Visiting Cousin John in England he pulled out his copy of Civilization. I’m used to playing Advanced Civ and relished the challenge of playing different people with different rules. Almost- the players were John, myself, my wife Kylie (who’s played in our Brisbane Civ Games, and yet still married me 6 months ago) and John’s wife, Cressi.
Everything was different- the English Civ game (Gibson’s Games-1988) was different coloured squares, different coloured pieces and most tricksy- round population and square cities. John looked at me oddly.
Given our incomplete rules knowledge and different play styles, the rules as written, not remembered, were deemed the final arbiter so I read them closely and noted some serious differences.
As the least experienced player, Cressi was given first choice. We recommended Babylon- though I suggested Thrace since the other 4-player starting options of Crete, Asia and Assyria were far away. She took Babylon anyways, I so opted for Thrace myself and Kylie, deciding not to let me have half the starting map took Crete. John took Assyria and we were off.
The reduced Thrace meant I started starving early as I raced Kylie for Greece. Maybe suggesting it to the newbie hadn’t been so smart. Cressi played hard and built 2 cities to cross the first epoch but balked at acquiring 3 colours of advances for 2nd epoch. The rest of us ploughed on, me feeling increased urgency with the unfamiliar ‘first to the finish wins’ rule.
John and I built to 9 cities simultaneously, and I immediately traded off a bunch of grain and bought Agriculture ending my population troubles.
Cressi proudly reached six cities but got the first Civil War. Kylie hit eight cities, got a ninth off Cressi’s Civil War (you choose who it goes to?) then lost every city to combined Civil Disorder and Iconoclasm & Heresay. She was unhappy and the girls started rebuilding. The whole tradable disasters staying with the first person they’re traded to seemed very odd. On the down side, Kylie was stuck with total devastation. On the up side the person who misses out on a commodity is guaranteed to also miss out on that disaster.
Five cloth later, I buy Coinage to control growth, Pottery to avoid famine and Drama & Poetry with a view to Literacy. This easily puts me into the three-colour epoch and sets me up for the 7 advances epoch. Four spices and I buy Medicine and a few gold give me Literacy. Next turn, I cash in 8 salt and start looking at the big picture. John has kept pace with me so we’re going to hit endgame simultaneously where most points wins. We can only buy 11 advances for the whole game- another rule new to me. This means I should only buy the biggest things I can and I realise I haven’t bought all the eleven most expensive advances. I can do Law, Democracy or Philosophy this turn and I’ll need them all to win. Instead I buy Architecture and Engineering, both of which will give me further reductions to the big three.
Meanwhile John has concluded the same as me and watches amazed as my many discounts kick in. His gang played without multiple discounts to a purchase. He can probably pace me to end game, but it’ll be effort for him and the civics are so cheap for me now and to top it all off, I can buy less than one a turn. Assuming we both buy optimally he’ll finish the game 15 points behind me- he hasn’t made the mistake of buying pottery like me, but he already has the lowest of the top eleven which means he has to skip 2 higher advances to replace his early buys of Music and Drama & Poetry. Taking all this into account, we decide to call it quits, much to the relief of our wives who are strangely disinterested in micromanaging the last 5 turns for what appears to be a foregone conclusion.
Overall, an interesting contrast. Obviously I prefer Advanced Civ, but Civilization certainly seemed a lot simpler, and the 4 pages of illustrated rules (the other 4 being intro and data) were almost a pleasure to read. Of course, that meant that many situations weren’t covered and the letter of the law didn’t always make sense. Trade was virtually open with the points and one known rules and I certainly prefer the Advanced Civ declare 3, 2 must be true. Next time I’m offered a game of Civilization, I think I’ll be pushing for the Advanced option, but I still learnt a lot.
Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
Hmm. I know there are rules differences between AH Civilization and Advanced Civilization, I had always assumed that the Gibson's [i[Civilization[/i] was just Civilization. I must compare the rules one day.