Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wargaming Wednesday - Mega Civilization (2015)

I dove into playing Civilization (1980) from Avalon Hill since it first came out and try to play each and every year at least once, and have even added an annual event to close Gary Con.  You can imagine that I am certainly curious about the new Mega Civilization (2015)  being produced by 999 Games and Pegasus Spiele.  It expands the player range from the original 2-7 to 5-18.  Playing the old game with less than five players was always disappointing to me, so I can understand that impetus to set a higher low threshold.  However, I can barely imagine an eight or nine player game, let alone a game in double digits or as high as eighteen!  They've added some new cards and made some adjustments to the game but you'll want to check out the video below and rules book for more information.  Since I haven't played and have just begun to explore this new version, I'm not going to editorialize much in this blog post.

The description from Board Game Geek is as follows:
Mega Civilization, a huge version of the legendary development game Civilization, is a game of skill for 5 to 18 players covering the historical development of ancient civilizations from just after the last Ice Age to the dawn of the new era at the end of the Iron Age — a time span of almost 8,000 years. Each player leads their own civilization as it tries to expand its culture over a map board that stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to India.
Although battles and territorial strategy are important, Mega Civilization is not a wargame as you might expect when looking at the map board. Instead, the objective of play is to gain a level of overall advancement involving cultural, economic, scientific, political, civic, and religious factors. The player who most effectively balances these various goals will achieve the best scores and win.
In more detail, the objective of Mega Civilization is to acquire the highest number of victory points (VPs) by building cities and developing Civilization Advances. This will be done over various phases and turns, some of which will be performed simultaneously by the players. After each turn, a check is made for each player to move forward on the Archaeological Succession Table (A.S.T.). Each step on this timeline represents a certain period of time in history reaching from the Stone Age. Advancement there will provide even more VPs. The winner will not necessarily be the first player to reach the end of the A.S.T. or the player with the highest number of cities or Civilization Advances, although these are the key factors in determining the winner.
Each civilization begins with a single population token, and every turn each player increases their population by adding tokens to each area they occupy. These tokens can be moved over the map board by land or (using ships) by sea. As each area has a population limit, a good strategic overview will give players advantage in occupying more and more areas. If a player manages to move sufficient tokens into an area, they can build a city there. These cities generate trade cards which will eventually lead to wealth. During trade sessions, players receive not only the commodities they need to complete sets; they might also receive calamities which will remove population or cities. Specific Civilization Advances will protect the players from natural or civic calamities. The development of these Civilization Advances is symbolized by turning in sets of trading goods, as the wealthier civilizations will acquire more Civilization Advances.
As civilizations develop, it will be harder for their rulers to find the right balance between future population growth, maintaining enough support for their cities, and increasing their treasury. If they cannot manage their token population, their cities might eventually revolt during the tax collection phase. The civilizations with the strongest economy traditionally score the highest.
A game of Mega Civilization can take 10-12 hours to complete. Players can also choose to play the beginner scenario — "The First Game" — which takes only 1-2 hours. 
Another scenario — "The Short Game" — provides the same excitement as the full game, although the game starts in a later age; by doing this, games can be played in "only" 6-8 hours.

The game is only being produced in 2,000 units and will cost hundreds of dollars which is out of my range but I was sure tempted.  I hope someday that someone I know at a convention has it and runs a game so I can give it a whirl, particularly if it can be done as a full day event with the full eighteen players.  Until then, the rule book is free online here and they have a Facebook page here.  By way of unboxing and meeting the designers, Board Game Geek posted a video a few days ago on their YouTube channel.  Enjoy!

A closer examination of board and miniatures Wargaming.
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