|Players:||2 - 4|
Through the Ages is an exciting game of strategy and resource management. Players guide their civilizations up from Antiquity, through the Middle Ages, and into Modern Times.
Through the Ages is not a game for everyone, but it is THE game for some people. Upfront you should know that the game is long, as a rule of thumb I assume 1.5 hours per player. The head to head version is good fun, and four players is good with an experienced crew. However, I think the game really shines at 3 players.
If you commit to the game, you will be rewarded. I think this game would be considered a euro game, but it has a lot going on. It is definitely an engine builder that will appeal to a certain type of gamer. In addition to the engine building elements, there are many decisions vying for your attention throughout the game generated by the 'technology track' which is the central mechanic for introducing new options for your civilization to take.
The politics deck is where the game really stands out. While players are busy tuning their engines and selecting new technologies, leaders, and wonders in the open from the technology track; the politics deck is accumulating and revealing new conflicts and considerations for the players. Aggressive raids are attempted, wars are fought, agreements are met and then dissolved and other unusual circumstances are revealed.
Through the Ages is a special game that won't appeal to everyone, but with the right group, it is a wonder to behold. The only gripe I have with the game is that it's too easy to pick on someone who falls behind on the military track. That person becomes vulnerable to all other players who are incentivized to exploit them. The game includes a rule for 'retirement' which allows a player to withdraw, but that's never fun, especially when the game could continue for another hour or two.
On the whole, though I would recommend this game to anyone who isn't shy about sitting down for 4-6 hours to play a civilization-building board game. It is the best version of that type of game that I've ever played and I still get this on the table every month or two.