Given its title, 7 Wonders: Duel will come as no surprise to you being a two-player game. This is not an expansion or variant of its popular parent game 7 Wonders (also published by Repos Production), but instead a separate card game all on its own, specifically designed for just you and one other opponent to battle it out to construct man-made wonders of the world.
7 Wonders: Duel does not rely on all players drafting a card and then passing their hand over to their neighbour. Instead, Antoine Bauza has teamed up with fellow French designer Bruno Cathala to create a different way of gaining cards for set collection that’s equally enthralling, if not more so.
Again, 7 Wonders: Duel is played over three rounds. Cards are pre-arranged into a communal pyramid-like display, partially covering each other. The majority of them are face-down, while the lowest level ones are face-up. The categories will be familiar to those who have played 7 Wonders (green science cards, brown/grey resources, red military, and so on). Players may take any card they like from the pyramid to add to their own tableau – but only if it is completely uncovered.
As cards are removed, more cards’ identities are revealed. Therefore, it becomes a case of timing your moves to perfection, trying to force your opponent into removing cards that then allow you to grab the exact card you want!
Unlike regular 7 Wonders, in Duel players can win before the third round has ended. A player could earn a military victory by getting the military pawn to the end of the conflict track (kind of similar to the swing in power that you find in games like Twilight Struggle). Alternatively, they could earn a science victory by collecting each of the six different science symbols. Therefore you’ll have to keep a close eye on what your opponent is taking – you can’t afford to let them get too far ahead! If neither of these victory conditions is met by the end of the third round, then sets are scored to determine a winner.
For some board gamers, player counts can really make or break a game. If you love 7 Wonders but you’re in a position where you play a lot of games with just you and a partner, then 7 Wonders Duel is going to be a great choice for you. With rounds lasting approximately 10 minutes each, games can last about 30 minutes in total. And, considering its high replayability factor, it fits beautifully into that category of ‘go on then, one more game…’