Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 2-4
Amount of time to play: 180-240 min
Age requirements: 14+
Set-up time: 10 min
Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization is the latest edition of this civ-building board game. It brings changes to both the aesthetics and mechanics of this highly rated game.
You start Through the Ages A New Story of Civilization in Antiquity with a despotic government, a couple mines and farms, and one warrior and a philosopher. You also have four civil actions and two military actions.
The game concludes after you have built your civilization over Ages One through Three. You can add leaders and wonders to grant your civilization bonuses. And develop more mines and farms with better efficiency as new technologies are revealed. But your main goal is culture points (CPs). The player with the most CPs after Age Three wins.
On your turn you use your civil and military actions to grow and advance your civilization. The turn is split into two phases political and action. During the political phase you can play cards to wage war on another player or create a pact with them.
During the actions phase you gain new technology cards, play them and gain resources. There is a row of 13 cards that cost you one to three civil actions. Most cards taken from the row go to your hand and also cost a civil action to play. They also cost Science Points to play. You gain Science Points every round based on how many you generate. So if you see a card you and others like you might need to pay more civil actions to get it before they do.
The first one to three cards are removed before each players turn (depending on the number of players). This keeps the game moving and forces transitions to new ages. Leaders and cards in your hand from two ages ago are discarded. So if you add a leader at the start of the game, they will be discarded at the start of Age Two. As time moves forward more and more advanced tech will be revealed. New governments will surface that grant you more action or other bonuses.
You must build an engine that can get you the resources, military units and CPs you need.
Through the Ages is a fun game that is fairly simplistic but has a lot of depth. It has a learning curve but not necessarily because of its mechanics. Your first play or two will be about learning the cards and rhythm of the game.
The components for this game are excellent. I mentioned the aesthetics being upgraded and the art and boards look great. The rules are well organized and even guide you through a starter version of the game. What helped me was reading the rules then watching this tutorial. If you have played the older versions of this game, there is a section highlighting the changes in this edition.
I have not played the older versions of this game, but the majority of the changes related to military and balancing some of the cards. Tactics cards are now public and can be used by any player that uses two military actions. Some leaders and wonders were made more powerful and others were nerfed a bit to help balance the game.
The way the card row works is really cool. You may have a tough decision if you really want a card but it costs three civil actions to take. Is it worth using a lot of a single turn’s actions just for one card? Can you wait and get it cheaper or will someone else nab it? These decisions matter and help create a tense but satisfying experience.
The way the cubes care used for multiple things is cool. A blue cube may represent one food or three food. It all depends on what card it is on. And though it can be a bit fiddly tracking everything the design is smooth and works well.
The one negative about this game is its length. It is a long game. Time goes by pretty quickly as you play it, but I can only arrange my schedule to get a four plus hour game to the table so often. That said I still plan to try and play it a few times a year. It is that good.
If you enjoy civ-building games Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization is a must play. It may be long but it is fun. If you have a group that likes and has time for loner games, pick this up.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 5 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 4 out of 6
Replay Value 5 out of 6
Complexity 4 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 5 out of 6