t like you are assembling a model of it.
- Isaiah said that he doesn’t like when you have to leave and don’t get to finish the game.
- 3 of the cards had immodestly dressed women. I took some sharpies and modified those cards to be more appropriate. One lady now wears a brown jumper. I think I turned her into a homeschool mom. 🙂
The above review may be enough to convince you to order 7 Wonders right now. If not and you would like to know more about the rules, continue reading below.
In order to understand how to score points with your cards, you need to understand the type of cards that are available.
Brown = produce raw materials (Stone, brick, wood, ore)
Grey = produce refined materials (cloth, glass, papyrus)
Blue = victory points
Green = science (each card has either a compass, tablet, or gear symbol)
Red = military strength
Yellow = Not sure how I would categorize these. Yellow cards have a lot of different functions (produce resources, give points, give coins, …)
Purple = Guild cards (each of these give victory points based on the cards you or your neighbors have played)
You start the game with 3 coins and the ability to produce one resource, which is printed on your board. You will need resources or coins to play most cards, but some of the production cards are free. Unlike most games, you do not collect cards or tokens to represent your goods. This is because you don’t stockpile them. Once you play a production card, you have the ability to play other cards that require that resource. You can only play one of each card (you can play 2 that have the same effect as long as they don’t have the same name.)
If you are unsure of what cards you should play in the early rounds, play brown or grey production cards. This is the main strategy for Elijah and Ruth. They often play 8 or 10 production cards. When you realize that you only get to play 18 cards in the whole game, this seems like a lot. While I think they play too many, it does give them the ability to play any cards they want later in the game.
If you do not produce a good that you need in order to play a card, you can buy it from your neighbor for 2 coins (if they produce it on their board, a brown card, or a grey card). You neighbor has to sell it to you, and he still has the ability to produce it for himself.
Gideon likes to play the red military cards. He often plays 0-2 production cards, so he often has to pay his neighbors for the resources necessary to play his cards. Because he is often paying other people and running out of money, he frequently discards his card for coins.
On any turn you can discard you card and receive 3 coins. This can restock your money supply and eliminate a card from the game if you don’t want to pass it along to your neighbor.
At the end of each age, you compare your military strength with each of your neighbors (one at a time). If you tie, neither of you gets a point. If you lose, you get a -1 chip. If you win, you get a chip worth 1 point (in the first age), 3 points (in the second age), and 5 points (in the 3rd age). So you could win every military battle and score 18 points, or you could lose them all and get -6.
Isaiah usually plays some military and then tries to play cards that he can lay for free.
The cost of a card is listed on the top left of the card, but sometimes it also has the name of another card next to the cost. This means you can play your card for free if you have already played the card listed next to the cost.
I like to play lots of green science cards. They are worth points, but their scoring is complicated. If you only play a few science cards, they will not amount to many points. You could play 4 cards and only score points. But in our most recent game I managed to play 10 science cards and scored 55 points just on science. (In our games the winner usually has 45 to 60 points.)
All of the science cards have one of 3 symbols on them (compass, tablet, or gear). At the end of the game you look at how many of each symbol you have and square that number (you do this for all 3 symbols). Then you also look to see if you have a set of all 3 symbols. For each of these, you score 7 points.
Becki usually plays a more balanced strategy and scores a good amount of points in each category. She often scores very well in the blue and purple cards even if she does not play a lot of them.
The blue cards are just straight forward victory points.
The purple cards, which are only in the 3rd age, are guild cards. Most of them score based on what your neighbors have played (for example: 1 point for every brown card your neighbors played, or 1 point for every -1 military chip that they have).
The one other way to score points in the game is to complete some or all of your wonder.
Each stage you complete will give you either victory points, or a special ability. In order to complete a stage of your wonder, select a card from your hand and place it face down, partly under your board. Each stage of your wonder has a cost listed just like the cards.
That covers most of the rules for 7 Wonders. If you have any questions about the rules or abilities of certain cards, leave a comment, and I will get help you out.