Through the ages is a great, great game. The new version “Through the Ages a New story of Civilization” is greater greater game. It’s a refined version of the original. Short version of review.
TTA is an interesting beast. A civilization builder without a map. It might be more accurate to describe it as an economy builder with the ability to throw a spanner in other player’s works. Usually at the most inopportune time. Don’t worry there’s also AMPLE opportunity to hoist yourself on your own petard. TTA is a hard mistress.
It’s also a very clever game. There’s several elements to it. A grab for cards that appear on the conveyor belt of history. A juggling of resources to improve your lot and a constant struggle to stay, if not ahead then close enough to everyone else militarily so you don’t get ganked. Repeatedly.
Like all resource games you never have enough of everything and you have to just do your best with what you have and plan well ahead. There’s no one route to victory. Get big and rich and the others will plunder you. Get ahead technically and the others will plunder you. Get ahead militarily and go out there and plunder others like a good Christian. Military on its own just doesn’t work btw. Some will disagree. As the ages roll by it takes cash money to keep up with the latest tech and sticking all your cash into weapons will leave you with spears and bows against tanks and aircraft. But listen you’re not dumb you figured that yourself. Like all good games it’s a balancing act, making the best worse choices. Working with limited resources. Making do. I’ve started to see parallels between this and Twilight Struggle but this game is two to four players which is sweet. Not by any means the same type of game but similar Ban Ki-moon headaches.
Say one thing for TTA it demands repeat plays to learn how the cards flow. There are four ages. All the cards in the decks will appear (pretty much) although someone else may snatch them up before you and begrudgery is a key skill. There are certain cards that you really really need like improved mining and agriculture oh and science. The problem is so does everyone else so it’s a scramble. Despite limited cards it’s rarely luck that loses you a game. Someone grabbing the iron before you is not the end of the world something better will appear. Make sure you jump on it this time.
Again like a lot of games of this sort you really need to play people of your own skill level to get the most out of it unless you want to improve. In which case play against a shark and get a paddling but learn from it.
Despite what some people contend it is a Long game. You want to budget four hours for it and be thankful if you get out Early. There’s no early wins it always to the biter end.
In case you haven’t gathered. I really love this game. I rate it up there with Twilight Struggle. It’s harsh, it’s unforgiving but it a joy to play. The new version is like a tweaked version of the original, gone are a lot of the minor (and major) niggles from the first one. The whole thing just looks and works beautifully and It really shouldn’t work. A 4x game missing at least one x. It absolutely and utterly does work. It’s a wonderful game. You need to play this game if you haven’t already and if you’ve played the old version you need to try out the new one and soon
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