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7 Wonders Duel Review

Important Note:

All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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In 7 Wonders Duel, players will attempt to build magnificent wonders while also trying to construct a better civilization than their opponent.   If that’s too much work for you, you can also just try to achieve victory through brute military force or science, it’s definitely been attempted before.

7 Wonders Duel Board Game Review

7 out of 10

Is it Good For Two Players? : Yes

7 Wonders Duel is a great game, it plays quickly and smoothly while also being deep enough for more experienced players. One of our favorite things about this game is just how quickly you can play it while still having a really satisfying gaming experience. There’s no denying it’s very well-designed but it still has some minor flaws. There are expansions that alleviate some of the main complaints we had about the game though.

Theme: 7/10
Replayability: 6/10
Components: 5/10
Conflict: 8/10
Fun: 5/10

Husband's Rating
7 out of 10
Wife's Rating
7 out of 10

Pros

Multiple paths to victory

High-Quality Production

Interesting and unique theme

Plays Smoothly

Fairly quick, especially on consecutive rounds

Easy to play once you know how

Cons

Moderately high luck factor

Gameplay Experience:

7 Wonders Duel is extremely well-rated and suggested as one of the best two-player games of all time so it made its way onto our shelf quickly.  We had not played the original 7 Wonders before so we had no expectations or presumptions about the game.

As beginners in the hobby, this game took us a little while to understand.  It’s actually very easy to play once you know how but it takes a few games to fully grasp the rules.  

My wife and I had selected our 4 wonders and we were off to construct the greatest civilizations the world had ever seen, and it would only take a matter of minutes as opposed to centuries.  It takes around 30 minutes to play a round making it easy to play multiple times in a row.  

Even now, no matter how many times we play this game I still can’t set up the age cards from memory, so after referencing the setup card we were ready to start picking cards.  We took turns back and forth picking cards that would better our civilizations and help us on our path to victory.  

By the end of the first age we had moved the military track just a little back and forth, collected a few resources and science symbols, and built some stuff but our civilizations were just meh.  We set up the second age cards and things started getting a little more exciting.

Military cards were moving our armies much further along the conflict track, our cities were really producing some resources now, and we were actually starting to construct our “Wonders”.  It felt more like a real game now with both of us having to really pay attention to each other and plan our moves wisely.

7 Wonders Duel Gameplay

The third age kicked it up another notch with even more impactful cards.  These cards finalized our civilizations and the paths we were trying to take to victory.  Being forced to reveal unknown cards for your opponents to take, which could decide the fate of the game created great tension.

The third age was over and we had both stopped each other from achieving a science or military victory so it was all up to who had built the better civilization.  My wife had constructed her four wonders whereas I only got to construct three so it already wasn’t looking good for me.  In typical fashion, my wife got more points and I lost.

We set the game up again and went right back to playing.  Losing in 7 Wonders Duel doesn’t feel as frustrating as in many other two player games, so even if you are typically the loser like me, playing multiple rounds is still quite enjoyable.  

We play 7 Wonders Duel quite often because of its quick playtime and smooth gameplay, but I still very rarely beat my wife at it.  Not too much changes from game to game, so playing it a lot should allow you to perfect strategies and improve, but I guess not so much in my case.

After playing it more though some of the game’s flaws have started to appear.  Even so, we still play it a lot and I’m always up for a round of 7 Wonders even though I know I’m likely to create a lost civilization while my wife’s will be good enough to be recorded in history forever. 

7 Wonders Duel Rules Summary:

In 7 Wonders Duel players try to outmatch their opponent by building a better civilization through card drafting and set collection but also can achieve a science or military victory.   Players will select four different “Wonders” that they will attempt to construct throughout the game.

7 Wonders Duel Wonder Cards
7 Wonders Duel Wonder Cards

Constructing wonders is not the sole goal of the game but doing so will greatly help players achieve victory.  Only seven wonders total can be completed though so one player will only get to build three if they aren’t faster than their opponent.

7 Wonders Duel Cards
7 Wonders Duel Cards

The game takes place over three ages, each age has its own deck of cards which will be drafted in turns by players.  Each age also has a different open and closed-face card setup that requires certain cards to be drafted before others are available.  With some thinking, players can attempt to flip and collect cards in a way that benefits themselves and is detrimental to their opponent.

7 Wonders Duel Age Card Set Up
Age 2 Setup
7 Wonders Duel Age 3 Setup
Age 3 Setup

As ages progress the cards and what is granted to the players have stronger effects.  First age cards are typically just simple resource cards that make future cards cheaper to collect or small military or science achievements.  By the second age, the cards are a little bit stronger but not to a great extent.  

In the third age, drafted cards are quite strong and have dramatic effects. You and your opponent’s civilization are much more developed at this stage in the game.  There are also guild cards included in this age which grant the person who collected them quite a few victory points at the end of the game based on certain requirements.

There are a lot of viable paths to victory in 7 Wonders duel but only 3 ways to win which are the following:  

7 Wonders Duel Military Victory

7 Wonders Duel Military Victory
7 Wonders Duel Conflict Track

Military cards are one type of card that players are able to draft in 7 Wonders Duel.  The conflict track shows which civilization has the strongest military.  If a player drafts a military card they move the Conflict pawn towards their opponent a certain number of spaces dependent upon the card they played.  If at any point in the game they successfully move the conflict pawn completely to their opponent’s side they have achieved a military victory and win the game.

7 Wonders Duel Scientific Victory

Science Cards are another type of card players can draft, and each depicts a scientific symbol.  If players collect and play two of the same symbol they can collect a progress token that grants them additional benefits.  If a player is able to collect six different science symbols at any point in the game they achieve a scientific victory and win the game.

7 Wonders Duel Progress Tokens
7 Wonders Duel Progress Tokens

7 Wonders Duel Civilian Victory

If neither player has won by Science or Military at the end of the third age then the player who has built the best civilization and achieved the most victory points is the winner.  Players can get points from the buildings and wonders they have constructed, having a stronger military, progress tokens collected, and also any leftover money they have.  The player with the most points from these sources combined achieves a civilian victory and wins.

7 Wonders Duel City

There are a few other card types we didn’t discuss but that’s the basics of 7 Wonders Duel.  At its core, it is a simple card drafting and set collection game where players have to equally be offensive and defensive to stop their opponent from achieving an easy victory through military and science while also trying to find a viable strategy that will give you more points at the end of the third age.

Conclusion:

7 Wonders Duel is a great game, it plays quickly and smoothly while also being deep enough for more experienced players. One of our favorite things about this game is just how quickly you can play it while still having a really satisfying gaming experience. There’s no denying it’s very well-designed but it still has its flaws.  

7 Wonders Duel has a lot of freedom in choice but at the same time feels constrained in options as players essentially just choose cards back and forth.  What we mean by this is that even though there are a lot of options to increase your victory points and make your way to victory you very rarely are able to stop your opponent from getting the card they want.

This is because no action lets you avoid drawing a card.  The only way you can alter the back and forth turn order is by constructing a Wonder that gives a “take another turn” bonus.  A lot of times you can do all the math you want, but no matter what you can’t stop your opponent from getting the card they need or taking the card you want.   

In other words, if you and your opponent are equally matched, sometimes all it comes down to is “Luck of the Draw” and that is our one main complaint with 7 Wonders Duel.  Everything else about the game design and the way it plays is great.  

If you’re new to board games this aspect likely won’t bother you too much but for more experienced players and people who play the game often this “at the mercy of luck” factor might be something to consider when deciding if 7 Wonders Duel is a game for you.

An important note though is that more experienced players have another tool at their advantage to mitigate this luck factor.  This is through the science and military victory conditions.  While these types of victories are hard to achieve they can be used as “distractions” to force your opponent to take cards they don’t want or necessarily need.

Is 7 Wonders Duel Good For Two Players?:

7 Wonders Duel is a great two player game, but it still has its weaknesses as we said before.  It was well designed for this player count which is greatly appreciated since many designers just tack on rules so their games can be marketed for two players.

7 Wonders Duel plays smoothly with two and feels balanced and satisfying as both players try to get the cards they need and create better civilizations than their opponents.  

The luck factor can be a bit frustrating at times detracting from this balanced battle but we think all games need a little bit of luck.  If you remove the luck factor though, you would also remove the great tension that is sometimes created by flipping unknown cards. So if you’re willing to put up with some “Luck of the Draw” game outcomes, we think 7 Wonders Duel is a great game for two players. 

Depending on your playstyles, this game can also be quite aggressive with both players actively drafting cards in a very detrimental way to their opponents.  In our opinion, it doesn’t feel as mean-spirited in this game as in some other games, but it is still something to consider if you like less conflict in your board games.

Pros

  • Multiple paths to victory
  • Fairly quick, especially on consecutive rounds
  • Easy to play once you know how
  • Plays Smoothly

Cons

  • Moderately high luck factor

We hope this 7 Wonders Duel two player game review has helped you and if you are interested in buying a copy you can click the orange “Buy on Amazon” button.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site’s costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


7 Wonders Duel App

There is a 7 Wonders Duel app version available for android and apple.  We have personally played the android version and would recommend it.  The app is not free but might be worth considering if you enjoy digital board games or want to try 7 Wonders Duel before purchasing a physical copy.

7 Wonders Duel Expansions

There are quite a few expansions currently available for 7 Wonders Duel which we have listed below. We wouldn’t argue any of them are necessarily essential but some of them do address some of the complaints we had with the game.

7 Wonders Duel Pantheon

This expansion adds gods with varying powers that will help you achieve victory over your opponent.  This expansion also allows for a new type of turn option and as a result, allows players to avoid drafting a card.  So in a way, this expansion addresses one of our main complaints about the original base game.

7 Wonders Duel Agora

This is a pretty recent expansion that adds a senate board to the game.  Players get bonuses when they gain control of a section of the senate.  If a player at any point in the game controls the majority of the senate, they automatically win, so in other words this expansion also adds a new instant win condition in addition to military or science.

7 Wonders Duel Solo

This is another recent expansion that provides an official solo variant for 7 Wonders Duel.  This expansion is not available for purchase but can be found at Asmodee print and play as a free print-and-play file.  You will have to make an account to be able to download the file, but it’s worth it if you plan on downloading any extra files for your board games from Asmodee in the future.


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