Carlos Soto Power
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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.- Culture Leaders:

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.- Military Leaders:

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.- Theme:

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!

meeple

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Harvey Cohen
United States
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FinrondFelagund wrote:
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.- Culture Leaders:

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.- Military Leaders:

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.- Theme:

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!

meeple
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.
 
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Simon Kamber
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FinrondFelagund wrote:

Variant #3:

Just take all the war cards out of their respective decks. Use aggressions as normal.

I play like this with new players. Not so much because of an aversion to military, but because my experience is that wars can really sour the experience if someone ends up getting pounded in their first game ever.
 
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E_R S
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I've proposed variant 3 myself on this forum.

That said, the war on culture is the best way to pass the culture leader in late game. The only other ways I see doing it are Chaplinwood or doing a science focused strategy and doing well on impacts. I actually think the culture wars dominate the game too much and would like to see a re-design where it is removed (to be replaced by other types of wars) but the re-design should also create more ways to catch up late game, both military and non-military.
 
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Wes Holland

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esabatine wrote:

That said, the war on culture is the best way to pass the culture leader in late game.


Ideally you should make the majority of your points in Age III. It's why Cook's point generation got nerfed; It was too easy to make all of your points with him and the extra yellows the colonies gave.

Shakes also makes a bunch of points, but he needs a bunch of yellows to do it. I like leaving in aggressions then to demonstrate why it's not a great idea to focus on Theater+Library at the expense of your military. Hopefully aggressions existing and being drawn by the new player(s) in the first Age prepares them for the idea that military needs to be at least close to the leader's.

Sid Meier and Chaplin are the best culture engines in Age III-IV, Cook and Shakes are the best ones in Age II-III. The main limitation with the first two is that you have to find Computers/Movies and the leader *early* in Age III or else you can't catch up.
 
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Carlos Soto Power
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts guys.

The more I think about it, the more I hate it: I definitely dislike the way this game urges players to go for a military path. I feel this alienate the players!

The problem I see here is that this unbalance between cultural/military development determines the value of all the rest of aspects of the game: so, in a given game (with the rules as written) the technologies, leaders, wonders, etc., focused on culture/happiness are the weakest; but in a game without wars/agressions, suddenly those cards become the most powerful in the game.

I'd really like to have a better balanced experience with Through the Ages soblue

It's like I feel there's too much Yang and too less Ying, if that helps to make myself clearer.
 
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