App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
7 Wonders is a deck-building game where players compete to try and build the greatest civilization possible. Originally released in 2010 as a tabletop game, the world-renowned title has finally come to mobile, and it’s mostly in an uncompromised state. There are a few things about this digital version that aren’t quite as good as its tabletop counterpart, but make no mistake: 7 Wonders is still a great deal of fun.
In 7 Wonders, each player plays as one of seven ancient civilizations, and each has their own wonder to build. Giza has the pyramids, Babylon the hanging gardens, and so on. To build these wonders, players must collect the requisite resources, but they can also make plays to increase their military strength, trade, or even build up civic infrastrucure.
This might make 7 Wonders sound like a complicated tabletop version of Civilization, but that’s where you’d be wrong. All of these decisions for building up your civilization come from a simple card drafting mechanic. In each round of 7 Wonders, players are all dealt a hand of cards, which they then choose one card from before passing along to to the next player and repeating the process with the new hand that was passed to them. This system makes for game that’s really easy to learn, but allows for all kinds of strategic depth that reveal themselves the more you play.
Age of empires
No matter whether you’re facing off against bots in a solo match or playing online with 3-7 players, 7 Wonders follows a set progression through three ages. Throughout each of these stages, the sets of available cards change, but your goal always stays the same. You want to earn as many victory points as possible before the end of the third age. Victory points can be earned in a wide variety of ways, and doing so is not entirely dependent on building up your civilization's wonder. In fact, it's possible to win a game of 7 Wonders without investing in your wonder at all.
This flexibility for how players can achieve victory makes 7 Wonders feel like a really dynamic game. Selecting cards in 7 Wonders isn’t as simple as just picking strong cards and passing the weaker ones along, nor is it about blindly building up your wonder. In order to win, you need to pay careful attention to your neighboring civilizations, invest smartly in resources, and find ways to protect yourself to maximize your point gains while minimizing those of your opponents.
Wondering where to look
Given all of the potential paths to victory in 7 Wonders, there’s a lot of things you need to pay attention to, and it’s in this arena that the digital version of this game falls short. Although most everything you need to follow the action is presented on screen, its presentation is not particularly elegant. It can be quite the headache to dig through menus and swipe down on opponents' boards to take peeks at what they've been up to. This stands in stark contrast to the physical version of the game where all cards and boards are easily visible and legible at all times.
In addition to readability problems, certain features from the tabletop game are missing in this digital version of 7 Wonders. Specifically, the ability to force players to play as random civilizations and the two-player variant of the game are nowhere to be found here. These things won’t likely hinder your enjoyment of the game too much, but their absence is noticeable and could prove irksome to more competitive players.
The bottom line
7 Wonders is a fantastic tabletop game, and it’s amazing how well its mechanics and strategy hold up in a digital format. There are some problems when it comes to surfacing all of the information you need to play in a way that is legible, and there’s a missing feature or two, but those things are only small blemishes on an exquisite game.