7 Wonders is a dedicated deck card game that features ancient civilizations. At the start of the game, each player randomly receives a gameboard called a ‘Wonder board.’ Each board depicts one of Antipater of Sidon‘s original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Player lay cards to build a city made of various structures around their Wonder boards. The boards are double-sided; the wonders on side A are generally easier to build, while those on side B grant more interesting benefits.
How is 7 Wonders Played?
7 Wonders is played over three ages, known in the game as Ages I, II and III, using three decks of cards. In each age, seven cards are randomly dealt to each player. The game uses a card-drafting mechanic in which, once per turn, each player selects a card to play from his or her hand, then passes the remaining cards (face-down) to the next player. This process is repeated until five out of the seven cards have been played. At this point, each player must choose to play one of his remaining two cards and discard the other.
Each age card represent a structure, and playing a card means building a structure. To build a structure, a player must first pay the construction cost, in coins or in one or more of the seven resource types, then lay it down by his or her Wonder board. A player lacking the resources available may pay his direct neighbors to use their resources, normally at two coins per resource, if available.
Instead of building a structure, a player may choose either to discard an Age card to earn three coins from the bank or to use the card to build a stage of his or her wonder. The Wonder boards have from two to four stages, shown at the bottom of the board. To build a wonder stage, a player must pay the resource cost listed on the stage, then put an age card underneath the wonder board in the appropriate place.
Types of Age Card
There are seven types of Age card, representing different types of structure, as determined by the color of their background.
- Red cards (military structures) contain ‘shield’ symbols; these are added together to give a player’s military strength, which is used in conflict resolution at the end of each age.
- Yellow cards (commercial structures) have several effects: they can grant coins, resources and/or victory points or decrease the cost of buying resources from neighbors.
- Green cards (scientific structures): each card has one of three symbols. Combinations of the symbols are worth victory points.
- Blue cards (civic structures [mistranslated as ‘civilian’ in the game rules]): all grant a fixed number of victory points.
- Brown cards (raw materials) provide one or two of the four raw material resources used in the game (wood, ore, brick and stone.)
- Grey cards (manufactured goods) provide one of the three manufactured goods used in the game (glass, papyrus and textiles.)
- Purple cards (guilds) generally grant victory points based on the structures a player and/or his neighbors have built.
Brown and grey cards only appear in the Age I and II decks; purple cards only appear in the Age III deck.
At the end of each age, military conflicts are resolved between neighbors. This is done by comparing the number of shield symbols on the players’ red cards, and awarding victory points accordingly. Once all three decks have been played, players tally their scores in all the different developed areas (civil, scientific, commercial, etc.) The player with the most victory points wins.
Rules of Base Game
In the base game, there are seven means of obtaining victory points:
- Military victories – 1 point for a victory (having the most shields) during the first age, 3 for the second age and 5 for the third age. A defeated player takes a -1 victory point counter regardless of the age.
- Gold coins – One point for every 3 coins a player possesses at the end of the game.
- Wonder stages – Many of the wonder stages grant a fixed number of victory points.
- Civic structures (blue cards) – Each structure grants a fixed number of victory points.
- Commercial Structures (yellow cards) – Age III commercial structures grant victory points based on certain structures a player has built.
- Guilds (purple cards) – The guilds provide several means of gaining victory points, most of which are based on the types of structure a player and/or his neighbors have built.
Scientific structures (green cards) – Each green card has a symbol on it – tablet, compass or gear. One card of a type grants one victory point, but two cards grant four; the number of points granted is equal to the number of symbols possessed squared. Additionally, each set of tablet, compass and gear possessed is worth 7 points.