With all the excitement of Tempus about to arrive, I've been reminded of the ongoing quest for Civilization Lite - the nostalgia that many of us more... ahem... mature gamers have for remembered late-night Civilization sessions when we were young in years, poor in money, but rich in time. Many commercial attempts have been made over the last few years to reproduce the Civ experience in a Euro-sized package: Mare Nostrum, Vinci, Antike, Manifest Destiny, and now Tempus.
I have been wondering about another approach. Would it be possible to make a variant on Civilization that keeps the elegance and balance and epic scope of the game, but cuts out some of the time-consuming fiddle, perhaps refactors or reprices some of the elements of the game, and so carefully and respectfully trims it down to a manageable but satisfying 2 or 3 hours?
So far I have just been musing on possibilities. Here are some of the half-baked ideas I have come up with so far:
Reduce the number of turns, but keep them interesting. Also make each turn shorter.
Increase the breeding rate, perhaps double the number of tokens each turn with no cap.
Reduce city build and city support costs to 5.
Shorten the AST.
Recalibrate the catastrophes to make them less severe, especially Civil War. Also less time-consuming to resolve.
Reprice the Civilization cards.
Limit the game to fewer players (2 to 4?)
Smaller map (use the smaller areas on the Gibsons map).
Use a timer to limit trade sessions?
Drop the ships. Allow units 1 or 2 extra moves if along coastline, modified by Cloth and Astronomy. Modify the Piracy event.
Simplify the census. Count something else - number of cities? number of Civ cards? Position on AST?
Reduce the number of tokens in stock.
Allow catchup movement on AST. Discard a Civ card to move forward an extra step??
Abolish the AST altogether? Use Civ cards value as Victory/end of game condition??