You can feel the power of antiquity!
Each player is entrusted with control of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world … Colossus of Rhodes, Babylon, and that kind of thing. Over the course of three time periods (ages) which define the three phases that the game excitingly passes through, players set out to gather resources, develop commerce, and become militarily mighty.
All of these pump up the victory points: occasionally the heart rate.
As you’d expect, each of the 7 Wonders has its own unique way of working to enhance and enable its owner. So everybody’s on a different playing field from the outset – nothing’s level in antiquity.
In each of the three ages, players receive seven cards: nicely designed, with attractive graphics. These are used to achieve various ends and effects. All the effects and other important informations are neatly described by pictorials on the cards, and everything is made clear in to-the-point notes in the manual.
It isn’t too long before one gets to learn what means what – a little less time than it took to build the Colossus of Rhodes, anyway. 😆
Most of the cards carry some kind of cost: either coins or resources, so players are constantly aware of the need to seek to have some money to hand, and to develop their access to resources.
Many cards beget immediate benefit, whilst others are more of an investment for the future – they may bring benefits in later ages, bolstering players’ efforts to assert themselves later on, as the ages roll by. It can be a delicate process, strategically balancing the uncertainties around immediate gain or deferred gratification, ever hopeful of more substantial gain.
In each turn, players choose just one of their cards and lay it face down: the others are left face down also. Then, when all are ready, all the chosen cards are turned over, and the cards’ effects are put to work … delayed action. This frequently will call for interaction between players (especially those immediately adjacent): paying to borrow their resources, for example.
Let’s not go into detail here, but the actions include building – adding to the the structure of your wonder, taking your wonder to another stage of development, or simply discarding the card, so as to be able to grab three coins.
Before players have got an epoch’s experience in playing, the designers suggest they might go around the table as they take their actions one-by-one: all can watch and gain familiarity. But when the antiquarians are up and running with 7 wonders, actions take place simultaneously: you just get on with it once the cards are turned.
Once the card actions have happened, all the cards that were not chosen are passed to one’s neighbour. So all know what their neighbour has: if anyone can remember 😃. You can (meanly) try to torpedo your neighbour’s next turn by deliberately not passing on a card that would markedly benefit them.
Each then chooses another card from the deck they were passed, and the process repeats until six of the seven cards that were dealt at the start of the age have been chosen and enacted: the last card is left unplayed. At this point, the military might of each of the wonders is compared to the wonder next to them, and scores are calculated. The mightier will gain, but the defeated will accrue negative points, sadly.
After three ages, the game ends, and all those victory points are summed and calculated. Most victory points = winner.
- quite a lot to get your head around, but a good manual
- every game’s different – demanding different styles or strategies
- very short set up
- strategic thinking is going to help
- despite the stacks of card-options, it’s seen as not hard to play/learn
- at every wondrous age, choices matter immensely
- it has a two player variant (not easy to follow without prior practice)
The expansions are wonders too
► I want to be wondrous