Revolt to Theocracy

A blog dedicated to strategy discussion of Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization.
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The care and feeding of civilizations

Elli Amir
United States
Fort Lee
New Jersey
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Building an empire in Through the Ages involves multiple interlocking mechanics. It is nigh impossible to ace all of them in a given game. I think that each player has her or his specific style, leading to strengths and weaknesses around each of the resources available. For me, my strongest are Science and Civil Actions, I tend to get the timing on these consistently (they also seem to be the most connected, since high Science gives you the early Code of Laws/Monarchy). I’m good with Military, decent when it comes to Happiness, and weak in pushing for Resources and Points. The weakest aspect of my builds, in my opinion, is Food and population management.

Going over the games I have played in the past few weeks, I trail behind on Food on a regular basis. As a result, my population count is low, which hurts either my Military or my Points production, and makes recovery from Territories difficult. In this recent 4p game, I train three units using Barbarossa, then my population stalls completely until turn 11, when I finally get Ocean Liner Service. Even as the Wonder pumps out population I struggle with Food, squeaking an Irrigation in late Age II, upgrading it once, and getting rescued by Good Harvest and Prosperity at opportune moments.

The games where I do manage population correctly very rarely include agriculture technologies. Instead, it’s when I get a Vast Territory I/II or some combination of Alexander the Great, Inhabited Territory, Developed Territory, and Uncertain Borders. In another game I managed to land an early War on Territory for four tokens. On the off chance that I grab an agriculture technology, I usually research it too late (as in the aforementioned example) and don’t upgrade it aggressively enough, preferring to focus on other aspects of my tableau.

Another challenge I’m facing is food calculations (if you listen to my videos you probably heard my frustration as I needed to deal with any Food-related cards!). Should I pick that Frugality for one Action? I have no idea. I think Frugality is rather weak but I could be mistaken. I can count on one hand the number of times I used Reserves for Food. When Foray comes up (or when I hit someone with Plunder), I’m never sure on the right split between Food and Resources. Taking three Resources off Foray is often the right choice but I think I’m missing the skillset on the 20-30% of cases where I want to take at least one Food.

The good news is that I’m growing more aware of this limitation. I mentioned a few posts ago that I am putting more attention on avoiding greedy plays, and I think that I’m improving in avoiding high-variability moves that don’t offer an appropriate payout given the game state. Likewise, I’m going to dedicate the next few games to tracking food technology and plan to get it, research it, and upgrade it earlier than I am used to.
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