Revolt to Theocracy

A blog dedicated to strategy discussion of Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization.

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Confession: I played FOUR board games in 2021

Elli Amir
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This year I played Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition (just once, to try it, it was okay), two sessions of Gizmos, four sessions of Nemesis (with a group that loves semi-coops, not my cup of tea). And I played THIRTY games of Underwater Cities, in two players.

Reading posts on reddit and blogs on BGG.com, listening to YouTube videos and podcasts, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on going wide and trying as many board games as possible. I suspect this is also reflected in shopping habits as people are buying more and more games.

I am reminded of the GDC board gaming panel where the panelists were talking about legacy games. An audience member said they feel like disposable games that are meant to be played only 15 times. I believe it was Eric Lang who replied that most board games are only played a handful of times, and that one motivation behind legacy is to have people PLAY the thing!

Thinking back about my 30+ years playing tabletop games, I doubt I tried more than ... 75 games, let's say? But I have thousands of games of Magic: the Gathering, Android: Netrunner, Catan, and Puerto Rico, hundreds of games of Agricola and Caylus, and dozens of games of Through the Ages, Fields of Arle, Underwater Cities, and Pandemic. I prefer to dig deep into a game, develop a meta with friends, and see how our understanding of strategy evolves and changes. I wonder whether I'm the minority in the hobby with my preference for depth.
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Sat Jan 1, 2022 4:06 pm
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Come check out my new game!

Elli Amir
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If you're reading this then I'm guessing you subscribed to my Through the Ages blog, Revolt to Theocracy, which makes me think I did something right!

I am developing a new two-player card game called Worldbreakers, which is set in alternate 13th century Mongolia. The game revolves around playing location cards and developing them for power (points) while defending your board from your opponent's attacks. Much like Through the Ages, Worldbreakers rewards efficient action use, correct resource spending, and being one step ahead of your opponent. The game also draws from Netrunner, Magic: the Gathering, and worker placement games such as Agricola.

Here is a two-minute video introduction to Worldbreakers. I would greatly appreciate it if you check it out and subscribe to the YouTube channel.

You’re also welcome to try Worldbreakers on Tabletop Simulator. Join the Discord channel to find opponents -- drop me a line if you're there and I'm happy to hop on TTS and show you the game in person. Finally, you can learn more on the official website/blog.

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Either way, thank you for reading and for supporting Revolt to Theocracy!
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Fri Dec 3, 2021 9:24 pm
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Scientific Method is a Strong Technology

Elli Amir
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Watching Through the Ages videos has been a treasure trove of ideas and insights about playing the game. One of the notable figures I have been following is Japhet Stevens and his early videos taught me an important lesson about the utility of Scientific Method. I almost entirely ignored this technology and have usually gone for Alchemy: the earlier, the better. However, Japhet has shown me how powerful Scientific Method can be and why skipping Alchemy is usually the correct course of action.

I have explored through several possible explanations on why this is the case. One notable reason, especially pre-Leaders and Wonders, is Bill Gates. Gates plus Scientific Method solves both of your science and resource production for Age III, since an economy fueled by this combination can maintain military edge while scoring points through Theaters, Libraries, and Wonders. Furthermore, Gates himself would score you between six and eight points, which is equivalent to an average Impact. In other words, Scientific Method opens up Gates as a powerful leader option, while Alchemy is not enough for him and Libraries are irrelevant. As an aside, a similar argument goes for Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, though they at least can benefit from Libraries.

Building cost is another factor to consider. Upgrading a Philosophy to an Alchemy costs three resources and nets +1 science a turn. Upgrading to a Scientific Method is five resources for +2 science. In Through the Ages terms, a difference of four to six resources is negligible: even if you’re still on three Mines, Urban Growth I/II and Efficient Upgrade I/II will take you there. Furthermore, the technologies are priced similarly science-wise as well (four and six science, respectively). On the other hand, the civil action cost is identical and substantial: one or two actions to pick up the technology, one to develop it, and two to three for upgrading. Since you’re investing these actions, you might as well go for the superior science boost.

Finally, let’s inspect the math around science production in the early to mid-game. 2-3 science production will comfortably serve you through Age I (especially when considering events). Upgrading your Philosophies to Alchemies will be nice you would have had enough science for core technologies anyway. On the other hand, two Alchemies are not enough for Age II and three will suffice but will require upgrades in Age III. Scientific Method fills a comfortable gap in that regard: You don’t need the science until it shows up and once you get it it will fulfill your needs until the end of the game. In my opinion, this is the true power of the technology. Much like other aspects of Through the Ages, it is not sheer strength, but rather timing and flexibility.
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Sat May 23, 2020 9:42 pm
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The forgotten pacts of Through the Ages

Elli Amir
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Pacts are one of my favorite mechanics of Through the Ages. Most often, players use their one political action to seed and trigger events, which could make or break the game. Offering a pact requires you to forfeit this precious action in exchange for providing both you and another player with a bonus. Negotiations around pacts are not allowed, which leads to an interesting mind game: should I offer a pact, and if yes, to whom.

Sometimes the answer is trivial. For example, I don’t recall ever seeing “Open Borders Agreement” or “International Tourism” get rejected. They offer a strong, symmetric benefit with relatively little downside and it’s often straightforward to know whom to offer them to. In this post, I will discuss what I consider the forgotten pacts of Through the Ages. These are pacts which I rarely see offered or accepted.

Trade Routes Agreement. TRA allows player A to use one food as a resource per turn and allows player B to use one resource as food per turn. While it’s common for players to have one or two surplus food early in the game, the opposite is not true for resources. Furthermore, increasing population is irrelevant if you don’t have the resources to build something with them. This double whammy means that TRA is often advantageous to player A while useless to player B, which makes accepting it very unusual.

There is also a strong mathematical argument against TRA. It is very common for players to have one or two surplus food in the early-game. Assuming two Farms and a bonus or two from the event deck, players will usually increase population 5-6 times before consumption lowers their food income to zero, at which point they’re “stuck” with some leftover food that strains their blue token bank and provides no benefit. The opposite is not true for resources. Through the Ages is structured in a way that more resources are almost always good (corruption notwithstanding) and unlike food there is no consumption to “lock” your income. This means that player A could almost always benefit from TRA while player B needs to have the right amount of food and the spare resource to use it. Overall, this is just too situational.

Acceptance of Supremacy. AoS transfers a resource a turn from player B to player A in exchange for protecting the former from the latter. While the protection goes both ways, the resource gain benefits A only, hence my assumption about the direction. The pact raises many requirements to make it worthy for both sides. For one, if A can attack B, why would A agree for just one measly resource? They could play a Plunder for 5 resources (or any other Aggression). It’s possible that A could attack C instead, but then B just needs to be stronger than C, they don’t need a pact. Speaking of C, while AoS protects B from A, it doesn’t help with other players, so B still needs to maintain a military presence. This will be complicated by the fact that B is now gaining one resource less each turn. If there is no C that threatens B and A can’t attack B, B can focus on generating points, which could put A in hot waters as the end-game approaches. There are a lot of “ifs” and “buts” with AoS, which makes offering it or accepting it highly situational.

Loss of Sovereignty. LoS creates a four-points-per-turn differential between A and B. In exchange, B is fully immune to new Wars from any player. The four points can add up quickly, even if accepted later in the game, and therefore the game state has to be quite specific to justify this cost. Essentially, there has to be a player C which threatens player B but not player A. Furthermore, B needs to be weak enough that if C wins a War on B, then C will have more points than A (otherwise A doesn’t care!). Finally, B should still have more points than C despite bleeding points to A for B to accept this.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that more often than not, B already has an out if C declares a war on her or him: resign. This could be enough to deter C or encourage her or him to focus on A. In other words, LoS covers an edge case within an edge case, which means that -- you guessed it -- it’s highly situational.

Through the Ages always has exceptions. No cards see zero play and even highly situational pacts see the light of day. Still, the above pacts rarely show up and when I draw them they are often the first to be discarded. With that said, that makes seeing them enter play quite gratifying. There’s no excitement with seeing “Open Borders Agreement” again. On the other hand, if someone just accepted “Acceptance of Supremacy”, well, that’s going to wake up the audience! These little surprises keep TtA so fresh for me.
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Sat Apr 4, 2020 5:42 pm
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The case against Impact of Colonies

Elli Amir
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I’ve been observing the point differentials due to Impact of Colonies, which in turn made me wonder whether that Impact is too swingy or even entirely unfair. Here are my thoughts:

Colonies are already a snowball mechanic. Almost all of the colonies are structured in a way that makes winning future colonies easier. Vast and Inhabited are the biggest offenders as they provide food and Happiness discounts while immediately repopulating any lost troops. Strategic provides a military bonus (again covering for lost units) and draws you more Defense cards. Developed and Wealthy also contribute, in their own ways. All of the above is before we even discuss how Cartography/Navigation, Columbus, and Suez Canal factor in. The end result is that one player often has the majority of colonies, turning Impact of Colonies into a one-sided affair. Tacking a 3-point bonus on already powerful cards seems unnecessary.

It is impossible to prepare against Impact of Colonies. The Impacts are, well, impactful. That’s a central component of their design which in turn creates much of the interest and tension in Age III. The tricky part with Impact of Colonies, however, is that it has already been decided by the time a player seeds it. Players often spend the last two turns of the game trying to guess seeded impacts and building accordingly. “Should I disband a Template for an Irrigation?” or “I don’t really need Professional Sports, but let’s consider all the Impacts it could affect” (In case you were wondering: Competition, Architecture, Strength, Happiness, Technology, Variety, and Harmony, plus Culture if you have Pierre de Coubertin.) That game-within-a-game doesn’t exist with Impact of Colonies. You either have the colonies, or you don’t.

Combining the two arguments above leads to my concern about this Impact being too swingy. It often comes down to whoever draws it. If it’s the colonies player then seeding it is a no-brainer, as she or he will gain 9-15 points over the others. If it’s any other player, she or he won’t. Furthermore, if it’s early in the age in a 4p game, that player is now stuck with a dead card -- discard it, and she or he risks the colonies player drawing it later in the game.

Unfortunately we don’t have any access to game statistics so I can’t present any quantitative argument. With that said, I suspect that Impact of Colonies decides a higher share of the games than other impacts across all skill levels. From my perspective, I would want to see the card reduced to 1 point per Age I colony and 2 points per Age II colony. It would still be a decent Impact (akin to Impact of Wonders, I think) while removing the all-or-nothing aspect of it.
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Sat Mar 28, 2020 5:25 pm
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Expansion cards that ended up weaker than I expected

Elli Amir
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Last post I discussed the expansion cards that perform better than I expected in my theorycrafting. Here are the cards that go the other way: I thought they will be much stronger than experience shows.

To clarify, I’m not saying that these cards are bad or useless, only that my initial assessment of them overestimated their utility. This is Through the Ages. Every card has its use.

Cleopatra. Cleopatra can get a lot done when the card row plays in your favor. In addition to getting a turn 1 Philosophy, you could keep her for most of Age I, allowing you to push on wonders and buildings while postponing your third Mine. When first reading her card I suspect that I fell into the common trap of best-case thinking. More often than not, Cleopatra will end up providing you with only two or three Resources, which is not enough for an Age A leader. Even worse, she could lead you to corruption situations, for example with some of the three- and four-CA wonders.

Stonehenge. I modeled Stonehenge around the Library of Alexandria. The latter provides ~14 Science, the former six Science and a happy face. Since early-game Science is stronger than late-game Science, this seemed like a decent trade. Be that as it may, I neglected to incorporate three major factors. One, Stonehenge costs four CAs. In fact, Stonehenge has the same price as the original, pre-New Story Library (1-2-2-1), which was nigh-unplayable. Two, Library still provides you with three of the “early-game” Science Stonehenge gives you -- the delta is only Science. Three, you really need a good use for that extra science, such as a quick Monarchy. All of the above, along with potential corruption, combine to make Stonehenge one of the weaker wonders.

James Watt. James Watt provides an excellent opportunity to play catch-up on Age II. He helps the most with the Bronze to Coal and the Agriculture to Selective Breeding upgrades, and could also come into effect for Age III technologies. The problem is that when it comes to Through the Ages, playing catch-up is often not enough. Furthermore, Rich Land is a relatively low-CA card, and one or two copies might be enough to get you the same benefit as Watt.

Statue of Liberty. When first seeing the wonder I was quite impressed: just two CAs for three (!) yellow tokens and a reasonable point boost. I think that if the Statue could have been a popular choice in pre-expansion New Story, if it existed then. With that said, this assessment neglects many of the changes that came with the expansion. The Statue of Liberty competes with fantastic options, such as the Louvre or the buffed Ocean Liner Service. In this context, while the yellow token bonus is strong, it’s not enough to justify the relatively low point bonus.

Marie Curie Sklodowska. Curie could potentially provide you with three Science, three Strength, and three points a turn, making her a buffed-up Alfred Nobel. In isolation, this is reasonable for an Age III leader. The problem is that maximizing these bonuses is non-trivial. Oil is often a weak option and Computers is one of the most contested Age III technologies. Furthermore, the military bonus is negligible by mid- to late-Age III, when the world transitions into Air Forces. Therefore, getting the most out of Curie is going to be difficult. She can still boost your civilization but requires a very specific setup.

Manhattan Project. I expected the Manhattan Project to be much more influential. It is one of the cheapest Age III wonders, and providing a nice chunk of points while shoring up your defenses (or bolstering your offense) is a decent tradeoff for 14 resources. Unfortunately, in my experience it ends up being slightly weaker on both fronts: the Project just doesn’t give you enough points nor provide enough of a military bonus.

For the previous set of cards the connecting thread was flexibility. The cards in this post are much more circumstantial than I expected. They can shine -- if you get them early enough, or with the other technologies you need, or when the game is in a specific state. This increases the risk inherent in picking them, especially when factoring in the opportunity cost of passing on another leader or wonder.
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Sun Mar 15, 2020 7:07 pm
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Expansion cards that ended up stronger than I expected

Elli Amir
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My playgroup had a nice chunk of theorycrafting ahead of the expansion’s release and during the first few days following it. Similarly, there have been numerous posts ranking the new cards (here is one example which lead to an interesting discussion). Theorycrafting is a nice exercise. It is also often wrong. Here are the cases where my personal assessment underestimated a card.

Roman Roads. I keep blanking on the fact that this Wonder costs a measly five Resources. The Age I bonus means you can delay your mine for this and the other bonuses trigger at exactly the right time. Furthermore, the additional tokens are fantastic. Yellow tokens have ramifications regarding Happiness and food that trickle throughout the game, and the expansion pushed the “blue tokens matter” theme well.

Nostradamus. The card that triggered the writing of this post. I was not excited about Nostradamus when first reading the text. However, now that I played with him, he gets a lot done. The +3 Strength provides needed flexibility around Strength in the early game. The ability to foresee upcoming events allows you to prepare very well -- especially with cards such as Rats and Dark Ages, which could make-or-break the game. Finally, Nostradamus gives a steady stream of three points per turn, which can translate into 21-24 points if picked up early.

Saladin. I initially imagined Saladin as Hammurabi’s older brother, which is not an exciting description for an Age I leader (even if Hammurabi is one of the stronger Age A cards). I completely missed the utility of switching between Strength and a CA. Similarly to Nostradamus, the flexibility bonus is powerful, especially during the early-game.

Louvre Museum. I was impressed when the card was first revealed on Facebook. The Eiffel Tower is a favorite base game wonder of mine, and the Louvre seemed like a similarly-priced points bomb. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it’s even stronger than I expected. The Louvre can single-handedly carry your points in a low-points game and the ability to cash out in the late-game makes attacking you very scary. Finally, the disadvantage of blocking three of your blue tokens is easier to manage than I thought.

Pierre de Coubertin. Pierre de Coubertin increases the value of earlier Arenas due to his amazing payout. He boils down to this simple benefit: de Coubertin is worth a lot of points, and the 8-point Olympics payoff means he’s worth these points even if you get him later in Age III (and even if you don’t have a single Arena!). Nabbing him early in Age III will often translate to 30+ points, which is incredible for a single card. The ability to fine aggressors is a nice touch, though I rarely see it influence the game.

International Red Cross. The Red Cross is a surprisingly adversarial Wonder -- especially considering this expansion brought us the Manhattan Project! Most games, it will have a reasonable points payoff while forcing your opponent(s) to spend CAs and Food at inopportune moments. Age III is often compressed with tricky decisions, every single one of which could lead to significant point swings. The Red Cross throws a monkey wrench into your opponents’ plans for one painful turn. Alternatively, if you prepare correctly, you might just nail all five steps in a single turn for one of the biggest Wonders in the game, all the while saving precious Resources for military and other point sources.

With the exception of Pierre de Coubertin, the connecting thread through all of the above cards is flexibility. I think this might explain why I underestimated all of them: flexibility is incredibly hard to assess in isolation. For example, Nostradamus has a set of abilities each of which is intriguing but not necessarily thrilling. Only when experiencing together, as part of a game with two or three other players, does his full utility emerge. I’m looking further to getting more experience with the Random set of cards, since I suspect that card interactions harbor similar secrets for players to uncover.
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Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:49 pm
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Game Session: Intermezzo League Season 5, wood 2 gm 8

Elli Amir
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I participated in pajada’s excellent Intermezzo League, season 5. After a not-so-close second place finish in Season 4, I’m proud to report that I’m top of my house and will get a promotion to Bronze in the next season! The last game of the season ended up especially tense -- in addition to my write-up, you’re welcome to watch the entire game on YouTube.

This was a three-player game, with Bergen, myself, and Octavian. The game seemed reasonable to me until turn 11 and the transition to Age III. At that point I note that while I have decent infrastructure, so do my opponents. Furthermore, I’m starting Age III behind on points. Although I (finally!) finished the Louvre, Bergen and Octavian had a much stronger scoring plan (Ian Fleming and William Shakespeare, respectively). Two turns later, after some brief math assuming Computers and Sid Meier, I decide to take a risky move and pick up Fundamentalism, Air Forces, Modern Infantry, and Patriotism. My gamble is going for a military strategy despite having no meaningful military cards. I’m rewarded with what is probably the best draw in this situation: Impact of Strength, Hybrid War, and War over Culture.

Octavian went for Ghandi, replacing Shakespeare. This is a painful move since he still hasn’t completed the transition into 3x Printing Press, 3x Opera. This is further exacerbated by the fact that I immediately play a Hybrid War against him, which costs exactly the five MAs I had (I did not have enough for a War over Culture). Between switching to Ghandi and the Happiness deficit, Octavian’s plans were significantly disrupted, and he could not recover later in the game.

Unfortunately, in parallel to this war two Territories come up. Bergen successfully conquers the Historic Territory II with a bid of 17 (!!) strength, as Octavian was fighting for the points and the sorely needed happy faces. Bergen then gets a cheap Developed Territory II. However, his celebrations do not last as I play a War over Culture against him, which ends up stealing 35 points. During that turn I transitioned from Nobel to Einstein and discovered Architecture and Selective Breeding for 10 points. I also noticed that I miscalculated, and that the game will actually take a turn longer than I thought. The ramification is that Bergen can go for the International Red Cross, and I set up my food production accordingly.

This led to the coup de grâce of this game. Bergen spends four CAs picking up International Red Cross. His plan: Build two stages for 12 points. Then I’ll build a stage for 6 points, Octavian will build nothing, and Bergen will build the remaining two stages for 12 points, plus 6 points for the colonies, for a total of 30 points (-6 for the piece I built, so 24 points). Thankfully, my good fortune continued -- I just drew a Plunder III. This allowed me to steal seven food off Bergen. End result? Bergen got his two stages, I got two stages, and the Wonder did not finish. From a 24 point advantage to nothing. At that point, the Armed Intervention I played on the last turn was exactly enough to seal the deal. I won the game 241-228-185.

Overall, a fantastic game on all sides. Bergen and Octavian entered Age III with a much stronger plan than me. I took the only out I had, which was military, and got rewarded. All three players were making razor-thin decisions and both Bergen and I got our fair share of luck (me with the right draws, Bergen with the timing on the colonies and an early Fleming). The combination of strong draws and amazing opponents lead to a close and thrilling game.
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Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:45 pm
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Expansion Craziness: +27 Culture/turn

Elli Amir
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Many thanks to pajada for sharing the story and images below.

The following came up during an email correspondence with pajada, the organizer of the International League and Intermezzo League. He is talking about one of his latest games in the league.
”pajada” wrote:
DrRerNate achieved +27 culture production per turn in the middle of Age III with four Printing Press and Drama pairs with Shakespeare, Statue of Liberty with Democracy and one Religion. I have never seen something like that before. He didn't have more that 2 people on rocks production, can you guess how he did it?
I guessed Columbus + Suez Canal. When “Leaders and Wonders” just came out I pulled that out in an AI game which I proceeded to win single-handedly. The long-term economy of the Canal complemented the tempo boosts from the territories well. However, DrRerNate took a different path:
”pajada” wrote:
Everything aligned perfectly for him - he didn't build 3rd mine because of Cleopatra and later Machu Picchu. He won some colonies, took Statue of Liberty for other yellows. And with Shakespeare Printing Press costs only 1 rock and Drama 2 rocks, so you get 5 culture for bargain price of 3 rocks, you only need lot of food.
I have written about Cleopatra before, where I pointed out that she could “ease the strain from the delayed Mine” and that “a lot depends on the transition into the second half of Age I”. I was excited to see both of these statements materialize here. A full Machu Picchu (wonder, Irrigation, and Iron) is one of the strongest engines you could build in Age I and it can and will carry you to the end game, as DrRerNate demonstrated:

From gallery of IirionClaus

Setting aside the incredible Culture engine, I’d like to highlight another element which I think helped DrRerNate cruise to victory: Fortifications. Fortifications, Hussars, and, to a lesser degree, Legion with Sun Tzu and Great Wall, allow you to mono-color your military. I’m borrowing a term from Magic: the Gathering, where a mono-color deck uses only one of the five colors in the game. You lose flexibility but gain consistency and in my opinion we see this trend here. These tactics 1) require only one military unit, freeing up civil actions and science for other pursuits, 2) work well with colonizing (note that DrRerNate has three colonies), and 3) still provide a formidable military bonus. Needless to say, DrRerNate emerged victorious:

From gallery of IirionClaus

A sixty-point lead in such a high-level four-player game is spectacular. I wish Through the Ages had a replay option.

Going back to the title of this point, “Leaders and Wonders” is crazy! Combining the buffs, new cards, and increased leader and wonder count in the deck leads to potentially high numbers on all of the tracks, with Culture production and military strength leading the charge. I’m going to play in the next Intermezzo League (season 5) which will include the Random Mix rule set, and I’m expecting shenanigens! I plan to upload some of the games to my YouTube channel, make sure to subscribe so you hear as soon as they’re up!
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Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:22 pm
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Beware of Age IV

Elli Amir
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The bulk of Through the Ages is played over Ages I, II, and III, which are referred to as medieval times, the age of exploration, and the modern era, respectively. Of the 18-20 turns of the game, most will be played over these ages. However, there are also two much shorter ages: Age A (antiquity), and Age IV (which remains unnamed, at least according to the rulebook). Age A is straightforward one-turn affair where you collect cards and get resources. Age IV, on the other hand, is a menace. Glorious empires have discovered that they are actually puny and vulnerable. Loyal leaders succumb unexpectedly. Long-respected treaties end in betrayal or just diffidence. Correctly navigating the timing of this unnamed age will decide the winner in many games.

The main challenge with planning for Age IV is that some players will have one turn of it, while others might have two -- it all depends on the timing of opening that last card from the deck. For example, if the first player triggers the end game, all other players will have two Age IV turns. If the last player triggers it, everyone will have just one. The only constant is that the first player will always have just one Age IV turn. The number of turns is especially important since players don’t draw any military cards during Age IV, which means some players will have less opportunities to get Impact cards (and also Defense and Aggression cards, to a lesser degree). Additionally, more Age IV turns means more opportunities for an Age IV Iconoclasm -- factor that into your calculations, as Chaplin leaves with his points and happy faces and Ghandi will not be there to dodge a War.

(On that note, get your eight points off Pierre de Coubertin sooner rather than later!)

Speaking of Wars, players cannot resign during Age IV. Up to the twilight turns of Age III, military players risk having their War of Culture fizzle into a measly 7-culture affair. However, all bets are off once that last card is drawn and an aggressor is guaranteed the full benefit of their strength advantage. The risk is even higher since Napoleon Bonaparte, a significant source of military, goes away at the end of Age III, leaving a previously stalwart player vulnerable (the same is true for Promise of Military Protection and Alfred Nobel, which provide smaller bonuses but could still be meaningful). Watch out for the dwindling deck and remember that an aspiring conqueror might declare a war and then drain the card row in order to block their victim’s route for an honorable defeat.

As with other ages, Age IV triggers the discard of all Age II cards. I touched on Napoleon above, but all other Age II cards go away as well. There are three cards that tend to disappear more often, leaving their owners heartbroken. Players often postpone Architecture and Navigation, especially as fancy Age III cards show up (such as Modern Infantry and Democracy). Both are worth points to First Space Flight, Impact of Progress, and other cards. Additionally, you might rely on Architecture for last-turn civil actions and on Navigation for Impact of Strength, so keep their transient nature in mind. The third card is Engineering Genius II, whom I relied on for a late wonder only to have the wonder show up as one of the last cards in the deck. Engineering Genius II won’t help you complete that Manhattan Project if it’s in the discard pile.

Finally, there’s the math behind the last turn of the game. When doing your calculations during Age III, remember that the science and resources you get on the last turn are almost always meaningless. In other words, when building that Mechanized Agriculture and expecting three population off it, make sure one of these are not the result of a miscalculation that adds the last-turn production. While the food is technically there, it is too late for you to use it.

For an unnamed age, Age IV can throw a monkey wrench into the plans of the most-prepared player. Remember all of the asterisks that come with it, and you’ll be the one laughing as you invade your opponent’s lands just as Churchil faces early retirement!
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Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:19 pm
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