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Civilization» Forums » General

Subject: Rated quite heavy, but maybe unfairly? rss

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Greg Lorrimer
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My guru, Chris Farrell, says this of Civilization :


"Civilization is a great game because, like so many other great games, it manages to find a sweet spot, achieving considerable depth while playing cleanly and intuitively without a great deal of complexity, having nice historical flavor while maintaining integrity as a game, and requiring skill to play well and yet having enough randomness to be flavorful, fun, and allow nominally "less-skilled" players to be competitive. My recommendation is to play this with 5 players. 7 players makes the game too long,"


What do you make of that, in the context of the weight currently at 3.7?

I am thinking of getting some fairly inexperienced boardgamers (catan, modern art, chinatown, stratego, chess) together for a Saturday learning and playing Civilization, and the comment above is part of what has encouraged me in that direction. Especially his further comments on getting play down to 5-6 hours with 5 players (and some simple adjustments).
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Moshe Callen
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Each part of play is relatively simple but the whole is still a pretty deep game. Depth is not about complexity of actual play but about the complexity of divining an optimal strategy for any given player in any given game.
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Mattias Elfström
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Civilization is a great game. I don't think playing time will vary much with 5, 6 or 7 players. Most of the turns can be taken simultaneously anyway. I would plan for 8 to 12 hours for a 5-7 player game.

What adjustments are you thinking about?
 
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Andrew J
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I agree it's not very complex but that's not to say it doesn't require brainwork and concentration (especially some mental arithmetic making sure you're on track in gaining the points you require). I'd be interested in the adjustments for a quicker game too. Where are these?
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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itsastickup wrote:
What do you make of that, in the context of the weight currently at 3.7?

That you should ignore the weight number. It's not useful, because precisely the question you need an answer to ('given that the game's weight is 3.7, does it mean it's too heavy for me and/or my group?') cannot and will not be answered by it.

Quote:
I am thinking of getting some fairly inexperienced boardgamers (catan, modern art, chinatown, stratego, chess) together for a Saturday learning and playing Civilization, and the comment above is part of what has encouraged me in that direction. Especially his further comments on getting play down to 5-6 hours with 5 players (and some simple adjustments).

I will say this with absolute honesty: Civilization is a teacher's dream, because you can teach as-you-go. People are, after an initial overview, immediately going to play with bits, so their attention is not diverted. The first few turns go by very quickly, and new concepts are introduced one at a time so they get applied straight away, and have time to sink in before the next one appears. And once the action starts people are primed and understand what is at stake. It's practically unique in this aspect.

Your fellow players have sufficient background to play Civilization, don't worry about this.

Some tips:
— Keep the maximum amount of players at 6. 5 is good too, might even be better because it keeps the playing time down.
— Use a spreadsheet or app (if such exists, the only tool I could locate for Android was developed for Advanced Civilization) for the civicard costs. It speeds up matters considerably, and allows people to work out 'what if?'-scenarios easily.
— Limit trade to between 5 and 7 minutes: use an egg timer. Enforce the trade rules strictly.
— Be especially wary of people who do 'too well' in the trade phase. They gain trade points easily, and can thus obtain civilization cards more readily. It is up to your group to decide how to deal with this: you can team up to hit on them on the board, or you can exclude them from future trade. The last option can really feel very nasty if kept up for too long, so use it sparingly.
— Schedule feeding and watering pauses. It's gonna be a long session.
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John Bradshaw
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cymric wrote:
I will say this with absolute honesty: Civilization is a teacher's dream, because you can teach as-you-go.


Quite so. The game rules are very simple and I've played this in a family situation with 7 and 8 year olds (who LOVED it) Ok - we maybe didn't trade them nasty calamities but they took a full part in the game otherwise.

That was years ago. I recently introduced this to my group, including one person allergic to games lasting more than 2 hours, plus a non-gamer new to the group. Again everyone loved it, especially the non gamer and the person who dislikes long games.

Marvellous game. THE game that introduced the concept of a Tech Tree to our hobby - designed by the genius of Francis Tresham, and basically until you've played this, and his other masterpiece 1830, you can't, in my view, really call yourself a proper gamer!

Enjoy!
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Kevin Whitmore
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Civ is a fine game, one I love. There is a "gotcha" at the very end of the game. If you buy too many cheap cards in the early and mid game, you can possibly paint yourself into a corner and be unable to meet the minimum points to enter some of the very last spaces on the AST. I recommend emphasizing this to your players.

Another option, is to play one of the abbreviated games - there are various finish lines provided on the AST. If you go this route, be sure to remove the Mysticism cards from the mix.
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Nick West
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Kevin_Whitmore wrote:
Civ is a fine game, one I love. There is a "gotcha" at the very end of the game. If you buy too many cheap cards in the early and mid game, you can possibly paint yourself into a corner and be unable to meet the minimum points to enter some of the very last spaces on the AST. I recommend emphasizing this to your players.

Another option, is to play one of the abbreviated games - there are various finish lines provided on the AST. If you go this route, be sure to remove the Mysticism cards from the mix.


You cannot emphasize Kevin's first point too much. It's a real bummer for a newbie to realize only 7 hours in that he cannot win as he 'card point average' is too low to get over the AST hump due to some early cheap cards purchased without enough thought as to the end game. It's best to calculate in advance how many 'cheaper than the maximum' you can buy before that effect kicks in - it is surprisingly low!

That is the only exception to the excellent "learn as you go" advice. Once the first card is purchased you need to bring up this important aspect.
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Greg Lorrimer
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Thanks for the wonderful answers folks.

The shorter variant is another topic of interest to me, so I've posted the info asked for in a new thread.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/19979188
 
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Greg Lorrimer
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Seghillian wrote:
cymric wrote:
I will say this with absolute honesty: Civilization is a teacher's dream, because you can teach as-you-go.


Quite so. The game rules are very simple and I've played this in a family situation with 7 and 8 year olds (who LOVED it) Ok - we maybe didn't trade them nasty calamities but they took a full part in the game otherwise.


Seghillian, did you do any intro/short games for the 7 & 8 years olds? I'll likely have a 10, 11 and 12 year old.
 
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John Bradshaw
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itsastickup wrote:
Seghillian, did you do any intro/short games for the 7 & 8 years olds? I'll likely have a 10, 11 and 12 year old.


No - as I recall (and it was about 30 years ago!) we played the full game. It would be left set up on the table overnight and was normally finished in 3 evenings or so. If time is an issue you could play for a limited amount of time and use some sort of scoring system, as supplied with Advanced Civ.

We were quite gentle with the children, tending not to trade them calamities, helping them, if necessary, with the math for cashing in sets and card purchasing. They especially enjoyed the population expansion and trading phases, and were both very involved with the game (otherwise I'd have stopped and not repeated the experience 3 or 4 times).

The rules are very simple - certainly I'm sure your 10-12-y-os will understand easily enough. I can't guarantee they will like it of course, but the 2 girls I mention played it with considerable enthusiasm!

The educational aspects are interesting - watching your civilization grow, and discussing the tech advances and how they confer advantages on the civ that has them. As cymric said earlier - a teacher's dream.
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