7 Wonders Duel is one of our favourite board games. It combines long-term strategic planning with short-term tactical insight into a relatively simple and quick game. No wonder we consider it the best board game for two players. Naturally we were thrilled to hear there was an expansion: 7 Wonder Duel Pantheon.
In the expansion we meet the gods of the ancient history. The players have the opportunity to call the gods of the Mesopotamian, Phoenician, Greek, Egyptian, and Roman mythology. In the first era, there are five mythology tokens placed on certain closed cards in the structure. When you open one of those cards, you receive the mythology token and must choose a god from the mythology in question and place, face down, it in an open spot in the Pantheon.
At the start of the second era, all god-cards are openend and ready for use. In the second and third era, instead of buying a card from the structure, you can choose to call a god from the Pantheon. Each god has an unique effect. For example, Ishtar, one of the Mesopotamian gods, grants you a scientific symbol, identical to that of the law progress token. Baal lets you steal a brown or grey card from you opponent’s city.
The effects of the gods of the Mesopotamian mythology are all science-related. The effects of the gods of the Phoenician mythology are all trade-related. The Greek gods give victory points, let you discard a random card in the structure, or have a Mausoleum-like effect. The Egyptian gods are all about Wonders. And the Roman gods are about the Military track.
The game ends the same as the original game. You can win either by scientific supremacy, military supremacy, or civilian victory.
The theme of Pantheon fits seamlessly in the theme of the base game. Gods of the ancient history go really well with the historic wonders of 7 Wonders Duel. Also, the graphic design of the new cards and tokens looks quite good. From the theme of the expansion and the way the new elements are placed on the table, it is clear the game designers tried their best to make the expansion as good as possible.
Many of the new elements are nicely thought out. For example, in the base game, there is a disadvantage to opening new cards in the structure. This is countered in Pantheon by rewarding opening certain cards with a mythology or offering token. Opening new cards is way less disadvantageous if you can choose were to place a new god or get a discount on buying one later. The three new progress tokens are a nice addition to the ones in the base game. And of course, the gods stir up the game dynamics.
However, we were not blown away by the expansion. The effects of the gods are quite unbalanced. Some of the gods are much much better then other gods. For example, Ra lets you steal an unbuild wonder from your opponent (insanely good), while Zeus lets you discard a random card from the structure (only medium good).
But this is not our main problem with the expansion. What we loved about 7 Wonder Duel is the relative simplicity of the game, which allowed for planning a long-term strategy and tactical maneuvers. In Pantheon, you can buy a god instead of a card. This makes planning tactical moves ahead impossible.
Do we recommend you buy Pantheon? No and yes. No, because it takes away from the base game. Yes, because it is still a really good game and the expansion adds to the replay value of 7 Wonders Duel.
Do you want to try the 7 Wonders Duel Pantheon expansion yourself? View Pantheon on Amazon.