7 Wonders Strategy: Winning Picks for Hanging Gardens of Babylon

by Brian Durkin

“Draft. Lay out the cards in rows of five. There should be six cards.”

In a MTG or WOW draft this pack probably does not contain any goodies left, but in 7 Wonders you just made your first pick. With only eighteen selections during the course of the game, each one has to count; moreover, you need to know what to take and when to maximize your picks.
Today kicks off a series of seven articles for 7 Wonders, covering draft strategies for each starting position. All of these strategies assume at least six players at the table, relying on that card pool for evaluations. Also most of these strategies assume a self reliant position at the table, minimizing the dependence on neighbors providing what you need (for example Babylon cannot expect to sit next to Olympia for easy access to wood). So let’s begin.


 

What does Babylon curve out to? This question attempts to answer what will Babylon want in the last Age. I take this approach to every wonder, because Age III usually contains the most points for each player; furthermore, it signals what you will need to pick up in Age I and II in order to play the Age III cards. Babylon gears itself towards wood and clay. Clay and Wood tend to work well together in the sense that many cards require both types of resources. Regardless of which side you play, plan to level each stage of this wonder and complete each stage prior to Age III. The final age contains too many important cards, and you will not have time to waste picks constructing your wonder.
Consider yourself the guild master when playing Babylon. Since Babylon lends itself to wood and clay, I suggest taking the manufactured goods early in the draft to maximize the final age. With ample access to wood and clay plus the manufactured goods, Babylon can play the following guilds: Philosophers Guild, Traders Guild, Spies Guild, Shipowners Guild, and Magistrates Guild (assuming you can access one stone). Do not let these guilds fool you into thinking you should not take any cards within their type. For example, I recommend picking up two scientific buildings to complete a match or three of a kind. Babylon’s wonder power that provides any scientific symbol (stage two for side A and stage three for side B) puts you in a flexible position when taking Scientific Buildings. Look out for Laboratory and School in Age II, and Lodge in Age III (all of these should prove easy to play with resources alone). Don’t go hard into a Science Buildings strategy, because you can benefit from playing the Philosopher’s Guild.
Traders Guild works well with Babylon’s set up. Most Commercial Structures in Ages I and II supplement missing resources or aid wonders that require many different types of resources. Babylon can operate on only two types of raw materials, allowing you to avoid dependence on the Trading Posts. Of course take Forum if you cannot select the manufactured resources yourself; however, try to take the manufactured resources because Chamber of Commerce should prove easy to play in Age III. Two copies of Chamber of Commerce and few players able to maximize the benefit from it almost insures that it should make its way past players, providing a great late pick for you . Remember, the more resources you can play that benefit you increase the value of Shipowners Guild.
Wood and Clay do not enable many Military cards. Don’t worry. If an opportunity presents itself to compete in military with ease (never over another important card), then keep your neighbors honest in competing with Military; however, you do not mind losing in this category since you can play Spies Guild in Age III. If your neighbors begin to build Civilian Structures instead, make sure you have access to Stone by Age III in the event that you can take Magistrates Guild.
What Happens When The Guilds I Want Don’t Make Age III?
You can’t count on every guild to come your way in Age III, but with five different guilds working well for Babylon you need to prepare yourself to maximize their value. Building up your resource production to benefit from Chamber of Commerce only furthers your potential points in Age III; therefore, make sure you finish leveling this wonder prior to Age III. My only exception to this rule comes from playing side B. If you have not selected any science building prior to Age III, then do not worry about constructing the final level. You do not want to feel torn between taking Science Buildings or Guilds in the last Age, so just make your life easier and forget splashing Science Buildings.
Pick Summary
Below I made a list of the cards to look out for in each Age. I made the lists longer than the amount of picks you can take, because you cannot assume to select the same six cards each time you play. As long as you stick to the list you should find yourself in good contention to win or move on to the next round in a tournament. Note that this strategy does not encompass every possible path of victory for Babylon, but I do feel it will make life the easiest as far as maximizing your wonder and picks coming to you.
The order the cards appear on the lists do not reflect level of importance.
Age I
Tree Farm
Press
Loom
Glassworks
Lumber Yard
Clay Pool
** Do not forget to level if the packs have nothing of value
Age II
Brickyard
Sawmill
Forum
Caravansery
Quarry
Laboratory
School
** Any manufactured resources you missed in Age I
** Finish leveling in this Age
Age III
Philosophers Guild
Traders Guild
Spies Guild
Shipowners Guild
Chamber of Commerce
Siege Workshop
Lodge
** If the pack somehow contains none of these cards, you could potentially play a different Science Building.
Note: I mention taking Forum and Caravansery in Age II only on the lists. Babylon can play these cards with ease given their costs, but probably will not need them as bad as other players. I suggest taking these cards only if you cannot make a stronger selection because it will hurt other players possibly more than benefiting you. Do not misinterpret my advice here. Forum and Caravansery make it to my list of best cards in the game; however, I think Babylon has too much to accomplish in Age II to usually make time to select these cards (when you factor in that upwards of two to three of the picks may include leveling your wonder).
Feel free to comment about your opinion on this approach to Babylon. Do you agree or disagree? Can you do better? Do not hesitate to ask me what I would take in certain scenarios. Your comments and questions benefit the discussion, so contribute and become a part of the strategy guide to 7 Wonders.

Additional Information

For more information about 7 Wonders check the product page on BoardGameGeek.com.
Interested in purchasing a copy of 7 Wonders? Try the following links.
Amazon: 7 Wonders.
If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with the staff. Most of them make up my play test group. We play usually every Monday Night.

Comments

  1. Nice article. Very crunchy.The only thing is that you were trying to both assimilate readers into understanding good 7 wonders strategy (i.e. build wonder in before age 3) as well as teaching the specific "goals/endgames" for Babylon. It really was 2 articles in one. You might have been better off with a starting article explaining your theories on sound 7 Wonders strategy, then a separate article for each of the wonders using the first to supplement.Another idea might be to post a sample game you had when playing as Babylon shortly.BTW, I found this combo works exceptionally well:Down + Forward + Fierce PunchPro tip: Stay away from the cornersWorks everytime.Nice blog noob

  2. @ Fred:Thanks for the comments. You bring up a good point about adding more 7 Wonders content. Expect these specific wonder strategies to post every Monday and Wednesday, but maybe by Friday I will have together an article about generic 7 Wonder Strategy.

  3. I would say fully building your Wonder before Age III is a trap. In particular with A sides. 7 points is a good average turn on Age III and you'll almost always have a turn where you'll be better off burying a card your neighbor wants (and getting 7 points for your effort), like a military card or science card central to their strategy, than using any of the lame options still left in your pack. If all your Wonder stages are built you'll often have a lame duck turn where you basically have to throw a card away for gold, which is basically a wasted turn in any age except maybe Age I.Of course I play mostly 3-4 players so hate drafts are a necessity there.

  4. @ Anonymous:You bring up a great point about the final level on side A. My test group aims to score an average of 5 or 6 points per pick in Age III. Saving to construct your final level for side A in Age III could work out given the right distribution; however, do it earlier if the same situation of hate drafting or lack luster choices presents itself in Age II. Just remember that Age III contains a lot of points. Constructing the final stage of side A will resemble playing a Pantheon, but I would hate to have to choose between a good card and leveling in the last Age.

  5. I believe having the option available is worth the potential point loss from having to take a turn where you're indifferent between building a card or levelling (if you had built on Age II you could have had a net increase instead). You will lose a lot more point if there is a turn where you can't build anything good and have to pass a key card to your opponent.Again this is mostly true of lower numbers of players. At 3 or 4 players there is often cases where you can be assured of military dominance for an Age (and know it because of perfect knowledge of the packs after X turns) by burying a military card instead of building it, in which case actually building it is inefficient, as it is effectively worth 0 points.

  6. Anonymous Said:"I believe having the option available is worth the potential point loss from having to take a turn where you're indifferent between building a card or levelling (if you had built on Age II you could have had a net increase instead)."I agree to a point. Scoring 7 points versus 6 points on a play translates to a pack with excellent options for you; however, I like to have a certain number of points prior to entering the final age. From my play testing, I aim to score 55 points (this score in 6 or 7 person games usually snags at least second place). If I average 6 points per pick in Age III, then I should enter Age III with 19 points in order to hit my mark. In order to have those 19 points, you may have to level earlier.

  7. 7 wonders board game is my favorite. Thank you for the tips.

  8. wow I never ever expect my rresautant to be appeared here !You definitely have encouraged me to put in more effort on the other 7 Wonders themes.I am going to build the Pyramid of Giza next .Hope u like it !

    • 😀
      So glad to hear it. I’d love to check out your write up of playing 7 Wonders. Send it to us and NLCG could turn it into the next noncollectible card game article.

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