Civilization Western Expansion Map
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Yes, I'm actually going to write a review of the Civilization Western Expansion Board (WXB). I whole-heartily agree that Civilization and Advanced Civilization are classic games that easily smash the barrier from great games, to games that every gamer must have in his/her collection.
For me, however, I cannot imagine every playing a large Adv. Civ. game without the Western Expansion Board.
One of the common complaints that I hear about, is how players' starting nations (and who plays where) greatly contributes to the outcome of the game. They complain that Italy, Illyria and Thrace are fighting too hard to gain land to fare well against Egypt, Babylon, or Assyria, which have more space. Africa is too often a loser due to its confining and unfertile lands.
Complain no more, for the WXB is here!!
Italy is now replaced with 'Iberia', and Africa's start areas are now extended. The map is stretched all the way out to the Atlantic, and includes virtually all of what is now France, and even gathers the southern parts of what is now the United Kingdom and Ireland. The space is so greatly expanded that Iberia almost never reaches the Italian peninsula, Illyria is often a threat to be a contender of 1st place, and Africa can no longer complain, as they tend to easily island hop to the southern half of the Italian boot.
How does this all fare with the Eastern nations? As a long time Assyrian player, I prefer my western neighbors to be wealthy enough to do some serious trading, without fighting me over Asia Minor. I think that Babylon and Egypt would also agree. I also think that Crete is also better off for the added room, as they easily settle into the southern Balkans.
I can't imagine playing Advanced Civilization without the Western Expansion Board. When you try it, I suspect that you won't be able to either.