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Friday, January 6, 2012

Through the Ages - Card Review - Colossus

Forum Entry for this card is located here: http://gamesstrategyandtactics.freeforums.org/colossus-t16.html
This is a series of blogs written about each card in Through The Ages.  To find more, simply click on "Cards" label.
Colossus
History
The Colossus (of Rhodes)
"The Colossus of Rhodes" was the last of the "Wonders of the Ancient" world built, and the first of the Wonders to fall victim to the ravages of the world.  It was a statue of the Greek Titan Helios built to celebrate Rhodes victory over Cyprus, who was besieging them.  The Colossus was completed around 280 BC, but fell victim of an earthquake about 56 years later.

The Colossus stood 107 feet tall with a bronze outer skin standing on a platform of white marble.  It was a marvel of engineering and art, requiring 12 years to complete.  Alas, when the earthquake struck the Colossus' knee gave out, and the statue crumbled.  It lay strewn about its resting spot till the Arabs invaded in 654 AD.

Although artists like placing the Colossus straddling the harbor (as depicted on the card), in reality the harbor would have been too wide.  No one knows what the Colossus truly looked like, but it must have been a magnificent sight to behold. 
Game Stats
The statistics for the Colossus are not particularly good.  It is the least favorite of the Age A wonders, and 10th overall.  (Full explanation of statistics can be found here)  Still, it is completed in about a third of all games.  Perhaps the saving grace of the Colossus is it requires the fewest number of actions to complete.  This makes it the most likely Wonder to be built first if it is chosen, albeit by just one turn.
Culture Generation
Culturally, the Colossus isn't the best Wonder out there.  The Colossus can be expected to generate 20 culture in a game.  When compared to other culture generating Wonders, this isn't spectacular.  It just noses out the Library of Alexandria by a turn
Combos, Strategies and Opinion
Strategies
The bane of Colossus
Colonization
Colossus is usually associate with a "Colonization Strategy".  However, the +1 Colonization bonus is less than the +2 which a standard Defense card provides or if the Cartography card comes up.  Sadly, it is entirely like for the Cartography to appear just as the Colossus is built.  So, if  a player takes Cartography when another builds Colossus, the power shifted to the player with Cartography for the cost of 4 science.     If combined with Cartography the Colonization strategy is greatly improved through Age I, but come Age II a single Navigation will once again put the goals at risk.
The other Colossus
Replacement
Military Domination
For an early domination approach Colossus may seem a good buy.  It provides a permanent +1 strength for 6 ore.  Unfortunately, 6 ore is the equivalent of 3 soldiers at +1 strength each.  Furthermore, both Cartography and Warfare offer quick counters for 4 science to the Colossus in Military domination.  Lastly, particular leaders (Joan of Arc, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Genghis Khan [w\cavalry]) all quickly counter the Colossus easily.
Combinations
Cartography: It almost seems as if the Cartography card needs to be coupled with the Colossus in order to keep the Colossus relevant if pursuing a Colonization or Domination strategy.
Warfare: Warfare increases the odds of drawing a needed military card and provides +1 strength.  Again, providing an easy counter to a Domination strategy, but also a great supplement.
Cartography & Warfare: If a player succeeds in getting Cartography, Warfare, and Colossus into play, the other players better be ready to take some punishment.  However, the player will probably be behind in good Tactics or Cavalry technology.
Opinion
From analyzing games it appears the Colossus has a negative trend to successful wins.  Only 1 of the 7 games ended in a win, while 5 of the games Colossus appeared in resulted in the player coming in 3rd or 4th.  The Colossus is too expensive for what it provides.  Cartography and Warfare provide better counters to it for just 4 science.
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