Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization

RRP: £66.99
Now £55.25(SAVE 17%)
RRP £66.99
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Through the Ages, the classic civilization-building game is getting even better. This new version offers subtle improvements to the familiar mechanics and game-changing revisions to the cards, which have been rebalanced with the help of expert players. You can look forward to a fairer military system, a streamlined corruption index, and the outstanding new art. A New Story of Civili…
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Category Tags , , , , SKU ZBG-CGE00032 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Varied play
  • Wonderful theme
  • Components
  • Epic feel

Might Not Like

  • Complexity and game length can be off putting
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Description

Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization is the new edition of Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization, with many changes small and large to the game's cards over its three ages and extensive changes to how military works. Through the Ages is a civilization building game. Each player attempts to build the best civilization through careful resource management, discovering new technologies, electing the right leaders, building wonders and maintaining a strong military. Weakness in any area can be exploited by your opponents. The game takes place throughout the ages beginning in the age of antiquity and ending in the modern age. One of the primary mechanisms in Through the Ages is card drafting. Technologies, wonders, and leaders come into play and become easier to draft the longer they are in play. In order to use a technology you will need enough science to discover it, enough food to create a population to man it and enough resources (ore) to build the building to use it. While balancing the resources needed to advance your technology you also need to build a military. Military is built in the same way as civilian buildings. Players that have a weak military will be preyed upon by other players. There is no map in the game so you cannot lose territory, but players with higher military will steal resources, science, kill leaders, take population or culture. It is very difficult to win with a large military, but it is very easy to lose because of a weak one. Victory is achieved by the player whose nation has the most culture at the end of the modern age.

 

This for me is one of the best civilisation-themed games around. It is epic. It will take several hours to play. But I have found A New Story of Civilization to be one of the most satisfying of them all for its depth and replayability.

Into The Basics

In Through the Ages, you take turns spending actions. These will, in the main, be actions like card drafting, adding buildings and technology to your tableau (ie your civilisation), growing your population and workforce and developing your science and culture. The winner will be the player scoring the most culture points.

Building Your Civilisation

I’m not going to delve into the details of how to play or the finer mechanics, but rather my aim is to focus on key features and why I think this is a great game.

One of the main features is the card draft. Each turn, players can spend actions to draft cards from a draft queue. There is a randomness to what cards come out in what order, but once they are on the queue players can consider buying them with actions. The newer cards will cost more actions, but then you get the option to buy them before the other players and if you leave cards, you also run the risk of them ‘falling off’ the queue to leave the game.

It is a clear part of any strategy to consider spending more actions to get those highly prized cards or simply those cards you need to upgrade your technologies and resource buildings. There is a limit to the number of copies of cards, some are unique and some have two or three. This often means high competition to secure the cards you need whilst depriving your opponent of the opportunity for growth.

The cards vary in type. You have leaders, a really nice aspect of the game allowing a different leader for each age as your civilisation grows over the years. You will see a good choice ranging from Homer, Julius Caesar, Michelangelo to Churchill, Einstein and Shakespeare, ranging from military and political figures to scientists and cultural icons.

You will build resource buildings for your iron and food, develop your urban buildings like temples and labs, develop different governments, build your armed forces, and grow the population needed to work the resource production, research new discoveries, and develop a culture that will stand the test of time, all whilst trying to keep your people happy!

As the game progresses you will see an ebb and flow to the game. Each player will adopt different strategies based on the opportunities that avail themselves and what other players are doing. There is therefore an element of player watching as you do need to keep an eye on your opponents. Are they building a strong military? Are there developing a strong research and culture engine to accumulate points faster and race away? The game is so varied, that each game will offer new opportunities but also new challenges; just one reason why this is a recommended game.

Once you are familiar with the cards and the potential opportunities ahead, you can plan how to react, what your priorities ought to be and the best way to build a civilisation that takes advantage of both the cards that come up and your opponents’ situation.

Developing Your Civilisation & Expansion

This game does not have a map. In many civilisation type games, you have a map and a key mechanic is to move your scouts or explorers and your armies to claim territory and conquer opponents. Through the Ages doesn’t offer that, instead preferring a more abstract way of representing expansion and growth. It works well although personally I do like the map-based games to really feel like you are exploring and expanding etc. But, Through the Ages focuses more on scientific and cultural development and it works just fine without a map.

You still have the opportunity to send military units to secure colonies or you can wage war or carry out an aggression against a rival, but it can be quite onerous to do so. Still, having a strong military is a good idea even if simply as a deterrent.

As the game progresses you will need to research technologies to develop better resource buildings, labs and urban developments to produce more and more of the two keys things you need to win, a) resources to support population growth, researching upgrades and new technologies etc and b) developing your cultural assets such as wonders and entertainment. Ultimately, the culture your civilisation generates and the extent to which you take advantage of and benefit from events will determine your success in the game, so you cannot ignore culture.

A varied game and expansion. The game has an expansion in ‘New leaders and wonders’ and this is recommended. The collective total of cards and variants ensure each game has new challenges and gameplay experience.

Strategy

As there is a lot of replayability and variation, your strategy will vary not just game to game but also during play as you change to adapt and take advantage of circumstances.

You will practically always need to upgrade your buildings to allow your ‘workers’ to be more effective and produce more, you’ll need population to operate your buildings or be recruited to your armed forces, you’ll need resources to build, science to research more technology and develop those amenities that grant you culture such as entertainment and religion. You’ll also want to build some of the unique wonders in the game and, like the leaders, there is a great selection.

During the game players gain the opportunity to build a deck of events, which will play out during the game. At the end of the game you will also play out remaining events and these are a great way to add culture (victory) points, but also gain other advantages or bonuses or cause problems for other players. For this reason, it is imperative you do not neglect your armed forces or fall behind on income for science or culture.

There are ways to haul in a leader. But equally some events reward the strongest or more advanced civilisations. It is a balancing act to some degree. You can’t do everything you want, so you will have to prioritise.

Strengths

In all the games I’ve played, I’ve always felt I had opportunities with the variation of cards and the ebb and flow of the game. Sometimes players go racing ahead with collecting culture points, but often you can see this and through military actions and events cards you can impact on this.

There is great variety in leaders, wonders, technologies and governments to really feel like you are building a unique civilisation. Yes you get some of this in other games, but Through the Ages does it better than most I think.

The game can be a long one. I think this is a strength. You know what you’re getting into and there is plenty of time to feel you are part of something epic, which for me is a major reason why this gets played repeatedly although actually not as often as I’d like!

Weaknesses

I don’t think there are many and certainly not serious issues. The lack of a map could be seen as a weakness, but honestly the game works well without it.

The rulebook could be a little better and all the rules contained in one clear ruleset rather than separated into a ‘Getting started’ booklet and then the main rules. There have been a few occasions when rules interpretation has been tricky, but it’s not a game breaker and probably says more about not getting played enough.

I would also say this is a medium to heavy game. It isn’t difficult, but it can be a brain-burner, especially if you are not used to this type of game. This could put some players off. My recommendation is to try it and learn through practice. Better too if you have an experienced player who can take you through a training game.

Components

These are of good quality, they look and feel nice to use. The player boards are good quality, sturdy enough and easy to use. The text is concise without being difficult to read. The cards are good quality and a good size to handle, being neither too small to be difficult to read or too large to feel cumbersome in your hand and the wooden tokens and cubes are good quality and feel nice to use.

Final Thoughts

A New Story of Civilization is a game I will almost always say yes to playing and likely only the time available will determine whether I don’t. For the price as well, it is incredible value.

 

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Varied play
  • Wonderful theme
  • Components
  • Epic feel

Might not like

  • Complexity and game length can be off putting