7 Wonders Strategy: Winning Picks with the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

by Brian Durkin

Optimal set up for side “B”

Haven – a place of safety or refuge.
Before Mausolus’ tomb inspired other cultures to name similar tombs after him, the city of Halicarnassus provided a place of culture and safety for its people. The city guarded channels of water running to the city to prevent sea attacks. Mausolus also spared no expense when it came to decorating the city.
As a city of balance, a player playing Halicarnassus must pick from several different paths of victory. Halicarnassus can compete in civilian, military, or commercial structures. Starting with Loom, do not forget about the fact that scientific buildings can provide you with easy points as well. In order to play any one type of these cards, or all of them, you will need resources.
A Safe Haven of Materials
Don’t forget about Chamber
of Commerce
Haven requires loom, ore, and wood. Halicarnassus starts with loom and wants ore. Picking up one wood should not prove difficult, so expect to maximize the benefits of Haven by taking several raw materials. Many other wonders cannot support this card in Age III, or score enough points from it to make it worth their while to play it. With Halicarnassus’ ability to play cards from the discard pile, you can “back door” different strategies; therefore, you want resources to keep your options open.

Consider taking all of the manufactured resources yourself with side “B”. You may not complete your last level, but having the option of a productive hate draft in Age III will not hurt. Since you should have clay anyway from earlier levels, taking the manufactured resources opens up Chamber of Commerce as well.
You need to decide between resources and commercial structures
What about Lighthouse and Scientific Buildings?
I do not recommend taking several commercial buildings instead of actual resource cards, even with side “A”. You could play Lighthouse in Age III, but you weaken the power of Haven. Also you would need to probably take many scientific buildings to make up the point difference. This does not work as well for Halicarnassus as it did for Ephesus. Ephesus has the luxury of starting with papyrus and wanting wood, which opens up half the scientific buildings. Loom and Apothecary provide a free military structure and eventually Arena, but not many points on their own. Unless you bring back scientific buildings from the discard pile or dedicate yourself to playing them, you most likely will score nine or ten points tops (if any at all). Take School in Age II if the opportunity presents itself. Do not count on seeing School because several other people want this card.
The free cards that Apothecary can lead to
The Blue Man Group
You will need more than just ore and clay to build other structures. I recommend you pick up a stone and a wood. Besides improving the value of Haven, it allows you to play many civilian structures if you can access the manufactured resources. Some civilian structures will find you no matter what. Most people pass cards like Courtyard and Statue in Age II. You will usually take these civilian structures either late in the age or early while you wait for the missing resources you need (i.e. brickyard, foundry, glassworks, etc.). In Age III your neighbors will fear and hate the fact that your resource set up will let you play cards like Palace or Pantheon with ease. If they discard these structures for money, then you can just play them from the discard pile with your wonder’s ability.
Test Your Might
Your resource set up also allows you to play several different military structures. You can surprise some neighbors with your military capabilities because they will see loom as your starting resource and assume no contest. Do not expect to crush your opponents in military strength, but you should never end the game with negative six points in military either. Keep your opponents honest and take them down in military when the opportunity presents itself. Your wonder’s ability to bring back cards from the discard pile creates a great way to accomplish this. Many players will forget they can lose military to you this way. If they overcompensate in military structures for this possibility, then concede military and use your wonder ability to bring back something that scores more points.
Optimal set up for side “A”
The Guilds
With your potential resource set up, you could play any guild. But do you want to play any guild? What guilds should you aim to play? Honestly not many. I do not like counting on the obviously good guilds like Builders Guild because I do not expect opponents to pass it to you. Since Halicarnassus can play so many different types of cards, many of the guilds require you to give up a card type and exploit your neighbors’ decisions to maximize their value. For example you could play Strategists Guild, but how many times will you win on military strength? You could play Craftsmens Guild, but if you take the manufactured resources you could just play Chamber of Commerce instead. Spies Guild could score six or more points, but will it score that much if you spend time taking military structures to compete with your neighbors? With Halicarnassus, consider guilds a bonus. Your board will change each time you play to the extent where the guilds that benefit you the most will drastically change as well. Traders Guild is the only exception to this rule. You want resources instead of commercial buildings, so this guild should always score big.
All ten guilds in the game
Summary of Cards to Look For
Below I made a list of cards to look out for in each age. The list also includes cards you can probably count on receiving in each age (Haven and Courtyard) because many players will not benefit from them or play them. The order of the cards on the list does not reflect their importance over other cards.
Age I
  • Clay Pit
  • Raw materials of any type
  • Manufactured resources, especially if side B
  • Apothecary
  • Any military structure you can play without spending money
Age II
  • Courtyard
  • Statue
  • Dispensary
  • Stables
  • Training Ground
  • Brickyard
  • Foundry
  • Forum
  • Caravansary
  • School
  • Any manufactured resources you do not have access to
  • Haven
  • Arena
  • Palace
  • Pantheon
  • Siege Workshop
  • Arsenal
  • Observatory
  • Traders Guild
  • Chamber of Commerce
Note: Save your wonder construction for later in the game. Side “A” gives you seven points for the last level, which will score more than most Age III cards. The second level on side “A” brings back a card; with a larger discard pile, your odds of playing a better card can improve with activating this level in the last age. Side “B” allows you to bring back a card each time you level, another reason why you should not level in the first age. You want to maximize the points from Haven and build your resource base. You will have no time to build your wonder when spending your picks on resources, military structures, and possibly Apothecary in Age I.

Do not forget to add your comments at the bottom. Do you agree or disagree? If you play this wonder another way, tell us about it.

 Let us know what you think.

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.


  1. It is probably important to point out when the effect of Halicarnassus actually triggers. I know for a while we were playing it that you looked through the graveyard at the end of the age in which you built it. Actually though by re-reading the rules, I noticed you actually trigger it immediately after leveling your wonder. Once everyone's picks are played, you look through the bin, then play a card. This makes the ability much, much weaker as you have to time it appropriately to line up with the last pick of packs.

  2. @ Chinkle:Good point. Thanks for pointing out how Halicarnassus' ability works. I agree that you want to wait and level this special ability near the end of an Age, but it will not always work out that way. Another reason why you should consider waiting until Age III to level, because you will have at least all of the discarded cards from Age I and II.

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