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Seven Wonders By Darwin Geronimo
My love for games extends not only to digital games but tabletop games as well. Companies such as Sony and Microsoft spend millions of dollars developing and designing controllers comfortable to the player’s hands but no video game can replicate the feel of rolling dice in your hands or shuffling a deck of cards or moving pieces on a game board. I look forward to every new tabletop game I receive as much as any video game.
My love for tabletop games arose right around the time I became interested in designing games. I bought my first and still my favorite tabletop game about two years ago after I played it at a convention. The game is called 7 Wonders and to this day, I still consider it the most well-designed tabletop game I have ever played. Thematically, you are the ruler of a civilization based around one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and your goal is to create the greatest civilization in the world. Throughout the course of the game, you build structures that enhance one of your civilizations traits such as military might or available technologies. The beauty of the game lies in its draft mechanic. Each player chooses a structure to build from a hand of cards and then gives whatever cards they do not build to another player while also receiving a new hand of cards from a different player and the process is repeated. The most interesting part about this mechanic is that all players perform this step at the same time. Therefore, rather than the game lasting as long as the sum of all player’s turns like in a typical turn-based game, it is only as long as the sum of the slowest turns amongst up to seven people making for a rather fast-paced strategy game.
What truly interests me about 7 Wonders and tabletop games in general is the communication of the rules of the game. Tabletop games do have many of the same liberties as video games do. A video games programming will often restrict players from breaking the rules of the game, though kudos to speedrunners for finding holes amongst the rules of the game. The thing enforcing the rules of a tabletop game is each player’s understanding of the rules outlined in the rule book. Designing a rule book is one of the most crucial parts of creating a tabletop game. All your mechanics from your game are derived from the rule book. If a player fails to understand what is written in the rules, then they are not playing the game you had intended them to play. It is an excellent exercise for beginning designers to create a tabletop game and to effectively communicate the rules of said game. That is why as an aspiring designer, I will hold tabletop games in the same regard as video games.


About the Author

Darwin Geronimo
Darwin Geronimo is a 21-year-old senior from California State University East working toward his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Physics with a minor in Mathematics. His specialties include scripting, game physics, data analysis, and critical problem-solving. He hopes to one day break into the industry designing systems and mechanics.

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