This is a review of the game War of Civilizations published by Bluencore. The publisher sent me a review copy for free, but I received no other compensation. All of my views are my own.
4x games are all about Exploring, Expanding, Exploiting, and Exterminating. Bluencore has added a quick playing game to the genre, and this game provides a nice addition to the genre. I was able to play the game at different player counts and with the modules, and found it to be easy to teach and easy to play. The player aids were done well and kept players on task for their turns.
The driving factor for the game is the Isle of Myth. This will always be found at the middle of the game board and will start a timer for the gamer when any player enters this space. This helps prevent player from dawdling too long, as well as the use of teleporters which prevent any space from being too far away on the board. After reaching the Isle of Myth, the game will end either after 5 rounds or if a player controls this location for 3 rounds. This is fairly difficult as the other player would attempt to either take the spot or take over their home base. Any player who loses their home base is eliminated from the game. However, we found this not to be problematic as the game didn't drag on for much longer if players were eliminated. Usually, play would be close to done anyway.
Each player receives a different leader and civilization card with asymmetric powers. The powers are well balanced and also help to keep the game moving. Since a player must obey fleet limits in a space, the game doesn't get bogged down by too much resource collecting or building of fleets. Overall, most of the things kept the game moving at a brisk pace.
We received the Kickstarter Deluxe version of the game which included wood components, upgraded from the basic cardboard components. Usually, I don't care too much about the difference, but in this case it was especially helpful in being able to see both the strength of ships and how many ships were in a hex. This is important since each hex can only hold so many ships and you want to know how to quickly resolve combat strength.
We also had the two mini expansions. The first one adds pirates. Pirates were fun because you could recruit a strong pirate ship to aid your fleet. The Disaster expansion did not seem to add any meaningful choices which kept the game moving though because you were either slowing resource collection down by losing a ship or by ignoring resources. We would play again with the Pirates but would always avoid playing with the Disaster cards.
The other thing I would like to have seen is slightly smaller hexes for the game. It takes up a great deal of room and a 3-5 centimeter reduction in size of the hexes would have caused the game to play the same, but not take up as much table space. A small complaint, but one I think a few other people will share.
Overall, the game is fun because it doesn't overstay its welcome. The theme is set in the near future of 2050 as people now have access to magic powers combined with animals? It won't appeal to everyone, but the artwork is consistent and you can tell time was spent on it, as the publisher tried to create a new and interesting vision of the world.
The combat system is extremely simple, and easy to plan for which is an asset in keeping the game straightforward, accessible, and fast. The only real randomness in the game will come from the reveal of the Apex Islands on the main continent and in the turn of the Power Cards. Most of the game is about what other players will do. However, for those seeking a purely randomless 4x, this game won't fit that description.
For those looking for a good amount of 4x game in a not overly large box, this game will appeal to them. It's a great replacement for games like Risk and other older area control games.
War of Civilizations
Designed by Shelly Sinh
Published by Bluencore
20 minutes per player