my group will play variant 3 with a new player or a player that does not enjoy direct confrontation and it worked well. It does get people to work on their respective economies more and military less but you still must have a military to a degree.
Premise: Through the Ages (this edition/version and the previous one) is my favorite board game of all time. Nevertheless, I must admit that I just don't enjoy games where the result can be determined by military strength; and that's why I've been playing a semi-peacefull version of the game since years ago.
Even though I see the point of wars and agressions in Through the Ages, both, from a thematic and a mechanical point of view; the problem is I feel that, at its core, this game is (or should be) not about destroying but about creating things...
Well, having reached this point, I'm gonna expose my considerations about the necessity (mine at least) of a semi-peacefull variant. Consideration #1.-
It's not a secret that most seasoned players of TtA thinks that Bach and Shakespeare are the weakest leaders in the game. Sad but true because of the constant threat of war. Otherwise, both leaders were among the best in the game. (In my semi-peacefull games I've won with a Shakespeare focused strategy, with he alone generating between 32-36 culture points during the game). Consideration #2.-
In the other had, if no agressions and wars are present in the game, leaders such as Gengis Kan and Napoleon would be underpowered in comparison to the other leaders. Consideration #3.-
For some people (me included) a game about civilization should tell a story full of artistic, scientific and social achievements, and although TtA have those elements, sadly the game-wining strategies commonly are focused around the military side of the game. If some of you don't agree with me, please tell me: what proportion of players do you estimate that choses Drama over Knights, for example?
Well, after exposing my considerations, I present my ideas for a variant:Variant #1:
Remove war cards from the military decks as follows:
Age II: one copy of each kind.
Age III: four copies of War over Culture.
Let the aggression cards intact.
New prerequisite/cost for declaring a war: the warmongering player must loose culture equal to the
cost in military actions of declaring that war, multiplied by two (e.g. 6 culture if declaring an Age III war). Besides making more costly to declare a war, thematically it makes sense for a warmongering culture to suffer of cultural decadence. Variant #2:
Don't remove any card.
New prerequisite/cost for declaring a war: the warmongering player must loose a total amount, between culture and science, equal to half the difference in strength between his/her civ and the attacked one (rounded down). This could mitigate somehow the common place that this game incurs in: the strongest player attacking the weakest player. Variant #3:
Just take all the war cards out of their respective decks. Use aggressions as normal.
Well, these are just some ideas. I hope the crowd of warmongers have mercy on me
Please feel free to share your opinions!