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Age of Renaissance
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Store:  Strategy Games
Genre:  Civilization Building
Format:  Board Games

Age of Renaissance

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Product Awards:  
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Ages Play Time Players
12+ 120-300 minutes 3-6

Manufacturer(s): Avalon Hill

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Product Description

We begin in the 8th century A.D. deep in the heart of the Dark Ages. All but the last vestiges of the Roman state, masters of the known world, have been swept away by pillaging barbarians whose tide has ebbed leaving nothing of substance. Against this somber background, this long awaited sequel to Civilization begins where its predecessor ended. Three to six players vie to re-establish their civilizations via trade while advancing in Science, Religion, Commerce, Communications, Exploration and Civics.

While gains are measured in economic terms rather than territorial conquest, the proceedings are nothing, if not warlike. Against the backdrop of war, plague, famine, and religious strrife such personalities as Newton, Galileo, Gutenberg, Erasmus, Copernicus, Charlemagne, Polo, Da Vinci, and Columbus appear to guide mankind to the threshold of a new beginning with startling discoveries in their respective fields.

For victory is not won at the point of a sword, but in the acquisition and application of 26 Advances ranging from Carvan to Industry. Each Advance grants its owner a potentially game-winning advantage, while the order in which these Advances are acquired, despite the fearsome calamities of the Middle Ages, will determine the speed with which you can discover the New World, inaugurate the Enlightenment, and usher in the Renaissance.

The game is quicker than its lineage would suggest and is playable in an evening in any of the three different versions catered to one's available playing time.

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards

Product Information

  • Manufacturer(s): Avalon Hill

  • Year: 1996

  • Players: 3 - 6

  • Time: 120 - 300 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 1,730 grams

  • Customer Favorites Rank: #103

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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.2 in 8 reviews

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by game tester
Best game out there & some variations
September 25, 2006

My friends and I have played this game enough to know the finer points of the game. We have also had to make slight modifications to the game to make it more "lasting".

Civil war is probably one of the worst cards to have played on you. And can put a player from first into permanent LAST place if played correctly on the second turn.

A good example is Genoa/Venice on the second turn. The typical position is such that both countries have say 5 provinces under their control at the end of turn 1. Under close review, there are 10 new countries available for those two countries to claim freely. BUT bidding high enough armies to control all 10 countries Guarantees that you will move Last (or later) in the expansion phase so that likely half of the free provinces will be taken by your opponent. The likely outcome is all provinces have similar expansion and end up with 10 provinces at the end of turn 2.

If, say I am Venice, and I have the civil war card, I can knowingly buy a large number of armies; and in the phase just before expansion I play civil war on by neighbor, Genoa. He is then forced to move last and lose half his armies (or) money (usually always better to lose armies). Result: Venice 14 provinces and Genoa 6 other Countries 10. Venice is usually not far enough ahead of the other countries that they cannot catch up, BUT Genoa is FAR enough behind that he can never catch up, due to the multiplier effect of early leads/losses in the game. This usually leads to "tilting" strategies by Genoa that are designed to annoy/ force the other players to end the game, rather than to have to play out the rest of the game in last place. We have reduced the effects of civil war to 3/4 of the effects shown on the card (victims choice)

We also have made a far more interesting version of the game when we have 5 players instead of 6. We remove the country France from the active player list BUT its provinces are still available to be captured/controlled. We have added two other balancing features in the game. Hamburg gets the technology "overland east" for free, and Genoa gets "Heavens" for free on the second turn.

by Eric
With just a few tweaks, it's is the ultimate strategy wargame
June 28, 2004

As with any excellent, rule-dense strategy game, this game requires a bit of patience and a whole lot of free time. I'd equate AoR to riding a bike - you might fall down a time or two, but with persistance you can enjoy the thrill of riding this game to it's fullest.

AoR is a game that can inspire a gambit of emotions in it's players - they will enjoy thrill of success, the pain of defeat, as well as tasting sweet, sweet irony. It's best as a 4 or 5 player game - 6 can be too chaotic and unbalanced, and 3 are, as Goldilocks would say, too few.

The game can best be described through it's 3 Epochs - the first involves establishing home territories and engaging in basic exploration, the second involves true learning and advancement (hence the Renaissance), and the third is where people get really nasty and try to gain monopolies of the available resources.

Cards are played to illustrate historical events and show the birth of historical leaders - some can be a bit unbalanced - but withholding a few (Crusades, Civil War) until after the first round or two can easily allow everyone in the game to at least get on their feet. Should all the good cards fall into one player's hands, there is a chance they will enjoy an embarrassment of riches. Likewise, should one player be a repeat victim, he may end up finding himself in the role of a spectator rather than a contender.

That aside, AoR is an awesome game that - when played by a group of engaging players whom are all equally invested - can give a great payoff. I am actively seeking my own copy and enjoy playing a couple rounds with a group of my coworkers during our lunch break...that's how much we love this game.

Unlike what some other reviews have indicated, this game can be played in segments. This usually allows for some great diplomatic discussion between game turns! I highly encourage anyone who enjoys games like War! or Civilization to give this game a try - it is WELL worth the time and money.

6 hours of pain (not the good kind)
February 12, 2004

6 hours of pain, and that was with everyone (except me) already having played multiple times, and I moved the quickest! I've never wanted a game to be over as much as I did with this one. I finished it to be a good sport, but it was painful. Did I mention 6 hours? It's not like the kind of 6 hours in Diplomacy, where you're actually negotiating, or any other long game where you're doing something interesting. Most of the time playing the game is NOT playing the game, but counting stuff up, doing money changing, etc. The amount of bookkeeping is insane. You need your own personal accountant just to keep track of everything, and a cattle prod to keep things moving beyond a snails pace. As if that weren't bad enough, the cards range form worse than useless (and you have to play them all eventually--ugh) to incredible, just to make things completely random. Oh yeah, and on top of that, the game mechanics support the rich getting richer. So the burden of balance is left squarely on the players to go after the leader. This was a good reminder why I much prefer European style games with more modern streamlined mechanics.

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