7 Wonders Strategy: Winning Picks for the Lighthouse of Alexandria Side “B”

by Brian Durkin

An optimal set up for side “B” of Alexandria

Do you know what’s better than taking Caravansary and or Forum in Age II? A wonder with those effects built into it. Welcome to side “B” of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the wonder that makes access to resources easy and the possibilities limitless. But what complements these abilities best?
“What You Can’t See Won’t Hurt You … It’ll Kill You!”
You need six commercial structures
to maximize the benefit of Lighthouse
In John Carpenter’s 1980 horror flick “The Fog,” the character Dan O’Bannon couldn’t escape his doomed fate sitting in his weather station lighthouse. Even Stevie Wayne experienced some paranormal activity with some drift wound in her tower. Can you bank on Lighthouse as a safe haven when trying to navigate the unclear future of packs and picks during Age III? I think you can. Just make sure you set yourself up for your neighbors to help you. Be nice to your neighbors on the right in Age II, so they’ll return the favor and not feel inclined to hate draft you in Age III. For example, I cut my opponent on my right from money during Age II by purchasing resources only from the player to my left. It resulted in him needing to wait to construct his third stage during Age III because of lack of money; he used a Lighthouse to construct the final stage of his wonder because he could see how many points it would give me. The lesson: do everything you can to increase your odds. If you choose to go a commercial structures route, you must pick up Lighthouse.

“I’m Blue Da Ba Dee Da Ba Doo.”
If the “B” for side “B” of Alexandria stood for anything, it would stand for blue. Regardless of what other types of structures you build, you will take civilian structures with this side. You put yourself in a great position to build a variety of civilian structures when you construct your wonder. Difficult cards to play such as Pantheon and Palace will prove much easier to play with this wonder. In order to construct the stages you need wood and clay (and stone for the final stage). Wood and clay do not lend themselves to constructing many military structures, so assume you will not compete for victory tokens. You can overcome this concession in many ways. Besides your natural resource progression making Spies Guild an easy card to play, your high value civilian structures will offset the difference. Guilds requiring wood and clay can help score big points, as well as Lighthouse if you choose a commercial structures strategy. Starting with Glass, you could always consider another strategy.
Hulk Smash
The recommended scientific structures
to look out for when playing side “B”
Any wonder that starts with a manufactured good possesses the potential to build a green machine of scientific structures. If you choose to go heavy on green cards, you need to take Workshop in Age I and at least two scientific structures in Age II. I recommend taking three scientific structures in Age II (Laboratory, Dispensary, and Library). With four green cards going into Age III it puts less pressure on collecting scientific structures and increases the average point value per card to meet my recommended benchmark of five and half points per pick in Age III. Decide between the green or yellow. Both strategies require a dedication of about one third of your picks, making them mutually exclusive.
Access versus Ownership
Side “B” provides plenty of access to several types of resources without actually taking them yourself. You will need to draft some raw materials in order to construct your wonder levels, but you do not need to take the manufactured goods. Between the second stage of your wonder and the ability to play Forum (not to mention your neighbors taking manufactured resources) you should gravitate away from taking grey cards. This puts you in a great position to exploit Craftsmens Guild. If you notice your neighbors building up on manufactured goods, try to put yourself in a position to access ore and stone to play this guild. Just a couple of days ago a player took a last pick Foundry, allowing him to play Craftsmens Guild. Both his neighbors had Loom, Press, and Glassworks which gave the player 12 points when he played this guild. Obviously this is a “cream dream” scenario, but these types of situations can determine who makes top two. Sometimes the long odds pose the best chance of securing a top position. Also look out for Spies Guild, Traders Guild, and Philosophers Guild. The latter two depend of course on which strategy you concentrate on.
You have a good chance of maximizing the benefits of these
guilds when playing side “B” of Alexandria
Summary of Strategies
The “B” side includes “Bridge Over Troubled Water” not “Cowboys from Hell.” Considering the raw materials you need to build your wonder, you will find it difficult to support many military structures. After constructing your wonder you can splash many types of resources, which opens you up to playing several civilian structures including difficult cards like Palace. You can supplement your lack of resource cards with commercial buildings, but make sure you can pick up Lighthouse in Age III. Do you prefer a more progressive point earning strategy? Build scientific structures instead of commercial structures. Either strategy shies away from depending on actual resource cards and relying on free construction or commercial structures and your wonder’s powers to play other cards. You should always benefit from Spies Guild and Craftsmens Guild; however, Traders Guild and Philosophers Guild depend on what you took throughout the game.

Another optimal set up for side “B” of Alexandria

Summary of Picks
The following list highlights all the potential cards to look out for when playing side “B.” The order of the cards on the list does not reflect a particular card’s importance versus other cards. The list includes cards from both strategies.
Age I
  • Excavation, Tree Farm, Mine, or any split raw material card
  • Workshop
  • East or West Trading Post
  • Tavern
  • Marketplace
  • Clay Pool
  • Lumberyard
Age II
  • Caravansary
  • Forum
  • Laboratory
  • Library
  • Dispensary
  • Temple
  • Courthouse
  • Pantheon
  • Palace
  • Craftsmens Guild
  • Spies Guild
  • Traders Guild
  • Philosophers Guild
  • Lighthouse
  • Arena
  • University
  • Lodge
Note: Pay attention to your neighbors when playing side “B.” If you sit next to players who hoard scientific buildings, their decisions will force you to gravitate towards the yellow plan. If neither of your neighbors concentrates on military structures, after constructing your first stage you can build several different military structures and start competing in this category. I think strategies exist where you can ignore military conflicts, but do pursue them if your opponents will let you win them with ease.
How do you feel about this advice for side “B” of Alexandria? Share your opinion in the comment section below to help build the community of good strategic content for playing 7 Wonders. 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.

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