7 Wonders Duel Board Game
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- Similar style of play as the award-winning original, 7 Wonders
- Designed specifically for two-player, head-to-head battles
- Build a civilization that will crush your competition and flourish for centuries
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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
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One of the most celebrated games in the world can now be experienced in a two-player arena. 7 Wonders Duel takes the game play and excitement of the original and adapts it for one-on-one battles. Take control of your civilization and decide to invest in science, military or prestige. Two new ways to win will keep you on your toes and watching every move your opponent makes. If you fail to build defenses your capital city may be destroyed, but ignore technology and your people may be left in the dark ages. It's a constant tug of war. 7 Wonders Duel is an exciting new way to play the game that took the world by storm. Great for both fans of the original and those new to the hobby.
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|Item Dimensions||8 x 2 x 8 in||6.3 x 2.8 x 9 in||7.67 x 7.67 x 1.77 in||8.5 x 12.25 x 2.75 in||1.75 x 5.75 x 11.25 in||11.22 x 2.09 x 11.22 in|
|Item Weight||1.25 lbs||1.25 lbs||1.24 lbs||2.2 lbs||0.96 lb||3 lbs|
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The 7 Wonders universe has always had great artwork and gameplay, and Duel meets all that. However, Duel takes a significantly different approach to how cards are built throughout the game. The main 7 Wonders game and all its expansions were based on a hand of cards passing around the circle, and then card-drafting your civilization from that. Duel takes a different approach of laying the cards out in different combinations of face up and face down pyramid shapes, with cards overlaid on top of others. This ensures that both players can see some of the cards that will be available in future turns, though not the face down ones. On your turn, you might hesitate to build a Stone Quarry (even though you really need stone!) because doing so would open up a key card or cards for your opponent. These back-and-forth risk/reward decisions that players will make would be interesting enough on their own, but Duel also adds a twist to three more mechanics: military victory, science victory, and Wonders.
Military Victory. In Duel, at the start of a game players will start with a neutral position on a two-way "tug of war" style military chart. As military strength is built up, the military token will swing back and forth between the two players. If one player is not careful to keep the other's military in check, they can easily be overrun and lose immediately when their opponent's army reaches their capitol city. In the original 7 Wonders, one could often ignore military power entirely and still win. In Duel, if your opponent decides to go for a military win and you ignore it, you will most likely lose. This adds a much appreciated tension to the game and makes the "Duel" moniker very applicable.
Science Victory. Another way for an immediate victory in Duel is to build six unique Science symbols. This is harder than it sounds, since your opponent will be doing everything he can to ensure that you don't. However, since being "too" defensive is equally as poor of a strategy, they'll have to allow you to get close, but not too close. With equally skilled players, these Science and Military victories won't happen as often as the typical "Most Victory points" win, but they are immediate and satisfying when they do.
Wonders. Each player will start with 4 Wonders available to build, and only 7 can be built during the game. The Wonders in Duel are satisfyingly expensive, and several of them have a "take an extra turn" mechanic that can be used strategically to bury a card that your opponent especially wants, and then snatch the next card underneath it before your opponent has a chance to take their turn. This enhances the tension of the back-and-forth card taking because you're never sure when your opponent is going to use it to take two turns at once.
In the ten games that we've played, everything seems near-perfectly balanced. Everything, that is, except one specific Progress token which led to a runaway victory when paired with a specific Guild card. In fairness, we were both new to the game at the time, so I didn't have a game plan to combat it. It may have just been a random "perfect storm". Since then, we've been able to mitigate that from happening.
Other than that minor quibble, I don't really have anything else negative to say.
Duel benefits greatly from the two-player only design. It plays relatively quickly (35 min) but packs a lot of interesting decisions without being too brain-burning (i.e. Five Tribes). After ten plays, you start to appreciate even more the tightness of design. The interplay between the Military/Science/Victory Point strategies keeps you on your toes and ensures that you can't just fall into the same game plan every time.
We're huge 7 Wonders fans in our group, and happy to say that this game would stand up even without the 7 Wonders name. It's easily our favorite "two player only" game that we own. I wouldn't be surprised to see this game get a flood of expansions as well; it's that good.
Quick note on the components: the cards are reduced in size quite a bit from the original game, mostly because of necessity, but that makes it also easy to transport.
Note: full review of this game, including gameplay descriptions, more bad puns, and a lot more pictures available at playbegins.com
One of the great features of the game is that dependencies (the ability to build a building without cost, if you already have another building in your cities) are clearly indicated using symbols on both cards. This is something that would prevent unnecessary resource spending in the original 7 wonders if it were integrated into it, so would be a nice addition to the original game. Not sure if there is a level of complexity in the standard game that would prevent this, but if not, I wouldn't mind seeing this mechanism incorporated into future editions of 7 Wonders.
Overall, this is a must-buy for board game collections in search of 2-player games. This is definitely one of the best out there.
It's not perfect. There's some weird inconsistencies, like when you advance military, the coins go from your opponent to the bank (why wouldn't they go to the attacking player, to simulate pillaging!?). And not all the symbols are fully explained, like the one-time coin payout for some buildings. There's a definite learning curve. This wouldn't be the game for people new to board gaming or looking for a super light experience. It's a medium weight game.