Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Americans

Tonight we're going to look at the Americans in Civilization the Board Game. The Americans may seem like one of the more vanilla civilizations to play but they provide a good starting point for a player who can be flexible and depending on the situation open up any avenue of victory.

The Americans get a random great person, so what you get can certainly dictate how you proceed. However the addition of a great person at the start can be very helpful, especially if it leads to increased culture or wealth.

Because of their special ability to acquire 2 hammers every time you convert trade into production the Americans would do best to put their cities in areas heavily favored to Trade. Cities place near water with harbors can lead to a lot of excess trade that can be converted very easily into units or buildings.

Finally with Currency as a starting tech the Americans can immediately build a market to get their economy rolling. Also the ability to convert incense to gain 3 culture during the city management step means if the Americans can get a good great person draw and get out and explore they can take an early culture lead.

So next time you find yourself playing the Americans don't look around in envy at the other players. Analyze the set up and situation and pick a plan and hold the course. If you do so victory can be yours in a number of ways.
Friday, November 19, 2010

Civlization the Boardgame First Impressions

While my copy is set to arrive today I had the chance to play this one last night and my initial impressions are that I loved it. I'll be digging into this much deeper over the coming days but this is really a great game entry in the genre.

We set up for 4 players, the game needed to be punched and rules needed to be explained so that was an hour of time right there. The game itself is pretty easy to follow once you play about 2-3 turns. I think once everyone knows how to play this game could be knocked out in 2.5-3 hours.

As a first game though we didn't even finish and we were close to 2-3 hours in after the initial set up. Part of that is first game normalcy, part of it is not really having a focus on a victory condition and then it comes down to the group.

The game is broken into 5 steps to a Turn and 3 of those steps are done simultaneously, I've marked those below.

Start of turn Actions*
City Actions

The first two actions should be relatively quick as unless you get a few player haggling over trading something there is not a lot going on. I noticed while we played that many people were constantly counting their trade every round, even when nothing changed to effect it. If you had 11 last round and didn't build anything to alter that you still have 11. Perhaps some scratch paper for the forgetful?

You essentially get one city action per city and you have to determine your production for each city on a turn so this step is the longest. Movement is where combat can come in, but combat is quick and effective so that's not much of an issue.

Finally research is where the game seemed to bog down and it shouldn't You know if you're going to research a tech by the trade phase usually, at the very latest the City Management Phase. So while other players are doing those action you should be looking at your tech deck and deciding what to do.

Anyway enough with the rant on how to play the game, just expect a longer game the first time out.

The game itself was great, I like every mechanic and really can't think of one I didn't enjoy. I'm going to cover these over the next week. I love the 4 ways to victory and last night I really didn't focus on one. As Germany and with my initial set up and the way the game evolved I should of been pursuing a military victory.

However I was all over the place, I think I had the biggest tech pyramid when we quit, I was 2nd in culture which took a lot of doing, had only 1 gold coin in terms of the wealth victory condition and I definitely had the biggest military force. With all that I wasn't anywhere close to winning.

The game suggest not using wonders or two of the Civs in a first game and to simply set up and play a few turns and start a new game. I balked at this notion, however I think it is a really good thing to do. Most players will be too focused on learning the mechanics, looking at techs and exploring to even explore a strategy. Playing even just 3-4 turns will get everyone's feet wet and then make the second game a much more focused setting.

Next time I'll get into the Civilizations and how they differ. For those looking for a recommendation I would say if you like the genre or the computer game you shouldn't hesitate to buy this as long as you have a group to play it with.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The waiting game

I've got several orders in the hopper and I'm just waiting for them to come in. So when i see places have copies of a game i an anxiously awaiting like Civilization the Board Game I become like a 12 year old who can't wait for Christmas morning.

Truth be told I place so many orders that I never know most of the time when something shows up what I am getting but this time I do. Besides Civ the other game I am waiting for is a GMT game. I usually order direct from GMT as I find them a very good company but this time i went online retailer. So while many people are enjoying Labrynith War on Terror I am waiting and waiting.

My wife asks why i don't just play one of the 4 new games I have gotten in the last 3 weeks, she just doesn't get it.

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