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In age 1, the only resource you buy are the grey ones, because: in age 1, the brown ones produce only one resource at a time, but in age 2 they produce 2. This means you profit more from buying brown cards in age 2 than 1. So it costs a coin, big deal. No matter what, age 1 or 2, when you buy a grey card, it produces one item. This means when the worse cards are in play, you should buy the ones that will be the same.

Note: It also helps to choose your playing style early right?

  • I completely agree, I just played a game and won by over 10 vps, because by building the gray cards in age one, it allowed me to build science, which in turn gave me tech trees that helped. One could say I got lucky, which I kind of did. I think the main thing I learned was that in order to win, choose your playing style early. Overall, this strategy helped a bit though. – Yeetster Nov 20 '18 at 1:35
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    The plural of "anecdote" is not "data". – Philip Kendall Nov 20 '18 at 7:27
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The analysis is technically correct, but practically kind of wrong.

Every choice of card in 7 Wonders comes with an opportunity cost, which is to say, "What are you giving up by choosing this card instead?"

It is true that the brown resource cards in Age 2 give you access to twice as many resources as their Age 1 counterparts, for the cost of a single coin which is usually not huge as far as things go. However, if you decide that this means you should ignore the brown cards in Age 1 and just wait until Age 2 to get them, then:

  1. You run the risk of never getting the resources you will need, especially if your opponents are paying attention and carefully deprive you of key cards.

  2. You spend less of Age 2 building more useful cards (e.g. Science and Military cards, especially the ones that enable you to build stuff in Age 3).

  3. You potentially have to spend more coins building things in Age 1, if you're relying on neighbours to provide the resources.

  4. Conversely, your neighbours will not be buying resources from you, denying you a source of income.

It's easy to be flippant and say "It all depends on the cards", but really that's the point - 7 Wonders is a game of making lots of decisions, and there is rarely a singular strategy that you can follow blindly to success.

  • "opponents are paying attention and carefully deprive you of key cards" but that hardly makes sense for opponents, right? Buying what one needs gives one more than buying a useless thing that an opponent needs, right? – Andrew Savinykh Nov 30 '18 at 21:21
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    Sure, but if I'm going to burn a card on a Wonder stage or coins, then I may as well pick one that will cause the most damage to the player I consider to be a threat. – ConMan Dec 2 '18 at 22:50
  • @AndrewSavinykh - not always: for example, say your opponent is playing side A and doesn't have access to enough of his mid-stage wonder resource at the start of age II. By "burning" that resource you deny him 7 points and the useful mid-stage ability - that's more powerful than beating him at war at age III (+5 to you, -1 to him is 6 points difference), this can be worth "sacrificing" an age II turn, even if you just sell a card for 3 coins (which gives you more flexibility for the rest of the game, or an extra point at its end) – G0BLiN Feb 20 at 16:16
  • I'd say the OP's analysis isn't even "technically correct" - age I cards are less effective than age II, and those are less effective than age III. Following that logic you can just as well that you shouldn't place any age I blue cards since they give much less points (2-3) than age III blue cards (5-8)... – G0BLiN Feb 20 at 16:24
  • Well I was assuming that OP at least premised his logic on "Which Age I/II/III cards should I build", so the choice is always between cards that you might have to decide between. Otherwise yes, you may well take that analysis all the way to "You should just dump cards for coins until Age III then buy everything", which I am pretty sure is going to be a losing strategy most of the time. – ConMan Feb 20 at 22:57
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I think your asking "is it worth buying brown resource cards in age one when they improve in age two whilst grey ones do not"?

The answer is (as it should be for all board games) is "it depends".

yes Age 2 brown cards are better value but you do want to spend a third of the game not getting resources?

Is your choice of what cards you take influenced by what resource yours and neighbours wonder produces.

Do you need to collect lots of the same or a variety of resource for your wonder?

What resources can I get from yellow cards?

So in answer to your question.... Yes age 2 brown cards are better than age 1 brown cards but I personally wouldn't base my strategies on that fact.. However, as in all games, there is never one winning strategy that always works and you should always do what you feel is best in that situation.

  • So it can be a good idea, but you have to know when to abort, and stop doing it. – Yeetster Nov 19 '18 at 23:41
  • I agree with the other answer here ""It all depends on the cards". your comments says you won by 10 points build grey age I and going science. My question then is why did other players not put other science cards under there wonder or discard them for money? The point I think were both trying to make is there isn't one perfect strategy that will always work for you. You have to make decisions each time and tbh having those choices to make is what make a game fun. Not blindly doing same thing every single time. – StartPlayer Nov 20 '18 at 9:15
  • I agree with that – Yeetster Nov 20 '18 at 11:53
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This means when the worse cards are in play, you should buy the ones that will be the same.

That doesn't make sense. If they're worse, then they aren't the same.

Age I brown cards, Age II brown cards, and Age I silver cards are incomparable; no one is clearly better than the other. Yes, Age II brown cards give more resources than Age I brown cards, but an brown card obtained in Age I can be used to buy things for two more ages, while a brown card obtained during Age I can be used to buy things for one more age (and if you buy military in Age I, that military gives you benefits for all three ages). Silver cards can be used to buy high-value cards, but those cards don't show up until later ages; a silver card obtained in Age I can't be used to buy anything in that age.

Your argument, which you aren't articulating completely explicitly and so I have to read between the lines a bit, is that if you first have a choice between one resource of Type A or one resource of Type B, and then later a choice between two resources of Type A or one resource of Type B, then you should first choose Type B and then Type A. While there are some valid intuitions motivating that reasoning, it is not a conclusive. One motivation would be the assumption that the game makers designed the game to be balanced, so if they give you a choice between one of Type B and two of Type A, then one of Type B must be worth two of Type A. But the very fact that you think there is a clear strategy means that you are implicitly accepting that it isn't completely balanced. Furthermore, you are assuming that the relative worth of the two types of resources are the same in both ages, so if one silver resource is worth two brown resources in Age II, then it must be worth two in Age I. But as I argued above, that argument does not hold, because there are things available in later ages that require silver resources, and thus silver resources are worth more in later ages.

So it costs a coin, big deal.

You can't spend coins on resources unless your neighbors have those resources.

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