Perfect for two people
Various strategies can be used to win
Difficult to learn
More time-consuming than expected
7 Wonders: Duel is an intense strategy game in which opponents compete to build civilizations and construct architectural buildings and wonders. It’s specifically designed for two players and recommended for ages 10 and up. We put this popular board game to the test to see whether it’s strictly for serious gamers or if it appeals to a more general audience. Read on to hear our final verdict.
Gameplay: Slow at first, but will surely test your mettle
Learning the rules of 7 Wonders: Duel was not easy—to say the least. We were overwhelmed by the 20-page rulebook, which was complicated and unclear at times. A video tutorial that we watched online actually provided a much clearer explanation of how to play the game. Because there are so many different strategies for winning, it took us a long time to get acclimated to the rules. Since the initial setup and learning process were so time-consuming, we weren’t very excited to start playing. It would be almost impossible to remember what the plethora of symbols on the cards represent. We had to constantly reference the helpsheet before making a play. That kept the game moving at a snail’s pace for the first round (or what’s referred to as an Age). An average game takes about 30 minutes start to finish; our first game took well over an hour. As we started to get the hang out of it, the pace of the game picked up a bit—but not enough to get us feeling enthusiastic by any means.
After being deluged with explanations and a 20-page book of rules, the game seemed arduous rather than entertaining.
Without a doubt, 7 Wonders: Duel will put your critical thinking skills to the test. There are three ways in which a player can win the game. One approach is a military strategy: Each time you acquire a military card, you advance your Conflict pawn toward your opponent’s capital. Once you reach your opponent’s capital, you immediately win the game. Another method is to achieve scientific supremacy: If you gather the six different scientific symbols, you win as well. If neither military or scientific supremacy is reached, then a civilian victory is declared. In that case, the player who has the most points at the end of Age III wins the game.
Entertainment Value: Better suited for more serious gamers (which we are not)
We played the game several times over the course of an evening. Five of us—two college-aged girls (18 and 21) and three adults in their forties and fifties—alternated games. We had to change players because it didn’t capture anyone’s interest enough to want to play another round. All of us felt the same way: After being deluged with explanations and a 20-page book of rules, the game seemed arduous rather than entertaining.
Although it wasn’t a big hit with our family, we realize the enjoyment of a board game all comes down to personal taste.
Although the rules are complicated, 7 Wonders: Duel is fairly easy to play once you get the hang of it—but that could take a while. Although it wasn’t a big hit with our family, we realize the enjoyment of a board game all comes down to personal taste. We prefer to play board games that are quick to learn and provide more lighthearted fun. Personal preferences aside, there are some great elements to this game. Players are challenged to develop strategies, predict outcomes, and use their critical thinking skills.
Price: Worth it—but only if you’re up for a challenge
If you love challenging games, 7 Wonders: Duel is well-worth its $30 price tag. Since it’s designed specifically for two players, it’s also ideal for those who live with a strategy-loving roommate or partner.
Competition: No shortage of strategy games to choose from
Sequence: If you’re looking for a strategy game that’s easier to play, Sequence is a great choice. Since it allows anywhere from two to twelve players, it’s far more versatile. The rules are fairly simple: You play a card from your hand and place a chip on a corresponding space on the board. The first person (or team) to get five chips in a row is the winner. People say it’s both challenging and highly entertaining.
Santorini: Santorini is a strategy-based board game that’s a big hit with families. Like 7 Wonders: Duel, the object of the game is to build structures. Opponents compete to be the first to construct a three-story building on the island. The rules are easy enough that it’s recommended for ages 8 and up. Santorini can be played with two to four people.
- Product Name 7 Wonders: Duel
- Product Brand Asmodee
- MPN SEV07
- Price $29.99
- Weight 14.1 oz.
- Product Dimensions 2 x 8 x 8 in.
- Recommended Age Range 10 and up
- Number of Players 2
- What’s Included 1 game board, 66 age cards, 7 guild cards, 12 wonder cards, 4 military tokens, 10 progress tokens, 1 conflict pawn, 31 coins, 1 scorebook, 1 rulebook, 1 game aid