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Juanlu Bermudez
Spain
Málaga
Málaga
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Hi. I know this may sound strange. Some months ago, we got Nations to the table with very high expectations. We never played TTA before but theoretically Nations was a euro-streamlined version of a great but long and complex game.

We played a 3 players game and none of us liked the game. As you may expect this was a huge let down for us (even more for me since I buy all the games and Natios was unveliable expensive). Personally, I feel that the game mechanics were very flat. It was just a drafting game, with quite a lot of chrome but actually thin theme. There was not a single exciting moment in the entire game. Card habilities were just boring and then there was those loads of adding andh substractions at the end of every turn. And as the game lasted several hours, we suffered all of this during way too much time.

It's not my objective in this thread to criticize Nations, but to point out what we didn't like, to see the degree in wich TTA feels (or not) the same. Because, you know, now it's difficult to put TTA on the table and say: remember Nations? Well this is more or less the same but more heavy!

In the end Nations didn't worth it. But will TTA? Thanks.
 
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Ben Kyo
Japan
Suita
Osaka
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I think TtA is one of the best games ever made, and found Nations to be fairly average. That said, all the things you describe as not liking about Nations are probably also things you won't like about TtA, so for you, maybe, it shouldn't be an immediate purchase.

Try it for free at http://www.boardgaming-online.com and see for yourself.
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Julien Robert
France
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Given the criticism you give I can't see you loving TTA
I would recommend to give it a try though, find someone who owns a copy or try it on internet.
The main difference for me is that Nations is rather tactical when TTA is more strategic.
also, the game is far more longer
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Ronald Tin
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
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I despise Nations but I love TtA. But it's just me...
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TonyKR
United States
Portland
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I've never played Nations, but I've heard that it fell flat for a lot of people.

Try to find someone who knows/owns TTA and talk them into playing a 2P teaching game with just you. If you like it and think it might be something that the others in your group might like, then try scaling up from there. But the game length increases a lot with more players, and some people really don't like playing with 4. So start small.
 
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Jorge
Switzerland
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YoshiFR wrote:
also, the game is far more longer
A 3-player Nations could last ~2h, a TtA would last ~3h. At this order of magnitude, it's not that "much" longer. 90 minutes is indeed "much longer" than 30 minutes, but 120 vs 150 min? Not much of a difference.
 
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mfl134
United States
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Picon wrote:
YoshiFR wrote:
also, the game is far more longer
A 3-player Nations could last ~2h, a TtA would last ~3h. At this order of magnitude, it's not that "much" longer. 90 minutes is indeed "much longer" than 30 minutes, but 120 vs 150 min? Not much of a difference.


2h vs 3h is 60 minutes though
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Mike Urban
United States
Los Angeles
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One friend's comment on Nations stated my own feeling pretty well: it's OK, but it just makes me want to play TTA.
 
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Jack Liu
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TTA is deeper than Nations because you have card drafting AND can plan long term strategies because you know X card will come out.

Nations has the drafting part but there are soooooo many cards that a bad flop can ruin you. In TTA, you can expect all the cards to come out from the Age decks but the order and the way the game plays will determine which strategy you push for


TTA creates a more visceral feeling than Nations. Actions and Resources are tight, mistakes are punished heavily by direct aggression or just falling behind. Competition can be fierce (especially in the military department).
Nations is more forgiving in that you can always take resources and don't have to grow. End game nations also has a huge surplus of resources.

TTA rewards experience and forward planing, as well as tactical play when opportunities present itself. It's possible to get destroyed in TTA, even in the new version. That's why they still let you resign. But when you have close 4p games and everything is just balancing on a knifes edge where everyeone is just trying to get a leg up.. those games are oh so satisfying.
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Jorge
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mfl134 wrote:
2h vs 3h is 60 minutes though
Yes, it is. But I'm referring to the order of magnitude. A $10 difference in the price of a product is huge between $1 and $11 but minimal between $142 and $152.

Likewise, a 60min increase from 2h to 3h is only a 50% increase, whereas a 60min increase from 30min to 90min is a 200% increase. So, yes, TtA is strictly slower than Nations in absolute time, but very much comparable in terms of playing time. On the other hand, Nations vs Stone Age (~1h) is not comparable, as it's double the playing time.

Bottom line: I personally have difficulty in accepting an argument in the lines of "but Nations is so much faster than TtA!" Yes, it is strictly faster. But not that much. Is the introduced randomness worth for just a 33% faster game? Well... that is subjective.

Now if you divide (what_it_offers) over (how_long_it_lasts), TtA is clearly the winner.
 
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Charles Washington
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Houston
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No.

Nations just ruins itself.

It's like buying the generic brands at the grocery store, cheaper, but the manufacturer changes regularly, so you never know what you are going to get, and rarely is it better than the well known national brand.

And if I am wrong, your next Go2Cola, Citrus Sling, Dr. K, or Mountain Lightning is on me.

 
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Walter Kolczynski
United States
College Park
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For some people, TtA can succeed where Nations fails. However, given your specific complaints, I think is is unlikely you will enjoy TtA. The game is still about drafting cards and building an economy. The theme feels a little stronger, but I don't think it will be enough.

But, as others have said, give it a try if you can. It might surprise you.
 
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Walter Kolczynski
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Picon wrote:
mfl134 wrote:
2h vs 3h is 60 minutes though
Yes, it is. But I'm referring to the order of magnitude. A $10 difference in the price of a product is huge between $1 and $11 but minimal between $142 and $152.

Likewise, a 60min increase from 2h to 3h is only a 50% increase, whereas a 60min increase from 30min to 90min is a 200% increase. So, yes, TtA is strictly slower than Nations in absolute time, but very much comparable in terms of playing time. On the other hand, Nations vs Stone Age (~1h) is not comparable, as it's double the playing time.

Bottom line: I personally have difficulty in accepting an argument in the lines of "but Nations is so much faster than TtA!" Yes, it is strictly faster. But not that much. Is the introduced randomness worth for just a 33% faster game? Well... that is subjective.

Now if you divide (what_it_offers) over (how_long_it_lasts), TtA is clearly the winner.

Games with experienced players are 3h. It's usually much longer for a first game, and is probably at least double a first game of Nations. [Edit: assuming a full game and not the 2-age game.]
 
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Japhet
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Quote:
There was not a single exciting moment in the entire game

That's the biggest part of your description that differs IMO from your description of Nations. I feel like there's a lot of excitement in TTA. In the beginning it's trying to guess what others want to do and go for the leaders/wonders that will best compete. It's a blank slate and anything can happen. Mid-game you got a strategy going and you're excited to see the cards you want come down the line. And you're excited to see what military cards you draw. Late-game, culture wars are always a thrill and you can feel the tension building for the final showdown of wars, wonders and scoring events. That final end-game scoring, you've been building your civ according to what you know will be scored (since you secretly played those cards) but you're also anticipating what others might have secretly played, so you make your guesses, build accordingly, and when it's all over you get to finally see what was played by everyone.

Quote:
the game mechanics were very flat
The mechanics in TTA are superb. Playing events, bidding on territories, action system, drafting, military cards. Everything fits together really nicely.

Quote:
Card habilities were just boring
Some TTA cards are vanilla (just give you 2 more resources, or 3 more science per turn) but then there are cards that let you destroy other's buildings, discover a territory, steal someone's territory, assassinate a leader, play two political actions in a row, get a free worker each turn, peek at the next event. You find extra flavor when you can combine these powerful cards with the right set of boring cards.

Quote:
and then there was those loads of adding andh substractions at the end of every turn.
TTA has this as well.
 
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David desJardins
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Burlingame
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jaafit wrote:
That's the biggest part of your description that differs IMO from your description of Nations. I feel like there's a lot of excitement in TTA.


Still, excitement is entirely subjective. You might find it thrilling and he might find the same thing deathly dull.
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John Bradshaw
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For me the reverse was true - TtA experience ruined Nations for me - didn't like it at all. After more than 600 plays of TtA I still think it's the best game ever. But it's all down to personal taste - there are people who hate TtA, of course.

Do bear in mind that you can try TtA online. You can play it solo (playing against yourself) to get to grips with the interface and the rules.
 
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Julien Robert
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Picon wrote:
YoshiFR wrote:
also, the game is far more longer
A 3-player Nations could last ~2h, a TtA would last ~3h. At this order of magnitude, it's not that "much" longer. 90 minutes is indeed "much longer" than 30 minutes, but 120 vs 150 min? Not much of a difference.


For me Nations with 3p is around 1.5h
TTA will always be around 3h
so it is a huge difference (double time actually)

also diff between 2h and 3h is more 1h than 30 min.
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LudoH LudoH
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Having played both, and loving both, even though I highly prefer TTTA, I think that you will find in TTA the aspects you do not like about Nations.

TTA flows better, is deeper and richer. If you found Nations not balanced the way you like or too simplistic, TTA would be the solution, but you still have card drafting mechanism, building mechanism, even if in TTA the development is richer and closer to a civ building game. You might enjoy the working of events and military aspects more in TTA than in Nations.

Overall, like many other posters I would also think you would not like TTA, even if many people do not like Nations and love TTA.
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Juanlu Bermudez
Spain
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Thanks for your replies. Seems like Nations and TTA settle in common ground, both in theme and mechanics. So, yes, to say I will not like TTA seems fairly accurate.

However, gameplay is something that gets proyected through the rules, but actually are much more (or less) that what rules may sugest on paper.
Reading some of your replies, all those persons who enjoy TTA are more in love with the experience of the game. As I said in my original post, Nations didn't worth the time and the learning curve because the experience was plain and dull.

From what I have learn from Paul Grogan's instructional video, TTA doesn't seems to have these intriguing and refined mechanics that much of today's euros come with. It kind of reminds me a Martin Wallace game.
But to put any game at the top of the BGG list I guess you must deliver something more than mechanics and this is, of course, a great experience. Could that actually worth the time and learning curve, even if I didn't like Nations?
 
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Ronald Tin
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Short answer: yes.

Long answer: Through the ages is a civilisation game. Nations is a boardgame with civilisation theme. Considering you don't hate this genre it is definitely worth your time to learn a game that is top 10 on BGG.

The thing with Through the Ages is that
* it has a very troublesome maintenance segment (you get to move those blue cubes every turn)
* it is vulnerable to analysis paralysis because you could have a very long action phase with 8 actions or more in age 3

But the designer also knows those troubles so some additional complexity is introduced in each age. You learn to operate your turn in the simple learning game. New features are introduced in your second game when you play to age 2 and age 3.
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Kester J
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The biggest difference between the two - and the reason that Nations also felt flat for me - is how much they lock you into certain paths. Because Nations lets you upgrade buildings into other buildings pretty much as you like, every civilisation feels the same because they all end up pretty balanced. TtA makes it much harder to switch tracks, and so you tend to produce civilisations that feels genuinely different.

That said, TtA still fundamentally follows the structure of an economic efficiency eurogame, with a buildup of infrastructure in the first two-thirds transferring into points in the last third - usually via military means. The texture and interesting abilities almost all come through leaders and wonders; everything else is essentially "get X amount of Y".
 
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Walter Kolczynski
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hokuto_su wrote:
Short answer: yes.

Long answer: Through the ages is a civilisation game. Nations is a boardgame with civilisation theme. Considering you don't hate this genre it is definitely worth your time to learn a game that is top 10 on BGG.

The thing with Through the Ages is that
* it has a very troublesome maintenance segment (you get to move those blue cubes every turn)
* it is vulnerable to analysis paralysis because you could have a very long action phase with 8 actions or more in age 3

But the designer also knows those troubles so some additional complexity is introduced in each age. You learn to operate your turn in the simple learning game. New features are introduced in your second game when you play to age 2 and age 3.

A third thing for your list: downtime.
 
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Iván Martínez
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I don't like Nations. It's not very thematic.

I love TTA. I know you have to spend a lot of time to play it and it's a complex game, but in my opinion, it's the best game I've played ever. I usually play the old version in boardgamearena.com and it's great.
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Anders Isaksen
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I enjoyed Nations quiet abit until I tried TtA. Through the ages gives me the same feel that CiV on the PC does. Something I never got in nations.
Nations is a very good economic driven drafting game.
TtA has card drafting but there is so much more to it. Especially military is vastly superior to Nations.
Even if you dont like Nations you should at least try TtA.
 
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