Donald M.
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I'm confused between the Bronze age and Iron age versions. Is there any reason to get just the Iron age one with Med. expansion or without Med expansion?

Can someone tell me of all the differences?
 
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Tom Lehmann
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Oiler1 wrote:
I'm confused between the Bronze age and Iron age versions. Is there any reason to get just the Iron age one with Med. expansion or without Med expansion?

Can someone tell me of all the differences?

They are different, but related, games. The underlying game system (by Matt) is similar, but these games are by two different designers (Matt for the Bronze Age and myself for the Iron Age).

The Bronze Age is more accessible and a bit quicker; the Iron Age is a bit deeper, with more varied "paths to victory". Which one works best for your group depends on where you and your players fall on this spectrum.

The publisher of the Iron Age decided to supply it in two versions (partially due to having funded it via Kickstarter): one with and one without the Med. expansion. The Med. expansion adds a small central board in which colonies are founded. If you get the version with the Med. expansion, you can play either with or without it as you wish.

Since the Med. expansion is not sold separately as an add-on, you have to decide in advance whether you want it or not. Both versions have separate entries on BGG -- look at the game comments to see which one appeals to you the most.
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This Guy
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I own both Bronze and Iron with Mediterranean expansion, although I haven't played with the expansion yet.

After I got a great deal on Iron, I figured I would end up trading or selling Bronze. However, they play differently enough that now I'm not sure I will.

Bronze plays quickly and doesn't have much of a "tech tree". Playing it, you can talk more with friends, pick a general direction, but adapt fairly easily later.

Iron is deeper and has early game choices that make much more difference in the end game and how you get there. I found myself thinking a lot more during my turn and needing to pay attention to my opponent's choices much more. It doesn't feel like the light version of anything, but I also have never played the board game Through the Ages.

But if you can only pick one, go with whichever niche needs more games in your collection: light and conversation-friendly or medium and more thinky.
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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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Oiler1 wrote:
I'm confused between the Bronze age and Iron age versions. Is there any reason to get just the Iron age one with Med. expansion or without Med expansion?

Can someone tell me of all the differences?


I would suggest Iron Age with Mediterranean expansion. The game takes a little longer to play but you also have many more options and all your dice rolls are worthwhile in all stages of game play.
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BA = Bronze Age
TLBA = The Late Bronze Age
IA = Iron Age
IA w/Med. = Iron Age with Med. expansion
MP = multiplayer, as opposed to the solo game

BA vs. IA
I've played all 4 incarnations (sort of... with TBLA and IA exp. I only played solo games). I gotta say, between BA and IA, I prefer IA.

Even though with most variables being equal, BA does take less time, it's not THAT significant in savings. BA with trading will eat up more time (trading by nature takes time), while ditto with IA full game, so those are the basis for a apples to apples comparison. However, the latter should be overcome better than the former once players are more familiar with the game.


Even though IA is more "thinky", there are some things going for it for newbies vs. BA:
-IA is more streamlined...
--no "fancy/big math" dealing with goods in IA
$10 in wood + $30 in stone + $18 in pottery + $14 in coins? Sure, it's basic math that most of could do without a calculator. However, it's still nontrivial vs. the mostly single digit additions in IA

--math + ensuring you get down to 6 or less goods in BA
Due to the rule of discarding goods in excess of 6. Players can end up spending a good deal of time trying to optimize the best development they can get, while retaining as close to 6 leftover goods as possible. That involves calculating multiple paths, and ideally writing it down somewhere

--one less step to check for in IA
Not a biggie, but more of a "dense" bookkeeping measure that still "gets in the way". There's actually more steps in IA, but Convert To Wealth can be more or less "safely ignored", while Battles doesn't always happen.

--no "big math" in buying devs in IA either
In IA, Devs range from 2 to 30 in cost.
In BA, devs range from 10 to 60 in cost.
However, in both games, it's roughly just as hard to get either from like level of expense.

--fewer monuments to deal with
Granted, this is sort of a necessity in BA, as there aren't much other mechanics vs. IA. Somewhat less elegant to have to cross off Monuments depending on # of players
--In BA solo game, skulls CAN BE rerolled
although you can always house rule the solo BA game, I always found this to be a bit odd. IA solo games... you're stuck with skulls


-The Fate die creates some unique play elements
-more paths and replayability should be a worthy tradeoff
I will confess that I'm more enamored with IA... but to try to reason that... BA is also a fine game (especially since it was the foundation that Lehman improved upon), but IMO, the higher learning curve in IA isn't THAT much worse (especially factoring the streamlining I mentioned above in this post). In which case, it's worth "putting up" with IA for the extra paths, features, and mechanics present here.

.

IA vs. with its exp.
As mentioned, buying the exp doesn't mean you have to play with it.

The only real cost to getting the exp and not playing it is an extra $15 in cost (plus however much that would add to shipping in weight). It's not huge, but granted, still non-trivial. You can always leave the expansion components behind if you know a game night you're traveling won't be interested (e.g. it's everyone's first game, or they tell you ahead of time).

The cost to NOT getting the exp. and wanting it is you'll need to rebuy the base game with the exp. OTOH, if you've got options to sell previous games, you can take more of the sting off the base game without exp. by selling it.


Me... I've already mentioned that I'd prefer IA over BA. I'd also spring for Med. exp unless you know you won't really play the game enough times to make it worth the while, or that IA is the right complexity level for you and your group.

A "generic comment" here is get Med. for MP, but stick with base game IA for solitaire. I would say the Colony board adds stuff to even the solitaire game, but the base game IA definitely still stands on its own.

Quick overview of the Med. exp is (and to use a video reviewer's words...) it's a "land grab" between other players. Founding colonies gets you windfall bonuses, but doing other things (like getting Ports, Provinces, Monuments, and Devs) can rack up more points, combined with other things, and some of them definitely give you an engine, so there's the tradeoff you have to make in your decision process. Me, I used to say it's a "glorified monument system", but the important emphasis is that only one player can found any given Colony, and that Colonies that take multiple pegs can be snatched from you!

.

other notes
Note that at least in the US, the BA expansion, TLBA is print and play. (For some US countries, it costs money, but coming from a publisher, I'm assuming it's nicer).

For some reason, there are 3 entries for this series...
base game
base game + Med. exp
and just the Med. exp
(even though it was noted that this exp. cannot be purchased separately), so be sure to check all 3 entries for any pertinent info.

sessions of base game (1st one is multiplayer)
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1567208/roll-through-ir...
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1551814/rtta-it-long-de...

Solo session of Iron Age with Med.
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1583796/roll-through-ir...

There's an iOS app for solo games and MP games of BA and TLBA (no AI though). However, you need ios6, or possibly less, since the game hasn't been updated in ages, and playing the game at least on ios7 or ios8 will cause a crash when you end the round angry

There's a Java app for PC, for BA, but don't know where to get that.

I created a digital implementation of the solitaire game. It's in Excel/spreadsheet format. It keeps track of score for you, and reminds you of rules and stuff, but otherwise, it does no rules enforcement. I've been meaning to ask RGG if they'd be OK with me uploading the file, but keet forgetting!


Depending on availability, you may be able to try out the solitaire games at the very least to get a feel for them (even though MP can be quite different).
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