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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Through The Ages - Card - Ravages of Time

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This is a series of blogs written about each card in Through The Ages.  To find more, simply click on "Cards" label.

Ravages of Time

I usually take this time to discuss a Wonder, but today I'm going to talk about something a bit different: Ravages of Time (RoT).

Ravages of Time essentially "destroys" an Age A or Age I wonder.  From that point on the wonder generates 2 culture, but all of its other effects are lost.  one thing I always wondered was "How big of an effect did Ravages of Time have on the game?"

Game Statistics

RoT appears in just under a quarter of games played.  There may have been a game or two when Ravages was played, but it did not "pop" before the game ended.  This greatly eliminates the "threat" of Ravages to only 1 in 4.

What Crumbles?

The chart below graphs the "crumble percentage" of each of the wonders.  The "crumble percentage" is the number of times the completed wonder was both present and chosen to crumble when RoT appeared.  I believe this number is slightly more accurate since not all wonders are built in every game.
From the graph we can see the largest target is Pyramids.  This effectively gains the player 2 points per turn in exchange for a single Action per turn.  Based on our calculations of Average "Culture per Action", this is a great trade off (see Average Scoring per Turn).

The crumbling of any other wonder is not so significant, generating an additional 1 culture per turn, which isn't bad, if the player had prepared for it beforehand by compensating for the loss of their wonder.

Only 6% of players do not build an Age A or Age I wonder by the time RoT makes an appearance, meaning they gain neither a benefit nor a decrease.  More precisely, the player suffers no direct consequences.  The reality is the player needs to make up an additional culture per turn since the other player's culture increases by 1 per turn.

Opinion

Ravages of Time is nowhere as large a threat as I originally anticipated.  In fact, it is probably not an effective danger at all.  Appearing in only 25% of games means it is something to be anticipated, but not overly concerned about.  Second, by the time it makes an appearance, turn 15 or turn 16, the player should have their economy in full steam and any issues caused by the "loss" of the wonder should have little impact on the player.

The two exceptions I can see is St. Peter's Basilica and Hanging Gardens.  Both would negatively impact Happiness, with St. Peter's having a greater impact at turn 15.  Worse case scenario, the player needs to disband two or three structures to resolve the unhappiness, otherwise the nation goes into Civil Disorder. This may seem a large deal, but consider the player should have assigned these two (or three) workers to some other activity through the course of the game, so it is bringing the player into realignment with the other players.

Now, if a player has both Hanging Gardens and St. Peter's Basilica, there is the possibility the player completely ignored happiness generating buildings altogether.  In this case the player may find themselves rushing to reallocate population, spending actions on useless upgrades.  Analyzing games showed this happened only once.  In the other games the player with both SPB and HG had sufficient unassigned workers to "absorb" the loss of one of the two Wonders.

In short, RoT is not as big a danger or as big a threat as I originally thought.  I now believe RoT is a great card for the player with Pyramids as it quickly boosts their culture/action ratio, without benefiting their players as much.  Furthermore, it comes at a time when the player should no longer have an issue with Actions.
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