Social anxiety and coping with conventions, what I wish you knew

Anxiety comes in many forms, for many reasons and is a very personal thing for anybody dealing with it. It’s something that a lot of people deal with but hardly anybody is talking about. I hope that by talking about these issues, I can contribute to a community where this stuff is normal, accepted, talked about and I want to help in any way that I can. I can’t fix your problems, but I can reassure you that you are OK, that this is normal and that you are NOT alone.

I can remember a time when I didn’t live with anxiety. I have always dealt with depression, but anxiety is a fairly new (well in the last 7 years or so) concept to me.  I remember a time when simple things like going up to a cashier or making a phone call didn’t make me panic but a series of traumatic and difficult events over the years have brought me here.

For me, anxiety looks like this …

I live in a constant state of worry; sometimes it’s rational and sometimes it isn’t, sometimes I worry that people won’t like me for no reason at all. I worry that I’ve said or done something wrong, that I’m not good enough. Every little mistake or problem that I face seems like a catastrophe, nerves escalate into panic attacks and even the most simple tasks can feel exhausting. 

I freak out in busy places, meeting new people feels like a monumental task and even walking up and saying hi to somebody that I already know can feel overwhelming and scary at times. 

Most of it’s irrational and I have learned over the years how to manage and control my anxiety, but sometimes I simply can’t.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that social anxiety doesn’t affect me on a daily basis, because it does, and I have learned how to cope with it, but one thing that is new to me and I still find so difficult to do is going to gaming conventions.

I know a simple solution would be to stay at home, but I made a promise to myself that no matter how bad I felt, I would never let anxiety take over my life. There have been so many times that anxiety has ruined things for me – friendships, relationships, careers –and I am determined to make sure that never happens again. 

I find it very difficult to talk to people, especially in a group setting and that doesn’t mean I don’t want to, I just find it nearly impossible to do. This makes maintaining friendships hard; it makes forming new friendships even harder. Gaming conventions are built on friendship, socialising, community and a LOT of people, all of the things that I enjoy yet can find overwhelming.

If you see me at a convention and I seem quiet or shy, please never take it personally. I would love to come and say hi to you, I would love to come and play a game with you, but sometimes I just can’t. At other times, I feel like I can take on the world: I’m a confident person, a kind person and I value friendship as much as I value meeting new people and I love socialising, but sometimes all I can offer you is a smile.

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Large crowds can easily send me into a panic; something that has always contributed to my anxiety is the feeling of being trapped and being unable to escape. For a long time, it made even the easiest things like getting a bus or a train impossible for me. I have realised that this usually sets my anxiety off and then it can spiral out of control from there. 

I have learned ways that help me cope and deal with anxiety at conventions and social situations. The main thing that works for me is to give myself a goal: it could be that I am going to meet up with that person I talk to on Twitter and say hi, or I’m going to sit down and play a game with strangers and have a really good time. Or, on specifically bad days, it might just be that I am going to walk up to a booth and talk to somebody about a game they are selling. Constantly pushing myself out of my comfort zone has been the best thing for me and in doing so, I am starting to experience all of the amazing things around me.

Many people suffer from social anxiety – we don’t want sympathy, we’re not seeking attention. We just want people to know and understand that sometimes even just making it to that convention or event is a huge deal for us. I enjoy these things and I know that I want to be a part of this community. I want you to come and say hi to me if you see me, I want to hang out with you and play games, and I will do my best to do all of those things. It just takes a bit more effort sometimes. 

Always know that if you need somebody to talk to, my inbox is always open. Thank you for reading and please leave a comment if you like.

Katie. 

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A Few First Impressions [1960: The Making of the President]

1960: The Making of the President (GMT games) sees Kennedy and Nixon battle head to head in one of the most famous and tense elections in American history. Watch the events leading up to the 1960 election unfold as you try to gain popularity and the most votes across the country.

The contest is fought out on an electoral map of the United States as it stood in 1960, a map where Louisiana and Florida share the same number of electoral votes, as do California and Pennsylvania. Using a card-driven game system, all the major events which shaped the campaign are represented: Nixon’s lazy shave, President Eisenhower’s late endorsement, and the ‘Catholic question’ are all included as specific event cards.

The famous televised debates and final election day push are each handled with their own subsystems which I will talk about in a little bit more detail later on.

Candidates vie to capture each state’s electoral votes using campaign points in the four different regions of the country. At the same time, they must build momentum by dominating the issues of the day and attempt to gain control of the airwaves.

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I want to talk about the theme first because it’s something that initially I had no interest in and I’m not really sure why, I had heard that this game compared to Twilight Struggle and that’s genuinely the reason I wanted to play.

At first, I thought it may be because the 1960 election is something that I have no connection to. Playing a game about the Kennedy and Nixon election is just like playing a game about World War One, I am so far removed from the subject but I do usually enjoy those kind of games and lot of different war-games with a similar feeling to this game so I couldn’t put my finger on it. 

With that in mind, for my first game I totally ignored the subject matter but the more plays, the more immersed in the game I became and the more I started to enjoy and learn about the election and the real events that happened at the time. 1960: The Making of the President provided me with historical insight that I didn’t even realise I was looking for. Gameplay, combined with the clever artwork on the cards and the general aesthetic of the game really help with this. 

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The cards are something in particular that I love about this game, I am a massive fan of card driven games anyway and I like to think that I can play a good hand of cards usually but something about this game really frustrated me (this isn’t a bad thing).

How do the cards work?

At the beginning of each turn, the players are dealt a hand of cards that can be used in multiple ways. You can use the CP on the card to campaign around the country, you can use the CP to buy media support or you can use them to on the issue track to support the issues that were important at the time. Defense, Economy & Civil Rights. 

From experience, it is important to keep an eye on all of these things and try not to fall behind in one of the areas. 

The cards can also be used as an event card, using which ever event is printed on the card. Sounds great right? Not always. In the last game I played, in my first two hands of cards ALL of the events benefited Kennedy, being Nixon that obviously wasn’t ideal. I spent the first two rounds of the game, trying to prevent as much damage as I could which left me playing catch up for the rest of the game, frustrating right? Not in a bad way though, I love working hard, I love a challenge and I love trying to get myself out of tricky situations so this game is perfect for me. 

The game isn’t terribly complex, it is actually quite light compared to a lot of the games I play but something about the cards can really work in your favour, or not. I wouldn’t say the game is completely luck based but there is an element of that depending on what cards you have in your hand at a certain time.

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1960: The Making of the President is definitely one of those games that leaves you thinking “what if” after playing, there are so many crucial decisions to make, a game that is easy to learn but definitely takes a good few games to understand fully how to play and how to form a strategy. 

On top of playing the wonderful cards, there is a debate that happens during the game as well as remembering to keep on top of the issues track and media. There is a lot to think about during the game and I found that if you aren’t consistent in all of the areas, you can start to feel like you are losing control a little bit. I did anyway. 

As I mentioned earlier, I have found this game to be frustrating but satisfying in so many ways. I feel like this is the perfect entry level into a GMT game or a card driven game, the gameplay is simple yet effective and a perfect combination of hand management, area control and strategy.

It’s one I definitely recommend and am enjoying more and more each time I play it, I’m learning more about the election each time I play and excited to introduce this game to as many people as possible. 

If the theme doesn’t interest you, it is still worth playing in my opinion. An exciting game that is challenging, tense and immersive throughout. 

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Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoy 1960: The Making of the President as much as I do and please let me know what you thought of the game.

Thanks,

Katie. 

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A Few First Impressions [Time of Crisis from GMT Games]

I have genuinely never played a GMT game that I didn’t like, now I’m not saying that it won’t happen but I’ve been pretty lucky so far and Time of Crisis did not let me down.

Time of Crisis is a game published by GMT games, designed by Wray Ferrell and Brad Johnson and set during the Crisis of the Third Century, the Roman Empire nearly collapsed in the face of calamitous internal and external strife, including continuous civil war and barbarian invasions from all directions. Beginning with the assassination of Emperor Alexander Severus, a period of 50 years saw nearly as many different men seize imperial power over all or part of the Empire, until the reforms of Diocletian in 284 AD ushered in an era of peace.

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In Time of Crisis, 2-4 players take the reins of Roman dynasties, gathering influence among the senate, military, and people of Rome to ensure that their legacies are remembered by history instead of being lost to the mists of time. Starting from control of one province and a few low-value cards, players are challenged to establish their base of power during this fragile period of Roman history. Players must build armies, take control of valuable provinces, develop support, and defend themselves against barbarian incursions, inopportune events, and the machinations of their political opponents.

Before forming an opinion, I’ll let you know that I’ve played this game twice, both as a two player game so my point of view is limited to that but I still had a very enjoyable yet different experience both times playing.

The first game I played felt like a walk in the park. I drew a few decent hands of cards at the beginning, I seemed to be managing my hand effectively throughout, I gained control of a lot of provinces early on and became emperor early in the game without too much struggle. This helped me have an early advantage in the game and enabled me to control my position with ease giving me more time to spend on building up armies, fighting off barbarians and so on. 

The second game I played could not have been any more different. A few unfortunate hands early on and few dice rolls that were even more unfortunate made for a game of playing catch up. Each turn felt like I was using my whole hand of cards just to keep my head above water, to fight off those pesky mobs or try to maintain control in the very few provinces I had managed to acquire. 

Both completely different games but I did still enjoy the game when I wasn’t doing so well. I am very interested to play this game at four to see if it evens it out a bit, I can imagine battles feeling more intense and a bit more cut throat and incorporating more player interaction.

Time of Crisis beautifully combines dice rolling, deck building and hand management with a light war-game feel. 

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Both games that I played were around 2 hours and I found the rules really simple to pick up. As somebody that plays eurogames and war-games, there are so many familiar elements to this game like the deck building and dice rolling that enabled me to learn the game very quickly and focus on enjoying the experience and developing a strategy.

I’m the kind of person that has to read the rules myself to be able to play a game and understand it, no matter how complex the game may be, you could be the best teacher in the world and I would still have a problem picking up the rules until I had read them or actually played a few turns and found my feet within the game, however I did not have this problem at all with ToC. The mechanics are so familiar yet the game felt unlike anything I’ve played before which is a compliment. 

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I often say that I don’t care much for the theme of a game and it’s all about gameplay but I think that may be changing. The more experience I gain playing war-games, historical games and so on, the more clearly I can see the importance of theme and the huge role it plays. I’ll be honest, I’ve played a lot of eurogames with amazing mechanics that could almost just have a theme stuck onto it and it wouldn’t matter but the more my tastes start to change and develop, the more I can recognize this.  

Don’t get me wrong, I still love eurogames and this game definitely has a slight euro feel but I get something very different out of playing wargames and historical games now. 

Time of Crisis definitely interested me when I started to do a bit of research on the game and the history behind the theme. 

Throughout the game, you can feel the desperation as different opportunities to claim the title of Emperor arise. The Crisis years were of course a challenging, difficult period and this comes across tenfold throughout the game, fighting off foreign tribes, managing your political, civil and army cards and maintaining control of provinces. 

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As mentioned earlier, Time of Crisis is pretty easy to learn, the gameplay itself is pretty simple and I feel like cards are one of the main mechanisms throughout the game. Let me talk about the deck building element of the game first as it caught me out a few times during the game.

Unlike other deck building games, you are able to select which cards will play a part in your hand that turn which is extremely different to any deck building game I have played. You do still need to work through your entire deck before playing cards again so keeping up with what is in your deck, hand management and filtering out cards that are less likely to help you throughout the game is necessary early on. 

The cards will help you out immensely throughout the game, they all hold so much significance which can be a blessing or a curse when it comes to buying more cards or choosing which to cards to discard if you find it necessary to do so. 

 

The different type of cards in the game.

Military cards: Placing a castra. Flanking manouvre – allowing you a reroll and the Pretorian Guard – with the necessary military points and a little luck, you can assassinate the emperor and take his place.

Civil cards: Placing a quaestor. Placing a mob in a province controlled by another player. The Pretender – under certain conditions, allows a player to create his own empire.

Political cards: tribute – The barbarian tribes of a province become inactive. Recruitment of a barbarian unit in their own army. Damnatio memoriae – at the price of some riots that will run in the provinces controlled by the player who plays this event, the previous emperor will lose legacy points.

My advice would be to pay very close attention to the cards that you are buying, not only for the value of the cards but the actions on the cards too. There were a couple of times in my first game that I wasn’t paying attention to the actual cards in my hand and I messed up a couple of turns. 

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Overall, my final thoughts on Time of Crisis are simple. A really fun, lightweight game that is perfect for introducing somebody to the world of wargaming or if you’re looking for something a little bit different. As mentioned earlier, I love the deck building element to the game and the theme really does shine through. Time of Crisis has that eurogame feel which I’m hoping will appeal to people that may not usually play this type of game, there’s always something to be thinking about and lots of different ways to gain points which is something I enjoy. 

The 2 player game was fun and I did really enjoy it but I imagine a 3 or 4 player game will add a bit more excitement and tension to the game, I’m sure that time will tell.

If you have played the game, I would love to hear your thoughts on it and thank you for reading – Katie. 

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Depression and boardgames, an unlikely friendship

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Mental illness. Something that so many people deal with but something that is so scary to talk about. Statistics say that one in four, that’s right, one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life. That’s huge.

I try to speak up about the issues that I face but often feel like people will think less of me if I am open and honest about my mental health. However this must change, it has to. I want to create a space where anybody can come and talk about how they are feeling with no judgement and I want to talk a little bit about the many ways in which boardgames help me cope with depression and anxiety on a regular basis.

Having dealt with depression and social anxiety for as long as I can remember and often being unable to talk about it, I would like that to change. I’ve built my own little space on the internet which has helped my wellbeing and mental health in so many ways so if I’m able reassure or support even one person, then my work here is done. 

Discovering boardgames and the boardgaming community has had such a positive impact on my life. 

People often ask me why I play the kind of games that I do, what attracts me to them. One of the most simple answers I can find is that they provide an escape. A few hours away from the ‘real world’, a few hours where I am so immersed in a game that I can’t  afford to think about anything else other than what I’m doing in that moment. Planning my next move, working on a strategy, finding solutions to problems, something I often find overwhelming and exhausting in real life. It reassures me that I am able to come up with solutions, and see a way out of problems that I may face.

My brain is constantly in overdrive from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep, consumed by negative thoughts, dread, worry, stress, over analysing every situation that happens throughout the day and pure exhaustion. Heavy games allow me to escape those feelings. A positive, healthy escape.

I had spent many years trying to find an escape and often found myself doing so in unhealthy toxic ways, that actually made the battle with depression much worse. Im sure it can be said for any hobby, but putting myself out there, enjoying something again, feeling motivated and feeling a sense of achievement is something that helped save my life. 

Discovering heavy games, and war-games has allowed me to learn and to be challenged which definitely has a massive effect on the way I feel. Not just in the rules of the games themselves but the topics of the games also, I have found myself becoming interested in all sorts of topics I had never really thought about before and being able to expand my knowledge on those topics. Military History, Geography, Farming, all stuff I had never really had an interest in before. (Maybe not farming so much)

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Boardgames have also given me the best tool when it comes to building and maintaining healthy relationships and friendships with people. I can be quite a confident person until the anxiety sets in, that’s when the self-doubt, worry and feeling of being inferior or undeserving of positive relationships begins. I spent a bit of time demoing games for Black box games and Esdevium games and the simple question “Would you like to play a game?” has created an easy way for me to start to connect with people. Even if the answer is no, it creates a conversation, an interest. An easy way for me to connect with people without too much pressure or stress which I have found immensely valuable. 

I am fortunate enough, that even on my dark days, I have loving friends and family including a lot of people in the boardgame community that help me get through whatever I need to get through. Most of the time, that is just playing a game and knowing that I don’t have to talk about anything I don’t want to talk about. Just being able to connect with someone with little or no pressure. 

The boardgame community has given me a new lease of life, a space where I am completely able to be myself on the good days, and the bad days with little to no judgement. A space to talk about the things that make me happy, to provide support and receive support. A place full of like-minded, creative, wonderful people.

Finding a hobby, that I enjoy and that I’m good at has been the best medicine for me.

Of course, there are still difficult days, weeks, months but boardgames make it all a bit more bearable. Boardgames have given me a voice at times when I felt like I didn’t have one or deserve one. 

Always know, that if you ever need someone to talk to, someone to just listen, or play a game with you, I’m here. It doesn’t have to be about boardgames, it can be about anything but it’s a good place to start.

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A Few First Impressions [Labyrinth: The War On Terror, 2001 – ?]

I really don’t know where to start with this one. My love for GMT and the games they publish is ever-growing and it’s pretty obvious to see why. I’m an enormous fan of card driven games and after one play, Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? seems to be no exception to the rule.  

I know wargaming isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t something I initially thought I would take a huge interest in but I really do enjoy the whole experience. Yes, you can say that about any kind of game however something about the whole combat aspect and becoming totally immersed in the theme has really drawn me in. 

I know that the subject matter is a bit of a sensitive subject for some people and I can completely understand why, if you feel like the theme may throw you off I suggest playing it before buying it if you can. The game was so much fun and so well put together that I could look past the theme and see the game for what it was – brilliant, clever, tense and very enjoyable. 

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Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? is a 1 – 2 player game, taking players inside the Islamist jihad and the global war on terror. With broad scope, ease of play, and a never-ending variety of event combinations similar to  Twilight Struggle, Labyrinth portrays not only the US efforts to counter extremists’ use of terrorist tactics but the wider ideological struggle — guerrilla warfare, regime change, democratization, and much more.

This well designed game really surprised me, I had heard many good things and a few not so good things about the game and really wanted to try it out. I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t know it was going to be THIS good after only one play.

Volko did an incredible job of accurately capturing the real world struggle between the western world and extreme jihadism and even though the theme may be sensitive to some as mention earlier, it was definitely treated with caution and I thought it was integrated well within the game. It definitely has a more abstract feel with no real casualties resulting from the terrorists actions.

I found the game to be of medium complexity, that’s a pretty subjective opinion and differs for everybody but generally it was pretty straight forward. Even for my first play I was able to see a clear (ish) strategy and how I was going to play throughout the game.  I did however find the rulebook to be slightly confusing, I understood the rules but couldn’t always understand the why. I’m hoping with a couple more plays that this will become more apparent.

Gameplay

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The course of the game is straightforward and simple. Players take turns playing cards, which they were given at the beginning of the game – always two per turn. When they run out of cards in their hand, the round ends. With round ending are some specific actions, such as reducing funding Jihad and U.S. prestige. The allied player may keep the last card for the next round, play it, or throw it away.

Each card can be played as an event or for operation points. But if you play the role of the United States and play a Jihadist card for points, the event still would happen and the other way around too. You can avoid only your own cards, which is needed for strategic reasons. Some events and their effects persist until end of turn, or even longer, which is easily marked with available tokens. Operation points can be accumulated to prepare a large attack and mark on reserve track.

I’m not going to go into rules as such as there are far better sources for that but here is a link to the rulebook on BGG – Rulebook

A lot of people compare the game to Twilight Struggle, and they are both similar in the way you play cards but I will leave it at that. All I will say, if you do enjoy TS then DEFINITELY give this game a go! 

Final thoughts

Component quality of the game is once again, absolutely stunning. You have heard me say this time and time again but GMT games really are always produced to the highest quality. 

A gorgeous mounted game board, high quality cards and components which definitely add to the whole playing experience.  There are a lot of cubes to be moving around the board though, so if that’s something you’re not really into that then be warned. 

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Replay value is strong, even though I’ve only played Labyrinth once, I get the feeling it has a very high replay value. Similar to many CDGs, there are many options and the cards provide multiple uses meaning that the game will be different every time with various strategies and variations of the game. 

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To finish off, Labyrinth: The War On Terror, 2001 – ? is a perfect school night game for me. It lasted roughly around the two-hour mark, maybe a little bit more which is the perfect ‘quick game after work’ timescale. Alright, not quick but you know what I mean. It’s a nice, meaty CDG with a bit of dice rolling involved that definitely influences the game slightly. The game is mainly strategy based with the odd bit of luck due to the dice rolling and luck of the draw but not so much that it will throw you off. 

I’m really looking forward to giving the solo game a try within the next couple of weeks and hoping for a similar gaming experience. 

Overall I was really impressed with Labyrinth and I’m excited to play again and introduce others to the game.

Thank you for reading.

Katie. 

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A Few First Impressions [Incantris]

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I had the pleasure of being able to play Incantris, and I wanted to talk a little bit about my first impressions of the game. 

First of all, let’s talk about component quality. This game is seriously eye-catching and the art and colours fit perfectly with the theme. As I say time and time again, theme is pretty low down on my  list of priorities when it comes to games however if I am going to play a game about WIZARDS and MAGIC, the look and feel of the game must reflect that and it certainly does.

Essentially, Incantris is an arena battle between Wizards and it’s wonderful. It’s light, fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed it despite it being something slightly different from my usual kind of game.

I’ve only played this once, so these are genuinely my first impressions but I’m excited to get it to the table again. It’s the kind of game that I can imagine taking to a friend’s house, the kind of friend that may not usually play games and being able to easily convince people to play. It’s attractive, lighthearted, enjoyable dice rolling game that I can see going down well with any crowd.

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Incantris is a game of magical combat set in the Kingdom of Aldramere. Each player controls a team of three wizards, each with their own unique spells and abilities. Rain down fiery meteors with the Sorceress, call upon the bear spirit to unleash destruction with the Shaman, strike from afar with the Shadow Weaver, or pummel foes with the Druid’s tempest.

Decide how best to use these abilities to defeat the other players and become the champion of Aldramere.

Gameplay

  • 1–4 Players
  • 20–60 Min Playing Time
  • Designer – Seth Robinson, Heath Robinson
  • Artist – Dan Jack, Artur Jag
  • Publisher – RAINN Studios

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Incantris is played in a series of rounds. and spell casting.  Each round is made up of turns played sequentially around the table.

On a turn, a player may activate only one of his or her wizards. The player selects a wizard to activate and flips the corresponding turn token over to indicate that wizard has been activated this round.

The active wizard may move and cast a spell or cast a spell and then move. Some wizards have magical abilities that may be used in lieu of casting a spell. Movement may not be “split” before and after spell casting. (Note: The Shadow Weaver’s Shadow Dance magical ability is an exception to this rule.)

A wizard may only cast a single spell per turn. If a player has wizards remaining he or she must activate one on his or her turn, but movement, spell casting, and use of magical abilities are always optional.

When the player has completed movement, spell casting, or using magical abilities with the active wizard, play passes to the player on the left. That player chooses a wizard to activate using the same procedure. Play proceeds around the table in this way until every player has activated each wizard he or she has in the arena.

A player may only activate one wizard per turn, and wizards may only be activated once per round.

Once all wizards in the arena have been activated, a round is complete. The turn tokens are flipped back to the portrait side, and the sequence begins again. 

Importantly, as the game progresses and wizards are killed, players must skip turns at the end of the round if they have fewer living wizards than the other players. Turn tokens are not flipped back over until every living wizard in the arena has been activated, not just the player’s own.

 

My final thoughts on this beautiful game are simple and positive.
I am full of compliments when it comes to Incantris and full of excitement to play again.
The gameplay is very simple, which does make me wonder how much replayability this game will have but for now, I am enjoying it and looking forward to playing it more often.
A successful Kickstarter and it’s obvious to see why, it’s a game worth checking out for sure.
Thank you for reading!
Katie.
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My Favourite Boardgames [Through the Ages: A New Story Of Civilization] A Quick Review

Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization, most definitely in my Top 5 boardgames of all time. The best working of an already established game in my opinion and the perfect civilization game.

It was the first ‘heavy game’ I learned how to play so will always hold a special place in my heart and the more I play it, the more I enjoy it. Through the Ages has the perfect balance between deep strategy and satisfying mechanics. I was hooked straight away and there is very little that you can say against this game, some say that it’s ‘too complex’ or ‘too long’ but that wasn’t really an issue for me.

I generally play two player, so I cannot comment on more than that but it generally takes a few hours. It’s the kind of game though that will draw you in, you won’t notice the time flying by and you will be way too engaged to be concerned about time. 

Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization is the new edition of Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization which is also an amazing game, the update though has definitely improved gameplay making it EVEN better than it was previously was, which I didn’t know was possible. 

I definitely prefer the military system in this version, it has been hugely improved and streamlined slightly. Although it may not seem as harsh now I think that’s for the best. It opens up a lot more room for attempting different strategies throughout the game and makes military more balanced and fair.

Without comparing the two games too much, Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization is definitely a work of art. It wholeheartedly deserves it’s place in my Top 5.

This game has a perfect combination of strategy and theme, hand management and card drafting. The kind of game that you tend to immerse yourself into and really dive deep into the theme, a fantastic rulebook and wonderfully balanced cards. 

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If you aren’t aware of Through the Ages, it’s a civilization building game. Each player attempts to build the best civilization through careful resource management, discovering new technologies, electing the right leaders, building wonders and maintaining a strong military. Weakness in any area can and will be exploited by your opponents.

The game takes place throughout the ages beginning in the age of antiquity and ending in the modern age. 

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One of the main mechanisms in Through the Ages is card drafting. Technologies, Wonders, and Leaders come into play and become easier to draft the longer they are in play.

In order to use a technology you will need enough science to discover it, enough food to create a population to man it and enough resources (ore) to build the building to use it. While balancing the resources needed to advance your technology you also need to build a military. Military is built in the same way as civilian buildings. Players that have a weak military will be preyed upon by other players.

There’s no map in the game so you cannot lose territory, but players with higher military will steal resources, science, kill leaders, take population or culture. It is very difficult to win with a large military, but it is very easy to lose because of a weak one.

 

Game Overview

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Round one The game begins in Antiquity, which serves as a preparatory round for the rest of the game. In the first round, players have just a few civil actions. They take cards from the card row to shape the way their civilizations will initially grow. Each player’s turn ends with production of science, food, and resources.

Round two  From the second round on, a few new civil cards appear in the card row at the beginning of each player’s turn. The Middle Ages begin in the second round, and Age I cards appear in the card row.

On their second turn, players may begin building and developing their civilizations. They may use all their civil and military actions, and they may do more than just take cards. They will also have an opportunity to draw military cards after production.

The Rest of the Game – From the third round on, players will have military cards. These allow players to plot political maneuvers and improve their military forces with tactics. Of course, players continue to work on increasing their population, developing new technologies, and expanding their production of food, resources, science, and culture. They will take steps to ensure their people remain happy, and they may also need to deal with corruption.

 

Advancing Through the Ages – When the Age I civil cards run out, Age II, the Age of Exploration, begins. Certain antiquated cards are discarded, and populations become more demanding, but otherwise, the game continues under the same rules. Age II civil and military cards enter the game, bringing advanced technologies, industrial wonders, and enlightened leaders.

The End – Your first game is shortened. When the Age II civil deck runs out, the game is near its end. Again, certain antiquated cards are discarded and the demands of your population increase. Age III, The Modern Era, begins, but you do not use Age III cards. Each player is granted at least one more turn to put the finishing touches on a glorious civilization. The player to the right of the starting player will take the final turn, so that everyone will finish with the same number of turns. The player with the most culture points wins.

Source for Game Overview [here]

So there are a few of my thoughts.

I am genuinely in love with this game, a true masterpiece and one I feel like I will continue to love for years to come. 

 

Thank you for reading, and thank you for visiting my blog.

Katie.

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