One of the most common boardgames lately has been Antoine Bauza’s 7 Wonders. The basic game plays very well, and its totally random nature guarantees that no two games are alike, and no single strategy surpasses others.
The author’s expansion plans are indeed impressive, but the release pace hasn’t been exactly fast thus far. The first, Leaders, has been out for more than a year, and the second, Cities, still has not arrived.
Leaders is a great addition to the game. It adds new elements at a very little extra complexity. The titular leaders are just another draftable resource, and the extra rules are simple and short. The individual leaders influence the game in various ways, and as they are brought out at a slow pace (one per age), they do not overwhelm the board. As the acquisition of leaders is entirely random, they tend to work very differently – in some games they seem to bring in very little, in others they effectively decide the game’s winner (three science-related leaders brought in almost twenty extra points to the eventual winner).
The sole new wonder of the expansion, Rome, is very leader-centric. Thus far it has been far from a decisively victorious wonder, but its powers do allow the owner a lot more room in playing the leaders than the wonders from the base set do.
The sole concrete demerit of the expansion set is its coinage. The first finnish edition shipped with wooden coins, and sadly the Leaders opts for cardboard as material instead.
Even if the first few games with the Leaders included are longer than the commonly quite fast bouts (as the individual leaders take quite a while to become familiar with, some of the symbols used are initially on the impenetrable side), the game picks up pace fast after the familiarization period is over.