torsdag 25. januar 2018

Through The Ages: Review and Strategy




So, I got this fantastic game from my in-laws for jule. I had noticed Through The Ages getting top scores on Board Game Geek, and while I love the concept of epic civ-building games, I think most of the ones I have played are, unfortunately, not very good games. Typically they are too clunky, with too many rules and concepts, too much math, and fairly fixed hierarchies of upgrades where a mistake in turn two can cost you the game in turn 10 by missing out on that Optimal Predetermined Upgrade Path(tm).

Not this game. I am extremely impressed by the elegance in the design. Randomized order of upgrades means that you really have to mitigate risk, think on the fly, and you cannot just shuffle down some preprogrammed path to victory.

With just moving two types of tokens around the technology cards Vlaada Chvatil has managed to make a system that keeps track of land size, happiness, population growth, buildings, and military units (that's the yellow tokens) and corruption, law, food, resources and wonder building (that's the blue tokens). It's just an incredible feat of board game engineering, and it makes everything in the game beautifully interconnected and interdependent.

I have played a few games now, most with my friends Leif and Morten, and some online in a well implemented and good looking app on Android and iOS.

So, I was thinking of writing a short strategy guide. Now that I have written it, I can see that it is not short. Well. Anyway. I see many of the guides around there are based on ranking cards, which has some merit. However, in a game like this where everything is a tradeoff, I think it's more interesting to focus on constraints and synergies, rather than rating Pyramids "A perfect wonder, 5/7, will draft again".


Game Over!


Main strategies




An exciting part of this game is that you have to shift focus, a lot, depending on what you draw, the order of the draft cards, and what the other players do. There are some main strategies, though, but you probably will not follow just one through the entire game.

Culture


Culture is of course always the end goal, but there are strategies that go directly for early culture, trying to build an insurmountable culture lead. Michelangelo, Gengis Khan and Joan of Arc are the strongest early culture leaders, more details of the combos are written under those leaders. In general it means setting up 3 or more culture generation early in Age I and letting it tick in. Later culture leaders are James Cook (colonies), William Shakespeare (Drama + Library), and Bach (Opera).

In Age III they are all culture leaders and it is all about raking in the culture anyway, so which one you want depends on where you currently are in the game.

Infrastructure


Infrastructure allows you to invest something now to get even more back later. The goal here is to out-produce your rivals. It's pretty straight forwards - increase your options, and use that increase to increase your options even more, or start pressuring.

In Age A or Age I, you should get:

  • Civil Actions (CAs). It is vital in most strategies to get the 5th action sometime during Age I, and then add a couple more sometime during Age II. If you are stuck with a low number, you often can only react, since you often need all four of those 4 actions to grab a card, play a card, upgrade something, and maybe make a worker.
  • Science. If you get up to 3 science production quickly you are usually doing OK for quite some time. Science is the one resource where you cannot really produce too much, there is always something nice to build, and having a little science in the bank makes it far more easy to react to the other players. You must build some science quickly, +1 science is too little in Age I.
  • Resources. Build one more Bronze.
In Age I or Age II, you should also get:
  • Food. If you do not upgrade food during Age I or II, you will often find that you are suddenly stuck. Building one extra Farming is usually not enough, and two is too expensive. You will need a tech card to fix this.
  • Military Actions (MAs). The 3rd action is the best, since it gives you an extra card, and keeping 3 cards is usually enough to have the most options. If you intend to be aggressive, you need more than 3.
  • Resources. The more players, the more important it is to get one of Iron or Coal, since yellow cards will be limited. In a duel, you can sometimes survive on Bronze until the end of the game.

Economy does not win the game by itself, and all types of stored resources are worth nothing at the end. You must constantly look out for whether it is the right time to stop building economy, and start getting the points. The two main ways to convert your advantage into points is using your superior economy to suddenly start making a lot of culture, or by building an unbeatable military and taking the culture by force.

Military


In Through the Ages it is hard to win on military, but it is easy to lose on military. One reason why it is hard to win on military is that getting military that is significantly stronger than your rivals is a massive investment, it is a bit risky since you might just not draw that key tactic, and if they are able to invest less - while still defending well enough - you are at a significant disadvantage.

There are three levels of advantage you can aim for (or levels of disadvantage to aim to avoid).

Military Events. Just being one of the top 2 players on military strength means that all (in a 4-player game) or almost all (in a 3-player game) military events will benefit you, or harm an opponent. I think this is often the best strategy, and it can be combined with other strategies. It does not cost all that much, and gives quite a lot of benefit. The trick here is to get this advantage cheaper than the other players, forcing them out of their preferred upgrade paths while dealing some small damage all the time. 3 MAs is probably sufficient here. More details under the individual leaders

Aggressions. There should be at least one player which you are very likely to hit with aggressions. To do this you should probably try to get to 4+ MAs so you can develop military, attack, and still keep drawing more cards. Your opponent is limited in how many cards he can defend with. You should aim for him to need at least 1-2 Colony/Defense cards to defend.

War. To pursue this you need a lot of Military Actions (MAs), 5 or more, so that you can draw war cards and attacks, play them, as well as upgrade your forces at the same time. You probably need some upgraded mines as well to build all those units.

Which leaders are good at military aggression is pretty obvious, look for the red cubes, strength, and rebates on all things military.

Colonies


A side strategy, since it's not very reliable. You can't be sure that your opponents will seed colonies. To play for colonies, you want this:
  • Ability to make new units, for which you need food and resources.
  • Draw 3 military cards a turn, to seed colonies and play ship cards.
  • It's also nice to get an early Cartography or Navigation.
The best colonies are the ones that give yellow tokens, this is an advantage that will make everything in the game easier, and it also allows you to quickly replace any military you spent. The other ones are less strong, they are usually worth spending a single unit + cards, but if you have to spend more you have to be very careful to not actually spend more than you get. Remember that you need civil actions, military actions, food, and resources, all to get your unit back, and you are also temporarily weakened.

High level concepts

These concepts exist in most worker placement games, or indeed in most interesting games.

Opportunity cost

Doing one thing means not doing another thing. Opportunity cost is the loss of other alternatives when you choose one alternative. It is important to look at not only what your move opens up, but also what now becomes impossible. A simple example, if you spend all your science on one technology, maybe you cannot purchase any technology the next turn. Plays that keep more options available in the next turns are often stronger. Seeing which options your rivals have denied themselves can give clues about what moves you should make.

Tempo

Tempo is a term from chess, and it means something like getting ahead. If I have to take 2 actions to do what you can do for 1 action, then you gain tempo. If I can spend half as many resources to build my army, I gain tempo. Tempo decides who is the active player, who is setting the pace of the game. The players that have less tempo tend to have to play more reactive.

Denial

Denial is taking away some opportunity from the opponent. Taking the Alchemy when your opponent takes Leonardo is an easy example, you deny him the card that is his best combo. You can also deny in other ways. For example, suddenly ramping up military just when you know your opponent is going to make an important play, like a revolution, can deny him that play just as well as directly taking the card he wanted. The fewer players you are, the more important denial is. The reason is that such a move is generally not the play that is directly best for yourself, it costs you something, and the more players there are, the more players are not affected. Hence, if you spend resources denying a player in multi-player games, make sure it's worth it, and usually it is best to screw with the leader.



Age A Cards


The first Age is a bit different than the others, since you just get to pick 1-4 cards (depending on your seating order). But which to get?

Some cards are just straight up powerful by giving obvious benefits. You are constrained by many things in the beginning, but the most obvious are having a low number of Civil Actions (CAs) , low number of Military Actions (MAs), and very little science. Most buildings and upgrades in Age I require 3 resources, which are easily built in turn 1 by upgrading Bronze. You will probably have enough workers for the first few turns, as well.

Leaders have the biggest effect on what to do, so I will divide the tactics per leader.

Age A - Leaders


All of the Age A Leaders are good and have their uses, so experiment!


Aristotle gives you 1 science per science card you draw, he allows you to easily generate around 3 science per turn, which is obviously good. Having some science stored is one of the things that give a quick start, and a lot of flexibility later in the game. He combos well with getting, well, anything you can get from science cards. You have to be careful not to over draw, though, it can be tempting to draw and draw to maximize the bonus and get some good tech out, but spending 1 CA to get only 1 science + a card that clogs your hand for more than half of the game is not efficient. Getting another Philosophy and then Alchemy combos well with Aristotle, it will allow you to get anything you draw in Age I out quickly.

Hammurabi gives you 1 CA for nothing. This pairs well with developing infrastructure, and badly with building colonies and military, since you will be much less likely to get the right tactics and aggressions. Hammurabi is essentially free to use, since he give back both actions used to drawand play him when you replace him with an Age I leader.

There is a neat little trick with Hammurabi - you can take a government by using one MA, and then revolt the same turn using all your still remaining CAs, giving you your government one turn early.

Homer allows you to build up military a bit cheaper, and he will also give you a happy face. Realistically you will only save 1-2 resources with Homer before you replace him, which is not a lot, but the happy face frees up an early worker. The happy face from Homer works with St. Peter's Basilica, so he chains into Michelangelo in Age I. It is risky to pick Homer if you cannot also pick a good Age A wonder. His ability is not very strong, and you might want to replace him before you finish a wonder.

Julius Caesar gives you some extra control of the events, some more military cards, and a single point of military. After you seed your colonies or aggressive events you probably want to replace him as soon as a better military leader is available.

A follow up to seeding colonies can be Frederick Barbarossa + Irrigation Warfare / Monarchy for cheap and efficient troop refills after taking colonies, and then perhaps James Cook if things went really well.

A follow up to seeding aggressive events can be a quick military buildup with Genghis Khan + Phalanx / Heavy Cavalry or Joan of Arc.

This is of course true for any leader, but Julius Caesar makes it much more likely that you will actually draw these cards to seed them.

Moses allows you to get workers out cheaper. This gives more flexibility in going early military, or allows you to build cards like Drama and Library, which gives early culture, and can chain into building even more culture in Age II with Bach or William Shakespeare.

If you play Moses you will have to use quite a lot of actions to grab workers in the first couple of turns

Alexander the Great is a bit like Moses, since adding a yellow token means having to spend less to get those first workers. He can also be used for an early military push, if you draw Legion or Warband then you can get a fairly strong army for a very small investment, especially if you build Swordsmen.

Age A -Wonders

The general advantage of wonders, over urban buildings and units, is that they do not tie up your workers and cost no science. The general disadvantage is that they cost more resources, take more turns to build, and have a scaling cost since each wonder makes the next more expensive.

Pyramids is a power card, and good with everyone.. Depending on Age A events it will be ready around turn 3 or 4. Having 5 CAs is good with any strategy. You want to finish it as soon as you can, which means you will be strapped for resources for a few turns. Therefore Pyramids combos well with Aristotle, since you might be a bit delayed with building more science. If you do not get Pyramids, which has to happen to every player but one, then you have only 2 options in Age I for that 5th CA. It makes sense then to build Philosophy quickly to be able to get out a Code of Laws, or have a revolution into an early Monarchy.

Hanging Gardens allows you to grab many workers before happiness becomes an issue, so it is best with Moses, who spits out those workers incredibly quickly. It also has a combo with Michelangelo, one of the strongest leaders in the game.

Library of Alexandria is fairly expensive. You could just build the second Philosophy instead, a turn earlier, for half the price, and you have an even chance to get a free Religion anyway from the Age A military cards. You do save a couple of workers compared to those options, so it is better with the leaders that do not give more workers (Aristotle, Hammurabi, Homer or Julius Caesar). It also allows you to go easily to 3 science, which is a good number in the early game.

Colossus has some issues. First, you telegraph before anyone has seeded any colonies that you will grab colonies, which will cause the astute opponent to just discard them. There is also no guarantee you will draw any colonies yourself at that point. Second, you gain 2 military for 6 resources. Getting Swordsmen, Knights, or even just Warriors will give you more military for those resources, as well as setting up a tactic for even more.

The upside is that those 2 military are on top of everything else you build, so it one of few ways to set up some very early game aggression. The best combo then is probably Julius Caesar for the extra military and more MAs to draw tactics and aggressions. Homer could also work, since you get some extra resources for your units.

C-C-C-Combo! Colossus + Julius Caesar + 3 Warrior + Legion allows me 2x Aggression in one turn.


Age A - Yellow Cards


The best one is Engineering Genius, since it gives the biggest rebate and typically allows you to finish a wonder a turn early. It can be worth grabbing for 2 CAs.


The second best ones are the other ones that give a rebate + action, like Rich Land, Urban Growth, and (if you did not take Moses), Frugality. None of these are worth 2 CAs, but if you have nothing better to do with your action, then grab them.


Try to grab ones you know you can use in a turn or two. Rich Land can get stuck in your hand very easily, because sometimes you don't get to upgrade farms or mines.


The rest are just bad, eating up your extremely low supply of actions in the early game, for tiny benefits. Typically they just clog your hand until they get discarded in Age II.

Age I - Leaders


Christopher Columbus is nice if the stars are right. If you draw a great colony, and there is nothing better to do, why not grab that free colony. Note that you cannot draw a new Age I leader after Columbus is discarded.


Gengis Khan is gives you both cheap military and cheap culture, which is a strong combination. If you have drawn any of the Age I cavalry tactics he is a great pick. In order, the best ones for you are Heavy Cavalry (+4), Phalanx (+3) and Medieval Army (+2, might be possible to double up). When you replace Gengis Khan you must have a plan for what to do with your military, since you will lose your tactic combo.


Frederick Barbarossa makes it faster to spit out units. He is best if the game goes into heavy colonization mode, since he removes almost all the cost of colonizing. If the game does not involve a lot of military pressure, his ability is nearly useless. You should therefore prepare to bring that pressure on yourself, so take those Knights and Swordsmen and hope you draw some good tactics.


Joan of Arc brings your 3rd MA, early culture, and allows you to push culture and military at the same time. If you have your 5th CA from somewhere else, you can take Theocracy with her. She does not build nearly as much culture as Michelangelo, and Gengis with tactics combo is a bit stronger overall. Getting both some cheap military and culture early is a good thing, so she is hardly ever a bad pick. She does not obviously chain into anything in Age II.


Leonardo da Vinci is an infrastructure builder. Alchemy or Printing Press are the best cards with him. If you do not have either of these cards, then he is fairly ineffective. He chains naturally into Newton, since you will have those science-producing buildings ready.


Michelangelo is the premier early culture leader, and he really wants to do an early culture push. The best card with him is St. Peter's Basilica in Age I. This is important to get since it almost doubles his culture bonus! Other good cards are all the religious buildings and Hanging Gardens. Religion with Basilica is 3 culture per turn for an Age A building, same as an Opera in Age II for the other players. Try to grab Reserves or Engineering Genius to get everything set up as soon as you can, and get the benefits for as long as possible.

Michelangelo requires few workers, but he will likely leave you behind on science and military. The most important thing is probably to try make as much military as you have to, to protect your culture engine. If playing against Michelangelo, a counter strategy is to push military, to at least force him to spend on other things than wonders and Religion..

After Michelangelo you can do pretty much whatever you want. His buildings and wonders do not chain into any other Age II leaders. You probably want him over all the Age II leaders, so it might be better to just let him die when Age III starts and hope no-one draws that Iconoclasm.


Age I - Wonders


None of the Age I wonders are vital, except for Basilica with Michelangelo. If they happen to fit whatever you are doing, then grab them, if not, let them go.


Great Wall is best with Alexander (if you, for some reason, keep him around) and with Gengis Khan. The bonus for infantry is nearly useless late game. It is very expensive, needing 4 CAs to build.


St. Peter's Basilica is a very strong wonder. It arrives when happiness becomes an issue, and allows to you to more or less ignore any happiness issues the whole game, saving your workers for more important things. An early 2 culture is also neat. Amazing combo with Michelangelo. Make sure that a sudden Ravages of Time in Age II will not totally destroy you if you are missing an Age A wonder.


Taj Mahal
 is good, but situational. It is the Age I card that gives the most culture without needing any combo, so if the cards land right, then go for it. Buying it at full CAs is less good.


Universitas Carolinas
is very expensive. If you are stuck at 2 science because all the Alchemies get stolen, then it makes sense to get out of the jam you are in. Otherwise, you get far more from building libraries or laboratory buildings.

Age I - Yellow Cards


At this point the yellow cards are getting better, so any card that fits what you are building is a good pick. Again, the best is Engineering Genius, and the worst is Cultural Heritage. Reserves is a bit slow, but having one gives flexibility when you really need that clutch worker or building.


Age I - Civics


It is high priority to get Warfare if you are missing the 3rd MA and Code of Laws if you are missing the 5th CA. I would easily take Code of Laws for 2 CA. Cartography and Masonry are very situational. If you do not run an extremely science-heavy strategy (like Aristotle Leonardo + Alchemy), you will need that science for other things.

Age I - Units



Knights and Swordsmen are the best military cards in the game, until you get Air Forces in Age III. The reason is that you get them early, they are cheap to research, cheap to build, gives the most punch for each resource at the time where it matters most. They are the easiest to build a double tactic combo with, and give full bonus with all Age I and Age II tactics. Getting at least one of these cards (or just denying them to your opponent) is vital. Do not wait until the tactic appears. Just grab the cards and hold them in your hand until the time is right.


Age I - Governments



Monarchy is great with any strategy. Using 4 CAs on an early revolution is quickly paid back. Spending 2 science for one of each action type is amazing value (for comparison, Code of Laws + Warfare is 11 science). Monarchy can serve you well into Age III, preferably if you get another CA from some other source.

Theocracy is just weak. The only combo is with Joan of Arc, but it gives the wrong action type. Even with her I would rather have Monarchy for all the actions.


Age I - Urbans


Your main limitations when it comes to early urban buildings is a lack of free workers. You therefore won't be able to build many of these early in the game, so make sure you get the ones you really need.

The most important urban technology to get is Alchemy. It can be worth taking at 2, or even 3 CAs. The other urbans are not likely to be as hotly contested, and will often be available for 1 CA.

If you don't have any happy face sources, either Bread and Circuses or Theology are very important. Each of them free up one net worker. If you don't get bonuses from religion (Joan of Arc, Michelangelo), then Bread and Circuses is usually the stronger choice. If you already have Religion, then Theology costs one worker, one resource, and one science less.


The main issue with Drama is that only one happy face is a bit low, and you will soon need the second happy face. I rarely find the opportunity to take Drama, but if you can, Age I libraries and theaters are the best combo into Shakespeare.

Printing Press is straight up better than Philosophy, but 2 science from Alchemy is better than 1 science / 1 culture from Printing Press. If you are locked out of Alchemy, then it might be better than nothing.

Age I/II/III - Resource buildings


These are pretty much the same in any age. You usually must get a farm in this age, or the next age. If you are 3 or more players, you usually must get a mine in this age, or the next age. You probably only want to upgrade each type once, maybe except an early Oil in Age III since it gives such a huge production boost.

Age II - Leaders


As the game advances it is harder to point at particular strategies to follow, as so much depends on what has happened before. The Age II leaders, with one exception, are only good if they combo with what you already have built, or with things that you have available on board or in hand. It's pretty obvious which cards they work with.


I will therefore just point out the one that really sticks out, Napoleon Bonaparte. 2 extra MAs + up to 6 extra military in Age II is huge. He allows you to really push military, stress out your rivals, and be reasonably confident to get something for your efforts. Even if you can't really use him yourself, for some reason, not facing Napoleon might be more valuable than whatever other leader you were looking at.

Age II - Wonders


Again, it depends a lot on what you have. They are all expensive and situational, and I quite often do not build any of them. If you have not upgraded your mines then you probably should not grab them. If you have, then:


Transcontinental Railroad combos well with Coal (it's hard to rely on early Oil). Otherwise, 12 resources for +4 military is the most expensive military strength bonus in the game, so don't do it if you have other options.


Ocean Liner can get you out of a bind if you did not get any of those farms (which you should have, but sometimes it happens).


Eiffel Tower is the one that is overall strong, and gives a ton of culture, but at 13 resources it can be hard to get it out. Opera gives similar culture gain but at a far lower cost.


Kremlin can get you out of a bind if you are still stuck at Despotism and get denied a good Age II government. 2 culture + 1 MA + 1 CA is pretty good stats. It is also an alternative to take it with Monarchy, in which case you can focus on other things than getting an expensive Age II or III government. In most cases the sad citizen does not matter at all, so don't let that distract you from a really powerful wonder.


Despotism + Code of Laws + Kremlin + Military Theory giving enough actions for Age III.
Who needs that Democracy anyway?

Age II/III - Yellow Cards


In Age II and Age III all the yellow cards are great, try to grab as many as you can. This where having more than 5 CAs becomes really important, so that you can grab them at 2 and 3 CAs. They will rarely drop down to 1 CA, especially in 4 player games, so prepare to pay.

There is a trick with Wave of Nationalism and Military Build-Up - if you switch tactic or disband units before building units, or if you colonize, your strength will drop, which can allow you to then play it for a higher bonus. If your military is the terror of the world, this is still one card that you want to deny. I will therefore grab it both when I am ahead and when I am behind in military. The bonuses are the highest of any yellow card, and great security against wars.

Age II - Civics


If you are missing a Civic from Age I, they really start to get good in Age II. This is also a point in the game where you often have enough science to splurge. Do not upgrade from Age I to Age II, it's a total waste, none of them are worth it.

Architecture is great, and comes at a time where it really starts to matter. Age II - III urban buildings are expensive, and you can now build any wonder in 1 or 2 CAs. Important in Age III where drawing a wonder and upgrading it can start to take the entire turn.

Justice System is about as good as Code of Laws, so if you did not get Code and you are starved for CAs, then it's nice.

Navigation is good if there are colonies to fight for - if not then 6 science for 2 military is pretty steep.

Strategy is great with Republic, since it gives you enough MAs to start going aggressive.

Age II - Governments


It is not always necessary to take an Age II government. If you have Monarchy + some source of extra CAs, then you might be just fine with not changing in Age II. The governments are pretty expensive and might not be worth the slight advantage over a souped-up Monarchy.

That said, both are awesome. Constitutional Monarchy is better in isolation, since it gives you (almost) all the actions you need by itself. Revolution with Robespierre into Republic is the best combo, since it is super cheap and you get that 3rd MA you want from Robespierre. I would say that the first one that appears is the one you want. There is only one Age II government for each player - and if you don't already have Monarchy, you probably want one.

Age II - Units


The Age I units are better. Buy Age II if you need to fill out a tactic, or if you don't have the relevant Age I version available. If you miss one of the types, you can get into really, really big trouble when someone plays an Age II tactic you are locked out of. Watch what people are doing, and if you sense a possible military push, make it a high priority to at least have them in your hand.

Cannon is the best of the Age II units, since it's the first artillery unit you can get, and it's required for many Age II/III tactics.

Age III - Leaders


Again everything that matters here is the board state. The combos are pretty obvious. I give a nod to Sid Meier for being the one that generates the most culture by far (4 Computers = an insane +12 culture and +16 science per turn). Even having him with 3 Scientific Method makes him generate more than all the other leaders except possibly Albert EinsteinBill Gates is great for making a huge resource jump if you are still at low production, and he can allow you to make a wonder per turn if you have decent production already. Winston Churchill is great if you get him early and there is military pressure, even if it is peaceful, his +3 culture is in the range of Chaplin and Mahatma Gandhi.

Mahatma Gandhi is the worst of them all, unless you are about to be beaten to death by someone with less than 6 CAs, in which case he is the best of them all. Albert Einstein rocks if you have all the science, dropping 2-3 new techs each turns gives solid culture production, plus it really scores well on the impacts.

Note that 3 leaders really want Computers, and there is not one for each player. Taking a backup Scientific Method in age II an be a good move, this card is often skipped, so you might be able to get it for cheap.


Age III - Wonders


They are all the same. Count the culture, and see which one you want the most. If you have a choice, take the one that other players also would get the most out of.

It's a good idea to look at the production and the approximate number of turns remaining, to see how many, and which, wonders it is possible for you to build, and how many resources you can spare for making culture buildings. Depending on your resource production, this will typically be in range of no wonders to two wonders.

Age III - Units


They are all overpriced except Air Forces, which is the best unit in the game. If at all possible, pick Air Forces, even at 3 CA. Of course there are situations where you need a particular unit to match an Age II or Age III tactic, or some clutch strength against a war, or something, there are no hard rules. Most games I do not pick any of the other Age III units.

Note that the Air Forces card does not mention that it doubles the strength of one of your tactics, this is written only in the rules. This rule is pretty easy to miss, and it seems like an oversight that there is no reminder of the 2x bonus on the card itself.

Age III - Civics


All of them are great for scoring, but they usually come to late to have any major impact on the game itself. The most important is Military Theory if you need to suddenly start building military and attacking people, and Engineering to get out those late wonders without spending the entire turn on it. Unlike the Age II civics, it is can be a good idea to upgrade from Age I/II to Age III, since several impacts score on the Age III civics techs.

Age III - Governments



Again, it all depends. Democracy with its +3 culture is by far the strongest. The other are best if you are still at Monarchy, or even DespotismFundamentalism can give clutch defensive or offensive strength. If you have Republic or Constitutional Monarchy then the Age III governments are of limited use, since they cost a lot.


Age IV


Now it's all about the impacts, finishing off the last Age III wonders, and maybe a final aggression. The key here is to build the things that match your seeded impacts, and vice versa (duh). If your opponent starts making some strange moves late in the game, it is probably to maximize his own impacts, so keep track of that.

Summary


Whew, that was pretty long, but it should cover a lot. Once you got the basics down it becomes really interesting, when you try to predict what your opponent will do so you can set up the perfect counter in advance, and so on. Which is how it is in all the best games, infinite depth and variety!

I am sure there are tactics that I have missed, I am still pretty new to this game. Please leave comments!

If you want to play with me online, search up "Pjolterbeist" in the app. :D

Edits & References

References - after some games I read quite a bit on the BGG forums, but it's impossible now for me to say what came from where, and what I discovered on my own. Anyway, I recommend it for more discussion and ideas.

30.01.2018: Added paragraph about planning for Age III wonders. Made mention of Cannon being the first artillery. Added reminder about Air Forces special rule. Fixed various spelling errors.
31.01.2018: Added section about high level strategy, and the tradeoffs between wonders and workers. Added some alternative combos. Cleaned up some confusing sentences.
02.02.2018: Added discussion of Age I Urban buildings. Added details about the early Colossus military push strategy. Removed a sentence about Colossus and Hammurabi having poor synergy.

Thanks to the the BGG strategy forums, Cardbård Cræck, friends, and players online for valuable comments and corrections: Karl Thomas, esabatine, balzi, Riku, Nathan, Leif, others. Thank you!

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