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Meeple’s Eye View – 7 Wonders

The Meeple’s Eye View is an in depth review of one of the many games in our board game library. This week’s column is written by featured blogger Rick Grayshock.

7 Wonders is a card drafting game that has enjoyed tremendous popularity since its release in 2010. It has won nearly every major gaming award possible, and for good reason.

Theme: Civilization building

Number of Players: 2-7 (Works well with all numbers)

Game Time: 30 minutes

Age Appropriateness: 10 and up

Game Type: Card drafting, set collection

In 7 Wonders each player is trying to build their own civilization and finish with the most points. Points are awarded for building buildings, advancing science and technology, having the best military, building a wonder and more. The game is played in three ages. The player with the most points at the end of those ages is the winner.

Game Play: At the beginning of each age, a hand of seven cards are dealt to each player. Players simultaneously choose one card from their hand to play. The cards are revealed at the same time and players must pay the price necessary or gain the reward for the card they chose. If a player does not have all the resources needed to play a card they may purchase these resources from either of their neighbors. Everyone then passes the remaining hand to their neighbor and the process begins again.

After each player has selected and played six cards the seventh card from each hand is discarded and the age is over. There is a short round of scoring after each age for military size, and then the next age begins. After the third age is complete, the scoring phase is extensive totaling up all points for each player.

Component Quality: The cards and cardboard pieces in the game are well made and durable. The artwork is very good on everything. The cards are a slightly different size than your standard playing card deck.

My Take: I really like 7 Wonders. It takes the simple concept of card drafting and gives it a strong theme with many different paths to victory. Unlike some card drafting games, this one can be high in strategy as well. A player should never feel out of the game, as the points available in the third age are big. Several ‘guild’ cards make things very interesting in that age. Have a neighbor that has been building a military strategy? There is a card that can help give YOU points for that. Someone hoarding all the science cards? Find the card that pays you for their good work.

One knock of set collection games is that it can feel like you are playing simultaneous games of solitaire. That’s often a fair criticism, but not here. The ability to purchase resources from your neighbors, plus the military build-up and strategy to keep them from getting cards that they need make sure that you are keeping tabs on other players.

7 Wonders also scales well with all numbers. Cards are added and removed depending on the number of players. It is very well-balanced. The simultaneous selection keeps the game from getting too long when you have more players. To be honest, if everyone knows how to play the game it probably won’t take you a half hour even with five or six players. We have played several 3 player games in 15-20 minutes each.

I think it could be a good family game, but my daughter hasn’t gotten into this one. My wife likes it quite a bit, which means it will hit the table more at my house.

7 Wonders has a good shot to find itself in my top ten favorite games.

Expansions and Replay-ability: There are expansions for 7 Wonders. The first two expansions were 7 Wonders Leaders and 7 Wonders Cities. The Leaders expansion is really good, and definitely worth the money for 7 Wonders fans. I have not yet had the opportunity to play the cities expansion.

The newest expansion is called 7 Wonders Tower of Babel and brings two new modules that really look like they change the dynamic enough to intrigue me.

After a couple dozen plays of the base game, I’m still very interested to get this one to the table on game nights. I think the replay-ability is pretty high even without the expansions.

Meeple Rick GrayshockRick Grayshock is a husband and father who is a digital content producer for FOX Sports Ohio and is a co-founder of the Cleveland sports website WaitingForNextYear.com. Rick is excited to contribute to Meeple Moments and to write about his ‘other’ favorite hobby. Follow him on Twitter @RickGrayshock.