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Subject: 4 guys on a Saturday in January rss

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Jonathon Keller
United States
Ohio
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Four of us together this month for a boardgame and chose to play Advanced Civilization by Avalon Hill. We decided the western variant gave us more options (we do use the extension into Iberia), but randomized our starting places. The draws were Africa, Crete, Thrace and Illyria. I played Crete, so that’s why there might be more detail for Crete in this log. We made the game a bit “richer” by playing the trade city variant found toward the end of the rulebook… oh, and we also let anyone buy from any trade card deck. We also really randomized the tradable calamities after the first time they showed up.

It would be difficult to say that one nation dominated most of the game. There were almost no pauses in the AST until later. Illyria was first to qualify for most of the “ages”. Crete and Thrace settled on borders running across Greece from Thessalonika to Appolonia (both Thracian). Thrace struggled to build cities in the wilderness while Crete struggled to keep his cities fed. This latter was accomplished by building wilderness cities in 1-population areas while saving the areas sustaining a higher population open to farmers, even if these areas had city sites. This took much fine-tuning and fancy shipwork.

Meanwhile, Africa and Illyria were spreading across the map and conflicting a bit in Iberia. Calamities started taking a toll on them and they stopped fighting pretty quickly. Thereafter it was a generally peaceful game, with players willing to build in the wilderness instead of fighting over scarce city sites, even if Crete was hogging some good ones. Trade was mostly kind, though there were 3 rounds of significant or numerous calamities.

The first of these apocalypses was general widespread loss of lives and structures for everyone. The second major catastrophic event happened when Crete benefited from Civil War in neighboring Thrace. This allowed Crete finally to end his on again, off again love affair with Mt. Etna (the farthest-flung his empire ever got). While Barbarian Hordes usually got traded to Crete, Pirates did make it on the scene twice (both times PURCHASED by Crete and untraded). Anyway, the final cataclysm was Illyria’s Civil War (benefiting Thrace) on the last turn of the game, causing Illyria to lose 4 cities (with the help of a Flood, I believe) and therefore the game by about 250 points.

Crete won, IMO, because he didn’t overextend and threaten his neighbors, got very lucky with trades and was able to recover from calamities fairly quickly. It didn’t hurt that Illyria “appeared” to be the leader throughout the game. I think everyone had fairly good trading sessions, if not as consistent as those of Crete (I think I got at least 100 points worth of sets each turn once people all had 5 cities or so, occasionally more). I also believe that everyone purchased Civilization Cards that were appropriate and advantageous to their civilizations… until Illyria bought Monotheism.

While no one ever purchased Philosophy, there were several philosophical discussions around the table about gameplay. “Monotheism is a behavior modifier,” mused Thrace, who couldn’t afford the religious route to counter Illyria’s purchase and went military instead. It’s true. Monotheism is much less mechanically dangerous than we THINK it is. This makes us want to purchase Enlightenment and Theology ASAP, ignoring the purchase of Civ Cards more important to our civilizations/situations. Of course, after the first Civil War, Thrace never needed the Military card to go last again. Africa took to Theology right quick but Crete saw no need, never bordering the “one true Illyria”.

I am lucky to have such avid players of Advanced Civilization nearby and able to play about once each month, but I do wish more were able to join us. I feel we are getting used to one another’s styles of play and not learning more.
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Kevin Youells
United States
Camp Hill
Pennsylvania
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I paid 100 geek gold, and all I got was this lousy overtext
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What part of Ohio are you in? If anywhere near Columbus, maybe the you'd have some luck trying to hook up with the CABS people.
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Jonathon Keller
United States
Ohio
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Northeast (Stow). Bit of a hike to Columbus.
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Todd Woodward
United States
Bowling Green
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Man, to bad you weren't in NW Ohio, I'd make a game now and then.
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