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Expansion to Civilization.
Civilization and Advanced Civilization is a game that seperates true, hardcore, gamers from those that grew up on card and computer games. If you're looking for a game that's enjoyable, but takes awhile to play, Civilization is for you.
You start off with one population token on the edge of the board. You then have to build your civilization to become the mightiest of all civilizations, or at least those in the game. How do you do this? By utilizing trade, diplomacy, stratagy, and occassionally war, of course! Trading is the most important part of the game. It's more than just collecting cards. It's about trying to get enough points to get advances that will allow you to reduce the effects of the calamities that are bound to befall you. But watch out, some advances, while helping you, will actually agrivate the effects of other calamities.
Even when you're not moving your pieces or trading, though, you're still involved. As turn order is fixed, you need to constantly watch what your neighbors are doing, and plan for your next turn. You also need to make decisions. Would Metal Working be better to get next turn, or would Music be of more use? Better yet, which ones can you afford?
You also need to watch out for those calamities. Since you can only be affected by two a turn, if you hold two, it might just be worth it to trade for calamities if you hold two bad ones with no defence. The two are chosen randomly. Who wouldn't rather suffer the effects of Trechery and Superstition, rather than Civil War and Barbarian Hordes? Crete has a slight advantage here, as the Barbarian Hordes have no effect on them.
This game does take awhile to play. A typical game can last 10-12 hours, or more if it's someone's first time playing. It's easy to get the hang of it, though, and generally can go pretty fast early on.
Overall, I'd have to say this is the best game ever created. I don't know how anything could possibly be better.
In the beginning, I learned to play [page scan/se=0033/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Risk. Then I learned [page scan/se=0431/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Axis & Allies, which was so rich and complex that I couldn't stand Risk anymore. Then I learned Diplomacy, which introduced interpersonal relations when Axis got too predictable. Then I learned Civilization, which, over a decade later, remains my favorite strategy game of all time.
What makes Civ so excellent is its de-emphasis on warfare. In Civ, war will kill you, as a number of persons in my gaming group who were raised on Axis learned to their detriment. The object is not to kill your neighbors, for that will drain people away from the cities you must build as quickly as possible.
In Civ, you must quickly establish a core territory with a good balance of city sites and rich agricultural territories. Every country has its own core territory that already has these features built in (with the exception of Italy, Illyria, and Thrace, which end up fighting for much of the same territory). Then you establish cities (at the beginning, you have no choice but to use the city squares, which are often on agriculturally valuable spaces, but soon, by mid-game, you have enough population to build cities on useless desert spaces). Having cities gives you trade cards, which you trade with other empires to build mutually beneficial monopolies ('I have salt you need; you have grain I need'). Then those monopolies can be cashed in for advances in your civilization level.
The richness of this game is in the infinite combinations that you and your neighbors can engage, geopolitically, in trade and in general diplomacy. In these respects, Civ is even more flexible than Diplomacy.
In addition, unlike many other games, throughout the early and mid-game, there are no definite leaders. Early leaders will inevitably get stuck trying to move into the late bronze age, letting all the late bloomers back into the game. Also, the early leaders inevitably get stuck with devastating calamity cards such as epidemic, barbarian hordes, and the worst of all, civil war (which gives the person in last place half of your empire!). Then again, the person who gets stuck with these calamities gets to choose secondary victims, which are other empires that also get stuck with the aftereffects of these calamities. That makes positive diplomacy and the lack of warfare that much more important.
Like Diplomacy, Civ is a game that cannot be played solitaire to learn the mechanics. Game mechanics are extremely easy (the first 1000 years can always be played in about 30 seconds, and the second 1000 years in about 60 seconds), and an old hand can teach newcomers in about 15 minutes everything that one needs to know. The first few turns are simply learning how to move pieces, how to build boats, and how to build cities. Then, as the game progresses, several turns later, new hands learn the value of trade cards, and get to buy their first civilization advances.
Advanced Civilization (or Improved Civilization, as some people have called it), adds a western 1/3 board (Italy is replaced as a player by Iberia, and the western end of the board becomes a lot less crowded), a number of additional civilization cards, and some new commodity cards (so people at the same level of city development can go after different monopolies). While this is a big improvement, Civilization is good enough that the basic game is still an evening well spent.
One warning: While an old hand realizes that every country has its own strengths and weaknesses, and every country has equal potential (I've never seen such good balance in any game except Diplomacy), some strengths are more apparent than others. Newbies should not be allowed to play Crete, Italy, or Assyria (I've seen too many newbies fatally wound themselves by building a ship too early with Crete, though they usually catch up in mid-game when everybody else is stuck getting into the Late Bronze Age). If you're a newbie, the best countries are Egypt or Babylon (though these two are also the most vulnerable to floods), or Illyria (if Italy and Thrace are not playing, or only one of the two is being played). These three countries have the easiest times getting themselves started geopolitically. Asia and Africa are also good geopolitically.
Although Crete isn't a good country to learn the game with, Crete also isn't a good country for an expert to play with, since it can be so easily transformed into an empire with all those tiny Greek spaces, all with city squares on them. An expert can really dominate the game with Crete, if the Aegean becomes a Cretan lake (which it always does). Crete is also the only country immune to barbarian hordes, which is one of the most devastating calamities (the only time I have ever seen anyone eliminated from a game, the barbarian hordes annihilated me as an Assyria already weakened by civil war).
That's another plus about this game: you (almost) can't be eliminated! You're ALWAYS in the game and always have a potential to win (though if somebody's in the Late Iron Age, the role of a small empire becomes kingmaker: YOU, the small fry, get to decide who you will trade with, and thus, who will win).
Hopefully Hasbro will re-release this classic. It's well worth getting it! If you like Diplomacy, you'll love this game (though my wife hates Diplomacy and still loves Civilization!). :)
Have you ever been asked, "If you were stranded on a desert island, which five games would you want with you?" Assuming, of course, the appropriate number of players are available, etc. Well, Civ is a definite must have. If you enjoy the exceptional History of the World, or Age Of Renaissance, this is the forefather of them both, and an even better game.
Players embark upon a development of their tribe within the environs of the Mediterranean over 8000 years toward becoming the dominant cultural, economic, political and religious civilization. This monumental task is achieved by astute acquisition of Commodity and Civilization cards, while prudently selecting where to expand and who to wage war against.
The massive rulebook appears very daunting (which unfortunately is the norm for most Avalon Hill games), but as is usually the case, an old hand can teach this game to anyone within fifteen minutes by following through the sequence of play a couple times.
This advanced addition to the basic game adds a map extension, revamps all of the cards, and tweaks the rules a bit, but does not add to the complexity. However, when buying Civilization (and you must buy it), getting this expansion is a definite. It makes an unbelievable gaming experience even better.
Yes, Avalon Hill is out of business and Advanced Civilization is out of print. But you might still be able to find a copy and perhaps Hasbro will reprint it one day.
Advanced Civilization is perhaps a misnomer for this expansion - 'Improved Civilization' might be a better term - it adds better gameplay and a much greater range of options for your civilization. Trade has been vastly simplified (a shortcoming in the original Civilization game), there are more commodity cards so that more players can play comfortably, there are replacement civilization cards, introducing a new category (religion) so that your civilization isn't just heading for Democracy or Philosophy every game. There are also more (and more balanced) disasters, with improved rules, than in the original. Finally, a new scoring system allows games to be as short or as long as players wish, although eight to twelve hours is a usual length for a full game.
Advanced Civilization is only playable with the base game of Civilization (which makes it doubly hard to get now that Avalon Hill is no more). This expansion comes with a hefty booklet - half of which is rules which players of the original Civilization will mostly know, and half of which is editorial material going on in depth about the civilization cards, disasters and how to play certain countries effectively.
As with the base game, Advanced Civilization plays best with five to eight players, although it can function with as few as two. The game can drag a bit, especially with a lot of slow players, but time spent playing this game can pass very quickly - I have lost almost entire days to the game without knowing it!
If you want a peaceful alternative to wargaming but still want the feel of a classic empire-building game, and you can round up a few playing companions and a spare few hours, this is definitely a game to be reckoned with. Get it if you can.
Avalon Hill released an IBM PC edition of Advanced Civilization. Downloads of a demo version are widely available on the Web.
Advanced Civilization is my favorite game of all time. Even though I've been playing Civilization and Advanced Civilization for more than 15 years, I still find myself wanting to play Advanced Civilization at least once every other month. Which, considering that this is a game that takes at least twelve hours to play with the full complement of eight players, is fairly often!
Advanced Civilization isn't so much an 'Advanced' version of Civilization as it is an 'Improved' version. It allows for an additional player, eliminates some of the stupider biases in the original game, enhances trading, and provides for better winning conditions.
Specific improvements in this version include a revision of the turn order, so that one always buys Civilization cards after the calamities have been played out. This eliminates the frantic way that some players tried to buy the specific Civilization advances that would protect them against the calamities they were holding in thier hands. Another improvement is the presence of a sufficient number of Civilization cards of each type for all players to own one. This prevents players from rushing to acquire the last card of a particular type, and makes the game more fun for those who are behind.
Advanced Civilization also expands the number of commodities available for trading, creates many new Civilization cards, and incorporates fascinating (if that's the word...) new calamities.
I haven't played the base version of Civilization since I purchased Advanced Civilization six years ago. If you like Civilization, I'm sure you'll like Advanced Civilization even more. (Note that Advanced Civilization is not a game unto itself: you must own Civilization in order to play Advanced Civilization.)
It find it difficult to understand why this game has achieved such a cult status. In Civilization (Advanced or not) you expand to an area and start to build cities to get commodity cards, trade with other players to get more, which (once you have a series of similar cards) you then trade for science cards. Is counting card values and getting more and more science cards really so fascinating? Most people seem to believe that luck isn't a factor here since there are no dice but the drawing of commodity cards and trading is all about luck. Getting disasters in the early game can easily wreck your game. In this game you really cannot afford to have conflict, but what if your neighbour stupidly attacks you turn after turn? In most games you would probably only benefit, but in Civilization both players' game is ruined. In Civilization if you drop behind other players in the development track even one space you are in big trouble (if two you are definitely out of the contest). Then you just have to watch for hours and hours as leading players get better and better cards, faster and faster, knowing that in all likeness the gap between them and you gets bigger all the time.
Civilization is not a bad game. But it is one of those games that feels like it's taking forever. In reality, it only takes half of forever.
Seriously, it's not at all uncommon for a game of Civ to take 10-12 hours. I can't think of anything I'd want to do for 10 hours at a stretch, except maybe sleep. If the idea of playing a board game for 10 hours sounds good to you, then Civilization might be a good choice.
I would dispute the idea that it's educational; maybe it's a little educational, but not enough to make much difference. Basically, it's just a long, boring game. And as with many games, it can get really tedious if your group is a mix of people who play fast and people who play slowly.
I'll confess--my limit for a game is about 2 hours. If a game consistently takes much longer than that, I probably won't like it.
Everything I've said about Civilization applies to my opinion of [page ]Advanced Civilization too.