Wednesday, March 21, 2012

7 Wonders (First Impression)

7 Wonders by Antoine Bauza
I finally got a chance to play 7 Wonders tonight with my games group. I've heard a lot about it since it came out back in 2010, mainly regarding great design that allows up to seven players to play in around 30 minutes but still have deep and engaging gameplay.

The main game mechanic is a card draft. Each player starts the game with a small deck of cards, selects on they wish to play, then passes the remainder to the next player. The beauty of this mechanic is that it keeps everyone engaged constantly and keeps play moving at a good pace.

The goal of the game is acquiring victory points from a variety of cards that deal out different resources, such as military strength, technological growth, commerce and straight points. The games is played over three phases, at the end of which each player compares their military strength to their neighbors, new decks are dealt out and the draft begins anew. At the end of the game, points are scored in various means for the different development paths. All these are totaled up and the player with the most points is crowned the victor.

My game board
Part of the reason that this games works well with so many players is that everyone is only concerned with who is on their immediate left and right. In addition to the military aspect that I mentioned above, you can buy resources from the players next to you and only those players. Essentially the game boils down to a large collection of three players games being played around the same table.

For me, this game scratches a similar itch to that of Dominion and Alien Frontiers (which I'll get around to eventually) in that I can't know what the game has in store for me nor my strategy until everything is dealt out and the game starts. There's so many thing that a player can do and focus on that you can't do everything. I could easily see myself playing this over and over again and playing a different way each time, which I love.

I will say that explaining how this game works can slow things down the first time or two its played. It could be slowed down a little bit by players with analysis paralysis, especially the first couple games when its hard to see the bigger picture of everything. However, with games being so fast, it could also be just as easy to just get through a practice game or two and then begin the real competition.

I really enjoyed this one and look forward to playing it again, hopefully soon.

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