7 Wonders is a game that has been hitting our gaming group’s table on a more frequent basis as of late. For the longest time we played just the base game, but we finally introduced the Leaders expansion into the mix. Briefly, the Leaders expansion for 7 Wonders introduces a new card type: Leaders. It adds a new drafting phase at the beginning of the game where players draft 4 Leaders for use during the game. The Leaders have different powers and help guide strategy for drafting cards during the ages and may give some direction in building up a player’s civilization. At the beginning of each Age, there is a Recruit phase where players may either pay the recruit cost of the Leader and put it in play to gain its ability, or use the Leader to build a stage of their wonder, or discard the card for 3 coins. During Age 3, the final leader is discarded and not used.
With 7 Wonders celebrating its 7th Anniversary, there were 2 Anniversary Packs released in the later part of 2017. One of them is the Leaders Anniversary Pack.
The Leaders Anniversary Pack comes with 15 new Leaders that are incorporated into the existing Leaders deck. An interesting thing is all of the Leaders in the Anniversary Pack are women, adding to a balance of gender representation of the Leaders in the 7 Wonders game.
15 women join the ranks of the Leaders in 7 Wonders
Each of the new cards has a special 7 icon at the bottom of the card to distinguish them as the Anniversary Pack cards.
The Special 7 icon on the new Leaders
And the new Anniversary Pack cards have spot UV on them so there are certain places of the cards where the images pop more and make them look really great.
OVERVIEW OF THE NEW LEADERS
So, these women mean business and they add some interesting elements to the game. First, there are 5 Leaders that increase the level of competition between players and their immediate neighbors. These Leaders are: Cornelia, Eurypyle, Phryne, Theano, and Makeda. At the end of the game, these Leaders award victory points if the player has more cards of a corresponding color, or coins in their treasury than each of their two neighboring cities (counted separately)
Added competition is something the new Leaders bring to the game
There are some cards that have a new Age-based cost, designated by an A in the coin cost of the card. This means that the cost to recruit that leader is based upon what Age they are recruited. For example in Age 1, the cost would be 1 coin, whereas in Age 3 the cost is 3 coins. You can see examples of the Age-based cost in the images above.
There are some leaders that have you take a gamble on end game scoring if you can meet their requirements. Cynisca‘s ability is: At the end of the game, she is worth 6 victory points if the player has no Military Defeat tokens. Her cost is Age-based, so she is cheaper to recruit early on, but that player is exposing a potential strategy to go strong on Military.
Agrippina will reward a player if he or she essentially denies themselves recruiting any other Leaders. She is worth 7 victory points if she is the player’s only face-up Leader at the end of the game.
There are a few Leaders that will affect a player’s Military strategy. Nicotris will immediately grant a Military victory token corresponding to the current Age. So she is really powerful in Age 3 compared to Age 1. Telesilla can help a player who decides to ignore Military. When she enters play, the player who recruits her discards all of their Military Defeat Tokens. Each other player discards one Military Victory Token of their choice. Gorgo is another Leader who can work with a strong Military Strategy by rewarding victory points to identical pairs of Military Victory tokens.
Roxana is a Leader that is very useful if recruited in Stage 1. Once she is in play, she grants the player who recruited her 2 coins each time on of the two neighboring cities builds a Wonder stage.
Aganice and Enheduanna are two Leaders that contribute to the Scientific Strategy. One grants an additional scientific symbol matching whichever symbol the player has the most of, and the other allows a player to change one of their scientific symbols into one of their choice. And this can affect green, white, and black cards.
Finally, there are 2 Leaders that can cripple other player’s treasuries.
These Leaders hit other players in their treasuries.
Arsinoe is a Leader who can be quite deadly in Age 3. When she enters play, she grants the recruiting player 4 coins and then causes each other player to lose a number of coins corresponding to the current age. So in Age 3 players would have to lose 3 coins, which can affect the ability to pay to borrow resources from neighbors or at minimum, cost 1 victory point for coins in the treasury. Since Leaders are revealed simultaneously, Arsinoe’s ability should not prohibit another player from being able to pay the recruit cost for their chosen Leader. Octavia is another useful Leader of recruited in Age 1. Whenever the recruiting player builds a Wonder Stage, she grants them 2 coins and causes each other player to lose 1 coin.
IMPRESSIONS ON 7 WONDERS: LEADERS ANNIVERSARY PACK
I thoroughly enjoy using the Leaders expansion and to me adding the Anniversary Pack is a no brainer. I really like the abilities that each of the new Leaders brings to the game. They integrate well with the existing expansion and add some new combinations for recruited Leader synergy. In my overview of the Leaders, I made mention of some strategic uses for these new Leaders.
I have always enjoyed the artwork in the game and I like the contributions for different artists for this project as well. I really like the spot UV treatment on the cards, however, it makes me wish that the whole game got that treatment. Also, the cards in the Anniversary Pack are slightly thicker, but it is not noticeable from looking at the cards as the backs are all identical and there is no color variation to distinguish the new Leaders.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON 7 WONDERS: LEADERS ANNIVERSARY PACK
For 7 Wonders players who have never used Leaders, I recommend picking up that expansion and the Anniversary Pack together. Leaders fits so well with the base game, and the added potential of the 15 Leaders in the Anniversary Pack make it a worthwhile addition. For players who have been using Leaders for a while, The Leaders Anniversary Pack adds some fresh new abilities for players to consider when drafting Leaders and choosing to recruit them. First, with interesting combinations that Leaders can now add to each other, this pack makes the Leader Phase at the beginning of the game very even more mindful, and you need to be aware of what Leaders you will be passing to your neighbor. Second, the Age-based cost for some of the Leaders is something I really like because it challenge players to risk laying out their strategy earlier in order to save a few coins. Third, many of the Leaders in this pack are quite useful in Age 3, so it makes the Leader phase more interesting as players will need to weigh options when drafting Leaders as to where they hope to be two-thirds of the way through the game.
This is a well done mini-expansion that adds a lot and it is something that will be used whenever we play 7 Wonders.