And there was much rejoicing.
Yes, the anxiously awaited Through the Ages: a New Story of Civilization app has finally been released on iOS and Android, with Steam coming at a later date.
This deep and wonderful card-based civilization game by Czech Games Edition has long been a favourite of the boardgame community, being #1 for quite a while on Boardgame Geek. The app version was started by a different company many years ago, and gamers honestly began to believe it was vaporware until CGE took the reins back and promised to make it good.
When the original board game was going to be tweaked and turned into the “New Story of Civilization,” they said that the app was going to have to be reworked to reflect this.
And yesterday it came out.
It is real.
And it is marvelous.
(Oh, already used that joke. Sorry)
This is going to be a first impressions post, as I haven’t had the chance to play any full games on it, though I have run through the marvelous tutorial.
First, I have to compliment that tutorial because not only does it clearly explain the game and the concepts (even going so far as to tell you the wrong things to do and then how to back up and do the right things), but it’s funny as hell.
The graphics are beautiful, though I have heard a couple of complaints from hardcore gamers who don’t want pictures of their stuff, but they actually want to see the cards as they would if it was on the tabletop.
I don’t know if that’s possible, but given enough requests, they may put it in (if it’s not there already)
In fact, you can call the cards up if you are really confused, though there’s really no need.
If you do, then you will clearly see what your population is doing.
The interface is butter-smooth. Wow, you have so many options! You can drag the cards from the row above.
Or you can tap on the card and pull it up. It then gives you the option of taking the card or not.
For playing a card from your hand, you can just drag it to the center of the screen or you can tap it.
Both give you the available options you can do with it.
When you are seeding an event card, the game tells you exactly what is going to happen next, and what could happen in the future.
Really, I don’t know what else to call this app than simply gorgeous.
There’s a game log (top left corner of the screen) where you can see what’s happened previously.
The game itself has three levels of AI that you can play against, or you can play online multiplayer and pass – and – play.
The online multiplayer is not only asynchronous (yay!!!!) but also allows you to chat not only with your opponents, but to any of your friends who are currently online in either other TtA games or other CGE games entirely (like the fabulous Galaxy Trucker).
This level of detail in this app is so wonderful to see.
Two things of note, one a bit annoying and one I’m not sure about. The annoying thing is that while you watch what the AI does, it does it very fast and it can be hard to follow at first until you get used to it. Even then, you might miss something.
You may be using that game log a lot.
It would be nice if you could slow it down.
Secondly, I’m assuming that the asynchronous games will show you what your opponent(s) did without you having to go to the game log, but I don’t know. Something to check out when I get an online game going.
And if you do get a replay of your opponent turns, I hope it’s not as fast as the AI turns go.
My first impression of this app is that it’s well worth the $10 ($13.99 in Canada unfortunately on iOS, but for some reason only $12.99 on Android…greedy Apple). That could change once I get into the meat of the game and actually get some games going. Maybe the AIs all suck?
I don’t know.
I guess I will find out.