Well… today was meant to be a playtest of the game Metropolis (about the rise of the Greek city-states), but I haven’t received all my playtest materials yet. So, we went to Plan B: Advanced Civilization. Sadly, Zjonni has two finals to take tomorrow, and, I think, a paper to write, so he could not make it, leaving us with only 5.

The five-player game cuts off one of the four map panels (in this case the west side), and reduces the number of tokens available to each player a little. After randomly drawing for choosing priority, I took Egypt, Patch took Babylon (which he had last time), Jason took Thrace, Mark took Assyria, and Dave took Crete (the only power in play that hadn’t been last time).

The opening was pretty standard. I deliberately bounced once on the early Bronze Age so that I’d be in better shape in the longer term. I moved west into the rest of Africa, wanting to get to the available city site early, and of course north-east through the Sinai to establish a buffer zone. Relations with Patch were pretty good the entire game, my biggest problems were actually with Crete.

Things developed a bit slowly in Europe and Asia Minor. Jason used Thrace’s late AST barriers to keep a higher population early and took over Greece before Crete really got going. Assyria was perhaps a bit slow, and western Anatolia remained something of a vacuum for quite a while.

As things got going, Babylon took the brunt of the initial wave of calamities, as Patch had at least one for 4-5 turns in a row. Thrace pretty much took no damage. Considering that Jason is always a very able player, and is more practiced with Civ than the rest of us at this point, I… was not happy with the results. It’s not that I wasn’t doing well, but keeping up with him was difficult. And then I had about three to four turns of nasty calamities in a row. I took a Civil War early, with the second faction going to Dave/Crete. I eventually threw him out (except for one small little colony that I didn’t worry about much), but this was delayed by being the primary victim of an Epidemic. I finally knocked out the Cretan city that was in my territory just in time—Dave had a Flood that turn.

Finally, Crete was hit by a Civil War, and I was the beneficiary. This gave me back what was left, and gave me a city on Cyprus that I kept to the end of the game. This put me back in a good position, and I could do something about getting somewhere in the game.

We had a hard limit of 5 PM again, but we definitely got further this time around, and the game flowed more smoothly. Jason and I both broke the Early Iron Age barrier on the last turn. In fact I’d done fairly well, getting to eight cities, and trading away Epidemic to Jason (second time I drew that card!). Sadly, I caught Treachery in return (the second time he hit me with that—but there’s only so many trading partners for the high-value cards). If not for losing that city to him (which he reduced) I would have barely beat him. As it was, I was a mere 36 points behind him in second (inflating my score with the deepest discount purchases I could manage helped). I think we squeezed out two extra turns or so.

Egypt and Babylon (deservedly) get all the press for being the easiest positions, but I must say at this point that Thrace is actually very powerful. Some of it depends on just how much crowding is going on the northern side, but that’s true of any position. With any sort of real room, the late AST barriers really allow you to plan what you’re doing.

Final Scores:

Side Player AST Cities Civ Cards Cards Treasury Total Place
Thrace Jason 1100 200 720 8 4 2032 1
Crete Dave 1000 150 375 20 0 1545 5
Assyria Mark 900 200 560 5 13 1678 4
Babylon Patch 900 400 455 4 16 1775 3
Egypt Rindis 1000 350 630 13 5 1998 2

We still need to work out the next meet, but we’ll probably try for Metropolis… if possible.