Title: 7 Wonders Duel
Designer: Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala
Publisher: Repos Production
Players: 2 players
Recommended Age: 10+
Time to Play: 30 minutes
BGG Ranking: 8.1
My Ranking: 9/10
My quick review: 7 Wonders Duel is a very enjoyable 2-player game that has a ton of variety for ways to win and for overall strategy. It’s easy to learn and can be played in just 30 minutes! And if you check out BoardGameGeek, it is always in the list of top games!
7 Wonders Duel is a 2-player strategy game where you lead a civilization by gathering resources and constructing buildings and wonders throughout the game. It is made up of three ages where you compete to earn money, strengthen your military, make scientific discoveries, and develop your city.
The rulebook is 20 pages long… but don’t fret! It is a very simple game to learn. You really only need 10 pages to figure it out and the rules are broken out into an easy step-by-step guide with plenty of illustrations. In under 15 minutes, you should be ready to get the game started. You’ll likely need to reference the rulebook throughout the game as you figure out what different symbols mean on the cards so keep it handy.
There are three ways to win in 7 Wonders Duel… Two options can happen during the game through military or scientific supremacy. If a player hasn’t won through one of these methods, the game ends after the third age and the player with the most victory points wins. For me, I focus most of my time on increasing my victory points through blue cards, green cards, and wonders. In my experience, winning through scientific discovery can be the hardest option because you have to get six of the seven scientific symbols and they are limited in availability. The Law token can help you along because it counts as a scientific symbol but you don’t always get the Law token as one of your options to select during the game. If you want to crush your competition in the cheapest way possible, military supremacy is the way to go. It can be the fastest path to victory and, in my opinion, the worst way to win. You lose some of the excitement of the game because military supremacy can cut the game short and you don’t get to experience the inner joy of building your civilization.
Because there are so many paths to victory, your strategy can completely change each game. With that in mind, the game can feel very different each time you play. Even if you regularly play the game through the end of the third age, you can build up your victory points in many different ways (coins, blue cards, wonders, tokens, etc…). The game is well balanced in this regard. My biggest piece of advice? Don’t forget to build up your resources in the first two ages! It can save you a lot of money later on and money counts towards your points! A word of caution… If your competitor is focusing on military might, it can escalate quickly as you two start building wonders and selecting cards from the third age!
For me, my love of 7 Wonders Duel comes down to the deck building aspect of the game. I love reaching the end of the third age and tallying up victory points. If you are also that type of player, the military and scientific ways to win can feel more like an unwanted distraction. They add a certain tension to the game but winning through them can take away from the holistic experience. However, take them out of the game and 7 Wonders Duel would likely start to feel monotonous and boring. I suppose they are necessary evils and it comes down to your strategy and blockades to prevent your competitor from snagging the early win!
If you’re looking for an enjoyable strategy game that is easy to learn and can vary each time you play, 7 Wonders Duel is a fantastic option! And don’t forget to check out the expansion… Pantheon!