Next in our alphabetical play-through of our game collection was 7 Wonders Duel.
7 Wonders Duel
Time: 30 Minutes (from the box – usually 45 minutes for us)
Designer: Antoine Bauza & Bruno Cathala
Artist: Miguel Coimbra
Publisher: Repos Production (our copy)
Description: 7 Wonders Duel is in some ways very similar to it’s sister game, 7 Wonders (which we played last week in our A to Z play through). Each player is building up a city with resources, science advances, military capabilities, and civic buildings. However, Duel is designed as a 2-player only game. The card drafting is done one at a time from a pyramid of face-up and face-down cards, so that the card you’re picking is face-up by the time you get at it, but you don’t know what might be coming up soon in some areas of the pyramid.
The game also lives up to its “duel” name in being a lot more nasty than the original multi-player game. For example, a couple of the wonders require you to destroy one of your opponent’s resource cards, and you are essentially required to go all-in on the military if your opponent does any military development, because if they get too far ahead, you automatically lose.
The first time we played this, last year after picking it up on clearance after the holidays, I hated the game. Hated. I was not looking forward to playing it again. I’m not big on games that have a lot of “got-you” – or that are more focused on hurting your opponent than building up your own tableau/hand/whatever the game mechanism. I’m fine if there are elements of it in a game – for example, choosing an action that might not help yourself as much as another action, but ends up stifling the next player. But I don’t like it to be the thrust of the game.
However, I did not dislike the game as much this time. I still found it a little cut-throat, but I knew that going in and tried to mitigate it with some of my game choices. I don’t know that this will be a game we pull out very often, but I’m planning on keeping in my collection for the time being.
How is it as a 2-player game? This is designed as a 2-player game, so clearly it works well with just two players.
How about the art? I love the art in this game – the wonders are beautiful to look at, and all of the cards, in fact.
Will this stay in my collection? Yes, for now.