As we both love board games, Alex and I wanted to find some good two player games so we can still play when it’s just us. Of course there are lots of games that can have 2 or more players and none of our games really get neglected at home, however sometimes they just don’t quite work as well when there’s just two. Machi Koro being an example. Alex got researching and found 7 Wonders: Duel ranked highly on BoardGameGeek and we both loved the sound of it. So here’s what I thought of the game.
The aim of the game is to win in one of three ways; either developing science, a civilian victory or through military might. Building the 7 wonders (yes the 7 ancient wonders of the world such as the pyramids) helps you achieve this but you don’t need them all completed to win.
To win through scientific supremacy you must get 7 science/arts tokens (which to us seems nearly impossible to do). To win through victory points is quite simple, collect as many victory points as you can though there are various ways to do this. To win through military might you need to move the war token (through collecting the right cards and wonders) across the board to the opponent’s side.
I loved the dynamic of balancing the three different ways of winning the game. You have to keep an eye out for new opportunities whilst also being aware of the long game. In our first game I was caught unaware by attacks meaning I quickly fell ruin to military might. But I won the second through quietly building up lots of blue cards with high victory points which left with a very high score! It’s the sort of game we always end up discussing in detail after we’ve played, comparing tactics and pointing out where we went wrong!
It looks intimidating when you see the variety of cards and pick up the substantial booklet of instructions. Attempting to read the instructions made it worse. But as soon as you actually lay down the cards and board and start playing the game it quickly falls into place and makes sense. We picked it up completely by the end of the first game (and the instructions suggest which Wonder cards to begin with to make it simpler). The difficulty of the game itself is not high but it is challenging enough to keep you enticed and your brain thinking. We’ve both won an equal amount of times which is quite rare, another reason it’s a game I’m happy to come back to again and again.
The artwork is truly stunning, I found myself choosing Wonders on their prettyness (yes I know it’s not a real word!) rather than their bonuses at times! I felt the cards were presented well making it easy to quickly understand how many resources they represent and the design to stack them up added to this. I liked that the resource cards were small too, so they could be laid out easily.
It’s so refreshing to play a game that is specifically designed for two players. I think this is likely one of the reasons it ranks so highly on BoardGameGeek because, as far as I’m aware, there are few games out there that work really well for just the two player.
With 7 Wonders: Duel it really feels like they focused completely on the 2 player experience, as it would suggest. It still retains the challenge, strategy and variation of group games whilst having the mechanics for only two players. Many games when played with two players I find become too easy or too one-sided. But this is not the case with Duel, so bravo!
I have to give this 10/10 as I simply cannot fault it. Apart from maybe each game doesn’t quite last long enough! I’m enjoying myself and plotting so much I suddenly find myself dismayed to see the third era is already over! If like us you would like a competitive two player game than can be played tactically, is easy to pick up and play and simply a lot of fun no matter how many times you play, then this is the ideal game for you. Perfect for couples!
Similar to …
If you enjoy Splendor, Saqqara or Dominion I think you’ll love this.
Have you played Duel, what did you think? And any recommendations for other great two player games? I’d love to hear your thoughts!