3

In Through the Ages, there are some optional rules to prevent power is too important, e.g. by not ganging up on the weakest player.

However, still a lot of event cards affect the weakest and strongest player. So if one player is the weakest, he wants to increase his strength, but then another player will be the weakest, who increases his strength, so it is a neverending story.

Do I miss something here or should I use a different strategy?

2

Indeed military power is important (as in the real world). Indeed the weakest nation suffer from Aggression/War and several events. However having the most military power is not the safest way to win a game with 3/4 players. Most often the best players keep their military strength somewhere in between, so they can stand an Aggression/War attacks and will not lose to events but not waste all their resources on military. Note that two player game is much more about military strength since each point you steal from your opponent is 2 points swing.

If you don't like this arm race there are few ways to reduce it:

  1. 4 players games - more players means military strength is less important.
  2. Peaceful variant - no War and Aggression cards - just a culture race.
  3. Through the Ages: A new Story of Civilization - the new edition decrease the dominance of some military cards, most known is Napoleon which decrease from a 3-action-pick to a situational nice leader.

Experts can handle low Military: they have ways to neglect the negative affects of low military, so that they can focus on engine building and "change gears" when time seems right.
Examples: seeing but not seeding most of the 5 events that involve military at age I, or timely seeding Iconoclasm that can remove Napoleon on the right time. Having a effective tactic card in hand + enough resources ready for countering a War.

  • 1
    Thank you very much for this insight... What I noticed mostly now is that the weakest player has a huge disadvantage, because most of the cards target either the weakest or highest. – Michel Keijzers Oct 25 at 20:54
  • Note: on BGA you can play both the first addition and the second. boardgamearena.com – Cohensius Oct 26 at 10:22
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This is probably opinion based but I've played this game many many times and was involved in the play testing of the expansion.

Its my view that TTA is more a tactical game than a strategic game. If you approach it with a long term strategy and that cards you wont don't appear till late in an era, get taken by others or that elusive tactic you want doesn't appear you cant do much about it. I'd advice playing the game more reactively and assessing each current situation rather than trying to plan to much long term.

if you think you will suffer being the weakest player there are many things you can do to mitigate this.

1) Don't play events. the points you lose not doing this is very small compared to what the final score are likely to be. If your not playing events then the events you don't want are less common.

2) Play colonies if you have them. If you can bid enough for a stronger player to have to keep rebuilding their strength then the won't be spending resources of other things.

3) Try to compete with strength. As with all board games its not about having the largest score, its about just have a larger score than your opponents. If you need to spend a bit building an army rather than things that score points then do that. Having an awareness of the tactics and trying to pick up at least one cavalry or infantry units card will help.

I wouldn't say that the military strength aspect is to important. But it is something you have to just be aware of when making decisions as its one of many factors in the game. With the exception of wars I don't think the negative effects are that devastating if you know what might be coming.

  • Thank you very much for these tips, especially the first ones, for a 4 player game more events are played per turn, but in any way military is somewhat important, or at least shouldn't be ignored. – Michel Keijzers Oct 26 at 12:29

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