Justin Gortner
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Hi there,

With origins coming up I would like to try a civilization building game. While I could do both I would like to get some input on some key points from people that have played both games.

(1) Is one more accessible than the other? I want to play something I might buy that will actually hit the table from time to time.

(2) Is one more rules heavy or fiddily than the other?

(3) Is one more of a brain burner that would turn people away than the other?

(4) Do both feel like you are actually building up a civilization through various stages of mankind (tech, etc)?

Thanks everyone!

J
 
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Tibs
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Haven't played TTA but I do know one important fact that helped me decide:

TTA has no map.
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Gandalf the Grey
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Both games are incredibly similar. with the exception that in TTA you are not dependent on your surroundings.

Both are wonderful games.

Both take about 3-4 hours.

Both make you feel like you are moving "through the ages" (no pun intended).

Both have a very nice combat system, technology system, and scoring system.

The fact that one has a map and the other does not is IMHO irrelevant.

Both are at about the same complexity/brain burner level.

And both are an incredible amount of fun.

If you like civilization building games these two games practically stand alone. I would recommend both, and maybe start with Civilization but honestly you cannot go wrong.
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Justin Gortner
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This is a wonderful response and very informative! Thanks for making my decision EVER HARDER!

my_game wrote:
Both games are incredibly similar. with the exception that in TTA you are not dependent on your surroundings.

Both are wonderful games.

Both take about 3-4 hours.

Both make you feel like you are moving "through the ages" (no pun intended).

Both have a very nice combat system, technology system, and scoring system.

The fact that one has a map and the other does not is IMHO irrelevant.

Both are at about the same complexity/brain burner level.

And both are an incredible amount of fun.

If you like civilization building games these two games practically stand alone. I would recommend both, and maybe start with Civilization but honestly you cannot go wrong.
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Everett Scheer
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1) It depends on how you define accessible. TtA is far more abstract than SMCiv, however my play group plays it more often.

2) SMCiv is more rules heavy, while TtA is far more fiddly with its pieces.

3) TtA has more of the brain burner/ AP issue than does SMCiv.

4) I think the both do, but in a different ways.
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Justin Gortner
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It's beginning to sound like I can't make a bad decison (awesome). Probably going to go with CIV only due to the fact that the map may make it more viceral / accessible to others and of course the fact that most people have heard of CIV.
 
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Rafael Fuentes
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The game has a different feel if compared to TTA. It is less fiddly and less mechanical. It is more "sandbox" that TTA. There are different currencies, 4 paths to victory, armies, units and the combat system are very clever. Each player controls a unique civilization, there are wonders, leaders, tech trees, culture cards, economy, etc. It is a lot of fun. I still remember when two of my cities got nuked but could pull of a victory in the last second. It is a wonderful game.
 
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I haven't played TtA so far, but I can tell you something about SMCiv.

1. Civ is pretty ameriish... For a Eurogamer, this could be a downer. But as far as FFGs go, Civilization is one of the most accessible games of the heavier games of the company. In my opinion, the rules of the game are pretty intuitive and logic. They follow a logic pattern and are taught quite fast (emphasis on "quite")

2. The game is pretty rules heavy, but as I said, they are intuitive. There are a lot of small rules that need to be remembered. It takes two or three games to play it correctly in a reasonable amount of time.

3. I would say Civ is no brain burner. You don't have a lot of choices in a round. For example, you have a max of 3 cities. Each city can do ONE action each turn. So you say for example that city 1 harvests one resource, city 2 builds a market and city 3 devotes to the arts. ... Moving on. Then you move your armies around the map and research ONE technology each round (if you can afford it).

4. Even though I love Civilization the Boardgame, I would not necessary say that it really FEELS like building up a civilization. It's more of a "race" game. You try to reach your victory condition as fast as you can and hopefully faster than your opponents. Everything you do is just pointing towards that goal. Yes, you research techs from philosophy to atom theory. Yes, your armies grow from artillery like bowmen to tanks and yes, your cities grow and you advance your civilization culturally. This feels very thematic and thematic enough for me. But as far as I heard, TtA delivers a greater "feel" of civilizing.
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Joseph Cochran
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I'll give it a bit of a different take:

1) TtA is more accessible to gamers who appreciate abstract games, SMC is more accessible to people who like dudes-on-a-map games. The game in TtA is as much about managing your resources as about progressing, and players who appreciate deep game mechanics will be drawn in during early plays by the fact that they can see that they haven't mastered it and will want to go again. SMC is much less about the management of the empire and much more about the geography, a bit more traditionally Civ in its nature. Where TtA's armies are cubes and cards that are just pitted against each other by card, SMC uses exploration and geography to present a more concrete sense of place. SMC also looks better on a table than TtA.

2) Both are pretty rules heavy in their own way. As far as fiddly: TtA has fewer types of components, but you move them around a lot, while SMC has gigantic number of types of bits to use and remember: you don't move them around as much but there are just so many of them...

3) This is a hard question because it really depends on what you mean. Brain burner? Yeah, they both require thought. But in a way that would turn people away? That really depends on the people. The best way to differentiate is that TtA will tend to appeal to someone who likes euros more, while SMC will tend to appeal to someone who likes wargames more.

4) They both do present a good feel of civilization building in their own way. In TtA your technologies advance through history and you have a good sense of time passing. In SMC the names of the techs move up and get more expensive, but your real feel of advancement is through your larger presence on the board as you grow your empire. Both can be satisfying in different ways.
 
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Moe45673
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I've played Through the Ages. It definitely feels like a Civ game but you want to only play it with the same group, as it's not accessible.

I've seen SM:Civ being played and I'll tell you, the pieces do not look nearly as impressive as they do in pics. They are much smaller than I thought.

The game you want is Clash of Cultures. It is accessible and beautiful.


Also, the tech chart is easily scannable and available for anyone to check



The game is not fiddly and there is an amazing printout on BGG of all the rules summarized onto ONE SHEET of paper

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/85793/clash-double-sid...

With a regular group, I'll pick Through the Ages. With a casual group who'd rather fight with dudes on a map, CoC
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Ian Kelly
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my_game wrote:
Both games are incredibly similar. with the exception that in TTA you are not dependent on your surroundings.


I don't agree with that at all. Apart from the shared theme, they are very different. TtA is fundamentally a card drafting game; SMCiv is the more traditional map-oriented empire management. SMCiv has you expanding by building a limited number of new cities; TtA feels more like managing a city state to me.

Quote:
Both take about 3-4 hours.


Both can easily go longer, especially with new players.

Quote:
Both have a very nice combat system, technology system, and scoring system.


The combat system in SMCiv is abstract but fairly tactical, maneuvering units by deciding the order to play them in. The combat system in TtA is basically a bidding system, which makes it more strategic in nature. SMCiv has no scoring system, apart from the alternate tiebreaker variant -- but that's only used in event of a tie.

TtA's technology system is based on building up research points and then spending them to discover a new technology. Gaining access to more advanced technologies is done by drafting, which makes it dependent on the age progression. Research in SMCiv is more clock-like; at the end of each turn you have the opportunity to research a new technology provided you have the trade points to spend (which you usually do, if you're paying attention to research). Gaining access to advanced technologies is done by first researching more basic technologies in order to build up a base for the more advanced ones. There is nothing there that fundamentally prevents you from researching Space Flight on the first turn, if you could somehow have the support requirements in place so quickly.

They're certainly both great games. If I had the choice to play either, I'd probably pick Through the Ages.
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Ian Kelly
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+1 to the suggestion of Clash of Cultures. It's not my favorite game of the three in this thread, but it is definitely the most accessible.
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Calavera Despierta
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jgortner wrote:

(1) Is one more accessible than the other? I want to play something I might buy that will actually hit the table from time to time.


Definitely more accessible. This may get me flamed, but I *DESPISE* Through the Ages. It is NOT a civ-building game--it's a resource management logistics game with a civ theme. Sid Meier's Civ may have its flaws but at least it's an actual civ game.

Quote:
(2) Is one more rules heavy or fiddily than the other?

About the same amount of fiddliness, but a different kind of fiddliness. TtA is fiddly with tons and tons of wooden cubes and tokens. SMC is fiddly with lots of small cards.

Quote:
(3) Is one more of a brain burner that would turn people away than the other?

TtA is deeper and more brain burny than SMC, but there is still plenty of room for thinking and planning in SMC.

Quote:
(4) Do both feel like you are actually building up a civilization through various stages of mankind (tech, etc)?


YES! Certainly moreso than TtA which to me feels like putting cubes on cards so I can put more cubes on other cards. I'd compare SMC the board game to the Sid Meier's Civilization REVOLUTIONS video game port for XBOX360. Lots of civvy goodness, but not quite as deep as Civ 4 or 5.

Quote:
Thanks everyone!


You're welcome!

Another suggestion would be to try Clash of Cultures, which should be available at Origins. I have not played it myself but my understanding is that it solves some of the problems that are found in SMC without being a tedious, cube-fondling nightmare like TtA.

 
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Justin Gortner
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I didn't see class of cultures on the Origins event list but I'll double check!

EDIT: Just checked. It is not on the event list for this year. Maybe I can get a game in at Gencon!

J
 
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Joseph Cochran
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jgortner wrote:
I didn't see class of cultures on the Origins event list but I'll double check!

EDIT: Just checked. It is not on the event list for this year. Maybe I can get a game in at Gencon!


Is CABS still doing the board game room at Origins? It should almost certainly be there if they are...
 
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Justin Gortner
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True. However one of the wonderful features of signing up for events is that someone is there to teach you the game and answer rules questions as you play!

Regardless thank you for the tip.


jsciv wrote:
jgortner wrote:
I didn't see class of cultures on the Origins event list but I'll double check!

EDIT: Just checked. It is not on the event list for this year. Maybe I can get a game in at Gencon!


Is CABS still doing the board game room at Origins? It should almost certainly be there if they are...
 
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