Recap: Cities First Impressions and More Sentinels
This week, I returned a favorite: 7 Wonders. I picked up the new expansion, Cities, at Strategicon last month and got it to the table a second time this week. I also continued my exploration of Infernal Relics and the new promo characters.
Cities. The new expansion adds a few new powers and a random subset of cards making things less predictable and allowing players to take risks or play it safe. Cities adds new leaders and guilds, of course, but the main thrust is the new black City cards. There are ten in each age. They offer a variety of new powers, including debt (which forces all other players to pay money to the bank or lose points), spies (which can copy science symbols from neighbors), and diplomacy (which removes a player from combat, forcing his neighbors to fight each other).
Rather than simply add all ten in, you throw in only as many as there are players. In our five player game, we put in five city cards in each age. But the cards are completely random. Will the debt cards be in? Maybe. So maybe its smart to have a small cash reserve so that you don’t lose points. Or maybe you risk it and use that money to secure buildings.
In our game, I received two leaders that gave me bonus points for science. I made a huge push towards science. One of my leaders gave me a bonus 3 points for each set. The other let me buy science for one icon less. That was absolutely critical to success, since it is very difficult to get all the refined goods necessary for science. Unfortunately, I completely neglected military. So I was basically the science nerd getting stuffed in his locker at the end of each age. But between the leaders and the spy I played, I rocked 64 points on science alone, with a total of 91.
We’ve noticed that the scores in Cities are much more inflated than in the base game or even with Leaders. Partially it’s because the City cards tend to be more powerful than anything else available in that age. But also because Cities allows you to play a seventh card each round. Three more cards in the game is three more opportunities for big points.
Infernal Relics. “Haka gets no love!” At least that’s what one player exclaimed as we started choosing heroes. I think Haka gets plenty of love; I’ve played him several times. But I think I may be the only person to have chosen him. In any event, Haka got chosen and, in honor of the attempt to show him more love, we selected the promo villain Ambuscade as our opponent. And, in our five player game, we punched him in the head.
Ambuscade started similar to Gloomweaver. He gets a ton of cards out at the beginning of the game that hurt the heroes, but then he just allows them to build up from there. In the final turns, the Wraith was doing ten damage to the villain. He only starts with fifty life. Without any ability to remove ongoing or equipment cards, Ambuscade became pretty neutered once we took care of his starting devices.
Partly that’s because we had five players. Like Gloomweaver, I think Ambuscade needs to be there for a three or four player game. And, thematically, I think that makes more sense anyway. It feels a little wrong to unleash five superheroes on one loan dude with a bunch of gadgets.
But the other part is because the Argent Adept is unbelievably powerful. I played as the Adept this game and went first in turn order. He has low starting health (24), but that wasn’t much of a problem, as Ambuscade typically targets the person with the highest health. More importantly, the Adept’s Harmony cards are insanely good. I had ongoing cards that allowed me to have other people use powers or play cards and for me to gain health. So if it was a good time to deal damage, I let the damage dealer go. If someone had a card that helped with the environment, that person got to play it out of turn. I didn’t do any damage myself, but I effectively gave someone else an extra half turn each round, and I cherry picked the person who was best able to maximize that opportunity. I have yet to play Nightmist, but so far I think the Adept is the most powerful hero in the game.