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Perhaps I overlooked the following when reading the rules, but I don't recall these questions being addressed in the two-player advanced rules for 7 Wonders:

Can the free city build its wonder, or must it only build cards?

What does the free city do if it can't afford to build anything, since it isn't allowed to discard for coins?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

According to the rules, the free city can take any action a 'normal' player can take with a restriction on discarding cards for money. The free city CAN build a wonder. In fact, a good strategy for the third city is to use it to bury cards your opponent might want, e.g. by building the wonder.

The free city CAN also discard a card for money, but only if no other playable card is available. Therefore, if the city has no playable cards, you can choose a card to discard and the free city gains the coins.

(Rules are here: http://www.rprod.com/en/7W-rules.html)

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I must have missed the clarification in the rules: Clarification : The Free City cannot discard a card to get 3 coins unless it cannot play a card. The player must then choose, when possible, a card which can be played by the Free City (structure construction or wonder building stage). –  Marcin Mar 28 '12 at 17:39
    
No problem. Glad I could help! –  Johno Mar 29 '12 at 9:53
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