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The Drink: Babylong Island Iced Tea

.5oz vodka
.5oz gin
.5oz white rum
.5oz silver tequila
1oz triple sec
.5oz lime juice (or lemon)
1-2oz cola

Shake all but cola with ice and pour over ice and add Cola. Garnish with thyme to make the hanging garden.

I don't know for sure that Haak will ever forgive us for deciding to go with the Hanging Gardens of Baby-long Island Iced Tea instead of Piña Colossus. I made him this picture to try to make up for the loss.

Other drink names we considered:

  • Side Hali-car-nassus
  • Statue of gin and Zeus
  • Great Libation at Alexandria
  • Great Pyra-midori sour
  • Eph-ed up-esus (maybe not our best work)

Our Review

First off, the credits:

  • Designer: Antoine Bauza
  • Artist: Miguel Coimbra
  • Publisher: Repos Productions

The basics:

  • Plays: 2-7 players - I think the more the better
  • Play time: 30-45 minutes


What is this game?

In Seven Wonders, you draft cards to build your empire from a puny nothing to a majestic nation. On each turn you select one card from your hand, adding that building to your empire, and passing the remaining cards in your hand to your neighbor. Pick up the cards your other neighbor passed you, then rinse and repeat.

The cards come in a variety of flavors so you can taste the rainbow in every game: blue monuments, green scientists, blood red military, shiny gold merchants, dirt brown basic resources, and polished silver luxury resources. Some of the cards are free; all they require to be built is the commitment of your time devoting a turn to building them. Other cards can really get quite expensive, requiring you to exercise the full possibilities of your nation's coffers in order to install them in your empire. 

The game is split into three ages, with the cards becoming more expensive and more powerful as time progresses. At the end of each age, your military battles each of your neighbors; posturing to see who has the bigger... *ahem* army.

At the end of the game, all of the nations gather in one large arena to determine the winner of the entire game. You will all fight in the most cut-throat of all competitions - victory points. Whichever player is dominant in this final fight emerges victorious and instantly razes all of the other wonders, proving their nation's ultimate dominance.

Your paralysis antidote

Because the game play is entirely focused around picking a card to build out of a limited hand of cards, with limited resources, there are relatively few choices you can make on each turn. On any given turn you are choosing from up to seven cards, which is already a pretty limited set, and you probably only have the necessary resources to build half of them. Even those that suffer from intense decision paralysis *cough*Jordan*cough* can probably handle choosing between four or so options.

This aspect of having limited choices also is what makes Seven Wonders a surprisingly good game for strategy-game-noobs. Admittedly, it is pretty difficult to learn (more on that later), but once you have any idea what is going on, it's not that hard to be decent at this game. Plus, even if you do suck, you probably won't know until the end of the game when all of the points are tallied up, so you don't sit around feeling sorry for yourself the whole time. 

Want to try role play? 😘

Another advantage for inexperienced players is that once you have the basic mechanics down, you can actually do fairly well by role playing. Do your imagine your nation as a bastion of education, science, and knowledge? Stock up on those green science cards and, if no one stops you, you totally could win. Are you a gold-loving mercantile nation? Build up your resources and, if your neighbors don't notice your strategy, they'll just keep giving you money.

If you have any trouble deciding what your nation should invest in, just look down at your handy wonder board, which will tell you what civilization you represent and what they strive for. Lighthouse of Alexandria? You have all the resources at your fingertips to build up a rich, educated civilization with beautiful palaces and libraries with trading vessels bringing goods and knowledge to your shores. (Just don't think too hard about the eventual future when Alexander the Great is going to burn it all to the ground. 😢)

It's also hilarious when people decide to ignore the strategy suggested by their wonder board. Imagine the Babylonians cultivating their ancient and beautiful hanging gardens into a botanical force capable of tearing down the colossus. (I still can't decide if that image is terrifying or hilarious. I guess it depends on how fast those vines are moving.)

Learn to Play

So, as I said, Seven Wonders is a surprisingly hard game to learn to play. Anyone familiar with strategy board games and drafting card games will be fine. It's not that hard. But because we do frequently choose this game to play with relatively inexperienced players, we've had to come up with some good ways to teach this game. And what we've learned is that there's basically no way to do it without actually playing the game. So, we typically will briefly explain the game and it's mechanics, but then proceed to play the first age with all the cards showing and answering any questions. Then we'll start over, re-deal the first age cards and actually play. 

If you are teaching this game to people, the one rule to especially note is that you cannot have two buildings with the same name. I think literally every person we've played this game with has messed that up exactly once. We usually just let it go, rather than trying to undo that choice.

The breakdown

Overall rating:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - This was one of my first strategy games, and it's still great. It basically has to get all five stars.

🍹🍹🍹🍹 - DRINKERS: Why not? Plenty of time to drink if the other players are slow
💭💭💭💭 - THINKERS: You can do fairly well without much strategy, but there are also interesting things to think about and balance
⚜⚜⚜ - THEMERS: The theme is there, but you have to work a little to make it feel at all immersive

want more?

Buy 7 Wonders: http://amzn.to/2bzGggX
Board Game Geek: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/68448/7-wonders
Learn more: http://www.rprod.com/?page=description-22