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Subject: How would you rate the Wonders? rss

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After Myself, Ousgg and a few other users managed to totally derail a simple rules thread, I thought it might be interesting to see how people rate the various wonder sides and also the wonders against one another. I realise such threads have happened in the past, but, maybe it'd be interesting to see now. I've included expansions stuff, but don't feel obliged to rate everything.

Poll
Suppose you're dealt a given wonder, but you get to choose the side. IN GENERAL, which side would you consider better?
Which side do you think is stronger?
  A is much stronger A is slightly stronger A and B are balanced B is slightly stronger B is much stronger Not sure/Don't know
Colossus of Rhodes
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Library of Ephesos
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Mausoleum of Halikarnassos
Pyramids of Gizah
(Leaders) Colosseum of Rome
(Cities) Al-Khazneh of Petra
(Cities) Hagia Sophia of Byzantium
(Promo) Mannequin Pis
(Promo) Catan Island
      77 answers
Poll created by I Eat Tables


Poll
Assume you are using the side you think is better, IN GENERAL which would you say is best/worst?
1. Which is the best wonder (in the base game)?
Colossus of Rhodes
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Library of Ephesos
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Mausoleum of Halikarnassos
Pyramids of Gizah
2. Which is the worst wonder (in the base game)?
Colossus of Rhodes
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Library of Ephesos
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Mausoleum of Halikarnassos
Pyramids of Gizah
      121 answers
Poll created by I Eat Tables
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Paul DeStefano
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Wouldn't you have to give them all a 7?
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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The worst is definitely Halikarnassos B. It's slightly better the more players in the group, but with good players at the table you've basically got your pick of three of the worst 7 cards from each of Age 1 and 2 (i.e. the ones people didn't bother to build and threw away at the end of the Age). Discarding for coins is the worst thing one can do on any turn and a good group will have very few discards because of that.

Halikarnassos B is basically the baseline for learning a table strategy where you build few or no wonder stages... and that's an option you have with any board, so by definition a board where that's the main or optimal strategy is basically inferior to every other board.

Halikarnassos A isn't as bad just because the board is worth 10 points, and you might actually be able to pull off a decent single pick from the discard pile (three, however, is a pipe dream).

For best, I like Ephesos because it's a good Science board but you're not as committed to it as with Babylon. The extra coins makes your plans very flexible.
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Cameron McKenzie
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XDarkAngelX wrote:
The worst is definitely Halikarnassos B. It's slightly better the more players in the group, but with good players at the table you've basically got your pick of three of the worst 7 cards from each of Age 1 and 2 (i.e. the ones people didn't bother to build and threw away at the end of the Age). Discarding for coins is the worst thing one can do on any turn and a good group will have very few discards because of


I don't know if I agree with that. Passing on a mediocre play is definitely worth it if the extra money allows you to make a great play. Consider how often you get green cards when you aren't following a green strategy, red cards when you are way ahead of or way behind your neighbors military already, or resources you don't expect to use more than once. I would rather just take the money.

This wonder can also do some surprising things - by building the wonder stage on the last play of the age, you get to pick from all the end of age discards. There probably isn't anything great, but you can at least set yourself up with a good card that you weren't able to afford when it was going around. This is also extremely good if you are in close military contest with a neighbor... Building the wonder stage last is much better than building the military card last, because you can just build the military card IF you need it after seeing what your neighbor played. If you don't need it, you may get something even more useful.
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Kuba W
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So, the first questions refers to the base game only as well?
I guess not, since the wonders from expansions are added there.
Now there is this and other factors that make it impossible to give a simple answer.
For example, one of the great things that the expansions have contributed is balancing the Ephesos A and B side (I'm sure many will disagree, but that's another long discussion...)
Moreover, Halikarnassos A is much better than B with 3 players and much worse with 7 players.
For Manneken Pis, it depends on what your neighbours have (sitting between Rhodos and Byzantium could be frustrating for Brussels A).
And so on, and so forth... I think I'm not gonna vote on this one.
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Jay Reigns
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I think Byzantium might be my least favorite. I don't know about game balance but I can't seem to make being diplomatic work. I guess it would be pretty effective if in age three your neighbors are tied on military so you can effectively get rid of 5 points for each of them and save yourself the -2 points. If you're playing with Cities, I feel like most people are looking for diplomacy to happen, especially if they neighbor Byzantium. It might be a threat to lock them into an arms race with people who are far away from them. Maybe I just haven't played with it enough, but the first time I got it I was excited to try something new and the second time I rolled my eyes. I feel like you need a copy of Louis just to make Byzantium work for you at all.
 
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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MasterDinadan wrote:
XDarkAngelX wrote:
The worst is definitely Halikarnassos B. It's slightly better the more players in the group, but with good players at the table you've basically got your pick of three of the worst 7 cards from each of Age 1 and 2 (i.e. the ones people didn't bother to build and threw away at the end of the Age). Discarding for coins is the worst thing one can do on any turn and a good group will have very few discards because of


I don't know if I agree with that. Passing on a mediocre play is definitely worth it if the extra money allows you to make a great play. Consider how often you get green cards when you aren't following a green strategy, red cards when you are way ahead of or way behind your neighbors military already, or resources you don't expect to use more than once. I would rather just take the money.


If you need money, that's what yellows are for. If you need to get rid of a card or find a play in a terrible hand, that's what your board is for. If you're stuck discarding it's always suboptimal, and is usually caused by an unfortunate card ordering. You should certainly do it if needed, but you should always be unhappy about it. I would expect less than one discard for cash per player, on average. For the whole game.
 
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I've been told that I had a brain fart and mislabelled the Temple of Artemis as a Library. You all know what it means, hopefully .
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Pyramids of Giza B is IMO the best wonder in the game. It has 4 spots which is a bonus because you can cut green cards under the wonder. Also the point advantage from the wonder is a big deal. Very direct resource production strategy works very well with Giza and in my experience wins more often than anything else.

Mausoleum and Babylon are powerful in science strategy. Colossus has obviously significant advantage in military race (although I dislike the 2 spots of the B-side). Temple of Artemis and lighthouse are flexible wonders with abilities which are good whatever path you choose. I prefer B-sides in most of the wonders.

With a small margin Statue of Zeus is IMO the worst wonder. B-side is maybe a little bit better because first ability is good and the third can be good with some luck and careless neighbors, but against good players don't expect too much from it. The A-side is just bad. There is a good chance that the second ability doesn't do anything.

Overall the wonders are quite well balanced, the only exception being Giza, which sometimes just wins you the game.
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I think I might actually give my opinions.

Rhodes is a tough one. In 3 or 7 players resources are scarce, and so both sides are tough to build. But generally, I prefer B, because you get those bonuses in just two stages, which is always an advantage (gives you one more card to build, or worst case, another 3 coins from discarding), and also getting coins as well as military means you aren't quite so forced into a military strategy.

Alexandria... one thing I dislike about all the manufactured goods wonders sides A is the double good for their final stage. Building those is a bit of a crapshoot, since you don't want to build the otherwise useless resource yourself, thus you rely on a neighbour doing it for you - and they probably won't, knowing it lets you build the wonder stage. Anyway Alexandria A's second stage is decent, everyone loves the Caravansery and being able to have two Caravansery's, but... side B offers that, and a Market, giving instant access to two of three manufactured goods. As long as you/a neighbour builds Papyrus or Cloth, you have them all. I think I prefer side B in general, but might go for A depending on neighbours (if they have manufactured goods, I might prefer A).

Ephesos, side B is better, no brainer. Unless for some reason I was certain a neighbour would build another papyrus for me, or I would get a Forum, it's just so close to strictly better it's amazing.

Babylon, side A is in my opinion the weakest wonder in the game, yet I see lots of people saying A is slightly better than B, so I'd love to see why I'm wrong about that. Side A pretty much forces you to go for at least one science set, which is tough, as you don't even start with a manufactured good, and building one set in ages II and III is poor. If you can manage to go science okay, then it's pretty alright, but still not great. Side B at least gives you the option to not go science, and stage 2... it's decent. It gives you flexibility, and while those cards are unlikely to be great, at worst you're discarding for coins each time, and usually doing slightly better. And if you want to go science you still have the option. Side B is I think the weakest of the best sides still.

Olympia is very dependent on player number - in particular, side B is pretty good in 3 player, where even a neighbour's Guild, looking at you and the 3rd player, well, you're looking at that same 3rd player, which is hopefully great. But in 4+ player, a guild good for your neighbour is rarely good for you (better hope they build the Builder's Guild!). And the more players you add, the less choice you're getting on average, and the average worth of that stage slips down probably to about 3-4VPs, if that. The first ability is always very good, though - two trading posts is always good. Side B though is very good, probably the 2nd best wonder in my opinion, maybe 3rd. Those stages are VERY cheap - I've seen people build the entire wonder in Age I, and most finish it in age II. A free build per age isn't a great ability, but it's decent, and if you draw the Pantheon/Palace/a good guild, it's all worth it (not that you wouldn't want to get to that cheap 7Vps anyway), and it can be good in age II for e.g. Walls or Aqueduct.

The Mausoleum is... very tough. I think side A is slightly better, because while it suffers from the double manufactured good issue, you probably wouldn't build stage 2 until the end of age II anyway, and if you can't build stage 3, well, delay stage 2 until endgame and get a good age 3 card instead. But the ability itself... usually, most good cards are gone. You can usually find something worth a decent number of VPs, or a military card for surprise VPs if your neighbours don't fortify, but often, it can whiff, and if it whiffs once, there's a good chance it will again, making side B very risky.

Finally the Pyramids. Both sides are expensive, both sides are good. Having four stages is a definite disadvantage of side B, extra cards to spend, and they're all expensive. But 20 VPs right on your wonder presents a strategy, get resources, score big on a small number of cards. Unfortunately if you miss out on the necessary resources, you can get really screwed lower down the pyramid (pun intended). But really, the slight risks, outweigh the cost - you want lots of resources for good cards anyway, AND you get 20 VPs for straight building the wonder, which I think makes it just about the best wonder.
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Jacek Deimer
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Here is my personal ranking of base game wonders (B sides only), based mostly on my own experience and a bit on various analysis here on BGG (ones including some valid data or undisputable arguments):

From best to worst:

1.Gizah

2.Ephesos

3.Rhodes
4.Halikarnassos
5.Alexandria

6.Olympia

7.Babylon



(I took into consideration only base game. With expansions it would be a bit different).



1st - Gizah - I think it's best wonder (and far ahead of others), because of the raw power it provides in comparision to other Wonders. It's a king of non-science strategy. Almost all wonders can go non-science, but Gizah is just much better in doing it.

High costs of wonder stages usually force you into resource heavy strategy with also enables you to play best blues, guilds and military in Age III. Also it will make Haven or even a Camber of Commerce in Age III a very good play. As a side effect with this strategy you should have steady income of coins from your neighbours. And Aqueduct, best scoring card in Age II will be easy to build for you.

4 wonder stages provide you with more opportunities to deny cards to your opponents or get out of terrible hands. Also all 4 stages are just simple points, not a fancy special abilities that may work for you or not. Reliability and stability is the key here - you know what you will get from the beginning. Arena in Age III is usually very good card for Gizah, much better than for other wonders. Also Builders Guild should be slighly better for Gizah (but neighbours will also want it).

At this point we can make conclusion that Gizah should have best choice of cards in Age III, better than any other wonder (maybe except upcoming Great Wall). For me that's a great upside.

Also such focused strategy is very hard to distrupt, only key cards are resources, other than that almost all cards in Age III will work for you, except science and very specific guilds.

(Also this focused strategy can be rewarded very well by Leaders, but I don't take this into consideration for this ranking.)

And if you decide to play Gizah differently (with is completely fine), with more focus on yellow cards or/and without military, most of the points are still valid. You just substitute Lighthouse for Haven and have different choice of Guilds.

(Expansions provide even more alternate ways to play Gizah, it would be still the best wonder in my opinion.)

All of the abowe show that it's hard to go wrong with Gizah!
Of course you can still lose to a science player (but 4 wonder stages help to prevent that), your neighbours can succeed in denying you resources or you can be screwed just because of terrible luck.
But on average I'd say that Gizah is most reliable and highest scoring non-science wonder!





2nd - Ephesos - Here flexibility is the key, and Ephesos is a king of flexibility!

All 3 wonder stages have low costs, so are easy to build. Good advantage if you want to go resource light strategy.

All 3 wonder stages provides you with coins, this offers a lot of flexibility. And in worst case scenario you will end game with guaranted 14 points from 3 wonder stages. This is harder to acomplish with other wonders.

Ephesos doesn't force you in any particullar strategy (like Ghizah, Rhodes, Babylon) and instead of abilities that can be situational (Olympia, Halikarnassos), it provides you with most universal and flexible resource in game: .

Flexibility = reliability and resilence in this case, at least a bit. Low cost of wonder stages and coins provided, make Ephesos very hard to counter. It's hard to deny resources to Ephesos and good management of coins allows you to get most from each hand you've got passed.

All points mentioned support conclusion that Ephesos is very good choice for any strategy and on average should do very well.

(It's also a great choice for any non-standard or mixed strategy, but it's much more relevant with expansions than in bare base game.)






3rd/4th/5th - Rhodes, Halikarnassos, Alexandria - very thought choice,personaly I think they are of similar power level. I'd give horable 3rd place to all of them. Just 3 average wonders, it's hard to say anythinks good or bad about them. Just few comments:


Rhodes - best point's per wonder stage in game( B side of course).
Tt forces you also in military and resource heavy strategy a bit. Bad for science. Also only 2 wonder stages so it's harder to fight other players or avoid bad luck. Only flexibility is in coins it provide.

It's got 3rd place on my list only because of I think: raw power (but not as much as Gizah). Rhodos main job is winning military conflicts with as low cost as possible and it does it very well. It's hard to compete in military with Rhodes, so if you manage strong lead in Age I or II your neighbours may give up figthing with you in Age III. And if they give up earlier or even from the beginnig, you will score military victories with very few red cards. This should lead to more points from blues and guilds than average.

(I have to mention that Rhodes gets much weaker with Cities and Leaders, especially Cities. Diplomacy, abundance of extra shields, pacifist leaders and cards that punish you for Victory Tokens. All of this makes military much less profitable and unpredictable than in base game)


Halikarnassos - In this THREAD we have a great analysis of this wonder and I agree completely with everything (except that it's the best wonder). So just to summarize my opinion:

It's good and flexible wonder. Despite some other opinions that it's a trash because usually there is only a trash in discard pile, I think it's a bit of exagerration. Even in 3 player it's quite easy to get at least 10 points from unwanted blues or weak guilds. That's fair score, nothing to be happy, just OK. But potential value is much more higher.

You can play any strategy with this wonder but my personal opinion is that it's strongest with science and especially science/military (with is possible and can be devastating play for opponents, at least in my opinion). Ability to get back discarded science can make huge difference in points. The same is true for military but to lesser degree. Also starting with Loom is nice for military.

On the other hand, you can use wonder stages as an utility to fix your economy, usually you will find some brown, grey or yellow cards between discards, that will help you fare better in Ages II and III.

I rate it 4th only because of the luck factor involved, dependance on play of other players and that it gets worse with lower number of players.

(Also it get's better with Cities, many black cards could be worth bringing back from discard)


Alexandria - It's power is good, but nothing spectacular, as good as having forum and caravansery. Solid and very reliable wonder with cheap stages.

But having resources as wonder stages has some disadvantages:

1.First of all you won't get money form resources in your wonder stages from your neightbours, it's not big downside but one to be considered.

2.Also 2nd stage Forum, usually highly contested card, is of a bit less demand by Alexandia as it already has Glass included.

3.Last point is that actual Caravansery and Forum are yellow cards, so in favorable circumstances you can capilize on that by playing Lighthouse in Age III.

But those downsides are slim and don't change my opinion that Alexandria is reliable and flexible wonder, just not as reliable as Gizah and not as flexible as Ephesos. It also doesn't support any strategy in particular (unlike Rhodes -> Military , Halikarnassos -> Science).

Alexandria is just a jack of all trades but master of none.

( I think that with expansions it gets a bit weaker because both Leader and Cities offer some new ways to get or avoid paying resources for all wonder boards... )






6th and 7th - Olympia and Babylon - These wonders are more comlicated in their nature and it's hard to evaluate their weak and strong points. Both offer powers that are very variable and difficult to judge without thorought analysis. I think we would need seperate debate to analyze that. So just a few words:


Olympia B - I really like 1st ability, it can provide very good value if built early, 5 points 2nd stage is als not bad at all. Only problem is with 3rd stage, it's hard to tell if it will be ever worth to build it. This may leave you with 2-stage wonder that provides you only 5 points and Double Trading Post, extremely underwhelming for 2-stage wonder...

I rate it so low because it's too dependant on your neighbours play and even in favourable situation it just doesn't have potential for spectacular plays.

(It's a bit different with Leaders and Cities as a combination of Double Trading Post with Hatchepsut leader or Clandestine Dock is propably one of the strongest openings in the game. Expansions also add Guilds with a more broad use, so they can as usefull for you as for your neighbours. However, 3rd stage is still a bit of an Gamble)



Olympia A - I'm still not conviced that it's better or even equal in power to side B, but for sure it's more reliable and easier to build. You know that you will get 10 points and will be able to build all stages with easy. Also you may get some value from 2nd stage.

----------
But how many coins can you save in reality?
Let's say you will make 2 free builds ( in Age II & II).
I'll asume that first will save you 2 resources (4) and second 3 resources (6) = 10 = 3,33 VP. It's not that great, and I feel I'm over optimistic here.
Also if you could use Trading Post then potential savings drop to 5 = 1,66VP. Not great at all...
EDIT: I admit this evaluation of 2nd stage may be a bit off. Working on something better

Side A is solid board but I still rate it as second to last. Not because it's bad, but because other boards are just a bit better in doinge the same job.

(With expansions Side B gets one additional upside: You get 3 extra cards to build, this means 3 extra chances to get more value from Double Trading Post of side B. On the other hand, you still can build only 1 card for free with side A)



Babylon - I've to admit that I hate this wonder with passion, both sides, but let me focus on side B as it's more interesting.

Both sides have built-in what i'd like to call anti-synergy.

Babylon wants to be an ultimate Science wonder, but by not having a manufactured good it actually makes harder to play science at the beginning of Age I. Much worse than Ephesos, Hali and Alexandria...

It's first stage is just 3 VP, nothing that can help science strategy. Again much worse than Ephesos, Hali and Alexandria...

B side, 2nd stage - this ability is hard to value. It's extremely dependant on luck. In theory you can get 2 great cards, but in practice more often you will get 2 cards of marginal value. Here is why:

1.It's usually built in Age II so you will get only 2 extra cards. As 2nd stage doesn't provide any points by itself you hope that with last card in Age II you will at least break even. More often than not it means discard for 3coins = 1VP.

2.Then you hope to get 2 good cards at end of Age III. But as you are propably heavy in science, that's just a wishfull thinking. It's more propable to get 2 weak or impossible to build cards at end of Age III.

3.So propably you will use your last card in Age III to build your 3rd wonder stage. But this stops you from building 3rd stage earlier ( for example to get out of a weak hand).

4.In the end all strugle with this ability saved you 1 card in Age III. If this card gave you at least 5 points , i'd say it was worth the trouble, but still nothing spectacular.

5.So in the end you had to sacrifice a bit of flexibility just to get average VP from 2nd stage ability.

(It gets a bit better with Cities and Leaders where you have a chance to build it as soon as Age I and also to get something better in last hands.)

But the biggest issue is Wild Science symbol. It just forces you into science to get a decent value from it. On side B at least you can give up building 3rd stage, but then you are left with 2-stage wonder that provides only 3 VP and very luck based ability. Not good, at least not for me!

To get most from the symbol on Side B you have to go heavy science, and this wonder isn't best suited to play science in Age I and II. So, it promises nice reward, but makes you work very hard to get it.

With side A you can aim for 1 set of science (including 2nd stage) before end of Age II. This way you get some value from it and can focus rest of your game plan on something else.

All in all, it's worst wonder for me. It want's you to believe it's great for science strategy but I would say it's OK at most. Also it's special ability is too luck dependant and unpredictable. To make it worse it's 1st stage doesn't provide any real benefits for science and wonder as a whole completely lacks flexibility.

So if a wonder forces you into 1 particular strategy, then it should be good at executing this strategy. Babylon isn't!

(It gets a bit better with Leaders and Cities, where leaders like Archhimedes, Bilkis or Hatchepsut and some black cards can turn it into real science powerhouse. But it's irrelevant for base game evaluations.)

----------
EDIT: typos, clarifications
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I agree with Reid666 in most of the things he said. One thing I would like to point out where we both disagree with OP is that I also think that it's not a disadvantage to have more wonder steps as they can be used as defensive picks against science strategy and many times they can be chosen over some inferior choices, even in III-stage.

I have found that Babylon can work fairly well in partial science strategy, where you build only one science type. On it's own it's not that powerful, but the point is that it's defensive strategy against all out science strategy. As it can effectively cut out one type of science from the hands of the all out science player.
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Jacek Deimer
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Archvile wrote:


I have found that Babylon can work fairly well in partial science strategy, where you build only one science type. On it's own it's not that powerful, but the point is that it's defensive strategy against all out science strategy. As it can effectively cut out one type of science from the hands of the all out science player.


Completely agree. Ironically Babylon can turn-out to have a better performance as anti-science wonder than strict science wonder...

With Leaders expansion and some dose o luck you can recruit Plato or/and Justinian to make most out of such balanced and broad strategy. And with extra 3 moves provided by Cities expansion this aproach is even more reasonable.
 
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I really like your comments there Jarek, but I think you definitely sell Olympia A short. Three extremely cheap wonder stages is a much bigger advantage than you give credit for, it really opens up the options for resource lite strategies. Getting a free build once per age further helps that out - but it isn't the main ability of the wonder, it's gravy. Grabbing the Pantheon, Temple or a good Guild with only 2-3 resource cards without paying your neighbour is powerful, and you're usually able to pick up plenty of extra points with those extra card plays (often from yellow cards or science).
 
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Jacek Deimer
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I Eat Tables wrote:
I really like your comments there Jarek, but I think you definitely sell Olympia A short.


Indeed, it's possible that I've misjudged Olympia A little. That's because, as I said before, abilities of both sides of Olympia are hard to evaluate because they depend on many variable factors.

I haven't found a perfect way to evaluate "discount" abilities like Double Trading Post or Free Build Each Age.
As can be seen abowe I tried to evaluate 2nd stage of Side A by estimating possible/average savings provided by it. With translates into possible coins and this further translates in VP.
I have to admit I'm far from being happy with this method.

Few comments:


Quote:
Three extremely cheap wonder stages is a much bigger advantage than you give credit for, it really opens up the options for resource lite strategies.


I agree, but let's compare it to Alexndria B and Ephesus B and Olympia B:

Resource costs are very comparable, only 3rd stage is 1 resource less expensive in case of Olympia A.

Special abilities of other wonders in comparison to Olympias A 1 Free Build Each Age:

Ephesos B: Same VP, but I'd value 12 gold much more than Free Build
Alexandria B: -3 VP, but again I'd value Caravansery and Forum higher than Free Build and 3VP
Olympia B: -5VP, here I'd value Double Trading Post very high, but Copy A Guild ability is a big gamble. I'm still not convinced with side of Olympia is generally better.

And special abilities of all 3 start to help you just with 1st stage built. It's a bit relevant.

Taking abowe into consideration I would give Olymia A propably 3rd place when going resource light strategy (in base game).


Quote:
Getting a free build once per age further helps that out - but it isn't the main ability of the wonder, it's gravy. Grabbing the Pantheon, Temple or a good Guild with only 2-3 resource cards without paying your neighbour is powerful,...


My opinion is that generally when going low resource strategy I'd like to have at least 1 discount card with a very broad use, like Trading Post or Marketplace (or Clandestine Dock with Cities). And having one of them makes a Free Build ability less powerfull and a bit redundant.


I'd would agree that some of my arguments against Side A aren't very strong, partially it's bacause I don't have as much experience with Side A as with B. I usually use it only with new players when everyone plays A sides or online when someone decide to deal sides randomly. I just really like Double Trading Post more than Free Build. But this may be case of preference as I don't have any solid data to back it up.

I'd really like to read some more opinions and analysis about Olympia and Babylon, as it's hard to judge them well even after many plays.


Other case is that personal rankings are always a bit subjective. I tried to be as fair and objective as possilbe with my evaluations but they may be flawed to some degree by personal preferences and experience or even miscalculations. That's why all comments are highly welcomed!



As a side note:

If I had to evaluate all 12 available boards Olympia would still keep it's 6th place.

If I had to evaluate only A Sides of 7 boards from base game, Olympia would propably get 1st place, because of lowest costs and healthy amount of VP it can provide.
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I play the game alot but don't have both sides of the wonders memorized, the original post could use a picture of them for reference.
 
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bmwrider wrote:
I play the game alot but don't have both sides of the wonders memorized, the original post could use a picture of them for reference.


Pictures I don't have on hand, but as I'm running a PBF currently, I can do this!

The Colossus of Rhodes (A) - Produce Ore
(1) Cost: WW. Gives: 3 VPs
(2) Cost: BBB. Gives: 2 Shields
(3) Cost: OOOO Gives: 7 VPs

The Colossus of Rhodes (B) - Produce Ore
(1) Cost: SSS. Gives: 1 Shield, 3 VPs, 3 Coins
(2) Cost: OOOO. Gives: 1 Shield, 4 VPs, 4 Coins

The Lighthouse of Alexandria (A) - Produce Glass
(1) Cost: SS. Gives: 3 VPs
(2) Cost: OO. Gives: Produce B/O/W/S
(3) Cost: GG. Gives: 7 VPs

The Lighthouse of Alexandria (B) - Produce Glass
(1) Cost: BB. Gives: Produce B/O/W/S
(2) Cost: WW. Gives: ProduceG/C/P
(3) Cost: SSS. Gives: 7 VPs

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesos (A) - Produce Papyrus
(1) Cost: SS. Gives: 3 VPs
(2) Cost: WW. Gives: 9 Coins
(3) Cost: PP. Gives: 7 VPs

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesos (B) - Produce Papyrus
(1) Cost: SS. Gives: 2 VPs, 4 Coins
(2) Cost: WW. Gives: 3 VPs, 4 Coins
(3) Cost: PCG. Gives: 5 VPs, 4 Coins

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (A) - Produce Brick
(1) Cost: BB. Gives: 3 VPs
(2) Cost: WWW. Gives: Tablet/Compasses/Gear
(3) Cost: BBBB. Gives: 7 VPs

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (B) - Produce Brick
(1) Cost: CB. Gives: 3 VPs
(2) Cost: GWW. Gives: Can use 7th age card instead of discarding
(3) Cost: PBBB. Gives: Tablet/Compasses/Gear

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia (A) - Produce Wood
(1) Cost: WW. Gives: 3 VPs
(2) Cost: SS. Gives: 1 free build per age
(3) Cost: OO. Gives: 7 VPs

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia (B) - Produce Wood
(1) Cost: WW. Gives: Raw materials cost 1 to buy from both sides
(2) Cost: SS. Gives: 5 VPs
(3) Cost: COO. Gives: Copy 1 guild left or right.

The Mausoleum of Halikarnassos (A) - Produce Cloth
(1) Cost: BB. Gives: 3 VPs
(2) Cost: OOO. Gives: Free build of a discarded card
(3) Cost: CC. Gives: 7 VPs

The Mausoleum of Halikarnassos (B) - Produce Cloth
(1) Cost: OO. Gives: 2 VPs, free build of a discarded card
(2) Cost: BBB. Gives: 1 VP, free build of a discarded card
(3) Cost: GPC. Gives: Free build of a discarded card

The Pyramids of Gizah (A) - Produce Stone
(1) Cost: SS. Gives: 3 VPs
(2) Cost: WWW. Gives: 5 VPs
(3) Cost: SSSS. Gives: 7 VPs

The Pyramids of Gizah (B) - Produce Stone
(1) Cost: WW. Gives: 3 VPs
(2) Cost: SSS. Gives: 5 VPs
(3) Cost: BBB. Gives: 5 VPs
(4) Cost: PSSSS. Gives: 7 VPs
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Re: Reid

Thinking over things, I am beginning to think I'm overrating Olympia a bit. It's good to get out of groupthink!

Cost wise, bear in mind you already have that starting wood - so you need wood+2 stone+2 ore to build the entire wonder, and that first stage needs one resource and the second only two. That comfortably beats out all the wonders you just quoted. Ephesos then needs two manufactured goods for stage 3, which is very possible but generally takes a little longer to get access to, but otherwise is just as cheap. Alexandria of course the first stage needs 2 resources, but then it helps pay for the second and third itself. Then finally Olympia B, yeah, that first stage even makes it potentially cheaper again but stage 3 is more expensive.

Olympia's copy a guild I've never seen work out very will in big games. Essentially look at the 10 guilds:
The 6 copy a neighbour's X are rarely going to work for you. If C's neighbours, B and D, have enough (e.g.) Green cards for the philosopher's guild to work out, then how likely is it that B's neighbours, A and C have them as well? It's almost always going to score you low, low points, like we're talking 3-4, 5 at best.
Copying the builder's guild is about the best you can do, and you better really really hope it makes it's way around the table towards you.
Shipowner's Guild, well, might work, but Olympia probably doesn't have many resources, so it's probably again not hugely scoring.
Strategists Guild, chances are if your neighbour bought it, they've beaten you at least a few times in military, so unlikely to be more than 4, and probably less.
Scientists Guild - if your neighbours are going science, then chances are you aren't, or maybe you're both making one set, in which case this is 3-5 points, perhaps.

All this assumes 4+ players, so that in particular A and D aren't the same person (at that point suddenly you and the person who has the guild you're copying share a neighbour, so you're probably getting something better!). But really, with one shining exception, none of these are likely to score you more than 5 VPs, and even 5 VPs is far from certain. It's not unusual that both neighbours in a bigger game are not interested in any of the guilds, and well then I hope you didn't build that Wonder stage in advance!

So you're left comparing about 5-10VPs and a double trading post, to 10 VPs and up to three free builds. You know, I do wonder about the value of that double trading post... I've never valued it that highly, a little above a single trading post really (I mean you can usually grab MOST of your resources from one guy). Sharing the money out and having cheap access to all resources, if people buy them, might be useful, but usually, it doesn't seem that valuable to me.
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For me I always play B unless I am Olympia.

Rhodes, Alexandria, Ephusus, and Halicanarsus are just much better on their B sides. Rhodes's 2 stages are almost as good as other wonder's 3 stages while Alexandria, Ephusus, and Halicanarsus A all have the double developed resource which I view as one of the worst detriments a wonder can have (and I view their benefits as being slightly better anyway.)

Gizah and Babylon aren't obviously stronger on one side vs the other to me but their B sides are far more interesting if nothing else (Note: I actually do think Gizah B is better than Gizah A but not to the same degree as the wonders above).

Olympia A is a very cheap wonder whose ability isn't all that bad whereas Olympia B is still pretty cheap and has abilities that can be fantastic but are more dependant on what your opponents do than what you do.
__________________
I.
Gizah
Ephesus
Alexandria
Halicarnassus
Rhodes

If I get any of these 5 wonders I am usually pretty happy. All 5 Grant a reasonably amount of flexibility and fairly good power/points per stage (B side of course).

Gizah B is very nice. 5 points is equal to the good age 2 blue cards so the extra step in Gizah isn't really that much of a burden and in the end it's just a massive number of points. Gizah wants to play the “resource strategy” because in a sense Gizah brings the points but needs the means to play. Thanks to it’s extra stage Gizah can focus on collecting a lot of resource early on and doesn’t have to worry as much about missing out on the good age 2 cards. An added bonus is that neighbors who know Gizah will be more interested in setting up a trading post with you than their other neighbor.

Alexandria B is in one sense the opposite of Gizah. Gizah Brings points and looks for means to play while Alexandria brings means to play and looks for points. Someone said that Alexandria has nothing spectacular but I disagree. The 1 spectacular thing it does have is not needing to worry too much about being shut out of a developed resource. One of the most annoying situations to find myself in is to be part way into age 2 with no forum and neither neighbor having built a useful developed resource. Every other wonder I find myself desperately trying to get the resources I’m missing but Alexandria is almost immune to that. Giving Alexandria a developed resource was actually pretty clever since even if it gets no help with developed resources and doesn’t build any itself the only cards it cannot build are those that need both a loom and scroll. This alone gives Alexandria a nice bit of identity. It also ties Olympia A for cheapest wonder needing less than 2 resources per stage. However it does have some problems.
1. If it fails to get access to 2 brick in age 1 it gets pretty badly set back since it wants to build stage 1 ASAP.
2. Alexandria can find it set on resources for the rest of the game extraordinarily early in age 2. Unfortunately it is kinda forced to give the other wonders a chance to catch up since Age 2 has a lot of resource cards and it can very easily find itself able to play anything but with nothing it really wants to play. Basically Alexandria can prepare itself for Age 3 faster than any other wonder but it cannot move ahead before the other wonders have a chance to catch up to it.

Ephesus B: Not really too much to say here. Fairly cheap wonder which gives coins at every stage. At worst 14 points. Not Bad

Halicarnassus B: See this link for most of my feelings. I personally don’t think its the best however it is my personal favorite wonder because I find it has unusual strategies and can do things no other wonder can really replicate.

Rhodes B: Rhodes gives 9 points (some of it in coins) and 2 military. The nice thing about military is unlike science you don’t need to base a large part of your game around it. You do want to win but you aren’t completely hammered into the strategy. The annoying thing is doing well in military is very dependant on what your neighbors are doing. If your neighbors are overinvesting than you can find winning military a waste. Meanwhile the guy across from you has neighbors ignoring military and is winning after barely investing at all. Overall while there is advantages to having a lot of stages (Gizah is just about the best anti-science wonder in the game) there are also advantages to having very few stages but pretty strong ones.

Babylon: Babylon is Babylon and my personal least favorite wonder. I am very sad when I have to play it. I find it very inflexible as it pushes science yet doesn’t start off particularly well at playing science cards. No real comments though I usually play B cause it is more interesting.

Olympia: Olympia is the only wonder that forces me to think about what side to play. Side A is tied with Alexandria overall cheapest wonder. In addition when you take into account that you only need 1 resource for it’s first stage whereas Alexandria needs 2 (early game is when you are the most resource deprived) I would label it the easiest to build wonder in the whole game. Its stage 2 ability is not that bad either. While it might not save you as much money as Ephesus as the old saying goes you can’t get blood from rocks. All the money in the game won’t help Ephesus it it lacks access the right resources to build a structure. Unfortunately as you get better this becomes less likely to happen and I have had games where **EDIT** Olympia A's stage 2 ability wasn’t really all that useful since I had invested well in resources.

Olympia B: My biggest issue with Olympia B is that the usefulness of 2 of its stages depends completely on how your neighbors play and I actually have a ton of stories to that extent. I’ll never understand why so many people applaud its first stage. i see it as a cruddy version of Alexandria B’s first stage though technically cheaper to play. I mean look at the advantages that the 2 have when compared:

Olympia B Stage 1 Advantages
Pays less money when buying 3 brown resources in 1 turn
Effective cost of stage is 1 fewer resource

Alexandria B Stage 1 Advantages
Pays less money when "buying" 1 brown resources in 1 turn (the resource you normally would have had to buy is given to you for free)
Can gain a resource your neighbors don’t have
Does not make the Age 1 trading posts almost useless plays

Now this is sticky enough but stage 3 of Olympia B comes with a ton of its own problems. First off again you are at the mercy of your neighbors and if they let you get points. Second building it in age 2 with a bad hand is fairly risky because you have no guarantee it will give you any points much less good points.

Some of my experiences playing as and against Olympia B include
1. Me being Olympia B and my neighbors building only brick and not playing a guild (Big loss for O.B). This game immediately followed by:
2. Me being Olympia B and my neighbors building all resources and playing a 9 point builders guild (big win for O.B).
3. Before a game starts a player disagreeing with me and saying that Olympia B stage 3 is amazing and usually worth a lot of points, only to have him take back his comments at the end of the game when no one built a guild for him.
4. Not me being Olympia B and finding himself next to 4 different guilds (8 points). (Massive 15 point win for O.B). Actually happened yesterday, it was a very unusual game and I got luck screwed.

And the game that I think illustrates my issue with Olympia B the most:
5. Last turn of the game and I’m Halicarnassus. I naturally do my last turn pilfer and discover a 6 point civilian card and a 7 point guild have been left for me. I should obviously play the one that gets me more points but right? But wait!!! Who happens to be on my left? Olympia B with his third stage built but neither me or his other neighbor have built a guild yet. The guild in question is worth 6 points to him. So now my play is a difficult decision... Did I say “difficult decision”? I actually meant “dead obvious”. I play the 6 point card and end up coming in first by 2 points over Olympia. Olympia’s stage 3 was worth 0 points.
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@ I Eat Tables & allstar64

Very informative and thorought reviews of Olympia, I think I agree witha almost everything, so only few thoughts here and there:

1.
allstar64 wrote:
Olympia: Olympia is the only wonder that forces me to think about what side to play. Side A is tied with Alexandria overall cheapest wonder. In addition when you take into account that you only need 1 resource for it’s first stage whereas Alexandria needs 2 (early game is when you are the most resource deprived) I would label it the easiest to build wonder in the whole game. Its stage 2 ability is not that bad either. While it might not save you as much money as Ephesus as the old saying goes you can’t get blood from rocks. All the money in the game won’t help Ephesus it it lacks access the right resources to build a structure. Unfortunatly as you get better this becomes less likely to happen and I have had games where it’s stage 2 ability wasn’t really all that useful.


Question about bolded part. As my English is far from perfect (or even average) I'm not sure if this part is about 2nd stage of Ephesus or Olympia.


2.
I Eat Tables wrote:
All this assumes 4+ players, so that in particular A and D aren't the same person (at that point suddenly you and the person who has the guild you're copying share a neighbour, so you're probably getting something better!). But really, with one shining exception, none of these are likely to score you more than 5 VPs, and even 5 VPs is far from certain. It's not unusual that both neighbours in a bigger game are not interested in any of the guilds, and well then I hope you didn't build that Wonder stage in advance!


allstar64 wrote:
Olympia B is still pretty cheap and has abilities that can be fantastic but are more dependant on what your opponents do than what you do.


Completely agree, Olympia B leaves you at the prey of luck and your neightbours. I also agree that in big games it's much easier for neighbours to avoid building Guilds that are good for you. And Guilds bocome more rare in big games.


3.
I Eat Tables wrote:
So you're left comparing about 5-10VPs and a double trading post, to 10 VPs and up to three free builds. You know, I do wonder about the value of that double trading post...


allstar64 wrote:
I’ll never understand why so many people applaud its first stage.



----------
Yes, Double Trading Post is hard to evaluate.
I agree its value is only a bit higher than of single TP, maybe I just overvaluate Trading Posts in general.
On the other hand I'd say that DTP is better 1st stage than 3VP of side A, because of added flexibility.

Now Olympia A 2nd stage is propably as hard to evaluate as DTP if not even harder. It's best when you are playing very resource light strategy.
For this kind of strategy you want your few resources to be a good as possible (Duals from Age III, Caravansery, Forum) and you propably want Marketplace and/or Trading Post.
Also, you propably want to play as many cards from chains as possible.

And each of the abowe ads you some flexibility that overlaps with Free Build ability, as it makes free something that you have propably already made easier to play by the rest of your strategy. This bothers me a bit.

And Side A just forces you into this resource light strategy if you wan't to get most of it. It loses a lot if you choose a different path. B side is a bit more flexible in a way that DTP can be still quite usefull as even resource heavy strategy have to buy some resources from time to time.

But is there a good way to estimate how much value you get from Free Build on average? I think it would be a bit less than 5VP that 2nd stage of side B provides.

Would it be valid to say that:

Olympia B 1st & 2nd stage > Olympia A 1st & 2nd stage
and
Olympia B 3rd stage < Olympia A 3rd stage
?
EDIT: I tried here to evaluate 1st stage of A side in comparison to 2nd stage of B side with a bit different aproach. After some thinking I'm, again, not very happy with it. If anyone has some idea how to objectively evaluate and compare them, please share your thoughts!
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Reid666 wrote:
Would it be valid to say that:

Olympia B 1st & 2nd stage > Olympia A 1st & 2nd stage
and
Olympia B 3rd stage < Olympia A 3rd stage
?
EDIT: I tried here to evaluate 1st stage of A side in comparison to 2nd stage of B side with a bit different aproach. After some thinking I'm, again, not very happy with it. If anyone has some idea how to objectively evaluate and compare them, please share your thoughts!


That looks like a pretty reasonable set of thoughts to me. 5VPs plus DTB is pretty useful, 3VPs plus two (one likely very useful) free builds is pretty decent as well, but those free builds are unlikely to close the gap by 2 VPs. 7 VPs 3rd stage is almost always more than copying a guild will get you, I've found.

I'm really flip-flopping now on Olympia's power. I'm feeling, the more I read, that it's more middle of the pack than I gave it credit for.
 
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I agree mostly with the assessments here. The one point I would like to make it that so far no one has spoken about feeding the discard pile yourself for Halikarnassus. If I every need to discard for money I try to discard a card I want to dig up later. I have also done this with stage III cards. I find in stage three there is usually at least one turn where it is too expensive (or not possible) to build something - in this case bury it for 3 coins - and the next time you see a hand that isn't so great for you then build a wonder stage and get that super expensive card back for cheap. I have done this with the Capital more than once.
 
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Challst wrote:
I agree mostly with the assessments here. The one point I would like to make it that so far no one has spoken about feeding the discard pile yourself for Halikarnassus. If I every need to discard for money I try to discard a card I want to dig up later. I have also done this with stage III cards. I find in stage three there is usually at least one turn where it is too expensive (or not possible) to build something - in this case bury it for 3 coins - and the next time you see a hand that isn't so great for you then build a wonder stage and get that super expensive card back for cheap. I have done this with the Capital more than once.


The reason no one has brought it up is because we talked about Halikarnassus in much greater detail in the other thread we linked. In it we addressed the discarding to rebuild strategy with the basic conclusion if you have to do it do it early and DON'T DO IT in age 3. If you find yourself in Age 3 unable to build something good what you should be taking away from that is you probably should have invested in resources better in age 2.


Reid666 wrote:
Age I - 2 points on average
Age II - 4 points on average
Age III - 6 points on average

I don't take into consideration Age I & II cards that prowide resources (or discounts) as they are necessary to advance your development.

Taking into account that each discard is worth at least 1 point, you are giving up 1,3 or 5VP respectively.

With all abowe in mind, here is my attitude to discards:

Age I - NOT THAT BAD, 3 coins may have more added value than 1VP you are giving up. Especially valid with Leaders.

Age II - ACCEPTABLE in some situations, when you extremely need coins and know that lack of money will cost you even more points in next round or Age. -3VP is painfull but may be worth it. Especially valid with Leaders.

Age III - ALMOST ALWAYS TERRIBLE, losing 5VP may cost you a game, avoid at all cost. So don't discard Palace to get it back with your wonder
 
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With just the base game, those numbers (2/4/6 per age) seem very optimistic to me. Especially age I, but overall, that's saying an average score should be 72 points. Well most base games I've played the winner's ended up in the low 60's. 1/3/6 seems more reasonable estimates to me.

But anyway with any Wonder, ideally you don't want to discard in Age III but if you do have to, Halikarnassos is the 'safest' one to do it with. With other wonders, you're losing about 5 VPs, with Halikarnassos, it's more like 2-4 VPs (depends on what you discard and what others discard)
 
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I Eat Tables wrote:
With just the base game, those numbers (2/4/6 per age) seem very optimistic to me. Especially age I, but overall, that's saying an average score should be 72 points. Well most base games I've played the winner's ended up in the low 60's. 1/3/6 seems more reasonable estimates to me.


I think you've misinterpreted what he means. He said "I don't take into consideration Age I & II cards that provide resources (or discounts) as they are necessary to advance your development." so what I think Reid666 was trying to illustrate is when you are using your turn to score points those are about the values you should expect to get from your cards. In ages 1 and 2 you use several turns preparing resources and those turns are factored in to the chart he made so of course your average scores aren't going to be 72. Reid666 can correct me if I'm wrong about what he meant.

Using this I'd say you will probably spend an average of 2.5 of your Age 1 and 2 turns scoring points as well as 1 play to get money (giving points about half those values) so say about 3 of your age 1 and 2 turns scoring points. You of course use all 6 of your age 3 turns scoring points. That works itself out to 3*2+3*4+6*6= 54 which is right in the ball park of a good score.

Of course those numbers aren't perfect and can shift up or down depending on your wonder but overall I think that's a pretty good estimate.
 
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