Each player leads an ancient civilization from its earliest beginnings to become a world power. The game actually plays out through 3 ages. In these ages, the players start with 7 cards and they choose one card to play and pass the rest to the next player.
This process continues until only 2 cards are left at which time they play one and discard the other. The playable card deck consist of 155 cards.
Most cards have requirements. They can require you to have certain resources or purchase them from another player. Some cards allow you to build for free. The cards can also be discarded for 3 coins or used as a stage of your wonder.
There are 7 types of Age cards:
- Red cards add you military strength.
- Yellow cards grant coins, resources and victory points. They also decrease the cost of buying resources from neighbors.
- Green cards have one of three symbols. Combinations of these symbols are worth victory points.
- Blue cards grant a fixed number of victory points.
- Brown cards provide raw resources (wood, ore, clay brick and stone).
- Grey cards provide manufactured goods (glass, papyrus and textiles).
- Purple cards grant victory points based on the structures a player and/or his neighbors have built.
The brown and grey cards may only appear in the Age I and II decks, while the purple cards only appear in the Age III deck.
After each age, the players compare their military (thus gaining or losing points). After the 3rd age, the players count up points for military conquests and different kinds of buildings built and the player with the higest victory points wins the game.
They players are free to develop their civilization how they want. They can establish a military powerhouse or a merchant state. Also a civilization can master science and technology or even build a world wonder, but you're not penalized if you choose not to build one.
Depending on which region the player controls in the ancient world, they can build one of the Seven Wonders: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Pyramids of Giza, The Lighthouse at Alexandria, The Colossus of Rhodes, The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and The Temple of Zeus.
7 Wonders is a simple and addictive family game. The game is easy to learn. Most beginners figure out already a solid strategy by the 2nd or 3rd play. The game is quick to set up and the game play is fast. Most games take around 30 minutes so you can play several games on one evening.
The game can be played with 2-7 players, although the 2 player game is a variant. Even when you play with seven players, the game play won't be too long as players make decisions at the same time.
7 Wonders was created by Antoine Bauza and released in 2010 by Asmodee Games. The game won more then 30 gaming awards including 'game of the year' in 2011.