Posts Tagged '7 Wonders'

Weekend Gaming and the Deathly Hallows

Friday night, Joe offered to watch the kids so Jaime Gina and I could go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  The movie was great.  I loved every minute of it, and it was definitely the best of the Harry Potter movies, and even better than the book in my opinion.  When we got back home, we were too wired to go to bed, so we played a quick game of Puerto Rico.  I was able to make a killing selling coffee and was able to buy a couple big buildings, taking the game.

After that we still had time for one more, so since we had 4 people we were able to break out Thurn and Taxis.  Joe was able to grab the big points for the center of the board, but I grabbed the points for one in each zone and was able to speed to the biggest cart.  Gina and Jaime both cam close and in the end the game was only won by a couple points.

On Saturday, Joe was running late, so Gina, Kevin, Ryan and I played some Nightfall.  I had draft Vulko (a big defensive monster) and a card that let me change the target of other players’ cards.  My deck ended up with Vulko, the target changer and another card that directly damaged all opponents.  Things were going well at first.  I was able to prevent all damage to myself, while still damaging the rest.  Sadly I ended up leaving myself very vulnerable one turn and took a real beating.  I ended up in last place with 13 wounds, while Kevin had 6.  I’m really liking the game, and there really seems to be quite some depth.


Once Joe and Jaime showed up, we broke out 7 Wonders.  We played two quick games of this.  The first game was won with a very balanced strategy by everyone.  Ryan, though, had a stronger science position and took the game by a few points.  The second game was a lot more lopsided.  Ryan and I both started off with some weak resource positions, but luckily our neighbors were able to help us out.  Ryan and I took strong military positions, Joe had a ton of Civilian structures and Kevin had a bunch of Science.  I was also able to snag 3 different guilds that really pushed my score up.  In the end, Ryan had 20 points from the Giza wonder, Kevin had 30+ points of Science, Joe had 32 points of Civilian, and I had 35 points from my Guilds.  After the final tally, I was able to squeak by Ryan by three points for the victory.

Ryan took off and we finished the night with another game of Puerto Rico.  I made the mistake of grabbing a Large Market right away thinking that I would be able to sell everything for good money.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to produce anything for the first few turns.  Joe ended up making tons of cash and bought three of the large buildings and took the lead easily.

Sunday was crazy hot out, but I still played in a disc golf tournament that was put on by Ryan.  I played in the recreational division and ended up tied for second place.  It was a really nice day, and luckily we finished before the big storm hit.  I played with some great local guys and had a ton of fun.

Until next time, happy gaming!

First Impressions: 7 Wonders

7 Wonders is a card based, engine building game for three to seven players.  The players are trying to build their civilization based around one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

The game takes place over the course of three Ages, and in each age the players are dealt a hand of seven cards appropriate to that Age.  The players will then each select a card from their hand and build the structure listed on the card, discard that card for money, or use that card to build part of their Wonder.  Once everyone has played their card, then the rest of their hand is passed to their neighbor and the process is repeated.

The end of an Age is reached when there is only a single card remaining in each player’s hand.  At the end of each age, each player combats both of his or her neighbors.  Combat is determined by military structures, and the winner receives victory points (increasing each age), while the loser loses a single point.  Because you fight both neighbors, it is possible for a player to gain points in one battle, but then lose points in the other.

Finally, once all three Ages have past, the scores are tallied.  Players gain points through their various structures that they have built.  Some, such as Civilian structures, give a flat number of points.  Others like Science, Merchant and Guilds give varying amounts based on the number of structures you or your neighbor built.  The stages of the Wonders can also award points, as does money leftover at the end.  These are then added to the points gained through combat and then player with the most points is the winner.

I have played 7 Wonders a total of nine times now.  Five of those were with my wife, three were with five people and once with six.  The game itself is quite easy to teach.  The box included a handy double sided Quick Rules sheet that explains the basic rules on one side, and has a cheat sheet of the multitude of icons on the other.  Speaking of icons, there is very little text on the card themselves.  The only text is the title of the card, and any combo cards.  Otherwise all of the rules are handled through large icons at the top of each card that make things very easy to understand.

The cards themselves are slightly oversized and have large artwork on the majority of the card.  The left side of the card contains the title of the card and the cost to play the card.  This makes it simple to fan the cards in your hand and see what everything is.  The cards are also color coded, so that you can quickly tell what kind of card it is, and where it should be played.

The game itself flows quite smoothly.  The first Age starts out with some very simple cards.  Most have no cost associated, and will provide resources in later Ages.  Others provide simple benefits like the ability to buy resources from neighbors for less.  The second Age starts to contain more complex cards.  There are still some resources available in the second Age, but many of the cards cost one or more resources, so buying them from neighbors becomes more important.  The third Age contains no resource cards, and many of the cards cost a large number of resources, so it’s very important that resources were developed early, or are available from neighboring civilizations.

Another facet of the game is build chains.  Many of the cards in the second and third Ages build off of cards built in the earlier Ages.  What this means, is that if a player wants to build a card in the second age, and he had already built the corresponding chain card in the first age (listed in the upper left of the second age card), that second age card can be built for free.  For example, the Baths (available in Age I) card chains into the Aqueduct (available in Age II) card.  The Aqueduct lists the Baths in the upper-left next to its normal price.  If a player had built the Baths in Age I, then in age two, he would have the option to build the Aqueduct card without paying the normal resource cost for the card.  This chaining ability allows for a bit more flexibility in resource management and building.  A lot of the Science cards chain into each other, so it is possible to get the basic ones built in Age I and then not have to worry about resources to build structures later.  At the same time, this is gambling with what your neighbors will pass you in future hands of cards.

Overall, the game is fairly simple in structure.  Everything is played face up (except for discarded cards or cards used to mark the stage of the Wonders) so it is easy to see where all the players are at for points and military strength.  Keeping track of the surroundings is also important so that neighbors can be denied important cards, or military strength can be increased to stay ahead.  There are also quite a few strategies that can be focused on as well; military, science, guilds, etc.  In my experience, a balanced approach is the most consistent, but a strong military or a heavy science focus can be quite powerful.

In short, 7 Wonders is a quick, easy to learn game with quite a lot of depth.  It has been well received by my gaming group, and I have high hopes of it going over well with my less gaming focused family.  I would highly recommend it for any gaming group.

Weekend Gaming: New Game Weekend!

I hope everyone had a good 4th of July, even if it wasn’t a holiday.

Due to the 4th falling on a Monday, I had both Monday and Tuesday off of work, so I had plenty of time this weekend for games, barbeques and home improvements.

On Friday night we had Louis, Kevin and Ryan over and started the night off with a couple games of 7 Wonders.  Gina and I had played a couple hands of the two player variant earlier in the week, so we were pretty familiar with how things worked.  The first game, though, was taken by Ryan.  He had ton of military and civilian structures and no competition on the military front.  He also managed to snag the Guild that provides bonus points for the number of defeat tokens his neighbors had, so that just boosted his score further.

I was able to win the second game with a much more balanced setup.  I only won military victories in the second age, but I had a bunch of science points and points from my wonder to squeeze past Kevin for a one point victory.

Kevin managed to take the last game, again with a pretty heavy military strategy that he decided to try after basically ignoring military all night.

After that, we played a game of Race for the Galaxy (with the expansions), which Ryan had brought over.  Gina and I hadn’t played it in ages, and it was only our third play through.  I started off the game with a planet that provided me with some military bonus, along with some military worlds in my hand.  I decided to stick with that strategy, and it worked out quite well for me.  I was getting to draw 5 to 7 cards each explore phase due to some bonuses and was able to really dig for the military cards.  I didn’t need cards to pay resource prices, typically, so I could pretty much ignore the Consume and Processing phases.  And I had a bonus card in the Rebel Alliance that gave me some significant military power.  I was able to build to 15 settlements and developments (needing 14 to end the game due to the Rebel Alliance).  This gave me a ton of points at the end of the game, placing me well in the lead.

After spending the day putting in some new hardwood flooring in my entryway on Saturday, I was ready for some games that evening.  The group was the same as Friday but with the addition of Joe.  We started off with another round of 7 Wonders.  This one was a little goofy because there was an alternating pattern of military power.  Joe, Kevin and I all had some military power, while Gina, Louis and Ryan had very little, if any.  The people with no military, though, were sitting between those who did, so Joe, Kevin and I were all able to max out our military points.  Ryan was going hard into Science, and Louis had a lot of Civilian points.  Gina had a bit of everything, with a heavy focus on Guilds at the end.  I can’t honestly recall exactly who ended up winning, but I know it was one of the closest games yet.

Next, we went about learning to play Ryan’s new game, Nightfall.  The game itself is a deck building game like Dominion, but instead of building a kingdom, you’re building an army of werewolves, vampires and zombies to attack your neighbors.  It’s pretty cool.  The biggest issue we had learning is that we missed the rule about discarding cards for influence.  Like Dominion, there are cards available to buy.  You need influence to do this, and you only get two influence per turn, while most cards cost three or four.  So the first few turns were painfully slow.  We finally figured out that you can discard cards from your hand for more influence, and then we were finally able to get some better cards into our decks.  It was a fun game, but learning it was a bit painful.

We finished off the night with a game of Dominion, using the new Cornucopia set.  We combined the Intrigue and Cornucopia sets to play the Spice of Life setup.  I’m not sure if it was the lack or buys available, the Young Witch passing out Curses, or a lack of money in general, but the game seemed to drag on a bit.  No Tournaments were won, and while I was able to grab a couple Fairgrounds, I wasn’t quite able to push them to 6 points.  I think Kevin or Ryan ended up winning, but it was a pretty low scoring game.

Sunday was just spend finishing up some projects and playing some video games.  But then on Monday, we spent all afternoon and into the evening barbequing and gaming.  Ryan, Louis, Kevin, Joe, and Dana all joined us.  Ryan, Louis, Joe, Kevin and I played a game of Nightfall before dinner.  Knowing the rules and such made for a much smoother game.  I was trying to get a direct damage and unblockable monster combo going, but it didn’t work as well as I’d like, plus it let Louis combo a card that could mess my stuff up, so I wasn’t having much luck getting anything going.  Luckily I wasn’t looking like much of a threat, so while I took a beating early, I was ignored late in the game and finished up with the least Wounds for the win.

After a dinner of brats and burgers, we played some Princes of Florence.  Louis and I were able to trade some works back and forth, but I messed up in the auctioning and bought the wrong thing one turn.  I’m not sure it was a huge factor, but it did mess up my flow.  Ryan was able to build up a ton of building with his three builders, but Louis ended up winning, with me in second and Joe a close third after getting about 20 points just from Prestige cards.

That was all for this weekend.  Plenty of new games and lots of fun.  I will try and get reviews of 7 Wonders and Nightfall up later this week.  Both games were a lot of fun, and 7 Wonders was definitely a hit with the group.

Until next time, happy gaming!


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