30 July 2023
Cooperation works wonders
Back when 7 Wonders was gloriously remastered in its beautiful second edition, plans were announced for reprinting the game’s original expansions to match this bold new aesthetic. Well, most of the expansions.
Whilst the tactical planning of Leaders or cutthroat nature of Cities have been praised for their tweaks to the drafting classic (also Armada added boats and who doesn’t love boats?) such kind words were rarely said about Babel, the expansion that added a mutual wonder that could upend the game’s contemplative construction chain into chaos. Whilst many players did not enjoy having an entire game ruined at the last moment by a surprise bear trap of a babel tile being slotted in at the worst moment, the expansion did also include a collaborative module, one which has survived the sands of time to be reprinted here as 7 Wonders: Edifice.
This reimplementation has helped chisel off the original’s rough exterior, revealing a sparkling diamond of design. Each age will have one edifice card, which each player can finance once whilst building part of their wonder, grabbing a participation pawn to add to their game board. A massive applause to whoever sculpted these tokens, as designing each one to have a number of arches that match the age is just SUBLIME visual design.
If the last pawn is removed from the card, the edifice is complete and everyone who contributed receives the reward printed. If however it is unfinished by the last placement of the age, everyone who DIDN’T contribute receives a penalty, either losing cards or taking victory point debt.
In play, this expansion finally delivers on adding something that lets you focus on everyone’s efforts instead of just yours and your neighbours. With a limited number of pawns available each age, someone is going to be left out, but is that someone going to be you? By tying edifice construction to your Wonder, it adds new depth to everyone’s decisions, as rushing a wonder early means missing out on future edifice opportunities. Likewise, if your wonder has less than three stages, which of the three edifices in this game are worth investing into? All three edifices are dealt out at the beginning of the game, giving players perfect information from which to formulate their best plan for success.
The new wonders follow the theme of thinking about everyone else’s actions. Much like previous expansions, Edifice includes one wonder that revolves around the new mechanic and one that can slot into any game. The former, Ur, grants you bonus participation pawns, fully investing you into these collaborative projects and challenging you to find your victory points elsewhere. The latter, Carthage, provides a multiple choice of what bonus your wonder provides in certain ages, letting you shape your wonder to fit the right niche to thrive in each game. Both are well envisioned and offer the right amount of new choices to revitalise the game.
For me, this expansion is going right into rotation for replay games. Too often it can be easy to forget there’s an entire other half of the table, as your only concerns are what your neighbours are doing. By having everyone caring about what edifices are available and why others might want them, it makes you better at playing the base game and has led to final scores often being considerably closer than before.
Whilst it’s not straightforward enough to be used in games with newer players (who might explode from having so much information to have to keep in mind) for experienced classical era drafters this is a superb addition to their collection.
PLAY IT? YES
One of those great little expansions that will likely become one of your “must include” options for 7 Wonders.
TRY THIS IF YOU LIKED: 7 Wonders
You’re gonna struggle to enjoy this expansion if the classical era card drafting game isn’t to your liking!
Designer: Antoine Bauza
Publisher: Repos Production
Time: 45 minutes
What’s in the box?
- Score pad
- 3 Player aids
- 2 Wonder boards
- 24 Plastic participation awards
- 30 Cardboard tokens
- 15 Tarot sized edifice cards
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