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.
2-7 Players • Ages 10+ • 30 minutes • $30
I have and love both 7W and Sushi Go Party, and sorry but saying the latter is a replacement of the former is just lazy. If anything, there’s a tactical aspect in 7W that’s not always in other card drafting games, definitely not in SGP. The game setting/environment/mood is totally different, too – playing 7W with friends has that feel of “my civilization is going to crush yours”, but in SGP it’s a delightful laugh trip.
The nature of Quick Hits is such that I tried to be fairly succinct. There are clearly differences in the games.
My general feeling though is I would play them with the same group. Even though 7W is more tactical, if I’m playing with experienced gamers that want a more tactical experience, I’ll pull out something completely different. I consider both 7W and SGP to be gateway level games and something my core gaming group isn’t going to want to play very often.
Before I played Sushi Go, I had 7W in my collection. I brought it up with large groups who wanted a fairly quick game that was fun, but wasn’t necessarily a “party” game. Once I had SGP, I would bring that out instead. So I sold 7W and, for my group, its been replaced.
Sushi go being simpler does allow for an easier time getting going, and does introduce the drafting cards mechanic (which makes explaining 7 wonders easier). It has replaced 7 wonders as a starting point in a lot of my groups where people aren’t into longer or more strategic games, so I understand what you mean. However, in those same groups I have found that sushi go lacks the longetivity of 7 Wonders. There simply isn’t enough variety to play it over and over as opposed to 7 Wonders, especially with an expansion like leaders. I have found Sushi Go tends to be demoted to a “warm up” or party game after a couple game nights, while in those same groups, 7 Wonders feels like a more strategic commitment occupying a different space in the participants’ view.
This is to say, I don’t think SGP can really replace 7W as they tend to fill different categories even with groups that don’t enjoy long, complex or very strategic games. Perhaps your group only wants party games so 7 Wonders might not have been a good fit, but I still bring it to any situation where Sushi Go might be played, and it still gets use.
For the record I think your review in the article did bring up a good point, and I largely agree
Our extended gaming group feels similarly about Sushi Go!, that it lost its luster after a number of plays. However, the addition of Sushi Go! Party to our collection really shook that up a bit, as there are now plenty of other options and gameplay variations still built around the core drafting mechanic.
I agree that one does not replace the other – they both have their roles and are solid choices so long as they stay in their lane.
Hmm. 7 Wondes is faaar superiour to Sushi go.. lol