7 Wonders Duel Rules and Review: Civilized Head-to-Head Strategy

7 Wonders Duel Game Review

Justin gives his thoughts on the traditional two-player version of 7 Wonders and whether or not it should be included in his collection! In my experience with the fantastic7 Wonders (you can read Kurt’s in-depth review here), I got a distinct sense when I attempted the two-player variation specified in the handbook for the first time. This is complete and utter nonsense. So let us give credit where credit is due to Antoine Bauza, the creator of the original Seven Wonders of the World, for recognizing what many of us now know to be true.

With 7 Wonders Duel, Bauza collaborated with Bruno Cathala, the designer of the acclaimed and award-winning games Five Tribes and Kingdomino, to create a new game.

I sold my copy of the original7 Wonders last year since my wife and I had so much fun with 7 Wonders Duels.

It’s7 Wonders, With Smaller Cards!

7 Wonders Duel retains all of the exciting card play of the original game, but does away with the take-one-card-and-pass-your-hand draft system that was present in the original game. (I will not go into detail about the rules because Kurt does an excellent job of discussing the main mechanics and all of the imagery associated with the Seven Wondersfamily in his post.) You will divide all of the building cards by Age and create a “card board” of 20 cards, which will place 12 cards face-up and the rest face-down for you to disclose when you pick structures from the card board throughout each Age (basically, a round) in 7 Wonders Duel.

As a result, depending on who was in the lead in a previous round (or who was chosen at random to begin the game), a player begins the Age by choosing one of the face-up cards from the card board and paying any expenses, in a manner similar to how cards were paid for in the 7 Wondersbase game.

  1. After three rounds, the game is over, and you’ll be able to add up your scores to determine who has built the most advanced civilisation.
  2. The military rivalry board is kept track of by a Conflict Pawn, which starts the game at a point that is equal distance from both players’ capitals.
  3. If it ever makes it to the capital of one of the players, that player loses the game instantly due to the “Military Supremacy” condition.
  4. They may be obtained by obtaining a pair of matching scientific symbols on your green buildings (the same symbols as in the original game), and once obtained, they provide either a highly significant one-time bonus or a continuous benefit to you.
  5. A further alteration is introduced in the shape of Wunders.
  6. During the first round of 7 Wonders Duel, players are given the opportunity to pick four Wonders (cards) for their respective cities.
  7. Each Wonder constructed also results in continuing, one-time, and game-ending incentives for the owner, providing a strong motivation to finish first in this race.

The majority of the fundamental gameplay of 7 Wonders Duel, on the other hand, is quite similar to the strong play of 7 Wonders. So, what is it about these distinctions that makes me want to play just 7 Wonders Duel?

Another Close Finish!

A number of factors contribute to my preference for 7 Wonders Duel over the original game. You wouldn’t believe how much having children has shifted my outlook on games, or perhaps more accurately, the amount of time it takes to play them. In fact, I still like playing games, just as much as I did when I was a kid growing up in Montgomery County, Maryland, where I used to play Fortress America and Shogun in the basement of my friend Chi’s house while growing up. However, 30 years ago, I could spend the entire day sitting at a table, in a basement, or at a recreation center.

  • Now?
  • It’s time for the 7 Wonders Duel.
  • Because of the way the card board is put out, the choice space is fairly restricted: you may only have a handful of cards to pick from at a time, and if you have limited resources to purchase a card, this makes the decision even simpler.
  • “Or MAYBE.”, says the author.

The way the card board varies from Age to Age is very entertaining, and even though the collection of cards in the basic box is relatively restricted, I haven’t been tempted to purchase the expansions (Pantheon and Agora) because the game hasn’t become boring in our 20+ games of 7 Wonders Duel.

With the exception of a single game in which I lost a Military Supremacy decision (which I believe is rare because you can always sense when your opponent can jump those last few spaces to your capital, which is easier than constantly keeping track of your opponent’s position with science symbols), games of 7 Wonders Duel are usually decided by a matter of a few percentage points.

In terms of grading, Bauza and Cathala put their theory through its paces to the extreme.

However, there must be something about 7 Wonders Duel that I don’t care for, don’t you think? Promotional Wonders cards are available!

The Downside of Repeated Plays

The only flaw in the 7 Wonders Duel is. For me, it’s a matter of productivity. The cards must be sleeved in order to be played. Because I personally do not believe in sleeving cards (a topic for another day), the repetitive shuffling, reshuffling, putting, storing, flipping, and perhaps even gazing at these cards funny has resulted in their being damaged from numerous plays on the table. Reduced card size combined with lower quality card paper has put me in an unusual position. I’ve contemplated purchasing a second edition of 7 Wonders Duel in the hopes of tossing my existing copy and having a fresh one in my possession on several times.

  • However, I carry the majority of the blame because I should have taken better care of my copy throughout the years.
  • When I’m setting up a game, I still consult the rulebook to remind me of the steps you must take to obtain resources when you don’t create them in your city, as opposed to when your opponent does, and how much they cost dependent on your opponent’s degree of production.
  • I don’t even have a proposal on how to make them operate better, because they are now working perfectly.
  • The coins are in good condition.

The Perfect Two-Player Game

All of this gushing is for a good reason: I really think that every gamer, especially those who have a committed gaming partner at home, should purchase a copy of 7 Wonders Duel. With only a few of plays to get familiar with the gameplay and plenty of fascinating choices in a 20-to-30-minute playtime, it’s one of my favorite games to get together with friends and family for a night of fun. 7 Wonders Duel never fails to wow me!

7 Wonders Duel Strategy Board Game

One of the most well-known games in the world may now be enjoyed by two people in a two-player environment. 7 Wonders Duel extends the game play and thrill of the original to one-on-one combat, bringing the original’s gameplay and excitement to a new level. Take command of your civilisation and decide whether to invest in research, the military, or prestige, among other things. Two new strategies for winning will keep you on your toes and on the lookout for every move your adversary makes. If you fail to construct fortifications, your capital city may be destroyed; but, if you disregard technological advancements, your people may be forced to live in the dark ages.

It’s a never-ending game of tug of war. 7 Wonders Duel is a brand-new way to experience the game that has taken the globe by storm. It is available for iOS and Android devices. This is an excellent choice for both aficionados of the original and those who are new to the pastime.


  • The item’s measurements are 8 inches long by 8 inches broad by 2.25 inches high. Players: 2
  • Recommended for ages 10 and above
  • Number of players: 2


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#47 – 7 Wonders: Duel

The starting fee is $30. There are two players. Playing duration is around 30 minutes. Purchase on Amazon (through What’s Eric Playing?) via the BGG link This is one that I’ve been meaning to get to for quite some time. A two-player-only variation of the classic7 Wonders game, 7 Wonders Duel was launched in 2015. You compete against other players to establish the greatest civilisation of all time by gathering resources, studying scientific discoveries, constructing social and commercial institutions, and, of course, defeating your opponents with the sheer might of your armies.

So, do you think you’ll be able to beat your opponent?

Continue reading to learn more about how to get started.


Based on my previous experience with 7 Wonders, I was slightly surprised to find that this game isn’t all that difficult to set up. When you open the box and take a look inside, you’ll discover that you’ve got a board, some red tokens with a split coin on them, and a red swords / shield token, among other things (the Conflict Pawn). Set them up in the following manner: Your next observation will be that you have some green circle tokens. In order to play the game, shuffle the tiles (or swish them about, I’m not sure how you shuffle tiles) and then arrange five of them face-up on the game board, like follows: You’ll see that you have five different sorts of cards now: Set aside the Wonder cards for the time being and shuffle the rest of the cards (individually; please do not shuffle them together).

After you’ve shuffled the Guilds into the Age III deck, you’ll be almost ready to begin playing the game.

Here’s how it works in practice.

  • Deal four Wonder cards face up to each player and distribute them equally. Play begins with Player 1 selecting one Wonder
  • Player 2 selects two Wonders
  • And Player 1 selects the last Wonder. Repeat, but with the roles of Players 1 and 2 reversed (such that Player 2 receives the last Wonder)

After you’ve completed all of these steps, there’s one more thing to set up.

You see, 7 Wonders is a strange creature in that it demands a certain card configuration based on the age of the player. You may (and should!) refer to the rules for the layouts, but I’ll also provide them here so you can see them in action. Age I (the first year of life):

  1. Two cards are dealt face up
  2. Three cards are dealt face down
  3. Four cards are dealt face up
  4. Five cards are dealt face down
  5. And six cards are dealt face up.
  1. A pair of cards dealt face up
  2. A set of three cards dealt face down
  3. A pair of four cards dealt face up
  4. A set of five cards dealt face down
  5. A pair of six cards dealt face up

And then there’s Age III:

  1. Two cards face up
  2. Three cards face down
  3. Four cards face up
  4. Two cards face down
  5. Two cards face up
  6. Two cards face

Once you’ve completed this, award 7 coins to each participant. If your play space resembles the following, you’re ready to get started:


The gameplay is actually rather enjoyable in this case. The game is quite similar to 7 Wonders in that you are discarding cards to win money, or playing cards by paying their prices or creating wonders, but instead of having a hand of cards to use on your turn, you draw one exposed card from the setup pile. This indicates that there are no other cards on top of it, and that it is face-up on the table. If you uncover a face-down card while taking and utilizing a card, turn it face-up to complete the transaction.

So let’s speak about playing cards for a moment: Clearly, the card has a color, some form of symbol or action (at the top), a cost and sometimes a condition (at the top left of the card’s picture), and a name (the bottom).

now you’re informed.

Card Colors

A total of seven distinct colors of cards are available in the game, and each of these colors represents a different sort of building that you may erect in your settlement. The names of them are as follows:

  • Brown / Gray – Resources to be found! Papyrus and glass materials are represented by brown cards whereas clay, stone, and wood resources are represented by gray cards. Similar to Splendor’s cards, they are put in your civilisation and may be used to acquire resources, however unlike those cards, they are not depleted when you do so. Essentially, the cost of a card is “does your civilisation generate all of these resources?” If the answer is yes, you can take the card. I’ll go into more detail regarding the charges in the next section
  • Red– Military! You advance the Conflict Pawn one towards your opponent for every shield on the card as soon as you receive it when you receive it (unless modified by other effects). If you are successful in moving the Conflict Pawn into your opponent’s capital, you will automatically win the game. To be on the safe side, keep an eye on everything. Pushing into zones may lead an opponent to lose 2 or 5 money the first time they enter that zone as a result of your actions. You will then be able to remove that tile from the game board, revealing the points behind it: Blue– Civic! These are always worth a certain number of straight win points, although they can be prohibitively pricey. That’s all there is to it: Yellow– Commercial! These are mainly concerned with obtaining money as well as acquiring or purchasing additional resources. Green– Scientific! Additionally, while you are discarding a card on your turn, you receive an additional amount of money for each yellow card in your play area, making them a valuable addition to your collection. When you play these structures, a Science sign will appear on your screen. There are a total of six (plus an additional one, which is on a Progress Token rather than a card). If you ever play a pair of matching Science symbols on the play board, you can remove a progress token from the play board and place it in your play area, granting you the benefit of the matching Science symbols. In the rare event that you manage to gather six distinct symbols (typically one of each, unless there’s that pesky Law token), you’ll immediately win the game. As a result, just like the military, you should be on the lookout for someone who has amassed a large amount of science
  • Purple– Guilds! There are only three of these cards in the game, and they may only be used during the third age of the game. You may typically select whether to utilize your civilization or your opponent’s civilization for the effect when you play one, depending on how you wish to play. The time you play a game determines whether or not there is an instant consequence (for example, gaining money). If there is a victory point-gaining effect, you get to select which one you want to use at the conclusion of the game. If there are both, you get to do them both! That’s always a pleasure
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Cool! Let’s speak about the fees associated with credit cards.

Buying Cards

As previously said, when it is your turn to “purchase” a card, you must ensure that you have all of the resources necessary to do so by checking to see if you have all of the resources necessary to do so. If you do, you will receive that card (and, if there is a coin cost, you will also be required to pay those coins to the bank). The bank will accept 2 + X money for each resource you lack, where X is the number of that resource produced by your opponent. If you do not have those resources, you can trade for them by giving the bank 2 + X money for each resource you need.

Fortunately, some cards can cut the amount of money you have to spend each resource to one, but if you’re trading a lot, you can still find yourself short on cash.

Those are essentially saying “if you have a card with this symbol (for example, a sun), you can build this for free.” This is referred regarded as “chain-building,” and it’s a very cool thing to do.

Other Uses for Cards

If you are unable to pay (or do not wish to purchase / do not wish to prevent your opponent from purchasing) a card, you can choose to discard it from the game and get two coins in exchange. As an added bonus, you receive an extra coin for every yellow construction card that you have in your play area, which may be quite useful when attempting to acquire additional resources. You can also construct one of your Wonders by paying the Wonder’s cost and selecting a playable card from your hand and putting it face-down under your Wonder.

Generally speaking, they’re rather decent.

Keep in mind that, as the name implies, there can only be seven Wonders, so if your opponent has already constructed four of his or hers, you will only be able to construct three of yours.

The fourth one should be placed face-down to avoid misunderstanding once the third one has been constructed. Alternatively, it may be placed back in the box, but I like the face-down technique.

Gameplay, Continued

The game will continue until you have taken all of the cards in the building. Once that occurs, the current age comes to an end, and the new age starts (seeSetupfor instructions on how to set up each age). It is the person who has the most Conflict Pawns closest to their capital that decides who starts first in each age (after the cards have been set up), or if the Conflict Pawns are in the middle, it is the player whose last card was drawn who goes first in each age. It has already been mentioned that, if a player either successfully pushes the Conflict Pawn into the other player’s capital (Military Supremacy) or successfully gains six difference science tokens (Scientific Supremacy), they win immediately and the game ends immediately, regardless of when it occurs.

For every three coins that you have, you will receive one point.


  • Take note of what I’m saying. Generally speaking, your opponent will only win by a military or scientific triumph if you make a very terrible error (say, letting them get to 4 or 5 unique science symbols). If you notice that they are going military, reply by playing enough military to ensure that you are not reliant on a fortuitous flip to determine whether or not you lose the game. You should purchase a pair of scientific cards for yourself if you notice them going science
  • Not only will you receive a nice Progress Token, but you will also make it difficult for them to win that method (unless the Law Progress Token isalsoin play). Just be careful not to let the game get the better of you. Additionally, take advantage of your opponent’s lack of concentration to get an advantage in the military or science, if at all possible, as this is an automatic win. If that’s what you want to aim for, make sure you’re aware of the cards that are accessible. I believe there are only a maximum of two of each sort of card available (there are two cards that produce three military shields, I believe, for instance). If that’s the case, and you’ve already watched both films, you’re probably thinking there won’t be any others. If you’re attempting to prevent losing through Military Supremacy, this information should guide your actions
  • Be mindful of what your opponent can purchase. When it comes to your opponent’s desires, you should be able to predict what they are and make sure that you can deny them those desires by either seizing the cards yourself or burning them for the purpose of fueling a Wonder or earning money. If you disclose cards that your opponent can’t purchase but that they require, the best they can do is burn the card that they believe you require for money or a Wonder, which is the worst they can do. That’s typically preferable to other possibilities
  • Some Wonders and strategies work best together as a team. In general, the Wonders that yield either a brown-card resource (such as clay, stone, or wood) or a gray-card resource (such as glass or papyrus) are wonderful on their own, but they are much better when they are combined. Same goes for your two Wonders that lead your opponents to discard a brown card and/or a gray card when they are activated. Having all four of these resources would allow you to keep your opponent out of the resource race while allowing you to be a little more versatile in terms of what you can buy. Some Wonders are just excellent, such as the Wonder that rewards you with 12 coins and an additional turn. Build your Wonders whenever possible, unless they are expressly counter-productive to your goal
  • Obtain money. Money not only makes the world go round, but it also makes it more difficult for your opponents to counteract your tactics. If you have 15 or more money, you can buy resources rather easily, especially if you have the Supply cards, which lower the cost to one cent per resource. If you obtain the Economy Progress Token, your opponent will pay you directly rather than via the bank, and you will then be even more prosperous. In general, having money is advantageous in most games. If you are not creating a large amount of resources, money will be required. The ability to conduct a resource-light game with little or no resources is partially achievable if you have a lot of money, which makes it very tough for your opponent to stop you
  • Be aggressive. That’s pretty much the greatest plan I can provide you right now, to be honest. You must prevent your opponent from obtaining two types of resources: money and resources. If they don’t have any resources, they must purchase them from a bank, and if they don’t have any money, they are unable to purchase resources. If you do that, you will completely destroy their engine. Sometimes that’s the most effective strategy for winning. In general, I don’t believe it’s a good idea to be the first player in an Age III game. Although it is entirely up to you and heavily dependent on what the first two available cards are, I believe it does more harm than good because you will expose a significant number of cards on your first turn (and you have no choice, really), and if you’re on the verge of losing a Military or Science victory, you may be slammed by a bad flip.

Pros, Mehs, and Cons

  • Keep your eyes peeled. If you commit a very severe error, your opponent will almost always win by military or scientific triumph over you (say, letting them get to 4 or 5 unique science symbols). If you see that they are going military, reply by playing enough military to ensure that you are not reliant on a coin flip to determine whether or not you lose the match. You should purchase a set of scientific cards for yourself if you notice them going science
  • Not only will you receive a nice Progress Token, but you will also make it difficult for them to win that way (unless the Law Progress Token isalsoin play). Just make sure you don’t let the game get the better of you. – Take advantage of your opponent’s inattention to get an advantage over them un the military or science, if at all possible, since this will result in an automatic victory. You should be aware of the cards that are accessible if that is your goal. The number of cards of each particular category is limited to a maximum of two, I suppose (there are two cards that produce three military shields, I believe, for instance). Then you know that there can’t be any more since you’ve already seen both of them. In order to avoid losing via Military Supremacy, you need be aware of the resources available to your adversary
  • This should guide your judgments. You should have a reasonably clear sense of what your opponent wants, and you should make sure that you can deny them the cards that they want by either taking them yourself or burning them to fuel a Wonder or to earn money from them. The best thing your opponent can do if you reveal a card that they can’t purchase but that they require is to burn the card they believe you require for money or a Wonder. There are some Wonders and techniques that work well together, so this is typically the best option. To summarize: any brown-card resource (such as clay, stone, or wood) or any gray-card material (such as glass or papayrus) generated by a Wonder is fine on its own, but much better when used in tandem. Same goes for your two Wonders that lead your opponents to discard a brown card and/or a gray card when they are played. It is possible to have all four of these resources and yet keep your opponent out of the resource race while being somewhat more versatile in terms of what you may purchase. Some Wonders are just excellent, such as the Wonder that rewards you with 12 coins and an additional turn, among others. Build your Wonders whenever possible, unless they are expressly counter-productive to your objective
  • Obtain cash. Making money is what makes the world go round, and having a lot of it makes it difficult for opponents to counter your tactics. If you have 15 or more money, you can buy resources quite easily, especially if you have Supply cards, which lower the cost to one. The Economy Progress Token ensures that your opponent pays you rather than the bank, resulting in even more money in your bank account. In most games, having money is advantageous in most situations, but not always. Even if your company is not creating a large amount of resources, money will be needed. Being resource-light is conceivable if you have a lot of money, which makes it very tough for your opponent to stop you
  • Yet, being aggressive is recommended. The most effective method I can provide you is the one I’ve described. Money and resources are two things that you must prevent your opponent from obtaining. It is necessary for them to purchase resources from the bank if they do not have any on hand
  • If they do not have any money, they will be unable to purchase resources. Your actions will completely destroy their engine. At times, it’s the most effective strategy for winning. It’s not a fantastic idea, in general, to be the first player in Age III. Although it is entirely up to you and heavily dependent on what the first two available cards are, I believe it does more harm than good because you will expose a significant number of cards on your first turn (and you have no choice, really), and if you’re on the verge of losing a Military or Science victory, you may be slammed by an unlucky flip.


  • It’s a really forceful approach. When it comes to drafting, I find myself doing a lot of hate-drafting (picking cards to punish my opponent rather than benefit myself), which can be a real pain. I don’t typically play this game twice in a row, but it’s still a lot of fun
  • I’m not a huge fan of SupremacyVictories, but I enjoy it anyway. There are some similarities to Avalon’s Assassination Phase in that they appear to be a gaming element designed to penalize one person’s carelessness. Although I tend to think of them as more of a threat than a legitimate means to win or lose unless someone commits a very terrible error, this is just subjective. My feelings on them are mixed, but I’m ready to give them a “Meh.”
  • Wonder synergy may be quite damaging to new players in particular. If you obtain the correct combination of Wonders, you can frequently steamroll someone if you manage to get them all active at the same time (which, I think, is a huge incentive for the other player to stop you), which may be hard for new players to learn how to use. As a result, I suppose they recommend a beginning set of Wonders for each player.
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  • SMALL CARDS, OH MY. I have normal-sized hands, not small ones, and I find these little cards quite annoying to hold and shuffle since they are difficult to grasp and shuffle. I realize this is one of the most little of grievances to raise, but it’s the same issue I have with Ticket to Ride
  • It’s a game that relies heavily on chance. For me, it’s possible to get trapped in an Age III situation where you’re counting on specific cards not coming up or you’re sure to lose, and even in that case, there are few options for regaining control if you’ve fallen far enough behind the eight ball. It’s a shame because 7 Wonders is a more strategic game, but 7 Wonders: Duel is more tactical, as you have to respond to the cards in front of you
  • Nonetheless, I understand the decision.

Overall: 8 / 10

Overall, I think this is fantastic! Whenever I’m searching for a great two-player game to play with someone, I tend to go toward this one, because despite the fact that it’s luck-based and involves a lot of hate-drafting, it’s still a very well-made game with a lot of amazing effects. I enjoy the game’s overall premise of constructing card constructions and then progressing through them through the Ages, as well as the additional Wonders that have been added and the streamlining that has been done to bring it here from the original 7 Wonders.

It’s a unique game for lovers of the 7 Wonders series, and it’s a great game to pick up if you’re searching for another amazing two-player-only game to add to your library of cool games.

Amazon (via What’s Eric Playing?) has it for sale.

How to play 7 Wonders Leaders

As a whole, I really like it. Because, despite the fact that it is a luck-based game with a significant amount of hate-drafting, it is a fairly well-made game with a variety of interesting effects, I find myself returning to it whenever I am looking for a fun two-player game to play. I enjoy the game’s overall premise of constructing card structures and then progressing through them through the Ages, as well as the additional Wonders that have been added and the streamlining that has been done to get it here from the original 7 Wonders of the Universe.

Those who enjoy the 7 Wonders series will enjoy this game, and it’s a good one to pick up if you’re looking for another cool two-player game to add to your library.

7 Wonders: Duel – Pantheon is a game that I’m looking forward to playing with those of you who enjoy Duel. To purchase, go to Amazon (via What’s Eric Playing?).


  • There are 1 Wonder board, 1 Wonder card, 36 Leader cards, 4 Guild cards, 17 value 6 coins, 1 Courtesan token, 1 rulebook, 1 score booklet, and 1 blank Leader card. There are also 1 Wonder card.

Game Elements

A new board has been created, with Rome and its Colosseum as the centerpiece, the implications of which are outlined on the final page of this rulebook. Currently, this new board may only be utilized in conjunction with the Leaders expansion set.

Leader Cards

The Leaders (white cards) are a new card category that has been introduced. They are not included in the Age cards and have a separate back to distinguish them from the others. The cost of each card is indicated in the top left corner of each card and is solely in coins.

Blank Leader Card (semiramis)

There is a blank Leader card in your box, which you can use. It will provide you with the opportunity to develop your own unique personality and include it into your games.

Guild Cards

In addition to the Guilds already accessible in the base game, four more Guilds (purple cards) will be introduced. Keep in mind that some of them may only be utilized in conjunction with the Leaders expansion.


The 17 coins with a value of 6 should be added to the coins already in the game to complete it.

Courtesan Token

A unique token that may only be used in conjunction with one of the new Guilds, the Courtesan’s Guild.

Score Booklet

This package contains a new score booklet, which will let you to add victory points gained by certain Leaders to your total.


The new Guilds (purple cards) for Age III are added to the existing Guilds (blue cards) in the base game. The Age III deck’s rules have not altered since it was first introduced (meaning that the number of Guilds to be kept is still the same). Each participant starts with a total of six coins (instead of 3 as in the base game).

Game Play

The game now begins with aLeader Phase to set the tone. At the start of each Age, a new game phase known as the Recruitment Phase is introduced to the player community.

Leader Phase

Each player is handed a hand of four Leader cards that are distributed in a random manner (to be kept hidden). The Leaders that are not given out are returned to the box at the conclusion of the game.

  1. Each player must discreetly pick one card from their four-card hand and place it in front of himself or herself, face down, before continuing. Afterwards, the three remaining cards are given over to the person to their right
  2. Each player then discreetly selects one card from the three cards obtained by the player to their left. The two remaining cards are then delivered to the person to their right
  3. Each player then secretly picks one card from the two cards that were provided to them by the player to his or her left. The remaining card is handed to the person to their right
  4. Each player keeps the card provided to them by the player to their left and adds it to the three cards they have already selected.

At the conclusion of this round, each player will have assembled a hand of four Leaders for himself or herself. I am now of legal age to begin.

Overview of an Age

Each Age now begins with a recruitment phase, which is the first part of the Age.

I. Recruitment Phase

During this round, each player will use one of their Leader cards to advance to the next round. Each participant chooses a deck of cards in secret, and then all of the cards are disclosed at the same time to be used in the game. The Leader cards can be used in three different ways:

  1. Hire the Leader
  2. Construct a Wonder’s stage
  3. And so on. By discarding the card, you will receive three coins.

A. Recruit The Leader

The player pays the coin cost of the Leader (the coins are then returned to the bank) and then sets the Leader card next to his or her Wonder board, face up, in the center of the board. This will make it easier for your opponents to understand your board if Hannibal and Caesar are put in the same location as your red cards. This will also make it easier for all of your Shield symbols to be shown in the same location. Similar to the previous step, arrange Euclid, Ptolemy, and Pythagoras with their green cards on the appropriate side of the board.

B. Build A Stage Of A Wonder

In order to create a stage of a Wonder, the player must utilize the Leader card that has been chosen as a building marker (face down). It is necessary to pay the cost listed on the Wonder board rather than the amount given on the Leader card in order to do this.

Please keep in mind that this action will be seldom achievable during the first Recruitment Phase since the cities will typically not have the resources necessary for the building of the first stage of their Wonder at that time.

C. Discard The Card To Gain 3 Coins

Alternatively, he or she might choose to discard the card in order to take three coins from the bank and deposit them in the city’s treasury. In this case, the Leader cards that have been discarded are returned to the box (face down). The remaining Leader cards in each player’s hand will be utilized later in the game; they are put face down under the recruited Leader to be used later in the match. As soon as this phase is completed, the Age is played according to the standard 7 Wonders rules.

The first card is played in one of the three methods indicated above (a, b, or c), and the second card is returned to the box, face-down, in the second round of play.

End of the Game

The game concludes at the conclusion of Age III, following the distribution of Conflict Tokens, just as it did in the original game. Each player adds up the points earned by his or her civilization, and the player with the greatest total is deemed the victorious civilization.

Expert Variant for 2 Players

The rules for the two-player game are the same as those for the seven wonders game. The Recruitment stages are played according to standard rules, with the exception of the Leaders phase, which is somewhat modified: each player is dealt four Leader cards, which are dealt face down. Free City does not have a leader assigned to it. The players pick a first card from their hand of four cards and then pass the remaining three cards to their opponent to begin the game. They take a second card from this hand of three cards, then trade their hands once again, and so on and so forth.

The game is played in accordance with the rules for two players in the original game, with the Recruitment stages mentioned in these rules being added on top of those rules.

Description Of Leaders

Amytis is worth 2 victory points (VP) at the conclusion of the game for each Wonder stage that the player has developed. Amytis is a playable character in the game. According to legend, she is the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, in whose honor the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are supposed to have been constructed.


At the conclusion of the game, Alexander increases the value of each victory token by one point (the value of the victory tokens therefore goes from 1, 3 and 5 VP to 2, 4 and 6 VP). King of Macedonia, conqueror of the world, and creator of the ancient Greek empire, he is a historical figure. The only ruler in history who was able to unite both the Orient and the Occident by forging an empire.


At the conclusion of the game, Aristotle awards 3 VP for each group of various scientific symbols collected throughout the game (meaning that the bonus goes from 7 VP to 10 VP per set).

He is a Greek philosopher who has long been regarded as the greatest manifestation of classical wisdom in the Occident, owing to his encyclopedic understanding of the arts and sciences and his encyclopedic knowledge of philosophy.


The player’s city gains 3 win points for each set of three Age cards (red, blue, and green) in Justinian’s possession at the conclusion of the game. He is the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire. The most well-known character from late antiquity, mostly because of his restoration of the Roman Empire, which was only partially successful.


Plato is worth 7 win points at the end of the game for each set of seven Age cards (brown, gray, blue, yellow, green, red, purple) in the player’s city at the conclusion of the game. He is a Greek philosopher who is regarded as one of the most significant and omniscient of all time. His work demonstrates the breadth and depth of his expertise in a variety of fields, including politics, justice, science, culture, and the arts.


A victory point from Midas is worth one victory point for every three coins in the player’s treasury at the end of the game. To be clear, these points are in addition to the ones that are regularly awarded for coins (the player therefore scores 2 VP for each set of 3 coins). He has the title of King of Phrygia. Famous mostly for his wealth and the story that sprang up around it, which claimed that everything he touched turned to gold, he was also known for his generosity.


Once she joins the game, Bilkis grants the player the ability to purchase any resource by paying 1 coin to the bank once every round, as long as she remains in play. She reigns as the Queen of the Kingdom of Saba, which is located in the Caribbean. She is mostly known from the stories of King Solomon, which account of her wealth and happiness. She is sublime, and her intellect and intelligence are astonishing.


The controlling player can recruit all of his or her future Leaders for free (during the Recruitment Phase) as soon as Maecenas joins the game, eliminating the need to pay the coin cost associated with their recruitment. In his capacity as a Roman statesman, he utilized his power and wealth to encourage the arts and literature.


As soon as Ramses joins the game, the player will be able to create all of his or her Guilds without having to pay any of the resource fees associated with them. He is the third Pharaoh of the Twenty-Ninth Dynasty and the third Pharaoh of Egypt. One of the emperors who governed Egypt for the longest period of time and to whom the greatest amount of cultural relics can be traced.


When Tomyris enters the game, the Defeat tokens belonging to this player are awarded to the winning adjacent city during the dispute resolution process. Take note that Tomyris has no influence if the player’s city is successful during wars, or if the conflicts took place before Tomyris joined the game. In myth, she is the fabled queen of the Massagetae who, in order to revenge her son’s death, chopped off the head of Cyrus the Great, the King of Persia, with her sword.


Once she has entered the game, each purchase of one or more resources from a neighbor results in 1 cent being added to her bank account. It is important to notice that this benefit is restricted to one coin per neighbor every round in this case. Clarification: The player receives his or her profit from the bank immediately after paying for his or her item.

She is the Eighteenth Dynasty’s Pharaoh-Queen, and she reigns as such. Her reign is credited with Egypt’s economic success, which may be linked to the country’s extensive trading networks.


In exchange for each commercial edifice (yellow card) that the player constructs from this point forward, Xenophon awards the player two coins. The coins are removed from the bank during the time of construction of the constructions, when they are needed. Clarification: Xenophon has no influence on commercial constructions that have already been constructed before he joins the game. He is a Greek philosopher, historian, and soldier who lived in the 4th century BCE. Author of the Oeconomicus, which is considered to be the world’s earliest agronomy treatise.

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Once Solomon is in play, the player has the option of selecting an Age card from the discard pile and putting it into play for no additional cost. He is the King of Israel, a figure renowned for his wisdom and incorruptible sense of right and wrong. He oversaw the construction of Jerusalem’s first temple and established a highly organized government for his kingdom.


Once he enters the game, this Leader grants the number of shields indicated on the cards in his or her hand. He is a commander of the Carthaginians. One of the greatest military strategists in history, he is most known for posing a real danger to Rome after crossing the Pyrenees with his elephants and advancing on the city.


Once he enters the game, this Leader grants the number of shields indicated on the cards in his or her hand. He was a Roman commander, statesman, and author, among other things. His military prowess and foresight were instrumental in the founding of Rome.


Nero rewards the player with 2 coins for each victory token that is acquired by the player from this point on. When the victory tokens are obtained, these coins are removed from the bank. Clarification: Nero has no influence on any victory tokens that have been earned before he enters the game. He is the emperor of the Roman Empire. His reign was marked by military victories for the Empire, as well as a monetary reform that saw the denarius revalued. He was known for his bellicose and quickly enraged demeanor.


Once he enters the game, vitruvius rewards the player with 2 coins anytime he or she constructs a free construction, such as by using constructing chains. When the constructions are completed, the coins are removed from the bank vault. In order to be clear, Vitruvius has no influence on buildings that have been erected through construction chains before he joins the game. He works as an architect in Rome. His works had a significant impact on the arts of the Renaissance, and his book on architecture, De Architectura, is still considered an important work of classical Antiquity.


When Croesus enters the game, he instantly grants 6 coins that have been stolen from the bank. He is the last king of Lydia and is renowned for his vast wealth, which he used to fund the construction of the Temple of Artemis, which is considered to be one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Hypatia, Nebuchadnezzar, Phidias, Varro

Each of these Leaders is worth one victory point (VP) at the conclusion of the game for each card of the relevant color that is present in the player’s city.

  • Hypatia is a philosopher and mathematician who happens to be the daughter of the Museum of Alexandria’s final director. Phidias is a sculptor of the first Greek classical style, and the main architect of the Athenian Parthenon
  • Varro is a Roman soldier, scientist, and writer who is known as much for her grace and beauty as for her intelligence and eloquence
  • Nebuchadnezzar is a king of Babylon who is known for the many works and monuments he had erected throughout his kingdom and the cultural aspect that resulted from them
  • And Nebuchadnezzar Rerum Rusticarum is a collection of literature that depicts the most comprehensive picture of agricultural administration throughout the Antiquity that has ever been compiled.

Pericles, Praxiteles, Hiram

Each of these Leaders is worth two victory points at the conclusion of the game for each card of the relevant color that is present in the player’s city.

  • Pericles is a talented orator and politician from Athens who also happens to be a clever tactician. While fighting in the Peloponnesian war, he was very influential among his men and dreaded by his adversaries
  • Praxiteles is an artist who works in the second Greek classic style. Hiram is a smelting and blacksmith worker who contributed significantly to King Solomon’s temple construction. He is considered to be the first artist to have rendered a female nude in Greek sculpture.

Sappho, Zenobia, Nefertiti, Cleopatra

These Leaders are worth the number of victory points that are listed on their cards at the conclusion of the game.

  • Sappho was a Greek poet who lived on the Greek island of Lesbos. While reigning as Queen of the Palmyrene Empire in the third century, Zenobia was known for being a staunch feminist at an era when misogynist attitudes were the norm. She transformed her city into a thriving cultural center, attracting many notable personalities of the day
  • Nefertiti is the royal wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten, who was adored by her people and whose artistic representations were more numerous than those of her husband
  • Cleopatra is the most well-known of the Egyptian monarchs, whose charm and cunning allowed her country to shine despite the Roman conquest
  • And Ramses II is the most famous of the Egyptian monarchs.

Archimedes, Leonidas, Hammurabi, Imhotep

From the time they enter play, these Leaders grant the player the ability to construct Structures of the relevant hue (Wonder phases for Imhotep) for one resource less than the published cost of the Structure. Clarification: the resource that is deducted from the cost is entirely up to the discretion of the player. This might be a raw resource (brown) or a finished product (yellow) (gray).

  • Aristotle is a Greek mathematician, scientist, physicist, and engineer who is credited with the discovery of the number Pi and the calculation of bodies’ volume mass by immersion in water
  • Leonidas is the Agiad king of Sparta who died in a heroic battle with 300 of his soldiers while resisting the Persian invasion
  • Hammurabi is a King of Babylon who reigned during the time when the oldest known code of law known to History was written
  • Imhot He is the designer of the world’s oldest angled pyramid, which is located in Egypt.

Euclid, Ptolemy, Pythagoras

These Leaders are able to award the scientific sign that is inscribed on their individual cards. Upon entering the player’s city, this symbol is added to the list of scientific structures (represented by green cards).

  • Euclid was a Greek mathematician and geometry specialist who is best known as the author of The Elements, which is considered to be the foundational text of contemporary mathematics. Ptolemy was a Greek astronomer and astrologer who is best known as the author of the Amalgest, a seminal work on astronomy that had a profound impact on Occidental thinking until the Renaissance. As the first self-proclaimed philosopher and Greek mathematician, Pythagoras is credited with developing the rules of numbers, which in turn resulted in the creation of arithmetic, music, and geometry.

Description Of The Guilds

Each full set of three coins that is present in the player’s treasury earns the player one win point. Please keep in mind that this benefit is in addition to the one currently provided by the coins.

Courtesan’s Guild

Upon completing the construction of the Courtesan’s Guild, the player must immediately put the “Courtesan” Token on one of the Leaders currently present in one of the bordering cities. The player then reaps the advantages of that Leader and any connected effects that he or she may have. Please keep in mind that this Guild has no consequences for the player whose Leader has been awarded the “Courtesan” Token.

Diplomat’s Guild

Each Leader (white card) that is present in the bordering cities earns one victory point. Please keep in mind that only the leaders who have been recruited count; those who have been utilized to construct stages of a Wonder are not included.

Architect’s Guild

For each purple card that is found in the bordering cities, three victory points are awarded. Read on for more information.

Ars Technica’s ultimate board game gift guide, 2021 edition

While the vast majority of current board games may be played with two players, the finest head-to-head experiences are typically found in games that are intended particularly for a fight between two or more participants. Here are our top selections for the best films of the year.

7 Wonders Duel

2 players, 30 minutes, age 10+ /$18 at Amazon,Target Can you make a functional two-player version of the modern classic card-drafting game7 Wonders? 7 Wonders Duelproves you can, and the game is not only functional—fantastic. it’s Eschewing the pass-and-pick drafting of the original game,Duelsees two players fighting over a spread of cards arranged in various configurations on the table. You’re competing to build up the best ancient civilization, complete with constructing as many world wonders as you can manage.

Also, check out thevery cool expansion.


/$18 at Amazon and Target for 2 players, 30 minutes, age 10 and up What do you think your chances are of creating a playable two-player version of the current classic card-drafting game7 Wonders? 7 Wonders Duel demonstrates that you can, and the game is not just playable, but also great. The game of Duel, which does away with the pass-and-pick drafting of the original game, pits two players against one other over a spread of cards that has been placed in various configurations on the table. You’re in a competition to establish the most powerful ancient civilisation possible, along with the construction of as many global marvels as you can handle.

It plays like a lightning-quick, board-less battle of Civilization, thanks to the game’s three win conditions: civilized, scientific, and militaristic. Also, have a look at the really amazing expansion.

Schotten Totten

2 players, 20 minutes, 8+ years old, $14 from Amazon and Miniature Market I’m a huge fan of Schootten Totten. Featuring crazy Scottish Highlanders slugging it out over a center pile of cardboard “stones,” this fantastic two-player card combat is sure to please. Players put one card every round on any given stone in the hopes of assembling a more powerful set of three cards than the set of three cards currently on the stone across from them. If they are successful, they will win the stone; if they win enough stones, the game will be ended.

Lost Cities and Schotten Totten are both Knizia games that challenge you to keep cards in your hand for as long as possible, creating pressure until you eventually get a card that validates your strategy to conclude a color run on stone seven or to begin a mono-color run on stone eight.

(Unfortunately, my daughter beats me on a daily basis.) A set of additional “tactics” cards included in the box allows for a more complicated version of the game.


Ages 10 and up, 20-30 minutes, 2 players, $30 from Amazon and Miniature Market A sort of mash-up of Battle Line and Magic: the Gathering, the finest new two-player game of 2021 is a deck-building game with tremendous replayability thanks to how the creator built up the decks. Each player receives four factions of cards, which they then shuffle into their own deck. Players can then play up to three cards each turn to the five spots between them, or they can activate up to three cards to attack the cards of their opponents in the same locations as they do in their own turn.

The winner is the first player to earn 12 points, which is mostly obtained by destroying the cards of opponents.


/$32 at Amazon and Walmart for two players for 30-60 minutes each. Watergate performs two things significantly better than the majority of two-player games: It is asymmetrical, meaning that the two players have contrasting playing talents and objectives, and it is quite instructional. Although the author is German, the subject matter, which is government corruption, is as American as apple pie. One side takes on the role of “the editors,” a reference to the investigative news department at The Washington Post that was ultimately responsible for exposing the titular scandal; the other takes on the role of Tricky Dick, who attempts to prevent the intrepid reporters from obtaining enough information to bring him down.

Everyone’s role in the controversy is explained on every card, and the rule book has a plethora of additional material for those who are interested in learning more about the story. It’s also a lot of fun and really well-balanced.

Imhotep: The Duel

2 players, 30 minutes, age 10 and above, $20 on Amazon As with the 7 Wonders, Kohl’s In addition to being a scaled-down version of its parent game, Duel, Imhotep: The Duel reimagines the original in order to boost player engagement and conflict. The originalImhotephad players loaded stones onto ships and then chose which of five potential destinations to sail them to in order to set those stones on memorial sites or in the market square. In the two-player version, each player has their own board with the four monument sites, but you now place meeples on a shared 3 x 3 grid, with three ships on the right side of the grid and three below it, so that your meeples can claim a token in the corresponding space on one of the two ships.

However, certain tokens allow you to do a bonus action, such as swiping a token directly off a ship or shifting tokens about before unloading.


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