The game is played on a world map of 144 triangular regions grouped in 6 continents. Each of the 6 peoples have 12 tribes that are randomly distributed over the world. Each player has a secret subject people and a secret ally people each age.
The players take turns to move tribes, always closer to populated regions where there is space left for them, and group them into settlements. The later the age, the longer the tribes may move and the bigger the settlements may get.
In the first age, move 1 region at the time. Found 12 villages of 3 tribes each.
In the second age, move 2 regions at the time (even across water). Found 9 cities of 6 tribes each.
In the third age, move to any region. Found 6 metropolises of 9 tribes each.
At the end of each age, you score for your tribes in the settlements and for the settlements where your people has the majority of the tribes. Resolve ties by adding the tribes of your allied people.
In the advanced game, you may increase the settlement score by establishing foreign relations and making civilization advances. However, those increases will benefit the leader of the next age so you must plan not only for this age but for the future ages as well.
The player who accumulates the most victory points over the three ages wins.
1.0: First edition
The complete rules are available in the PDF file to the right. In the following sections, I will describe how they came
A game may usually be setup in any of the following three ways: fixed, random or by the players. A fixed setup of 72
tokens takes too long and the same can be said about letting the players setting them up one by one. This leaves only the
random setup. (My favorite game Samurai leaves the setup to the players but there are fewer tokens to set up and even then
I prefer a random setup.) This also means that the player colors must be distributed after the board setup to prevent the
players from "cheating" and favoring their own colors.
The setup that players play different colors in different ages mean that no player can rely on one strong color
throughout the game.
As discussed in Game, the purpose of the rule forcing tokens to move to populated regions
is to give the players fewer and fewer options and gradually force the game to a natural end. As also discussed, the rule
of increased movement capacity each age is used to provide variation and a thematic context.
But why the rules that the moved token is placed beneath existing tokens and that the topmost token is the first to
leave the settlement? In a sense, it's thematic: newcomers to a prosperous settlement start at the bottom of the hierarchy
and the elite is the first to abandon a decaying settlement. But more importantly, if moved tokens would be placed on top
of existing tokens, the players would have an incentive to move only tokens of their own colors and ruin all attempts to
keep their colors secret. Likewise, having the top position in a settlement would allow the players to move "their" colors
to better positions in the end game, when the color secrecy is less important.
The revolution rule has three steps in determining the leading color of a settlement. The two first steps are natural:
most of a color wins or, in case of a tie, most of a supporting color wins. But what happens in the case where one player
plays red and blue and one player plays blue and red? They may both play well and fill settlements with red and blue tokens
only to find that they tie in all of them and earn nothing! By letting the topmost token break the tie, this situation was
not only avoided but also added another strategic element to the migration phase: have other tokens move to you and not
The fixed civilization score in the basic game is simple and straight-forward way to score the settlements at the end
of each, eliminating the need of all components except the board and the tokens. At one point, I also had the foreign
relations in the basic game (the more relations, the higher the score), but why add one complex rule and not the other
in the basic game? Both foreign relations and civilization advances were moved to the advanced game.
Initially, I had diplomacy markers marked with the number of the settlement. After all, two settlements only
need one relation to be related. This meant that in order to find out the number of relations of a settlement,
you had to count the diplomacy markers in your settlement and look for "your" diplomacy marker in every other
settlement. The current solutions requires diplomacy markers in both related settlements, meaning that you only
have to count the settlement markers in your own settlement. Twice the components but 6-12 times easier!
The civilization advances add a variable score to each settlement. Variation usually equals to decision which
usually equals to fun. However, if the decision is forced and/or requires too much analysis it's not fun and this
is why civilization advances are acquired AFTER the scoring. Otherwise, players would always pick the civilization
advance that give them the most points in the current age rather than plan (and fight for) the civilization advance
that give them the most point in the next age.
Relations or civilization advances or both?
Relations and civilization advances add complexity but do they add depth? I considered having only one of them
(fixed relations based on geography or scoring based on relation only) or even removing both. Finally I decided to
remove them in the basic game and include both in the advanced game. The early versions tried to reduce the complexity
by only letting some advances being dependent on relations but that made the relation phase rather
pointless for the other advances. Instead I tweaked the rules to make them as simple and yet
meaningful as possible. The advice to score one settlement at the time and together
("Which of A and B do not have military?" etc.) finally saved this rule.
Old and new settlements
Naturally, settlements that exist in one age has a greater chance of growing to the next size. But what would happen if
enough tokens would group to form a settlement in a later age?
One option would be to allow only settlements from the first age to form settlements in the later ages. This would be
the simplest solution but not a very thematic one and it would feel strange having stacks of tokens larger than settlements.
The more thematic option would be to allow completely new settlements to be formed and old ones to dissolve. But such
settlements would be worthless without any diplomacy markers or civilization markers from the previous age. Thus was the
rule that new settlements "take over" old settlements born. Thematically, they may be perceived as settlers leaving the Old
World for the New World, bringing their connections and knowledge with them.
... and Rejected Rules
There are of course also ideas that will be rejected and here I will explain why.