7 Wonders: Duel

RRP: £22.99

NOW £16.29
RRP £22.99

you could earn 1629 victory points

[yith_wcwl_add_to_wishlist]
Given its title, 7 Wonders: Duel will come as no surprise to you being a two-player game. This is not an expansion or variant of its popular parent game 7 Wonders (also published by Repos Production), but instead a separate card game all on its own, specifically designed for just you and one other opponent to battle it out to construct man-made wonders of the world. 7 Wonders: Duel …
Read More
Share this

Given its title, 7 Wonders: Duel will come as no surprise to you being a two-player game. This is not an expansion or variant of its popular parent game 7 Wonders (also published by Repos Production), but instead a separate card game all on its own, specifically designed for just you and one other opponent to battle it out to construct man-made wonders of the world.

7 Wonders: Duel does not rely on all players drafting a card and then passing their hand over to their neighbour. Instead, Antoine Bauza has teamed up with fellow French designer Bruno Cathala to create a different way of gaining cards for set collection that’s equally enthralling, if not more so.

Again, 7 Wonders: Duel is played over three rounds. Cards are pre-arranged into a communal pyramid-like display, partially covering each other. The majority of them are face-down, while the lowest level ones are face-up. The categories will be familiar to those who have played 7 Wonders (green science cards, brown/grey resources, red military, and so on). Players may take any card they like from the pyramid to add to their own tableau – but only if it is completely uncovered.

As cards are removed, more cards’ identities are revealed. Therefore, it becomes a case of timing your moves to perfection, trying to force your opponent into removing cards that then allow you to grab the exact card you want!

Unlike regular 7 Wonders, in Duel players can win before the third round has ended. A player could earn a military victory by getting the military pawn to the end of the conflict track (kind of similar to the swing in power that you find in games like Twilight Struggle). Alternatively, they could earn a science victory by collecting each of the six different science symbols. Therefore you’ll have to keep a close eye on what your opponent is taking – you can’t afford to let them get too far ahead! If neither of these victory conditions is met by the end of the third round, then sets are scored to determine a winner.

For some board gamers, player counts can really make or break a game. If you love 7 Wonders but you’re in a position where you play a lot of games with just you and a partner, then 7 Wonders Duel is going to be a great choice for you. With rounds lasting approximately 10 minutes each, games can last about 30 minutes in total. And, considering its high replayability factor, it fits beautifully into that category of ‘go on then, one more game…’

Player Count: 2 players
Time: 10 minutes
Age Rating: 10+

Awards

Golden Geek
Great For Two
Value For Money

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

Related Products

Description

Given its title, 7 Wonders: Duel will come as no surprise to you being a two-player game. This is not an expansion or variant of its popular parent game 7 Wonders (also published by Repos Production), but instead a separate card game all on its own, specifically designed for just you and one other opponent to battle it out to construct man-made wonders of the world.

7 Wonders: Duel does not rely on all players drafting a card and then passing their hand over to their neighbour. Instead, Antoine Bauza has teamed up with fellow French designer Bruno Cathala to create a different way of gaining cards for set collection that’s equally enthralling, if not more so.

Again, 7 Wonders: Duel is played over three rounds. Cards are pre-arranged into a communal pyramid-like display, partially covering each other. The majority of them are face-down, while the lowest level ones are face-up. The categories will be familiar to those who have played 7 Wonders (green science cards, brown/grey resources, red military, and so on). Players may take any card they like from the pyramid to add to their own tableau – but only if it is completely uncovered.

As cards are removed, more cards’ identities are revealed. Therefore, it becomes a case of timing your moves to perfection, trying to force your opponent into removing cards that then allow you to grab the exact card you want!

Unlike regular 7 Wonders, in Duel players can win before the third round has ended. A player could earn a military victory by getting the military pawn to the end of the conflict track (kind of similar to the swing in power that you find in games like Twilight Struggle). Alternatively, they could earn a science victory by collecting each of the six different science symbols. Therefore you’ll have to keep a close eye on what your opponent is taking – you can’t afford to let them get too far ahead! If neither of these victory conditions is met by the end of the third round, then sets are scored to determine a winner.

For some board gamers, player counts can really make or break a game. If you love 7 Wonders but you’re in a position where you play a lot of games with just you and a partner, then 7 Wonders Duel is going to be a great choice for you. With rounds lasting approximately 10 minutes each, games can last about 30 minutes in total. And, considering its high replayability factor, it fits beautifully into that category of ‘go on then, one more game…’

Player Count: 2 players
Time: 10 minutes
Age Rating: 10+

7 Wonders, winner of multiple awards, has had a refresh. It is “old” by the standards of most games and won the coveted Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel award way back in 2011. Repos Productions have decided that it needed bringing up to date in terms of colour and tone. This feature compares and contrasts the two editions. Like a car that gets a slight facelift and is brought up to date with some styling issues, 7 Wonders 2nd Edition has been tidied, streamlined and “modernised”. This will enable it to feel right at home with other games on the shelf, or better still, on the gaming table.

Gameplay

7 Wonders is a game where between three and seven players are competing to build and complete one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It is a card-drafting game. The cards represent some of the resources needed to construct buildings. Some of these are free to develop, such as a log pile or clay pit. Other cards might enable you to trade and acquire other commodities (like a loom to make cloth). The different card types are represented by a different colour.

This means that primary resources (brown) can be distinguished from manufactured goods (grey), civic buildings (blue), markets and trades (yellow) or even military establishments (red). Not only can you allow your wonders to grow, but you can choose to allow the arts and science to flourish (green cards). These allow you to make technological and educational advancements (such as building a school or university). A thriving city will ultimately make it easier for other developments to occur. 7 Wonders 2nd Edition is all about selecting the best cards and combinations of cards to build.

The game is played out over three rounds (Ages). At the start of each age, players receive a hand of seven cards. Everyone simultaneously selects one card from their hand, passing the remaining cards to the next player (to the left or right). There is no “downtime”. The aim is to play these cards into your city and build the wonder. Some cards have an inherent cost which players must pay from their cash. Other cards might release or generate funds.

For example, if you acquire a tavern for your town, you will gain some cash that you can then use for other trades. If you do not have resources yourself to build or develop your city, you might choose to buy from your neighbouring players (to the immediate left or right). This gives them cash, but lets you continue to expand and grow.

The choices of which cards to keep, and which to pass on, will depend on what has already been played. Having chosen and played one card, each player receives the remaining cards from their neighbour (one less this time). The same card-drafting mechanism occurs and the remaining cards are passed around the table. If just three or four players are enjoying 7 Wonders 2nd Edition, towards the end of the Age you will receive some of the cards that you first started with. If six or seven people are playing, then none of the original cards will make a complete transit around the table.

A Choice to Bear Arms

With each Age, the direction that the cards are passed changes. For the First and Third Age, you pass cards to the left and receive from the right. In the Second Age, the direction is reversed. This ensures that a player’s position around the table is not a disadvantage. There are numerous options and strategies available. If a player feels as though resources are limited, they might choose to develop science and technology.

This is rewarded by access to additional points or city developments. This is where the concept of linked building or “chains” is valuable. The creation of a small building might facilitate the easy development of a more prestigious structure later, but without the building costs. For example, the building of the baths will allow easy construction of the aqueduct at a later age for free.

Other players might choose a military strategy. Military might enables a player to score points (and victories) against their immediate neighbours. This might encourage an “arms race” on one side of the table, as gamers try not to be militarily disadvantaged. They could choose to use cards and resources constructing army barracks to defend themselves at the expense of other city buildings. Players on the opposite side of the game can look on in amusement, blissfully detached from the ensuing battles, instead of concentrating on amassing a strong trading or civic community.

Ultimately, there are numerous pathways to victory. After three rounds (Ages) it is a point salad of scoring to identify the winner. Whether playing with three or seven players, 7 Wonders usually concludes within 30 to 40 minutes.

Thoughts about the Second edition

7 Wonders 2nd Edition has certainly received a “lick of paint”. The title is gilded, colours more vibrant and box artwork clearer. The box itself is a fraction larger, by only five millimetres. Open the box and there is more evidence of the thought given to presentation. A large cover sheet with a big “7” greets you. The punch-out cardboard is of identical thickness. The only change is that the military conflict victory tokens are now black (instead of red). The defeat (-1) tokens remain red. This makes it easier to distinguish them during the military battle phase.

One significant improvement is in the rule book. The previous set of rules was slightly cluttered and had an almost muddy appearance. These newer rules are clean with a larger font and printed onto light paper. This makes the understanding and rule clarification much easier. As an aide-memoire, there are three additional printed sheets for players to use during a game. These summarise some of the icons and symbols and also will explain the cost of certain buildings etc. This is perfect for players who are new to the game and could be useful when taking on the second edition cards for the first time.

Seven Cards and Seven Wonders

The wonder cards themselves are a significant step up. The first edition cards were labelled A and B, but were identical on each side. This time, the two sides depict day and night. The colours and images are vibrant and realistic. It also makes it much easier to see which “board” your opponent is playing. The requirement of each wonder is almost identical between the two editions. The rewards you gain from building each stage of the wonders are also almost unchanged.

There are still three Ages to play in 7 Wonders 2nd Edition, with seven cards dealt to each player. The mechanics of drawing a single card to use to develop your wonder and city is identical. Players still pass the remaining cards to the left or right and receive the remaining cards from the player on the other side. The game is firmly marketed as a 3-7 player game. There is no scope for the two-player automaton variant that the first edition offered. That said, 7 Wonders Duel is a far superior two-player game and Repos Productions have rightly removed this element of gameplay in the second edition.

The reverse of the game cards are clear, shiny and have a premium feel. They are completely different from those of the first edition and the other first edition expansions. This also means there is no backward compatibility. Gamers need to be aware of this, although Repos will no doubt release second editions of the other 7 Wonders expansions with time. These are not yet widely available. The actual dealt cards are almost identical in type and form. During the First and Second Age, many of these cards are resources or manufactured goods, perhaps with a few low-value civic buildings. The Third Age is where the wonder develops and the building phase kicks off.

7 Wonders 2nd Editions is badged as colour blind-friendly. To assist those with colour recognition problems, each card type still has the same colours: brown for resources, grey for manufactured goods, yellow for trading etc. However, each has its own specific shape or icon. This is placed subtly alongside the title of the card. Each card’s title is clearly written in a clean font across the top of the card. This means its type, value and cost will always remain visible when laid on the deck to enhance the city.

Free Buildings and Chains

The new elements on the cards are the small icons to inform players of the available “chains”. This enables more “expensive” structures to be acquired purely by owning a “smaller” card in the chain. The symbols on the left of the cards still show the cost of playing other cards. However, these new icons replace the written text on the cards that featured in the first edition. The symbols are very much in the style of 7 Wonders Duel. No longer are there any three-card- chains. Every chain for all card types is a simple pair of cards. This simplifies the chain mechanism.

The card names are the same, with the exception of the pawnshop being replaced with a well in First Age, and a change in a military card in the Third Age. These tiny amendments would only be noticeable by serious 7 Wonders aficionados.

The final scoring is a sum total of all of the victory points. In 7 Wonders 2nd Edition, each card type generates a number of points in exactly the same method as the first edition. The layout of the score sheet is a little cleaner and clearer. The attention to detail is evident, with colours and symbols in use to distinguish card types. Repos games have, rather sensibly, in my opinion, placed the scoring for the Guilds (purple) at the end of the score sheet now. This corrects the slightly nonsensical positioning of the Guilds row in the earlier edition's score pad.

Finally, the box insert itself has been redesigned. The cards, coins and wonder boards still fit snugly (as before). However, the compartments for coins and military battle tokens are shaped to enable their retrieval. This means that the box itself can be used during the game to hold these items.

7 Wonders 2nd Edition: Final thoughts

7 Wonders 2nd Edition is a fabulous game. In a season of COVID lockdown, it will not be suitable for everyone, as it does require at least three to play. I believe the “sweet spot” is at four or five players. This second edition brings even more colour and vibrancy to the table. The mechanics are identical but with a few tiny tweaks; this later edition makes gameplay even smoother. For any family of gamers, 7 Wonders is a “must” to have in any collection. If you already own the original, the enhancements themselves do not warrant buying the second edition. However, you should bear in mind the availability of future expansions, which may only be compatible with 7 Wonders 2nd Edition.

The first edition is very good and is more than adequate. This second edition is excellent. Any gamer who wants to enhance the experience with subsequent expansions should consider 7 Wonders 2nd Edition.

In 7 Wonders Duel two rival civilizations will battle to build the best and most magnificent city over the course of three ages. Each player will have to muster enough resources and wealth in order to increase their military power, achieve scientific improvements and build wonders. Wonders come with special rewards that may change the course of a game.

This is an strategic ancient city building game with card drafting and set collection as the basic mechanics. Different from its bigger brother and predecessor 7 Wonders, in here rivals will be drawing cards from a pool of face-up and face-down arrangements for every one of the three different Ages.

Components

7 Wonders Duel comes with a small board where you you'll both track your military power and house progress tokens. You'll be using a conflict pawn to keep track of that and military tokens to mark how far have you've gone in case you are eventually pushed back.

There are two sets of cards. The bigger set of cards are composed by wonders. The smaller set has all other buildings you can construct. The decks are divided by eras (I, II and III) and there is also a deck for guild cards. Buildings are divided by colours so you can easily spot them while you augment your city: raw materials buildings (brown), manufactured goods (grey), civilian (blue), scientific (green), commercial (yellow), military (red) and guilds (purple). Last but not least you have the coins you will be using to both buy resources and pay building costs.

How to Win in 7 Wonders Duel

There are three ways of winning the game: military, science or civilian victories. The first two options will grant you an instantaneous victory stopping the game on spot. In case duelling players don't manage to do that, you'll be counting victory points (VPs) collected throughout the game. The player with most points at the end of the game wins.

  • Military Victory - The player that manages to push the conflict pawn on the board all the way into its adversary's capital wins. To do this you build military structures. Every red card somes with one to three shields and when you play these cards you advance your pawn toward the enemy capital.
  • Science Victory - To achieve a science victory a player should collect six different scientific symbols out of the seven available. Each green card comes with a single scientific symbol.
  • Civilian Victory - A civilian victory is a points victory when all the cards have been drafted. There are seven ways you can gather points. Blue and green cards will win you VPs, some yellow and wonder cards as well as progress tokens will do the same. All guilds have conditional VPs. You will also get points depending on where are on the military power board when the game ends, and finally by exchanging every set of three coins for one VP once the game is over.

Set-Up

Place the board between the two players. Make room for your wonders and building cards you will be drafting. Place the four military tokens on top of the five and 10 VP spaces and put the pawn right in the middle of the board. You should also randomly choose five progress tokens and place them on the board.

Next, place a first set of four wonders in front of you. The first player chooses one wonder, followed by a choice of two wonders by the second player. Whatever is left goes to the first player. Do this one second time changing who pics first.

Once you're done, place wonders next to your capital on the board. If this is your first game forget about that rule and make sure one player will get: Pyramids, Great Lighthouse, Temple of Artemis and Statue of Zeus whilst the other should get Circus Maximus, Piraeus, Appian Way and Colossus.

To organise your cards, get the Age I deck. There are iconographic depictions of how you should set-up the pool of cards for each age. Always discard three cards before starting to build your pool. This will ad an element of chance and enhance game's replay-ability.

As you advance through the ages (when cards run out) you will repeat this by following the  different settings for the pool of cards depicted on the manual and quick reference guides. On Age III add three guild cards to your Age III deck after discarding and before assembling your pool.

Game Turns

In each turn you'll be able to perform one out of three actions: constructing buildings; discarding cards to obtain coins and constructing wonders:

  • Constructing Buildings - Some cards have no cost and you will be able to place them for free. Those are resource cards. Some cards will have resource costs which can be paid through buildings that grant you resources. Alternatively, you may buy resources from the bank. Some cards will have cost in coins or a cost in both coins and resources. You may also build for free through chains (more on this bellow).   
  • Buying Resources - Resources can be bought for two coins plus one coin for each of the same resource your opponent has from brown or grey cards. Resources produced by opponent's yellow and wonder cards will not count for costing purposes.
  • Chain - Some buildings come with chain symbols like masks, books and suns. Once you have a building with one of those symbols you may have the option of building a structure for free instead of paying its resource/coin cost.
  • Discarding - If you're out of coins you may choose to draw a card and discard it for two coins plus one coin for every yellow building you possess.
  • Wonders - To construct a wonder you will have to draw any card out of the pool and put it   face down under your wonder on top of paying its cost. Remember, although each player has four wonder cards this game is called 7 Wonders for a reason. Only seven wonders can be built throughout the course of the game, so you'll be on a race to build that fourth wonder before your opponent does it in front of you.

On Science and Progress

Instead of collecting six green cards with different icons to achieve a science victory, you can also collect two green cards with the same icon to get one progress token out of the five available on the board. They come with a variety of benefits such as earning coins, VPs, altering costs of future builds or even changing some features in specific cards.

Tips and Tricks

7 Wonders Duel is a fast-paced strategic game with very little down time. You'll be constantly monitoring your foe's science and military while making sure he won't grab a hold of resources needed to build his wonders. All of this whilst counting the VPs and not losing track of your own strategy.

As much as you may like to play the game in a specific way, most times being flexible will pay off. Over the course of a game you will have to change your plans quite a few times according to the pool of cards and wonders you've been dealt and how your opponent will lay down his game plan. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you strategise:

As you change Eras, cards will come with better benefits and higher costs. Considering Age III has no resource cards, you should focus on acquiring resources during Age I and II in order to build your wonders and other structures. The majority and most valuable blue cards are on Ages II and III and those are a good source of VPs. Also, Age III is when you can access guild cards which will mostly give you coins and victory points.

As you can see Age III is all about collecting VPs, so be sure to get there in a position to fight for them. Don't pay attention too much to the military during Age I. Try to keep it balanced through Age II unless you're clearly going for a military victory and be very watchful of Age III when military buildings with two and three shields can easily turn the course of a game and force you to abandon your strategy.

Be smart when choosing your wonders. A nice selection of wonders should grant you a decent amount of victory points. Try getting two wonders that grant you extra turns. That's the single most powerful feature of any wonder. Also try getting a wonder that grants you a choice of resources. Some special powers are very interesting to have but whatever you do just don't focus on military power at this point.

One strategy is going for buildings with chain symbols instead of resources. By doing so you'd be free to pursue a science or military strategy and by doing so, adding pressure on your adversary. This is great specially against adversaries that are not really good out of their comfort zones and helps you being in charge of the game. This may also help you with certain guilds that reward VPs for the majority of cards of a specific colour should you fail in achieving military/science victories. More than half of games will be decided by VPs.

Don't forget to build a couple of yellow buildings as soon as you can. This way, if you ever need to discard a card for coins you will get a lot more out of your action

Try not to waste a turn just to get some coins unless you're really desperate. Its better doing it when you also want to hamper your opponent from getting an specific card you can't build otherwise. You can also do this when building your wonder by choosing a card your adversary may find interesting to have on his city.

Try not to get a card that when removed will reveal other cards on the pool this way giving more options to your opponent. Since you have no idea what's coming up this may be a really bad move for you.

Don't forget to read our review of this game... and the Pantheon Expansion!

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!