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ECHOES OF AGES - Rethinked Civilization Card Game

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kemtox
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Joined: 08/19/2013

Hi everyone!

First, I'd like to say that this community seems really interesting. I've been lurking since 2-3 weeks before creating my account and I like the ideas people give and the comments they do. This is why I'm asking for your help/opinion/comments today. But just before I start, I must tell you that english isn't my main language (french), so I apologize in advance if I sound like a 7 years old sometimes! ;-)

How it all started
Echoes of ages started, a long time ago, as "Call to power: the card game" (like 5-6 years ago). Everyone know about Civilization (the PC games), but less people know about a game called "Call to power", which was released by Activision in 1999 if I recall correctly. This game brough many interesting concepts on the table, one of those beeing the possibility to play up to the far future (2700 AD ish).

In 2005-2006, I replayed that great game and came to the following conclusion: "A boardgame version of it could be really great and unique!". So I started to work on a card mechanic that used a "timeline system", cubes to represent ressources and workers, events, etc.. In some way, I kind of invented a beta version of "Through the ages" (which didn't exist yet at that time) and this is precisely that similarity that made me abandon this project.

However, I have many ideas, and this project is still haunting my mind on a regular basis. This is why I'm asking for your comments/ideas today.

Ok, yet another Civ game...so what's different?
While we must keep in mind that some concepts are common to a lot of boardgames, here are the points I think would make Echoes of Ages unique.

  • The timespan: instead of stopping around 2000AD, it goes way further into the future, adding a lot of new possibilities.
  • You play WITH and AGAINST your opponents: With what I call "Realities", not only each game is never the same, but it forces player to unite and interract with each other. Things such as Plague, Slavery, Global Warming, Nuclear Holocaust, Dark ages, Ice ages, etc. have chances to exist during a game, and players have to sit and talk to each other and take decisions about those realities.
  • Victory: Even if the final goal is to have the most victory points (called Civilization points), the way you get them isn't simply by adding stuff after a certain number of turns. Instead, starting at Era IV, players are asked to select a "Victory card". Those cards can vary from "Build a giant nanofactory", or "Research artificial singularity" to "Make all civilizations on the world united in peace and love". Those "cards" represents the"Technological", "Cultural", "Diplomatic", etc. victories ala Civilization. However, they are also the game ending mechanic; a final intense climax between players.
  • Scope: This game would take in consideration many factors, but underused ones such as Religion or Pollution would play an important role in the game (so do they in history).
  • Mechanics: Of course, all of this using original mechanics. I'm aware that the more you add to a game, the more it gets complicated. I, for myself, think there are ingenious ways to come up with intuitive and elegant mechanics.

This looks interesting...I guess...tell me more about the mechanics
Like I told before, the main reason I stoped working on this project is its incredible ressemblance with Through the ages. So this part must be redone from scratch. Here are, however, some ideas I got for the different aspects of the game:

  • Eras: They are 5, the abolute minimum I think. Ancient Era, Medieval Era, Enlightment, Modern Era and Synthetic Era.
  • Game flow: Cards from future eras are placed facedown in stacks. A certain number of counters are placed on those stackc. Current era cards are placed face up in a commun area where player can draft them. Drafting cards remove counters from the future stacks. When there are no more counters on a stack, this new era begins.
  • Ressources management: Euro style. I like the "remove something from a cube bank and place it elsewhere" mechanic. In this regard, Eclipse has a very similar way to deal with ressources. Also, many ressources are "double-edged" such as Religion<->Science or Industry<->Ecology. This means that the more you use one, the less the other is available.
  • Player turn: Action card picking. Each turn, a player will chose one of 5 or 6 possible actions (such as Explore, Produce, Invent, etc.). Those cards give him an immediate bonus and a smaller opportunities to other players.
  • The cards themself: I have in mind a mechanic that somehow works like in Race for the Galaxy (minus the 2372368777 icons). By exemple, the building "Farm" would have somthing like "If you chose a Produce action: gain 2 food". However, the more the game advances, the more possibilities happen during a turn. So, the technology "Computer" could have something like "If you chose a Produce action: remove 2 counters from the next era stack". The possibilities are endless, action cards somehow become "mana" for a kind of "magic the gathering" mechanic.
  • War: I like "passive wars" mechanics. Even if military units are present, most of them adds to a global strength total used to make comparison with other players.
  • Regards/Threat: The game uses a "Regards" value (if you prefer, a "how much can I trust you?" value). Events and other cards can rise this value, but breaking treaties lower it. Vicious and militaryplayers will lose "Regards", making the diplomatic victory almost impossible but will gain "Threat", that will add to their military strength.

The idea of the game is to make the game winable in a lot of ways. With mechanics such as Religion<->Science and Regards<->Threat, imagine all the possibilities. In a scenario, you can be the developped and scientificaly advanced first world country that all other respect and admire. In another scenario, you are the religious oligarchy that uses fear to control the economy of the world. Now, mix and match are possible: will you use your advanced technology to threat people, or the religion to maintain the peace in the world?

The next step
The next step is right now. It is time to gather other people's comments/opinions on the subject. I'm aware this is an ambitious project, but even before investing a lot of time into it, I'd like to hear what you have to say about it.

Thanks in advance for your help, and have a nice day :-)

Archimedes42
Archimedes42's picture
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Joined: 10/15/2014
I Like It

I really like the idea (civ building is my all time favourite theme.) I really, really like the idea of 'regards.' Sounds a lot like a board game I'm currently designing called 'Age Of Man': You should check it out, once I post something about it!

Maybe we could bounce some ideas off each other's games.

Cheers.

P.S. I think the world needs a good civ building card game, and this shows a lot of promise!

Beggarking
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Joined: 09/09/2014
Sounds epic. There are a lot

Sounds epic. There are a lot of games in this space, so it will be interesting to see how you differentiate and what mechanics you choose to run with.
Good luck!

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