Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Antoine Bauza


No. of Players:
2 - 7



In fall 2012 REPOS PRODUCTIONS released the Cities expansion for 7 Wonders, and following their release schedule the next major expansion set is to be released in fall 2013. However, seasoned 7 Wonders players will hardly be able to wait this long, and so author Antoine Bauza took pity with the fans of his game and to reduce downtime he has now released the brand-new 7 Wonders - Wonder Pack, including four new wonders which can be used to enrich the game and explore new strategies.


The Great Wall: The vast Chinese empire now joins the game with its famous outer bulwark, the Great Wall which protects the Chinese provinces from foreign raiders. In game terms, the Great Wall features the specialty that its four stages can be completed in any order, and each of the stages gives the player a different benefit. So, the stages on the A-side provide money, battle strength, a research symbol and one card from the discard pile, whereas the stages on the B-side are orientated to work together with the Cities expansion, providing an espionage symbol, a peace marker, a free resource and money. On both sides each different stage of the wonder requires quite a different assortment of resources, and - thematically quite fitting - a player may be hard pushed to get together all the resources needed to complete all four stages. Being a purely protective building, the Great Wall does not even provide Victory points, and whilst the benefits from all stages come quite handy during gameplay, the player will have to concentrate on maximising the use of his wonder in order to gain enough Victory points to stand the competition.

Abu Simbel: The Egyptian culture is famous for its death cult, and the mummies of their leaders have been preserved to last for thousands of years after their death. Technically speaking, Abu Simbel is a temple of Ramses, but in 7 Wonders this temple is used to feature any of the player's leaders. Indeed, the Leaders expansion is necessary to play with Abu Simbel, and most interesting in this context is the ability to raise one of the player's leaders to a historic personality. Thus, the two first stages of Abu Simbel on the A-side provide victory points, but upon the completion of the third stage the player actually has to deactivate one of his leaders permanently. This leader loses his special ability, but at the end of the game the leader will be worth double his initial cost in Victory points. This special ability allows interesting new strategies by making it even more worthwhile to play an expensive leader with a strong in-play ability. Shortly before the end of the 3rd age this leader now can be deactivated, and he will then add a nice amount of Victory points to the player's final tally. Once again, this ability is thematically rather fitting, and to make this strategy even more interesting, the B-side of Abu Simbel only has two stages, but for each stage one of the player's leaders can be deactivated in the described fashion!

Stonehenge: On first sight the A-side of this wonder seems to be thematically consistent, since the last stage of the wonder allows the player to gain Victory points for all "stone"-symbols represented on his brown cards. The first two stages will bring fixed amounts of Victory points, but all three stages share the unexpected fact that they do not show stone as a building requirement. This certainly is a playing necessity, since it would be too big an advantage if stone could be used to build the stages of a wonder which provides additional Victory points for stone, but nonetheless it feels a bit strange that Stonehenge is built without stones. Much more interesting than the simplistic A-side are the stages on the B-side of the wonder. Once again, no stones are used for building these stages, but the functions of both stages still are thematically quite coherent. The first stages gives one instant coin and one Victory point for each stone on brown cards, whereas the second stage challenges the player to a prediction. At the end of the game the player reveals the card which has been used to build this stage, and for each card of the same colour in the two neighbouring cities the player will be awarded a Victory point. Overall, the B-side seems to be much more interesting due to in game benefits and the prediction-rule, and so Stonehenge is one of the few wonders where a specific side really can be preferred.

Manneken Pis: Finally, the guys from REPOS couldn't resist to add their very own Belgian touch to this pack of wonders, and so they included an updated version of the Manneken Pis, a promo-wonder which had been given to the people who had purchased the first edition of 7 Wonders at the SPIEL '10. The three stages on the A-side of this wonder are similar to a leech, since they can be used to use wonder stages from the two neighbouring cities. The building costs of these stages match the building costs of the stages which the player wants to use, and in some constellations this can have the somewhat unbalanced effect that the player only needs a small choice of resources to finish all three stages of the wonder. The B-side on the other hand shows that Belgium is a land where milk and honey are said to flow. The wonder has just one stage, and it costs one of each available resource to build this stage. If the player is successful building the wonder, he will be rewarded with 7 coins, 7 Victory points and one point of military strength. All in all, the Manneken Pis is a somewhat irregular wonder!

The 7 Wonders - Wonder Pack is available for the price of approximately 8 Euros, and it includes the four aforementioned wonders plus their cards. For this money the players will gain an interesting choice of new playing options which should ensure additional hours of playing fun. The new wonders are best used in combination with both the Leaders and Cities expansions, and so this pack can be highly recommended to people who are looking for even more playing variety. This should shorten the waiting time for the next big expansion pack!!!

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Copyright © 2012 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany