7 Wonders Duel
Strategic Depth: Beginner
Setup Time: 10 mins.
Play Time: 20 - 30 mins.
Mechanics: Set Collection, Card Drafting
Production Info: 2015 | Repos Production
Designed By: Antoine Bauza & Bruno Cathala
You are leading a civilization through the ages to become the most dominant in the world. You will need to make tough decisions as your civilization advances. You will start out with goals to build amazing Wonders that will show others how successful and powerful your people are. But first, you will need to choose how your people will grow your kingdom. Key decisions will be made on whether to specialize in specific resources, grow your knowledge in science, build-up your armed forces, or trade with neighboring groups. The leader you can build the most powerful and advanced civilization will ultimately be victorious in 7 Wonders Duel!
- The Good -
If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It!
If you were a fan of the original 7 Wonders board game, you will immediately be immediately comforted by all the familiar components while opening up the box. All the same types of cards from the original game are in 7 Wonders Duel including Resources, Military, Science, Trading Posts, and Guilds. How you interact with these cards is slightly different, but the overarching concepts are the same. This essentially means if you loved playing 7 Wonders, you’re going to enjoy the 2-player Duel version.
Multiple Ways To Win
One neat mechanism that 7 Wonders Duel incorporates is alternative win conditions called achieving a “Supremacy”. I’ve enjoyed this addition a lot as I’ve been involved in games where I’m just not getting the cards I need to achieve a win by victory points and have been able to pivot my strategy and work towards either a Military or Scientific Supremacy. This can keep the hope alive if you are getting crushed by your opponent and really allows you to stay competitive until the very end of Age III.
A Lot Of Game Compacted In 30 Minutes
I love playing 2-player games with my wife, but let’s be honest, life can be busy with work, kids, house cleaning, bills, etc… What I have really grown to appreciate about 7 Wonders Duel, is we can set up and play this game within 30 minutes. Within that short time-frame, we are left very satisfied with plotting out a specific strategy and pursuing it. Striking a perfect chord with brevity and a satisfying gameplay is extremely hard to do in 30 minutes and 7 Wonders Duel hits it out of the park in this regard!
- The Bad -
Multiple Ways To Win
Yes, I know, how can I be calling this a negative when I just got through glorifying it as a positive?! Well, instant wins can rub folks the wrong way especially if they have a completionist mindset. It can be very anti-climatic if your opponent doesn’t realize you are close to a supremacy and it can very much be an awkward and unsatisfying end to a game. Players are working so hard to build an engine that churns out victory points, only to have the game end and not even know how many points would have been generated. This can definitely cause frustration and I’ve experienced that frustration first-hand after beating my wife towards the middle of Age III with a Scientific Supremacy. As a tip, I would always bring up the supremacy win conditions and make sure your opponent is conscious of managing the progress of those two paths to victory.
Too Much Luck Incorporated In The Cards?
One thing I have noticed after playing 7 Wonders Duel multiple times, is you can get very unlucky when cards are flipped over. While in the original game of 7 Wonders contained some luck in getting dealt “the perfect card” right off the bat, it was easily counter-balanced due to the number of players. In this 2-player version, getting an unlucky break (or three) is 100% going to impact you as it can’t be countered by another player. I almost wish all cards were faced up or that faced down cards were turned prior to them being available for purchase so you could make more intelligent decisions during your turn.
- Overall -
I don’t say this about too many games, but overall 7 Wonders Duel is a must have in your collection if you like to play a lot of 2-player games. This game gives you enough variety packed into a 30-minute play that is going to leave any (board) gamer satisfied. And if the game ends up needing a little more bells and whistles, the expansion for 7 Wonders Duel call Pantheon provides a few additions that expand the game’s replayability quite a bit. I really can’t say enough great things about this game and don’t have any hesitation giving this game a strong buy rating!
The following summaries are meant to be a high-level reminder of how to play this game. If this is your first time playing, we highly recommend that you read your board game's included rule book which will go into much more depth. You can download a digital PDF copy of the official rules by clicking the button below. There are also a few video tutorials near the bottom of this section to help all you visual learners out as well.
- Setup Overview -
Place the Conflict Pawn in the neutral space in the middle of the board
Place the 4 Military Tokens face-up in their respective places on the board (on the 5 VP and 10 VP spots)
Randomly pick 5 Progress Tokens on the board (the rest go in the box and won’t be used)
Each player receives 7 coins from the Bank
Deal and select 4 Wonder Cards each
Two rounds of 4 Wonder Cards
First player picks 1, second player picks 2, first place gets last (repeat process with 4 more cards)
Take 3 cards away from each Age deck and place back in the box.
For Age III, shuffle in 3 purple Guild cards and place the rest into the box
Prepare the Age I structure according to the instructions
- Game Play/Player Turns -
On your turn, you must pick a card that is not covered up by any other card (think Mahjong). With your selected card you may do one of three things:
Purchase it (either with money, resources, or a free construction symbol)
Discard it for coins ($2 + $1 for each yellow card you possess)
Construct A Wonder (Place card face-down, partially covered by the Wonder)
Every time a player earns a shield, they will move the Conflict Pawn 1 space towards their opponents Capital.
If the Conflict Pawn enters a new zone (indicated by dotted lines), apply the effect of the corresponding token and return it to the box.
If the Conflict Pawn reaches a capital (end of the track), a Military Supremacy has been achieved and the game immediately ends.
Science & Progress
There are 7 different scientific symbols in the game.
Each time a player is able to gather a pair of symbols, he/she may immediately choose one of the Progress tokens from the game board.
If a player gathers 6 different scientific symbols, a Scientific Supremacy will be achieved and the game will immediately end.
- End Of Game -
The game ends when one of the following three events occur
Military Supremacy - The Conflict Pawn reaches a capital (the end of the track)
Scientific Supremacy - A player gathers 6 different scientific symbols
Civilian Victory - All Age III cards have been used up (triggers a “points salad” tally)
- Winning -
A Player immediately wins the game if a Military or Scientific Supremacy has been made. Otherwise, players will need to tally up their victory points using the provide scorecards. Note that $3 = 1 victory point.
- Tie Breakers -
The player who has the most victory points from their Civilian Building cards (blue cards) wins the game.
- Great Instructional Videos -
Here are a few helpful instructional videos you or your group can watch to learn how to play this game visually.
Between Ages, if the Conflict pawn is in the middle who goes first next Age?
The player who last played in the prior Age gets to CHOOSE who goes first in the next Age. According to the publisher, some of the earlier rulebooks were incorrectly written.
Do you replenish the a Progress Token after one of the 5 tokens are taken?
No, you will only have 5 Progress Tokens in total available throughout the game.
Can you discard your own cards for money?
No, you may only discard cards from the middle playing area (not owned by anyone yet)
Can you purchase resources with money in order to build your Wonder?
What happens if a Wonder is built with the ability to take an extra turn with the last card of an age?
The bonus turn would be lost since there are no more cards to play. I would recommend in those instances to build your Wonder in the next Age if possible.
Do the Yellow Building cards modifying the cost per resource get impacted by your opponents resource card count?
No, if you possess a Yellow Building card that reduces the cost of a resource to 1 coin, you will only pay 1 coin per each resource you need no matter how many resource cards your opponent has of that same type.
BUY THIS GAME
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Highest Price: $29.99 (Dec 04, 2016)
Lowest Price: $18.49 (Apr 23, 2018)
Average Price: $23.73
*According to CamelCamelCamel.com (02/17/2019)
Expanding The Game
Add a new element to your games of 7 Wonders Duel with the Pantheon expansion! Pantheon enables you to recruit deities from five different ancient Mediterranean cultures to become patrons of your developing city. Each God or goddess offers a powerful blessing such as fabulous wealth, military fortitude, or the means to thwart your opponents plans. Grand Temple cards make the game's final age intensely competitive by offering unprecedented points to you if you devote your city to divine concerns, and two new Wonders offer pathways towards victory by courting the favor of the gods.
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