Through the Ages game
(Upstate New York (USA))
Through the Ages
Board game manufacturer:
Number of players:
A long game with plenty of housekeeping, but little strategy.
The game and gameplay
Goal: Achieve the most culture by developing your civilization through production, science and military strengths.
You start with a number of workers who you can assign to specific occupations (generating resources for example). You must balance the number of workers in play with their food consumption (busy people must eat, after all), discontent and corruption.
Use accumulated resources, science points and armsmen to purchase civilization improvements and to steal resources from your neighbors.
Civilization improvements may award you additional culture points each turn, improve your science, increase your military might, allow you to build wonders, up your food and mineral production, and grant your civilization bonus attributes through leaders. Events may occur which affect your growth and position.
At the end of the game, the civilization with the greatest culture wins.
Pros and cons
The game is detailed and pretty, but I found it trending to a “rich get richer” mechanic. Very often, the event cards available encouraged picking on the weakest person, which only encourages kicking the poor civilization while he’s down. I also found that if you get even a little behind on your production tracks you can’t realistically catch up.
While the games appears at first blush to offer several strategies to win, in truth if you don’t “keep up with the Jonses” in your building (particularly on the military side) you won’t find your final score very competitive.
Having played once, I have little interest to play again. Perhaps if you have a table of equally-skilled opponents, you would find the game challenging and enjoyable. With the limited strategies and the lack of ability to catch up when you get behind, Through the Ages won’t take up a slot on my gaming shelf.