Civilization, in case you don't know, is based on an early 1980s Avalon Hill game, which was then used as a springboard to Sim Meier's enjoyable Civ computer games. We now come full circle with this new boardgame with easier rules than Avalon Hill's. Civ is the grandaddy of the 4X games (Exploration, Exploitation, Extermination and Expansion).
Jim and I were long time fans of the computer games, but W.K was not that familiar with Civ, so we had to get him all fired up about it.
We started late though at 7 pm and finished only at 3 am the next morning as the game has a high learning curve in the beginning.. this card trumps that card, that card trumps this.... trade is collected for all your cities, but production is city by city... you have to research in a pyramid step approach... military units are split by tech level...this symbol means that..you use this resource to do this and not that, etc. The first hour or two, it was lots of flipping the rule book and "can I do this?" and "what does that card say?" etc..
There are 4 ways to win.
1) A military victory (capture someone's capital city); or
2) A cultural victory (be the first up the cultural track); or
3) An economic victory (get 15 gold); or
4) A tech victory (get the space exploration technology).
Armies are handled by cards (infantry, mounted, artillery and flight) that have 4 levels of technology represented by chevrons, which you spin over. So,if you have an artillery army card, you start off with the lowest tech (archer - one chevron), and then move up to catapult, then cannon and then mobile artillery - 4 chevrons). You could thus have cannons (3 stripes) face off against a 1 chevron infantry, which is spearmen, etc, but though generally more powerful, you could face off with tougher lower tech troops.
You basically tilt the card to your correct tech level when fighting a battle.
These army cards though are represented by flags, which can hold up to 3 army cards. However, before a battle starts, you randomly and without looking, pick which armies are going to face off. Thus, the military is handled abstractedly but elegantly and seems to work fine in a rock-paper-scissors fashion.
You build your civilization by researching tech, getting resources and building wonders of the world and buildings, which you find on the market board.
|The Market Board|
You need a lot of space for this game as you got a market board, you got a tech tree for every player, you got cards galore everywhere and you got the world itself.
Once the learning curve is over, the game mechanics seem simplistic and the true delight of the game comes.
I was the Egyptians in yellow, while WK was the Russians in red, and Jim was the Chinese in Green.
Below is my Egyptian card that shows my special abilities, my current government (feudalism) and the amounts of trade and gold I have.
You start off in your part of the world and the rest of the world starts hidden. You go forth, explore and colonize.
At the beginning of the game, most of the world's tiles are flipped down unknown.
You soon run into hut and barbarian tokens on newly explored land that have hidden resources.
I got the terrible beats in the beginning invading two barbarian villages. I lost 4 armies fighting them and lost 2 flags, all of which cost production to rebuild. A lesson to learn.. don't attack the barbarians unless you have troops that are at a higher tech level than they are.
I finally assembled a massive army and tried to avenge myself on at least one barbarian village, but WK and Jim were by then ahead of me militarily.
Weakened, I had to forgo my dreams of a military victory and reposition my civilization as a beacon of enlightenment, going for a cultural victory.
My tech pyramid that I was building was slowly and surely getting better, but I was facing off against WK and Jim's more advanced technology.
In the meantime, Jim and WK though were dancing and sabre-rattling each other with massive armies, while I hunkered down trying to harness some strength. Both of them were neck and neck in the research department.
That being said, I had to repulse some of Jim's probes as both of them sensed my weakness in troops.
WK and Jim finally threw down the gloves and it resulted in first WK nuking one of Jim's cities, and Jim making a play for WK's capital.
Finally, at 3 o'clock in the morning, WK barely wins a tech victory, with Jim hot on his heels.
All in all, Civ is a great game and I thoroughly enjoyed it and a must for any boardgamer who like 4X games.