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Hi there,

As a preface, I will say right now that this is a buyer's inquiry; I won't leave that a mystery until the end.

I have watched many a video and read many a forum, reddit post, youtube comment, about two games: Nations and Through the Ages.

I am well aware of how both games work mechanically and issues people have on both sides of the fence, but something that I have seen in common is the description of the 2-player game as "tough".

I am going to get one of these two games and I think they are both probably phenomenal designs, but it is in actually understanding what mechanically about the 2-player game is "tough" that I will make my decision.

Thanks!

Edit: This thread has been posted in the TtA forums as well to hopefully get another perspective.
 
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Christophe Jannin
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I will only speak about Nations as I never played TtA (altough I will as soon as V4 is out laugh).
Nations is no more tough at 2 than at more players. When you add players, you add 3 cards to purchase per player based on nine minimum in 2 players.
Wich means actually the opposite, you have more puchase choices with 2 players than with 5, making the game slightly easier.

Still, Nations is a medium/heavy game, leaning on the heavy.
 
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Paul Grogan
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I'm not sure of the word "tough" here. All games of TTA are tough. I personally find it 'tougher' with more players, but that's because I have more to take into account, and there are more people who can beat me. At least in a 2-player game, I can come 2nd
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Yeah, I'm not sure what you mean by "tough". More cutthroat? If that's what you mean I suppose they both are because in every military/event confrontation you are either the loser or the winner - there's no safe middle ground.

TtA is the better game, but you need people willing to put the time in to enjoy it. Nations is an OK option if you don't have the time or the opponents for TtA.
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Anthony Wilborn
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I realized only recently that they are in the testing phase of a new version of TtA. I think that takes TtA off the table for the moment.

I have seen people use "tough" to talk about the unforgiving nature of the game and end game Military strategies. The sense that there is an option to surrender is also odd, though not for a game like Chess I suppose.
 
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I'm not sure about Nations, but TTA can be "tough" as a 2-player game because once you fall behind in military, if the other player attacks then it can be tough to build your strength back up. In multiplayer games, with multiple targets, there is can be a bit more balancing. On the other hand, in multiplayer games, everyone could gang up on that weak player -- but not too much, since they can quit the game if so. But it will be tough in 2er every time.

However, the new edition probably changes things in this respect. If you're looking for a tough 2er game, though, there are plenty of copies for sale in anticipation of the new release!
 
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konicki wrote:
I realized only recently that they are in the testing phase of a new version of TtA. I think that takes TtA off the table for the moment.

I have seen people use "tough" to talk about the unforgiving nature of the game and end game Military strategies. The sense that there is an option to surrender is also odd, though not for a game like Chess I suppose.

The option to surrender is what saves the multiplayer game. Without it, it would make sense for everyone to gang up on the weakest player since they're the easiest target. With the surrender option, the attackers will have to think about it -- their War action could be wasted, leaving the other player(s) one aggression ahead.
 
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Okay, looks like I misunderstood tough for hard. My bad.

Nations is not tough in that sense. If you fear war because you are weaker than your oppponent, you buy it first. Okay, you loose one action and some gold.
If you are weak in military, upgrade your stability and you won't have to face the consequences of a lost war (other than loosing 1 VP)
 
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konicki wrote:
Hi there,

As a preface, I will say right now that this is a buyer's inquiry; I won't leave that a mystery until the end.

I have watched many a video and read many a forum, reddit post, youtube comment, about two games: Nations and Through the Ages.

I am well aware of how both games work mechanically and issues people have on both sides of the fence, but something that I have seen in common is the description of the 2-player game as "tough".

I am going to get one of these two games and I think they are both probably phenomenal designs, but it is in actually understanding what mechanically about the 2-player game is "tough" that I will make my decision.

Thanks!

Edit: This thread has been posted in the TtA forums as well to hopefully get another perspective.

2p TtA is tougher, basically, because every point you don't score is a point your opponent scores; in the 3+ player counts, you have to compete with everyone, whereas in the 2p count you only have to beat one person, so you can do things that would be tactically bad in 3+ player to deny your opponent points (such as picking up techs you know they'll need so they can't get them), because every point you deny them is a point you gain.

It also tends more towards a big military race, because the military investment pays off better in 2p, as there's no third or fourth player to either come middle in military and have more resources left over for other things, or to horn in on your success in beating your opponent and score easy points when they've sacrificed. The military game is a lot more polarised, as it were.

It's still a pretty balanced game, but it's a very different feel and needs some different tactics and techniques, so if you're used to 4p, 2p can feel a lot tougher.
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Shane Larsen
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If "tough" is a reference to the military threat in the game, than any game of TtA is going to be tougher than any game of Nations. The military presence in TtA is always there. Like mentioned above, if you start to neglect your military, you're putting yourself at risk. If another player goes heavy military at the same time and gets just a couple draws (not even lucky draws, the odds are pretty good they'll get the attack/war cards they'll need), then you're in trouble.

In Nations, I found neglecting military to be much less devastating.

The big difference between the two games though, is not the military game. It's the long-term strategic play (TtA) vs. round-to-round tactical play (Nations). That's where you should be making your decision. For more long-term strategy that will take you multiple turns to build up for a big end-game combo, get TtA. For more tactical maneuvering and decision-making based on the cards that come out each round, and even changing your strategies each round, get Nations.

And yes, it is probably a good idea to hold off on TtA since we're so close to the release of TtA: New. It has a few rules changes that will actually soften the potential for "tough" military blows.
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I love TTA at 2p and don't want to play Nations at any count.
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Nicola Bocchetta
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konicki wrote:
I realized only recently that they are in the testing phase of a new version of TtA. I think that takes TtA off the table for the moment.

I have seen people use "tough" to talk about the unforgiving nature of the game and end game Military strategies. The sense that there is an option to surrender is also odd, though not for a game like Chess I suppose.


It's not the "testing phase". The game is coming out this october in Essen, and after that will be widely available.

And this makes a lot of the old version of the game to be for sale (on sale?) here in the BGG marketplace, in math trades and so on. This enables you to get a good copy at a lower price.

The old version is as good as the new, as it's been in BGG top ten for almost 9 years now (IIRC!). Of course the new edition will be the new rage, but lots of people have enjoyed the old one and will still do.

Nations is getting an expansion this year in Essen as well.

IMHO Nations feels bland, especially the last rounds, while TTA is more compelling though can be punitive on players who neglect the military side.
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Paul Grogan
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Faso74it wrote:
The old version is as good as the new

The old version is good. The new version is great
 
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Olivier REIX
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PaulGrogan wrote:
The old version is good. The new version is great

Sorry but the old was already great.

Buying TTA blind (in the 3 game pack) at Essen 2006 might have been the single best decision in my 13 trips to the Spiel.
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Paul Grogan
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I bought it blind too. And that's where the story started for me
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