Beyond the Box Cover: World Wonders by Arcane Wonders
One of the hot games at Gen Con was World Wonders. World Wonders sold out in about two and a half hours. I ended up being lucky enough to grab a copy towards the end of that rush. I think I got mine at 12:15 to 12:20 and there were about eight or ten copies left. My hope had been to play the game and then make up my mind, but in that rush, I decided to just buy it. So what is World Wonders like?
How to Play World Wonders
World Wonders is a pretty simple game of tile laying. Each round players take turns spending their seven gold. With that gold you buy tiles, roads, towers, and wonders to place on your player board. You can also buy first and second player but in a two player game that happens less.
You need to build roads so that you can place buildings. And when you place buildings you try and get matching colors or specific color combinations to get wonders. All of this is done in ways to optimize your point scoring. And each thing that you buy has a different cost, so how you spend your money matters a fair amount. Especially with wonders that cost the rest of your gold, whether that’s one gold or six.
You score in a number of different ways in World Wonders. Firstly, wonders give you points. Then there are three tracks you can go up on which push you up on your population track. If you reach the top of that population track you get points. Then surrounded buildings, on all sides not by land and those score points. But you can lose points if you take out a loan and then don’t pay them back. The player with the most points wins.
World Wonders is another tile laying, polyomino game. And that isn’t a bad thing, though, the market is starting to become very full of them. New York Zoo, Barenpark, Planet Unknown, and that’s barely scratching the surface. So it needs to stand out in a style of game that is becoming more crowded. So, does World Wonders do that?
From the ones that I’ve played, I haven’t played all of those listed above, I think that it does. Though, it doesn’t stand out due to complexity of the game. World Wonders is easier than most tile playing or polyomino games. I see World Wonders as a game that I can play with my family. I think once the basic rules are understood, maybe a couple of rounds, my wife will enjoy it, may parents might even enjoy it.
This is a solid and accessible game. And I think it does a good thing with game length as well. More players will make the game longer, but the game turns are simple. Buy a piece and place it, whether that’s a tower, wonder, or road. My only knock on the game is that the player aids, for a five player game, are short a couple. If you provide player aids in a game, provide one per player.
Accessibility of the Game
You see all of the wonders and you expect those to be complex. They are not. There is iconography, but after seeing one or two wonders cards, you understand it. That is a hallmark of a good design. In fact, there isn’t any language to the game which also makes it easier to play and more accessible.
A kid with limited reading ability can play this game. An adult with maybe can’t see a lot of small text would be able to sit down and play this game. Now, the tiles do have little symbols on them. Those would be the hardest element of the game to see. But that information only matters to the player who bought the tile so players can aid each other with that.
Is this a game that sounds interesting to you? If so it will be getting a wider release this year. I think I heard October or November, but with shipping, especially around the holidays or leading up to them, I could see this being a game that release closer to that Christmas and holiday time frame.
Just my initial impressions on it, I think this will be a game that will work for a ton of people. I like the game a lot myself. It’s accessible, it has a good play length, and the toy factor is fun. The pieces are nice quality for the game. But it doesn’t turn the game into a behemoth, so you sit down and play what feels like a normal, but slightly fancier board game.