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Subject: To back or not to back: my concerns rss

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I've currently got a $55 early bird pledge, but I'm considering cancelling my pledge as the end nears.

My concerns are:

Lack of information on the expansions. A thread here on BGG describes the "exclusive Golden Eras", but I'm not finding any info about the "Civilization Goals Iron Pack" and "The Ways of Command". I haven't checked the other crowdfunding sites, so maybe there is more info there. Also, to get the other two expansions, I'd have to up to the $75 level.

Price. The price seems quite high for what you get in the package. I'm worried that this game will be available for much cheaper at retail.

I bought Nations, hoping it would scratch the "euro-y short-ish civ game" itch. I haven't played it yet, and I am unsure that Historia will be better or not. I'm thinking that I should just stick with Nations and let Historia release and get reviewed, etc, before doubling down on another purchase. (There is a thread discussing the differences in Nations vs Historia, but it's mostly opinions based on little info).

Any thoughts to help me make a decision? Any info on the other expansions would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Nate Straight

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I'm backing, but not as a civ game. To be perfectly frank, this looks to only barely qualify as a civ-style game. This is a card-driven currency and action management game, maybe sort of akin to Amyitis or London (first edition) or Troyes or even Dungeon Lords or In the Shadow of the Emperor, but with a civ setting. I'm strongly expecting anyone backing this as a "civ lite" to be incredibly disappointed. I'm backing primarily on the strength of the publisher [especially] and designer, especially as regards both parties' respective ability to put together interesting action-management systems.
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Nate Straight

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Also, go and check the beta rulebook link on Kickstarter; two of the expansions are explained in there.

The civilization goals and command tiles don't seem incredibly interesting. I'm in for everything, but I got the early bird price.

The goals are apparently placed on the big giant spreadsheet thing and offer a benefit to the first civilization to reach that particular space.

The command tiles give each civilization a once-per-game ability to copy another player's played action card if they meet certain global conditions.
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It seems like every civ game that comes out gets lighter and lighter! You gotta draw the line somewhere, Nations was already too little civ for me with its "THIS famous world leader gives you two stones but THIS famous world leader gives you three stones!"

If "10" means "the Civilization computer game series" and "0" means "Tempus" I predict this game will weigh in at a solid 2. It's got one neat idea (you hit a military tech ceiling until you unlock civic techs and vice versa). Everything else is really really abstract.

There's no dearth of better options like Progress: Evolution of Technology (probably a 5-6) or Deus (4?). And if you already have Nations (6 at best and I'm being generous) or Clash of Cultures (8) there's no reason to get this.

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Linoleumblownaparte wrote:
...if you already have Nations (6 at best and I'm being generous) or Clash of Cultures (8) there's no reason to get this.


I own both. CoC is *amazing*, but I'm looking for the "best" Euro-Civ. TTA is probably longer than I want, however. There's been backlash against Nations lately, which is why I am looking at Historia.
 
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NateStraight wrote:
I'm strongly expecting anyone backing this as a "civ lite" to be incredibly disappointed.


I'd have to disagree. I've played this a couple of times now, and taught 3 groups of people how to play. It's definitely a Civ game, and plays and feels like a Civ game.
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PaulGrogan wrote:
NateStraight wrote:
I'm strongly expecting anyone backing this as a "civ lite" to be incredibly disappointed.


I'd have to disagree. I've played this a couple of times now, and taught 3 groups of people how to play. It's definitely a Civ game, and plays and feels like a Civ game.


Thoughts on comparisons to Nations? I know they are very different. I'm more curious regarding the "feel". More/less strategic, more/less luck, more/less thematic or abstract, etc.
 
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Misterboy wrote:
There's been backlash against Nations lately, which is why I am looking at Historia.


The thing is Historia looks even lighter... As far as I can see the "tech tree" is just the ability to unlock advanced versions of the action cards. The 4X is like, nominally there... Honestly I would go with Progress instead because it is more on the level of 7 Wonders (which I would rate a solid 4-5 on the civ scale above).
 
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Linoleumblownaparte wrote:
Misterboy wrote:
There's been backlash against Nations lately, which is why I am looking at Historia.


The thing is Historia looks even lighter... As far as I can see the "tech tree" is just the ability to unlock advanced versions of the action cards. The 4X is like, nominally there... Honestly I would go with Progress instead because it is more on the level of 7 Wonders (which I would rate a solid 4-5 on the civ scale above).


I don't know about Historia being lighter, but it's certainly more abstract. Far fewer details to juggle around in your head, but good play could potentially demand a lot of skill.

Progress looked incredibly light to me. Hundreds of cards competing over a handful of icons. Get cards, get more cards. Ho hum.
 
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In further investigating, I see the opinion of this game splitting two ways:

1) Gamers who want a *CIV* experience aren't very excited about Historia, or they are actively opposed to it.

2) *EURO* gamers see it as a nicely Civ-themed game that they are excited about because they really want a euro game first and a Civ game second.

Hmmm. I think I have enough euros. I'm a sucker for Civilization building and it appears there is a consensus here that Nations does that better than Historia.

I like the card play mechanism, but I've seen references that indicate that this is one of the primary mechanisms in Concordia. Maybe I should stick to Nations, CoC, and pick up Concordia...?
 
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Misterboy wrote:
I'm a sucker for Civilization building and it appears there is a consensus here that Nations does that better than Historia.


If you are a sucker for Civilization building, then yes, your needs might be better met by other games.

Historia looks more like a game of Civilization wielding, a la Tigris and Euphrates or perhaps Rise of Empires (though with obviously very different mechanisms).
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Misterboy wrote:
I bought Nations, hoping it would scratch the "euro-y short-ish civ game" itch. I haven't played it yet, and I am unsure that Historia will be better or not.


Will be tough to tell if it is better than Nations if you don't actually play Nations!
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framebrain wrote:
Misterboy wrote:
I bought Nations, hoping it would scratch the "euro-y short-ish civ game" itch. I haven't played it yet, and I am unsure that Historia will be better or not.


Will be tough to tell if it is better than Nations if you don't actually play Nations!


Your wisdom knows no bounds.
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Misterboy wrote:
framebrain wrote:
Misterboy wrote:
I bought Nations, hoping it would scratch the "euro-y short-ish civ game" itch. I haven't played it yet, and I am unsure that Historia will be better or not.


Will be tough to tell if it is better than Nations if you don't actually play Nations!


Your wisdom knows no bounds.


I haven't played Nations either, so I cannot compare the two. I have played Through The Ages a number of times. I am buying Historia to get my euro-y civ game that last less than 3 hours
 
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Misterboy wrote:
1) Gamers who want a *CIV* experience aren't very excited about Historia, or they are actively opposed to it.

Problem is that to supposedly get that CIV experience, you've got to invest 4 to 8 hours (depending on the game) and I very rarely have that much time. As for me, I'll trade that "experience" for a 2-hour version that has the feel of a civ game...and I have high hopes that this could be it...

Misterboy wrote:
I'm a sucker for Civilization building and it appears there is a consensus here that Nations does that better than Historia.

I dunno 'bout consensus...the only person I've seen in this thread that's actually played Historia is Paul and he was pretty emphatic that it's a civ game and plays/feels like one...

I have Nations and have played it several times. It's not a bad game by any stretch but military plays such a huge role (I've heard the same thing 'bout Through the Ages). As a war gamer, I'm not opposed to simulating conflict but in a civ game I'd like to see more varied paths to victory. I remember reading 'bout a couple of prototype games (of Historia) where one player won by a large margin, pretty much ignoring military and concentrating on Wonders...while the other game was narrowly won by a heavy military strategy. Small sample size but, along with reading the rules, I've got hopes for it on this issue as well...

Misterboy wrote:
Maybe I should stick to Nations, CoC, and pick up Concordia...?

Sounds like you're not sold on Historia...and, if you're not by now (as it's < 24 hours left on KS), I wouldn't recommend backing it. You can always get it after release if the reviews are good. You wouldn't get some of the expansions, but I'm not sure how much they'll add to game play...I'm backing because I like the base game as described in the rules; the expansions are just gravy...I might use 'em, I might not...
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otha62 wrote:
Misterboy wrote:
1) Gamers who want a *CIV* experience aren't very excited about Historia, or they are actively opposed to it.

Problem is that to supposedly get that CIV experience, you've got to invest 4 to 8 hours (depending on the game) and I very rarely have that much time. As for me, I'll trade that "experience" for a 2-hour version that has the feel of a civ game...and I have high hopes that this could be it...

Misterboy wrote:
I'm a sucker for Civilization building and it appears there is a consensus here that Nations does that better than Historia.

I dunno 'bout consensus...the only person I've seen in this thread that's actually played Historia is Paul and he was pretty emphatic that it's a civ game and plays/feels like one...

I have Nations and have played it several times. It's not a bad game by any stretch but military plays such a huge role (I've heard the same thing 'bout Through the Ages). As a war gamer, I'm not opposed to simulating conflict but in a civ game I'd like to see more varied paths to victory. I remember reading 'bout a couple of prototype games where one player won by a large margin, pretty much ignoring military and concentrating on Wonders...while the other game was narrowly won by a heavy military strategy. Small sample size but, along with reading the rules, I've got hopes for it on this issue as well...

Misterboy wrote:
Maybe I should stick to Nations, CoC, and pick up Concordia...?

Sounds like you're not sold on Historia...and, if you're not by now (as it's < 24 hours left on KS), I wouldn't recommend backing it. You can always get it after release if the reviews are good. You wouldn't get some of the expansions, but I'm not sure how much they'll add to game play...I'm backing because I like the base game as described in the rules; the expansions are just gravy...I might use 'em, I might not...


You nicely summed up much of what I've already said.

In regards to consensus, I mentioned "further investigating"; I'm not just relying on this thread for information and opinions. Though I admit that it's tough to come to any real consensus with the limited number of people who have played the game.

Your post is hard to follow. I think you change mid-paragraph from talking about Nations to talking about Historia when you bring up "prototype games"?

In any case, I'm trying to decide, now that I have to make a decision. I'm a pretty busy person and pledged a long time ago and I have not followed the campaign closely.

In the end, the real dilemma is that Nations and Historia are siblings. If I didn't own Nations, I would absolutely be backing Historia. As it stands, I'm hoping to get more impressions to help make a decision. Quite often in threads like this, you have to blow through a lot of chaff before you get a golden nugget of insight that tips the balance.
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Dan,

I'm backing it as a first-time "civilization" player.

As a military hex & counter war game play-tester and developer, I want elegance as well as depth. I'm frankly stunned at games such as Through the Ages, Nations, and Progress, which appear completely chaotic to me...for those of you out here with greater experience with this genre, please tell what I'm missing...and why Historia would be identified as "lite" in the "civ" line of games.

The rules appear well-written; the cards and components seem top-notch; and the board is intuitive. I can see this game hitting the table many times throughout the year, with either my daughter and/or others, or simply in solitaire play.

I'm a Silver Pack Backer and again, this looks to be a fantastic game in the "civilization" genre.

Cheers,
Joe
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Thanks Joe. Good points!
 
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Misterboy wrote:
Your post is hard to follow. I think you change mid-paragraph from talking about Nations to talking about Historia when you bring up "prototype games"?


Yes, my bad...it was supposed to read prototype games of Historia...important word to leave out...

 
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The Professor wrote:
for those of you out here with greater experience with this genre, please tell what I'm missing...and why Historia would be identified as "lite" in the "civ" line of games.


I'm actually in the middle of writing a blog essay comparing the design philosophies behind the various civ games...

Not to steal my own thunder, but here are some thoughts.

When people talk about the "ideal civ game," they have a clear mental checklist of features ("it must have war, trading, technologies, exploration...") that is mostly drawn from Sid Meier's computer game from 1991 and NOT Francis Tresham's game from the early 80's.

Underneath that checklist though, I think people are looking for three things.

1. They want a game that asks them to keep things running smoothly (people are happy and fed, etc) in the face of a chaotic and adversarial game environment (random events, famine, invasion).

2. They want a game that allows them to diversify and specialize in whatever sub-area of the game they want (war, science, culture, productivity, trade, etc.) so that each player's civ is a unique, creative expression of the priorities they've chosen.

3. They want a meaningful and multidimensional competition that embodies fun "what ifs." Can the warmongering civ conquer everybody before the scientific civ wins the space race?

Basically the civ genre has a lot of the same appeal as that old show BattleBots. Step 1: build your robot and make sure it works. Step 2: decide what your robot will be good at (speed? strength? spikes?) and try to compensate for its weaknesses. Step 3: all the robots enter the arena and battle it out.

Point #3 is where... I'd say 80%... of civ games just fall apart. Mostly for the same reason as Sid Meier's Civ. Instead of being truly multidimensional, everything boils down to one axis of competition, a race for more productive capacity (= land) with which to purchase all the other features of the game engine such as culture, technology, military etc. This is why civ games are also sometimes called 4X games or "snowball games." And this is where civ games really need to innovate if we want to eventually find that "grail game."

Back to Historia, I sense (from reading the rules) that it doesn't really aim to comprehensively depict the qualitative differences between diverse civs, in other words the way that running a warmonger civ would feel different from running a scientific civ. This is an area where Clash of Cultures truly excels and Nations lacks.

When it comes to "building your own civ" Historia is far more limited than both of those games. You can be a "relatively more militaristic" civ or a "relatively more technological" civ and that's it. The idea that Military and Technology are two linear tracks, which unlock bonuses (more advanced actions, more cards per action etc.) feels like a big step back from the decades-old idea of a technology tree. And the idea that you are managing two tracks feels like a step back from Endeavor (as well as plenty of other games) which ask you to balance more.

So in addition to your position in this matrix (which is really two linear tracks where you can't advance very far down one while ignoring the other)... what else allows your civ to diversify and FEEL different from other civs. Leader cards and wonder cards... I feel like this is really nominal, like the afterthought-looking map minigame in the corner of the board.

These are the reasons I would call Historia "lite" in comparison to Clash of Cultures or even Nations.

That's not to say that it may be a challenging and interesting game but I don't think it fulfills the civ criteria really.
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What a great post Linoleum! Thank you for your insights.

I think that in the end, you have very eloquently said (if you can forgive the paraphrasing): Historia is more like an Euro game with a civilization theme, rather than what most people view as a "Civ game".

Paul Grogan seems to disagree, and in fairness, he has actually played the game. It's hard to argue with that. With that said, a scan of his favorite games reveals a heavy Euro leaning. So maybe compared to typical Euro games, this one seems very "Civ-y"?

From my perspective, with limited knowledge of the game besides Rahdo's Run Through, etc: it seems like this game could have other themes applied to it, which makes me feel it isn't a "Civ" game so much as it's a game with a Civ theme.

This discussion is really interesting to me. I worry we're beating a dead horse, in that it's mostly speculation. Still...
 
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The Professor wrote:
Dan,

I'm backing it as a first-time "civilization" player.

As a military hex & counter war game play-tester and developer, I want elegance as well as depth. I'm frankly stunned at games such as Through the Ages, Nations, and Progress, which appear completely chaotic to me...for those of you out here with greater experience with this genre, please tell what I'm missing...and why Historia would be identified as "lite" in the "civ" line of games.

The rules appear well-written; the cards and components seem top-notch; and the board is intuitive. I can see this game hitting the table many times throughout the year, with either my daughter and/or others, or simply in solitaire play.

I'm a Silver Pack Backer and again, this looks to be a fantastic game in the "civilization" genre.

Cheers,
Joe


Hi,

as a longtime player of civ games of all stripes, I will take a stab at answering your question. If you're looking for "elegance", you're not really looking for a civilization building game, you're looking for a Euro game. The progress of human history has in no way, shape, or form been elegant. As a playtester/developer of hex and counter wargames, surely you understand the constant tug between simulation and playability.

To truly have as good a "simulation" as possible, you need to invest many hours in the excellent Sid Meier computer games or break out the old 8+ hour Civilization board game. I can't speak for Nations or Progress yet, but Through the Ages does an incredible job of simulating the march of history while abstracting enough to make it playable in 2-4 hours depending on the number of players. It is not chaotic by any means-- there is elegance in all the mechanics, strategic gameplay abounds, and there are numerous paths to victory. It is a "heavy" game because so many mechanics need to exist to truly have a civilization building experience though. It is heavy, not chaotic. It is seemingly as elegant as a true civ experience game can be.

If Historia is promising to be a multiplayer civ game that plays in 25 minutes per player, it frankly is going to be a Euro with a civ theme. If that is what you are looking for, that is fine. Hopefully it will be a great game for you. If you really want the feeling of building a civilization in a historical way, you need to play something with more meaningful simulation aspects to it. As another poster described Historia, "This is a card-driven currency and action management game." I've read through the rules and eyed the components; I find things more abstract than I'd hope for in a great civ experience. That's why it is considered "lite" to those of us who enjoy civ building. While all civ games have abstract elements of course, the best ones encompass all the historical aspects in non-trivial ways (technology, government, leaders, military, trade, exploration, resource gathering/management)

To me, this game is way too pricy to commit to in the KS, and the "exclusive" aspect of the expansion leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If this game is really such an awesome civ game that will stand the test of time and become one of the classic games, will they never let future players in on the main expansion?

Frankly, I've found the vast majority of Kickstarted games have left a lot to be desired. Waiting for extensive reviews and the retail version will be my take as usual for this one. Owning Through the Ages, Sid Meier's Civilization, and Clash of Cultures already gives me plenty of proven options for a great boardgame civ experience. Hope this game is great in its own way, and may pick it up if that proves true.
Hope you find it great, of course.

Just my two cents as a civ game fan.
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linoleum and John,

Thank you both for your in-depth and thoughtful responses. Clearly, Historia, by your estimation, is not a full-bodied "civ" brew like many of the other games mentioned among the posts. But, now that I reflect on my time playing Sid Meier's Civilization video game, I'm clearer in my mind of what I want on the table, as well. Historia, for me, satisfies the three criteria laid out by linoleum while meeting my personal taste for game length. To John's point, I absolutely agree with the inclusion of many aspects ~ which is why I'm drawn to large strategic-level WWII games, such as ernie copley's The War: Europe 1939-1945.

Again, as a complete novice in the realm of "civilization" games, I greatly appreciaste both of your posts to educate and enlighten me.

Cheers,
Joe
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Misterboy wrote:
Paul Grogan seems to disagree, and in fairness, he has actually played the game. It's hard to argue with that. With that said, a scan of his favorite games reveals a heavy Euro leaning. So maybe compared to typical Euro games, this one seems very "Civ-y"?
For what it's worth, Paul's top 10 is almost split right down the middle as far as Euros and thematic games, and one civ game (Through the Ages) is in his top 10 as well...if anything, he might have a heavy "Vlaada Chvatil" leaning, whose games have been both meaty and thematic...

I'd checked Paul's game collection earlier and noticed he owns (and has played) most civ themed games out there, especially from the heavy side (Civ, Advanced Civ, Through the Ages, Clash of Cultures, Sid Meier's Civ) and also to the medium and very light (Antike, 7 Wonders)...I think he's also played Nations. Since he has a lot of experience playing that many civ games, new and old, his comment above carries a lot of weight with me. I had already backed Historia before Paul's comment, but I felt better 'bout it after reading that post...

The Professor wrote:
Historia, for me, satisfies the three criteria laid out by linoleum while meeting my personal taste for game length.
You hit the nail on the head for me, Professor. Those other games are probably better at providing the "civ" experience, but I'm gonna have a very hard time getting a game that runs 3+ hours on the table with any of my gaming groups. While I won't know till I've actually played it, I'm hopeful this will provide a good enough civ experience in half the time, or less...
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gamezendo.com wrote:

To me, this game is way too pricy to commit to in the KS, and the "exclusive" aspect of the expansion leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If this game is really such an awesome civ game that will stand the test of time and become one of the classic games, will they never let future players in on the main expansion?


Yeah, I have a real problem with this too. Right now the primary thing keeping me from canceling my pledge is the expansion that will "never be available at retail, it will be available only by joining this project."

Based on past experience, I'm going to assume that is a flat out lie. I could be wrong, but I've *almost* never seen an exclusive for a popular or particularly good game stay exclusive. It's usually made available in another kickstarter or some other venue. However, they do go out of the way to say "only by joining *this* project". Hmm.

What a dilemma! laugh
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