Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
How to Play the Through the Ages Board Game
Playing the Board Game Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization is a civilization-building game a bit like the computer game Sid Meier's Civilization, most closely resembling Civilization III. The goal of the Through the Ages board gameis not so much military expansion and conquest, but to amass the most culture. Culture is defined in many different ways, though, so building your society and its empire allows for a lot of different strategies.
In Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization, culture is defined as works of drama or literature, architectural feats ("building wonders"), religion, fostering world figures ("cultural people"), and, of course, even starting aggressive wars. Science, production, population expansion, and military might are all methods of civilization building, so you can see that Through the Ages has a lot of different possibilities.
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization Instructions and Contents
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization contains a gameboard, a rulebook, 185 civil cards, 155 military cards, 275 wooden counters, 40 player cubes, 4 reference cards, and 4 player mats. You'll find versions of Through the Ages in English, French, Polish, and Chinese. Through the Ages was designed by a Czech company, so you'll find a Czech language version, as well.
Through the Ages is designed for 2 to 4 players and a game should last around two hours. You can play using varying levels of complexity, so choose the rules to match your level of advancement. The advanced version of TTA has rules for corruption and politics.
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization Rules
Through the Ages is a juggling act, because no one of the four main categories (science, military, production, culture) are unimportant. You need production, but if you overproduce, corruption becomes a problem. When you build up your science, it allows you to pay for upgrades. The military factor obviously protects you from aggression. Culture is the currency of winning, because they produce victory points. Since you have limited actions and resources to accomplish these, Through The Ages: A Story of Civilization makes you make tough decisions.
The upgrade rules are an example of what I'm talking about. Upgrades are conducted through the dutch auction. Things are expensive to begin with, but if no one bids on them, they gradually reduce in price, until they're removed from game play altogether. This means you'll be able to acquire any resource you need or want, but the cost can be high if you need it bad enough. You start the game with 4 civil actions, which are used for most moves you make, and 2 military actions, which involve military building and aggression.
Military aggression turns into an arms race. If you have more assets, you tend to win. You can boost your strength temporarily by sacrificing units, but that means your military shrinks in subsequent turns. If you win a combat, whatever is stipulated on the military card happens. Options include killing leaders, blowing up building, or stealing goods or science.
Both wonders and leaders play a key role in Through The Ages. Leaders are cheap resources, but they are limited in the number you can draw and play at a given time. Wonders cost enough resources that you'll feel like you've really accomplished something when you get one.
Through the Ages Strategy and Tactics
Don't fall behind in the science category, even in the first age. When you fall behind in science, you are producing technology at a slower rate than your opponents. If your scientific progress lags too far behind, you'll be able to improve infrastructure or upgrade your military technology, but probably not both. And if you don't have options to spend your currency, corruption builds up. Overall, science rating gives you options for covering up weaknesses and exploiting strengths.
Military strength has its importance, because any civilization has to be able to defend itself, but building up military strength isn't necessarily the "end-all" strategy you might think at first. A player with a relatively weak military can collect yellow military build-up cards and the military tech cards to bolster your defenses and give pause to anyone who decides they can roll over you in a war. In fact, if you aren't spending time building up your military strength, you need to focus on collecting the military cards.
You can win with a strong military or a weak military, but you have to be smart either way. If you don't focus on your military, collect defense cards that make it troublesome for a military power to attack you. Defenders have the advantage in Through the Ages anyway, so if you bolster defense with special defense cards, most smart players shouldn't seek you out for attacks. If you only focus on your military, you tend to limit your options in many other areas.
Resource production is less flexible than science, but it gives you the ability to build your way out of many jams. It also lets you cover up your weaknesses by building a wonder which bolsters that weakness. If you fall behind in resource production, collect resource bonus cards like Mineral Deposits, Ideal Building Site, Engineering Genius, and Efficient Upgrade to cover up that weakness somewhat. Food production is more of a prop for your other strategies as opposed to a strategy in and of itself. This helps you accomplish many goals, but won't compensate for weakness in other areas.
Government is important, especially if you never advance beyond Despotism. Despotic government limits the number of actions you get around, but it also limits your workers in urban areas. As you get into the mid-to-late game phase, you'll need to max out your urban population, because this is important for your cultural accomplishments.
Through The Ages: A Story of Civilization gives you the joy of leading a civilization through the ages without firing up your computer. Instead, you can play around a kitchen table for a couple of hours with a group of friends. Create your own story of humanity with its own twists, turns, and tragedies--the latter (hopefully) for your opponents.
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