(Note: Review Copy but this review was written based solely on my opinion of the game)
Published by: NSKN Games & Passport Games
# of Players: 1-5
In Progress: Evolution of Technology you are a civilization at the very start of its birth. You are not the only new civilization (unless your playing solo mode) on the block as each player is their own brand new nation. Its nation against nation on who will research and discover new technologies to advance through the ages. Can your civilization advance its military might, grow a large population and be the most prestigious kingdom, or will your nation be lagging behind other nations? If your up to the challenge, then welcome to Progress: Evolution of Technology.
Progress's components are simple and bring what you need to play with little extra. The art on the box in my opinion wont make anyone want to reach for this game. Inside the art on the cards is very nice and works well with each card. Game symbols are easy to read and understand. I was not impressed with the layout of the rulebook, which kept saying "you will learn this later on in the rules". For my group of players it was so much easier to teach and learn as you play rather than try and read the rules to everyone. The cardboard player and civilization tracks are sturdy cardboard and well constructed. The civilization track should have been a little bigger to accommodate 4 or 5 players. The player cubes tend to get cluttered at the start on the civilization track due to its size. Cards are good quality and should stand up to lots of wear and tear. Each player has wooden cubes used to track progress in all advancements and on the civilization track.
Gameplay is where Progress really shines as a very good game. While the components didn't help or hurt this game, the actual gameplay brought positive feelings from other games we enjoy. In Progress you are developing technologies by paying knowledge (science, culture, engineering, and general) or by researching them by playing a card to the side. After a set number of turns your researched technologies will go into your discovery area and take their effects without paying a knowledge cost. These cards will benefit your society in many ways to include how many cards you draw and hold on to, how many actions you can take per turn, and also how many technologies you can research and the time it takes for them to finish. These cards will also at times provide military, population, prestige and also victory points. This game takes a 7 wonders feel by how the cards play off each other and can let you play a card without cost due to meeting a prerequisite of having played a previous card. Certain cards will move the group into of the next age cards. (Game has 3 ages with a 4th added by expansion in the box) Each age brings new advancements in technology but also at a higher knowledge cost. You obtain knowledge (the games currency) by discarding cards from your hand for their knowledge point (Knowledge points are in the lower left corner of the card) and also from knowledge tokens that are also obtained from playing certain technologies. Nothing feels better than when your hand has 3 or 4 cards that you can chain together with little or no cost. To win the game you must have the most victory points. VP is earned by cards and your ending position on the civilization tracks. These tracks are really important to winning the game as the difference between 1st and 2nd on those tracks means 4 or more VP difference. So far I have seen scores range from 20s to 60s. If you enjoy 7 wonders or developing technology tracks similar to those in 4X games, then you will really enjoy Progress: Evolution of Technology.
Reading the rules and looking at the box I did not I was going to enjoy this game. I have to admit I was so very very wrong because I have enjoyed every play of this game. Playing Progress reminds me of other games I enjoy, just like the feeling of eating something that reminds me of home. I love chaining together card combinations and each new card feels like it is helping you in some way. You never feel like you did nothing on your turn. Limits on the amount of each card leave difficult decisions on if a card should be used to pay for another card and thus having to discard it, making it available to your opponents. Decisions like playing a card to rush to the next age may hurt you or help you. There are frustrating times when don't get the card you need, but playing a balanced game rather than specializing can help with that. Games took around 90 minutes each time, which is how I generally like a game like this to last. Each game I felt I could win even when I was behind early. I like how I can see where everyone is on each track and estimate if I am winning and should finish the game, or do I need to play a certain card or two to push me into the lead. I prefer that over 7 wonders were you don't know any persons position till scoring starts. In summary I really enjoyed Progress for the card civilization game it is. I enjoy card combos and some of those hard game decisions that keep you on your toes.
+ Everyone feels they have a chance at winning
+ Card combos are so fun to play
+ All the tracks make keeping tabs on everyone easier
+ Easy to play/learn
+ In box expansions add more replay-ability
+ Solo mode available for those who like that (did not try out)
- Rulebook layout
- the pain of not getting the card you need
- box art
- shuffle & draw action and quick draw are often provide the same benefit