Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
At last, I've managed to play a full game of Through the Ages with three players - Rich and Josh were both enthusiastic about the prospect after our game of Battletech. The game went very well, and produced a very close ending. It really did come down to the last seeded age 3 events!
For most of the game, our military strengths were close to each other. As a result, miltary conflicts were somewhat rare. More interesting were the events that triggered on the weakest civilisation - these ones were being seeded (mostly by me), and an important goal of mine was to keep just a little bit ahead of the others. This was tricky, but achievable.
What was a lot more tricky was getting technological advancement. The upgrades to our labs were coming quite late in each age. (Then terrorism would do horrible things to my best lab!)
Josh and Rich played a much better game in regards to taking one-shot cards from the card pool; I was mostly stuck with technologies that I couldn't play for several rounds. Upgrading and the like was very tricky as the science wasn't there to play the upgrade cards in the first place!
Wonders consumed part of our attention, and colonies began to appear. Josh and I took best advantage of them; I was really happy to see some of Josh's soldiers disappear, giving me military advantage - now I could force through a few useful events! Still, finishing the Colossus gave me a definite advantage in the colonising stakes.
As we moved into the middle game, my attention turned more and more towards science. Although I was having a lot of trouble getting the metal to build them, I was able to get a succession of research-orientated leaders, eventually culminating in Einstein in the end game. This aided my research efforts, although they were puny compared to other games I'd played.
Josh was running into trouble as the game progressed. The early advantage he'd gained from his Library of Alexandria was being eroded, and he wasn't able to acquire a military advantage despite his research in that direction. He was keeping in touch, but late-game proved to be a real problem for him: not enough resources, not enough knowledge.
Rich and I were far closer as the game progressed. I had a good culture lead at one point, but Rich managed to pass me (as did Josh), and they leapt ahead in the mid to late game; gaining 2 culture a turn in Age 3 is not great!
Rich was wonder-man, as well as building a lot of different urban buildings. The combination was hard to stop, and as the game moved towards its end, he was way in front.
However, I'd been playing most of the Age 3 events, so I hoped to get a bunch of extra points. Age 4 began, we moved through the final set of plays, and I played two technologies to get 6 more culture from Einstein.
I was able to catch up quite a bit as the final four Impact of... events were revealed. After four had been played, Rich and I were tied on 203. The last event was turned over... Impact of Competition! I gained a measly 3 points, but that was enough to give me the game!
Merric 206, Rich 203, Josh 154.
It was an excellent game from Rich - his first full game - and a good game also from Josh, who'd only played the simple game before.
My final tableau
Rich's final tableau
Josh's final tableau (he'd started packing up, so not all the workers are in place)