Note: All players who own a copy of 7 Wonders are strongly encouraged to bring it as most games will be 4-player
7 Wonders lasts three ages. In each age, players receive seven cards from a particular deck, choose one of those cards, and then pass the remainder to an adjacent player, as in Fairy Tale or a Magic: the Gathering booster draft. Players reveal their cards simultaneously, paying resources if needed or collecting resources or interacting with other players in various ways.
(Players have individual boards with special powers on which to organize their cards, and the boards are double-sided as in Bauza's Ghost Stories.) Each player then chooses another card from the deck they were passed, and the process repeats until players have six cards in play from that age. After three ages, the game ends.
In essence, 7 Wonders is a card development game along the lines of Race for the Galaxy or Dominion. Some cards have immediate effects, while others provide bonuses or upgrades later in the game. Some cards provide discounts on future purchases. Some provide military strength to overpower your neighbors and others give nothing but victory points. Unlike Magic or Fairy Tale, however, each card is played immediately after being drafted, so you'll know which cards your neighbor is receiving and how his choices might affect what you've already built. Cards are passed left-right-left over the three ages, so you need to keep an eye on the neighbors in both directions.
The first round will consist of three preliminary heats used to advance 64 players to the next round. Players may play in as many heats as they wish; only their best heat performance will be used to determine advancement. Each player will earn advancement points depending on their place in each game. After the Preliminary Round games, the 64 players with the most advancement points will advance to Round 2, with highest scores used to break ties. All games will be 4-player games where possible to provide for slightly faster, more strategic play. All play in subsequent rounds will consist of two games per round.
In previous years we have allowed people to turn in a repeat Wonder this year you will also be allowed to turn in Babylon the statistically worst Wonder. You are never required to redraw a Wonder but this gives some options for variety.
Players will earn advancement points in each of the two games played in the open heats. The advancement points earned during each game will then be added together to get the total for that heat. In order to advance from the open heat onto the quarterfinals, the advancement points for this year will be:
7 points for first place
6 points for second place
4 for third place
1 for fourth
If there any 5-player games in the heats, the points will be awarded as follows:
7.5 points for first place
6.5 points for second place
4.5 points for third place
1.5 points for fourth place
0.5 points for fifth place
The points will be awarded for each of the two games during the open heats. Advancement points are not added together when earned in multiple heats. A player's best heat score (the points from both games added together in their heat) will be the basis for whether they qualify for the quarterfinals. For the quarterfinals, semifinals, and Final, the player with the highest advancement point score at each table will go to the next round.
Ties will be broken by single best game score (not advancement points).