Nations Thur – Being a Drax Report

UNAMID Peacekeepers on Patrol

There are at least a dozen jokes made each gaming session, all of them based on the game we’re playing and all schoolboy humour of the highest order.  Some of them are even funny. Some of them.  “Have you got wood for sheep?” (Settles or Catan), “Fill my ship with Seamen” (Serenissima), “My Turtle wins because he’s on top” (Pedzace Zotwie).  Yes, the evenings just fly by!  A new one materialised last night  “you’re man rich”.  But I digress

If you’re now in innuendo mode please switch back to normal or it will take twice as long to read this review

It was a hot, wet night in Murroe.  Ok OK, stop it now.  back to normal I said.  We started with a quick lash of eight minute empire which took fifteen minutes with four players.  enough said about that

Then the piece of resistance arrived.  NATIONS



For some reason madam yer wan or whomever it is reminds me of Supergirl doing here whole, “leave this place and do no harm” thing but that’s neither here nor there.  

Nations is a game quite similar to Through the ages but quite different in ways

I’ve ranted about Through the ages before.  It’s a GREAT game, a great great game however like all great games it has it’s faults, it’s long (3-4 hours+), it’s only four players, it doesn’t have much variety, it’s unforgiving and it only works well if all the players are at the same level.

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It’s like the designers of Nations decided to rewrite it and change all of those points. so here goes

Nations is

  • Up to Five Players
  • Plays in maybe 2 hours
  • It has a HUGE variety of cards
  • Wars and mistakes aren’t the end of the world
  • you can handicap/boost players based on their skills

Actually the more I think about it the more I like it.

Everyone starts in the stone age with a few basic buildings that allow you to raise a meagre amount of food/ore/gold/stability/research ALL of which are important

There’s a touch of eclipse about it, insofar as you can start with a standard civilisation where everyone has the same abilities from the off or you can pick a different one so say Egyptians start with the pyramids which give them bonuses in one area but miss out on something a basic nation gets.  I like that it’s neat.

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As the game progresses you can spend gold to buy advanced buildings, advisor’s (leaders), military units, battles, wars and wonders all of which adjust and affect the income and spend of your various resources.  It’s a fairly complex game but you’ll pick it up pretty quickly if it’s explained right (which it was) and it’s certainly a little simpler to play that Through the ages.  Gone is happiness of your people, gone is revolt (well it works differently) and the whole thing feels a little bit easier to juggle without the killer of TTA where if you mess up one little thing you might as well give up now.

I’m not going to explain all the rules it’s far too complex and better rule readers than I can do that on boardgamegeek but here’s a few highlights

Like TTA it’s all about getting the right cards, getting the right rhythm for you building whilst blocking others from doing the same.  Again like TTA you don’t directly affect others you just throw massive military spanners in the works and deflect people from the important purpose of building libraries and onto the important business of building spears.

There are eight rounds in the game spanning four ages after which each round a mini scoring round happens with a big score at the end.  There’s several ways to pick up and quite often lose victory points and no one path to victory.

Something I really like about the game is you get a ton of cards for each age and you only pick a few so replay value of this game is very high indeed and there will never be two games exactly the same.

Our game rattled on with a few interruptions for about 2.5 hours.  Not bad at all.  I lost,  it’s ok, I’m over it now. I was playing to learn and it was my first game and lots of reasons which I don’t need to explain.  Let’s move on, nothing to see here.

Would I buy it?  yes I would.  It’s a great game.  It does need another game for it to sink in but I really liked it and all those bullet points had me sold from the get go.   The production values of the game are good, better than most but not quite up there with Fantasy Flight games.  I can see this being reprinted in different stock at some stage but any copy is good.

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This is solid, fun game, I take my hat off to the designers who seem to have gotten it all right.  If you like TTA you’ll love this game

We rounded off with a bit of knifey spoony coup (don’t ask)

More of that next week



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