Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

7 Wonders Armada


Antoine Bauza

Repos Production


No. of Players:
3 - 7



G@mebox publisher Frank Schulte-Kulkmann writes about the game:

Is it really 8 years ago that REPOS PRODUCTION released their smash-hit game 7 Wonders? Sometimes I can't believe how quickly time is passing - for me it seems like yesterday when Antoine Bauza introduced his new game 7 Wonders here at the SPIEL, and during all those years the game certainly hasn't lost its attraction. With Leaders, Cities and Babel three major expansions have been released in the years since 2010, and for my gaming group a round including Leaders and Cities still is in high demand.

Well, after a time which seems like an odyssey, there is finally a sail at the horizon. Well, actually it's not just one sail, but a whole 7 Wonders Armada expansion now has come back from many adventures on the high seas! So, what's 7 Wonders Armada about, and how does it fit with the base game and the expansions?

Answering the latter question first, Armada indeed is compatible with the other expansions for 7 Wonders, and it can be played in combination with them. On this point the rules state that players shouldn't use more than 2 expansions at the same time, but I think that this is open to personal taste. Armada certainly introduces new mechanisms to the game, and this requires the players to think about new approaches for winning. However, due to the fact that it can be combined with Leaders, I don't see a reason why Cities shouldn't be included as well. After all Cities is an expansion which blends perfectly with the base game components, and so a complete game with these three expansions seems possible without overburdening the gameflow. The situation might be a bit different if you think about the expansions coming in the Babel box, since especially the Tower of Babel gives the game a rather new approach. Here I would guess that a combination with Babel doesn't really make sense, especially since no Babel upgrade kit is included in 7 Wonders Armada.

But enough of these compatibilities issues - what about the new expansion?

Well, as the name suggests, Armada takes the players out onto the high seas. Every player now receives a Fleet board, and on this board the players have development tracks for four different fleets. These fleets are military, commercial, civilian and scientific, and due to these fleet types seasoned players already will have come to the conclusion that the four fleets are somehow linked to a player's red, yellow, blue and green buildings. Indeed, it is these four types of buildings which form the docking point for the new action of "Naval construction". Every time a player builds one of these four types of buildings he will also be allowed to increase the size of the corresponding fleet, provided the player pays one or more extra resources as depicted on his Fleet board.


The size (or level) of each of the players fleets is recorded on the Fleet board, and whenever a player performs a naval construction the corresponding fleet will be increased by one step. Depending on the type of the fleet, the player will get new benefits:

  • The Military Fleet: Each fleet level increases the player's Naval Strength. This is a new type of Military Strength, and at the end of each age the players now also will have to solve naval conflicts. Unlike the normal "ground" conflicts with the left and right neighbors, the naval conflicts require ALL players to compare their Naval Strength values, putting them all into a ranking. The top ranking player(s) will receive Victory Point markers, whereas the last ranking player(s) will take Naval Defeat tokens.
  • The Commercial Fleet: In general, this fleet gives the players coins whenever they increase their fleet size. However, at some stages the player who increased his commercial fleet will cause a tax event, meaning that all other players will lose money to the bank. Players can soften the effect of this taxation by substracting their commercial level, and this factor depends on the size of their own commercial fleets.
  • The Civil Fleet: Just like blue buildings, it's all about victory points - the bigger the fleet, the more victory point it scores at the end of the game.
  • The Scientific Fleet: This fleet is sent by the players to explore new islands. Every second increase of the fleet size lets the players draw several cards from the corresponding deck of Island cards, letting them chose one of these explored cards. Just like buildings, the islands will give the players access to a broad range of permanent benefits, ranging from resources or military power to victory points, scientific symbols or even the free construction of fleet levels.


Picture taken by Dale Yu

To augment the integration of the Fleet board and its functions even further, a number of new Building cards also is mixed into the decks for each age. These new buildings are associated with naval functions, giving the players additional strength or free fleet constructions. There is even the possibility to launch an incursion against a non-neighboring player, meaning that an additional "ground" conflict between the two involved players will take place at the end of the age.


Incredibly enough, Antoine Bauza has given 7 Wonders Armada a degree of finetuning which assures that the whole expansion blends perfectly with the game. He has not only found fitting points to "dock" the new rules to the existing rules of the basic game, but in addition the whole naval concept seems to be naturally fitting. During play it just feels right to go for the naval construction option when constructing a building of the same colour, and so the general flow of the game is not disturbed.

However, this doesn't mean that the new rules and options will not be felt all over the game. Quite the opposite, the players now have a full new range of options for gaining money, resources and victory points. The possibilities offered by the four fleets considerably widen the scope for the individual production engine of each player, since they now have access to new resources and income even in the mid- to endgame phase. This means that the players need to think how far they can go in terms of diversification, because it is also very attractive to bring single fleets to a high level to gain considerable benefits.

In a way, the addition of the Fleet boards gives the players access to a new "micro"-game within the established concept of 7 Wonders. Unlike the Babel expansion which may turn the game upside down, Armada focuses on enlarging the scope of the existing scoring options by including new types of conflicts, economic possibilities and production capacities. The game loses a bit of it's high pace due to the new range of options which the players have to consider, but on the other hand Armada gives 7 Wonders a feeling of a much more substantial strategy game. For my taste that's a wonderful challenge!


Picture taken by Dale Yu

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Copyright © 2019 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany