What happens when one of your all time favourite games is turned into an app? Wonderful things, that what happens.
A few weeks ago, CGE released the Through the Ages app and I wanted to give a few of my first impressions on it. I haven’t played as many games on the app as I would have liked to but already I can tell, I’m probably going to be obsessed with it.
Beware, I’m probably going to say app a lot over the next few minutes.
If you have been living under a rock and aren’t already 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.
I’m a massive fan of boardgame apps anyway so was super excited when I heard this was coming and like many others, I don’t get as much time to play physical boardgames as I would like to, so I depend on boardgame apps to get my boardgame fix some of the time.
I want to talk about the tutorial first. I’m not going to through every single detail about the actual game itself as I have already written a review on that which you can find here: My Favourite Boardgames [Through the Ages: A New Story Of Civilization] A Quick Review but I will go through some of it to give context when needed.
First of all, I’d suggest going through the tutorial first. Even if you have played Through the Ages a million times before, as it is really informative, helpful and funny too. I didn’t actually go through the tutorial initially as I know the game very well but definitely got a bit confused. Not that the game is confusing but the graphics are different to how the game would look on the table obviously and it threw me off a little bit at first.
I’m usually quite impatient when it comes to tutorials, I just want to get on and play the game but I really enjoyed this one. A very well written, clear and useful ten page tutorial full of tips and tricks and Vlaada Chvatil, in digital form might I add, guides you through the the First Age which adds a lovely personal touch.
I don’t think you could learn the game purely from this tutorial if you haven’t played before, I could be wrong but Through the Ages can be quite a complex game, there’s a lot of different things going on but it does give you enough solid information and is clear and concise enough to give you a good start. It gives you the basics though and you will be able to work your way through a game without too much confusion.
You can play Through the Ages Online with friends or you can play Single player (local game) which includes options such as a custom game, challenges and so on.
The online option (multiplayer) is great and although I haven’t been able to play as many games with friends on there as I would have liked to, it’s a solid option. There are different length games, you can play in real-time or asynchronous and you can play a few games at a time if you like. There’s an awesome chat function too so you can chat with friends as you play, as well as being able to see who’s online, who’s playing who and fully details system notifications.
The single player option however is my best friend on long work days, you can simply play against an AI or if you want to mix it up a bit, there are also different challenges you can play which definitely make it a bit more exciting and like it says on the tin, more of a challenge. Some of them include things like Three Gods, Harsh Fate and Epic Game for Two (See pictured below). I haven’t managed to play all of these yet as this is a first impressions but I’m already excited to give them a go.
There are 29 different challenges that the app allows you to play with specific rules for each challenge. The first challenge is to beat an Easy AI opponent. If you beat that, you unlock the next challenge in that row which is defeat two Medium AI opponents. The next row, as an example, gives everything in the game a 20% discount. These challenges are varied and rated on how difficult they are so you need to get lots of practice in! To be honest though, this game in general is pretty addictive so I can’t see that being too difficult.
There are also two different options for rules which I like a lot, there are the Digital rules and the Tabletop rules. I have been playing a lot of single player using the original Tabletop rules but can definitely see when the Digital rules would come in handy and it’s definitely useful to have both.
How does the app look?
The general look and feel of the app is incredible in my opinion. I love the graphics, it’s inviting, fun, super easy to use and I LOVE how CGE have thoroughly captured the theme of the game. Of course I don’t mind a boardgame app that looks exactly like it would on the table but there’s something quite charming about the way that this has been implemented.
There is a lot going on in Through the Ages, a hell of a lot but they have perfectly been able to come up with a way to make the app seem and look straight forward, very easy to use and in no way overwhelming. Every aspect just works really well together even down to the menu screens and notifications.
I haven’t experienced any glitches with the app so far which is another bonus, I can’t say that there aren’t any but I’ve been lucky and been able to play each game pretty easily.
Overall, I am really impressed with the look, feel and gameplay when it comes to this app. CGE have done a great job with this implementation. Through the Ages is a heavy game and they really have done an amazing job of simplifying it and creating an elegant app.
I’m looking forward to playing more games, playing more challenges and hopefully playing some online games with some of you too.
Let me know in the comments if you have been able to play yet and what your thoughts on the app are.
As always, thank you for reading.