This game has fantastic intrigue. There are several different strategic paths, constant consideration from other players and the cards are lumped together differently each game so there’s always a slightly new puzzle to solve.
Unfortunately, here is where the game stumbles. I loved the first dozen plays of this game, but I’m not sure how many more times I want to play it. Remember, this game only takes 30 minutes. That dozen or so games I played was literally three different game nights and now I’m “pacing myself” before I play it again. While the cards are distributed differently each game, you still see the exact same cards every single time you play. This game is in desperate need of an expansion that makes different cards available from game to game.
Elegance is this game’s strongest aspect. 7 Wonders is perfectly paced. Three rounds of play and 6 turns to a round. Even though there could be as many as 49 cards available in a round, you will never look at more than a hand of 7 cards in a turn and choose 1. You always have just enough choices to consider.
While it plays quickly, 7 Wonders hits all the high points of a civilization building game. There are build trees, military conquests, resource gathering, and trade. It doesn’t provide the complexity and satisfaction of the more detailed civilization games, but it scratches all the right itches. It’s also simple enough that more casual gamers could easily enjoy it. There’s nothing about 7 Wonders that a Settlers of Catan player couldn’t handle and enjoy.
And that’s my first review in this new format. Let me know what you think!