Monday, April 02, 2018

Through The Ages Gameplay Review

I'm playing Through The Ages, a turn-based board game by CGE Digital.

The game features custom games, challenges, online matches against human opponents, and a tutorial. Despite being a port of the mobile game, the interface is modified to take advantage of a mouse; I also appreciate the ability to see the same information (how many workers are in each building, for example) or perform the same task (dragging workers, double-clicking cards) multiple ways. The goal is to accumulate the most culture points by the end of the game; this is accomplished by choosing cards from the card row and playing them by spending resources. These can be new buildings or upgrades to existing buildings; structures will produce food, resources, science, or culture based on the card properties and how many workers are assigned to the structure. More advanced cards are gradually introduced as new ages arrive. Other actions include increasing population, playing a leader, developing a new technology, declaring a revolution to switch government types, playing an action card, building or upgrading military units, or playing a military tactic. In addition, a politics phase allows for preparing future game events, declaring war against another player, or forming a pact. There are typically too many things to do each turn so you must make tough decisions on what to choose. You must also keep an eye on happiness (you need more food as you grow while staffing buildings that produce happiness) and corruption (stockpiling too many resources results in a penalty). Scouring the online forums for the board game version shows that there simply isn’t one viable strategy for the game, which is the hallmark of a well-balanced strategy title. The AI plays the game very well and uses varied strategies to achieve victory. Through The Ages succeeds at the two important aspects of any digital board game adaptation: a user-friendly interface and AI competency.