Through the Ages (iOS and Android) by Vlaada Chvátil

Does the game work well on a phone? Seems more like a tablet oriented game when I look at it…

It’s tiny, but surprisingly playable, for an interface being identical to the tablets’. You’ll have to tap the cards on the Sushi train rolling on top, to tell what they do - but you also have to do that anyway when you begin on a tablet.
Definitely a tablet game though.

I play it on a 5.5" screen without difficulty.

Hmm. I was second at the end, then a bunch of events resolved catapulting me into last place. Was I just supposed to guess the events that were to be played, based on knowledge of the available choices? That seemed to be what the tutorial implied. Even if I did, it seems difficult or impossible to rejigger your economy around a prospective event.

Lest this seem like sour grapes, it was against the AI and I don’t care that I lost, I am just trying to understand why :)

Events are played in your political phase. When played, they are hidden from other players and put in the ‘future event’ pile. When doing so, a card of the ‘current event’ pile is revealed. Once the current events are all revealed the future events are transferred to the current event pile in a random order. You can tap on the event piles at the top left part of the screen and see which ones you put in and would be coming up. This way you can plan how you play your next political phase.

Once the game is ended, all events of Age 3 in the future or current events pile are revealed and scored. This assures that any Age 3 events played will actually impact the game. It can happen that Age 2 events stay hidden until the end and never revealed.

Playing it on phone is fine if you know the game. It could be more of a struggle for newer players since you have some much going on at the same time.

Just wanted to do a quick list of tips for newer players on parts of the game that might be less explained in the tutorial. My user is jkdvz if you want to start a game and I will be able to answer questions as they come up if necessary.

  • Through the ages is a game of balancing. You can hardly win by going all-in on one aspect of your civilization. Otherwise you often hit roadblocks where you have civil actions or resources available but nothing to do with it leading you to a wasted turn. The most common case is the food shortage that prevents you from increasing your population. Wasting 2-3 turns to finally get a worker to solve this issue is a game killer. As much as I would like to say to focus on food or stone, in reality you need a minimal amount of everything and that minimal amount increases throughout the ages. While building 4 level A mines quickly can be beneficial on the short term, the cost of the next increase population action will only go up and will cripple you even more when changing ages. This is the same with food and military. You need to get more out of your workers with technologies.

  • Play future events that are potentially beneficial to you as much as possible, especially Age 3 events that are guaranteed to be revealed. Playing those events give you culture points right away. If you play one on every other round you can easily get 20 culture points out of it. That’s before revealing them which can lead to more advantages. Territory cards can also be played when behind on the military to help you catch up to other players (players need to sacrifice at least one unit to win a territory bid, thus lowering their military ranking).

  • On the military side, you pretty much never want to be too far behind other players due to events, aggressions or wars. But if you spend all your military actions to build the strongest military over a few rounds, you might be ahead, but you won’t be drawing military cards during those turns. And those cards are the only way to benefit from you military investment.

The event system is 90% of what makes Through the Ages special. Otherwise, you might as well just play Nations. Events, which include politics and war, are a core mechanic and you’re not really playing unless you thoroughly understand how it works.

@syrop’s post is a good primer, but you should also read the rules section on events and military cards.


Agreed, as much as the tutorial does a terrific job to get you started, it doesn’t cover every detail in the game. After a few games it’s probably worthwhile to go through all the rules.

For anybody having trouble finding them: you can’t access the rules during a game, as far as I can tell. You need to temporaly exit it, tap “Extras” on the bottom right. You’ll find the rulebook as the last item there.

This sounds like a cool game. I wish it came to Steam, but I guess I could try playing it on my phone… Anyone ever use one of the Android screen to PC screen apps, like this one?

I must be a bit slow because I’m even confused at the event screen when I click on it. I’ve got to sit down and spend some time with the manual, I think.

There’s also an in-game “Rules Guide” available from the top-right menu

The event system is pretty complex. The event deck starts out seeded with some random beneficial events. When you play an event card, you discard it face down and then reveal the top card from the event deck. When the event deck runs out of cards, all those discards are shuffled to make a new event deck.

So basically you are helping to form a future event deck when you play an event card. You know what will happen, but you can’t be sure when.

The event screen tries to summarize what you know. It shows the cards that have already been revealed on the right. It shows the cards that you placed in the current event deck in the middle, and reminds you how many unknown cards (placed by other players) are still there. And to the left it shows the same information for the future event deck (i.e. current discard pile). There are arrows to give you an idea of the order that cards will be coming up. That’s important because you will often want to prepare for known future events by building military, economy, etc.

I use Droid 4X, which is a decent, free, emulator.

I wrote up a demogame and rules explanation a while back. It uses boardgaming-online (the site mentioned above by @Jorn_Weines), so it won’t look as pretty as the new app but those who haven’t seen the game might find it useful to get a taste of how it plays.

A particular instruction in the tutorial almost caused me to throw my tablet out the window in a rage, until they told me they were just kidding. I’m glad I restrained myself just long enough to tap the screen one more time.

There are a number of videos on Youtube of various people explaining how to play, if you want to take the time and hunt for them.

I checked and checked and wasn’t seeing it, but noticed that I was playing “Challenges”, and in that mode, the option is changed to a useless “Briefing” item, from which you can press the “Rules guide” button. They really should make it more obvious.

Is it possible to try out different things within a turn before submitting the final set of actions? That’s one of the great things with BGO; it really facilitates experimentation.

Yup. The game includes Undo and Redo buttons. As long as concealed info isn’t revealed as a result of an action, you can undo it. So feel free to experiment on your turn with different actions. This feature is also stressed at the end of the tutorial where you’re challenged to win a war.

They totally got me, too! That was awesome, wasn’t it?