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Mare Nostrum: Empires» Forums » General

Subject: How does MN:E compare to The Golden Ages? rss

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I'm on the fence about which game to buy, they both seem to scratch similar itches . . . can those of you with experience give me any insight? Thanks!
 
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Steve O'Grady
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I have only played both once. I liked them both. Both played light...under 2 hours, with MN:E a little over 2 hours. MN:E had more depth, more strategic options, yet kept that ease and accessibility of play. I would play Golden Ages again, but would leap at the opportunity to play MN:E again.

One thing I did like about Golden Ages was the randomness of the board layout, making for different experiences. It felt more Euroey to me, no real war or combat as there can be in Mare Nostrum (which can be played without wars, but there are always reasons for an ancient Caesar to engage in wars).
Enlisting the Gods to give you advantages in war and commerce just adds more depth and more interesting options to play in Mare Nostrum, along with Diplomacy and Trading.

Both are good games, but very different games. If you like running and expanding an empire in lands surrounding the Ancient Mediterrainian Sea, Mare Nostrum: Empires is that game. If you like progressing up tracks of technology while abstractly colonizing the world, Golden Ages specializes in that. My preference is MN:E every time.
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Jon Snow
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Steve,

It would appear from your post that you have played already with the three Legendary Cities Atlas expansion modules. I haven't yet, and you are in fact the first on bgg to mention them. So if you could tell us more about your experience of doing so, that would be very useful.

(Or by "enlisting the Gods" did you actually mean recruiting Heroes and Wonders. Divine Favor Cards are on the other hand part of what is in the advanced modules).
 
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GeekDadGamer wrote:
My preference is MN:E every time.


Top 3-5 reasons why?
 
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Rob W
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chas59 wrote:
It would appear from your post that you have played already with the three Legendary Cities Atlas expansion modules. I haven't yet, and you are in fact the first on bgg to mention them. So if you could tell us more about your experience of doing so, that would be very useful.

(Or by "enlisting the Gods" did you actually mean recruiting Heroes and Wonders. Divine Favor Cards are on the other hand part of what is in the advanced modules).


Not so. I mentioned my experience with the expansions here:

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/23162750#23162750
Porkins_ wrote:
For our third (fourth??) game I put in all three Legendary Cities by randomly selecting one Objective for each city. For the H/W's I randomly selected three from each city, then randomly added the remaining eight from the base + Atlas + Daedalus H/W's. The Objective play is interesting and adds the cards to the game, which are very powerful. My son and two nephews I played against screwed me out of getting a card twice...grrrr. Anyway, we enjoyed the additions.
 
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Jon Snow
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Porkins,

Thanks for the reminder. Of course, I'm interested in what others have to say as well.
 
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Steve Cohn
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GeekDadGamer wrote:
One thing I did like about The Golden Ages was the randomness of the board layout, making for different experiences. It felt more Euro-y to me, no real war or combat as there can be in Mare Nostrum.
...
Both are good games, but very different games. If you like running and expanding an empire in lands surrounding the Ancient Mediterranean Sea, Mare Nostrum: Empires is that game. If you like progressing up tracks of technology while abstractly colonizing the world, The Golden Ages specializes in that.


What that Steve said pretty well nails it for this Steve, too.

These are very different games, with only a very thin similarity. Mare Nostrum: Empires is probably the closest to "dudes on a map" I've seen by making military dominance an optional strategy without actually making it the focus. I put this game in a similar realm as A Game of Thrones 2nd Edition Board Game. Limited resources, limited military, supposedly negotiation is part of it (I've yet to see this actually work in AGoT) and a bit of back-and-forth on the map. Somewhat more military focus, somewhat less Euro-y feel.

The trade is actually quite brilliant in MN:E because it's not an option. This isn't Catan. Would you trade your wheat for my two sheep? No, of course not, that helps me out, why would you agree to something that may let me build the requisite city/wonder/whatever to gain points and/or win? In MN:E, everyone participates in every trade (one Hero making an optional exception to this), and you go around the table multiple times, sometimes 1,3,5 or even zero if the 'Prince of Trade' is looking to stall the game a bit (or punish a back-stabber from an earlier round). It's a brilliant design.

The Golden Ages is a fun romp through time, starting with the ancient days and building to the current age/future over 4 eras. You make a different map each game, providing different resources in different areas in different times (something I would not mind seeing in Mare Nostrum: Empires, just a little randomness there in set up resources might be refreshing). You have multiple technologies to invest in over those eras of time, and multiple wonders/buildings you can put into play as well. Combat is much simplified in The Golden Ages [though the limit of a single round of combat in MN:E was also a brilliant way to keep it from becoming a dice-fest-ala-Risk]. Somewhat less military focus, somewhat more Euro-y feel. Though I expect if using the expansion, TGA at five players will have more combat due to increased player interaction in a limited space.

The heroes and leaders in both games add a great deal of variety, special abilities and flexibility to your approach to the game. In Mare Nostrum: Empires each player color has a starting leader/hero specific to that nation (Rome, red, always starts with Caesar, for example), and can gain other leaders/heroes over time. The Golden Ages has a little more random approach, Red is not always Rome and does not always start with Caesar as a leader; Red could be Caesar and Rome, or an ancient queen of another civilization on the other side of a very different looking 'earth'.

For low player counts, I would personally stick to The Golden Ages. I have the expansion but have not tried with five yet, though I imagine things get tight. Two and Four is good. For a higher count Mare Nostrum: Empires is great, played at Five so have not explored any of Atlantis or other expansion material yet. Which I suppose is one--'negative?'--for Mare Nostrum: Empires. You only use certain factions at certain player counts and have to cover up parts of the board/map if not playing with the full contingent, which is something else Mare Nostrum: Empires shares with AGoT2E; at lower player counts the options of which nation you are allowed to play and where on the map is reduced. I understand it's reduced for balance, but I want to play purple, darn it, so uncover Babylon already and let the Egyptians beware!

So, there you go. Played both recently so they are fairly fresh in my head. Oddly I think of Mare Nostrum: Empires as being more "serious" (it's really not, quite fun) and The Golden Ages as being more "fun" (but not silly). I guess I should clarify that MN:E feels "heavier" due it's size and scope and strategies, while TGA feels "lighter" due to it's smaller size and somewhat more random nature.

I hope that makes sense. I'm happy to own both games and happy to play them any time, though would prefer MN:E at only 4+ players, while TGA plays well at 2 and 4, and probably 3 and 5 as well.

Cheers!
~Steve
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Robert F-C
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OchreOgre wrote:
For a higher count Mare Nostrum: Empires is great, played at Five so have not explored any of Atlantis or other expansion material yet. Which I suppose is one--'negative?'--for Mare Nostrum: Empires. You only use certain factions at certain player counts and have to cover up parts of the board/map if not playing with the full contingent, which is something else Mare Nostrum: Empires shares with AGoT2E; at lower player counts the options of which nation you are allowed to play and where on the map is reduced. I understand it's reduced for balance, but I want to play purple, darn it, so uncover Babylon already and let the Egyptians beware!


The last page of the Atlas rules gives some alternative 3/4/5 players setups using different starting nations and map areas. The 3 player setup has Greece, Babylon, and Egypt.
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