7 Wonders Duel

7 Wonders was one of the games that introduced me to a new and different side of the board games world. 
Before that, there were mainly those classic games like Risk or Monopoly.

But that story is for another day.

Today’s review is meant to be focused on 7 Wonders’ little brother, better known as 7 Wonders Duel.

This game is designed by Antoine Bauza & Bruno Cathala, two French designers that I absolutely love, especially Bauza!
I own a few of their games, and 7 Wonders Duel is one of my favourites together with Tokaido.

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Game overview

7 Wonders Duel Pinterest

7 Wonders Duel is a card drafting board game with a pinch of resources management, that uses some of the main mechanics of its older brother and it perfects them, becoming, in my opinion, one of the best two-player board games.

Each player is leading a civilization that has to be developed over 3 Ages by constructing Buildings and Wonders.

There are 3 different ways of winning the game: Military or Scientific Supremacy, and Civilian Victory.
While the first two can be achieved at any time during the game, the 3rd one only happens at the end of the game after counting all the victory points accumulated.

Game Components

Starting with the game box, it is little and solid, perfect to fit anywhere if you want to play the game while travelling.
Each element of the game can be easily stored in the box thanks to its clever design.
Let’s open it though, what’s inside is far more important!

Guild and Age cards

All of these cards represent buildings, which give bonus to your city once built.
There are 7 different types of buildings, each one with a unique coloured border:

  • Raw materials (brown cards): produce resources such as wood, stone and clay;
  • Manufactured goods (grey cards): produce resources such as glass and papyrus;
  • Civilian Buildings (blue cards): they are worth victory points;
  • Scientific Buildings (green cards): these allow you to score victory points and acquire a scientific symbol;
  • Commercial Buildings (yellow cards): these buildings are worth coins, produce resources, change the trading rules, and are sometimes worth victory points;
  • Military Buildings (red cards): increase your military power by giving you Shields;
  • Guilds (purple cards): these Buildings allow you to score points based on specific criteria.

Being a card drafting game would theoretically mean that the main (or only) components should be the cards.


There are other little items and components created to embellish and complete the game, such as:


7 Wonders Duel board

The board isn’t actually the board of the game, but it represents the military rivalry between your city and the opponent’s.
It also contains the Progress Tokens section.

Conflict Pawn

It indicates a player city’s military advantage over the other, and it has to be placed on the board described above.

Military Tokens

These represent the benefits by conquering the opponent’s military spaces on the board.

Progress Tokens

7 Wonders Duel Progress Tokens

These represent the bonus effect that your city earns by collecting identical pairs of scientific symbols.


7 Wonders Duel Coins

They are important to purchase resources and construct buildings. At the end of the game the remaining coins will be considered as Victory Points.

Wonder Card

7 Wonders Duel Wonder card

Last but not least (they are in fact super important!!) we have these cards.
Each of them represents a famous Wonder from the past, such as the Pyramids or the Colossus, with a unique bonus effect that helps your civilization progressing.

How to play 7 Wonders Duel

The beginning of the game starts with quick preparation of the board, coins, Wonders and the cards of the 1st Age.
The board has to be placed in between the players, on one side of the play area, with the Conflict Token in the middle of it.
Each player takes 7 coins (fundamental for buying cards) and 4 Wonders.

Then is the turn of preparing the cards. A game begins in Age I and finishes with Age III (unless a military or scientific win).
At the beginning of each Age, after shuffling the corresponding deck, cards are displayed in between the players following the structure of the current Age.
Some cards are displayed face up, while others are face down.

7 Wonders Duel Ages cards

Then, each player choose one of the “accessible” cards and play it. The accessible cards are the ones which aren’t partially covered by any others.
There are 3 actions you can do after playing a card:

  • Construct the Building;
  • Discard the card to get coins;
  • Construct a Wonder

Construct the Building

In order to construct a building, you have to pay the cost of it, which can be either coins or resources.
If you have the requested cost, you can place the building in front of you and that building now belongs to your city.

Discard the card to get coins

You can discard the chosen Age card to get 2 coins + 1 coin per yellow building built in your city.
The discarded cards are placed face-down next to the board and can be consulted at any time by players.

Construct a Wonder

You can pay the cost of the Wonder and place the chosen Age card underneath it (this card won’t have any effect)
From now on the Wonder is built and will give you the related bonus, such as Victory Points, Shields, Resources and so on.

Out of the 8 Wonders (4 each player), only 7 may be built over the course of the game.
As soon as the 7th Wonder is built, the remaining one will be returned to the box.

Do, rinse and repeat over the course of the 3 Ages and you’re set!
Of course, it’s important choosing which buildings to buy and which to discard, always keeping into consideration your strategy and the opponent’s!
The gameplay seems very simple, but choosing the best cards isn’t always easy.

How to win 7 Wonders Duel?

As I mentioned somewhere in the article, there are actually 3 different ways of winning a game:

  • Military Supremacy
  • Scientific Supremacy
  • Civilian Victory

Military Supremacy

This is one of the winning condition that can happen at any point during the game.
Each shield drawn on the military cards (or Wonders, like the Colossus) allows you to move the Conflict Pawn one space towards the opponent city’s capital.
The board is going to be like a tug-of-war, with the Conflict Pawn moving back and forth between you and the other player.
If the Conflict Pawn reaches the opposing capital, you win the game!

Scientific Supremacy

The second way of winning before the end of the game is via scientific supremacy.
There are 7 different symbols in the game drawn on the scientific cards and if you gather 6 different of them, you win the game!

Civilian Victory

The last way of winning is by Civilian Victory.
If no player has won through supremacy before the end of Age III, the player with the higher number of Victory Points wins the game.
To determine your total VP you have to add:

  • Military victory points, depending on the position of the Conflict pawn;
  • Victory points from your Buildings (blue, green, yellow, and purple cards);
  • Victory points from your Wonders;
  • Your victory points from Progress tokens;
  • Your city’s treasury: each complete set of 3 coins is worth 1 point.

In case the Victory Points are the same, the player who has most Victory Points from their civilian buildings wins the game.
If it’s still a tie, players share their victory (never ever happened to me yet!)


The last chapter of this review, what I honestly think about the game:

I start by saying that this game is simply amazing!

I’m not afraid to say that it is probably the best two player game in my collection and the one I always show to someone new to this hobby.
The gameplay is very simple to teach, but also deep at the same time.
The power your choices have to the game is huge, you can either follow an aggressive approach or a more conservative one; or you can choose to play following your personal strategy or trying to screw up the opponent’s one.

I love the fact that this game has taken some of the 7 Wonders mechanics and improved them.
The famous draft and pass mechanic is now replicated by hiding some cards on the table, so you have to plan carefully which card picking up and which one leaving.
Sometimes the pressure is very high!

Overall is really fun to play and satisfying when you win because your strategy worked out well!

I truly believe this game is a must have in everyone’s board games collection.

2 players | 30 mins | Age 10+