In which Miss B raises a Colossus
I have been hearing about 7 Wonders for some time now. It won the prestigious Kennerspiel des Jahres award a couple of years ago along with more other honours than you could shake a stick at, and is known for its scalability: it takes about the same amount of time to play as a two-player game as it does with seven.
So how does it achieve this? Well, the main mechanic is card drafting. Everyone has a hand of cards. Everyone chooses one to keep and play in front of them, then passes the rest to the next player, in turn receiving a new hand from another player. The cards all interact to allow you to build a civilisation with advances in things like trade, science, religion and warfare plus, of course, building one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
So, despite having heard a lot about this game I had never got around to trying it until we had a friend visiting, who brought around his copy for us to try. It turns out the game is not complicated, but there are quite a few icons and interactions between cards to learn about. But Miss B and I just waded in after a quick explanation and learnt the game as we went along. It all went reasonably well and we managed to both build a pretty decent civilisation (though experienced players may differ!) and finish our respective wonders.
There are pretty tricky decisions to make all the time in this game, but it’s nice that you are continually making progress and improving the tableau of cards in front of you. Even if you can’t do anything with the cards you hold, you can remove something that someone else might want and gain some gold into the bargain. Miss B was, by the end, recognising cards that other people might want and trying to frustrate them. This is something that makes 7 Wonders both fun and agonising!
Unfortunately we didn’t have time for a second game, but I suspect it would have gone really well. Both Miss B and I really enjoyed playing and would certainly have another go if given the opportunity. 7 Wonders is definitely high on my wish list, but there is a lot to be said for not having some of the games we really like as it means we can look forward to playing them when we see friends who have them.
The verdict from Miss B (aged nearly 6½): “7 Wonders is 9½ out of 10. I’m saying that because it’s not got enough detail in it. I like the pictures, I like how it works, I just think you should have -2 counters as well.”
The game: 7 Wonders (Asmodee), 2 to 7 players, aged 10+.