Recommend
13 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

Advanced Civilization» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Back after a 6.5-year break rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Nikolas Moore
Australia
Toowong
Queensland
flag msg tools
It has been a whopping 6.5 years since our previous game of Advanced Civilization. Darryl organised this one. Defending champion Lester was out of town this weekend and therefore unable to participate, with Travis and Tim also absent as they now live interstate. This was our eighth game since the first time I played way back in 2003; David and Darryl, already experienced players then, played in all eight games and I only missed one of these. The new players were Gareth, Steve and Yolanda. This was the first time since our second game that we only had six players, and therefore the Western Expansion was not used. I found it a refreshing change as our recent 8-player games had been crowded, and this way we got 55 units each instead of 47, although it still got crowded! We set aside two days for this but managed to do it in one sitting, from 10:30am until 1:30am – about 15 hours, less breaks for meals.

Another change from the previous few games is that instead of ceding Babylon/Egypt/Assyria to newbies, everyone drew for turn order, which I preferred as it gives people more choices. Not that it helped me this time because I drew last pick. Darryl had first pick and chose Egypt. Steve chose Assyria. David sportingly picked Crete instead of Babylon, which Gareth chose, and Yolanda opted for Illyria. I (Nik) chose Thrace, as I’d already played Africa twice, Italy would have been similar and Asia is generally considered the worst nation; it has only been chosen once in our games.

I am a programmer by trade, and in late 2012 I coded a Windows application to keep track of everything. On the main screen it records each player’s details – population, treasury, number of cities, AST position etc. (It even has timers, which we did not use.) This gave a good idea of how well each player was doing. It also keeps a log of purchases and events, which was useful for writing this session report. Most useful of all was a technology screen for each nation working what each tech cost and its value, given existing techs.

Playing Thrace for the first time, I was very crowded with Illyria and Crete both in play. Illyria encroached upon my territory rather than go west, meaning that as early as turn 4, I was not able to fully grow my population. She built a city in the flood plain in Tyras that I was forced to plunder on turn 5. We also were forced to occasionally attack each other’s units, due to a shortage of space, otherwise we generally coexisted peacefully. I was also crowded by Assyria heading west instead of south towards his traditional territory, the Levant (north of Egypt). He even inexplicably plundered my city in Sardes in turn 8 rather than Babylonian cities in his territory, even though I held engineering. This meant that I had severe difficulties getting established in this area especially as I did not build enough boats early on; in fact I was never able to build to nine cities, as I kept losing sites to other players and occasionally pirates. Even when I tried building a Wilderness City in Sudeten with the help of Architecture, Illyria immediately took it off me through Treachery and let the Barbarians wipe it out. Not many wilderness cities were built altogether. It was not all downside, as Thrace has a forgiving AST, a surplus of farmland in the extreme north that I shared with Illyria, and the biggest city site outside Egypt, Moesia. This meant that I did not need to buy Agriculture until very late in the game (though it still would have been helpful earlier as there were some "1" spots).

Assyria’s westward venture gave Babylon a lot of room and he did not need to build much on his flood plain early. Crete started slowly, especially after being hit by Superstition. Assyria struggled early; as well as having lost units from taking my city, he was hit by barbarians, greatly reducing his territory and was cramped between Babylon and Thrace. He never quite got the territory back. Illyria also ended up fairly short on territory as it took her a while to expand into Italy and western Africa, especially after an early Epidemic.

All of these events gave Egypt a great start, allowing him to take much of Africa as well as the Levant; he effectively had the entire southern third of the board to himself. He was only in the lead for a couple of turns, as he lost 17 units to flood, followed by a slave revolt. A little later, Civil Disorder reduced him from 9 to 3 cities. I similarly took a lot of damage from early calamities, being the primary victim of Famine and then Epidemic. Egypt was often the last person to trade away Treachery but at least twice did not benefit, already having nine cities.

David as Crete avoided the worst calamities and rebounded from his slow start, hitting the lead on turn 11 having accumulated about 350 worth of trade cards from: 7 grain and 4 gems. He picked up Drama & Poetry, Architecture, Literacy and Deism in the one turn. In fact he continually rebuilt to 9 cities from turn 8 on, thanks to Architecture and an abundance of city sites. I also bought Architecture at this point; it was really helpful for increasing the rate of building cities. Nobody else built to 9 cities until turn 11, when Darryl did. I did not reach even 8 cities until that turn, and did not buy gold much until later on in the game; not earlier because I had to spend taxes on ships.

Civil War, as so often happens, can really change the game. The first victim was Babylon, on turn 11, and even Drama and Poetry and losing a city through Treachery (which was removed, as the beneficiary was Egypt) did not help much. Assyria benefited. Two turns later, it was my turn to be hit, losing 32 of my 72 units to Babylon; he also had Metalworking, forcing me to buy it too in an attempt to reclaim territory. At least it meant that my Civil Disorder only reduced one city. This, appropriately turn 13, was the game’s worst in terms of disasters, also featuring a Slave Revolt (Illyria), Barbarian Hordes (Babylon), Epidemic (Egypt), Iconoclasm and Heresy (Crete) and Piracy (Assyria). Only Babylon was able to advance on the AST.

By this point, Egypt, Babylon and Crete all had Monotheism, which they used to good effect. Despite narrowly avoiding this (being allowed a "mulligan" after not reducing a city I did not realise was next to David's units), I was again reduced to 3 cities and 20 units at the end of the turn, due to Treachery and the secondary effects of Famine and Epidemic, while David ended the turn with 7 or 8 cities. He Monotheised me the next turn before I finally bought Theology. By this time Crete was not only building to 9 cities but buying Gold as well. Both he and Egypt had Mining by the end of turn 14, allowing their metallic trade cards to stretch further.

I did not seem to draw too many calamities all-in-all, and did a better job in trading than in some games, acquiring all the Bronze on turn 12 for 210. This was not exactly cheap; Illyria had the last two Bronze cards and knowing how useful they were to me, talked me into giving her five cards for them, including Gold and Spice. One of my purchases at this point was Medicine, very useful because Epidemic was very common, as it often is, and I was invariably hit with 10 points of damage (reduced to 5), whereas David was usually the last person to trade it off, avoiding being hit and increasing his lead as it meant 2nd and 3rd place took secondary effects instead. Twice more I acquired complete sets: all the cloth (245) and all eight timber cards (192). On most turns, I kept plenty of trade cards in hand after purchasing so as to be able to do decent trades. I rarely got sets of the really high-numbered cards due to a lack of cities.

On Turn 16, Mt Etna erupted, destroying the Illyrian city in Syracuse and three units in Milezzo. Around this point, either Illyria or Assyria drew Civil War and managed to throw it out having ended up with two other calamities. Crete despite a Slave Revolt and losing ten tokens to Epidemic, still recovered to 8 cities the next turn. On this turn, I ended up with Iconoclasm and Heresy but Theology + Law entirely protected me, and I reduced two of Crete’s cities. This is the closest he came after turn 13 to not advancing on the AST, as he lost 8 units to Famine and a city to Piracy, reducing him to four. He got one back by Monotheising an Illyrian city.

This meant that the next turn (18) was the last one. I finally was in a position to plunder one of Crete’s cities – Thessalonica, which he had Monotheised off me earlier - as I played after him and there wasn’t anywhere else to take a city. I stole Cloth off him and Assyria attacked some of his units but he still built to 8. I drew Flood, which was luckily harmless, losing just the one unit on a flood plain in Danube because pirates had taken over Tyras. Darryl was hit by Civil War, which may have cost him second place, and was also hit by a Slave Revolt. David ended up unscathed by calamities yet again as he had traded Epidemic to Illyria, while I lost a city as a secondary victim of this.

David's lead increased in each turn approaching the last one, by which time he was leading by close to 500 points. He was still worried that Darryl would catch him, because Darryl and I had credits lined up better for more advances and were able to buy more efficiently on the last turn; I felt like I did a decent job of optimising. David rarely had the lead on Civilization advances, perhaps because as the leader people were sometimes reluctant to trade with him. Darryl did spend 420 for about 750 worth of credits on the last turn, while I had several partial sets and had finally bought Mining and with 3 gold this added up to 340 very efficiently for Monotheism, Mathematics and Philosophy, worth 690. David only spent 125, leaving him slightly behind Darryl and I in terms of the value of his advances, but with one more city than me and leading outright on the AST. It would have been very interesting had David ended up with a calamity on the final turn, especially if it had been Civil War, which he avoided throughout the game. This was David's first win since the first game that I played. David handled Crete very well; it is not the weakest nation but is considered the hardest to play, requiring lots of shipping, and he had not played it before. This was also the first time in our games that Crete had won. The final scores were:

David (Crete) 4662
Nik (Thrace) 4522
Darryl (Egypt) 4263
Gareth (Babylon) 3316
Yolanda (Illyria) 2835
Steve (Assyria) 2693

I later realised that I had forgotten to transfer 18 tokens from the treasury back into my stock when buying Gold that turn, and therefore only had 324 available to spend, not 342. Nobody else noticed either probably because it was so late. It did not change much, because instead of spending 115 on Monotheism (worth 220), I could have spent 85 on Democracy (worth 200), which is a more efficient use of credits; if I do not have to split a set, I still get 4514.

For the first game I can remember, nobody purchased either Military or Democracy. Gareth noted that he never saw a Dye card in his hand, similar to an earlier game where I never saw the other 8-value commodity, Gems. This is not exactly the easiest game to learn – I seem to recall not really knowing what I was doing on my first game – and the newer players all achieved respectable scores. Everyone seemed to enjoy the game and it was played with good sportsmanship. The plan is to have another game in about a year. Well done, David!
15 
 Thumb up
3.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Conroy
United States
Winchester
Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Well played thumbsup
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Todd Woodward
United States
Bowling Green
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Any chance of sharing your tracker program? I bet the community would love something like that.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nikolas Moore
Australia
Toowong
Queensland
flag msg tools
Good idea. I have uploaded this, so it should appear under 'Files' shortly as long as it is approved.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.