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    Awards

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You Might Like

    • Compelling gameplay.
    • Great pacing.
    • Strong competition.
    • Thought provoking.
    • Multiple paths to victory.

    Might Not Like

    • Cards are too small for man hands.
    • Icons can be very confusing.
    • Rule book is a little on the naff side.
    • Can only be played two-player!
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    7 Wonder Duel Review

    7 Wonders Duel takes you back 3000 odd years or so, to once again rule over an empire in this tricky, thought provoking, and ultimately brilliant riff on its big brother; 7 Wonders. If you have never played 7 Wonders don’t panic, as these games are very different, yet are clearly related.

    If you’ve played 7 Wonders, and love it or hate it, this game is worth investigating.  A relatively small footprint, and gameplay under an hour it is great for couples, lunch breaks or just as a cracking head-to-head game that wraps up in under an hour.

    7 Wonders Duel - The Game

    After each selecting four of the available wonders each – yes that does mean there will be eight of them in total, but only seven can be built – and your starting coins, in turn, you will select one the available cards from the pyramid style display and add it to you civilisation, paying any costs associated and thus gain its benefits/resource.

    There are three ages to the game, where each subsequent Age the range of resources changes and evolves, advancing your civilisation forward. The game will come to a natural close at the end of the Third Age, where all points are calculated and a winner is declared.

    Alternatively, victory can be achieved through a ‘Scientific’ channel – collecting six of the seven possible scientific icons, or via the ‘Military’ route, whereby you crush your opponent beneath sandal shod foot.  These latter two are much harder to achieve – but believe me, it feels really, really good when you do.

    In-Play

    A central feature of 7 Wonders Duel, and one that makes the game look very different from many, is the table layout of the cards for each of the Ages.

    Not only does it look cool, and it is also pretty thematic, but it provides a great assimilation of the drafting mechanic used in 7 Wonders, but for two players. Which is far, far better than the two player mode that exists in that game.

    In-Play

    A central feature of 7 Wonders Duel, and one that makes the game look very different from many, is the table layout of the cards for each of the Ages.

    Not only does it look cool, and it is also pretty thematic, but it provides a great assimilation of the drafting mechanic used in 7 Wonders, but for two players. Which is far, far better than the two player mode that exists in that game.

    From this very simple set-up, each player is beset by an array of choices and consequences, in a greater fashion that you would normally experience in a draft. With about 50% open information, since roughly half of the cards are placed face down,  the questions of what to take, what to leave behind, what to open, or leave for your opponent to open form your basic, yet difficult choices that must be made each turn.

    When playing 7 Wonders Duel there is a definite sense of flow, with the game’s pace charging ahead as the Ages fall, as your civilisation becomes more coherent and more structured, choices become more clear, but never simpler. Ways and means of blocking your opponent become more recognisable, but ultimately more costly if they don’t also benefit you.

    If you fall into the category of a “Classic Gamer,” one who likes strategically planning ahead, second guessing your opponent and basically planning your victory from four or five moves away, 7 Wonders Duel will be right up your street, with a nice flourish – in that every now and then, a revealed card scuppers even your best laid plan. On the flip side of this though, if you are prone to Analysis Paralysis this game can, for those same reasons, feel a little daunting at times.

    Players already familiar with 7 Wonders will feel right at home playing this game, coming armed to the table with an understanding of how the tableau and resource building works. There is a significant change in the way Commerce, Science and Military are handled, but not so much so to create a barrier.

    New players to this cannon will quickly be able to make sense of the rule book, which provides plenty of example plays for the more ‘complex’ rules.  The rule book isn’t the most concise, and looking for rule clarity and reminders isn’t always as straightforward as one would like – I always forget how many coins you start with during set up, and I also forget I have to go to page six to find out.

    Of particular note is the iconography, particularly on some of the Science tokens, Guides and Wonders – once you know what they mean the symbols do “make sense,” but that meaning doesn’t spring forth, so early games can become slowed while you look them up.

    With an almost perfect and useful box insert, quality components including the nifty military tracker, Repos Productions have done exactly what you would expect of a major game distributor.  Unfortunately, they have even managed to make the card sizes irritating again! In 7 Wonders they are unnecessarily big, whilst in Duel they're too small – yes it helps keeps the footprint down, but if a standard poker card size had been used very little would have been lost.

    There are no ‘Take That’ actions you can make in this game, no way you can directly stop or hamper your opponent, other than removing or limiting their options (a couple of the Wonders do allow you to destroy one of your opponents resources).  Military actions do provide a little back and forth, but never enough that you ever feel like you are focusing solely on that aspect of the game, and certainly not enough to spoil anyone's enjoyment.

    All the player interaction happens above the table; one player out-smarting, out-manoeuvring and out-playing the other. The tit-for-tat of selecting the card you know you opponent needs soon becomes too costly, and so as the game progresses so too must a player’s ability to plan and strategise.

    Final Thoughts

    After a game of 7 Wonders Duel, I feel compelled to play it again, and again. Throughout each game there is a palpable competition and conflict, far more so than one would expect from such a small, compact box. Some iconography feels obtuse, and the cards are a little too small for me to be able to comfortably shuffle, but really, these are the only bad points about the game...in fact, I wish I could play a multiplayer version of Duel, that wasn’t 7 Wonders.

    7 Wonders Duel plays in under an hour, and is a great two-player game with enough depth, strategy and variation to ensure each game will feel and play differently. It also looks both interesting and beautiful on the table.

    7 Wonders Duel really does feel like it pits you head-to-head, in an all-out rivalry against your opponent in a way that many larger games just don’t seem to capture. I strongly believe everybody needs a solid two-player game in their collection, and you can’t go far wrong with this game at all.

    Zatu Score

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You might like

    • Compelling gameplay.
    • Great pacing.
    • Strong competition.
    • Thought provoking.
    • Multiple paths to victory.

    Might not like

    • Cards are too small for man hands.
    • Icons can be very confusing.
    • Rule book is a little on the naff side.
    • Can only be played two-player!

    Zatu Blog

    Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

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    Zatu Games is rated 4.86 based on 12827
    Reviews

    Good prices, good selection and preorder/restock options. Good communication. Deliveries are quick and nicely packaged.

    Good prices, good selection and preorder/restock options. Good communication. Deliveries are quick and nicely packaged.

    A large selection of games available to the UK

    A large selection of games available to the UK

    Have been buying from Zatu for a year now, always a swift delivery. Rapid answers to questions. A thoroughly awesome company. Highly recommended.

    Have been buying from Zatu for a year now, always a swift delivery. Rapid answers to questions. A thoroughly awesome company. Highly recommended.

    Really great, easy to order and very reasonable. Ships really quick to offshore uk! Have used Zatu a few times now and I'll definitely order from again to get our game fix 😊 I can barely wait for my next preorder to arrive.

    Really great, easy to order and very reasonable. Ships really quick to offshore uk! Have used Zatu a few times now and I'll definitely order from again to get our game fix 😊 I can barely wait for my next preorder to arrive.

    Great games, delivered quickly with wonderful customer service

    Great games, delivered quickly with wonderful customer service

    I'm in Ireland and ordered on a Friday and received on a Monday. Umbelievable, thanks so much. Very nice to deal with too!

    I'm in Ireland and ordered on a Friday and received on a Monday. Umbelievable, thanks so much. Very nice to deal with too!

    Both times I've ordered from Zatu, my order arrived promptly, in good condition, and with no real issues.

    Both times I've ordered from Zatu, my order arrived promptly, in good condition, and with no real issues.

    Ever since I found Zatu, it's my favourite place to shop for boardgames! Everything I ordered arrived quickly and in perfect condition. My last purchases were Scythe and Quacks of Quedlinburg - but I have to say, with so much to choose from, it's very hard to make a decision. :) I also love the Youtube channel - very useful unboxing and game review videos.

    Ever since I found Zatu, it's my favourite place to shop for boardgames! Everything I ordered arrived quickly and in perfect condition. My last purchases were Scythe and Quacks of Quedlinburg - but I have to say, with so much to choose from, it's very hard to make a decision. :) I also love the Youtube channel - very useful unboxing and game review videos.

    Always a fantastic service. Bought a few board games from them now which have arrived quickly and safely. Prices have pretty much always been better here than on other sites. Only time I had an issue - an order hadn't processed properly - they sorted it out in minutes on the live chat. They cancelled my order and refunded me and I ordered what I wanted again (which was kind of handy because I'd changed my mind about what I wanted by then ...) Thanks Zatu Games for a brilliant service, and I can't wait to expand my collection!

    Always a fantastic service. Bought a few board games from them now which have arrived quickly and safely. Prices have pretty much always been better here than on other sites. Only time I had an issue - an order hadn't processed properly - they sorted it out in minutes on the live chat. They cancelled my order and refunded me and I ordered what I wanted again (which was kind of handy because I'd changed my mind about what I wanted by then ...) Thanks Zatu Games for a brilliant service, and I can't wait to expand my collection!

    Have used Zatu on 3 occasions and games have always arrived quickly. Prices are comparablewith other sites I have used and often games are on offer, so look out for those.

    Have used Zatu on 3 occasions and games have always arrived quickly. Prices are comparablewith other sites I have used and often games are on offer, so look out for those.

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