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Subject: Totally confused - help! rss

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Andy Kent
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Hi

Well, I have now spent two days going through the rules and watching videos of playthroughs and I must admit I am utterly confused about how to play the game.

I understand that I use my "resource cards" to buy "power cards" but I don't understand why or how I am supposed to know which ones. I can't see any goal, and so there seems to be no reason to buy one card over the other. Is there a strategy I should be using, are there tactics, what is the end result I am working towards? I have no idea.

I am also confused by the fact that the resource cards are also my money cards, and also my population cards. The power cards too are multipurpose, often with no seeming logic. Buying a street apparently offers some protection against earthquakes. Eh? Or a bridge will halt the decline of my civilization. There are three large fields available, all of which provide 5 food. But one helps prevent plague (ok), another a drought (how?) and a third earthquakes (what??).

This seeming randomness in the benefits and costs of each card means I have no idea what I am supposed to do on each round, as I have no clear path to follow in building a civilisation and no clear goal to aim for.

Unless the goal is simply to try to avoid the catastrophes. In which case the game should have been called "Catastrophe!" to make it clearer. The two playthroughs I watched emphasise the catastrophe-avoidance element of the game strongly, so I assume this is the case.

I have never played Peloppones the original game, and know nothing about it. Perhaps this is the problem. Maybe it is assumed that I will understand the basic concepts of the main game and then apply the card game rules to that.

I was hoping that this would be a simple, short, solo civ game. Unfortunately all I can see is a mechanic, one that crams so much into a simple deck of cards that it covers up its theme and obscures the goal, leaving me completely lost about what to do with the cards.

I WANT to like it, to enjoy the strategies I can employ in developing my city-state. But I'm in the dark.

Can anyone help?

TDM
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Mo
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Hey, Andy.

Sounds like you might just be overthinking it a bit. It's a relatively simple game...albeit with a few funky rules.

Your goal is to achieve as close to a balanced civ as possible. The two scores you are aiming for are population and victory points. The lower of the two is your final score.

You'll be buying cards from the market area. Every card will have at least one score (population or VP) on it, but many times both.

If you're just learning the game, ignore the AI system altogether and just focus on building your tableau of cards (the civ cards). And yes, avoiding catastrophes is a big part of the game.

I strongly recommend Tom Heath's (slickerdrips) solo playthrough video in the forum. It isn't really instructional per se, but it's a very good example of the solo game.

Hope that encourages you to give it another go. It's a very good solo experience. Good luck.

Mo
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Jeff Collins
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I will offer some thoughts...

First, the goal of the game is to build your civilization the best that you can while trying to avoid or mitigate the catastrophes.

i will (tactically) look to add power cards to my civilization that give me wood and/or stone so that i have more stone and wood to complete "street" cards that i get in later rounds.

In addition, all of the cards provide inhabitants, power points, and or wheat. (Stratigically), i try to balance bidding on/"conquesting" power cards to increase inhabitance and wheat evenly (for when supply happens) as well as obtain power points for the final score. Remember your final score is the lesser of inhabitants or power points.

I try to keep resource cards with wood or stone in my hand to help cover the cost of "street" buildings, unless there is a supply phase likely coming up and i know that my civilization does not supply enough wheat,so i then keep wheat and/or inhabitant cards to cover the supply phase.

Regarding catastrophes, obviously purchase the "automatic" catastrophe ignoring power cards (with the catastrophe slashed out on the bottom center) if you can. Or try to purchase 3 of a kind of the catastrophe that is further along the track than the others, but there seems to be little time to do that. I play this multiplayer with the catastrophe variant suggested by glenfun and it works very well.

Hope this is helpful. It is a really fun game that gives you lots of decisions in a short amount of time. Good luck.

Jeff



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Kevin B. Smith
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You have gotten a couple good answers. I'm not sure I'll add much, but that won't stop me from trying.

You'll want to buy cards that give you food (so your people don't starve), wood and/or stone (so you can build some useful cards), and population (to increase your income). And some cards will give you special abilities, such as full protection against catastrophes, or a discount on future buildings. While keeping all that in mind, you'll also want to collect sets of catastrophe symbols, as an alternative way to protect yourself.

You can't do all that, so you'll have to pick and choose, depending on your starting civ card, your hand, the state of the various catastrophes, and other cards you already bought. Oh, and there is also the possibility of getting (and then using) luxury goods, if you buy the right cards at the right time. Plus of course if you pay more for cards, you'll deplete your hand which will hurt you.

With all that going on, you want to end the game with a nice balance of power card points and population points. Trying to figure out how to balance all those goals is really the crux of the game, for me.

Your hand of cards is money that can be spent to buy buildings (1 card = 1 coin). But to spice things up, each card has an alternate purpose: Food (again, to avoid starvation), people (to avoid starvation or for end game points), or wood or stone (to help build buildings). Deciding which coins to spend suddenly becomes an interesting decision.

The theme is strong as far as field producing grain, and quarries producing wood. And then how food, wood, and stone are used. And the effects of the catastrophes are reasonably thematic, as are the ideas of generating and spending luxury goods. The multi-use cards are reasonably thematic too, as you (the ruler) must decide what to "spend" to grow your empire.

But I'll agree with you that the catastrophe prevention, and several of the building special abilities, are not thematic. As with most games, some thematic liberties have to be taken in favor of strong gameplay mechanisms. This is definitely a card game with a light civ theme, not a "civ card game".

As a suggestion, you might play a game or two either with the houserule variant of starting each catastrophe token one space farther back (making catastrophes less likely, or at least later). Or even play without catastrophes at all, just to get a sense of the general game flow, mechanisms, and scoring. Once you have played a game or two and really understand the basics, adding the catastrophes back in should ramp up the fun and challenge.

I haven't yet figured out how much to try to gain immunity to catastrophes versus just building up in ways that would allow me to accept the damage. The game can be pretty punishing in that way, which some people don't enjoy (but others of us do).
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Bernd Eisenstein
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Hello Andy!

There are very good answers, so that I'll give a few words about your "thematic problem":

"But I'll agree with you that the catastrophe prevention, and several of the building special abilities, are not thematic. As with most games, some thematic liberties have to be taken in favor of strong gameplay mechanisms. This is definitely a card game with a light civ theme, not a "civ card game". "

Yes, this is totally randomness, because the cards have to trigger the catastrophes - and be part of a protection set. It is not possible to make this part also thematic, bacause all catastrophes must have the same number of symbols at the top and spread even through all the power cards.

I hope you find your way to the game.
Thank you and greetings
Bernd
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Dave Daffin
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I probably can't add anything here that hasn't been said better already, but I will add my support and would just urge you to 'go with the flow' and keep playing to see how situations work out. With luck you can prevent or mitigate the disasters, and build up your civilisation.

I find this a superb solo game, in particular the fact that you are not just trying to beat your own high score, but you're trying to beat the AI.
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Jeff Collins
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In response to dealing with the catastrophes... Irongames could make it a bit easier on all of us by getting the expansion out as soon as possible. I am very interested in getting the expansion. I will again say that this is a great game.
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Bernd Eisenstein
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About the little expansion, that helps a bit more to gain protection (besides others):

It will be available at the Irongames webstore from tomorrow (sep. 1st)!

World: http://www.my24shop.biz/?shop=2268
EU: http://www.my24shop.biz/?shop=2267
Germany: http://www.my24shop.biz/?shop=2266

Thank you and have a good play
Bernd
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Andy Kent
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Hi everyone

Wow! What a lot of support and advice! First let me thank everyone who has responded so quickly for the advice and help and suggestions. I have taken everything on board and I am now in a much better place regarding the game.

Mo - thanks for your simple overview of the game and the suggestion for watching the slickerdrips solo playthrough - which helped a great deal

Jeff - thanks for the suggested tactics and strategies for progressing through the epochs

Kevin - thanks for the deeper explanation of the theme and how it is applied (or not), and also for the excellent suggestion of playing without catastrophes to help understand the basic mechanics of building a city-state

Bernd - thanks for taking the time to help with my trivial issues. Your explanation of my thematic confusion makes perfect sense and is obvious after a moments thought - how could any card be part of the three that bring a disaster and also the three that prevent it? It must therefore be random! I was confused because some of them ARE logical - the well and the aqueduct, for example, preventing plague; and the cyclopean masonry preventing earthquakes.

Dave - I have followed your advice and just carried on persevering, trying to "go with the flow".

So, where am I now? Well, I have now played 4 games without the AI or catastrophes, to get the mechanics down and understand the process of building a city-state, balanced between population and victory points, and learning how to aim for production early to help with construction later on, and so on, building up a logical progression to greatness.

I think I have that now, and so tomorrow I will add in the catastrophes, with the clear understanding that the icons are random. Personally I am using the logic that the catastrophes are sent by the gods, capricious and mischievous as they are. So when we conquer some Land if we dedicate the battle to Ares it might make him less likely to send a plague. Or when we build a Street, lets make sure we put a shrine to Athena in it, to incur her pleasure and her protection from the coming earthquake...

After that, I will add in the AI and see what happens when I have to beat an opponent.

If I could blame anything in the game for my confusion, I would say that making the rulebook so very small, and multilingual, means it only has room for the basic mechanics. I think a system like this would benefit from a lot of thematic explanation, and examples of play, especially for people unfamiliar with the Peloponnese boardgame. I also think a simple historical glossary would help with short explanations of things like the Treasury of Atreus, the Acrocorinth, or Cyclopean masonry, to enhance the theme.

So, thanks to all of you for your support and advice - I haven't given up, and it looks like I'll be enjoying a neat, quick, solo civ-game with the rest of you very soon.

TDM
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