The Golden Ages - designer's diary

Something about "The Golden Ages". A designer's point of view, in a very bad english.
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THE CIVILIZATIONS YOU'LL MAY IMPERSONATE, or the hard job of writing a short and catchy title

Luigi Ferrini
Italy
Castagneto Carducci
Livorno
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At the beginning of each turn in The Golden Ages, each player plays from his hand the civilization card that the fate assigned to him for that turn, then he decides if "becoming" that civilization or discarding the card and keeping the former one. This historical aspect is present in few games (one for all: the classic History of the World of Avalon Hill), because, as usual, of Sid Meier's Civilization for PC, where you may have since the prehistory Egyptians and Russians, Babylonians and Americans... and goobye to the historical accuracy! I liked also to reproduce in game mechanics also the succession of different civilizations, one on the ashes of the other.
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After revealing his civilization card, each player places on the map a new continent tile (but we'll talk of this another time...), then he may choose to move or not his capital on the just layed tile. Even this mechanic, other than strategical effects, have a pseudo-historical side: if a player chooses to play with a new civilitazion and he don't move his capital, we may interpretate this event as the born of a new civilization on the ashes of the former one.

If he chooses the new civilization and moves the capital, we may read this event as a fall after which a new power rose up (in history, this happened for example with Byzantium, which empire has born taking over all the rests of the Roman empire).

If the player chooses to keep the old civilization and moves the capital, this move can be interpreted as a change of dynasty with consequent territorial reorganization (historically, it has happened for example in China).

Finally, if the player keeps the old civilization and don't move the capital... well, the history is not always so dynamic, right?
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In game terms, keeping the previous civilization is often not very useful (many special powers are exhausted when the card is played the first time), but it can be because the first player for each turn will be the one with the lowest number on his civilization card. In the first round the numbers range from 1 to 7, in the second from 11 to 16, from 21 to 26 in the third and from 31 to 36 in the fourth: for this reason, the "oldest" civilization always acts first. The more astute readers would noticed that there are "holes" in the numbering... If the game will be a great market success and an expansion should be produced, the holes will surely be filled with all those civilizations that have been "left out"!
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The thing that amused me more during the whole development was the research of game effects that were not purely abstract but related to the historical reality. This is indeed clearly visible in the civilization cards: each of them has a special power that is closely linked to its historical "personality". For example, the Phoenicians were the inventors of the alphabet and then start with the knowledge of Writing, the Portuguese receive additional gold if their colonists circumnavigate the world, the Japanese have an advantage in technological development, and so on.

I really care about these small "setting" details, because I find that they make the game more fun and less abstract.

Maybe you have already got that I actually enjoyed a lot developing The Golden Ages. I really hope this fun be visible even to those who will play the game.
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