# 7 Wonders Strategy

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percentage of the time, then that would be that, right? Everyone would want to get card X if they could, because it would lead to a win. But it can't really be that easy to determine whether or not card X is really the best card can it? And the answer to that is "no." It isn't enough to measure a large sample size and determine an outcome. What if 40% of the sample games measured contained at least 1 of 2 players? What if both of those players were exceptionally good at the game? What if both were bad? What if 80% of the games analyzed were 4 player games, and the remaining 20% were 3, 5, 6, and 7 player games? What if the Guild Card Y had only been available for purchase in 10% of the sampled games? This theorycrafting could be narrowed in scope a little bit with a more structured statistical analysis, but it would require using real statistical principles. To determine if card X is the best card, you would have to eliminate a number of factors. The skill of the winning player, the number of players, the availability of the card, etc. To do so, you would isolate each factor. First, you would examine only 3 player games and see how often card x showed up. Then four player, then five, and so on. If it showed up as the best card everywhere, you would be on your way. Next you would want to isolate the skill of the players. You could analyze only games that contained at least one player with a greater than 50% win rate. In each of Good Player 1's wins, how often did he have card X? In each of Good Player 2's wins, how often did she have card X? In games where Good Player 1 was defeated, how often did the winning player have card X? Then run the same analysis for players who win fewer than 10% of their games. It goes on and on. It is a lot of analysis. And even if it were done, it STILL probably wouldn't mean much. The fact is that most of the cards have more than one copy available for selection with varying numbers of players. For example, in a five player game there are six available age 3 military cards - one Arsenal, one Fortification, two Circuses, and two Siege Workshops. Are Siege Workshop and Circus better cards, or in the given sample of games are they simply statistically more likely to end up belonging to a winning player because there are more of them? And could an Age I military card like the Stockade (1 wood cost) really be a better key to victory than the Guard Tower (1 clay cost)? If so, does it mean it's really better, or that wood is better than clay? And is wood really better than clay, or would that indicate that the Olympia Wonder (Starting wood resource) is better than Babylon (Clay resource)? Or is Olympia simply an easier wonder to master for starting players than Babylon? The variables and factors that contribute to victory or loss are almost too numerous to accurately measure with a basic statistical analysis. It means that if someone examines only two contributing and correlative factors such as "Victories" and "Presence of Card X". The jury would still be out on "Wonder 1 is good" and "Wonder 2 is bad". It also means there is no silver bullet strategy such as "Always take green" or "Never lose a military fight". So is it possible or useful to measure anything? Fortunately, the answer to these two questions are "Yes," and "Yes." At its core, 7 Wonders is an economic game. In the book "Freakonomics," Leavitt and Dubner describe economics as "a study of incentives - how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing." That is 7 Wonders. It is a 30 minute case study in how you obtain what you want or need when every other player is trying to do the same thing. but the key to the "Freakonomics" quote is "incentives". If you can control the incentives in a game, you can control the entire game. Throughout each section, ideas will be presented about how to limit the possible courses of action for others while expanding those possibilities for oneself by creating incentives for other players to react to your play. RESOURCES When you look at the game, you can see that it is remarkably well-balanced but not in ways that are completely obvious at first. Some balance is easy to spot. For example, in a three player game in Age I, there are 7 cards that

have a non-gold cost. Four cards that require resources (one each of wood, clay, stone, and ore) and three that require manufactured goods (one each of glass, papyrus, and cloth). There are six brown resource cards, two for each player. Each resource (wood, clay, stone, and ore) appears on two of the cards. In fact, with any number of players, each resource appears on an equal number of brown cards. Another example of balance would be the wonders. Each wonder features a different starting resource, all resources equally represented, and each plays to a different strength in the game. Some people believe that certain wonders are better than others. I'm not one of them. Some wonders just take a little more work than others. Some of the balance is more subtle. For example, if you look at every card in the game for all 7 players, you'll see that Ore shows up on 41 cards, Wood shows up on 39 cards, Clay appears on 31 cards and Stone appears on 30. Of those cards, Ore appears on 12 military cards, Wood appears on 14 military cards, Clay shows up on 6 military cards, and Stone on 7. As For Science, Wood is king appearing on 6 cards. Ore, Clay, and Stone each appear on 4 Scientific cards. On Guilds, Wood, Ore, and Clay show up on 4 each, while Stone appears on 5. What was all that crap about being balanced? There doesn't appear to be any balance at all. You obviously w

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