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Subject: Rise and Fall of ancient Civilizations rss

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Daniel geromboux
Australia
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It had been a long time coming but we finally played a game of advanced civilisation from start to finish with all 8 players.

There was a plan to serve people who showed up on time crepes. This was to get people to turn up on time and it certainly worked a treat. I think the latest arrival time was about 10:10 (for a 10am start). By the time the crepes dried up, the spontaneous game of bohnanza that had started up over breakfast was packed up, it was probably about 10:30 by the time the board hit the table. Some quibbling over nation allocation decided that random was the way to go. Illyria was randomly decided to be the nation not played, then someone argued that you never want to play Thrace when Illyria is absent, Illyria is better as it is a turn closer southwards, so Thrace got the shaft instead.

So we ended up with:
Africa: Sebastien
Iberia (or sneakily known as Italy on AST chart): Daniel
Illyria: Kieran
Asia: Matt
Assyria: Tom
Babylon: Gestalt entity comprising of Suz, Josh & Christy
Egypt: Brian

Part 1: Stone Age - Humble beginnings
From humble beginnings of a single man, our mighty empires flourished peacefully for awhile and claimed some territory.
Africa spread out in all directions. Except for south, but we'll excuse him as there is no board in that direction. Some early boatbuilding saw Africa as the first nation in Sicily.
Iberia padded out it's homeland and peacefully settled as far east as Rome and Rubicon.
Illyria claimed rest of Italy and negotiated Apollonia & Thessalonica from Crete.
Crete did the usual cretan thing of claiming greece, and grumbling about the necessity of having to kill 2 early men for a boat.
Asia claimed turkey & rhodes unchallenged and settled on Kanesh for it's eastern border.
Assyria felt quite cramped. They manoeuvred their way south, and busted a move to sacrifice 2 men in cilicia, in order to sail 2 survivors south in a hurry.
Babylon went about it's business of building the 3 city wall to keep Assyrians out. Some aggressive moves west were seen early into Van and Assyria to encourage the nomadic Assyrians to move along a little faster.
Egypt raced north and west as fast as possible, and eventually settled on Western Desert, Siwa, Jerusalem, Petra, Midian for it's borders.

Part 2: Early Bronze Age - Border skirmishes
Peace couldn't last. There were too many people with grand ambitious plans. Some minor conflicts were seen in the middle east but that was nothing compared with what was to come.

The first major decisive stroke of the game came when Egypt, moving before Africa, decided to extend his borders to Cyrenaica and sent in a few troops. Since Africa's men had a boat with them, the hope is that they would get the hint, and sail on home. The plan backfired however, when those men decided to sail to Tanis to search for the lost Ark. Those men were a great source of entertainment for all, and many players were seen wandering over to Egypt to offer unsolicited and advice on how best to evict the invaders, or how to cause damage with the invaders, or quite often, both.

In the northwest, life was relatively peaceful for the moment. A mighty city was built in Belgica. Ithaca was a often threatened with attack, and the owner of it, more often than not, demolished it of their own accord from a calamity, rather than keep it and risk it's invasion.
Towards the end of the Early Bronze Age, the Iberian's were seen slowly marching East across the top on their way to the black sea. The Asians, were seen marching West. Advance scouting elements of the two armies met in Dacia where a peaceful group of Illyrian farmers were minding their own business. A 3 way fight ensued and was called a draw since 1 man from each group died. The gods were angry by the whole affair. Well the barbarians were at any rate. They struck down the Asians (who were the instigators of the fight). They invaded Mikop from the northern arctic wastes (alright, I admit it, the arctic is a long way off, but give me some artistic licence) and I guess they did the traditional barbarian things of looting & pillaging. From there they had a choice, they could go down and attack the Asian strongholds. But they had heard that a good fight was happening in Dacian and that they were missing out! So off they marched, through Kibon, Crimea, Cythia and into Dacia, wiping out all in their path (including a few more innocent Illyrians). This left plenty of barbarian survivors behind, and some managed to stay alive until nearly the end of the game. The Asians had suffered a lot of casualties in this and widespread famine struck the land forcing the reduction of 3 or 4 cities. Unsurprisingly, Illyria, Iberia & Asia were all seen buying Metalworking that turn...

News of precisely what happened in the east wasn't noticed by Iberia as it was a mighty long way away (and the cricket was on, so I spent spare time watching that), so details are sketchy. Numerous border clashes were seen. The end result was Babylon & Asia holding their borders firm and Assyria become a long thin band of troops stretching from Nalchik & Caucasus in the north, to Tyre & Jerico in the south.

Part 3: Early Iron Age - War breaks out
This is when the level of warfare really ramped up.

The coastline along the holy land and the Nile became a source of heavy conflict. Tyre changed hands more than once per turn with Assyria, Egypt & Africa fighting heavily. At one stage, I saw an impressive pile of 18 men on a square.

Babylon preferred a life of quiet solitude. They built a city of sand in Arabia to shut out any possible Egyptian invasion, and bunkered down in their enclave.
The barbarians, having fought heavily until now, had had their fill of fighting, looting & pillaging, and turned to their attention to their other favourite pastime: women. Where better to look than Babylon, full of Susans & Marians? So for a couple of turns in a row, the barbarians were seen invading from the East. They would've gone looking for the Lesbians (possibly should be called Lesbosians, but that's much less fun), but unfortunately for them, they're unable to hit Crete.

Crete did a very impressive job of subsisting quite well in an amazingly small amount of space. They learnt the science of agriculture and farmed plenty of olives, tomatoes, etc. In fact, their diet was so good they managed to get up to 8 cities and stay there for quite awhile. Such fabulous wealth attracted the envy of their neighbours. In the same turn, both Asia & Iberia invaded opposite sides of Greece, getting for their efforts Spices & Resin. It transpires that in addition to those, there was also Gems & Bronze for the taking. What were the Cretans doing hoarding such goodies?

Illyrians were mostly minding their own business. They were taking occasional losses from Iberia, so they took parts of Sicily off Africa, but on the whole their borders remained constant.

Iberians however, were the most warlike of them all. They developed the art of Military & Coinage. This allowed them to change the level of taxation in their cities to allow them to build huge armies, and then watch carefully their opponents movements before making strategic strikes. Initially, whilst they were numerous and militaristic, they were still afraid of the open sea, so they made strikes at Africa in Sicily and Illyria around the Adriatic sea. They soon developed however the art of Astronomy. From there they were indiscriminate in their attacks, and plundered all around the Mediterranean, attacking whatever was convenient. Unfortunately for Africa however, what was usually most convenient was Africa.
This was Iberia's glorious age and they maintained 9 cities and several city attacks for a few rounds. This quickly attracted the ire of all other nations and they were continually besieged by famine and epidemic despites their advances in Pottery & Medicine.

Part 4: Late Bronze Age - The mighty fall how far?
The first major event of the Late Bronze Age was the Iberian Civil War. They were at the height of their power, covering all of what will known in the future as Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and Germany. In addition to this, they had roaming naval fleets attacking enemy ports, looting & pillaging goods.
Two factions emerged however. The second group consisted of the army & the navy of the empire, as well as the coastal towns on the mainland of France & Spain. A total of 4 cities and 20 men.
The second consisted of a more peaceful minded group that wanted to stop all the senseless bloodshed. This group were the people who lived in the farming territories at the back of the empire, as well as a few towns of fishermen living on the islands off the coast of France & Spain. There was also a city in Greece. A total of 4 cities and 2 men.
Since the Iberian were militaristic though, losses were heavy on both sides and each faction lost a city in the bloodshed. The Iberian leader sided with the army. They were having too much fun.
The other faction joined the empire of Assyria and formed their own little colony at the back of the Iberian empire. All except that city in Greece, who decided that they wished to be Africa. Why not.
However the rendering of the empire in twain was only the start of the problems. With all this infighting, health care was being neglected and a neighbouring country sent plague bearers over so a small outbreak of epidemic broke out. Medicine contained the problem but 5 men were lost to diseases.
The rioting in the cities also turned into an outbreak of Iconoclasm and Heresy. Although the problem was mostly based in the far off nation of Babylon, the political insecurity of Iberia meant that it too was ravaged by riots in which the population destroyed countless priceless artworks, churches, cathedrals. Two more cities were rubbled in the rioting.
All of this meant that from a nation of 9 cities and 22 men, all that remained was 1 lonely city, but with a sizeable army of 20 men.
All this damage meant Iberia suffered greatly on the Archeological Succession Table and their progression was halted. At least the 1 remaining city prevented a total descent into barbarism and therefore moving backwards on the AST.

Meanwhile, all out warfare was continuing in Tyre. Cities came and went within a single round with no nation able to gain a stranglehold on the territory.
Asians were the preferred target of the Iberians as they were also technologically advanced, but unfortunately they're a long way to sail to from Iberia, so there was only the isolated attack in Rhodes & Miletus.

Soon thereafter, Babylon was also having issues with Civil War. They lost control of a few outlying men and three men located in Midian, Nalchik & Armenia joined the Iberian army. This happened at roughly the same time as the Iberian became enlightened and abandoned their pagan gods in favour of Monotheism. The threat of a missionary in their midst drew a prompt reaction from the Egyptian navy on the Red Sea and the Midian guy died a horrible death as he was trapped and had nowhere to go. The men in the north-east did a little better though. They spent time dancing around the northern regions, going wherever there was room and occasionally converting the natives.

Part 5 - The finish line
Crete was nearly at the end of the AST and had plenty of cities. If they could hold on to 5 of them for a round, the game would end. It was obvious though, that despite being several squares behind on the AST, Iberia was so technologically far ahead that it would be the winning nation. 6 of the 8 nations wanted Crete to crash & burn and buy everyone time to catch up. The two that didn't were Iberia, who obviously wanted the game to end, and Crete, who didn't really see how him crashing and burning would every allow him to catch up. Crete preferred to try and end it now and hold out second place.
So despite best efforts, the game was ended and the carnage examined.
Iberia, despite being a few squares behind on the AST, had significantly more technology and thus was declared the winner with over 400 points lead
Asia turned out to be on top of the challengers and finished only 36 points in front. They got over the line due to some clever Treachery of the Assyrians which allowed them to convert an Egyptian city with their missionary. Steal one, get one free.
Crete, Illyria & Egypt (I can't remember the order) were close behind and were all less than 150 points behind Asia.
Assyria, Africa & Babylon finished a couple of hundred points behind that. Given that that is only a technology or two, it was a reasonably close finish for the minor placings.

Part 6 - Post Mortem
Finish time: around 4AM! Having 3 people who hadn't played before didn't help but some work could also be done in making people play faster. I was thinking giving people around 3 minutes for a move phase.

Certainly in the face-to-face version, trading was a fast and furious affair. We gave ourselves 10 minutes per trading round, but in reality, trading was finished in just over 5 minutes most of the time, with half the traders spending the last 5 minutes watching the cricket. Trades were all over the place with calamities flying around the table. More than once I saw the same calamity several times.

The biggest factor was obviously Military. Being able to move last is a huge advantage. I was able to gain great advantage of this from the fact that I was the only person with military and didn't have to worry about my keeping my population small at all. Still it is very expensive and gains very little credit advantage.

Having the right amount of money at the right time is important. Otherwise you find yourself buying technologies that don't particularly suit your needs.

It's good if you can keep some trade cards at end of trading. If you don't it really makes it hard to get a good set next time.

We didn't quite get far enough through the 9 deck to hit Piracy. We were still 2 cards short. I would say what a shame, but in reality, since I would've been the target, I'm happy it was that way.

My personal highlight of the game was the last round of trading. The gods were obviously angry and gave me the following 8 cards: Hides (leftover from previous round, Iron, Timber, Oil, Barbarians, Epidemic, Civil Disorder, Iconoclasm. Hmm, 4 disasters, not good. I started off trading for stuff that didn't match, just as a way of getting calamities out of my hand, but I always made sure I upgraded the general quality of my hand. After a while I ended up with 4 grain and 5 really crap cards. Griff had another grain and was wanting any advantage he could get to try and get second, so by trading him all the crap for one more grain, I ended up with 5 grain!

My personal lowlight of the game was obviously going from 9 cities to 1 in a single calamity round. There wasn't anything I could've done, and I knew it was going to happen eventually, but it didn't have to hurt quite that much!
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Gert Corthout
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Very good session report! It's always hard to capture the epic feeling of advanced civ but I think you did great!
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John Margerum
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Burbank
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Your games are much more warlike than ours. I find it strange that you never got to priracy, didn't people buy gold cards?
 
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Walter
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Hopefully in two weeks I will play Advanced Civ again. I hope it will be as good as your session. Great report!
 
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Daniel geromboux
Australia
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John Margerum wrote:
Your games are much more warlike than ours. I find it strange that you never got to priracy, didn't people buy gold cards?


With 8 players it was very hard for people to get to 9 cities so very few "natural" gold cards were dealt. A few people bought some so we had a total of 8 9 level cards. We had a look and Piracy was the 2nd card in the deck when we finished. We were nearly there.

I personally didn't mind that we never saw Piracy cause I can guarantee that I would've been a target.
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Chris Trimmer
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frogdude wrote:
After a while I ended up with 4 grain and 5 really crap cards. Griff had another grain and was wanting any advantage he could get to try and get second, so by trading him all the crap for one more grain, I ended up with 5 grain!


Was the minimum 3 card trade rule not used?
 
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Daniel geromboux
Australia
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TrimChris wrote:
frogdude wrote:
After a while I ended up with 4 grain and 5 really crap cards. Griff had another grain and was wanting any advantage he could get to try and get second, so by trading him all the crap for one more grain, I ended up with 5 grain!


Was the minimum 3 card trade rule not used?


It was in force. My trading partner guaranteed me in the last trade 1 Grain + 1 Hide + mystery card. The mystery card was a superstition which by then hurt nobody.
 
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