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Subject: Should I Buy Through The Ages now or wait and buy Nations? rss

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Masoud Tabatabaei
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I would like to have a good civilization game with strong thematic feel and good gameplay. I was hesitating to buy TTA for a long time because of the high price. Now I have an opportunity to buy it on Kickstarter for a good (not great) price. But I know that there is a discussion that Nations has replaced TTA (or not) on BGG for a while now. What is your suggestion? Should I proceed with TTA, or should I save my money to buy Nations?
(btw, besides all other possible comparisons, box size is a pro for TTA for me, although a smaller one)
 
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HenningK
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My impression is that most people still prefer TTA. I only played both games once each, and while both are not quite my cup of tea, I think I agree that TTA is the better game. So I say go get that.
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Philip Kitching
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I am also going to suggest TtA.
I think that you would like both.

The similarity is theme and that both games have a card display where the advances and events can be bought. In Nations there is only one copy of each and not every card will appear, so if you do not get the card you want, you need a strategy without it. In TtA, there are multiple copies of each card and all will appear, although your opponents might buy it before you get a chance and the card might appear too late to help, whereas in Nations the card display for each age does not refresh until the age (actually half age) is over.

Neither game has a map, although Nations tries a little bit harder to pretend that there is one.

Both games have player interaction but it is more direct in TtA, when you play an attack on another player.

Both games allow you to ignore military: in Nations because it is possible, although difficult, to mitigate the disadvantages by efficiencies elsewhere in your economy; in Through the Ages because losing badly is a valid strategy and there are rules for what happens when one player shouts "it's not fair, you're all picking on me, I quit and I'm never playing this stupid game again!"
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Vivienne Raper
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We had both and Nations is now for sale. I recently rated TTA as a '10'.

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Chris Broggi
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Depend on what you are looking for. Nations is shorter, less fiddly, allows for 1 or 5 players, and has less direct player interaction. TtA on the other hand has more depth to the game. I have both. I prefer TtA, but Nations is easier to get to the table.
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Lucas Smith
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There have ineed been multiple threads on the comparison of Nations and TTA and the whole thing is pretty subjective.

For example this one:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1069961/question-nations-vs-...
where rahdo said:
Quote:
I'd say pick TTA if you don't mind a longer game, want a more predictably strategic experience (since every card will come out every game), and want more aggressive conflict and attacks, plus more complex (not necessarily deeper, just more complex) gameplay.

Pick Nations if a shorter length is important, you don't want harsh warfare, or you appreciate smoother streamlined play, prefer more tactical play (because you can't be sure what cards will appear in game), or if downtime is an issue for your group.



However, what I don´t really understand is why you would have to wait to buy Nations. Your FLGS / prefered retailer might not have it in stock, but you can buy it elsewhere (e.g. bgg marketplace (a new copy from NL) or from amazon.de,...). I don´t think it's that hard to find.

Good luck!
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Joe Salamone
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TTA is a deeper (and in my opinion, better) game. However, Nations provides very similar "big picture" gameplay and is quicker to learn, teach, and play. Nations also comes with a good solitaire variant that is easier to play than the TTA solo variants that are posted on BGG. I own both games and I'm glad I do. But I think Nations will get played much more than TTA in the long run.
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Daniel B-G
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The question you need to ask yourself if about your group.

Do you have 1-2 people (or more, but I wouldn't play it at 4) who are prepared to spend a long time learning a game and give it multiple plays to really plumb it's depths?

If yes->TTA

Do you tend to play with a group who tend to cycle through games relatively frequently and want to play a civ-themed euro game now and again?

If yes->Nations

TTA feels more like Civ, Nations is a Civ Themed good conversion game.
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Masoud Tabatabaei
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smithlucas wrote:

However, what I don´t really understand is why you would have to wait to buy Nations. Your FLGS / prefered retailer might not have it in stock, but you can buy it elsewhere (e.g. bgg marketplace (a new copy from NL) or from amazon.de,...). I don´t think it's that hard to find.


I meant comparing to fast decision I need to make for TTA (just under 48 hours until end of kickstarter)
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Thanee
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Get both!

They are both great and different enough.

Bye
Thanee
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Masoud Tabatabaei
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DAAAN wrote:

TTA feels more like Civ, Nations is a Civ Themed good conversion game.


Now THAT can be very important for my decision. Feeling is very important for me (That is why I prefer Exodus:Proxima Centauri over Eclipse, The former feels like a space civ while the latter is a good Space themed victory point collection game in my opinion)
 
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I'm waiting to see if Nations stands the test of time, because it is most decidedly Flavor of the Month/Cult of the New at the moment, but that's just me.
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mike berk
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I've had nations 2 years and have played it 3 times. My friend got nations 3 months ago and I've played it about 8 times. I do think tta is the better game, but nations is super fun and just plain easier to get to the table.
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Thanee
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Koldfoot wrote:
TtA is only up to 4, but better with 3, and not much for 2.


I found Through the Ages quite good with two, though three is ideal, of course.

Bye
Thanee
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Daniel B-G
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I think one of the reasons I prefer TTA over Nations is the scoring.

TTA feels like an actual win, whilst Nation feels like an actuarial win.

In TTA, you can clearly see that you developed the better culture. You might not be able to see all the steps you took, but you can see some of the vestiges.

In Nations, your VPs are totaled up at the end by adding up the number of VPs on each building, military unit, colony and wonder and adding in a 10th of all your resources. What this inevitably means, is that the final turn involves building an unsustainable economy that's rigged to create a winning snapshot at the end. The next turn you would be screwed, but that doesn't matter, it never happens. The most cost efficient way of doing this is to arm yourself to the teeth, which given the final round is the 19th Century, might be a historical-political comment, but it equally might just be a byproduct of the game rules.
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Geoff Speare
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I find Through the Ages to be more thematic and the better game. Nations is shorter, has a good difficulty setting mechanic, and handles a range of players better (in part because it's shorter).

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Drake Coker
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Nations is fun, TTA is an experience.

If I could only have one, it would be TTA, even if it only rarely gets played due to its length. Two-player, however, is still good and not too long.

Nations is good fun, but will run its course with our group. We also play it a lot more right now because its shorter (and newer, so still fresh).

For me, two years from now, Nations will be an "oh yea, that was fun" game. I'll still be playing TTA.


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Michael F
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I enjoy both games, but I kept Nations and got rid of TTA because, like most of Vlaada's other designs, it's too complex for what it needs to be. Don't get me wrong, it's a great game, but it has such a high barrier for entry that it's rare to find someone who wants to play apart from existing TTA players.

Nations really feels like the evolution of TTA. You're not going to see every card in the deck like in TTA, but I actually think that makes the replay value skyrocket. In 2 or 3-player games, you won't even see half of each deck per game.

Nations also has a much simpler ruleset. If you play on higher difficulties, Nations comes very close to rivaling TTA's weight and difficulty, but has less than half of the things you need to remember in TTA. Games are also much shorter while still offering a strong Civ theme.

As others have said above, I think who you play with does matter a lot here. If you play with those who like heavier games, than TTA is probably the better choice. If you want something that most people should be able to grasp the basics of while also giving them a handicap to level the playing field, Nations is probably the better choice.

Best of luck in your decision!
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Vivienne Raper
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DAAAN wrote:
The question you need to ask yourself if about your group.

Do you have 1-2 people (or more, but I wouldn't play it at 4) who are prepared to spend a long time learning a game and give it multiple plays to really plumb it's depths?

If yes->TTA

Do you tend to play with a group who tend to cycle through games relatively frequently and want to play a civ-themed euro game now and again?

If yes->Nations

TTA feels more like Civ, Nations is a Civ Themed good conversion game.


Plus one to this.

If you have one or two people who want to give multiple plays to a game then get TTA. This is why we are trading/selling Nations. I mainly game with my husband and there is no reason why I will ever play Nations when I have TTA in the house.

It doesn't matter how *fast* Nations is to get to the table if you don't want to play it. We bought TTA and Nations at the same time. I've played Nations three times (once solo) and TTA five times. The solo game I didn't finish because I was bored and disappointed that Nations was not TTA.

One of the TTA plays was turn-based on BGA while my husband was in New York. At least one of those games was the full game.

All these plays have happened in the last six months. Since we own 300+ board games, you can see how much we enjoy TTA and how much we are willing to make time to play this game.

No, Nations is not an improvement on TTA. It's a game inspired by TTA, which is designed for a different audience. We are not the target audience for Nations and thus did not enjoy the game.

I'd add the warning that newer board games are not better than older ones. We've just finished a first play of Show Manager (published 1996, I think) and it's better than many newer games in our collection. If you want to know how Nations fares, I'd wait three or four years...
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Moe45673
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Through the Ages is fiddlier, for sure, but the sum of the added rules far outweighs its parts. For example, if you've ever played a Civ PC game, TtA has a "science" resource where you earn science each turn and then need to spend science to add a technology card from your hand to your tableau. Nations does not have this and the cards are added right from the card display to your tableau. Then you need to add workers to the technology: In TtA, population management is a core feature of the strategy and a fine balancing act, including population happiness (another resource) and feeding your population. In Nations, it's about the same level as worker management in Village (dying and birthing); it has feeding too but it's not in the same ballpark.

I played Nations twice in one sitting at a meetup a while back so my memory is not so clear on it. Nations is to Through the Ages as Lords of Waterdeep is to Caylus, and that's the best comparison I can give you. TtA is fiddlier but it's a keeper and I'd be happy to just play that over and over with a competitive opponent or two or three. If I'd never played TtA, I'd enjoy Nations and possibly consider it a brilliant design but I would eventually sell it after awhile. The thing that really keeps it replayable is the uncertain card display and the handicap system (I admit, that IS clever) but TtA doesn't need a card display that's unpredictable to remain interesting for eternity

The only clunky bit of TtA IMO, aside from the components (which can easily be replaced here and I highly recommend doing so: http://boardgamegeekstore.com/products/through-the-ages-comp...), are the way the military cards are done. These are extraordinarily important for gameplay but could have been implemented somewhat better from a cause->effect standpoint. The big abstract flaw with Nations is that it's a good game but really doesn't stand out amidst other good euros.... there are better games, even non-civ ones. TtA, it's arguable and I think even those who disagree would respect those who say it's the best game ever.

At the end of the day, the best advice is if you have 2-3 (or 4 who don't mind lots of downtime if the game is fantastic) who want to regularly play and replay a game and plumb the abyss of its depths for years to come, or if you're a more casual group who like light to medium level games and have regular turnover as you play new ones. If you can't confidently answer that question, go for Through the Ages and take the risk; if you don't like it, at least you tried. If you can confidently answer with the latter choice, go for Nations (or a better game, like Caylus ).

Finally, let me add that this player aid REALLY helps put all the TtA rules in perspective. One big complaint about it is the rulebook which is great for introducing the game to newbies (including yourself) and less than stellar as a resource when you're unclear on something. This player aid makes rule-reference a snap: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/40446/tta-setup-rule-aid-3...

The FAQ is very helpful as well:
http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/55253/unofficial-faq

All the best!

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Jin Juku
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I went through the same dilemma. I wound up backing the Through the Ages Kickstarter for a few reasons:

1. I wanted a heavier civ game, that had a longer playing time.
2. The videos made TtA seem more civilization-building-like than Nations. They both look like good games, but Nations felt (again, just from the review and play-through videos) more like a standard euro than civilization building.
3. I feel a little shame about this, but: several other games included in the TtA pledge level as stretch goals, including Masters Gallery.
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