Given its title, 7 Wonders: Duel will come as no surprise to you being a two-player game. This is not an expansion or variant of its popular parent game 7 Wonders (also published by Repos Production), but instead a separate card game all on its own, specifically designed for just you and one other opponent to battle it out to construct man-made wonders of the world.
7 Wonders: Duel does not rely on all players drafting a card and then passing their hand over to their neighbour. Instead, Antoine Bauza has teamed up with fellow French designer Bruno Cathala to create a different way of gaining cards for set collection that’s equally enthralling, if not more so.
Again, 7 Wonders: Duel is played over three rounds. Cards are pre-arranged into a communal pyramid-like display, partially covering each other. The majority of them are face-down, while the lowest level ones are face-up. The categories will be familiar to those who have played 7 Wonders (green science cards, brown/grey resources, red military, and so on). Players may take any card they like from the pyramid to add to their own tableau – but only if it is completely uncovered.
As cards are removed, more cards’ identities are revealed. Therefore, it becomes a case of timing your moves to perfection, trying to force your opponent into removing cards that then allow you to grab the exact card you want!
Unlike regular 7 Wonders, in Duel players can win before the third round has ended. A player could earn a military victory by getting the military pawn to the end of the conflict track (kind of similar to the swing in power that you find in games like Twilight Struggle). Alternatively, they could earn a science victory by collecting each of the six different science symbols. Therefore you’ll have to keep a close eye on what your opponent is taking – you can’t afford to let them get too far ahead! If neither of these victory conditions is met by the end of the third round, then sets are scored to determine a winner.
For some board gamers, player counts can really make or break a game. If you love 7 Wonders but you’re in a position where you play a lot of games with just you and a partner, then 7 Wonders Duel is going to be a great choice for you. With rounds lasting approximately 10 minutes each, games can last about 30 minutes in total. And, considering its high replayability factor, it fits beautifully into that category of ‘go on then, one more game…’
Player Count: 2 players
Time: 10 minutes
Age Rating: 10+
• Card layout has been improved, which allows for information to be more easily read. The guild cards, spread out over the many 7 Wonders expansions, have been consolidated and added to the new basegame.
• Steps have been taken to improve immersion through the game’s titular theme – the Wonders themselves! The Wonders have been made bigger and more prominent, and their A and B sides have been replaced by a day side and a night side for a more flavourful experience. Both the base game and the expansions are also moving to larger, standard-sized boxes.
• Taking inspiration from chaining system from 7 Wonders Duel; instead of using named structures for chaining, the cards now have symbols. This streamlines chaining and makes it more intuitive.
• Thanks to symbols discreetly inserted in the contents of the game, 7 Wonders and its expansions are now adapted for colourblind players.
ABOUT THE GAME
You are the leader of one of the 7 great cities of the Ancient World. Gather resources, develop commercial routes, and affirm your military supremacy. Build your city and erect an architectural wonder which will transcend future times.
7 Wonders lasts three ages. In each age, players receive seven cards from a particular deck, choose one of those cards, then pass the remainder to an adjacent player. Players reveal their cards simultaneously, paying resources if needed or collecting resources or interacting with other players in various ways. (Players have individual boards with special powers on which to organise their cards, and the boards are double-sided). Each player then chooses another card from the deck they were passed, and the process repeats until players have six cards in play from that age. After three ages, the game ends.
In essence, 7 Wonders is a card development game. Some cards have immediate effects, while others provide bonuses or upgrades later in the game. Some cards provide discounts on future purchases. Some provide military strength to overpower your neighbors and others give nothing but victory points. Each card is played immediately after being drafted, so you’ll know which cards your neighbour is receiving and how his choices might affect what you’ve already built up. Cards are passed left-right-left over the three ages, so you need to keep an eye on the neighbours in both directions.
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