7 Wonders: How To Play – Simplified

How to play 7 wonders board game


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As the ruler of one of seven ancient cities, you must build your empire in order to defeat your enemies and reign supreme! You must collect resources, build buildings, develop and army, erect your wonders in order to grow faster and stronger than everyone else in the land. You must manage your hand of cards through card drafting throughout three ages if you are to prove yourself!

Note: These simplified rules for 7 Wonders are to help you decide if the game is right for you and your group, or to help you get started quickly…not to be all encompassing. Please refer to your rule book before starting play for full rules.

Rules Overview

The rules for 7 Wonders can be a bit overwhelming, so we are going to break it down into its simplest form. We do this so that you can get a quick feel for the game play, whether it be before purchasing the game or before reading the full rules. We here at Hexagamers find that knowing the flow of the game before diving into the rules really helps our comprehension and enjoyment of the first play through. We will skip over some of the smaller details and breeze over the generation of points since, as always, we strongly suggest you read the full rules to understand the game.

As mentioned in the Overview above, players will be collecting resources initially in order to eventually build armies, buildings, wonders, etc. in an attempt to amass the most Victory Points. You will do this by picking one card out of a hand of cards and then passing them to the person next to you so they can do the same thing. This is a mechanic called Card Drafting, you can see our Best Card Drafting Board Game List Here.

If that sounds simple, you are right, it is. Having a proper balance and a good strategy is the hard part of this game.

Let’s get into the actual flow a little more and learn how to play 7 Wonders simplified.

Setup of 7 Wonders

This game can be played with 1-7 people, and the amount of cards you use will fluctuate based on the number of people involved in the game. Obviously, to start you must pull out only the cards you will need (for all 3 rounds/ages: I, II, III).

Each player will also pick a starting board or ‘Wonders’ by randomly choosing or being dealt one of the Wonder cards. A note here is that each Wonder has 2 sides. This helps with replay-ability and different skill levels.

Game Play

Players will then be dealt number of cards from the first age (labeled with a I on the back). Simultaneously each player will choose a card that they want to use. Once everyone is ready, cards are flipped and placed in front of themselves. The remaining cards are passed to your neighbor (clockwise for age I, counter-clockwise for age II, then clockwise again for the final age).

On these cards there will be a number of different options. There will be resource cards (only available in the first 2 rounds), market cards, building cards, science cards, army cards, and guilds. We will quickly explain what each card does and a bit about their scoring below. Feel free to skip to the next section if you are just looking for the quick and dirty overview of the rules.

7 Wonders – Card Details

  • Resource Cards (brown or grey) – These are the building blocks/materials for your other resources. They come in 2 forms: raw and refined. You will need combinations of these resources in order to build/use other cards.
  • Market Cards (yellow) – These are cards are exactly what you would guess. Access to some form of market. This can range from cheap resources from neighbors, to access to coins, and some spots in between.
  • Building Cards (blue) – These building cards are simply a way to collect Victory Points instantly (still counted at the end of the game).
  • Army Cards (red) – These army cards are built and then compared to your neighbors at the end of the rounds. +1/3/5 VPs for having a bigger army in the round, -1 VP for having a smaller one.
  • Science Cards (Green) – These cards are a way to get end of game VPs. You get extra points for having 1 of each kind of Science (7 points for having all 3), as well as extra points for collecting a bunch of the same type of Science (the number of that single Science squared).
  • Guild Cards (Purple) – These cards give you Victory Points based off of you and your neighbors cards/situation (can be anything from resource cards to completed Wonders).

Buying Cards

In order to buy these cards you must look at the top left of the card to see what it costs. Some cards are free, some cost resources and coins, and some you can obtain for free if you already have other cards in front of you!

If you don’t have the resources or money to buy the cards, you have 3 options.

  1.  You can use the person sitting on either side of you for their resources (if they have it), but it will cost you 2 coins.
  2.  You can choose to discard any card to the discard pile and receive 3 coins for it.
  3.  You can choose to build one of the 3 spots on your Wonder. Again, you must be able to ‘afford’ your wonder, and you then place your card face down under that spot to obtain it.

End of Round

At the end of each round, you will compare your army value to the army of the person next to you. You gain VPs (this amount increases each round) for having a bigger army and negative VPs for having a smaller army.

At the end of the final round you will then tally all the victory points from the game. You do this by following the scoring sheets provided.

Once the players are familiar with the rules and the gameplay, this game can move fairly quick. Being done in a half hour or so. Be sure to check out our full review of 7 Wonders if you haven’t already done so.

About the author


We are the HexaGamers. Six good friends that love all things game related that gets us together to enjoy each other's company.

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