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Subject: How would you rate the Wonders? rss

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Reid666 wrote:

1.
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.


I meant Olympia A stage 2 can be useless since if you invest enough in resources (which you should be doing in preparation for the turns you can't free build) you can find yourself not needing a free build

Reid666 wrote:

3.
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


For Stage 3 I’d agree on average that is correct

However I do not think it would be valid to say the stage 1+2 conclusion is 100% correct. Double trading post is nice don’t get me wrong especially early but a single trading post pointing at a good neighbor is usually just as good as a double trading post. Basically what I’m saying is the double trading post power can be replicated by side A by using the trading post cards whereas side B does something that no other wonder’s stage ability does, nullifies the power of a playable card. If side B plays a trading post it gets no tangible benefit from it assuming it builds its first stage.

Side A stage 2 does have 1 spectacular thing about it. It allows you to build a structure that you have no way of obtaining the proper resources for. If you find yourself missing a developed resource you get 1 pass to build a structure that needs it. If you find a guild that needs 3 brick but you only have access to 2 you can use the stage 2 power to build the structure anyway. This alone makes it very valuable. Even in Age 2 I’ve had games where I was only able to build the Forum in my starting hand by using my stage 2 ability.

Now getting a lot of resources can negate this but I would definitely say it is not clear but who has the better first 2 stages
 
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Jacek Deimer
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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.


allstar64 is on right track in expressing my line of thinking. And I also took 54 VP as average value in the end. But to be fair, I'd consider 54 VP to be a good score, yet on the lower side of winning scores (even in base game).

Quote:
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)


This is a good point, one that I haven't thought too much about before. It's for sure an upside of Hali. Extreme bad luck will happen to you from time to time, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. But, as you said, it still depends on luck and what's already in discard pile (or what will be there when you decide to build your wonder).
 
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Yeah, I'm not trying to say it's a good thing but one thing that irks me is when a new players discards Palace just so they can free build it later, a lot of veterans will tell them just how terrible that is. Well really, it's 9 VPs over 2 turns AND denies the Palace to someone else, so compared to the benchmark of 6 VPs per turn (or 12 VPs over two turns) it's really not so bad - you're down 3 VPs and you've probably denied a good number across the rest of the table (perhaps about another 3-4 VPs but it's very hard to estimate), so it really averages out a lot less bad than people think.

And if the best card in that hand was otherwise worth 5 VPs or less, well, it definitely seems like a good thing.
 
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Jacek Deimer
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allstar64 wrote:
Reid666 wrote:

1.
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.


I meant Olympia A stage 2 can be useless since if you invest enough in resources (which you should be doing in preparation for the turns you can't free build) you can find yourself not needing a free build


Thanks for making this clear to me!

This generally summarize my feelings and experience with Free Build:
It almost always gave lackluster performance: saving 2-4 or making a difference of 1-3VP.


Quote:
Reid666 wrote:

3.
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


For Stage 3 I’d agree on average that is correct

However I do not think it would be valid to say the stage 1+2 conclusion is 100% correct. Double trading post is nice don’t get me wrong especially early but a single trading post pointing at a good neighbor is usually just as good as a double trading post. Basically what I’m saying is the double trading post power can be replicated by side A by using the trading post cards...


This is valid point, but still DTP is slightly better than STP.

About replication, I think I found a fair comparison for Free Build ability. Generally Free Build will enable you 2 plays, one in Age II and one in Age III.

This translates into savings/VP difference. Now, it's very similar to what Vineyard and Bazar provides: usually from 6 to 9 gold pieces.
This gold will propably enable you the same plays that Free Build of Olympia A. With right management it can even enable more than 2 builds.

And if you already have DTP both Vineyard and Bazar are much better than Free Build, even Tavern becomes comparable (now it's dangerously close to conclusion that Olympia B can replicate Free Build ability by just discarding for coins...).

Here I just wanted to point out synergy between DTP and cards that provide money.

On the other hand Olympia A has anti-synergy here because if it decides to build a Trading Post it lowers benefits and value gained by using 2nd stage ability.

In the example below, what would you prefer to have?:

1.Olympia A: STP + 3VP + Free Build
2.Olympia B: DTP + 5VP + 5-9 from Vineyard/Bazar/Tavern

For me second option looks more promising and flexible.
(Here I compare only 1st and 2nd stage)


Quote:
...whereas side B does something that no other wonder’s stage ability does, nullifies the power of a playable card. If side B plays a trading post it gets no tangible benefit from it assuming it builds its first stage.


This is a bit unfair:

Alexandria, Ephesos and Hali all make obsolete Glassworks, Press and Loom respectively.

Alexandria makes actual Forum almost useless and lowers value of Chamber of Commerce beyond level of playability. Also Shipowners Guild will be a weak option.

Both Rhodes and Giza have little use of science cards and Scientists Guild.

Rhodes greatly devaluates Arena.

and

Olympia A lowers value of it's own 2nd stage by building Trading Post or Marketplace.

There are propably more, with expansions many more.

Quote:
Side A stage 2 does have 1 spectacular thing about it. It allows you to build a structure that you have no way of obtaining the proper resources for. If you find yourself missing a developed resource you get 1 pass to build a structure that needs it. If you find a guild that needs 3 brick but you only have access to 2 you can use the stage 2 power to build the structure anyway. This alone makes it very valuable.


But how much value you can get on average from plays enabled by Free Build (in comparison to other possible options). I understand that there is possibility of spectacular plays, but how much on average.


Quote:
Even in Age 2 I’ve had games where I was only able to build the Forum in my starting hand by using my stage 2 ability.


And I remember that I've had TP and some coins that enabled similar plays in starting hand of Age II. And generally I used TP more than 2 times per game. And many times I didn't have to use Tavern/Vineyard/Bazar, just money from my neighbours. This is a big upside of TP, it increases value of any money, it doesn't matter where it comes from.


Quote:
Now getting a lot of resources can negate this but I would definitely say it is not clear but who has the better first 2 stages


My conclusion is and always was that DTP is much better than Free Build

So here we disagree a little.

But this is why I like Olympia B better (albeit I'm not 100% convinced it's better on average). I just like to have a good start and in this case I can see benefits of DTP earlier (and with use of only 1 card) than benefits of Free Build. This outweights for me the risks of 3rd stage being lackluster or not buildable at all.

--------------------

As I said earlier I would like to hear more comments or opinions but I see that very few people are interested in such in-deph analysis and debates.

This also leads me to other conclusions:
Only hardcore fans of 7 Wonders are interested in discussions like this one. But hardcore fans are propably playing with both expansions and promos, so evaluation of wonder boards in context of base game only is of much less value for them. Each expansions change balance of wonders a bit and rankings would look different after each new expansion released.
If we considered expansions in this discussion it would be more interesting, but of much less use for new players...

So in the end, instead of debating about exact place of each board/side in the ranking, I'd much more like to read (or write) some analysis or players guide, how to play well new wonders from expansions or promos (like allstar64 did with Halicarnassus in the other thread). They are usually more informative, usefull and help to define what's a bad or good play for a given board in a given situation. Also they encourage people to evaluate and improve their own playstyle.

With Wonder Pack on the horizont I'm much more interested in figuring best plays for new boards than discussing old ones (that are propably discussed almost to death now)...

 
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The numbers are pretty solid now, so I've decided to do a little stats work. I've numbered the columns of my table -100, -50, 0, 50 and 100 (so -100 is 'A is much better', 50 is 'B is slightly better' etc.) and divided through by the sum votes on those columns to get a rough general perception of how powerful various wonder sides are.

And the answers... slightly surprised me. Because all 7 lean towards B being stronger (albeit by a very small margin in some cases). The more positive a value, the stronger the agreement that B is stronger. The numbers after the ± are standard deviations (how mixed the opinion was, essentially).

Olympia - 2.7 ± 66.7
Babylon - 18.9 ± 59.7
Halikarnassos - 28.2 ± 65.8
Rhodes - 35.9 ± 49.3
Gizah - 51.1 ± 49.4
Alexandria - 53.8 ± 45.8
Ephesos - 66.7 ± 40.8

So I think it is worth noting, quite a lot of these have some high deviations. Oylmpia in particular, has a very high deviation - a lot of people strongly prefer A while a lot strongly prefer B. Ephesos is the most solid sitting there with a strong showing of B being much better, and relatively low deviation as well. Alexandria and Gizah to a lesser extent, as well.

So in conclusion, I guess the B sides are perceived as being better in general, if not all boards, although there's a lot of disagreement over it - with Babylon and Olympia being the closest to balanced in terms of people's view (but, most people would still prefer one side to another!)
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Nat Levan
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Great work with the statistics. Now we just need to correlate with win/loss and scores from actual plays, and do a statistical ranking of each board/side over every other board. Should only need a few hundred thousand plays for that.
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Benj Hamilton
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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 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.


You're assuming that you, as the Halikarnassos player, aren't pitching a super strong card you can't afford to build knowing you'll get the 3 coins now, and can build it for free later.
 
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I've just participated in the polls, great thread!

However, I would like to criticise that the original posting didn't specify anything about number of players and used expansions.
In my opinion, this would be very important to rate the wonders, at least for many of them:

For instance, Olympia B is definitely strongest with 3 (as I Eat Tables already pointed out convicingly) and gets much worse with more players because of a lower Guild density.
Halikarnassos (particularly B but also A and by the same reasoning Great Wall A), on the other hand, gets stronger with more players as the number of discarded cards increases. (Yes, I saw that the poll didn't yet cover the Wonder Pack, but why not still include it now? )
Military symbols (and thus the wonders Rhodos A/B, Catan B, Great Wall A and Manneken Pis B) tend to be stronger with fewer players as you can deny the VP from Military to a larger percentage of your opponents. The same is even more important for Diplomacy symbols (Byzantium A/B and Great Wall B), they rock with only three players and *much* less with more.
Then there are Roma B and Great Wall B which provide benefits to neighbours and thus get stronger with more players as two neighbours are a smaller percentage of your total opponents.

The question which expansions are used greatly influences how important coins are. Both Leaders and Cities make coins much more important than in the base game:
You need them to recruit leaders, you need them to avoid Debt tokens, you need them for building many black cards and there are two very interesting cards (Midas and Gamer's Guild) which give you another VP per 3 coins.
Which means that I'd rate wonders which give you coins (Ephesos B/A, Rhodos B, Catan A, Great Wall A/B, Roma A/B, Babylon B and Stonehenge B) better the more expansions are used and the wonder that costs you coins (Petra) worse the more expansions are used.
Last but not least I think Olympia A gets better with Cities because it can save you the coin costs on the black cards.

These have only been the ones off the top of my head, there are probably many more reasons number of players and use of expansions affects the relative strength of the wonders.

So I had to make assumptions when answering the polls.
As the first poll included the wonders from Leaders and Cities, both polls are intertwined and the second poll talked about the wonders in the base game rather than the wonders when playing with only the base game, I have assumed for my answers in both polls that we play with both Leaders and Cities.
For number of players, I have considered 5 to be "most average" and thus assumed that.
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Darador wrote:

Halikarnassos (particularly B but also A and by the same reasoning Great Wall A), on the other hand, gets stronger with more players as the number of discarded cards increases.
[...]
Military symbols (and thus the wonders Rhodos A/B, Catan B, Great Wall A and Manneken Pis B) tend to be stronger with fewer players as you can deny the VP from Military to a larger percentage of your opponents.


Interestingly, this might mean that the strength of Great Wall A isn't influenced this much by an increasing number of players after all as the increasing strength of the "Halikarnassos-symbol" and the decreasing strength of the two military symbols might approximately cancel out.
Great Wall B also has two opposing trends listed above, but I would assume that the "player influence" of the Diplomacy symbol which is stronger with fewer players outweighs that of the first stage (two gold for the two neighbours).
 
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Alejandro Magno
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I strongly agree that the number of players affect the value of the different wonders.
Some eople like to talk for example about how good hakilarnassos are, but as a 3player mostly player. I find them barely ok
 
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You make some good points Darador - player count is definitely a big factor, and you're right about the assumptions I made. It's very hard to make any kind of encompassing poll which accounts for possible expansions, different player counts though - there are notable differences in how things play between every possible player count. Probably the only really similar ones are 5 and 6 players - but those do still have differences in card distributions etc.

Perhaps, as the new year is coming up, it's time to make a 'rate the wonders 2014'? Or perhaps things should be taken in a different direction?
 
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I Eat Tables wrote:

Perhaps, as the new year is coming up, it's time to make a 'rate the wonders 2014'?


Sounds good to me!

To not shut people out who don't know the expansions there could be two polls - or rather two times two as your original posting already consisted of two:
The first two should only be about the 7 base game wonders, specifying that it is about plays with base game only as well.
The other two polls should clearly specify up front that they are for games of 7 Wonders that use all currently published expansions and promos, i. e. Leaders incl. Stevie, Louis and Esteban, Cities, the Wonder Pack and the Catan promo. I wouldn't give the old Manneken Pis an entry, I consider its rule details obsolete (and either flawed or incomplete) since the release of the Wonder Pack with the new Manneken Pis. So we would have 15 wonders for these second two polls.

In the second poll, there will certainly be fewer participants, but the ones who do participate are probably the ones which are more experienced in the game so their ratings should be somewhat more reliable.

As for number of players for both polls, that is more difficult. If we want to name one specific number of players, 5 seems most appropriate to me, if only because it is the average of 2 and 8 which are the minimum and maximum number of players with Cities. 2 may be a bit of a special case, but so is 8 because it needs Cities which the first two polls don't even cover.
However, if there are wonders that are for instance particularly good with 2 and 3 players and much less so with 4+, that approach doesn't really seem to do them justice. I think this could particularly be true for Olympia B, Great Wall B and both sides of Byzantium. (For Great Wall B and Byzantium due to the fact that military conflicts in the presence of Diplomacy are fought only once with 2 remaining players and not at all if a black card or leader even brings that down to 1 player, greatly diminishing the VP of the Non-Diplomacy players.)

So my proposal would be that for the first two (base game) polls we let participants assume that they have to play 6 games, one with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 players each and have to choose the same side (question 1) or wonder (question 2) for each of these number of players. And thus average their rating of the side/wonder by giving all of the possible player numbers equal weight.
In the second two polls (with expansions) we would change the number of games to 7, also including one with 8 players. We might even make it 10 games, also including team games with 4, 6 and 8 players. I would like to somehow include the team game, as it sounds especially interesting to me (although unfortunately I have yet to try it out)!

Admittedly, this may sound a little complicated at first. And some people may shy away from the poll because they only know 7 Wonders at a certain number of players and don't feel they can judge other numbers of players. But maybe that is for the best so that the results are more meaningful?
In any case, in my opinion we definitely need to address the number of players somehow, we shouldn't just leave it open.
An alternative would be to make different polls for each number of players. Maybe that's a bit too much, I don't know. But we could even try both (one summarised version as suggested above and a separate one for each number of players)!

Thoughts?
 
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Maybe the best way would be to ask you to rate the wonder at their best (player count wise), and then have one extra poll saying something like 'what player count do you think this wonder is strongest' with options from 3-7 (I'd rather avoid 2 and 8 because of being special cases), and probably a 'not noticeably dependent on player count' option. That does kind of tie up the options, but also means the poll is still fairly quick to answer, which I think is a big advantage.
 
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I Eat Tables wrote:
Maybe the best way would be to ask you to rate the wonder at their best (player count wise),


I disagree here, I think this would be very impractical. For instance, how would we rate Olympia then? If I remember correctly, you and I agree that we prefer the B side with 3 players and the A side with 4 or more players, with the advantage of A over B becoming stronger with every additional player.
But what would be the wonder's "best" "player count wise" you are talking about, side B with 3 or side A with 7? Or something in between because other wonders have an even greater relative advantage at 7 players (say, Halikarnassos)?

I think this is a lot more confusing than using the "average player number" concept I proposed which can be specified as playing one game with every possible player number with the same side. It could of course be debated if "possible player number" should include 2. I would say yes because it says so right on the box of the base game, but I can see arguments for starting at 3 as well.
 
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That's a good point. It would have to be clarified. I feel like doing a player count average might be overly complex for what's essentially a simple question. It might work, though.
 
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I've always wrestled with those factors creating multitudes more entries for polls. In some cases, 13 items can become 27, 55, and it just gets ridiculous. I'd go ahead with them, but unfortunately, it seems your typical poll participant doesn't have the patience to go through that mahy entries.

For simplicity's sake, you could just pick 1 or 2 player counts you think are more common, and reduce the complexity by a lot, at the expense of only leaving out a minority.
 
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That's not a bad idea. I'd briefly considered looking at just, say, 3 player, 5 player and 7 player. While 4 player and 6 player have unique quirks or values I think for the most part those three variables should give a good indication.
 
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ackmondual wrote:
I've always wrestled with those factors creating multitudes more entries for polls. In some cases, 13 items can become 27, 55, and it just gets ridiculous. I'd go ahead with them, but unfortunately, it seems your typical poll participant doesn't have the patience to go through that mahy entries.


I agree that huge polls aren't to everyone's liking.
However, my proposal doesn't create a bigger poll. On the contrary, if anything, we don't really need an extra question for number of players with it. It would basically be the same questions as in the original post of this thread which could be worded as follows:

Base game versions:

1. Suppose you're dealt a given wonder with which you will play five games of 7 Wonders (base game only, no expansions), one game each with 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 players. You get to choose the side, but you have to make the same choice for all five games. You don't know anything about the other players or their wonders at the time you choose except that wonders are random and sides chosen the same way as yours. Which side would you consider the better choice?

2./3. Suppose you are using the side you think is better in poll 1, which wonder would you say is best/worst?

All three polls would list only the 7 wonders from the base game as choices.

Expansion versions:

4. Suppose you're dealt a given wonder with which you will play five games of 7 Wonders with all current expansions and promos in use (Leaders incl. Stevie, Louis and Esteban; Cities; Wonder Pack; Catan), one game each with 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 players. You get to choose the side, but you have to make the same choice for all five games. You don't know anything about the other players or their wonders at the time you choose except that wonders are random and sides chosen the same way as yours. Which side would you consider the better choice?

5./6. Suppose you are using the side you think is better in poll 4, which wonder would you say is best/worst?

All three polls would list the 15 current wonders (excluding the old Manneken Pis, making sure to note "new version from Wonder Pack" in the Manneken Pis entry).

For simplicity's sake, I have left out 2 players, 8 players and team games entirely here, because many people might not have much experience with them. They might be asked about in another thread later.

The more casual players could only answer the versions about the base game with no harm done, then they even have considerably less choices than in the original post of this thread (because the expansion wonders aren't included).
 
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