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Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization» Forums » Variants

Subject: Simple Game variant for your first game rss

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George I.
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The new handbook has phased out the "simple" game from the older game, proposing a "first game" that lasts to the end of Age II, instead.

For those who are playing Through the Ages for the first time and would like a shorter game with half the mechanisms, which still have on their own a rather steep learning curve, I am describing here this variant. You will find the exact same variant in the older version rulebook. I have adapted a couple of points to the newer versions of some cards. Please also note that the "Advanced Game" from the older version is now obsolete; the "first game" proposed by the handbook is its equivalent.

Disclaimer: I am not necessarily proposing this shorter variant for your first game. I feel that the "first game" instructions in the current handbook are excellent and you'll get to see almost all the game's mechanisms in one play. In any case, I am writing the "Simple Game" instructions for reference, if you would like to start with a shorter and lighter game. If you decide to try it, just use this variant for your first game only and then either try the "first game" proposed by the handbook or dive in for the full game experience!

I am assuming the person who is going to explain the game has read or will read the handbook. When I will be referring to page numbers, these are the pages from the relevant handbook.

The first player to begin the game, who will have only 1 civil action in the first round, will be referred to as "the Starting Player".

Setup (pages 2-5)

Follow the handbook's "first game" instructions, by applying the following changes:

1. Remove the Age I military deck and both civil and military decks of Ages II and III back to the box. You will not use them.

2. Return the tactics standards back to the box.

3. Remove "Christopher Columbus" from the Age I Civil deck, as he has no special abilities in the simple game. He is illustrated on a green leader card.

4. Remove the "Development of Politics" card from the Age A military deck.

5. Shuffle the rest 9 cards of the Age A military deck and place them face down on the "Current events deck", on the military board.

Also remember to remove any cards from the Age I Civil deck marked as 3+ or 4+, if playing with less than 4 players, as instructed by the handbook.

Gameplay (pages 5-15)

Play the game as normal. There are virtually no changes during the actual gameplay. During gameplay:

* Ignore any Colonization bonuses on the Colossus (Age A Wonder) or Cartography (Age I special blue technology)
* Ignore any references to "Politics Phase", "Political Action" or "Tactics" on Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, or Genghis Khan.
* If you have Joan of Arc you still get to look at the next event at the beginning of your turn; see "Event Step" in a subsequent section.
* If you have Genghis Khan and would like to resolve the "Strongest Civilization", refer to page 16 under "Politics Phase - Comparing Statistics".

Politics Phase / Event Step (pages 16-18)

There is no Politics Phase, no Military decks and no Tactics cards in the simple game. Therefore, the instructions on pages 16-18 are not applicable. Instead, the Politics Phase is replaced with the Events Step.

1. The Starting Player plays the step, beginning from the third (3rd) round, after refilling the cards on the card row.

2. Reveal the top card of the Current Events deck, resolve it and give to all players any applicable bonuses.

3. Move the resolved event to the Past Events pile.

Consequently, the players' Strength is only taken into account during the final scoring. It is still beneficial to read "Age A events" on page 16.

Happiness and Discontent Workers (page 19)

This mechanism is not applicable in the Simple Game. You still track the number of happy faces provided by Temples, Leaders, Governments or Wonders, but only for the purposes of the final scoring.

End-of-Turn Sequence (page 20)

Follow as described in the handbook with the following exceptions:

1. Skip "Discard Excess Military Cards", as you have no military cards in hand.

2. Uprisings never occur, therefore, the production step takes always place.

3. Ignore Corruption. You do not lose resources due to corruption in the simple game.

4. Skip "Draw Military Cards". There are no Military decks to draw cards from.

Please note that consumption, paying food to feed a large population, still takes place in the simple game!

End of an Age (page 21)

Ignore any End of an Age effects. No cards are discarded due to obsolescence and no yellow tokens are lost. But do still follow the instructions on page 8 regarding the End of Age A.

End of the Simple Game

When the last Age I civil card has been dealt at the beginning of a player's turn, this is the last round of the game. Finish the round to the player to the right of the Starting Player and then end the game. It's irrelevant whether the last card was dealt during the Starting Player's turn or not.

Continue discarding the leftmost cards from the card row, just like in the previous rounds. However, no further cards will be dealt.

Final Scoring

At the end of the game, each player scores extra culture points for civilization achievements:

* Score 2 culture points for each of your Age I technologies, including Special technologies. Score 4 culture points for Age I Government technologies.

* Score culture points equal to your science rating.

* Score culture points equal to double your happiness rating, to a maximum of 16 points.

* Score culture equal to your food and resource production. (Count up how much food and resources your workers produce during your production phase. Ignore consumption).

* Score 2 culture points for each point of Strength.

The player with the most culture points wins the game!
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