Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Through the Ages - Strategy - Overview

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I had an issue over the weekend and an article didn't post.  So, I will speed up the posts a bit to catch up.  There will be an extra card post coming out on Friday.  This should catch us up!

Among games, I consider Through the Ages very unique.  Often times in games once a player commits to a line of action, they must pursue that course of action to its conclusion, even if halfway through the game it is obvious it is not working.  Furthermore, there are usually only one or two 'optimal' ways to win.  In Through the Ages every player is confronted with the same challenges, but must choose how they will overcome them.  If one method is not working, or becomes impossible, there is time to switch to an alternate method and lose only a little ground.

Be Prepared
That said, it is always better to go into a game with a plan or two in case a critical card doesn't appear when expected, an opponent takes a critical card, or an event changes the game.  Generally, the cards may determine an initial starting condition precluding jumping into a strategy, but usually there is something players can due to mitigate it.  In general, every player suffers the following issues to plan for:
  • Civil Actions,
  • Population (Farming) and handling Consumption,
  • Production and handling Corruption,
  • Colonizing Territories,
  • Generating Culture,
  • Building your Military,
  • Maintaining Happiness,
  • Managing the Card Row,
  • Generating Science,
  • Planning for Events,
  • Final Scoring.
This next series of articles will discuss specific strategies around each of the items mentioned above.  It is nearly impossible to focus on all the various items.  However, it is possible to focus on a few and let the rest handle themselves.  In some cases, handling one issue will resolve a second issue...or exacerbate it.

We will handle each one individually and discuss strategies around resolving them.  Which issues to ignore and which to focus on are up to the player to decide, but hopefully there are some nuggets of information in the talks.

I recommend trying some of the strategies in your games.  Besides adding variety to your games, it improves play to by providing real life insights into the game's mechanics.  Not every strategy is successful, and some are more critical than others, but situations arise where knowing a particular strategy helps to pay off.

Lastly, I recommend everyone contributing to the discussion if possible.  Everyone's insight is unique and there is no one "correct" way.  The more is shared, the better everyone's game will improve.

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