Some of the greatest ancient civilizations find leadership with 7 Wonders’ first expansion. Who will guide your civilization to victory?
We’ll get to the game review in a bit, but we must kneel before the game demigods first.
The Fiddly Bits
Designer: Antoine Bauza
Date Released: 2011
Number of Players: 2-7 (best with 4)
Age Range: 12 and up
Setup Time: about 10 minutes
Play Time: around 40 minutes (adds about 5-10 minutes to the base game)
Simultaneous Action Selection
Variable Player Powers
The most important thing 7 Wonders: Leaders adds is leader cards. Each leader has their own unique ability that can guide you toward victory.
I don’t know if there’s a more polarizing board game expansion. Some people never play a game of 7 Wonders without 7 Wonders: Leaders. Other folks will leave the table if you intend to play with it. The crux of this debate rests with the first round’s gameplay.
With no 7 Wonders: Leaders, you collect stuff and form a plan of attack as you draft cards. This style of play leads to a free flowing game with nothing becoming concrete until the second round—sometimes mid to late second round. Some folks love that 7 Wonders is this fluid. Others don’t. This second set of gamers are the ones who’ll want to play with Leaders.
Alexander, Tomyris, and Caesar Leader Cards
7 Wonders: Leaders adds a little structure to the first round of play, which can be a good thing because while you can win 7 Wonders by any means, you can’t win by every means. You’ll have to commit to a victory condition of some kind and some folks like drawing into a leader. If you draw Caesar, Alexander, or Hannibal, you’re probably going for a military victory because what else would Caesar do? The same thing applies to leaders like Archimedes, Pythagoras, and Aristotle and science victories. The pen is mightier than the sword but you wouldn’t bring a pen to a sword fight.
Hypatia, Archimedes, and Pythagoras Leader Cards
The debate goes back and forth. I fall somewhere in the middle of the two trains of thought but I find that teaching someone how to play 7 Wonders is easier with Leaders, even though there’s an extra step. 7 Wonders: Leaders serves as training wheels for an easy game to play but one that’s also difficult to master and win.
If you own 7 Wonders, you should own 7 Wonders: Leaders. It makes for a good teaching tool for new gamers and you can always gauge your gaming group for who is willing to play with Leaders. If you get a lot of nays, you could always play without it, but you’re just as likely to get more yays.