7 Wonders

7 Wonders gets 10/10 stars on Savvy Game Night It’s time: time to finally review what is possibly our all-time favorite board game: Seven Wonders. This is the game that first got us into board games, and the one we turn to on so many of our game nights. In the game, each player works to build up one of the 7 Wonders of the World by playing resource, military, science, commerce or civilian cards. Rhodes on 7 Wonders | Savvy Game Night One of the reasons we love 7 Wonders is that the game has a lot of re-playability built in to it. There is no obvious strategy that will work for every single game – a lot of it comes down to which wonders you are next to and how those players are choosing to play. It usually isn’t worth getting into an arms race with Rhodes, for instance, because they get two extra military icons as part of their wonder. I often opt to collect the green science cards, and sometimes it works really well – especially when I have the science-oriented Babylon. But other times, I lose dismally, because while I have a lot of science points, I neglected to build up my military or commerce well enough. 7 Wonders - Building Up Your Wonder | Savvy Game Night You could choose to collect a lot of resource cards to start, so you can easily build the more powerful cards in later ages, or you could focus on collecting cards with points right away. This works especially well with science or civilian cards, which often build off each other and let you build later cards for free. But if neither you nor your neighbors are building resource cards, you’re all going to be stuck later in the game. You constantly need to balance what you are playing against what your opponents are building up. We really like that the game allows for 6 or 7 players. So many games cut off at 5, which means someone has to team up or sit out when you have a game night of 3 couples. We also like that it is difficult to tell who is winning the game until the very end. In some games (Settler of Catan, I’m looking at you), it is often apparent pretty early on if you are totally out of the running, which makes the remainder of the game a lot less fun. 7 Wonders on Savvy Game Night

Mechanism:

7 Wonders is a card-drafting game played in three ages. In each age, players choose cards to help them build up one of the seven Wonders of the World. Some cards build up the player’s military, some give them reusable resources, and others provide victory or science points. Players interact primarily with their immediate neighbors, buying resources from them to help build cards and fighting them in military battles.

Number of Players:

2-7. There is a two-person variant, in which each player takes turn playing for the “dummy player,” but we aren’t big fans. It is better with 3+ players, and ideal with 4+.

Set-Up Time:

5-10 minutes.

Play Time for New Players:

1 hour – 1 1/2 hours, if you include the time it takes to explain the rules. There are a lot of symbols to learn, but once you’ve got a hang of how the cards work and what the icons mean, the game goes much more quickly.

Play Time for Experienced Players:

45 minutes. It is much easier to decide which card to keep when you understand all the symbols and have a better feel for how the cards interact with each other.

Age Range:

10+

Overall Rating for 7 Wonders: 10/10.

Psst: This post contains affiliate links. I only ever recommend products that I use myself.

Pandemic: A Cooperative Game

Pandemic: A Cooperative Game on Savvy Game Night

Let’s talk cooperative games. Rather than the typical board game format, in which there is one winner and everyone else loses, in a cooperative game, it is all or nothing: either everyone wins together, or everyone loses. In the case of Pandemic, either you find cures for or eradicate all four deadly diseases that have broken out around the world, or everyone dies.

So far, Pandemic is Dan’s and my favorite cooperative game. It is nicely balanced, and it is neither too difficult to ever win, nor so easy that it doesn’t feel like much of a challenge. I’d say we win about 2/3 of the time. And more often than not, we lose because we run out of player cards, not because there were so many outbreaks that we couldn’t control them. There have been several occurrences where we just needed one more turn, maybe two, in order to get all the cures or eliminate the last disease.

Pandemic In Play on Savvy Game Night

Unless you are playing with five people every time you play Pandemic, the game changes a little bit each time. Each player is given a role with a special ability: the Medic can treat all the illnesses in a city at once, rather than one per turn; the Dispatcher can move other players around the board; the Scientist can find a cure with 4 player cards instead of the usual 5, and so on. Since the roles are randomly assigned, the combination of special abilities available in the game changes a bit each time (again, unless you are playing with the full five players).

Note: A newer version of the game was released in 2013. Apparently, it introduces two new roles and reduces the maximum number of players to four. So if you purchase/play the newer version, the combination of roles will change every game, even when you are playing with the max number of players.

It’s a fun game for Dan and I when we aren’t feeling all that competitive and want to work together. And because it is a cooperative game, Pandemic is a great one to pull out when we have friends over with mixed levels of experience with or interest in board games.
Pandemic, a cooperative game. Don't let too many outbreaks happen, or everyone loses! On Savvy Game Night

There’s an outbreak in Essen, and the blue disease has spread to all neighboring cities. Don’t let too many of these happen, or everyone loses!

Mechanism:

Pandemic is a cooperative game, so either everyone wins or everyone loses. Four diseases have simultaneously broken out around the world. Players must research to find a cure for or completely eradicate all four diseases before the epidemics become too overwhelming to contain. Each player may take up to 4 actions on their turn to move around the map, treat infected cities, research a cure or build a research station. At the end of each turn, the diseases spread just a bit more, unless an Epidemic card turns up, which accelerates the infection rate.

The game is over when: all the diseases have been cured and/or eradicated, there have been 8 outbreaks, or there are no player cards remaining.

Number of Players:

2-5. It is much more difficult to win with just two players, but it is still doable.

Set Up Time:

5-10 minutes

Play Time for New Players:

1 hour.

Play Time for Experienced Players:

45 minutes – 1 hour.

Age Range:

8+

Overall Rating for Pandemic: 8/10

Pandemic Player Cards on Savvy Game Night

Note: This post contains affiliate links. I only ever link to games I’ve played and enjoyed myself. Most of the links above are to the newer version of this game. If you’d like to purchase the version of the game photographed here, click here.