Have you ever wondered what it took to build some of the biggest wonders of the Ancient world?
Chances are in general that it took a lot long than the 30 minutes printed on each game that we're talking about here today, but then again you probably don't have a few decades to play a board game either - so everything evens out in the end. With 7 Wonders and its 2-player only counterpart 7 Wonders Duel you can get a taste of building a grand empire in a fraction of the time.
7 Wonders itself is over 10 years old and received a new second edition printing just last year for that very anniversary. It is a game that has inspired many others than came after it, and plays quite simple with 2-7 players (more on the 2 player count later), with a recommended sweet spot of 4-5 in order to make the mechanics in play here hit that sweet spot. Playing the game is simple! Over three rounds you will;
- Be dealt a hand of 7 cards
- Choose one from your hand, placing it in front of you
- Pass your remaining cards along the table, receiving some from your neighbour as well
- Reveal your chosen card, pay for costs in any exist, and put it into play
Some cards will have costs associated, some may give you an instant benefit and others may help you out later in the game. Once everyone has done this, it's time to choose another card and go again until there are no cards left for that round, after that it's on to the next! This doesn't even go into the construction of those great wonders - but I'll leave that for you to find for yourself.
But what was that about 2 players? While 7 Wonders does contain rules for a 2 player game - you might not see a lot of strategy in just passing the same set of cards back and forth between you and your opponent. But my friend, that is exactly why Duels exists!
Instead of drafting cards that are simply handed to you - each of the three ages will see you construct a pyramid of cards, with some face up and others face down. Each turn you MUST select one of these cards and put it into play in your own personal area. Will you be forced to take a card that will free up something that will help your opponent? Or does the card that you take suddenly reveal something new that you hope your rival doesn't take so you can benefit from it next turn? The choices that you make matter each and every turn - and in this way, 7 Wonders Duel manages to take the bigger box game experience, put it into the same playtime and retain the feel of the game while making it a great 2-player game night all on its own!
I have personally played and enjoyed both of these - and if you do too, you're in luck! There are a variety of expansions for each that add extra features and complexity so you can shape your experience to exactly what you want. If this article has piqued your interest, feel free to check out the store pages provided below - as I've added amazing videos from fellow Atlantic Canadian Rodney Smith that will teach you how to play each game in a quick and concise manner. And of course, if you are at the store this week you'll have the chance to see the game in person!