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Subject: Space on the new map vs. old game: conflict, civ card pressure rss

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Chris Farrell
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So, as a fan of the classic (non-Advanced) Civilization, I was curious about the changes to the map area, so I did a little bit of counting and inventorying. It looks to me like the new map space is much tighter than the classic game.

For example, in the 5 player games of both classic and Advanced Civ, you could play either the standard or west version (with the WXM). In both versions the map could support 192 tokens; west had 41 cities, east had 43. Either version has players using 47 tokens per player.

In Mega, you have East and West configurations of the 5p game. In the West game, there is room for 154 tokens and 40 cities - a dramatic lowering of the population support but the city sites are essentially the same. In the East game, though, you've only got 32 city sites and support for 147 tokens. This is combined with the fact that Mega Civ now has players using 55 tokens at all times, although this may or may not result in more units on the map.

This seems like a pretty big deal, especially since Advanced (and Mega) Civilization really wants you to support a lot of cities (as many as possible vs. classic Civ's 6-ish per player). But it's hard to guess from first-principles analysis since the new and modified Civilization cards have changed things notably - especially Urbanism (making building wilderness cities somewhat easier, especially when combined with Architecture, and both are cheap) and to a lesser extent Public Works. On the other hand, Agriculture has been weakened somewhat, although the effects seem small. In classic Civ, there are so many 1 spots on the WXM and West board that Agriculture really increases the population support, although in classic Civ there was a limited supply.

Anyway, I'm curious to hear from people who have played a comparable 5p game of Mega, and how much the tighter map space changes the feel of the game, or puts pressure on different advancements. My general feeling is that anything that tightens supply of anything would be a net good for Advanced Civilization, so from that point of view the changes feel positive-ish but from the point of using the new map with classic Civ, knowing how the map changes the feel of the game (when compared to Advanced Civ, at the same number of players) would be helpful. Also curious about whether the tightened space leads primarily to heightened conflict for space, or heightened pressure to get key Civ cards. The latter would be great, the former would be dicier if it's too much.

Despite my preference for classic Civ, doing the analysis on Mega has tweaked my curiosity. It looks like a lot of good changes.
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Mattias Elfström
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Without having played Mega Civilization yet I share your view in that a tighter map will provide a more interesting game. In both original Civilization and Advanced Civilization the game on the map generally grew less interesting as the game progressed. I think Mega Civ will provide a much better balanced game than the predecessors.
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Chris Farrell
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With respect to classic Civ, that I doubt . But WRT Advanced Civ, it seems very promising.
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Torbjörn Rander
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Mattias wrote:
Without having played Mega Civilization yet I share your view in that a tighter map will provide a more interesting game. In both original Civilization and Advanced Civilization the game on the map generally grew less interesting as the game progressed. I think Mega Civ will provide a much better balanced game than the predecessors.


So, after playing twice, I can't say I notice a general difference in how players approach Mega Civ as compared to Advanced Civ; although the map space seems lower, technologies enable a healthy city and support count for all players. However, it seems to be the case that you have to make sure you don't get bullied at the start where some choke points on the maps are established; in both games we played, Iberia won, and my feeling was that they were left too much space by Africa and Italy. Might have been a fluke though..
 
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Gerart de Haan
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Indeed the map of Mega Civilization is more tight than Advanced Civ, in particular when considering the Western Extension Map. During our many games of Advanced Civ in the past we found that at some point it was too easy to maintain 8 or 9 cities throughout a turn, resulting in one or more players dominating the end game with a powerful balance between a high number of cities and a relatively low population (allowing them to move last and keep on dominating) and eventually collecting most (if not all) Civ Advances.

Not only did we reduce the overall population space on the map, but we also made considerable efforts to create more balance in the different regions of the board through shifting population limits, splitting some bottleneck-areas, removing '5' population limits and reducing the power of Agriculture. We further introduced the 'out of play' markers as a dynamic mechanism to customize the map-board to any number of players. Within each Civilization's 'home region' (which is only shown in the game manual for the initial game setup) there is sufficient space and resources to build up to 6 or 7 cities and their required support. However, players that want to go all the way up to 8 or 9 cities require additional Advances (e.g. Agriculture, Architecture, Urbanism, Public Works), cunning diplomacy or just more aggressive playing style.

In Mega Civilization there is more opportunity for aggression due to the introduction of some new Advances (e.g. Advanced Military, Naval Warfare, Fundamentalism, Politics) but most of these advances are costly and won't be acquired in the first half of the game. My experience is that the level of conflict is much more dependent on the type of players around the table than on the actual space on the map, though. Bottomline is still that conflict typically won't provide you a victory in (Mega) Civilization.
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