At first there was nothing. The land was found untouched and wild. Beasts roaming, birds singing and wind howling, this area became the starting ground of our civilization. The ancestors who lit the very first flame, made settlements here by means of hunting and scavenging. There were but a few dozen at first but through the ages their clan grew bigger. Migrants came by, looking for a better place to start their new lives. Time was passing by very fast and very soon individualism didn’t suffice. Hunting became hard and occasional so we dedicated portions of land to farming. Soon after, we had streams of drinkable water flowing through the village.
Our settlements became our tribe and our tribe became our village. The thing about humankind is that they never stop evolving. With the population rapidly increasing, the villages needed to grow even larger and so, the first cities were born. Witchcraft and fairytales were replaced by science and research, a new form of knowledge that the few who understood, claimed is invaluable. The invention of the wheel had already made it incredibly easier for us to traverse and transport, so we trusted the scientists’ words.
Easier transportation however, proved to be a blessing and a curse. We soon learned of other cities, other empires who had their own ambitions for the world. Their own scientists who made their own wheels. We had already found ways to scare off raiders but there were rumors about these unfamiliar cities organizing squads, even armies of men trained to fight and willing to protect as well as conquer. We had no other choice. We had to prepare our civilization to face the unfriendly world of the outside.
To our surprise, opening our doors to the world did not bring too much heat on the city. We had to be vigilant and could never really call the neighbor nations our friends but the world outside offered unlimited exciting opportunities. Some set off to explore, some stayed to build. People, however, were not the only ones who were just getting used to the new dynamics of the world. There had been significant shifts in power and resources. New demands paved the way for new supplying businesses and that, started the economy engine.
This place has always been the heart of our ever-growing civilization and our home. The ancient landmarks are willing to testify. Needless to say, the homelands will continue their expansion, the scientists will keep up their discoveries and inventions and just like rocks were replaced by wood, and wood by metal, trees will never cease being replaced by buildings. We have always been happy and at peace here but with new potential enemies and an infinite number of new possibilities, it’s time for our nation to be better not just than ever before but also than all the other ones.
History Brought to Life
Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization, designed by Vlaada Chvátil and published by Czech Games Edition in 2015, is a strategy board game of balancing out your various resources in an attempt to develop the most successful and proud civilization in history. In order to achieve that goal you need to fortify your military fronts, advance in science and technology, make new groundbreaking discoveries and of course solidify your nation’s footprint with building glorious landmark structures known as Wonders.
You and up to 3 other players compete in an epic struggle of guiding the primitive tribes of mankind to their true potential in reaching the highest peaks of knowledge and understanding. The winning player is the civilization with the highest amount of culture points at the end of the game. However, despite culture’s primary importance in the course of the game, your military strength is what drives outside threats away from your operation. Without a strong military, all of your nation’s wealth and identity is exposed to the other nations vying over knowledge and power.
One of the more significant elements of the game is introduced in the form of a card drafting mechanism. The cards you hold on to and the ones you play all have their own worth in the game and you’ll have to find a way to utilize that worth in the best possible way. The cards vary from leaders and wonders to technologies and facilities. To build and upgrade, you need resources and to gain resources, you need to have a flow of production.
Everything is connected and any civilization that fails to cover their weaknesses in time, will suffer its consequences, be it aggression from other players or just falling behind on the timeline. As you already know, time stops for no one.
Through the Ages was one of the very first competitive titles that I played and even though I did not go into the game with any prior knowledge of what to expect, it managed to keep me on the edge of my seat for the entire two hours of our first playthrough. I remember that I was also fascinated by how accurate the illustrations were. There is something very special about the competitiveness of this game and it lies in the fact that you’re not playing to take your opponents down, but to thrive beyond their reach.
In this game you and your rival nations take turns within the four different phases of the gameplay. Throughout the game there are elements that you control, and those that you can’t, so be wary of unexpected turns of events. Each round consists of a drafting phase, an action phase, a production phase and at the end of each round, an event. In each phase players face game-changing decisions and must resolve their nation’s issues as well as progress further into history.
In the drafting phase, players draft cards from a common pool to add to their deck. These can represent various assets such as technologies, leaders, wonders, and military units. Leaders are special cards that once in your possession, grant you special abilities and actions to utilize. Next, in the action phase, players take turns performing actions such as building new structures, expanding their armies, researching new technologies, and advancing their civilization on a whole. Each action requires a certain number of resources such as food, ore, and science. Your resources can be replenished in the production phase according to the number of your nation’s production units. Finally, the event phase affects all civilizations in different ways depending on their approaches.
I would not say this game was easy to neither learn or play but I will say that it’s one of the more accessible complex strategic titles out there and by the second playthrough you should have it all figured out. That doesn’t mean the first time you play the game would be any less fun, perhaps only a bit more challenging. The wonders mechanic was the most confusing to me but it didn’t pose much of a problem in terms of my keeping up with the paste of the gameplay.
I can recommend this board game to experienced players with ease but if you’re a new player, I’d suggest that you simply keep what’s been said here in mind as you begin your first session of Through the Ages.
History Repeats Itself
As fantastic as it plays out in tabletop, Through the Ages is more than just a board game and following its success, the game was expanded into new horizons. Fans of Through the Ages are not only already able to enjoy a whole new set of leader cards and wonders in the form of an all new expansion pack, but are also offered a digital version of the game available across multiple platforms for a new level of ease and convenience of access.
Through the Ages: Digital Edition
If you were to ask me I’d tell you that nothing can replace the proud feeling of hiding your strategic evil smile behind a fully holdable deck of cards. However, if Through the Ages has taught me anything it’s that time flies and if you can’t keep up, you lose. That is why in the age of communication, you can experience this epic title on any of your devices.
The title is officially available on the Steam Store as well as PlayStore and Apple’s AppStore. You can grab it on your phone, tablet or computer for a quick, compact session or perhaps just a demo of how the game looks like and how it plays out. Either way, the digital edition has provided the game with an innovative take on ease of access.
New Leaders and Wonders Expansion
This expansion pack helps keep your Through the Ages experience fresh as always with the addition of brand new leaders and wonders. There are also new options for modifying your military and some of the original cards of the base game have been rebalanced to make the game even smoother than it was before.
New Leaders and Wonders Expansion adds 16 new glamorous wonders, 24 new fierce leading characters as well as 16 brand new military cards to further upgrade your troopers to the base game and it’s a recommended purchase for all fans of the game who want to enjoy their favorite title with some extra flavor or new players who want to experience Through the Ages in all its true glory right off the start.
All in all, Through the Ages was a very memorable tabletop experience for me and I found it to be extremely exciting and pleasantly challenging as one of my first competitive board games ever played.
This game is sure to fill your evening get-togethers with lots of timeless fun and joyous moments of ancient rivalry. Additionally, even if your party isn’t lucky enough to consist of at least one historian, the session will be anything but quiet.
What do you think about Through the Ages? How was your first playthrough of the game? Let us know in the comments!
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