Revolt to Theocracy

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

Elli Amir
United States
Fort Lee
New Jersey
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Pajada has opened the registration for Season 8 of the International Championship (sign up here!). On one hand, the previous season was a lot of fun, and I’m enjoying the current season of the Intermezzo Championship -- despite my poor performance. On the other, I will be traveling for at least three weeks of the tournament, which means I won’t have access to the Steam version of Through the Ages. Instead, I will be using the Android version. Historically, my gameplay suffers when I’m on my phone. I spend less time thinking about my moves and do many more mistakes. In fact, I almost lost Season 7 due to a very weak game when I was abroad for work. This makes me consider passing on this Season, which means no competitive Through the Ages until March.

Objectively, this makes no sense. The mobile implementation of Through the Ages is one of the best, if not the best, mobile board game I have ever played. The designers have done a phenomenal job displaying all of the required information, offering seamless transitions between the various views (the decks, the players’ tableaus), and simplifying the various available moves. The mobile and desktop versions are almost identical. Furthermore, at least one strong player is using the mobile version on a regular basis (check out jaafit’s excellent YouTube channel) and I doubt he is the only one.

I suspect that the real reason is not the app but rather when and how I use it. I only have access to the desktop version when I’m at home, sitting comfortably at my desk, and have a chunk of undisturbed time to dedicate to Through the Ages. On the other hand, the mobile version is available all the time. Two minutes of connectivity on the subway? Let’s get a quick turn in. Waiting for the kids to finish their bath? Heading to bed? ... using the restrooms? Sure, I can wrap up a turn! (Don’t give me that look. I know you have done it yourself.) These sporadic bursts of access are not conducive to the kind of concentration and planning that Through the Ages reward. Not only am I handicapping myself, I’m also not enjoying the game as much as I would if I sat at my desk and actually thought about my next move.

Even worse, I used the app as an excuse for unhealthy behavior. I was travelling abroad when notifications were down following the launch of New Leaders and Wonders, and I kept checking my phone several times an hour to see if I have a turn waiting. That practice continued even after I got back home and after notifications were fixed. That, in turn, lead to pretty dumb actions, such as pulling up my phone as I was walking down the street and almost running into traffic. Eventually I decided that the only recourse was the uninstall the app completely.

The tricky part is that I really want to participate in the next Season! Yes, I will be away for three weeks, but what about the other two and a half months? Besides, I don’t want to take a break from competitive Through the Ages for that long! Therefore, I’m allowing myself a trial period. I reinstalled the app and I’m going to monitor my behavior in the coming week. If I act like a grown-up and play nice, I get to keep it and participate in Season 8. However, if I resort to addictive behavior again, I should probably wait until March. Wish me luck!
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