I got a text from Ted on Saturday afternoon and he was wondering if I was free to be a fourth in a game. It sounded like a good time, but I invited to my place. So after dinner Ted, Thomas and Brett arrived.
Now Ted has gotten a few new games recently, including Dungeon Lords and Space Alert, both designed by Vlaada Chvatil, so he has become Ted’s favorite game designer. I also have a game designed by the same guy, Through the Ages. So I suggested that we play that.
Through the Ages is a civilization building game. The goal is to develop your civilization, not to destroy other ones. Military strength is just one aspect of your nation, as well as population, production or science. It is up to you which aspect you will concentrate on, more or less, but you should not underestimate any of them while building your civilization.
Victory is achieved by the player whose nation produces the most culture during the game. However, there are many ways to produce culture: through religion, literature or drama, by building wonders, by utilizing cultural persons etc. Considerable amount of culture can be gained even via wars or aggression.
The game can be played three different ways, simple, advanced and full. We played the advanced game. The game took 3 1/2 hours and it was a blast. It is very strategic, and you are continually planning what you are going to do on your next move, so it has very little down time. In the end Thomas won the game, Brett and Ted tied for second and I came in last.
After that we decided to play another game of Space Alert.
It’s a cooperative team survival game. Players become crew members of a small spaceship scanning dangerous sectors of galaxy. The missions last just 10 real-time minutes (hyperspace jump, sector scan, hyperspace jump back) and the only task the players have is to protect their ship.
On 2 CDs (or Scenario cards if you don’t have a CD player available) are ten minute long soundtracks that represent central computer announcements about the presence of various threats. These vary from space battleships and interceptors to different interstellar monsters and abominations, asteroids or even intruders and malfunctions on the spaceship. Players have to agree who will take care of which task and coordinate their actions (moving around the ship, firing weapons, distributing energy, using battlebots to deal with intruders, launching guided missiles, etc.) in real time to defend the ship. Only a well-working team can survive 10 minutes and make the jump back to safety.
The game offers several difficulty levels, huge variability and a unique experience for one to five player teams. One mission lasts only about 30 minutes, including setup and evaluation.
This time we decided to play a more complex version by adding the “C” buttons to the game. It was a slightly longer game than our last outing of Space Alert, 10 minutes 🙂 We all won!