- Designer: Antoine Bauza, Bruno Cathala
- Artist: Miguel Coimbra
- Punblisher: Repos productions, Rebel.PL, Asterion press
- Player count: 2
- play time: 30 minutes
- Mechanics: Set collection, Card drafting.
7 wonders duel is the new 2 player game set in the massively succesfull 7 wonders series. Where the original game caters up to 7 people, this one is especially designed as a two player game. I’ll give you a brief overview of how the game is played, before I’ll give you guys my opinion of it.
It’s probably not necessary, but I’ll treat this overview as if you’re unfamiliar with regular 7 wonders. Please bare with me on this one, as some things could be familiar.
7 wonders is played over three ages, represented by three decks of cards. Each age, a tableau of cards is set up and players will take turns acquiring these cards for the expansions of their empire. Different card types are divided by color. There are 8 types of cards in the game:
- Brown Cards: Basic resources. Aqcuiring these helps with the costs to pay for other cards
- grey cards: Refined resources. Same as above
- yellow cards: These have various effects, but generally give money/points or influence the price you pay for resources
- Green cards: Technology cards. 7 different symbols. They give points and if you acuire a pair of the same type will give you a benefit the rest of the game. If you manage to collect 6 different symbols, you immediately win the game by a scientific victory.
- Red cards: Military cards. By acquiring these cards, move the military dominance marker along the track towards your opponent for every symbol on the card. This give points and can cause the opponent to lose money. If you manage to reach the end of the track you automatically win by Military victory.
- Blue cards: Civilian cards. These cards generate points.
- Purple cards: Guild cards. Score points/money. If you acquire a guild card (only 3 available in third age) you score points at the end according to certain conditions.
At the start of the game, players will draft wonder cards, till both have 4. From 10 available science tokens, 5 are placed on the board. When selecting a card form the display you have 3 options: Build the card in your tableau, looking at the cost of the building. Any resource you don’t have can be bought from the bank. The cost for these is calculated as follows: You pay 2 money, plus 1 additional for each of that type of resource your opponent does have. You pay these costs to the bank, not your opponent. Your second option is building a wonder. You select a card and place it beneath the wonder, paying costs as normal. You then immediately gain the bonuses on the right side of the wonder card. A third option is to sell the card. For this you gain 2 money, plus an additional 1 for each yellow card in your tableau.
Each round the display is arranged in a different way, with rows of face up and face down cards. As soon as a card is uncovered, it becomes available for selection. If none of the alternative victory conditions (military or scientific) are met before the third age ends, points are scored and whoever has the most points is declared the winner.
Let me start off by saying that I’ve played regular 7 wonders quite a bit, including all expansions. I’ve liked some better then others, but in general I really like the game. Before playing this game I had a question nagging in the back of my mind: Is a 2 player game really going to add something for me? The short answer: Hell Yeah!
What I like about the game:
- Playtime is quick. You can bang out a game in less then 30 minutes.
- Interesting design decisions. I really like the alternative way military and Science works in this game. Additional ways of winning open up some new strategic avenues to explore. The Mah-jong style card display has some hidden information which I really like.
- The science tokens. I love bonuses that are only for me.
- Artwork. This is really top notch, from the box art to the cards and especially the wonder cards.
- Still gives that 7 wonders feel. Makes the game playable with 2 which in my opinion it wasn’t before.
What I didn’t like
- The rulebook and I’m talking specificcaly about the Dutch rules included. Being Dutch myself, I always like it when rules in my own language are added to a game. Here however, the rules are translated so badly that I highly suspect a bad google translate job. From a publisher as well known as Repos, I think this is unacceptable.
- More luck. Since some of the cards in the tableau are face down, you miss out on some information. Some of this can be covered by carefull planning, but it could be that the card you really needed gets revealed right after you choose. This is a small nitpick for me though.
- Card size. Even though the cards are very clear and well laid out, I feel the size could have been a bit bigger.