It is very easy to learn how to play 7 Wonders so no need to panic. This game has been around since 2010 and as far as board games go, it has basically reached triple platinum status. It is one of those games that you always hear about and people say it is one of the new classics. It all makes sense, the game takes a great mechanic in card drafting and builds a robust strategy game on top of it with a fantastic mythology theme. Games are quick and the game has range in who it can accommodate fitting 2 – 7 players. This is your guide in how to play 7 Wonders.
FOR MORE: 7 Wonders Page | 7 Wonders Review | Games Like 7 Wonders | Buy 7 Wonders
HOW TO PLAY 7 WONDERS – WHAT IS IT?
Lead one of the seven great cities of the Ancient world. Exploit the natural resources of your lands, take part in the eternal march of progress, develop your commercial relationships and assert your military might. Leave your mark in the history of civilization by building an architectural marvel that will transcend the ages to come. Learning how to play 7 Wonders is easy, mastering this is the hard part.
A game of 7 Wonders takes place over 3 Ages, each using one of the 3 decks (I, II, III). These ages are each played similarly, with each player having the opportunity to play 6 cards per age to develop his or her city and build their wonder. At the end of each Age, each player compares their military might with their two neighbors (whoever is directly to the left and to the right). At the end of the third age, players count up their victory points. Whoever has the most wins the game and a little piece of eternal glory.
HOW TO PLAY 7 WONDERS – STEP BY STEP
Time Needed: approximately 30 minutes
This is a step by step guide for how to play 7 Wonders the popular card drafting civilization-building board game. Additional notions and special rules can be found below the list. These will be referenced for your convenience.
1. SETUP | Each Player Chooses a Wonder Board
Kicking off how to play 7 Wonders is all about deciding the unique wonder each player will have. In the base game, there are 7 different wonders (like the Pyramids or Mt. Olympus) all with an “A” and a “B” side. Each player needs to choose one board and one of the two sides. This can be on purpose or at random depending on how you want to do it.
2. SETUP | Each Player Gets Starting Coins
Money is used to buy resources from your neighbors and other things. They come in values of 1 or 3. Each player starts with 3x 1 value coins.
3. SETUP | Put Together Initial Age Decks
There are three different “age” decks that represent the different eras of your civilization. The “I” goes first, “II” goes second and “III” goes third. The cards that go in these decks will have symbols on the bottom that correlate to the number of players there are. For example, if you are playing with three players you would remove any of the cards with symbols that indicate it should only be used in 4, 5, 6 or 7 player games. Return removed cards to box.
4. SETUP | Add Guild cards to Age III deck
The guild cards are very special cards that have no amount of players symbols like the other cards. There are many of these and only some of them are secretly added to the “III” deck to keep things random. Shuffle in 5 cards for 3x players, 6 for 4x, 7 for 5x, 8 for 6x or 9 for 7x players. This is the last step in how to play 7 Wonders before getting into gameplay.
5. GAMEPLAY | Start of Era | Deal out Cards
For each age (I, II, III) there is a round where players simultaneously choose a card and take an action, card by card until all the cards are gone. Players are each dealt 7 cards to start. Each player will take a card to do this process and then pass the stack to their neighbor, repeating again with the new stack of 6, then stack of 5 and so on.
6. GAMEPLAY | Round Part 1 | Take a Card
Each player looks at the stack of cards they were dealt and picks one to use. These can be all sorts of things from resources to economic or military actions. You are picking against other players so the key is to take the most in-demand cards while keeping in mind what you are passing and what you think will come back to you. Everyone chooses at the same time, so set your card aside and when all players are ready, reveal all at once.
7. GAMEPLAY | Round Part 2 | Play an Action
Now that you have your selected card you can do one of three things with it – (1) Build the structure on the card, (2) complete a stage of your wonder or (3) discard it and take 3 coins from the bank. This is the most complex step of how to play 7 Wonders but relax, it gets easier with time.
8. GAMEPLAY | Rounds Part 2 | Play an Action | How Resources Work
There is a resource symbol in the top left corner of your wonder board and on cards that give you things to use. There are raw materials (brown) like wood, stone, ore and clay; and manufactured goods (gray) like glass, loom and papyrus. The cards you choose are going to have a cost in the top left corner. In order to play that card, you need to have those resources out on your board at the exact moment you have it. When you buy or acquire new resources, they slide into the top corner of your board growing what resources you have and your subsequent options to buy. IMPORTANT: Besides what you have in front of you, you can pay 2 coins to your neighbor in order to use one resource of something they have available to them.
9. GAMEPLAY | Round Part 2 | Play an Action | Other Symbols
Ultimately you want to get the cards with the green laurels, these are victory points which is what you need to win. Past there, there are science cards which are all about set collection. There are three different symbols of these and your points are going to come down to how many unique sets you can put together. Both of these things are not necessary to pursue but are certainly strategies you may want to take.
10. GAMEPLAY | Round Part 2 | Play an Action | How Wonders Work
Every player has their own specific Wonder in front of them to construct. You do not have to do this, there are many other ways to win, but it is a key place to use action and can give big bonuses if you get it done. There are three stages and no these do not correlate to the three ages in any way. You can do these all in one era or spread it out as you see fit. The only thing is you need to go in order, you need to do the far left space before you can move right. When you have your selected card, instead of playing it as is, you can flip it over and make it part of your wonder. To do this you need to pay the cost on the wonder spot, similar to what you would see in the top corner of a card. You then get the big bonus that is dead center of that wonder spot.
11. GAMEPLAY | Round Part 3 | Move onto Next
Once everyone has completed their action, you look at the stack you were passed by your neighbor and repeat. Since each hand of cards starts with 7 cards at the beginning of the era and you DO NOT use the last cards, this process will happen 6 times for each player with everyone discarding the last card. As you will see in how to play 7 Wonders, many steps are repeated.
12. GAMEPLAY | End of Age Military Action Scoring
After each of the three Ages, a military action takes place with each player getting plus or minus victory points based on their militaries (shield icons) versus their neighbors. You match up against your two neighbors so this process happens twice for everyone with three outcomes. (1) If there is a tie in military power, nothing happens, (2) If you have a lower military power you take a -1 marker or (3) if you have more you get positive points based on the era, +1 for age I, +3 for age II and +5 for age III.
13. GAMEPLAY | Repeat for Eras “II” and “III”
The process described above happens for each of the three eras, so do it again for the “II” and “III” ages. The only major difference is how you pass. In the “I” and “III” eras you are passing cards left to your neighbor, but in the “II” era you are passing right. This is indicated by the little circle and arrow symbol at the bottom of the back of the cards. Learning how to play 7 Wonders is the easy part, mastering how to control your opponents is the difficult thing.
14. GAME END | When Three Eras Have Completed
After you have done the drafting and playing of the three eras and done the military check after each, the game is over and you move to scoring. There is a convenient score pad included to go through the phases of scoring. Do not be deterred by all the steps on this guide for how to play 7 Wonders, it is just easier to have a succinct checklist.
15. SCORING | Military points
Count all the markers you received during the military checks, whether negatives from losing or positives from winning
16. SCORING | Money Points
For every three coins you have, you can turn in for 1 victory point. Any extras past that are not worth anything.
17. SCORING | Wonder Points
If you have completed any stages of your wonder, add in any victory point gains that it indicates.
18. SCORING | Structure Points
You have played many different structures (single cards that hang around and do something) and some of those may give you victory point bonuses (or deductions). Add those in now.
19. SCORING | Guild Card Points
Those special guild cards that came out in Age III probably had some effect on victory points. Factor that in now.
20. SCORING | Science Structures
The most complex part of scoring is for sets of science structures. Of the three symbols, for each one you want to collect as many of the same symbol as possible, but at the same time, you want sets (1 of each of the 3 types). Looking individually, if you have 1 you get 1 point, if you have 2x of that symbol you get 4, 3x of that symbol gets 9 and 4x gets 16 victory points. For sets, you get a bonus of 7 points each.
21. WINNING | Highest VP Total Wins
After scoring all the categories together, whoever has the highest victory point total wins.
HOW TO PLAY 7 WONDERS – KEY INFORMATION
You can only play one building with the same name. This does not mean type, you can play many of the same type, it has to do with the very specific name. You cannot, for example, play 2x “Caravansery” cards.
There is an “expert” 2-player variant of this game that exists but we will not explain here. There is also a completely separate stand-alone game called 7 Wonders Duel that is built specifically for 2 players.
- 7 Wonder Boards
- 7 Wonder Cards
- 49 Age I Cards
- 49 Age II Cards
- 50 Age III Cards
- 46 Conflict Tokens
- 24 Value 3 Coins
- 46 Value 1 Coins
- 1 Score Booklet
- 1 Rulebook
- 1 Help Sheet
- 2 <2 player> Cards
HOW TO PLAY 7 WONDERS – IN CLOSING
We hope you can now say you know how to play 7 Wonders. This drafting strategy game is a classic and one of those games that belong on everyone’s shelf. It is so hard to think that a game this robust could be as quick and as easy as 7 Wonders, but they do it. The up to 7 players option is also a hard task to cover, but again, flawless execution and top-notch choice.
SEE ALSO GAME SHOWDOWNS: