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Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization» Forums » General

Subject: New Player Strategy Help rss

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Connor Alexander
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After playing the app about a dozen times I have to say - I suck at this game. Which is frustrating! I'm typically pretty good at grokking strategy games. This one just seems to beat the snot out of me. I can win about 75% of the games against the easiest setting, often handily, but when I bump it up to Medium I just get owned.

Are there any good resources out there detailing general strategies? I can't find much aside from very specific things, like what leaders are best and skipping the Iron technology.

I think my problem is focusing too heavily on one or two things and mid-game I'm way behind in the neglected areas while the AI is far more balanced. This is particularly the case with culture, and I will have not developed a culture engine early so mid-game the opponent has a huge advantage I'm not able to overcome late game.

Any help is appreciated! Love this game, it's such a great puzzle, but it is frustrating to get beat down game after game.
 
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Nicholas Dewald
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Have you checked the strategy forums. Thats the first place I look.
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Brian Pierce
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The fun and challenging thing about Through the Ages is that you need to manage and balance several economies in the game (food, resources, science, and culture) all at once. In my experience, it is not the best idea to completely ignore some of these and go heavy into the others. Instead, you need to work on having some balance while focusing where it is relevant for your strategy.

Some general advice that comes to mind:

You need a source of new workers – As you have probably seen, workers start to get quite expensive as the game progresses. It is important to either have a food engine that can keep up with this or to try to get colonies that will provide you more yellow cubes to keep them cheap. If you don’t pursue either of these paths you might find yourself a bit locked out of progressing, as your food production is merely matching your upkeep costs and you aren’t making enough progress to bring out enough new workers.

Resources are important – Investing in a way to make more resources early in the game really pays off. Spend your early resources to invest back into getting more resources for the entire game.

Science is super important – Science doesn’t play a huge role in the first few turns of the game, but is ultra-important for everything you want to do for most of the rest of the game. I have seen many times that people focus to heavily on building a strong culture engine in the early game and get off to a sizeable lead. However, this comes to a screeching halt the mid to late game when +2 science production per turn is never going to allow you to develop the 10 science technologies you need. Don’t neglect your science and try to grab lab upgrades that will make you more efficient in producing this valuable resource.

Culture engine – Of course culture is the way to win the game so it is a good idea to set up a way to start earning this early in the game. I personally don’t think it is worth the investment (and required neglecting of other resources) to go heavy into temples for example very early. While earing 6 more culture than your opponents for the first 5 rounds looks good at first, you will soon find that not having good science or resource production hurts in a big way. I try to get some culture production with an early wonder or temple, but I don’t fixate on this from the start.

Technology Upgrades – It is easy to get bogged down in your own tableau and miss out on opportunities to grab technology upgrades for your farms, mines, and urban buildings. Try to grab some of these (even if they cost 2 civil actions). A common pitfall is to pass on ones that seem to expensive, only to find that you are still working with your Age A mine in the mid game. These improvements pay off in the end and you should grab them while you can.

Yellow cards – Some players neglect yellow cards from the card row because they get too fixated on what they are doing on that turn. Since these need to be purchased at least a turn in advance it can sometimes seem like there are better things to do. I like to invest in having these in my hand because it sets up much stronger turns. It also prevents you from locking out your hand by grabbing a bunch of expensive technology cards that require more science than you are producing. You can free up your hand a bit by having these yellow cards and by having good science production.

Synergize with your leader – Leaders are great because they provide you a focus and bonus. Try to get the most out of your leader and use their ability to the fullest extent. Picked up Shakespeare? Make sure to grab those improved theaters and libraries and get that bonus going strong. Your time with your leader can go fast, so try to get them while they are young (i.e. just came out) and get the most out of them.

Get more civil actions – I see many new players wait and wait on government upgrades/revolutions because they seem too expensive. If you are working with 4 civil actions in the mid game you are in trouble. Either find a way to improve your government or find other sources of civil actions (e.g. blue technology cards). Even just one more action is huge.

Don’t neglect end game wonders and event cards – These are both huge sources of points and it is important to set yourself up for success here. Having more military actions in the late game lets you draw and see more of these cards, increasing the chances that you will stumble upon one that is great for you. The final wonders can seem expensive, but combining them with an Engineering card that allows you to build multiple stages at once and a strong resource engine can net you big points. Find ways to get at least one of these built in the end.

Try not to end your turn with the least military – It is hard to prioritize with so many other things to do, but I try to not end my turn with the least military. It just sets you up for so many negative consequences that you need to make sure that you won’t be the one targeted when those events come out. Investment in military will slow your economic growth, but if all players are doing this then you should still be in a relatively good position. A great way to get strong military levels is to use tactics wisely.

I’m sure my advice sounds like “Do everything and you should be fine”, but that is sort of how the game feels. I think you will have more success if you try to play more balanced and particularly focus on a resource and science economy early in the game. Strength in these resources gives you the flexibility to adapt to what your opponents are doing. I like to think of it like this. Having a lot of resources and science lets you do things to get more culture. Having lots of culture doesn’t let you get resources and science. Invest in your engine early and you will reap the benefits later.
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Ben Kyo
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I will just say that following hard rules like "skipping the Iron technology" are not going to be helpful.

A lot of the strategy discussion on the forums is about high level play where everyone is doing their best to win (and prevent others from winning). When you are playing against medium level AI, that is not the case.

For example, an AI player that has no hope of winning a colony (or exploiting someone overpaying for a colony) will seed colony events liberally. In general, I find there are a lot of colony events in any AI game. You might want to consider exploiting that.

As another example, when you are in a low pressure game without an arms race, you may well find yourself with the spare tech, resources, CAs, and yellow cards to develop Iron. Learning that skipping Iron is the optimum strategy is not going to help you in a game in which it isn't.

Everything is situational: You need to focus on prioritising based on what comes out early in an Age, and what you can do with it. It's all about making the most of what you have and can get, not "learning" that A is always better than B.
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E_R S
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Get more stuff.
 
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Mark Strik
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Wanna play a game and discuss our choices in detail?
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Dan Bradshaw
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Benkyo wrote:

Everything is situational: You need to focus on prioritising based on what comes out early in an Age, and what you can do with it. It's all about making the most of what you have and can get, not "learning" that A is always better than B.


Those first three words are all important. Irrigation is usually better than Iron, Knights are usually better than Swordsmen, Bach is usually a bad leader, investing in military is usually worth it. But all of those are sometimes false.
 
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George I.
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GoodOmens wrote:
Benkyo wrote:

Everything is situational: You need to focus on prioritising based on what comes out early in an Age, and what you can do with it. It's all about making the most of what you have and can get, not "learning" that A is always better than B.


Those first three words are all important. Irrigation is usually better than Iron, Knights are usually better than Swordsmen, Bach is usually a bad leader, investing in military is usually worth it. But all of those are sometimes false.
Agree. Everything is situational. I once had Bach dropping as the first Age II card, with Opera following suit. As I had skipped Alchemy, but had the Library of Alexandria, I upgraded my Philosophers to operas and started earning +12 mb per turn in Age II, which was insane! I continued with an early Chaplin and a last-turn Hollywood, the latter giving me a massive 32 mb.

Naturally, I had at the same time the Great Wall with two legions, while I had discarded all Cavalry-related tactics and successfully defended against a bloodthirsty Napoleon Bonaparte. I always wanted to do that combo. A Journalism a bit later on just put my science production back on track.
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Riku Koskinen
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Here's another piece of advice:

I have seen new players doing it a lot, so I find it worth mentioning that it is generally not worth upgrading from age I tech to age II tech of the same kind. If you have Iron/Irrigation/Alchemy/Drama/Printing Press/etc., in most cases it is a bad idea to try to upgrade these to the corresponding age II techs. If you really have more than enough science, it is more advisable to invest in blue special techs than to have a small increase in your production output. Or just save it all to age III, because techs from that age cost between 7-12 science, excluding governments.

Upgrading some of these to age III ones, especially culture producers, will of course be a very good idea.
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Wes Holland

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Padish wrote:
Here's another piece of advice:

I have seen new players doing it a lot, so I find it worth mentioning that it is generally not worth upgrading from age I tech to age II tech of the same kind. If you have Iron/Irrigation/Alchemy/Drama/Printing Press/etc., in most cases it is a bad idea to try to upgrade these to the corresponding age II techs. If you really have more than enough science, it is more advisable to invest in blue special techs than to have a small increase in your production output. Or just save it all to age III, because techs from that age cost between 7-12 science, excluding governments.

Upgrading some of these to age III ones, especially culture producers, will of course be a very good idea.


I find myself getting caught in this one a lot. The main one is that I used to get Alchemy and Scientific Method. It's already a drain on your CAs to upgrade your Philosophy to Alchemy, upgrading again to Scientific Method is usually out of the question. (This CA drain is why Iron isn't usually a good choice. With Pyramids, early Code of Laws, or early Iron, the CA drain is mitigated.)

This is actually one of the reasons I'm a little down on Aristotle in general; He gets you Age I techs, but then you'll have to skip the Age II techs of the same type unless you get far ahead with CAs/Resources. He gives you Science, a rare resource, but at the worst time in the game for it. I much prefer Leonardo, Alchemy, then waiting for Journalism. (Printing Press and Scientific Method is also acceptable.)

Once I stopped taking both Age I and Age II labs, I did a lot better.
 
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Mark Strik
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On the other hand, Aristotle can help you discover Alchemy and Code of Laws earlier. Maybe even Iron.

Although I agree on not upgrading (most) Age I technologies, Alchemy to Scientific Method is the one I utilize most. Especially with Da Vinci or Newton. Two science for the price of one. But I prefer Printing Press over Alchemy because of the extra culture. And it's less popular, so easier to grab.

Military-wise I used to go for Age II upgrades (if I could afford to wait that long), because of their compatibility with Age III tactics. But I came back from that. It's risky, more expensive, unnecessary even. Age II tactis can carry you to the end. Grabbing Canon is good, even without an artillery tactic (yet). Then Air Forces in Age III. And maybe an upgrade or two, depending on a good tactic and the state of your civilisation.

The general rule is the earlier the better (more return on your investment).
 
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