7 Wonders: Beginner's Complete Strategy Guide (2024)

7 Wonders: Beginner's Complete Strategy Guide (1)

How To Play

The first step in playing 7 Wonders is to prepare the age cards. These cards have the I, II, and III numerals on the back. Separate the cards into stacks of different ages (I, II, and III) and go through them to make sure you only keep the ones suitable for the player count you are using. For example, for a three-player game, get rid of any cards that have a minimum player count of 4+ or higher (check the card to see which cards are suitable). Any unused age cards can be put back in the box, as they will not be used in this game.

In the Age III stack, take out all the purple cards to start. Shuffle them together and randomly draw as many cards as the number of players plus two. Add these cards back to the Age III stack and place the rest of the purple cards into the game box; they will not be used in this game. Shuffle the different stacks.

Each player should now get a wonder board at random. These are the seven boards depicting a Wonder of the World. You may notice that the wonder boards are double-sided. You can choose to play on the day or the night side, but for the first game, I’d recommend you play on the day side.

Give each player three coins and place them on their wonder boards. The rest of the coins can be placed in the middle of the table to make the coin reserve. All military tokens can go in the middle of the table. This is the military conflict token reserve. Any other game components can be returned to the box.

The final step is to deal out the cards for Age 1 – deal 7 cards to each player. You’ll need to do the same at the start of each Age.

Gameplay Basics

1. Select a card that you want to play. You can:

play the card if you have the resources avialable
play the card face down under your wonder stages again if you have the resources to do so
discard the card in exchange for 3 coins

2. Pass the rest of the cards to your neighbour. The direction depends on the Age.

3. Play your next card.

4. Pass your cards to your neighbour.

5. Repeat until you have 2 cards in your hand. This is the final round of the Age, instead of passing the final card to your neighbour, throw the final card in the discard pile.


Resources in 7 Wonders work a little different to games like Catan. Once you play a resource card, you have access to the resource once per round for the rest of the game.

7 Wonders: Beginner's Complete Strategy Guide (2)

For example in the above scenario, every time the player would go to play a card they would have access to:1 wood, 1 clay, 1 stone and either an additional stone or wood.

In addition to the resources in your wonder, you can also buy resources from your neighbours for (default) 2 coins. However you can buy resources from your neighbours if they have the resource and you can only buy an amount of resources from your neighbours that they have access to, e.g. if you;re neighbour only has 1 wood symbol on the wonder you can only buy 1 wood from them.

Free Builds

Some cards do build into each other. By this I mean if you build certain cards in the current age, there are cards that can be built for free in a later age. For example with science:
7 Wonders: Beginner's Complete Strategy Guide (3)


You can score points in several ways throughout the game in 7 Wonders:

Wonders: Add up any victory points gained from your wonder
Treasury: A set of 3 coins is equal to 1 victory point. e.g. 21 coins = 7 points
Military: Add up the military victory tokens and minus any defeat tokens from the total
Blue cards: Add up the victory points earned on your blue cards played
Yellow cards: Add up the total victory points from any commerce/ yellow cards played
Science: Science is scored in sets. 1 solo Science card = 1 victory point, 2 of the same symbol = 4 victory points, 3 of the same symbol = 9 victory points, 4 of the same symbol = 16 victory points, etc. Additionally for each set of 3 different symbols you gain an additional 7 victory points. If in doubt check the chart in the game rules.
Guilds: Add up the total victory points gained from purple/ guild cards played.

Add up this total and take away any negatives if there any for the final scores.



Getting your resources

7 Wonders is all about scoring points, but to be able to afford to build those points you need a steady foundation of resources to do so.

There’s a few ways you can do this:

Build resources early on and focus on securing a forum or caravansery or both in the early stages of age 2.
Build trading posts and marketplaces in age 1 and focus on securing enough coins to buy resources from your neighbours.
A mixture of the two methods above.

Again consider which wonder you have in your approach, for example Alexandria will require fewer age 2 resource cards as you build your wonder. Also keep in mind how you want to score your points later in the game, focusing on blue civilian structure cards and military can be more resource heavy than science which build off each other more fluidly.

Science all or nothing

Science is one of the core ways of building points in 7 Wonders. Each science symbol progresses the scoring as a square of the number of symbols you have, for example if you have 1 symbol the card is worth 1 point, 2 symbols and the pair are worth 4, 3 symbols and the value of the set goes up to 9, this keeps going up and up. On top of that each set of three different symbols you gain an additional 7 points. While some of the commerce cards compound points, the exponential growth in points you can gather with science cards is in itself a reason that an all science strategy can work.

If you do go for science though, you either have to commit in the second age and go all out for anything green or give up early. It’s also something to keep your eye out on for across the table, if you see someone hard committing to a science strategy don’t be afraid to pick up a few of your own if no one else is competing for science.

It’s also important to think about your wonder when deciding whether science is suitable to you or not. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon is obviously a great wonder for science, but do be wary that everyone else at the table will know this so are more likely to block your science cards.

Military card strategies

In 7 Wonders, players can also engage in military conflict with one another, this happens automatically at the end of each age. The player with the highest amount of military symbols wins the conflict and takes 1, 3, or 5 military points from the middle depending on the age. Each player fights both direct neighbours on their right and left. The loser of the conflict will always take one -1 military point from the middle.

Military is not an absolute essential to build. The most points you lose is 1 from each fight, meaning the most points you can lose from military battles throughout the 3 ages is 6 points. With this in mind, you can have strategies that revolve around completely ignoring military, You may not feel that it’s worth the number of cards needed to win a fight to even compete. Especially if you’re sat next to a player with the Colossus of Rhodes wonder.

That being said if you notice your neighbours are not building their military, the red cards can be an easy way to get some extra points. Going back to Rhodes example if your neighbour’s neighbour has Rhodes it might be an incentive for you to build military as your direct neighbour will be dissuaded from building up theirs. Military can also be used as a fun sneak attack in the final round of each age to secure a few extra points.

Civilian structures, commerce, and guilds

There’s not too much to talk about with Civilian Structures, they’re straight forward victory points. Do keep an eye out for the structures that build off each other, for example the Baths in age 1 build into the Aqueduct in age 2. These are both high value structure cards for their respective ages. There’s also the Temple and Pantheon, in ages 2 and 3. Pantheon comes in with a hefty 7 points, but is an expensive structure to build.

Commerce cards can be a fun one to build a strategy around, especially if you have the Leaders expansion pack and Midas as an option. In the core game, however, these serve as a good way to top up your gold reserves and score a few extra points along the way. Do keep your eye out for the Arena card in age 3 as this is worth 6 points with the flexibility of 3 of these being in the form of 9 coins provided you have your wonder completed (even more if you have the Pyramids of Giza).

Guilds are a set of cards only available in the final age. These can be game changers in the right circ*mstances. For example the Philosopher’s Guild is absolutely a tide turner if your neighbours have been going for science all game, and the Scientists Guild equally can score you big points if you yourself are going for science. The Builders Guild is another specific guild to look out for as this is almost always a solid card to pick up on, only in situations where you and your neighbours have completely ignored your wonders should you completely ignore this card.

Adapt and play to your strengths

7 Wonders is a game where you need to be ready adapt your game style every time you play. There is no one winning formula. Assess your situation and play to your strengths, the strengths or your wonder, and the weaknesses of your opponents. Be ready to adapt and with every round think, which card in my hand is going to provide me with the most value at this moment.

Final Thoughts

7 Wonders might be right at the top of my all time favourites. Not the most exciting choice out there, but it's a reliable go to type of game that I keep coming back to. I've written a review of 7 Wonders and a strategy guide over on my blog if you want to read more!

7 Wonders: Beginner's Complete Strategy Guide (2024)
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