Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea’s development is moving ahead very rapidly. This is a rare game that can be played either as a wargame or a non-militaristic competitive game of civilization building, or a combination of both, it’s really up to the players.
Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea remains a joy to playtest, with its gaming now in several cities across the USA and with Vez Arponin’s group in Germany. Working on it has also been a great excuse for myself and co-designer Chris to read some great works of history, archaeology and cartography.
Drum roll please! The map went to Mark Simonitch last week and he has an artist scheduled to take up that creative task. The entire set of rules, playing cards, scenarios and player aid cards went through a major top to bottom edit last week, as eagle-eye editor/developer Fred Schachter identified redundancies, added clarifying clauses to head-off potential rules lawyer questions- and to tweak a few rules and cards… all for the better enjoyment of those who acquire/play the game.
More Civilizations – Now There are Ten
We added two more Civilizations – the Gauls and the Mauretanians*. These not only open up the Western half of the map, but also balance the whole, as there are now five Western map half and five Eastern map half Civilizations from which to choose.
The Gauls had been folded into the Celt-Iberians, which have existed from the design’s start, but we have now made two Civilizations where there was one. That meant giving the Celt-Iberians new bonuses. The Mauretanians also add a North African flavor to the game, distinct from the Carthaginians.
The Mauretanians were chosen over the Numidians not only because of the balance their location gives to the game, but also to reflect their rich and unique Civilization, one admired and courted by both Carthage and Rome. Numidia remains an Area on the map, but the Mauretanians, while similarly famed for their light cavalry, also had a near monopoly on the gold-salt-slave trade across the Sahara and into West Africa.
Solitaire Design Explosion
Co-Designer Chris Vorder Bruegge and I have been extensively testing the solitaire rules – and not just those for the historical wargame scenarios. As a result, we now have a set of rules that not only can be used to make ANY scenario set-up into a Solitaire game, but also can allow for Non-Player Civilizations (NPCs) to participate in multiplayer games. Consequently, two gamers can play against not only each other, but also against one, two, three or even four NPCs.
The solitaire system does not use the kind of “Bot” Flowcharts found in other GMT games. Rather, a narrative list of objectives and card playing priorities is provided. You can read the effects of these in my and Chris’ InsideGMT After Action Report articles which Rachel Billingsley so gorgeously illustrated. I’ll provide more regarding this system with future articles.
Solitaire Game Exploration
We have also further developed and tested Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea’s Exploration scenario, where the player’s Civilization starts, alone, on the map, and as it explores and expands will bump into one, two or more Non-Player Civilizations (NPC’s).
These NPC’s may either be chosen from a list of Civilizations the player wishes to contend against, may be related to a portion of the map being explored, or may be selected completely at random. Thus, much like a popular computer game we all may know of, a player exploring the Italian peninsula might run into Minoans or Egyptians, rather than as they would normally expect, Romans. Or, of course, the player can also set it up so that if the boot is explored, it is more likely Romans will be met rather than anyone else.
More Scenarios and Set Ups
Having more Civilizations means more possible ways to play the game, more possible match-ups and, of course, more scenarios. This now includes a seventh historical wargame scenario: Hannibal.
Watch InsideGMT for more in the future regarding Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea!