“The wind and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigator.”
Before, your great nation was only effected by its neighbors. You thrived, fought, and traded those on the land borders of your thriving civilization. Then one day, on the sea’s horizon, a sail appeared…
7 Wonders Armada is an expansion for 7 Wonders. How does it compare to other add-ons to Antoine Bauza’s fantastic civilization building game? Let’s test these waters.
The Armada expansion to 7 Wonders allows you to build fleets of ships to add to your civilization. Your fleets can battle other armadas, discover unknown islands, and access new trade routes.
Each player receives a dockyard board to place next to their wonder. Throughout an age whenever a building card is played, the player will have an opportunity to advance the boat of the same color by paying its cost shown on the dockyard board.
New Armada cards are added to the standard age cards. These may allow players to receive addition naval battle power, freely move their ships in the dockyard, create trade routes, gain island cards for game benefits, or fight with players further away from them.
At the end of each age, a naval conflict ensues after the ground conflict. Points are awarded for naval strength, with awards for the strongest, 2nd, 3rd, and negatives for the weakest player.
Island cards maybe be earned by drafted cards or triggered by advancing boats up the science track. These create independent rewards for the player.
Scoring remains mostly the same, with a new score pad integrated for victory points earned in naval conflicts, some island cards, and dockyard boards.
Game Experience with the Expansion:
If you read anything I’ve written or heard me on a podcast appearance, you know 7 Wonders is my favorite game. I love the point salad. I love how fast it goes when you’re at an experienced table. I love that your strategy will have to be tweaked every game. And Armada just might be my favorite expansion.
The first point in its favor is the ability to affect players outside of your immediate neighbors. There is little more frustrating than watching your neighbor’s neighbor amass a whopping pile of science and being able to do nothing to stop them. With armada you can.
Additionally, there are fewer ‘throw away’ cards. Occasionally when playing the base game you might wind up with a hand that doesn’t offer you any point yielding options. Now you have more actions available, some that might advance you up the dock. You might find your strategy starts to lean more toward point salad over heavily relying on just a couple victory lines.
Regular 7 Wonders players will pick this up in a snap, and newer players won’t find the new information that complicated. Unlike Babel, the addition of this new board doesn’t directly change the rest of the game state, it just enhances it.
I like the additional fighting power as well – heavy military users can be balanced by an opponent with a good sized armada, and the different methods of scoring carries the effect around the table. Unfortunately it’s not always clear who has what.
One quibble – the prototype I played at Origins last year was fantastic, but for whatever reason it is really hard to get the ships in and out of the dockyard slots of this board. Frustrating in general, but very difficult for players with fine motor skills challenges.
7 Wonders: Armada offers new cards and actions that are still familiar, making this expansion fit like a glove in the base game. Additional abilities to affect far flung players will help with occasional game imbalance, and new ways to score in 7 Wonders: Armada will increase the point salad-y fun of the original. If you are ranking all the expansions now, I’d put them as Babel < Cities < Leaders / Armada. The latest 7 wonders expansion is as good as the first, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend 7 Wonders: Armada to anyone that enjoys the base game.
• No one gets to run away unchecked because of their neighbors.
• Additional actions add more interesting choices for playing every card in your hand.
• VERY easy to learn, particularly if you’ve played the base game a couple times.
• Ships are difficult to put in and take out of the dockyard board.
• Inability to see naval scores clearly can be frustrating.
Umm, how should one interpret that ranking? Wonderer
As a typo 🙂 Its fixed now.