If you were hoping for a game about Louis Armstrong, or about smalltown hero George Bailey, you’ve been sadly misinformed.
But if you’re looking for a roughly one-hour drafting game for 1-5 players in a post-apocalyptic setting, you’ve come to the right place.
It’s A Wonderful World is often pitched as 7 Wonders on steroids, but I feel that’s misleading, because aside from the drafting they have little in common. There’s no trading with your neighbours, end-of-era military conflict, era-specific buildings, or card-chaining. Instead, after drafting a seven-card hand you decide which cards you’re going to recycle for their resource value and which you will begin to construct for their construction bonuses, production value, and/or VP.
Production then follows, and again it’s nothing like 7W. Each empire card comes with two sides: a boring side where everyone’s base production is the same, and the side you’ll always use where each empire has different production and VP bonuses. The five types of resources are produced one by one, and a player produces the single highest amount gets a bonus (if there’s a tie, no one gets it). Those cubes are then added to buildings under construction, and if you time things right you can finish a building, add it to your empire, and have it start producing that same production phase (if it produces a higher-value good). There are all sorts of production and VP combos, and unlike most engine-builders I’ve played it’s actually worth starting on some high-return buildings right away--in fact you have to, since the biggest-ticket items need two or three rounds of production to complete.
At the end of the round, buildings still under construction remain in front of you--in fact, you don’t even lose VP for them at the end of the game. The wasted effort is penalty enough.
The box and card artwork in It’s a Wonderful World is bold and colourful, reminding me of Race For the Galaxy at its best and most whimsical. The few pages of rules are clear and error-free. There is a great solo mode which even includes different scenarios where you pull certain cards at the start of the game and must construct by game’s end.
If you can’t tell by now, I think you should run not walk to get this game. It’s worth it. Click here to order your copy of It’s a Wonderful World.