I’ve played countless hours of Monopoly at my family gatherings, and I was looking for a game to counter it. Despite how fun Monopoly can actually be when you play it with your grandma, it has a few significant flaws.
First, it’s endless. Four hours of Monopoly non-stop? I’m sure we all have been there. There’s a lot of luck and very little strategy. The whole game is often defined by the first few turns, and that’s what you’ll have to deal with for the rest of the evening.
So, if you’re like me and tired of endless Monopoly games, meet 7 Wonders! I know the games are quite (actually, very) different and can’t really be compared to one another, yet here I am, comparing them. Seven Wonders actually happens to be all you want from a good family game - and more!
What is it about?
7 Wonders is actually a card-drafting civilization-themed game. This game is crazy popular - it’s among the top 100 best board games of all times and among the top 10 family games (rated by the BoardGameGeek community). And to our delight, it got re-styled this year to have a more modern look.
Now I could go into explaining the rules, but I’d rather introduce you to Dized. Dized is a companion app for learning board games, and they have a fast-growing library of rules and interactive tutorials for board games. And the best part is that you can start playing immediately and learn the game as you go! You can download the app for free from the App Store or from Google Play.
If you want to learn the game the old-fashioned way, no worries! The 7 Wonders rulebook is only eight pages long and has a thorough explanation of anything you might come across. The game comes with comprehensive reference cards as well, which help greatly during the game.
Here is 7 Wonders in a nutshell: You win by scoring the most points and you score points by constructing buildings and developing your city. There are plenty of different types of buildings of course!
- Grey and brown cards give you more resources needed for construction
- Yellow cards are trade buildings that bring you coins to buy resources you need
- Blue cards bring you points
- Red cards are military buildings that you compete with for points
- Green cards are research buildings, that in combination with other cards, give you points
- Lastly, purple cards are the guilds that give you points for a combination of cards
Then there are wonders. At the start of the game, you pick up a wonder that represents your city, and during the game you are able to construct it to gain special benefits.
And the game itself goes as follows: each of the 2 to 7 players draw a hand of 7 cards, pick one of the cards, pass the rest on, and then construct buildings from their hand. That repeats during 3 ages, and after that points are calculated. That is pretty much 7 Wonders.
What I enjoyed
- Super light. You can learn it through the Dized tutorial super fast.
- Player count. The game can be played with up to 7 people and for a fast-paced semi-strategy light game, that gives a lot of flexibility on with whom you can play it.
- Everyone plays simultaneously. The biggest problem of games with 5+ players is how long you have to wait for your turn. In this game, each player chooses their card at the same time - thus the waiting time is minimal.
- The theme! I love the ancient world theme and this game is all about it.
- Expansions! Since this game has been around for quite some time, it has many expansions to diversify your game experience.
What could be better
Strategy. As a light card-drafting game, it can not offer strategic economic choice to the players. Even though I compared it to Monopoly, there are very few (or no) similarities between the games’ actual gameplay. However, if you like the idea of 7 Wonders but would like to spice it up a bit, try 7 Wonders Duel instead. 7 Wonders Duel is a light 2-player strategy game, which also holds the title of one of the best board games in the world.
Is this game for you?
If this holiday season, you’d like to bring a different kind of game to the family dinner, then you should definitely try 7 Wonders. As a very easy and fast game, everyone from grown-ups to kids and non-gamers alike will appreciate it. As you can play with up to 7 players, you’ll probably have completely differing experiences with 2, 3, or 6 players, as the dynamic changes significantly according to player amount. All in all, 7 Wonders is a great catch and it definitely holds its titles for a good reason.