You begin with a small tribe. As you expand your farms and mines, you lay the groundwork for technological advancements, better governments, and grand wonders. Your military might supports your political skill as you guide your civilization to greatness.
Hundreds of cards provide endless variability. Various historical figures can lead your civilization in numerous directions. Use Napoleon`s tactics to conquer your foes, then switch to the thoughtful power of Albert Einstein. Wonders such as the Hanging Gardens and the Transcontinental Railroad give each civilization its own character. And the card-drawing system ensures that every game will be unique.
The game goes in 4 rounds. The first A round ends quickly in 2 turns to provide players the initial unique setup. The following I, II and III Era rounds are a lot longer but technically fairly the same as the only difference between them is that cards are getting gradually stronger and in III era you get cards with some endgame bonuses.
Every turn a player uses his political and military actions defined by his government type and represented by white and red cubes. He uses action cubes to buy and play economical or research cards, hire workers, construct buildings, hire troops and play political cards to declare wars, assault your opponets, propose the treaties or play the events.
The winner is the one who scores the most victory points through the game eras by playing cards, constructing buildings and harrassing other players.
The game is long to explain and has a lot of minor details hard to remember, but generally it`s quite easy and worth playing.
The game itself is very reactive as player needs to constantly adopt to the available cards and can not plan the strategy too far ahead. Card picks of other players make it harder to plan your turn in advance. It results as analysis paralysis especially when you have 6+ action cubes. Deck slides too fast and sometimes cards you reveal at the end of your turn are being taken before your next turn and there is only 2 copies of each card in the deck.
I like having lots of options in the game and in Through the Ages you do have it together with constant lack of resources. However overproductive economy is also punished by the game engine and if happens in an early game, then you are pretty much screwed for the rest of the game.
After playing several times I found out that RNG plays a major role in this game. Cards which add extra political actions provide a huge advantage to players able to buy them. I.e. during first round an extra white cube equals 25% extra actions for the owner and considering the random deck order, other players might not be able to get a similar card to play.
What I did not like is that you sometimes know that you have lost the game in II era and you still need to play another 1-2 hours without any motivation. If you are not able to get the right amount of cards with action cubes or develop a science in the early game – there is no point to continue playing.
The game leaves mixed feelings as sometimes it`s fun to play and sometimes you just wait it to finish by being screwed by RNG in early game. However if I lose I always want to play it again to try out some different strategy…
|Easy to play
|Epic feeling due to the game theme.
|High replayability. You never know what will you play.
|Lots of options every turn.
|The game is very long. Best play with 3 people and it`s still long.
|Occasional analysis paralysis. Long downtime.
|Many options, but science and political action technologies is the only key to win.
|Hard to learn. Many details to keep in mind.
|You can lose the game in the middle by not getting necessary cards due to RNGesus.
|Not a noob friendly game. Doesn`t forgive bad choices.
|Era cards just have scaled stats and there is no real difference between them.