If the full game is too long or too aggressive for your group, you might try one of these variants. They are designed to ensure the game is still engaging. However, because the cards are balanced for the full game, certain cards or combinations may be weaker or stronger than normal.
To enjoy the full experience in a shorter amount of time, try this variant. You play only two ages, but otherwise use the full rules, including aggressions, wars, and pacts.
Set up as for the full game. In addition:
- Take all events from the Age III military deck to make an end-of-game events deck. Shuffle the deck and deal two events to each player. Players keep them next to their player boards, face down. They cannot look at them until the end of Age I.
- Deal three more Age III events face up. Place them where everyone can read them.
- Take one War over Culture card from the Age III deck and put it face up on the table next to the three events.
- The remaining Age III military cards and the Age III civil cards are not used.
When you declare a war, you must play a war card from your hand, as usual, but you can decide whether you are declaring the war printed on your card or the war printed on the War over Culture card. If you declare the Age III war, you pay its military action cost instead. When the war is resolved,
your card is discarded. The option to replace a war with the Age III war is always available, even when it is currently being used in a not-yet-resolved war.
End Of Age I
At the end of Age I, all players look at their Age III event cards. Each player discards one face down and keeps the other. No one is allowed to look at cards that other players kept or discarded.
At the end of the game:
- Each player scores 6 for each Age II wonder he or she completed.
- Score the three publicly revealed Age III events.
- Shuffle the Age III events chosen by the players and evaluate them one by one.
If you want to enjoy a game without wars and aggressions, try a peaceful variant.
To play a peaceful game, simply remove all aggressions, wars, and pacts from the military decks. (If you really like the pacts, you may keep those four which do not refer to attacks).
The military part of the game is still relevant for colonization and strength-based events. If you want it to be more relevant, try the following:
Global Conflicts Variant
When Age I, Age II, or Age III ends, a global conflict occurs. Each civilization scores culture equal to the difference between its strength and the strength of the weakest civilization. Thus, the weakest civilization will score nothing.
There were more variants in the rulebook of the original game, and others have been developed by players over the years. However, they were used only rarely. In developing this edition, we concentrated on balancing and playtesting the full game without modifications.
Of course, if there was a variant you liked, you can still use it with this version of the game.
The changes we made to this new version were based on what we and our testers liked most. But if you preferred some aspects of the old rules (for example, sacrificing in wars) you can include them in your house rules. Having fun playing the game is more important than a perfect balance.