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CIV-lite?
Lajos
Japan
Hachiouji
Tokyo
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One of my favourite game categories is that of the civilization games. Fortunately, there are many gamers who share this preference, resulting in a healthy market for the genre and a yearly crop of new games. The current Euro-craze, however, resulted in numerous attempts to create some Euro-CIV-hybrid or a CIV-lite. As pointed out earlier by Bankler - see: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/13822 - CIV-lite seems - at least for some gamers - to have become the holy grail of gaming.
This list is intended to discuss all possible CIV-lite contenders. The list is ordered by title. [I changed the sorting to rank on November 1st, 2006.] Before we can discuss anything, however, it might be useful to have some basic idea of what a CIV-lite game is (or should be). The easiest way to figure that out may be to describe the civilization genre first and then to determine in what ways the lite versions (should) differ.

Civilization games
1. Players control different civilizations / peoples.
2. The scale is epic: long periods of time and big chunks of land.
3. There is at least some (technological) development / progression.
4. Civilizations / peoples can fight each other.
5. There is at least some economics / production / trade.
6. There is a high level of complexity, a strong theme and lots of chrome.

CIV-lite
1. CIV-lite games are shorter than civilization games. While the latter generally take at least 8 hours, but often many more, the maximum for CIV-lite games is - let's say - 3 hours, but preferably much less.
2. There is a medium level of complexity and little chrome. Theme strenght may be slightly less than in full blown CIV games.

If we can agree on these basic characteristics of civilization games and CIV-lite games, there are 9 things that need to be assessed for each game to determine whether it is a possible contender for the CIV-lite title:
1. playtime
2. players control civilizations
3. epic
4. development
5. war
6. economics
7. complexity
8. chrome
9. theme strength
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26. Board Game: Phoenicia [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1072]
Luis Paulino Mora Lizano
Costa Rica
Asunción de Belén
Heredia
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1. playtime: About an hour.
2. players control civilizations: Yes.
3. epic: No.
4. development: The game is all about development.
5. war: No.
6. economics: Yes.
7. complexity: No.
8. chrome: No.
9. theme strength: Not a killing amount, but yes.

¿Civ-lite? No, but a great auction game.
 
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27. Board Game: Pocket Civ [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:1874]
J. Green
United States
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This is the coolest solo print and play civ game, very much like a simple computer game, deep tech tree and hard, with fun thematic implementation. Highly rated, fairly unknown, but worth it to print and play the deluxe version.
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28. Board Game: Protector of the Empire [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
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Conquest and diplomacy in ancient China, Korea, and Japan.

Sweep of history? thumbsup

Epic setting? thumbsup

Building stuff and fighting with your neighbor? thumbsup

Moderate complexity? thumbsup

Two hour playing time? thumbsup

Published? soblue

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29. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:23]
Luis Paulino Mora Lizano
Costa Rica
Asunción de Belén
Heredia
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1. playtime: 1 hour, more or less.
2. players control civilizations: Galactic Empires.
3. epic: Not really.
4. development: A lot of card combinations and technologies.
5. war: Without expansions, not between players, but some worlds must be conquered by force.
6. economics: There is a production and trade system.
7. complexity: It can be complex for newcomers, but nothing that goes on after a couple of plays.
8. chrome: Again, newcomers can find it fiddly.
9. theme strength: Is a little bit abstract, but the theme is certainly there.

¿Civ-lite? It could be...
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30. Board Game: Rise of Empires [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:533]
Luis Paulino Mora Lizano
Costa Rica
Asunción de Belén
Heredia
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1. playtime: Something between two and three hours, depending on the number of players.
2. players control civilizations: Yes, nameless European ones that spread all over the world.
3. epic: If for time matters and scope, yes.
4. development: A whole part of the game is about technologies.
5. war: There is enough of this in the game.
6. economics: Yes, there is a system for that in the game.
7. complexity: This is a pretty easy and straigh forward game, but yes it has some things to keep an eye, specially if the game is new to you.
8. chrome: Not really, but some people can see it that way.
9. theme strength: Kind of abstract and more a game of majorities than a civ one, but the theme is certainly there and it can be smelled.

¿Civ-lite? If not, a good runner up...
 
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31. Board Game: Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:392]
Luis Paulino Mora Lizano
Costa Rica
Asunción de Belén
Heredia
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1. playtime: Less than half an hour.
2. players control civilizations: I guess you can say that.
3. epic: Not a chance.
4. development: Yes.
5. war: Not direct conflict, but there are ways to mess with other players.
6. economics: Yes.
7. complexity: No.
8. chrome: No.
9. theme strength: You have to use a lot of imagination for the theme to come out on this one.

¿Civ-lite? No, but one of the best dice games.
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32. Board Game: The Settlers of the Stone Age [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1014]
Dean Anderson
United Kingdom
Brighton
East Sussex
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1. playtime: 2 hours
2. players control civilizations: Yes. Each player plays an ethnic group that will migrate and colonise a different part of the world.
3. epic: Yes. The map covers the whole world, and the migrations (presumably) take centuries to complete.
4. development: Yes. There are four technological tracks.
5. war: Not Really. You can indirectly hurt each other by driving Neanderthal tribes or predators into their territory and steal their resources, but you can't directly attack other players' tribes.
6. economics: Yes. There are a variety of resources and trading with other players is a large part of the game.
7. complexity: Light-Medium. Although more complex than Settlers of Catan (from which it is derived), it is by no means a heavy game.
8. chrome: Very little.
9. theme strength: Medium. The desertification of Africa, the expansion to gain new resources and the technological developments needed to be able to expand across inhospitable terrain or water gel well together. Some people find the collection of resources to be somewhat abstract, though, and this prevents the theme from being "strong".

CIV-lite? A good candidate.
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33. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:89]
Riccardo Pellitteri
Italy
Rome
ROMA
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The Winner?

1. playtime: 3 hours
2. players control civilizations: YES
3. epic: YES
4. development: YES
5. war: YES
6. economics: YES
7. complexity: some
8. chrome: good
9. theme: great
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34. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Boardgame [Average Rating:5.60 Overall Rank:8776]
Lajos
Japan
Hachiouji
Tokyo
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Suggested by kruppman.

1. playtime: 8 hours?
2. players control civilizations: yes.
3. epic: yes.
4. development: yes.
5. war: yes.
6. economics: yes.
7. complexity: medium / high.
8. chrome: some.
9. theme strenght: medium / high.

CIV-lite? no (way too long, whether SM CIV is a good or bad game is completely irrelevant)
 
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35. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:4780]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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Just added this one to the list. Looks like it may fit the bill, in fact it looks like it may be quicker playing than the much more anticipated CBG game, Through the Ages, which came out at Essen last month, but thus far it hasn't got the notice or attention (perhaps because it's packaged with a CD set and as of yet not offered separately).
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36. Board Game: Struggle of Empires [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:187]
Lajos
Japan
Hachiouji
Tokyo
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Suggested by Leezer.

1. playtime: 3 hours?
2. players control civilizations: yes.
3. epic: yes.
4. development: no.
5. war: yes.
6. economics: yes.
7. complexity: low / medium.
8. chrome: very little.
9. theme strenght: medium.

CIV-lite? probably not (a civ game needs development).

It's been some time since I last played this, so I might be wrong on some of the above.
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37. Board Game: Tempus [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1040]
Lajos
Japan
Hachiouji
Tokyo
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1. playtime: 1.5 hours?
2. players control civilizations: yes.
3. epic: yes.
4. development: yes, but very abstract.
5. war: yes.
6. economics: no.
7. complexity: medium.
8. chrome: very little, close to no chrome at all.
9. theme strength: weak, relatively abstract.

CIV-lite? No. Way too abstract..
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38. Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:8.21 Overall Rank:4]
Lajos
Japan
Hachiouji
Tokyo
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Previously known as Civilization: the Cardgame (working title).

1. playtime: 3 hours?
2. players control civilizations: yes.
3. epic: yes.
4. development: yes.
5. war: yes.
6. economics: yes.
7. complexity: medium.
8. chrome: ???.
9. theme strenght: medium.

CIV-lite? possibly.

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39. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:33]
Lajos
Japan
Hachiouji
Tokyo
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Suggested by sedjtroll.

1. playtime: 1.5 hours?
2. players control civilizations: well, sort of, kingdoms actually.
3. epic: no.
4. development: no.
5. war: yes, sort of.
6. economics: no.
7. complexity: medium.
8. chrome: very little, close to no chrome at all.
9. theme strength: weak, very abstract.

CIV-lite? no.

E&T or T&E is an abstract with a pasted on theme, that's not even a CIV-theme in my opinion. It is however, one of the best abstract games I know.
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40. Board Game: Tribes of Pangea [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
Lajos
Japan
Hachiouji
Tokyo
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1. playtime: 3-6 hours?
2. players control civilizations: yes (tribes).
3. epic: yes.
4. development: ??? (I think so, but I'm not sure).
5. war: yes.
6. economics: yes.
7. complexity: medium.
8. chrome: some.
9. theme strenght: medium.

CIV-lite? no (just a tad too long).
 
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41. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:31]
Marcel van der pol
Netherlands
Leiden
Zuid-Holland
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A cool game, the only real thing different from the other games is the setting (SciFi rather than Fantasy). its closer to Master of Orion rather than Civilisation.

1. playtime
2 - 12 Hours, depending on number of players and other factors.

2. players control civilizations
Yup

3. epic
Definitely.

4. development
Lots and lots of techs to choose from, including a real tree.

5. war
Yup.

6. economics
Yup, including trade.

7. complexity
Medium

8. chrome
A HUGE amount of chrome.

9. theme strength
Yup. The Sci-Fi theme is represented throughout this game. This includes Wormholes, Nebulae, Supernovae, Asteroid Fields, a Galactic Council etc.
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42. Board Game: Tyros [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1605]
Lajos
Japan
Hachiouji
Tokyo
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mb
1. playtime: 1.5 hours?
2. players control civilizations: yes, sort of.
3. epic: not really.
4. development: no.
5. war: not really.
6. economics: not really.
7. complexity: medium.
8. chrome: none.
9. theme strength: weak, relatively abstract.

CIV-lite? no.
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43. Board Game: Valley of the Mammoths [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:1763]
Lajos
Japan
Hachiouji
Tokyo
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1. playtime: 3 hours?
2. players control civilizations: yes.
3. epic: yes (allthough this may be a variant).
4. development: yes.
5. war: yes.
6. economics: yes.
7. complexity: medium.
8. chrome: very little, close to no chrome at all.
9. theme strength: medium.

CIV-lite? possibly.
(I've read the rules but didn't play the game and are, hence, not familiar enough with it to judge it.)
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44. Board Game: Vinci [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:379]
Lajos
Japan
Hachiouji
Tokyo
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mb
1. playtime: 2.5 hours?
2. players control civilizations: yes.
3. epic: yes.
4. development: no.
5. war: yes.
6. economics: no.
7. complexity: medium.
8. chrome: very little, close to no chrome at all.
9. theme strength: weak, relatively abstract.

CIV-lite? no.
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