The Immortal Ones
Preview the Gods of 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon
“Anyone who looks upon these things and doesn’t sense that they possess the force of the gods
seems utterly unable to sense anything.”
–M. Tullius Cicero, De Natura Deorum
7 Wonders Duel is a game of human competition and human excellence. You and your opponent strive to build the preeminent city of the ancient Mediterranean, to make pioneering scientific discoveries, and erect Wonders worthy of eternal renown. But no culture of the ancient eastern Mediterranean was really human-centric, not that of the Greeks who invented philosophy nor the Phoenicians who devoted themselves to business and trade.
The Pantheon expansion for 7 Wonders Duel, available in stores next week, looks beyond humanity to the beings who truly govern all things, including human fortunes: the gods. Pantheon enables you and your opponent to earn the favor of deities from five ancient cultures, transforms the gameplay of Age III by replacing Guilds with Grand Temples, and introduces new Wonders and Progress tokens. This preview reveals the Mesopotamian and Roman gods receptive to your worship and shows you how to gain their attention in the game.
Gods of Innovation
You may recognize Mesopotamia as the “fertile crescent” between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the “birthplace of human civilization” where agriculture first arose, then writing and laws following close behind. For those reasons, the gods representing the Mesopotamian pantheon are gods of innovation and invention who offer you access to Progress tokens and scientific symbols.
No single culture controlled Mesopotamia from the beginnings of urban civilization around 3300 BCE until Alexander the Great conquered the area in 331 BCE. The three Mesopotamian gods of Pantheon actually represent two different but related cultures: Sumerian and Assyrian. The Sumerian god Enki, eldest of the three, created mankind and put language in its mouths. He may also have been worshipped as a god of water and irrigation. In Pantheon, he enables you to choose one Progress token out of two: perhaps the Agriculture token that grants coins and victory points, or the Architecture token that reduces the cost of building Wonders.
Enki is said to have given the other gods’ their duties after the creation of the world. He made the goddess Nisaba their scribe, and then built her a school so she could teach others. Nisaba also established the boundaries between regions, settled many disputes between mortals, and gave aid to those in need. When you invoke her, she gives you a scientific symbol that your opponent already possesses, answering your need for invention.
The Assyrian goddess Ishtar, who offers you a Law token, evolved from the young, beautiful, Sumerian goddess Inanna. It is said that Enki tried to court Inanna by inviting her to a feast, but she refused his advances and cunningly convinced him to hand over to her all the gifts of humanity. She was also both a goddess of love and a war deity, stirring up chaos and conflict where she went. The mixture of love and war is the heart of what Ishtar inherited from her Sumerian predecessor: not an affection for justice, but a drive to create the chaos that justice may solve.
Gods of War
Even at its peak, Roman civilization wasn’t renowned for technological or artistic achievements, but for a skill in waging war that enabled it to establish an empire even larger than that of Alexander the Great. The three deities representing Rome in Pantheon therefore all have military aspects, and offer you military advantages. Chief among the three, although not their eldest, is Mars, who represents military power as a means for securing peace. Invoking Mars in the game earns you two shields, which can push back your opponent’s advance or enable you to invade enemy territory.
Like Ishtar, Minerva is very closely related to another Mediterranean goddess—the Greek Athena. Like Ishtar, she is a female goddess of war, but instead of ruling over war’s emotional chaos, she governs military wisdom: strategy and tactics, self-defense, knowing where to deliver a blow, and when to stop fighting. She offers you no shields, but she does grant you a pawn that you can place on the Game Board to stop your opponent in their tracks.
Before he was god of the sea, Neptune was god of streams, rivers, springs, and horses. He and Minerva created the chariot together, using her ingenuity and his steeds. Once the Roman military took to the sea in battles against the Carthaginians, Neptune became also a god of war and trade, linked to the economic profits of imperialism. With his favor you can discard a Military token that would cause you to lose money, and apply a Military token that drains your opponent’s funds.
Do ut Des
“I give so that you will give.”
–Latin religious formula for the relationship between humans and gods.
Before you attempt to woo the gods with offerings, you must first decide which gods will be in play. During Age I setup, you’ll place five randomly-selected mythology tokens on certain cards in the layout. When you flip over a card that has a mythology token on it, that token becomes yours. Immediately, you draw two Divinity cards from the culture the token represents—Roman, Greek, Egyptian, etc.—and choose one to place facedown in the Pantheon that arcs over the play area.
You can then draw a deity down from the Pantheon in Ages II and III by paying the cost shown on the Pantheon board. Offering tokens placed on three of the Age II cards reduce those costs. Then, you must immediately use the power that the deity grants. The gods may be immortal, but they are also thoroughly changeable, unlikely to side with any mortal for very long.
Reach for Immortality
Your city-building triumphs in 7 Wonders: Duel are inherently mortal. Buildings can be torn down. Even Wonders erode. Yet in the ancient Mediterranean world, mortal victories had the potential to grant immortality: Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and his heir Augustus, some Sumerian kings, and all Pharaohs were worshipped as gods. Yet no mere human can achieve apotheosis. True immortality can only be attained by those with the gods on their side.
It’s time to chose which gods you want on your side. Pantheon will be available soon.