Open Seat Gaming: Classic Callback: 7 Wonders
Welcome to Classic Callback, where Marti, @fluffymeeple, checks out some of the great games of the past so that new gamers can get a fresh look at what we think of them! This month, we’re going to travel the ancient world and explore the classic card drafting game, 7 Wonders!
The Game: You're a leader of a civilization and preparations are underway for you to start building a great structure, soon to become one of the 7 great wonders of the ancient world. By collecting resources, trading, exploring science, and building your military, you are working to build the greatest wonder of them all!
Each player has a board (you pick side A or side B to play on) that has a special resource that your civilization makes and 3 "levels" to your wonder that can provide you with victory points, additional resources, or military that can help to fortify your empire as you move forward. Then, you start with a handful of cards - you pick one and put it face down, passing additional cards to your left or right depending on which age that you're in. Everyone flips their card face up at the same time; you interact with the people to the immediate right and left to you in order to "build" the card in question (if necessary), and play continues. Go through 3 different ages (each with different cards), and see who has the best empire to win the game.
Why It's Worth a Classic Callback:
7 Wonders is the Granddaddy of Card Drafting Games. I know that there were other card drafting games before 7 Wonders (specifically the game Fairy Tale), but 7 Wonders is what shoved the mechanism into the limelight and really caught the attention of all sorts of gamers.
It's a Great Bridge for People Who Are Going from CCG's Into Board Games. I used to play CCG's (not great CCG's, just CCG's), and while it took me a while to actually get 7 Wonders played (several years after I'd gotten into analog gaming), I latched onto it immediately when I finally tried it. I loved how it felt like some of the tournaments I'd been in without the pressure. And everyone I know that has played CCG's in some time during their gaming career loves 7 Wonders when they get to try it out!
The Game Scales Incredibly Well. This is one of the main reasons that I feel like 7 Wonders deserves this Classic Callback. Whether you're playing at 3 or you're playing at 7, the game keeps the same pace. Why? Because you really 0nly interact with the person to your immediate left and the person to your immediate right. So, no matter how many people are playing, it maintains that same pace and plays in about a half an hour.
Your Strategies Are Always Changing and Adapting. I like 7 Wonders because you never win the same way twice. The way that the ages go and how the cards are distributed guarantees that you're rarely going to have the same strategy two games in a row. Sadly, I have not tried any of the expansions yet (they're on my wish list), but I feel like, and have heard that, they would add even more strategy to what base 7 Wonders has to offer.
Who Won't Like 7 Wonders?
- If you are someone that exclusively plays 2 player games, you (likely) won't enjoy 7 Wonders. The two player variant of base 7 Wonders is... meh. That's the best way to explain it. I don't like the concept of a "dummy player" in most games (there are definitely exceptions), and 7 Wonders just doesn't appeal to me at 2. That's why they made 7 Wonders Duel (my favorite 2 player game).
- If you are into heavier civilization building games, then 7 Wonders may feel a little lackluster. It's a civ builder, but it's very light and quick.
- If you prefer a lot of player interaction, 7 Wonders will not fulfill that. Yes, you have to interact with your neighbors to "buy" resources, and you compare military strength to each other at the end of each age, but that's really it.
Who Will Like 7 Wonders?
- If your favorite part of playing a CCG were the "closed" or "sealed" categories, 7 Wonders will be right in your wheelhouse. This is why I fell in love with the game so quickly - when I played CCG's, I loved booster and sealed deck, and 7 Wonders gave me that (and made it easier for me to quit playing CCG's, lol).
- If you enjoy the historical aspect of gaming, 7 Wonders can scratch a little bit of that itch. It has some really interesting art, each card has something that these ancient civilizations would have used, and while the game isn't especially thematic, it is a theme that is interesting.
- If you like anything from Antoine Bauza, you will probably love 7 Wonders. He's one of my favorite designers out there, and I don't think I've disliked a single game from him.
Have you played 7 Wonders? Did you enjoy it? And what do you like best about 7 Wonders? Is there another card drafting game that you prefer to play instead, and why? Leave some thoughts in the comments and let me know!
I'm also looking for more suggestions on Classic Callbacks. What would you like to see me talk about in the future? Leave your suggestions in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!