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Repos Production: 7 Wonders – Hints and Strategies

July 6, 2011

7 wonders is a game where it can seem difficult to figure out what sort of strategy you should use. The real trick to it is to realize that what you’re dealing with is a meta-game. That is which strategy you should be using is directly related to what your opponents are doing. More specifically, you want to be doing whatever your opponents are not doing.

So first let’s check out the different ways to score points in the game.

In the game there are 5 basic methods to score points

Build your Wonder

Unless  you’re playing the B side or the pyramids, your wonder will be worth 10 points if you complete it. There is a card in age 3 that can augment this score by giving  you 1 additional point and 3 additional coin for every stage you’ve completed.

Since every 3 coin is worth 1 point this card can be worth 6 points at the end of the game. This means that completing your wonder can be worth up to 16 points at the cost of 4 cards. If you’re playing the B side the amount your wonder is worth can vary quite a bit.

Not only that but keep in mind that your wonder is the best way to bury cards you don’t want your neighbors to get. Discarding is another method, but one of the wonders actually gets to go through the discard pile making it a less effective way to deny cards.

Blue Cards

This is pretty straight forward. Every blue card is directly worth points. Additionally, nearly all of them are part of chains. There are three exceptions. The Pawnshop in Age 1, the townhall in age 3 and the Palace in Age 3. Neither of these cards are a part of any sort of chain. There are 3 basic chains in the blue cards

Baths(3) > Aqueduct(5)

Altar(2) > Temple(3) > Pantheon(7)

Theater(2) > Statue(4) > Gardens(5)

Pawnshop(3)

Town Hall(6)

Palace(8)

Looking at this we notice a few things. The shortest chain doesn’t seem worth it as it’s only 8 points. However, it is worth 4 points per card which is as much as any of the other chains. What’s more the other chains are only worth 4 points per card if you are able to complete the chain. Otherwise they both end up being around 3 points per card, making it the equivalent  of playing 2 pawnshops.

So, really what this is telling us is that you can think of the altar and theater more as resources then point cards. We also see that the unchained blue cards are fairly nice as they outperform the chains in terms of efficiency. the downside is that the age 3 cards cost a fair amount in terms of resources Making them possibly not as good when you consider all of the resource cards or coins you’ll be spending to play them.

So, in general if you’re looking at blue cards you’re probably talking chains. This is because you’ll likely end up having to pass on resource cards in order to play the early blue cards. This means that when age 3 rolls around you simply won’t be able to play those cards.

If you complete all 3 chains then blue cards are worth a total of 31 points. If you manage to get all of the singles they total an additional 17 points.

Red Cards

This is both simpler and harder to do. If you never play any red cards you can expect to get -6 points in most games. You might get lucky and lose less than this in which case you probably should of played a red card yourself. That being said If you manage to win on both sides after every age you can rack up 18 points. This means that in terms of Red cards you are looking at a 24 point swing. Efficiency is the key to this set. You want to score as many victories as you can using the fewest number of military cards possible. Ideally, you should be able to score a victory in every age by playing only 4 or fewer cards. If you can do this then each of those cards is worth 6+ points. Fewer is obviously better but because your opponent will likely build military in response to you in general you’ll have to drop one military card per age plus one additional military card to prevent them from being able to match you. overbuilding military is a waste of time and resources since unless you get the guild (which may not even be in the game) that gives you points for military those cards are just eating up space and not doing anything for you. If neither of your opponents can even tie with you with a single play they probably aren’t going to bother and even if they do at least  you’ll get some warning and they won’t suddenly screw you on the final play of an age.

Green Cards

This is one that always seems to give new players trouble. Understanding how many points green cards are worth. this is because green cards are scored in two different ways and count both ways. I think it’s this double dipping that gets players confused. There are 3 symbols that can be found on green cards. A compass, a tablet and a gear. the first method of scoring is pretty easy. You score for having multiples of the same kind of card.

Each card is worth a number of points equal to how many of that card you have. So, if for example you have 1 such card it is worth 1 point. If you have 4 of the same card each one is worth 4 points.

Now, in addition to this for every set of Compass, tablet and gear you have you get 7 points.

So, if I had 1 compass, 1 tablet and 1 wheel I would score a total of 10 points

If I had 2 compasses, 2 tablets and 2 wheels I would score a total of 26 points

In age 1 there is 1 of each symbol available

in age 2 there is 1 compass, 1 wheel and 2 tablets available

in age 3 there is 1 tablet, 2 compasses and 2 wheels available

Additionally, there is a guild that gives 1 symbol of your choice and one of the wonders also gives you a symbol of your choice. Because these can’t be relied upon though (that guild may not be in the game and you may not have said wonder) so the most you can get in, in a game with green cards, is to have 4 of each kind which would result in 76 points. However, with observant players its unlikely to be able to do even this well.

Coins

This one is fairly obvious. You get points for every 3 coins you have at the end of the game. There are a number of cards that give you coins based on what you have in play. So if you or a neighbor has been collecting a large amount of a certain kind of card it’s a good idea to pay attention so that when these money cards show up you can literally “cash in” on the situation. One way you can promote trade from  your neighbors is to pay attention to what resources they need to build their wonder. By making these resources available (at a price) to them then not only do you prevent them from playing the card themselves but now they have to pay you to use it. Additionally, you don’t want markets to fall into the hands of your neighbors even if they aren’t pointed at you as it kills your ability to make money off of them. So, you’ll want to either play or bury markets that pop up.

So, which one is best?

As I said in the beginning what is best depends entirely on what your opponents are doing. You’ll want to pay very close attention to what your neighbor to the right of you is doing as they have the most influence over what cards you’ll see. If they’re playing every blue card they see, then going blue isn’t going to be a viable strategy for you simply because you won’t see very many of them. If your neighbor is playing military the last thing they want you to do is escalate meaning even if they can’t play a particular red card they’re likely to bury it before you can see it.

So, you want to do whatever other players near you are not doing. However, it’s not enough to just say go straight military or all blue cards. In most games you will need a minimum of 50 points to win and sometimes even then it’s possible for multiple players to score over 50. But it makes a nice goal and illustrates a problem. With the exception of green cards (which you’ll only score a lot of if nobody is paying attention) no one strategy listed above will get you 50 points. If you do really well some will only give you 30 or so. This means that you need to do at least 3 of the above methods of scoring points.

In practical terms what this means is building your wonder and picking two other strategies to go after. This works well since typically your wonder will synergize well with one of the strategies making it easier to pursue. You can of course stretch yourself even thinner and try to do 4 all 5 but that would mean scoring at least 10 points in each method which may not be practical. At the very least because your neighbor will be heavy into one of these things making it difficult for you to do the same.

Really, it’s a balancing act. For every area you decide not to pursue you’ll need to pick up an extra 10 points among the areas you are pursuing. So, certainly you can win without building even stage 1 of your wonder (I’ve done it before), but only if you do well enough in other areas to make up for the deficit.

Another way to think about it is, during the game you will play a total of 18 cards. If each card you play is worth 3 points then at the end of the game you would have a total of 54 points. The problem of course is that unless you have a card that gives you points for your resources then they aren’t worth anything at the end. So averaging 3 points per card can be more challenging than it seems. But it could give you an indicator of how well you’re doing if you are otherwise unsure.

What about guilds?

Now, it is true that guilds are worth points at the end of the game but the problem is you can’t count on which guilds will be in any given game (as it’s randomized) and if there is a guild that would be very obviously good for you chances are you’ll never see it. However, the more you diversify the better your odds are that at least one of the guilds you see will be worth a decent number of points.

Additional Considerations Regarding Resources

Now, there are some additional considerations when it comes to the brown and grey cards (resources). Grey cards in general are only used to build green cards. they are used to build the occasional blue and purple card but you’ll really only need them if you’re planning on playing green cards. This means that if your wonder is providing you with a grey resource upfront you are already in a good position to play green cards. Alternatively, if you’re not planning on playing green cards you can probably skip these all together, unless neither of your neighbors has them. If neither of your neighbors have them then they won’t be playing green cards, additionally if you play the grey resources now if your neighbor wants to play a green card they’ll have to pay you to do so.

Something else to keep in mind is that there are only a handful of cards in the game that require more than 2 of any one resource to build. So unless you have a wonder that requires 3 or 4 of a particular resource you want to avoid building duplicates of a resource beyond 2. Even if you have a wonder that takes say 3 of one resource, look to see if any of your neighbors have some. You can save yourself a card by purchasing the 3rd one from a neighbor. In a case like this where you know you’ll be buying you probably want to play some yellow cards either to give you more coin or to make that purchase cheaper for you. You’re likely to get more use out of those yellow cards then you are large quantities of the same resource and even if you don’t you’re not really any worse off than if you’d just built the extraneous resource. Sometimes it is unavoidable though in which case it’s better to go ahead and build the extra resource that you know you’ll need instead of getting cheated out of points later on because no one has what you need.

In conclusion, diversity is a very good thing in this game. This is why often players who are playing for the first time tend to do well. They aren’t sure what they should be doing and so they try a little bit of everything. However, often they will fall into the trap of overbuilding military and ignoring green cards making it easy to win if you know what you’re doing.


Part 1: Repos Production: 7 Wonders – Review
Part 2: Repos Production: 7 Wonders – Hints and Strategies
Part 3: Repos Production: 7 Wonders ~ Leaders – Review
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One comment

  1. Interesting about the blue card chains, the various frequencies of green cards through the ages (does this change when less/more players), and that grey resources are only really useful for a green game – never thought of it that way before.



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