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Friday, June 28, 2013

Through The Ages - Cards - Alex Randolph

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

Alex Randolph (Sid Meier)

History

This card is named Sid Meier in later version of the game.  However, I will defer to my version of the game and will bio Alex Randolph.

Alexander Randolph was born May 4, 1922 and died May 10, 2004.  He spoke four languages fluently and was an avid game designer.  Although born in the United States of America, he traveled extensively and lived in many countries.

Alex Randolph created several well known games, and pioneered several game mechanics which are now considered 'everyday'.  His games include: Twixt, Raj, Sagaland (Enchanted Forest), InKognito, and Breakthru.  It is almost impossible to list all the games he had created here.  However, he is recognized as one of the world's most prolific game designers, with his games having been on the selection list for the Spiel des Jahres award no less than 10 times, among numerous other awards.

Alex Randolph's philosophy involved games as a very human activity.  Games define the human animal.  It is human nature to create a way to describe the universe and to simulate them.  To him,   games are the mechanism by which humans simulate this.

However, it is also a feedback loop: the games influence the animal.  Games are what permit us to describe the universe, but they also end up shaping our culture.  Given the same core game, different cultures will modify the rules differently, eventually creating two distinct games.  These games then may become popular, imprinting and reinforcing a style of thought on those that play the game.

Game Stats

Alex Randolph is the most popular Age III leader.  Statistics seem to support choosing him as an Age III leader, given such a high win ratio.

Opinions

Randolph provides a significant boost to culture at a time when science resources are waning in importance.  The four rounds of science which Alex could generate can add up to 12 culture at the loss of 4 science.  And that is the gain/cost per lab!  This is a significant gain fora marginal cost and one which shouldn't take much thought.  Of all the Age III leaders, Alex Randolph is the only one which can be played without any hesitation with regards to the situation.
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