Base Game Review
Play Time (Box): 30mins
Play Time (Goof): 20-40mins
Producers: Repos Production
Designer/s: Antoine Bauza & Bruno Cathala
Our gaming group gets together on average once or twice a week to have a night of tabletop gaming. But this still leaves five or six nights a week where our household may not have a board game box opened. And let’s be honest, those figures are simply not acceptable.
What this has meant is a recent search for two player games my partner and I can play on those other days to keep the gaming going. A search which led to 7 Wonders Duel. I’d heard so many positives I was so excited to give it a go. So today I thought I’d glance at it and let you know my views.
I want to stress I’ve never played 7 Wonders. Originally I thought this might cause some issues in reviewing 7 Wonders Duel, because I wouldn’t be able to provide insight into how they compare. But 7 Wonders Duel is a standalone game. Which means it needs to be able to do exactly that.. stand as a game in its own right.
7 Wonders Duel has you building your civilisation, and competing against a rival civilisation. The actions you take directly and indirectly effect what options your opponent has available to them. But competing doesn’t have to mean conquering. I love the multiple win conditions. Invest in science and become a technological powerhouse. Or simply make your population the happiest by building civic buildings and lasting long enough to complete the final age.
If you don’t win via military or science, they’re still worth investing in. Science lets you take different progress tokens and provide you with different permanent benefits. And your population will love having a strong military (read: is worth points), not to mention it takes your opponents down a peg or two.
Once you get a handle on the game (only takes one or two plays) you realise the first age is providing you with the building blocks for your civilisation. In my opinion, these decisions make the second age super exciting.
The artwork in 7 Wonders Duel is absolutely stunning. I would happily hang photos of the various art pieces which are included here. And if you take the time, they make you really appreciate the civilisation you’re building.
You’ll notice I didn’t mention the third age in the above section. The reason being it really belongs down here. Where most games are building towards a climax, with the payoff being at the end. 7 Wonders Duel is more of a bell curve. The first age builds and gets the excitement going. The second age is where things get more intense, and players make significant decisions which will affect the outcome of the game. And the third age is really the game winding down. It’s ummm… a bit disappointing.
I also mentioned before “if you take the time” to check out the artwork it can make it more immersive. Language is really important, and in this case it means the game doesn’t feel immersive almost at all without taking the additional time to try and imagine your civilisation coming together. The game feels like a bare bones drafting game. A lot of games will have the theme naturally come through in the mechanics, 7 Wonders Duel makes you go looking for it.
I have to be honest, I don’t think I could recommend 7 Wonders Duel. What I look for in a game is the “pull”, the urge which tugs at your brain until you play the game so many times you’re rescheduling chores like washing, cleaning, and other adulty things because you just wanna play one more match. I don’t get the pull here. I have no urge to keep playing 7 Wonders Duel.
I got my copy through Tabletop Wonderland
Tabletop Wonderland are offering readers of The Goof Review a 10% discount off of your first month to their subscription service! Just use the code GOOFREVIEW10
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