I was planning to play something else (my new copy of Die Dolmengötter, to be exact), but I got Through the Ages and it was requested, so that’s what we played.
And that was indeed all we played. We started about 16.45, I took perhaps 30 minutes explaining the rules and about 17.20 we got the game rolling. Two hours and fifteen minutes or so later our three-player advanced game was over.
It was fun, though I can tell you this is not a fun game to explain! I had played once before and studied the rules, but I didn’t have a clear idea of how to explain it. Gargoyle said later it was one of the most confusing games he has ever played, and no surprise.
Well, he did quite well, as he was in the lead most of the game and won hands down. But then again, he was the only one of us with a steady flow of culture points each turn… I had, once again, huge problems getting my engine to work. I kind of did well, and then didn’t. I was basically missing something critical every turn. It was frustrating and annoying, but in a good “I need to play this again to get it right” kind of way.
It’s a tad long, but playable on Thursday nights, if we stick to the advanced game and a maximum of three players and preferable avoid the slower players. It’s that long… But with experience, there should be no problems playing it in two hours and if you can skip the rules explanation, the timeframe works well.