“So that the things done by mankind do not fade in time, and so that neither the deeds nor wonders, whether executed by Greeks or barbarians, become forgotten, and other things—and on account of what reason they fought each other.”
–Herodotus, on the purpose of writing his Histories
When the Persians invaded Greece in the early fifth century BC, they recognized that only one civilization could prevail in the eastern Mediterranean. Both had made remarkable inventions: theatre, philosophy, gardens, laws. Both had constructed magnificent monuments that made it onto the canonized list of the world’s seven great wonders. Both had incredible scientific knowledge and military might. Nevertheless, it was impossible for them to peacefully coexist. One had to triumph and the other had to fall.
In 7 Wonders: Duel, you and your opponent each lead an ancient civilization to greatness—but only one of you can win. Over the course of three Ages you both draft cards, advancing your civilization one development at a time. You can choose to become a military superpower and conquer your opponent in battle or seek scientific supremacy. You can bolster your economy with markets and ports or create great public works like aqueducts and senates. Above all, you can build magnificent wonders which will give your civilization lasting renown and ease your path to victory.
As in the multiplayer game 7 Wonders, each Age is characterized by its own deck of cards. In 7 Wonders: Duel, the cards for each Age are carefully arranged in a pattern on the playing space with some faceup and others facedown. Cards are inaccessible if other cards rest on top of them, and accessible faceup cards must be taken before facedown ones can be revealed.
As you take turns choosing cards, you’ll have to decide how to spend your coins, which resources to acquire, what you might want to discard, and what to build. Even though you want a Clay Pool or Press, you may only be able to build a Theater, Glassworks, or Garrison. The card you take may open up or reveal a card you need, but that your opponent takes first. You are always aware of what your opponent takes and builds, so use that knowledge to your advantage.
In 7 Wonders: Duel, military strength is marked by the Conflict pawn, which travels back and forth along the game board between your capital and your opponent’s. Every military Building you construct bears a number of shields, and with each shield, you push the pawn closer to your opponent’s capital and away from your own. If it reaches your foe's capital, you’ve won the game through military victory. Simply keeping it in your opponent’s territory, though, will cost them money, earn you victory points, and force them to focus on military spending rather than other pursuits.
The March of Progress
Among the Buildings you may construct in the first Age are a Workshop, Apothecary, Pharmacy, and Scriptorium. On their own, they seem to contribute little to your civilization, no more than a single victory point. A Scriptorium combined with a Library, however, can advance your civilization far beyond its rival. A Workshop combined with a Laboratory could enable you to make remarkable scientific discoveries, and further humanity’s overall progress. If you can construct two Buildings with the same scientific symbols, you can take a progress token of your choice. You might acquire Strategy (an extra shield on all your future military Buildings), Agriculture (six coins and four victory points), Philosophy (seven victory points), or another advancement. Yet there is a different route to scientific greatness. A set of Buildings bearing six different scientific symbols grants you an instant victory.
In the second Age you'll begin to see whether a scientific victory is achievable or whether your efforts are best placed in military defense (and offense), public edifices, economic development, or in Wonders. As you begin to focus your civilization, you must nevertheless be careful which cards you draft, and which cards you open up—you don’t want to accidentally give a lucrative Building or important scientific advancement to your opponent. And, since resources are no longer available in the third Age, you will want to acquire them whenever you can before that Age dawns.
The third Age is a race for excellence using the most challenging card drafting array yet. Only in the third Age can scientific supremacy be achieved. Only in the third Age can you acquire guild cards, which offer victory points for the number of cards you have in a certain color. And as this Age unfolds, you will at last be able to see how strong your civilization truly is in the areas you've emphasized.
No ancient Mediterranean civilization would be complete without its Wonders, whether massive, gold-adorned statues, enticing and exotic gardens, or an expansive circus in which tens of thousands can watch chariot races. 7 Wonders: Duel offers you the chance to build four of the ancient world’s seven great wonders. At the beginning of the game, you and your opponent select the wonders that you hope to build. Each wonder demands a unique set of resources and provides a unique set of benefits upon completion. The Statue of Zeus, for example, offers one shield, three victory points, and a chance to discard one of your opponent’s brown cards. The Hanging Gardens offer six coins, three victory points, and an immediate second turn—which you might use to build a second wonder.
You can build your wonders as soon as you have the requisite resources. If you're ambitious, you might even construct one during the first Age. Yet because only seven wonders were listed by Philo of Byzantium in his legendary catalog, only seven can be built in 7 Wonders: Duel, rather than the eight that lay before you. Whichever civilization builds four wonders first therefore has a fantastic advantage over its rival. Remember, however, that completing your wonders doesn’t guarantee you victory. The wonders are simply another means of making your civilization great.
When Roman armies conquered other lands, they would stage immense processions into the city, passing by the Circus Maximus, through the Forum, and up to the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline. The procession would include wagons full of spoils from other lands: gold, animals, captives, even Egyptian obelisks. Such triumphal celebrations could last several days, and gave all of Rome, from the wealthiest patricians to the poorest plebians, a chance to revel in their civilization’s greatness.
7 Wonders: Duel offers you the chance to lead one ancient civilization and conquer another. Will you find yourself defeated, or will you retrace the steps of legendary leaders in triumph?
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