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Subject: 8 players, Basic AST -- Recap rss

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Ian C
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I just had the pleasure of playing my first round of MegaCiv after 20+ years of pseudo-annual Advanced Civ games. This was an 8-player game hosted by JP at PacifiCon in Santa Clara, California. Below is a brief summary of the gameplay, followed by my thoughts on MegaCiv as compared to Advanced Civ.

Session Report:

Our group comprised 8 players, of which 2-3 had played MegaCiv before, 3 or so of the rest had played AdvCiv, and 1-2 had never played Civ or AdvCiv. Our gamemaster explained the rules over a ~45-minute period, and play commenced shortly before 10 AM.

We played on the Western Mapboard, which made for familiar scenery despite the rearrangement of various borders. Northwestern Europe and the Celts were out of play, so we had: Assyria, Carthage, Hatti, Rome, Iberia, Hella, Egypt, and Minoa (me; I drew last). Before starting we began negotiating with our neighbors. In a nonagression pact that lasted the entire game (and ended with both players in the Top 2 spots), my Eastern neighbor Hatii and I quickly agreed that I could keep Rhodes. Meanwhile I ceded the island of Euboea (Chalcis & Eretria) to the Hellenes, especially after they began a blood fued with Rome that also extended to the game's end. Carthage and Iberia kept to their respective continents until the former acquired Agriculture. I'm not sure what treaties were hammered out between Hatti, Assyria, and/or Egypt but these three experienced some mild level of conflict throughout the game.

The game started out, as many do for Crete/Minoa, with a rush to claim the Aegean, the Peloponnese, and northern Greece -- all while being at a mild disadvantage to other civilizations because of the need for frequenty construction & maintenance of my trireme fleets. Once I had a few cities and enough trade cards, I managed to secure Cloth Making, Astronavigation (formerly Astronomy), and the new Empiricism as some of my earliest advances. From there, I settled into the new player's typical strategy of focusing on Orange (craft) cards and trying to stay as innocuous and inoffensive as possible.

I was happy to be avoided, since just to the Northwest a gruesome war was unfolding. Since the dawn of time Hellas, convinced of its divine right to rule the Rubicon (if not all of Italy), waged unceasing war against the forces of Rome. The motivation for this conflict was clear to no-one, but it was never really negotiated away. For fear of suffering a fate similar to that which I feared for Rome, I kept to my own territory even when Hellas offered its soft, inviting underbelly to my Minoan forces.


Along with its aggression, Hellas was also but an occasional trader and the game's final scores stand as a testament to the penalties incurred by an insufficiently vigorous trading strategy (and the difficulties of successfully waging full-scale aggressive warfare). I traded plenty, but in this my first convention-level Civ game was amazed at the rapidity and cupidity of my other fellow players. It seemed that each turn someone would redeem a full set of copper, or wine, or wool, or even fish for several hundred points of cards. It was quickly obvious that Iberea and Hatti were most adept at accumulating advances, and they held this lead for the rest of the game.

Meanwhile calamities fell unabated around the Mediterranean basin. Though it rains on the just and unjust alike, this rain fell particularly heavily on Ibera and Egypt. The former suffered a string of four rounds or more in which 2+ calamities were held at the end of each trading session. Meanwhile Egypt was decimated by two civil wars (beneficiaries: Minoa and then Iberia) from which they never really recovered. As Minoa I was singularly fortunate to draw or end with relatively few really horrible calamities: I think I never held Civil War, Cyclone, Flood, Tyranny, Famine, Epidemic, Piracy, Civil Disorder... Meanwhile my playstyle was inoffensive enough, and I was not an obvious leader in advances, that I only rarely suffered the brunt even of secondary effects.

Two AST spaces before the end, just as everyone was realizing that Hatti was a primary threat, they purchased Cultural Ascendancy. This new card essentially protected them from any direct, military attacks and so Hatti seemed destined for a quick victory -- all they needed was one more advance costing 200+ points. But through a combination of a trade emargo and ill fate (calamities), after advancing to the penultimate AST space Hatti was brought to a standstill for 2-3 rounds, enough time for a five-way AST tie: Carthage, Hatti, Ibera, Egypt, and Minoa. During these last few turns full-fledged war broke out on many fronts: Egypt against Hatti (before Ascendancy), Rome against Hatti (once the former bought Adv. Military), Minoa against Iberia, Rome and Egypt against Carthage ... and of course, Hellas against Rome. While Hatti and others remained unable to buy their last advance card and Iberia was stuck at <5 cities, somehow Minoa was spared most calamities and most military attacks. Thus at about 10 PM (after 12 hours of play), the final scores were:


Name cards AST city TOTAL rank
Minoa 44 75 6 125 FIRST (by AST)
Hatti 51 70 4 125 2nd
Rome 50 70 4 124 3rd
Iberia 48 70 3 121 4th
Egypt 40 75 4 119 5th
Carthage 34 70 5 109 6th
Assyria 30 70 6 106 7th
Hellas 13 55 5 73 8th

... an extraordinarily close game, and a victory I attribute far more to good fortune than any superiority in ability.

Time permitting, I'll write up an overview of my first impressions of the game, and how it compares in my mind to Advanced Civilization.
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Kevin Youells
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I paid 100 geek gold, and all I got was this lousy overtext
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Wow! That was a close game! You are correct, as a strategy, trading beats warfare every time. Congrats on your win.
 
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JR Honeycutt
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Isn't it true that AST rank is the last tie breaker?
 
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Ian C
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JR -- I don't own the game and so can't check the rules on this. If you have access to the rules: what is the ordered list of tie-breaking metrics?
 
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JR Honeycutt
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From first to last:

1. Position on the AST (farthest along the track, I.e., furthest to the right)
2. Most 6-point advances
3. Most 3-point advances
4. Total price of all advances held
5. Highest value of credits of a single color
6. Highest total value of all credits
7. # of cities in play
8. # of tokens in play
9. AST # (vertical rank, Minoa as #1 wins this always)
 
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JR Honeycutt
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kreuzfeld00 wrote:
JR -- I don't own the game and so can't check the rules on this. If you have access to the rules: what is the ordered list of tie-breaking metrics?


Now that I'm looking at your post I see what you meant by AST, of course - nice win for Minoa, also my favorite to play!
 
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