7 Wonders Duel review

Build ancient civilizations, gather resources & compete against your opponent in military, science, trading and other fields.

7 Wonders Duel 2015 cover
Release Date
October 29, 2015
Gender
Strategy, Card game
Players
2
Playtime
30 min.
Difficulty
Medium
Age
10+
Designer
Antoine Bauza, Bruno Cathala
Publisher
Repos Production
Our Score
8.2
Your rating1 Vote
9
8.2
Wonderful

7 Wonders Duel board game is a 2 player strategy game that is about the ancient civilizations. Players construct the famous wonders, such as Alexandrian Lighthouse, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, build their own unique civilizations, acquire raw materials, resources, develop scientific divisions or wage war against each other.

Many players consider 7 Wonders Duel to be one of the best 2 player board games. A very replayable game that has interesting card placement, collection mechanics, rich strategic depth, and is pretty easy to get into.

Game overview

This is a card game, where players select and acquire cards from a shuffled and randomly set-up cards. In order to acquire cards, you must fulfill resource requirements, such as having enough wood, glass, clay, metal, and so on.

Acquiring cards increase your civilization capabilities, such as provide additional resources and increase your coin. They also provide Victory Points.

Finally, once you gather enough resources, you are able to select & construct Wonder structures, which also provide benefits to your civilization. In each game, 8 out of 12 Wonder cards are randomly selected to be included in the game.

7 Wonders Duel 2015 - wonder cards
7 Wonders: Duel (2015) – Wonder Cards.

The game is played in 3 rounds that are called ages. Each age represents a historic progression and a separate card deck that is played one by one. Each age deck is composed out of structure cards that are more complex, costly & more beneficial.

7 Wonders Duel 2015 - card types
7 Wonders: Duel (2015) – Age decks (I – III) and card types.

The game ends in two ways. After the end of a 3rd age, where players count their Victory Points to find out the winner. Or quicker, by evolving military power & scientific progression to the point that it assures dominance & therefore a win before the traditional game end.

7 Wonders: Duel (2015) – game board.

Review details

The review will be covered in the following structure:

  1. Fun
  2. Replay value
  3. Art & parts
  4. Game price

Feel free to read the review details, or just scroll down to the review summary.

Fun

To start with, I rated the game positively in terms of general fun. Here are the main reasons for that: the rules are simplistic (1), mechanics are very clear (2), but the depth of the game is not lost due to that (3). The card placement structure & multiple win scenarios provide tons of wide action options (4), strategic directions the players can take (5). There are also some other small details that I am going to discuss in this section that all add-up towards that fun (6). The negative factors are very minimal. This is associated with high unpredictability & lots of chance elements that are in play.

All of that is elaborated down below in this section. I will also discuss some of the general game rules & mechanics to help you understand my points easier.

There are 3 possible actions players can take – acquire one card (1), remove the card from the tabletop to acquire coin (2), or construct a wonder (3). These options have been taken from the original 7 Wonders. They are super easy to understand and works well as an instrument of indirect interactions. In this version of 7 Wonders, the actions are not implemented simultaneously, meaning that you can pay close attention to the actions of your opponent does on its turn, rather than multitasking, thinking about your and your opponents strategy at the same time. This feels a little bit easier that way, especially for beginner players.

What I am fascinated about, that in this version of 7 Wonders players are actually capable to build a bunch of wonders from different civilizations. In the original game, this is completely different as each player represents a particular civilization and its wonder.

Moving forward, I have also wanted to point out the age decks’ placement structure, as well as excluding some of the cards from the gameplay. Each age is placed in varying structures, but the original thing about is that part of cards are face-up, part of them are face down. But all of them are stacked onto each other, meaning that there are some of the face-up cards that are under the other cards, that you cannot pick, as only the top card are available for acquisition.

7 Wonders: Duel (2015) – Age decks (I – III) placement structure.
Image credit: Official 7 Wonders: Duel (2015) rule-book.

Finally, the game allows 3 different options to win the game. Compared to the traditional 7 Wonders board game, this is completely new as well. You can press your opponent in the military or scientific field, such as collecting more military power & focus on gathering scientific symbols. In order to survive to the late-game, the opponent must respond with military development & scientific symbols collection/elimination, or else the game will be ended in its mid-way. This happens when a player collects 7 scientific symbols or presses the military token all the way towards the opponent on the game board.

Some cons about the game are really a matter of perspective. The game possesses a significant amount of randomness, which is less appealing to more experienced board gamers. This becomes particularly important when looking at the military & scientific symbols collection. As some of the cards are always face down, sometimes it is just luck. Every single card selection must be very precise.

At some point in the game, players start comparing their risk & reward of different actions & card selections. But sometimes, you can deny those scientific symbols from your opponent as much as you want, it is the fact that you allowed an easy collection of the very first scientific symbols that results in 20 more minutes of gameplay that you know you probably lost. In my own experience, find it often that sometimes players do not finish their 7 Wonders Duel game sessions particularly due to that.

Replay value

Very replayable game due to the same unique mechanical aspects that provide lots of fun. There are lots of strategies you can pick. You can literally concentrate your efforts on particular card types, or spread your assets towards more variety. You can try to go all in to aim to finish the game early if you see that your opponent has more late-game potential.

Randomized components that are added and removed from the game add a lot of differentiation flavor. From each age, during the set-up, there are always 3 cards randomly removed from the game. In addition to that, 3 out of 7 Guild cards are randomly selected to be included in the game. Finally, 5 out of 10 scientific symbols are selected as well. All in all, these randomized components provide a vast replayability feeling. I would probably want a little more emphasis on the guild cards, as only 3 of them are included in the 3rd age deck. I would love to have more of these cards in total, as well as more cards to be included in the gameplay session for more strategic directions available in the game.

Finally, this is just bonkers, that you are actually able to score points on your opponents’ guild cards collected. If you outscore your opponent on the count of particular card types. But these are very rare cases at least in my experience. Beware, sometimes it can lead to anger & dissatisfaction.

Art & parts

The quality of components is outstanding. They are beautiful, grippy, thick & durable. The Age cards are a little small, given the size of the box, they could have been certainly larger. The game overall is a rather small production, making it more portable.

7 Wonders Duel (2015) tokens and coin
7 Wonders: Duel (2015) – tokens, coin & military pawn.

The art of the components is amazing. It strongly relates to the theme of ancients civilizations. Again I really enjoy that this game, particularly to its theme & immersion.

Speaking about adoption to colorblind players, the game is certainly playable. This is not perfect, as some of the guild cards are a little more difficult to differentiate, but overall, there are no issues that would create unbearable difficulties. This issue becomes completely irrelevant once you learn the symbol meanings of the guild cards. Then there is no problem to differentiate their effects. More information on 7 Wonders: Duel colorblindness evaluation is available on this BGG discussion. As a result, I am giving it a maximum rating, basically due to its long-term replayability for players with color deficiency.

7 Wonders Colorblindness rating: A (Very good)

Price

The game price seems to be slightly high based on the quantity and size of the components. For the gameplay experience, this is still good. I would still recommend it to purchase, simply due to the game-play experience & replayability. It is certainly not a waste of your time or money. You can check out the price at the review summary down below.

7 Wonders Duel review
Final remark
7 Wonders: Duel is fun to play a 2-player strategy game that is strongly recommended for both, new players and experienced gamers. If you enjoy history and ancient civilizations - this is a must-try. The replayability of the game is off the charts.
Fun
7.9
Replay Value
8.8
Art & Parts
8.2
Price
7.8
Your rating1 Vote
9
Positives
Rich in strategy & tactics
Very replayable
Recognized as one of the best strategy 2 player games
New player friendly in terms of game-play difficulty & rules.
Negatives
Alternative ways to win the game in advance sometimes feel frustrating due to chance elements.
8.2
Wonderful

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