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

Subject: TTA vs. Sid Meier's Civilization - the verdict rss

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Karlos Dyba
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After playing Sid Meier's Civ twice, my verdict is quite simple:
- Sid Meier's Civilization is very very good strategy boardgame with an extremely high eye-candy factor. Definitely one of the best games of 2010
- Through the Ages is one of the best boardgames of all times

What about your verdict?
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Jimmy Okolica
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Just a suggestion, but you may want to make this a poll.

I like Civ: TBG. It's a fun game but I think TtA is the best resource management game I've ever played. I enjoy playing Civ and with the right people will ask for it, but I always want to play TtA.
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Mike Forrey
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They are two completely different games though. I own both and neither is really better than the other.
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Darrell Hanning
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While the two are very different, having next to nothing in common, I'd still rather play Through the Ages. Every time. It's just a better game, IMO.
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Mike Bazynski
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funny how you determine which will be voted better simply by deciding which game forum you post that in. had you made the same post in the FFG Civ forum first 3 people would say they prefer FFG civ..
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Jimmy Okolica
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funny I subscribe to both forums and my answer would be the same regardless. In fact, I hadn't noticed what forum I was in.
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Daniel Hammond
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I think TTA is a hard-core gamer's game. I think SM Civilization is a semi-epic game for regular gamers, but one they might enjoy and want to play again. TTA and Age of Renaissance are the two modern boardgames that approach Chess in complexity, or maybe card-counting poker players is a better example, if you are playing someone who "knows" the game better than you, you will probably get owned.
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Matthew Brychel
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TTA is hands down the better game - Civ is a good game but too many issues to even come close to being as good a game!!
 
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Ian Kelly
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The FFG Civ is a very fun game that does an excellent job of distilling Civilization down into a reasonable playing time. My only complaint is that the more I play it, the more I think that the strategy is just not balanced well. It is too difficult to win on culture, and it is too easy to win on coins and too difficult to disrupt.

It takes a very exceptional game to surpass Through the Ages, however.

FFG has some history of releasing "broken" or "incomplete" games that are later "fixed" through expansions. Hopefully that will be the case here.
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Karlos Dyba
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Peristarkawan wrote:
It is too difficult to win on culture, and it is too easy to win on coins and too difficult to disrupt.


Yep, that's one of the more serious issues with FFG Civ, I played it twice, but already I cannot imagine someone winning on culture. It would take very lucky coincidence - Mao Zedong, high culture yielding adjacent tiles, at least two culture great persons and quite a few temples and then you would have to sacrifice a lot to harvest culture in every other turn.

But don't get me wrong, the game IS entertaining, especially for the fans of the computer game, i just don't think it's in the same league as TTA.
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Stig Beite Løken
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(I originally posted this reply on the identical thread on the Civ forum, but I'll post it here as well for the sake of discussion)


Through the Ages is my all time favourite game. I have played it somewhere between 100 and 150 times (my group lost count after a hundred). It's the only game that I have ranked '10'. However, the game has a few cons, most notably the downtime in 4-player games; it's simply too high, especially in the lategame.

TTA can also be incredibly brutal if a player is lagging behind in military (we always play with the "no ganging up" official rules option). Although it's fairly rare, I have seen players get knocked out of the game (they leave using the honourable withdraw option). Some of the cards are a bit useless (Joan of Arc outright sucks, and a few of the other leaders are so circumstancial that they rarely get played). Some people dislike the lack of a map in TTA, but this is more a question of preference IMO. Through the Ages is not an easy game to get into and if you play against veteran players, you will most likely get creamed.

So with all these cons, why play TTA? Well, every round you get to make interesting decisions, potentially changing the dynamic of the game while building your civ. The military cards are refreshing and make for great moments when drawing them (although there is certainly a lot of strategy in this regard as well, what you choose to seed into the deck for later play and what you choose to discard, is very important). Bidding on colonies is fun and filled with tension. The military cards and aggressions/wars add to player interaction and also make sure the game never gets dry.

Although there are a number of typical combos in TTA (Michelangelo and St. Peter's Basilica is the textbook example), a game of TTA never feels scripted. You have to constantly adapt to the situation on the board and the state of rival civs.

Warning: The following is a bit rantish.

I only have four plays with Sid Meier's Civilization. The first two were fun and I enjoyed them. However, the last two games have really shaken my joy for the game. Both were economic victories, and both were rather boring. The economic player had a strong military and good science (since going for the economic win doesn't exclude getting all the other nice stuff). I'm not gonna explain all this stuff, check out the other threads here on BBG. In the last game, the economic player just followed a typical path and won. Very little modification needed, no one wanted to attack him since he was strong and the person going for culture (me) was weak. I used a few cards defending myself while losing a few units, growing weaker. If I stopped devoting to culture, I knew I had no chance of winning, so I had to keep on. The military player kept pounding me, while the economic player went for the win. And why shouldn't the military player attack me? It was his best chance of winning.Etc etc etc. Maybe you can tell that I'm a bit frustrated. The next game, I'm going for economic victory. This is the most boring victory condition also, IMO, because you mostly just keep to yourself, turtling.

It was also frustrating that the economic player could just use the resource ability of writing (a 1st level tech) to shut down my main city. Luckily I could counter him by using a tier 3 culture card. Which was the best card I had. From the final culture tier. Against a lvl 1 tech? The next time I didn't have a copy of this card, and he had the resource necessary to use writing yet another time. The consequent delay was enough that I could never win. The military didn't stop attacking me even then, and why should he? It was his best chance to win. The economic player had just built a stronger and stronger army, so he could never win by suddenly changing targets and attacking him.

Time and time again I'm reminded of how it is not only faster, but also easier to win an economic victory. And culture sucks. The game just seems really flawed and I'm surprised it wasn't discovered in playtesting. I really, really want to like this game...
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Eric Phillips
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Vicar in a tutu wrote:
(Joan of Arc outright sucks


Take it back!
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Stig Beite Løken
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Fortuna wrote:
Vicar in a tutu wrote:
(Joan of Arc outright sucks


Take it back!

I have tried her a few times. If I can get her for 1, and if there are no other cards I'm even remotely interested in available (and if I have spare actions), AND if there are no remaining age 1 leaders I'm interested in, then I might try her out. That's a lot of ifs.

I would much rather take Columbus. This is especially true if I already have an age 1 colony in my hand as back-up in case I don't draw an age 2 colony (or if I have to play Columbus quickly in Age 2 because an awesome leader just appeared - Newton, Robespierre, etc).
 
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Jack Rudd
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I've had some success with Joan. (Fun fact about my play: I've taken Joan more often than I have Michelangelo.) She isn't usually all that great, but the extra Strength she gives can be a powerful bonus in games where everyone's around the same Strength score.
 
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Eric Phillips
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Vicar in a tutu wrote:
Fortuna wrote:
Vicar in a tutu wrote:
(Joan of Arc outright sucks


Take it back!

I have tried her a few times. If I can get her for 1, and if there are no other cards I'm even remotely interested in available (and if I have spare actions), AND if there are no remaining age 1 leaders I'm interested in, then I might try her out. That's a lot of ifs.


She's situational, certainly. But she's kept me safe through Age II more than once. And the last time I used her, I was actually able to launch some serious aggressions of my own.

Quote:
I would much rather take Columbus.


Yeah, but so would most of us. So you'll get a lot more shots at Joan than you will at Christopher.
 
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darksurtur
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Fortuna wrote:

Yeah, but so would most of us. So you'll get a lot more shots at Joan than you will at Christopher.


Are you saying Joan is easy and Chris plays hard to get?
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Fortuna wrote:
Vicar in a tutu wrote:
Fortuna wrote:
Vicar in a tutu wrote:
(Joan of Arc outright sucks


Take it back!

I have tried her a few times. If I can get her for 1, and if there are no other cards I'm even remotely interested in available (and if I have spare actions), AND if there are no remaining age 1 leaders I'm interested in, then I might try her out. That's a lot of ifs.


She's situational, certainly. But she's kept me safe through Age II more than once. And the last time I used her, I was actually able to launch some serious aggressions of my own.

Quote:
I would much rather take Columbus.


Yeah, but so would most of us. So you'll get a lot more shots at Joan than you will at Christopher.

Actually, I haven't played a game with Joan of Arc in it for quite a while, as we tend to play with our own home-made expansions (we trade a few old leaders and wonders for new ones). When there are more cool leaders and wonders, it makes for even more interesting decisions. In about 90-95% of the games I used to play, it was no use spending actions to take Joan of Arc. I agree there are a few situations where she can be useful, but I think there are better ways to protect againt aggressors.

We always start the game with semi-truthfull vows that "this will be a peaceful game", or "I'm certainly not going to start the military race", etc. When the first knight shows up, those promises fly out the window. This is usually followed by medieval army / phalanx and an evil laughter. I just love this game!

The fact that everyone wants Columbus (but not in the manner the poster above me is implying) and hardly anyone wants Joan of Arc, speaks volumes about the fact that some leaders are simply better than others. Slapping down an age 2 colony with Columbus and switching to Robespierre is one of the best feelings in the world. People say that becoming a parent is awe-inspiring. Although I have yet to become a father, I can't possibly imagine that it's better than using Columbus/Robespierre combo.
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Jason Martin
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dlhammond wrote:
I think TTA is a hard-core gamer's game. I think SM Civilization is a semi-epic game for regular gamers, but one they might enjoy and want to play again. TTA and Age of Renaissance are the two modern boardgames that approach Chess in complexity, or maybe card-counting poker players is a better example, if you are playing someone who "knows" the game better than you, you will probably get owned.



Just curious, how does a game where you draw random cards off a deck have anything to do with Chess? I put forth that Chicago Express or perhaps Caylus are better examples of multiplayer chess.
 
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Daniel Hammond
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Anjohl wrote:
dlhammond wrote:
I think TTA is a hard-core gamer's game. I think SM Civilization is a semi-epic game for regular gamers, but one they might enjoy and want to play again. TTA and Age of Renaissance are the two modern boardgames that approach Chess in complexity, or maybe card-counting poker players is a better example, if you are playing someone who "knows" the game better than you, you will probably get owned.



Just curious, how does a game where you draw random cards off a deck have anything to do with Chess? I put forth that Chicago Express or perhaps Caylus are better examples of multiplayer chess.


Because there are a finite number of cards and by keeping track of what has come up you can know what it out there. Most people play chess by making what they think is the best move, but if you are playing against a master that won't do you any good, because they know your next 5 best moves and how to counter them.

When you take into account that it isn't just should I take card X but is it worth Y actions and if I don't take it what can my opponents do with it and also I know that cards A, B and C are still available and how each of those will affect both me and my opponents and that D and E have already passed through or are in the hands of others and how that affects the game dynamic... Just saying I doubt you will be competitive at this game until you know all the cards, combos and keep track of them.
 
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Brian Schroth
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dlhammond wrote:

Because there are a finite number of cards and by keeping track of what has come up you can know what it out there. Most people play chess by making what they think is the best move, but if you are playing against a master that won't do you any good, because they know your next 5 best moves and how to counter them.

When you take into account that it isn't just should I take card X but is it worth Y actions and if I don't take it what can my opponents do with it and also I know that cards A, B and C are still available and how each of those will affect both me and my opponents and that D and E have already passed through or are in the hands of others and how that affects the game dynamic... Just saying I doubt you will be competitive at this game until you know all the cards, combos and keep track of them.


I think the key characteristic of chess is the lack of randomness, which allows for "If I do A, he'll do B, then I'll do C, then he'll do D, then I'll do E..." etc style planning. I don't think TTA is a good fit for this, because you can only really precisely plan about one turn ahead due to the randomness and even then it will be somewhat uncertain.

Caylus and Puerto Rico are more fitting as Chess analogues. In fact, that's the main reason I don't think PR is that great- it has way too much chess-like planning.
 
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Daniel Hammond
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BagelManB wrote:

I think the key characteristic of chess is the lack of randomness, which allows for "If I do A, he'll do B, then I'll do C, then he'll do D, then I'll do E..." etc style planning. I don't think TTA is a good fit for this, because you can only really precisely plan about one turn ahead due to the randomness and even then it will be somewhat uncertain.

Caylus and Puerto Rico are more fitting as Chess analogues. In fact, that's the main reason I don't think PR is that great- it has way too much chess-like planning.


I think we have drifted kind of off topic, but I don't find Puerto Rico at all like that, to me it is a go with the flow type game. Counting cards and memorizing a bazillion chess moves are equally painful for me (I play games for fun, not torture).
 
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