A Tribal Games Review of 7 Wonders Duel
Through each passing age the world has seen innumerable and immeasurable wonders and achievements. From quarries and workshops to palaces and academies, players will develop their civilisation and gather resources to construct their magnificent wonders. Friends and foes alike will stand in awe of your great structures, while you develop an unstoppable strategy to leave your name as history’s greatest empire.
Duel is a standalone 2-player variant to the game 7 Wonders with a slightly different ruleset that makes gameplay more intense and exciting for less players. While both games have unique features that make either of them a worthwhile pickup, Duel’s multiple win conditions and variety of cards and setups appeals more as a fun and intimate game.
If you are looking for an intermediate strategy game, 7 Wonders Duel is the perfect option. The rules and gameplay are simple to pick up and the game provides several options of strategy without being overly intensive. Having played this with a few strategy game novices, I can safely say that within a few games most people can take a win.
How to Play:
At the beginning of the game each player takes 4 wonders, each Wonder costs a certain number of resources but provides a significant boost once constructed. The title 7 Wonders, almost unsurprisingly, comes with the limit that only 7 Wonders can be in play at any given time. These limitations are the first strategic obstacle of gameplay but can also help players determine their play style for the round.
The cards for the first age are set out beside the game board first, as shown below:
During the first round of play, each player will select one card that is completely visible from the first age, uncovering more as the game progresses. The player can choose to either construct the card to gain its benefits, discard it for coins, or sacrifice it to build a Wonder. Play continues like this until all cards from the first age have been used.
The second and third ages play out similarly with their own cards and set ups, as shown below:
Players can attempt to reach one of three win conditions to achieve their goal of becoming the greatest civilisation:
- Military Supremacy – Each time a military location is constructed, that player moves the conflict pawn on the game board closer to their opponent. Once the conflict pawn reaches the other end the game has ended and the player has declared victory.
- Scientific Supremacy – Each age contains green science cards with a corresponding symbol located at the top:
A player automatically achieves scientific supremacy when they 6 locations with different symbols.
- Civilian Victory – Once all cards from all 3 ages have been either built or discarded the game comes to an end. Having made it this far without achieving a military or scientific victory means players will have accumulated a significant number of victory points from other locations. These victory points are totalled and the player with the most wins.
9 wonders out of 7
- Replayability – 9/10
Replayability in 7 Wonders Duel is influenced by a number of factors represented throughout the gameplay. Having several different win conditions that players can aim for drastically the number of times this game can be replayed. Exploring strategies to achieving each kind of victory and which victory is most effective motivates players to retry the experience several times over. The number of cards and hidden setup also lend themselves to replayability: being unsure of what locations a player could start with and what will be uncovered next often causes players to change their gameplay as they go. This factor of randomness, coupled with the various playstyles, creates a game that is always exciting to return to.
- Thematic – 8/10
This game is set across many ages in history and brings the vast array of human discoveries, inventions, and innovations directly to the table. From the ancient art style of the rulebook, to the detailed depictions of each location and wonder, this game immerses players in the world of the past. The gameplay also lends itself to the theme, having players manage resources in order to construct vast wonders and attempt to claim supremacy over other civilisations. Where this game falls short thematically is in size. The aim for a small and intimate game came at the cost of exploring the vast corners of the world while developing your empire. If the gameplay and mechanics were adapted to a larger scale, the immersion factor would greatly increase how thematic this game feels for players.
- Fun Times - 10/10
This game is fantastic for players who are looking for more of a challenge after trying a few simple strategy games. Being able to develop new strategies while immersed in ancient culture is an excellent formula for a good time. The replayability lends itself greatly to how exciting this game is giving players fantastic value each time they play.
Click HERE to check out 7 Wonders and 7 Wonders Duel.