Every game of 7 Wonders plays out differently. This is mainly thanks to the diversity of ways to accumulate victory points. The main game is based around the drafting mechanic but each of the scoring card types adds another new mechanic to explore.
Military cards require bluffing. Science cards encourage set collection. Guild cards reward specialization. Due to the short playtime, you’ll rarely get into all of these during a single game. The myriad combinations of cards means that I’m constantly discovering new, interesting ways to play.
Most games naturally have good replay value, but 7 Wonders is fantastic in this regard. Playing with the same people—and the same strategies—can have dramatically different gameplay if the seating order is changed.
I love teaching people how to play board games. 7 Wonders is great because there are so few game components to familiarize new players with. Aside from the cards there’s the Wonder boards, Gold, and Military tokens. That’s it. You can get a game started with less than 10 minutes of explanation.
The only real problems I run into when teaching 7 Wonders are unfamiliarity with the symbols on the cards, and difficulty understanding how science is scored. Once those are ironed out though, I find new players get into the swing of things very quickly.
You can play 7 Wonders with anywhere between 2 and 7 people. A lot of the other games in my collection cap out at 5 and have to have at least 3 people before they get interesting, so having a game that stretches those limits is fantastic.
If you’re looking to play competitively though, I’d recommend 3 players. As you can only directly trade and fight with your immediate neighbours, the player across the table in a large game can feel quite distant. You play the game the same way, but it’s sometimes frustrating that you can’t interact with everyone equally.
7 Wonders is short. On the box it says 30 minutes, which is about right. The great thing is that because of the simultaneous turns, this number doesn’t increase with the amount of players. A competitive, 3-person game with experienced players can be over even faster. 15-20 minutes isn’t uncommon for me in that situation.
This short playtime helps avoid the boredom or helplessness that sometimes sets in with longer games. Playing your turn is over so fast that it never becomes a chore. Even if you’re doing badly, there’s always a chance that the next hand will contain a game-changing card. If not then there’s not long to the end of the game anyway.