Throughout history, the human race has adapted, learned and grown in ways unimaginable by our predecessors. From the invention of the wheel, to agricultural techniques, metal forging, transcontinental passage, photography, and even the internet, life now is drastically different than it was for our ancestors.
In “Through the Ages, A New Story of Civilization”, a 2-4 player game, created by Vlaada Chvatil, and published by CGE Games, players take on the leader of a civilization, evolving and expanding through the ages of time.
Join me as I dive into the digital app version of “Through the Ages, A New Story of Civilization”, and we write our own story of how the human race became civilized.
How To Play
The game walks players through a series of ages, managed by a deck of cards for each age. Starting with Age A (very early human civilization) and going through Ages 1,2, 3, and 4, players will draft cards from a row of flipped over cards and use those cards to upgrade their civilization.
The main meat of the game is managing 5 resources; food, metal, technology, military power, and culture points. Player start with basic cards representing farms for food production, mines for metal, labs for technology, warriors for military power, and temples for culture points.
The basic cards only produce 1 of each resource, giving players minimal resources each turn, but throughout the ages, different cards will allow these cards to be upgraded. Eventually building a single mine can give players 5 resources instead of just 1, as an example.
Lets take a look at the resources in the best order to understand the flow of the game:
Technology: Technology (represented by a light bulb) is used mainly to take cards from your hand and place them on the table, giving you the ability to build those structures. It’s easiest to understand this in terms of, you use technology to research certain practices and then your civilization has the understanding of that practice, but you haven’t actually built any structures yet.
Metal: Metal (represented by a rock) is used to actually build structures once you have used technology points to learn how to build them.
Food: Food (represented by a sack of flour) is used to recruit workers to work for you. You then assign them to the buildings that you have built.
Military Power: Military power gives the player many advantages in military combat during the game. Players can fight each other, and even go to war. Also, certain event cards give advantages to the player with the most military power. Having the lowest military power becomes very burdensome as the game progresses.
Culture points: Culture (represented by a harp) points are how you win the game. They come from building things that make your population happy, like churches, theaters, and wonders like monuments and ocean liners.
The first part of each players turn in called the politics phase. This is where players have a chance to declare aggression against other players, or even declare war.
Then, players get a certain number of civil and a certain number of military actions based on the government they have developed. Government cards can be taken from the card feed during the game.
Actions include taking cards from the card feed, playing cards, playing event cards, and upgrading your military.
Lets talk about important card types:
Leader cards: Each civilization can have a leader that gives the player a special power. Leaders need to be upgraded over time as the ages progress.
Event cards: When event cards are played they get placed at the bottom of the event deck and the top card is drawn face up. The card placed at the bottom will eventually get to the top and be played. These cards usually affect all players.
Military Tactic Cards: Tactic cards give the player who played them a special military ability. After one turn through, the ability becomes available to all players.
Wonders: Wonders are monuments or other special works that can be built by players to give their civilization a special bonus.
The digital version of Through the Ages adds a solo mode to the game, giving players the opportunity to play against bots, and also the opportunity to play against friends or other random players online.
Once the deck for age A has been run through, players enter age 1, and so on, until age 4 cards come out to the table, and then players get one last turn. Whoever has scored the most culture points win the game.
I think I am in love.
When I first started the tutorial, I was convinced I could never learn all of the rules in this game. It took me a few plays to really start to understand the strategy, but each time I played, I noticed how all of the rules made sense in a realistic way. Now that I understand the rules and strategy, I want to play this game all of the time.
The mechanics of the game just make sense. As an example, if your civilization creates an abundance of resources that it can not use that turn, you will lose some of those resources due to corruption. In other words, you have resources just sitting around, and people in your civilization will take them!
As every digital game needs a good tutorial, this game needed a fantastic tutorial to teach so many intricate rules, and I feel like it did a great job. The mechanics are all taught in an engaging way, and the in-game teacher even has some wise cracks to go along with the teaching.
The game could benefit from some more engaging graphics, though. One fun part about playing apps is how they can make the game come alive with short graphics clips, but this game still feels like a card game, just in app form. Although the app is very helpful by taking care of all of the resource management and math, it could have been brought to life a little more. I do find myself humming the game music though, so I guess that is a plus.
I also want to state that playing this app has given me access to a game that I otherwise would probably never have played in physical form. I have heard stories of people playing the tabletop game, and although it is widely loved, the game can often take upwards of 6 hours to complete! Honestly, I would be in heaven, but finding people willing to play a game of that length isn’t highly likely. Now that I am familiar with the app, I can easily play a 4 player game against bots in under an hour, if I play straight through.
Another thing I love about the app is the difficulty of the bots. They will not go easy on you! Be prepared to fight for your wins, and don’t get behind in your military strength!
I think this is a great game and a really solid app. I highly recommend it. Be warned, the app is $9.99, but in all honesty, it is completely worth the buy.
If you like high strategy, and don’t mind learning a ton of rules, knowing it will pay off with a great gaming experience, I highly recommend this app. It will make you think, strategize, and is really just a masterpiece of a game. Absolutely one of my top strategy games ever.
If you find yourself getting confused when playing games with heavy rules, this probably isn’t the game for you. The tutorial is great, but if you are just a casual gamer, you probably wont put in the time to learn how to play well.
Play on boys and girls.
Through the Ages
Ease to Learn7.5/10
App stability / Reliability10.0/10
- Theme and Gameplay go together very well, giving a great thematic experience
- Tons of strategy
- Great Tutorial
- Lots of replayability
- There are a lot of rules
- The app costs $9.99