Civilization board game
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There is only one word for this top shelf title from Avalon Hill – EPIC! This was the first computer conversion that Avalon attempted to convert into a board game and boy, what a choice. Civilization is now up to its 4th incarnation in the computer industry and it has set the benchmark for strategy gaming for over two decades. In other words, “What were they thinking?”, as the margin for failure was huge.
The game and gameplay
This game is so enormous that I can only offer an overview. As the title suggests, players are trying to build the greatest empire the world has seen. The game begins in 4000BC with each player starting with a single village.
As the game progresses, each civilization will travel through time taking in the four major eras: Ancient, Medieval, Industrial and Modern. By using settlers, players explore the continents of the world, discover rare resources, various terrains and each other as they prepare to expand by founding new villages.
In time, populations begin to grow and villages become towns, then cities and finally a metropolis is possible. The game revolves around the research of Technologies (53 in all), ranging from Iron Working to Miniaturisation and Robotics. By acquiring one technology, new ones become possible as your civilisation reaches new heights of awareness and the building of Great Wonders (25) is possible.
Editor’s note: this is a hugely collectible board game, available in several versions, each with various expansions. We suggest you research prices on both eBay and Amazon before making a purchase.Indeed, the sheer scope and complexity of the Technology Tree is enormous and does a great service to the original game upon which it is based. Acquiring new technologies also allows civilizations to create more advanced and devastating weapons to attack their neighbours and defend their borders and for this reason, the Civilization board game requires players to learn the art of diplomacy.
Trade also plays a huge part in the game as the rare resources (eight in all) are the key to generating wealth. Gaining a monopoly of any one resource generates riches and civilizations that have discovered one another can strike trade deals and agree to split the spoils, thus gaining economic benefits over their opponents.
This constant cycle of discovery, expansion, diplomacy, trade and conflict are played out over the course of history until a winner is determined. The game offers several victory conditions, including Diplomatic, Military and Space.
As the game enters its third and then final era, players begin to jockey for position to reach one of these victory conditions and the one they choose will influence greatly their final decisions in all aspects of the game.Pros and cons
Eagle has done a marvellous job with the Civilization board game. The components are gorgeously crafted, offering a huge game board, 784 miniatures and player interaction that never ends.
The game also offers two different rule sets to allow players of any experience level to enjoy the game and the length of play is different with each of these options.
It will certainly not appeal to people who don’t like complex strategy games, though.
The Civilization board game is nothing short of brilliant. At its full height it can take 6+ hours to complete (which means it only gets played in my house 2-3 times a year at most), but boy what an experience!