52 Family Game Nights: 7 Wonders

Once again, I’m turning over the blog to our resident game expert for this week’s Family Game Night suggestion.
7 wonders board game

Family Game Night #33: 7 Wonders

The Story and How to Play

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but you can construct a centuries-old civilization in less than an hour playing 7 Wonders.

This game highlights card drafting, choosing a card from your hand and then passing the remaining cards to the player to your right, taking the cards from the player to your left.

This makes for a tense decision every round, as you want more than one card each time, and you want to keep certain cards from your opponents.

One of the nicest features of 7 Wonders is that it can accommodate up to seven players without making the game any longer to play. There is very little waiting for your turn, leaving more time for the fun.

The Goal

The goal of 7 Wonders is to establish a grand civilization over three ages, constructing various monuments, raising an army, and building a wonder of the world. All this happens through card drafting.

As the first age begins, players are each dealt seven cards. They must choose one card and pass the remaining cards to the next player. Once all players have selected a card, all the selected cards are revealed and added to players’ civilizations.

This is repeated until no more cards remain, then the age ends. Military scores are awarded and a new age begins.
7 wonder player boards

Types of Cards

Cards come in several different flavors:

Brown and gray cards give you resources to use throughout the game. These resources are never spent and always available during each subsequent turn.

Blue political cards just give you points.

Red cards enhance your military; however, there is no destruction in the game. Having a large military is just another way to score points.

Yellow cards help your economy and allow you to trade more favorably with your neighbors.

Green cards represent your scientific advancement, scoring more points the more green cards you have.

Finally, purple cards are available in Age 3, allowing you to score bonus points based on certain endgame conditions.

How to Play

To play a card, you must have the required resources, of which there are several.

For example, to build the Aqueduct you would need three stone. If you hadn’t already collected enough of this resource previously, you might be able to buy some from a neighbor.

If you cannot pay for this card, you can always discard it to take three coins. You may also use it to build a section of your wonder, paying the cost indicated on your civilization board.

This game moves quickly, as you are only really playing a total of eighteen cards over the course of the game.

However, the number of symbols can be a little bewildering to new players. There are symbols for everything: resources, science, wonders, various scoring opportunities, military, and victory points, just to name a few.

The game includes a handy reference sheet in addition to the rulebook, which makes learning the symbols a bit easier. And once the symbols are learned, the game can be played in even less time. The absence of text allows even non-readers or non-English-speakers to play.

The player boards are named after various historic cities or places. (Impromptu history lesson, anyone?)
7 wonders games

Options and Expansions

Once you master the base game, you might consider exploring the expansion material.

7 Wonders: Leaders adds special leader cards to the beginning of each age.

7 Wonders: Cities adds some tricky cards to the mix, allowing for up to eight players. There are also a number of additional civilization boards. All of this can make the game overwhelming for casual players, but experienced players will enjoy the new challenges.

There is also an excellent 2-player version of the game called 7 Wonders: Duel.

Summary of 7 Wonders

Number of Players: 2-7 in the base game

Recommended Ages: 13+ (according to the box. We’ve played with kids around age 10 or slightly younger)

Reading Required: Technically, no. But there are a lot of symbols to decipher.

Despite its learning curve, 7 Wonders provides a fantastic gaming experience. Your investment of time learning the game will be rewarded many times over. Most people, including children, will be firing on all cylinders after only a game or two.

This game is widely available at big box stores and many online retailers. 7 Wonders deserves a place in your game collection. Start building a glorious new civilization at your next family game night.

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