Dale Yu: First Impressions of 7 Wonders (2020 edition)

 

 

7 Wonders (2020 version)

  • Designer: Antoine Bauza
  • Publisher: REPOS
  • Players: 3-7
  • Age: 10+
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Times played: 1 with new version, probably >100 with 2010 version

This piece is less a review of the game itself, and likely more a comparison of the new 2020 version and its original version.  We have reviewed the original a number of times, but the original review dated Feb 9, 2011 still is a great review of the game – https://opinionatedgamers.com/2011/02/09/review-of-7-wonders-believe-the-hype/.  Rather than re-invent that wheel, and because most of the changes are “cosmetic”, I’ll simply refer you to the original review if you are unfamiliar with the game.

 

7 Wonders is one of my all-time great games, and as the box proclaims, there are over a million copies already sold.  While I don’t know numbers for sure, I’m guessing there aren’t many Eurogames that can make that claim.  Off the top of my head, the list might be: Dominion, Carcassone, Catan, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Hababi and 7 Wonders… I really don’t know if I can come up with another one that I’d feel pretty sure about – maybe Love Letter?   Anyways, it’s a very select group to be a part of!  This is clearly a game that most people in our hobby are familiar with, and based on their sales boast, one that many of us have on our game shelves at home.

2020 is the 10th anniversary for this great game, and Asmodee (the new owner of REPOS) has released a new version of the game in celebration.  They have been fairly forthcoming in saying that there are minimal changes to the rules, and that it is mostly a cosmetic upgrade.  An Asmodee representative has even said on BGG that “If you already have the game, there’s no reason to buy the game again. The new adjustments are, we think, more balance and easier for new players, but the first version is still very good.” (source: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2468086/article/35476519#35476519).  For me, I think the 3 step summary of how a round plays is a great way to introduce the game to a newbie – this will hopefully spur on even more sales of this great game.

 

I was thrilled to see a new copy arrive here at my doorstep, as I was just commenting after my most recent game of 7W:Armada that my tokens and cards are really really beat up after 10 years of constant play.  I was actually pretty excited to get a new set of cards.  I will say that my original box is well loved, and it is stuffed to the gills – it has the base game, 7W: Leaders, 7W: Cities and 7W: Armada jammed into it as well as a bunch of promo Wonders and cards that I’ve picked up over the years from the REPOS booth in Essen.

old on left, new on right

The new version has cover art which is quite similar to the original – maybe a bit brighter, but then again, that could just be because the box is newer.  Once you get a look at the components, you’ll immediately notice that the Era cards are different.

 

Yup, the colors are no longer the orange, blue and purple.  Now they are bronze, silver and gold.  And though my photo doesn’t really bring out the metallic sheen, they are really bright and shiny colors.

As you can easily see, there will be no issues determining which version of the game you’ll be playing.  While the backs of the cards are quite different, there are also some changes that you’ll see on other sides as well.  Below are a set of 3 cards from the two sets…

The card title and the costs have moved a bit, and the iconographic system for card chains from 7W:Duel is used.  The top of each card can have one or two chain icons on it, and a matching icon will be seen in the cost for the next card in the chain.   For some (well, for me) – it took a little bit of getting used to… I am just so accustomed to looking for the names of the cards involved in the chains – so I had to keep reminding myself to look at the icons.  Here is a closer view of the new chain –

And speaking of chains – this is one of my favorite new additions – there is now a chart provided in the box that shows all of the different chains (and which icons go with which chain) – this will make teaching the game so much easier when I can show how many different possibilities there are.

Additionally, there is a super helpful manifest of cards – no longer will people have to guess at which cards might be available to them in the next Era – they can look it up on this chart to see what might be available –

As far as other changes that I can see – the Wonders are physcially larger, and they seem to have some changes to the different stages.  Here are the two sides of the Babylon Wonder (new on top):

Asmodee had a video up during GenCon, and some gamers made full lists of all the changes.  While I haven’t gone to check that this list is complete nor all-encompassing, it should give you a decent feel for the small changes made (source, Jan Zalewski on BGG – https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2468086/article/35466958#35466958)

– Olympia is clay, Babylon is wood now
– Olympia A -> 1stage & 2stage cost swapped, 3rd stage new cost 3 clay (was 2 ore)
– Olymbia B -> new stage, new abilities
– Babylon B -> 2 stage wonder now, stage1 dropped, stage 2 two stone, 3rd stage bottle instead of papyrus
– Giza A -> 2nd stage cost change to 2 clay 1 bottle from 3 wood. 1st stage cost change 2 wood from 2 stone
– Alexandria A -> 3rd stage cost change to cloth-papyrus from double bottle
– Alexandria B -> cost change for 2nd stage to 3, cost change for 4th stage to 4 wood
– Halikarnassos A -> cost changes unknown, papyrus bottle (was 3 ore), 3 stone (was 2 cloths)
– Halikarnassos B -> cost changes: 2 clay (was 2 ore) papyrusBottle (was 3 clay) 3 wood (was rainbow gray)
– Ephesos A -> cost changes: 2 clay (was 2 stone), 2nd stage same, 2 ore 1 bottle (was 2 papyruses)
– Ephesos B -> cost change 3rd stage 2 ore 1 cloth (was rainbow gray)
– NEW 3rd age Yellow card named arena? Old arena propably namechanged & artchanged
– NEW chains for blue cards
– Removed some of the long chains for blue cards

The last thing worth mentioning is that the game will now finally fit nicely on my game shelves!  No longer will 7 Wonders be the game that is just slightly smaller than all the rest in the row – it is now in a fully standard 30cm box.  Hooray!  My OCD brain is much happier now.

While I’ve played the game probably over 100 times, I have never been one to memorize the cards or the distribution.  I certainly have never taken the time to really try to work out which Wonders were better than others, nor did I have an opening move based on the Wonder I was dealt…. So, when I played the new game, it really felt pretty much like the original version, just with shinier cards.  After the first few shuffles, there are no noticeable creases or flaking of the shiny edges to the cards, and that bodes well for long term play.

Initial reports are that a few expansions will be updated to the new graphic design – Leaders, Cities and Armada – though you’ll have to throw out the vac tray in the 2nd edition box to get it all to fit.  For now, I’ll keep both my boxes, and I’ll decide in a few months which set I’m going to keep.  I’ll probably lean towards the new version as my 1st edition cards are just so beat up.

Well, trying to get back to the gaming table this month!

Until your next appointment,

The Gaming Doctor

 

 

 

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
This entry was posted in Essen 2020, First Impressions. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dale Yu: First Impressions of 7 Wonders (2020 edition)

  1. pinoeppel says:

    I’m pretty sure my (German) edition already has a tech tree/chaining diagram in the manual as well, but I’d need to check

  2. huzonfirst says:

    As for the million selling Eurogames, Dale, I’d be shocked if Bohnanza hadn’t reached that level. Tichu also has to be there, particularly if you equate each deck of cards with a sale (I don’t see how else you could view it). Other possibilities: Wizard, perhaps? Qwirkle? Codenames might well be close, particularly if you add together all of the different versions. Possibly Lost Cities? I’m not sure about some older German games, but maybe Scotland Yard or Adel? A select group of games, certainly, but maybe not as small as we might think.

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