Thursday, January 12, 2012

7 Wonders for 7 Players

Happy (belated) New Year, Team Grr!

Over the Holiday Season, one of my gifts was the game "7 Wonders". I've been waiting to play it for weeks.
At the most recent PlayGamesWithJosh™ meeting, we were scheduled for 5 people, in which case we were going to continue our Risk Legacy game.. but then a 6th piped in, and a really-last-minute 7th.

Aha! 7 Wonders takes up to 7 players. Perfect!

Some of us were passingly familiar with the rules but hadn't really played; most of us hadn't played before at all.

Just around 7:45pm:
We assigned one person in charge of the rules (I'm a terrible game teacher), went over them a little bit, and decided to just start playing. We used all 7 wonders (obviously) on their "A" sides.
As soon as we had our first hands of cards, there was an immediate screech to a halt, questions popping up everywhere about what symbols meant what, how things interacted, etc etc.
Oh crap, this game is going to take all night!

Not so..
A few rounds in, a few mistakes made, we started getting the hang of things (except Science).
We finished the first game in under an hour, even with our slowdowns (including the inevitable part of the Third Age where everyone has to look up symbols again) and the arrival of pizza.

Then the Rules Guy actually explained how Science was scored, and that made a bit of a difference.

So, we went on to Game 2, wherein we would start with a fresh understanding of the game.
Of course, some of us decided to go more heavily into Science in Game 2 (especially me), and it showed.

After Game 2, "wow, that went fast."
We played a third game, this time with everyone using Side B.
This game really flowed well, and felt solid.
I can't wait to play again.

Specific personal opinions:
I like the fact that you can "do your own thing", but still have to be aware of what the guys on your left and right are doing. What resources they have, how much military they've got, and (to some extent) "hate-drafting" (taking a card just so the guy to your left/right doesn't get it).

I like the fact that it is a FAST game with SEVEN players. Damn, dude. A 7-player game of BSG could take 6 hours :)

I like the fact that the meanings of the icons are intuitive, after you've seen a few. The colors, the arrows, the numbers, you could easily see a new card and immediately know exactly what it does.

The rulebook could use some work. When questions came up in the game, we eventually did find the answers in the rulebook, but they weren't always where you expected, and sometimes were in "aside statements". (Like whether you could build 2 buildings of the same name, or whether you could build multiple parts of your Wonder in the same Age, for instance).

But 7 Wonders gets a GRRRRRR (that's good) on the arbitrary Ossian Rating Scale :)

Plans for next time:
I think I'll try to make "starting player packs", a ziplock baggie with 3 coins and 2 of each positive military point, to make setup faster. (Unfortunately there aren't nearly enough "-1" chips to give everyone the potential maximum of 6 for their own pool).

Need to figure out a smooth way to randomize "side A/side B". It doesn't seem like it would work really well to rely on the facing of the Wonder cards; I don't know how to fairly randomize that. Some ideas out there?

One burning question:
Why is Science listed before Guilds in the rulebook, but after Guilds on the scoresheet?

Should the game get exercised several times before buying the Leaders expansion, or is it worth diving straight in?

Any other commentary?


  1. A cursory googling for a randomizer app for 7 wonders didn't come up with anything unfortunately. I would think a web-based one would be fairly easy to setup (flash or js).

  2. I found halfway-decent scoring apps for iOS and Android, but initial randomization might have to be done with extra dice or coin-flips (or a simple app)..

    Incidentally, the official website for the game has the full graphics and rules for the 2 promo Wonders (Catan [yes, that Catan] and Mannekin Pis [which includes "the winner of the game buys you a beer" on its B-side]), and I've got them as PDFs. I'd consider them legal options, but once again, I don't have proper randomizer cards for them without finding the physical promos (which aren't on BGG store, at least at the moment). So another method of randomizing becomes even more important.


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