Monday, April 18, 2011

The Labyrinth: 7 Wonders - What does it mean?

Hello sports fans!
Boston lost again last night on the mound to the Rays.
It’s being called a massacre by some with a score of 16 to 5 but Boston proved their mettle on the ice managing a solid win over the Ottawa Senators last Saturday…
What do you mean this isn’t about games?
My column is about gaming…hockey and baseball are games…
Well fair enough they aren’t board games but there ARE several good one’s based of both sports.

Pond Hockey-opoly springs to mind!!

A refreshing strategy game where players buy their favorite ponds and rinks, then collect ‘warm-up’ shacks which can later be traded in and upgraded to ‘arenas’. With balanced game play Pond Hockey-opoly offers…
What do you mean it isn’t a strategy game?
It’s chalked full of tough choices and nail-biting scenarios, like if you’re passing the Face Off! Square and you land on a property that’s owned you need to decide how to pay the player and if the pond is unowned you decide whether or not to buy it.
Although you typically buy everything you land on no matter what…
Alright I’ll concede the point…

Well then gamers lets at long last end this preamble and focus our attention on a brand new 2010/2011 game.
7 Wonders.

Wow there’s been some serious hype surrounding this game, so it’s a WONDER that I managed a post on it at all! Researching this lightning fast 20-30 minute game has just made my eyes roll due to the sheer # of gamers clamoring to be the first to praise the new(ish) release. Already the title has over 5000 player ratings on BGG and as of today is sitting comfortably at 14th on the game rankings list, sandwiched between such classic titles as Tigres and Euphrates and Steam.

7 Wonders is widely being toted as an amazingly addictive new card drafting game that allows both experienced and new gamers alike a chance of an uber light uber fast civ-like card game that in no way other than flavor resembles civ. Uber -Urban Dictionary (The ultimate, above all, the best, top, something that nothing is better than. “Dude I'm Über confused...” )

-Game play synopsis-

Players are each given a wonders board at the start of the game along with 7 cards. The game begins with Age I and ends after the third is fully resolved. Each age is played out over 6 turns, in which the players will put into play a single card, simultaneously. These cards will be used to make structures that give players resources/points, towards building up player’s world wonders, or to acquire more coin. After each round, the remaining cards in each player’s hand are passed along to an adjacent neighbour. Most structure cards have a coin cost to build and players can also use the resources of their neighbour’s wonders for the price of two coins. After each of the three ages military points are tallied and on the final turn these points in combination with the points from wonders and structures determine the winner!

But as we all know, when praise is given and success achieved then so too must come the trollz! Angry gamer trolls seeking to destroy any claims of 7 Wonders being a decent title! For every positive review that I stumbled upon from the average gamer there seemed to be an equally venomous reaction or post from the camp of ‘hardcore’ strategy gamers. The main ‘beef’ that these gamers seem to have is 7 Wonders’ unfortunate similarities to Fairy Tale and the sever lack of foresight in selecting cards during the draft. While the game is certainly reminiscent of the color coded card game Fairy tale, several distinct game elements such as the turn-by-turn exchanging of hands and the more varied abilities of different cards makes the game a bit meatier. It’s nothing novel it’s true and its straight forward game mechanics will leave many power thinkers feeling empty after a quick ‘throw away’ playthrough. But to be fair the things that 7 Wonders offers and does, it does exceptionally well.

What it boils down to is this…
Do you enjoy the deck building aspects and booster drafts experienced in Magic the gathering?
Are San Juan and Race for the Galaxy up there on your list of all time favorite games?
Do you HATE long 2 to 3 hour games that just leave you snoozing at the table?
If you answered yes to any of the above then most likely 7 Wonders will be a game that you’ll easily fall in love with. Due to its short playtime and easy to teach style of draft gaming it should be a game that you’ll play time and time again.

Is Peurto Rico a game that would always be your choice over a lighter game like San Juan?
Are the different symbols on the cards in Race for the Galaxy just an instant turn off for you?
Is Dominion a card game that just never sparked your interest, a non collectable version of MTG that you found dull?
Then as stated before, beware!
This simply wont be a game for you.

I’d probably give 7 Wonders a 7 out of 10 but after a few play throughs to get a better feel for its replay ability that # may jump up or down a bit. Overall I think the hype is well founded for the types of gamers that like these style of light card games.

This has been the Labyrinth and I’m Henry McCulloch. Game On!

1 comment:

  1. Some games take hours to play and involve heavy analysis as players plot out every possible scenario and their response. Some games involve backroom dealing and alliances and betrayals.

    Some games are meant to be light and fun. 7 Wonders is more akin to checkers than chess, no doubt, but sometimes a quick game is a welcome refreshment after a long session of Dominant Species (!!)

    7 Wonders scales beautifully all the way up to seven players. It might not be a game to start with, but it's a great game to end with. I recommend it.