Mar 18, 2015

7 Wonders - Cities

Our latest expansion (there is a newer one out there we haven't purchased yet) for the most played games in our collection arrived a couple of weeks ago; 7 Wonders - Cities.

I was so excited about this expansion that I spent time ahead of our first game going through the components, sleeving the cards and reading the rules (again as I had read them online prior to buying it).  One odd thing I found is that I received two less -1 debt tokens than it stated in the rules, and instead got two -1 conflict tokens it didn't mention; maybe just an edition thing?  Anyways, in all the games I have played so far we have never come close to needing all the debt tokens it comes with.  Every thing fit perfectly into the organizer (see post on it here), with still lots of room left.

My wife and I played a game not long after that, with just the base game + cities, with the two new wonders, just to get a feel for it.  I ended up with Petra, while my wife played with Byzantium.  One of the first things I noticed is that my focus on the coins grew very quickly; many of the black cards cost coins, my second wonder stage cost 9 coins, and I was paranoid about the debt cards.  It also didn't help that before we started playing with cities I often found myself with very few coins (something about my playing style, still haven't exactly pinpointed why).  I enjoyed the new flavor that the black cards added, and I appreciated the fact that they added without really changing the game too much.

Our first Cities game (from my wife's side of the board)
One thing I did find is that there was a couple of rules and card mechanics that I didn't find clear after reading the rules, so I went online to try and find the answers.  I came across a FAQ on the publisher's website which was very handy, and cleared my confusion about multiple diplomacy tokens in the team game.  The one I really struggled with was the interaction of the Secret Warehouse and the Black Market with the dual resource (i.e. the brown OR cards) from the first age.  I found that I wasn't the only one, and after a couple of days managed to get it cleared up through a forum thread at BoardGameGeek. 

We got together the weekend after it arrived with two other couples, whom we often play 7 Wonders with, and everyone was on board with trying it out.  I managed to convince them to try the team game (with each couple a team), and since we had a lot of experience with the game we decided to try it the all my expansions combined.  I really enjoyed how the team game plays; it is more like working together than a team game.  I found mainly that depending on the direction the cards were going that the first person my pass on particular cards so the other person could play them, and there was more possibility for combinations as you could see what the next hand was going to contain.  It turns out I was the only one who enjoyed it: the other two guys were neutral and the ladies didn't like it.  We played a second game, without leaders, and without teams.  Everyone enjoyed that, and I think that as a result the Cities expansion will make an appearance at most of our game nights.

My wife and I have since played again, this time with leaders included.  One thing I have found so far with the 2-player version (granted it is with a small sample size) is that the addition of the diplomacy tokens has reduced the value of the military stream, as depending on the black cards present it is easy for it to only be a single conflict in the majority of the rounds.  I will keep an eye on this as we play more, but I can't think of an easy way to reduce the impact (but still not entirely remove the diplomacy function) with the random selection of the black cards.  I also doubt that this will be as big of a deal in the games with more players as it would take a lot more tokens to reduce it to one conflict, and there are a limited number of them between the black cards, wonders and the leader.

A game with Cities & Leaders
I am enjoying this expansion so far, and unless we are teaching people the game, I expect to see it in the majority of games going forward.

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