Welcome to the newest article series here at Board Game Quest. Quick Hits from the Vault is where we take classic or well known games and the BGQ staff gives you our quick thoughts on the game. Unlike a normal board game review, this won’t be an in-depth gameplay experience from one reviewer. Instead, some or all of the BGQ staff will briefly chime in on what they think about the game in question. The goal is not only to give you a quick review of the game, but also to give you multiple perspectives on it. Hopefully this article series will go a long way towards helping you find that next game to play.
7 Wonders (review)
So with that in mind, we kick off our first Quick Hits from the Vault with 7 Wonders. Designed by Antoine Bauza in 2010 7 Wonders has won countless awards and became an instant classic. 7 Wonders also pioneered the “Pick and Pass” style of card drafting game. Over the course of three ages, players are drafting cards into their tableau and trying to score points in a variety of ways.
For me, 7 Wonders was love at first sight. It was my first introduction to the card drafting mechanic and I was all in! I love the fact that each round you get a new hand a cards to choose from. It makes every round is a surprise (until they start making laps at least). Another benefit of the game is that it scales perfectly from 3-7 players with no increase in play time. It’s rare when a game can say that. Combine that with a game that offers multiple paths to victory, a great theme, and you have a game that I will always be willing to play.
7 Wonders is a game that I love playing, despite the fact that I never win. No two games are ever alike, with play strategies evolving with every pass of the cards. The ‘neighbor’ mechanics makes playing a 7-player game possible, and allows you to tighten your attention to just the players on either side of you. The only suggestion I would make is print out an icon guide for new players – it will make teaching and learning the game far easier. The Cities expansion is an absolute must, Leaders is solid, and let’s just not talk about Babel. I will never turn down a game of 7 Wonders – definitely one of my favorite all-time titles.
It isn’t that I dislike 7 Wonders. It is a fine game. Good, even. But unfortunately it has been completely replaced by Sushi Go! Party. Both games are very similar – you draft cards and collect sets in various ways to score points. 7 Wonders has a little more depth and requires a little more explanation to get the table. Considering I would only reach for either of these games when I have a big group of gamers who maybe are newer to the hobby, I’d prefer to just keep playing Sushi Go!
For the last 10+ years I have been plagued and blessed by a large gaming group with diverse game weight interests ranging from Potion Explosion to Calimala, Joking Hazard to Trajan. 7 Wonders bridges this gap and lets us play together. With little explanation and a simple comparison to Sushi Go!, a game evening can be kept competitive and strategic enough to satisfy both ends of the spectrum and the turns move so quickly that there is little opportunity for players to get bored or be derailed by distractions. 7 Wonders has never been a favorite of mine (while 7 Wonders: Duel may be), but it is a game I will play to get everyone to the table.
Based on a simple card draft mechanic, 7 Wonders is an outstanding easy-to-learn/teach game that boasts tons of strategy and variety from game to game. No two games will be remotely the same based on your card draw and your neighbors, and its competitive without seeming deliberately cutthroat. Additionally, it scales beautifully from 3-7 players without feeling clunky, and once you know the symbology you can play a game in about 15-20 mins. In particular what really makes this one of my favorite games is that no one strategy is a winner – you can choose to be a peaceful, science based civilization, a warmonger, or even go heavy capitalist. Expansions have added more variety while really fine tuning early game strategy planning. If I have more than three players at the table and it’s my turn to choose, you can be sure 7 Wonders is coming out.
7 Wonders consistently stays in my top ten games. What’s not to like? Every time you play, you must adapt your strategy. You can’t play the same strategy each time. Will your friends go the military route? Science? Unlike many other games, it scales up to 5+ players very well. Even better: it is fast. Your analysis-paralysis friends won’t take too long due to (positive) peer pressure. And personally, I’m a sucker for a classical civilization-themed game. Finally, the expansions are terrific and varied. Each adds a different aspect or mechanic to the game. They can be played all at once, or individually in order to enhance the original game. 7 Wonders possesses tremendous variability. Basically, Andrew and Jon are just wrong.
Like has been said before, 7 Wonders is one of those games which stays on my shelf year to year. Not just because it’s a relatively easy game to teach, but also because it has some basic concepts of drafting and resource management that are used in other games. The classical civilization theme only adds to the overall package. Combine the above with a quick playtime and high player count with an experience that doesn’t change dramatically from low to high player count. There’s really nothing else to say.