duel near military

Review: 7 Wonders Duel

In 7 Wonders, 7 wonders duel, All, Reviews by Zach Hillegas5 Comments

7 Wonders Duel Review

duel box

Close your eyes. I’m going to tell you something that’s going to blow your mind. It’s a groundbreaking idea; are you sure you’re ready for it? Alright, here goes.

Imagine 7 WondersAS A TWO-PLAYER GAME. 

What? You say that 7 Wonders is already a two-player game?! I say that you’re full of baloney.

…Okay, well, you’re not wrong. 7 Wonders can be played with two players…but not really. Its two player mode is a variant that requires a third “dummy player” to join in, and the overall consensus is that it just doesn’t work that well–at least, that’s what the folks at Repos Productions must have thought, as they decided to go and give us a special, two-player only version of 7 Wonders.

Now, don’t be fooled. This is not an expansion, an add-on, or downloadable content. This is a separate, standalone game that preserves the spirit of 7 Wonders, while also assuming an identity of its own. The entire design premise of the game was to make the experience of 7 Wonders compatible with two players, which ultimately required an overhaul of the game, now packaged in a cute little miniaturized box.

7 Wonders Duel is smaller, cheaper, and a tad less intimidating, but it’s a great game in its own right. Designed by none other than Antoine Bauza, the creator of the original, and released just a month or so ago, 7 Wonders Duel has a lot to live up to. For fans of the original game, there must be some burning questions. Does it feel like 7 Wonders? Is it that much better than the dummy player variant? How does it compare to the originals? We’ll explore these questions in the more in this 7 Wonders Duel review.

Gameplay

How do you play the game? Is it a fun experience? How much interaction is there between the players? Is there very much luck involved? Will it take forever to to learn and teach?

duel gameplay 2

Depth

How much strategy is involved? Is there a sense of variety and balance? Does the game play well no matter how many players there are? How long does it take to play?

duel strategy 2

Look and Feel

Is the game aesthetically pleasing? Are the components made out of quality material, or do they feel cheap? Is the rulebook well-designed and easy to read? How well is theme integrated into the game?

duel military

Value

Is it a game you can play over and over? Are there expansions available for the game, and if so, are they necessary? Does the amount of the content in the box justify the price?

duel final

Conclusion

duel gameplay 4

7 Wonders Duel is a game that boldly sets off to recreate the experience of 7 Wonders in the context of a competitive two-player game, and in almost every count it succeeds with flying colors.

While fun and strategic, the game didn’t quite grip me like 7 Wonders did, and this was something that was hard to come to terms with until I realized that they are both very different games. You’re not guaranteed to like this if you’re a 7 Wonders fan, and you might just like it if you don’t like the original.

Duel’s biggest departure from 7 Wonders is that it turns the game into a much more competitive experience, requiring you to keep an eye on your opponent just as much, if not more, as your own play area. If the more aggressive nature of Duel is embraced, it turns into a unique game of its own, seperate from, but not completely divorced from its parent game. On the other hand, embracing a laissez faire, two-player Solitaire approach will turn Duel into a veritable bore, and will likely lead to huge upsets and seemingly imbalanced gameplay. 7 Wonders Duel is just that, a duel, and should be treated like one for maximum enjoyment.

The game makes significant changes to certain aspects of the original game, almost exclusively for the better. It’s going to be hard playing 7 Wonders in the future without Duel’s highly improved military/science mechanics, and the new drafting system lends a unique personality of its own, ripe with strategies that simply aren’t an option in the pass n’ play style of the original.

Overall, in an industry where two-player games are becoming a highly sought after hot commodity, I can heartily recommend 7 Wonders Duel. At the end of the day, however, I believe the game stands better on its own than as an extension or remake of the original game. It is quite different in nature despite its fundamental similarities, and embracing these differences is what made the game fun for me. Do yourself a favor and try to look at the game as something new and unique, because if you’re expecting a perfectly faithful adaptation of 7 Wonders, you might feel like something is lacking. Let the game shine in the areas that it intends to, and you’ll have a grand old time.

See what others are saying about 7 Wonders Duel

Verdict

YOU WILL LIKE THIS GAME IF…

  • You’ve bought Leaders, Cities, and Babel and STILL can’t get enough 7 Wonders
  • If you really like 7 Wonders but don’t commonly have a third player
  • You wish 7 Wonders had a bit more player interaction
  • You often get frustrated with the way science and military work in 7 Wonders
  • You’re looking for a fun two player game in general
  • You’re gaming on a budget
  • You want a game that’s quick and easy to play

YOU WON’T LIKE THIS GAME IF…

  • You want 7 Wonders to be perfectly recaptured to a tee
  • If your blood boils at the mention of 7 Wonders
  • The (mostly) non-aggressive nature of 7 Wonders is a high point for you
  • You want a game to be highly variable in nature with every replay
  • You want a game that’s long or heavy in nature
  • You don’t think 7 Wonders carries its weight without expansions


About the Author

Zach Hillegas

Zach is an avid tabletop gamer, and he created Board Game Resource out of his love for the hobby, and his desire to see more people come into it. When he's not writing for or managing BGR, Zach might be hanging out with cats, hiking a mountain, or spending time with his lovely wife. Zach is currently studying for a degree in Business Management. Zach has also enjoys creating digital character art. You can check out his gallery here, or follow him on Instagram at @artworkbyzach!

Comments

  1. Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and in depth information you present.
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  2. I recently taught the game to a friend of mine who had never before played 7 Wonders. One thing that I noticed that was a strong point for teaching this game compared to the other is that in 7 Wonders, each player has a hand of cards that are secret, so they often feel confused at the sheer amount of information, as well as the fact that you can’t ask for advice. Also, the card drafting mechanics (passing the hand in a circle) is often confusing to newbies, because it’s not a common practice outside of hobby gaming.

    However, DUEL allowed me to point to each of the cards that were showing and explain their benefits. My friend was able to ask, “so wait, this does what again?”, and I was able to explain right away, without having them feel foolish and take actions back. For this reason, 7 Wonders Duel is a triumph: it’s far, far easier to teach to players who don’t have experience with the hobby, making it a great “gateway” drug… er… game.

    1. Author

      Yes! Duel is WAY easier to teach than 7 Wonders. It doesn’t seem like it should be that way, because of how similar the game is, but it’s leagues ahead in teachability, and the non-private card selection certainly plays a big role in that. I wish I could just teach Duel to everybody first before they learn 7 Wonders, but that wouldn’t really work with a group. ;p

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