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In the rules it is recommended for the first games to use side A of the wonders only. After these first games (if I understand the rules correctly) players play the side that is at the top of the wonder card they draw. So some would play side A and some side B (probably). This question discusses if the two sides are balanced.

I wonder if this is really the best way?

I see several possibilities how to handle which side to play:

  1. randomly drawn wonder cards, but all players use side A (recommended for the first games)
  2. randomly drawn wonder cards, but all players use side B
  3. randomly drawn wonder cards, all players use the side that is at the top when the card is revealed (the normal rule)
  4. randomly drawn wonder cards, all players use the side they like more

I feel like variant 4 would be the best (each player may select the side) for a casual playing group, as otherwise some side A players might feel that the side B players have an "unfair" advantage (as the special abilites on B seem to be better). Would it be problematic/unbalanced to use variant 4?

How does the side get selected in tournaments?

EDIT: The rules also allow that players (if all agree) can choose which wonder to play. In this case, variant 4 is probably used (variants 1 and 2 would be possible, too), while variant 3 would be rather pointless (you'd select a wonder yourself but randomize which side to play). Anyhow, this question is about randomly chosen wonders.

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For what it's worth, we almost always choose option 4, unless there is someone playing for the first time. – aslum Nov 23 '12 at 19:43
Related: thread on – unor Dec 1 '12 at 20:41
up vote 7 down vote accepted

This is a tricky one. The rulebook makes seems to specify option #3 pretty specifically:

Shuffle the 7 Wonder cards, face down, and hand one to each player. The card and its facing determine the Wonders board given to each player, as well as the side to be used during the game.

However, when I demoed the Leaders expansion from Asmodee at a convention, option #4 was used; the cards were dealt randomly but players were allowed to choose their own sides. This was the first I had seen this rule, but it seemed to work well and I immediately started using it in casual games as well. Not only do players get to choose the board they like better, but there's no worry about making sure to maintain the orientation on the Wonder card when revealing it. I encountered the same rule at GenCon 2012, when I played (with little success, sadly) in a tournament.

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Thanks for the tournament info. I tried #4 too (in casual games), and it works pretty well (also everyone is happy with it). – unor Dec 6 '12 at 12:57

The sides are pretty imbalanced - with about one exception (I forget which, and depends on Leaders expansion) B is far stronger. In general it's a poorly balanced game but forcing some players to side A and some to side B only exacerbates this.

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