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Subject: Which Civilization Game rss

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Keith R
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I am trying to pick one of these two (I think these two...) civilization games to have over Christmas break to play with my two sons.

Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization

Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn

A bit of information to perhaps help. My oldest is 18, a Freshman in college, pretty strategic and good at games. Youngest is 13, we play a lot of games but not always the heaviest. This would be the first civilization board game for both (and for me).

The two of them have spent hours playing I think Civilization V on Pc together.

I really think TTA looks amazing. Perhaps the better game. But I am not sure if it is too big a game for them, especially my youngest. I have also heard good things about A New Dawn.

Thoughts? Is TTA the better game between the two? Or even if so is it (maybe?) too much of a game to dive into? I know that is subjective question without knowing my kids, but just asking. Even if TTA is better (if it is...) if it is too big a game then it won't matter anyway if that makes sense.

I will also say my oldest saw TTA and immediately said "oh that looks cool" but that was with a 15 second view of it online.


Plus even though there are three of us during Christmas break, usually my oldest is away at school. So does one of them work better with 2 than the other in those cases?

Thanks in advance!!!
 
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D. Shannon
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TTA is definitely the better game without question. I actually quite like New Dawn but it definitely has some flaws. That being said, New Dawn plays in half the time of TTA, or even less. It's also more straightforward and significantly easier to teach. Unless you know your sons are happy to commit to five hours learning and playing TTA, I would recommend New Dawn. However, if that level of commitment won't be a problem, go with TTA.

(Also, I personally recommend Nations over either of them.)
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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If you really need a map, then the Through the Ages games are not a good choice (since they do not have a map).
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Jonathan Challis
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Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization is a somewhat abstract civ game. It's brilliant and the best at what it does, but if you need the spatial elements of a map, exploration, moving people around etc then it won't work for you.

Clash of Cultures is a fantastic map based game, with really excellent technology trees, etc. Very different from TTA, and also the best in it's class.

I love Civ games, but these two cover everything you could ever want, I can't see a reason to look at another game. I certainly wouldn't go near any of teh many iterations based on the Sid Meier IP.
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John Burt
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Note: TTA is available as a very well-implemented app, with a good tutorial. I'd suggest you try that out first before buying the cardboard. Personally, TTA feels spreadsheety and not very thematic, in case that's important to you. It can also be pretty mean, in case you like / don't like beating up on each other.

I will suggest another civ game, which is a bit simpler and has a shorter play time than most: The Golden Ages. This has a map with some area control and focuses on developing tech trees.
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Bob Roberts

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I'll second Clash of Cultures, even though it wasn't mentioned in the original post. I've only played Through the Ages on PC, and while interesting, doesn't feel like a "Civ" game to me (in the sense of Avalon Hill's Civilization).
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Jeff Thompson
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I will 3rd (or 4th?) Clash of Cultures.

But... CoC is a game of Cultures, not Civilizations. It is a "snippet" where you will begin as curious barbarians who eventually develop the ability to travel by sea, and make steel weapons. You will organize, further intellectual studies and improve and build your infrastructure. Eventually you'll fight lazy barbarians (lazy because they never get past turn 1 techs) and also each other. And by "fight" that doesn't necessarily mean armies clashing to the clatter of handfuls of dice... but could manifest in cultural revolutions in which your influence alone sends your opponents away muttering ingenious designs of retaliation under their breath.

It plays like a civilization game as there is a discoverable map, a tech tree, resources to collect and spend, armies and settlers, growing cities, even wonders to build. But you won't be creating electricity, launching rockets or gaining unfair advantages militarily on your opponent.

But seriously, this is my goto game when I think "civ game". I have no idea how it hasn't received more print runs or why the expansion is so hard to find. It's as if board gamers don't like awesome games for some reason.
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Keith R
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Thanks everyone. I should be clear, I welcome any and all recommendations. I just listed those two since those were the initial ones I was looking at. And I thought it might help.

I will definitely look at the other coffees too. I just know they love playing the PC game so I thought I would try to possible find a like game. But u would rather get quality over similarity if that makes sense.

I'll look at CoC especially.

Again thanks this is super helpful
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Michael Dillenbeck
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Since you are entertaining suggestions, let me pitch my favorite civilization game - 7 Ages. Why is it my favorite and something I think any Civilization board game fan should look into? It is because this is a civilization game that takes a different approach. First, you are not an immortal leader of a monolithic civilization thoughout time - you are an amorphous force seeking glory by making different empires rise and fall and controlling multiple empires at once. It is a very different mindset, where you can have events like "Civil War" where you split an opponent's empire in two and take control over one half of it.


Mechanically, the game centers around multiuse cards. On the cards there are several different traits: a numerical value (used instead of rolling dice), and empire (with all the details of when and where it comes out and how it earns "glory" - AKA Victory Points - for a player), an artifact banner (these include building artifacts like Pyramids or The Colossus, forming a government or religion, developing a technology like roads, or even starting The Great War), and an event (a mix of "take that" events and things to help you - from fragmenting an empire to sending a plague or tsunami against a foe to getting a sudden influx of gold to your treasury).


The game comes with a lot of counters. You have 15 different counter mixes for units (slightly different quantities of units available, such as blue having more ships and less land units) - most are paired in a light/dark color where the light has more units and the dark has better combat units. Each player has their own color set, and a 15th set is black with the fewest units and that are the best in combat. Half of the 110 empire cards have dark blue named leaders that can come out with them, and there are grey "generic" leaders also (of different types - tacticians, strategists, scientists, administrators, and so on).

There are other counters. You have generic counters for cities (different size/levels), religions, governments, technologies, wonders, and elephants (that you can acquire and build if at the right tech level and control the right area on the map). Counter mixes have a set of unique colors that are paired with an empire you build: a capital city, a tech track marker, and a gold coffer. Finally, for a player's initial color they choose they take the 8 actions counters (7 correspond to one of the 7 game phases, one is a "wild" marker) and a Glory score marker.


The map is an interesting projection; and it has a terrain effects chart gives you the movement cost, combat modifier, and income earned based on the terrain and icons present. The map is "sticky" - meaning that unless you are a nomad, you must leave a unit behind to occupy and control the area any time you move into it. I will admit that the regions in Europe are too small once the game gets going, but otherwise the map is wonderful to use. Also, the map is divided up into regions that are effected by cards differently - such as Asia being a large region containing Northeast Asia, China, Southeast Asia, and India.

Also, note in the lower left corner are a few other charts and tables. One is a large numerical track for glory and empire gold counters, one is a chart of the 7 round phases (start empire, production, trade & progress, maneouvre, destiny, civilise, and discard empire - zoom in on the image to see more details), one is a unit cost reminder, and the final (and really important one) is the tech track.


The tech track is a 7x7 grid. Each row is an "age" and influences what empires can come out and also the maximum city size you can build. Each cell is a particular tech level and is numbered appropriately, and is either normal (free empire advance 1 square at the end of the turn) or beige ("dark age" where you must use trade or have a science leader to advance past it). There is also an icon for the type of unit that can be build. For example, tech level 1 shows a spearman and archer - so the least technologically advanced civilization can build only these units. At tech level 3, charioteers become available; 4 lets you build galleys, and 6 lets you build horsemen. Some units are on the reverse side, so that archers built (tech level 1) can be upgraded to riflemen (tech level 28) OR built from scratch.

Combat is an interesting game of bluffing. Units are put into a reserve, you draw a card to see your attack value (in secret, draw 2 and choose 1 with a strategic leader in the battle), choose a number of units to attack with this round in secret, split them equally between front and rear lines (front uses melee combat value, rear uses the ranged combat value), then reveal the units. Compare the total values (using the modifiers on the chart for things like tech level different, elite soldier status for the empire, terrain, etc). Loser has all units eliminated, and ties eliminates both sides unless a tactician leader is present. Units that survive go to exhausted. Repeat until all reserve units committed, and if all units are exhausted put them back into the reserve and gain a disordered token. If an enemy is disordered, you can retreat from the battle. Also, if the enemy is disordered and fought, one unit gets to add its melee and ranged value to the battle. If an opponent is eliminated completely or retreats, you win that battle.


The general flow of the game is simple. You first get a hand of 8 cards. You bid using the numbers on these cards for first player on the first turn. Then each round you assign 1 action token to each empire and 1 for a player non-empire action. Now you go through each phase one by one. If a player has a token for that phase put out, they may flip it face up and then act that round. Often times, players can do actions simultaneously - but sometimes order matters. (Example: if you are moving troops in North America and your foe is moving in China, then just go at the same time - but if you are both moving in South America then go in turn order since conflicts will happen.)

One of the most important actions is bringing out a new empire. When no empires are out yet, the first player to bring one out can play an empire of any age. They then start at the lowest tech level of that age and everyone else brings out empires only if they match the current age (and have tech level based on the most advanced tech). Example: The first player brings out the Hellenic Greeks, an Age 2 empire. They start at tech level 8, select a counter mix (you must select from the color mix you chose as a player than first, and once those are used up you can select any unused non-player counter mixes), buy initial units, and place them on the board. The next player to go now must play an empire from Age 2. They have the Pharaonic Egyptians that can be played in ages 1 & 2. The setup value is -1, so they start in Age 1 with tech level 7; they also select the counter mix and buy initial units, set them on the board, and are done. Alas, the third player was planning on playing the Shang - but those can only be brought out in Age 1. They need to find a different empire to bring out instead - hopefully they have an age 2 empire card or their action is lost.

Players also have a maximum number of empires based on player counts. For 3 players, each can control up to 5 empires. The game is best/fastest when playing with 5 (with 3 empires each) or 4 (with 4 empires each, but you'll need to make the white counter set that fans made). Also, just because an opponent controls a space where an empire starts doesn't mean you can't start it. Build your units and immediately engage in a fight - the region is undergoing a rebellion that may result in the formation of a new civilization!

----------------------------------

So I've gone into a lot of detail on the game. The rules are only about 15 pages long. I didn't really go into details on how you trade, build units, pay for units, and a few other things. It seems like it might be a complicated game but is really isn't.

For game play, there are a few ways to play. You have "play one age", where you play through only the age and most points win; you can play "total history", where you must play an age 1 empire to start and end when you complete all 7 ages (basically someone develops the internet technology to end the game); or you can play a timed game with most glory winning at the end (and should use a turn timer to give everyone equal play time). Also, there are rules for drop-in and drop-out play.

In the end, the game can be long or short and very in depth. It's one of the few games with "take that" elements that I truly enjoy, but often don't have a big enough group to play it with. To me it is the ultimate civilization game, letting me do the things I always wanted - have civil wars, see empires rise and fall, build wonders, have governments and religions change, and so much more.

The game is not without its flaws. First, it isn't a 4X game - it is set on a fixed Earth map. Second, the empires are fixed historical ones, so no Roman Empire coming out in the renaissance. However, compared to what other civ games does, this one just blows them away.

Of course, I should have said I like longer heavier games. So if you are looking for a next level civilization game, don't need plastic minis to have fun, and have a large (4' x 6' preferably) table then I'd suggest going to the market place section of the game listing and grabbing a copy to play.

Oh, and if you prefer a video, here is the start of The Lonesome Gamer's play through (its a long playthrough):

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Dan Collins
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iceman23 wrote:
TTA is definitely the better game without question. I actually quite like New Dawn but it definitely has some flaws. That being said, New Dawn plays in half the time of TTA, or even less. It's also more straightforward and significantly easier to teach. Unless you know your sons are happy to commit to five hours learning and playing TTA, I would recommend New Dawn. However, if that level of commitment won't be a problem, go with TTA.

(Also, I personally recommend Nations over either of them.)


+1 for Nations
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dave bcs
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Simple answer. Comparing them is comparing apples to oranges. TTA is an much more abstract Euro where the game is based entirely on card management and resource generation. Sid Meier is a map exploration, development and conquest game.

One is not “better” than the other.
 
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