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Subject: Why I prefer Advanced Civilization rss

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Michael Tsuk
United States
Arlington
Massachusetts [MA]
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On Saturday, August 12, 2006, there were only four players for
Civilization, and I had suggested to the host that, in that case, we
might play the original game, because I didn't like the effects of the
extra commodities when there are so few players. It was also
appropriate, because this year was the 25th anniversary of the
publication of Civilization in the US. I brought out the little cheat
sheets I'd made back the summer after I got Civ, probably the summer
of 1982, xeroxed typewritten white paper glued to black construction
paper. Probably the first play aid I'd ever made. :-)

Among the four players was one newbie, who got to pick a nation
first, and we suggested he pick Egypt. The next player picked
Babylon, and then I chose Assyria, because of a slightly better AST at
the end than Asia. That might have been a mistake, because I
definitely suffered with Assyria for being in the middle. I felt
squeezed right away by Babylon and Asia. I was trying to get to the
Levant, and pretty much succeeded, but I think I may have given up too
much room to my neighbors.

Babylon and Egypt both declined to make two cities with only 16
population, holding back a step on the AST. Asia made only one city
on the following turn, keeping back with the pack. I thought that a
very odd move at the time, but it became clear why; being the clear
leader in the game was rather painful. :-)

But I got very lucky. Egypt got Civil War first, and I was able to
collect a full set of six bronze, giving me 216 and Metalworking,
Astronomy, and Drama & Poetry. And it just kept getting better
from there; Asia got the second Civil War, and by the time I got it
third, I had Democracy and so only had to lose one city.

Indeed, I never was held back once, which seemed odd. The game
seemed richer than I remember it being in previous plays. In the end,
I got my eleven cards quite early, at least two turns before the end:
Pottery, Drama & Poetry, Astronomy, Metalworking, Architecture,
Medicine, Engineering, Law, Democracy, and Philosophy, for 1340.
Three Spice in my hand made up the difference for the 1400 I needed
for the penultimate space.

The end of the game was very anticlimactic, and rather painful, as
I said. When it became clear that I wasn't going to be held back at
any of the choke points on the AST, Asia quite rightly decided on
all-out war, aided a bit by Egypt. It's quite unpleasant to be on the
receiving end of such an assault. I thought I was squeezed before; I
was really squeezed now. But fortunately, by dint of being
smallest and therefore going last, and having Astronomy, I was able to
squirt out of the worst of the vise. We called it without doing the
last turn of the game; I had six cities, and they didn't think they
could reduce me to zero in the last turn, especially since I wasn't
trading.

That ending left a rather poor taste in my mouth, and I think other
people were as unhappy about it as me. It certainly cemented my
feeling that Advanced Civilization is a better game. If we had been
playing Advanced Civ, just because I'd been one step ahead on the AST
wouldn't have meant more than 100 points, and so Asia in particular
wouldn't have come after me. And I would have had something to do for
the rest of the game after I'd bought my eleventh card, other than
watch people take potshots at me.

There was also a bit of the ugly chip-taking multiplayer dynamic
going on. I got out to an early lead, and so Asia had to attack me,
but since Babylon was in such a good board position, if Asia had
succeeded in dropping me back to zero cities, it might have just meant
giving the game to Babylon.
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