7 Wonders: Duel Beginner’s Guide
This post will guide you through the rules and gameplay of 7 Wonders: Duel as fast and efficiently as possible.
7 Wonders: Duel is one of the most popular board games that have ever been released. It is only for 2 players, contrary to the basic version which can host up to 7 players.
Generally, it is a game for 2 players which does not contain dice and has several ways of achieving victory over the opponent. It is very strategic in itself, easy to learn and has only a few elements of luck as you will see later.
The main story behind it is that each player is an Emperor, who tries to build its city and civilization better than its opponent and achieve victory. Apart from the Ancient Wonders that a player should build, there are many scientific, military, civilian, commercial and resource buildings that should aid you in this journey. Guilds also appear later as powerful building additions, but only during the last part of the game.
At first glance
Before you begin your gameplay, you can see an example below of how the game will be set up prior starting:
Each player receives 7 coins at the start of the game.
You can see that there are 4 big cards in each player’s side. Those are the Wonders, powerful buildings that offer great bonuses and have to be built by the players at the right cost. The game includes 12 Wonders in total, out of which 8 in total (4+4) will be randomly selected by players at the drafting phase before the game begins.[the_ad_placement id=”header-code”]
The cards in the middle are buildings of all types randomly laid out. Those are buildings such as Scientific (green cards), Commercial (yellow cards), Resource (brown & gray cards), Civilian (blue cards), Military (red cards) or Guilds which appear later in Age 3 (purple cards with a ‘G’ symbol). The pattern (shape) of the layout is predetermined by the game itself. The one shown in this picture is Age I. The game has 3 Ages in total, which means there are going to be 3 different patterns along the course of the game, and their layout is shown below:
Each Age pattern will be laid out by the different colored cards of each Age (I, II and III).
Below there is a screenshot which explains in more detail the elements of the starting setup:
The military track and the scientific tokens act as an extra part of the board where the Military Strength of each player is measured. The game includes 8 Scientific Tokens in total, and only 5 of them will be randomly selected at the start of each playthrough and placed in the Scientific Token row and the rest will be placed in the box.
Card Cost and Symbols
7 Wonders: Duel’s gameplay depends on decks of cards, which each player takes advantage of in several ways at the start of the round.
All the cards are depicting buildings, which offer benefits to the player as long as their cost is paid in order to add them to the city.
As you can see from the different cards above, the cost of each card is shown on the middle left of the card, meaning you have to spend this exact amount of resources shown if you want to build this card in your city. The cost can include gold pieces. Whenever there is no cost involved, it means that if you choose so, you may build this building for free during your round.
Sometimes you will find various symbols on the cards. Those mean that there is an alternative way of building those cards for free, provided you have built the card with the same symbol on the middle left in the previous Age. If done so, you may build the card that has that same symbol on the top right in the next Age if you decide to choose it.
The benefits of each card are always shown on the top of it, and will be explained later below.[the_ad_placement id=”header-code”]
It is up to the players to choose who will be the first to begin. In Ages II and III however, the player who plays first is always the one who has the weakest military. If the military strength is the same, then the one with the most Victory points through Civilian (blue) buildings at the time will play first.
Both players shall shuffle the 12 Wonder cards and place 4 of those randomly in the middle. The first player will choose 1 of them first, then the second player shall choose the next two and the one remaining will go to the first player. Now it is time to repeat this process, by placing 4 more Wonders randomly in the middle. This time the second player will get to choose the first Wonder of this batch, followed by the first player choosing the next two and last one going to the second player. Place the 4 remaining Wonders in the box as they will not be played.
Once a player’s turn comes, he can choose to act in one of the following ways:
1. Construct an available building by spending the correct amount of resources (by picking it from the board and placing it in front of you).
2. Discard a card from the board to gain 2 coins plus 1 coin for every Commercial (yellow) card built in your city.
3. Construct a Wonder by paying its cost and reserving an available card of your choice from the board as a prerequisite.
Every time an Age is about to begin, you must shuffle the deck of cards of that Age and then randomly remove 3 of them out of the game. An exception is that when setting up Age 3, you will not only remove 3 random cards from that deck, but you have to also include 3 random Guild cards (purple with ‘G’ symbol). After doing so, you may proceed with laying out the cards as shown in the Age patterns earlier above.
There is a reason why the layout of cards in each Age are placed like the screenshot below:
During their turn, players must choose one of the actions by using one of the available cards. The order that the cards can be used will always be from bottom to top. If a card is ‘locked’ by other cards below, a player cannot choose it as an option, it first has to be unlocked by having the other cards picked first thus making it available.
In the example above, in order for a player to choose the red-bordered card, the two green-bordered cards have to first be picked or discarded from the board. This rule applies to all cards in all three layouts. They can be picked as long as no other card is blocking them from below.
Important: A hidden card is revealed the instant it becomes unblocked by all the other cards below it.
7 Wonders.. only!
Another basic rule is that whenever the 7th Wonder in total is built between the two players, the 8th will cease to be available for construction and will end up in the discard pile.
This means that there is a small Wonder-building race between the players, as the one who will leave his fourth Wonder last, will not be able to build it throughout the course of the game!
Resources are gained by various cards or Wonders that each player has built in the city. Those resources are available at the start of the round but are not stockpiled in-between rounds, which means that at the end of each player’s turn the resources reset and are calculated again in the new round.
Example: Let’s suppose that a player has the following cards and Wonder built in the city:
Based on the cards above, that player can generate the following resources each round:
– 1 Wood
– 2 Stones
– 1 Papyrus
– 1 Papyrus OR 1 Glass
– 1 Wood OR 1 Stone OR 1 Clay (from the Great Lighthouse Wonder)
If the player does not make use of any of the resources in his round, it does not mean that those will double next turn. Every round, all the resources are reset and recalculated.
What happens when there are not enough raw resources to construct a building?
Let’s say that a player with the above resources wants to construct a building that requires 1 Wood and 3 Clay.
The player can acquire 1 Wood from the Lumber Yard, and 1 Clay from the Great Lighthouse. However, he is now missing 2 more Clay in order to complete the construction.
In this case, players may purchase remaining resources needed from the bank at the cost of gold coins.
Every single instance of resource bought costs 2 coins plus 1 coin for each piece of that same resource that the opponent generates through brown or gray cards (resources generated from any other cards do not increase the cost).
If the opponent generates 0 Clay from his brown or gray cards, then the total cost for buying 2 Clay in order to complete the construction would be 2+2=4.
However, if the opponent owns a brown or gray card that generates 1 Clay, then the total cost would go up to 6 for two pieces of Clay (2+1+2+1), and the cost would increase accordingly based on the needed resource, if more are generated by the opponent through brown or gray cards.
There are three ways for a player to win in 7 Wonders: Duel, and those are:
1. Military supremacy
2. Scientific supremacy
3. Civilian victory
If a player achieves military or scientific supremacy, the game will end on the spot with him being the winner. A civilian victory will eventually be determined by the player who built the city better at the end of Age III and no supremacies were achieved throughout the game.
Military supremacy[the_ad_placement id=”header-code”]
Each shield represented on the military Buildings (red cards) or Wonders allows its owner to immediately move the Conflict pawn one space in the direction of the opposing capital. The Conflict pawn is therefore likely to move back and forth on the track.
When the Conflict pawn enters a zone (defined by dotted lines), the active player applies the effect of the corresponding token, then returns it to the box. The effects of these tokens will occur only once and will not be repeated when the Conflict pawn moves back and forth.
If the Conflict pawn enters the space of your opponent’s capital, you immediately win the game via military supremacy.
There are 7 different scientific symbols in the game (6 on the green cards plus ‘the Law’ Progress token).
Each time you gather a pair of identical scientific symbols, you may immediately choose one of the Progress tokens on the game board. That token will be kept in your city until the end of the game and will give you its benefits.
If you gather 6 different scientific symbols, you immediately win the game.
A game ends immediately in the case of a military supremacy, a scientific supremacy, or at the end of Age III.
If no player has won a victory through supremacy before the end of Age III, the player who has the most victory points wins the game.
Victory points can be seen in many cards and Wonders with different values and are identified with the symbol below:
Calculating points for a Civilian victory
When the last card of Age III has been drawn and no supremacy victory has been achieved, it is time to start calculating each player’s victory points in order to determine the winner.
The scoreboard included in the game includes 2 columns where each player will write down the victory points received from all the different aspects of the game, starting from top to bottom.
To calculate the overall score of a player, you have to sum up the points as follows:
1. Military victory points (0, 2, 5 or 10 depending on where the Conflict pawn ended up at the end of the game).
2. Victory points earned from all constructed buildings (blue, green, yellow and purple cards).
3. Victory points earned from constructed Wonders.
4. Victory points earned from the green-circled Progress tokens.
5. Your city’s gold reserve at the end, every set of 3 gold coins gives 1 point to the player.
In case both players have the same Victory points in the end, the one who gets the most points from his Civilian (blue) buildings will be the winner. In the unlikely event that those points are the same too, both players can share the victory!
Description of the Symbols:
Looting 2 or 5 coins
Your opponent loses 2 or 5 coins depending on the token. They are returned to the bank. Then the token is returned to the box. If your opponent doesn’t have enough coins, they lose all of their coins.
6 Immediately take 6 coins from the Bank. .’ The token is worth 4 victory points.
Any future Wonders built by you will cost 2 fewer resources. At each construction, you are free to choose which resources this rebate affects.
You gain the money spent by your opponent when they trade for resources.
Be careful, this is only for the money spent obtaining resources, not for the coins which are part of Building costs.
Clarification: the trade discounts of your opponent (Stone Reserve, Wood Reserve, Clay Reserve, and Customs House cards) change the purchase price, but the Economy Progress token allows you to gain the actual money spent by your opponent.
This token is worth a scientific symbol.
Any future civilian Buildings (blue cards) constructed by you will cost 2 fewer resources. At each construction, you are free to choose which resources this rebate affects.
At the end of the game, score 3 victory points for each Progress token in your possession (including itself).
The token is worth 7 victory points.
Once this token enters play, your new military Buildings (red cards) will benefit from 1 extra Shield.
Example: a military Building with 2 shields will therefore allow the player to move the Conflict pawn 3 spaces towards the enemy capital.
- This Progress does not apply to Wonders which have the Shield symbol.
- This Progress has no effect on military cards built before it came into play.
All future Wonders constructed by you are all treated as though they have the “Play Again” effect.
Be careful, Wonders which already have this effect are not affected (a given Wonder cannot have the “Play Again” effect twice).
Immediately take 6 coins from the Bank.
Each time you construct a Building for free through linking (free construction condition, chain), you gain 4 coins.
At the end of the game, this card is worth 2 victory points for each Wonder constructed in the city which has the most wonders.
At the end of the game, this card is worth 1 victory point for each set of 3 coins in the richest city.
At the time it is constructed, this card earns you 1 coin for each green card in the city which has the most green cards. At the end of the game, this card is worth 1 victory point for each green card in the city which has the most green cards.
At the time it is constructed, this card grants you 1 coin for each brown and each grey card in the city which has the most brown and grey cards.
At the end of the game, this card is worth 1 victory point for each brown and grey card in the city which has the most brown and grey cards.
Clarification: the player is forced to choose one, and only one, city for both colors of cards.
At the time it is constructed, the card grants you 1 coin for each yellow cat in the city which has the most yellow cards. At the end of the game, this card is worth 1 victory point for each yellow card in the city which has the most yellow cards.
At the time it is constructed, this card grants you 1 coin for each blue card in the city which has the most blue cards. At the end of the game, this card is worth 1 victory point for each blue card in the city which has the most blue cards.
At the time it is constructed, this card grants you 1 coin for each red card in the city which has the most red cards. At the end of the game, this card is worth 1 victory point for each red card in the city which has the most red cards.
- For all guild cards which grant coins, the coins are taken from the bank, once and only once, at the moment in which the card is constructed.
- At the end of the game, the city chosen for the victory point gain can be dif- ferent from the one previously chosen for the coin gain.
The Appian Way
You take 3 coins from the bank. This Wonder is worth 3 victory points.
Your opponent loses 3 coins, which are returned to the bank. Immediately play a second turn.
Place in the discard pile a grey card (manufactured goods) of your choice constructed by your opponent. This Wonder is worth 1 Shield. This Wonder is worth 3 victory points.
This Wonder is worth 2 Shields. This Wonder is worth 3 victory points.
The Great Library
Randomly draw 3 Progress tokens from among those discarded at the beginning of the game. Choose one, play it, and return the other 2 to the box. This Wonder is worth 4 victory points.
The Great Lighthouse
This Wonder produces one unit of the resources shown (Stone, Clay, or Wood) for you each turn. This Wonder is worth 4 victory points.
Clarification: This production has no impact on the cost of trading.
The Hanging Gardens
You take 6 coins from the bank. Immediately play a second turn.
This Wonder is worth 3 victory points.
Take all of the cards which have been discarded since the beginning of the game and immediately construct one of your choice for free. This Wonder is worth 2 victory points. Clarification:The cards discarded during setup are not part of the discard.
This Wonder produces one unit of one of the resources shown (Glass or Papyrus) for you each turn. Immediately play a second turn. This Wonder is worth 2 victory points. Clarification: This production has no impact on the cost of trading.
This Wonder is worth 9 victory points.
Immediately play a second turn. This Wonder is worth 6 victory points.
The Statue Of Zeus
Put in the discard pile one brown card (Raw goods) of your choice constructed by their opponent. This Wonder is worth 1 Shield. This Wonder is worth 3 victory points.
The Temple Of Artemis
Immediately take 12 coins from the Bank.Immediately play a second turn.
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