Written by Zeb Larson
Nations was a game that I had heard a lot about before I finally had a chance to play it. I’m one of those guys who keeps Boardgamegeek open in the background at work, mostly so I can read reviews of games I haven’t played and scroll for trades I might be interested in. It first popped up for me a few years ago when I passed up an opportunity to playtest it, an opportunity I’ve since come to regret. After finally having gotten to play this game, I can report that I liked it, although I’m not wild about it.
For those who haven’t read up on the game, Nations is a 1 to 5 player game which simulates the passage of history for several ancient powers. Players take on one of five different states: Greece, Rome, Persia, Egypt or China. The game is played through four different historical eras: Antiquity, Medieval, Renaissance and Industrial, each of which last for two phases. Players can build up strong militaries, develop sophisticated cultures, conquer colonies and build wonders to accrue victory points. At the end of the game, whoever has the most victory points is the winner. Gameplay integrates some aspects of worker placement and some aspects of card drafting, which I’ll run through in a few paragraphs.