Monday, September 3, 2012


This weekend I went to a local gaming convention called Tacticon, in Aurora, CO. The convention was from Thursday to Sunday, although I was only able to get there on Friday evening because I had to go to work. But I did get to play several fun games.

One game I played was "Through the Ages." This is a games that is designed to capture the feel of games like "Civilization" the computer game, in the format of a board game. This game is an economy/civilization building game where you start out with a primitive civilization with only basic technologies, and build up through three "ages" to the present day. This is a complex game with lots of interacting systems. You have to make sure you have enough food to increase your population and get more workers, you have to make sure you have enough resources to build buildings for your workers to work in, you have to produces enough "science points" to play your better technology cards, you have to make sure your people are happy enough that they won't revolt, you have to improve your government so you can get enough actions each turn to do what you want to do, you have to pay attention to your military so you don't leave yourself vulnerable to other player's aggression and war cards. The goal of the game is to collect the most "culture points" by the end of the game; the main way you do that is by building "cultural buildings" like theaters, libraries, and certain "wonders of the world". Since cultural buildings produce culture points each turn, you have to make sure you build them early enough so that you have a chance to accumulate points - but not too early, or you'll divert resources that would be better used building your economic engine. At Tacticon, 9 players (including me) showed up to play Through the Ages, so we split up into 3 games of 3 players each. At the convention there were also prizes available for the winners of each event, but each event was requierd to select one winner, so that meant that we were competing for the highest score against players who were playing at the other tables. (That does change the strategy a little bit; for example there are "bonus cards" that come up near the end of the game that give everyone extra points depending on what they have built. So you might want to play a bonus card even though it gives your opponents more points than you, if you mthink you can still win and it helps beat the other tables.) But anyway I won the game and I got my prize which was a $10 gift certificate to one of the vendors there who was selling board games and dice.

Another game that I got there that I really liked was "Catacombs". Catacombs is a game where one player is the "overlord" and is controlling the monsters, and the rest of the players are controlling the heroes who go to fight the monsters. Okay, so far it sounds like every Dungeons and Dragons type game out there, right? But this is different. The way you fight is that the heroes and monsters are represented by wooden disks, and you flick your disk at the opposing disk to try to hit him. Also, the board have "obstacles" which are holes that you put special gray disks in that don't move; they are there to just hide behind. There are lots of different special powers like ranged attacks (rather than flick your own piece to move it, you keep your piece where it is and flick a special ranged weapon piece), chain attacks (where you can do multiple attacks in a row), and so on. I like this game because it has a significant amount of strategy (how to position your forces to take advantage of the cover, how to maximize the benefit of special attacks) and is also very fast-paced and easy to learn.


Nanette Goodman said...

Did we play 'Through the Ages' together last year?

Nanette Goodman said...

Have we played 'through the ages' together? It sounds familiar.