Published by: Tasty Minstrel Games and Moaideas Games Design
# of Players: 3 to 5
The Flow of History is a card game with few components besides the cards themselves. Each player will have a pawn of their color that they will use to show what card they are invested in. Natural wooden discs represent the currency you use to purchase cards. The cards are larger than your usual card and come in a very sturdy card stock. There are lots of icons on the cards but they all make sense and work well with the card design. Some cards have interesting quotes from people in history that add a nice little cherry to the game. The instructions are very well done and explain everything in great detail with plenty of examples. The designers made sure to try and answer any questions that may arise while playing the game. Each player gets a large reference card that explains how to play and how each action is performed. The Flow of History's components have a simple elegance that works very well with the gameplay.
The Flow of History has players starting their civilization with a basic government. Players will take turns taking one action till the last card "the future" enters the market or is taken by a player. During a player's turn they will have 5 actions to choose from to help advance their civilization in some way. Each person starts with 4 resources (the wooden currency discs) and the center of the table will have a certain number of cards available based on player count and a resource supply that starts the game empty.
Cards you acquire will be added to your civilization and placed in front of you. Cards will be sorted by color with a new card of the same color being laid on top of the previous card leaving only the bottom of the card showing. This will replace the ability of the previous card, but you will maintain the icons on the bottom of the cards previously played, which will ramp up your civilization in different areas. The exception to this rule is the yellow leader cards, which you can only have one at any moment in front of you. Also the black wonder cards will not stack but you may have as many active in front of you as you can acquire. The top left corner shows the type of card and below that is an icon under a magnifying glass. When you complete an investment for that card, you will get a resource for each of that symbol you currently have in your civilization. (icons on that card will not count for that effect) The middle of the card will have icons or some type of ability that improves your civilization while it is the top card for that card type. As explained before, the bottom of the card will have icons that will remain with your civilization as long as you control that card.
If someone has invested on a card, a player may take the snipe action. The current player will choose a card with an opponents pawn on it and pay resources of the same amount on the card to that player. The resources on the card will go into the supply and that player will get their pawn back. The person who invested in the card will count up the number of trade icons in their civilization and they will take resources from the supply equal to the amount of trade icons they have. The investor will then get half of the remaining of resources from the supply that are left over. The player who snipes the card will not get the investor bonus icon resources that you would if you had completed an investment, but they will get to take the ability of the card and place it in their civilization.
As an action, a player can activate a cards ability if it has a turn action ability. If it causes you to gain a card, you will perform any instant abilities that are on the new card, but you will not get the investor bonus. The last action is to harvest. You will count the number of harvest icons in your civilization and add that many resources to the supply from the game reserve. You will then gain half the resources that are in the supply. If you are still have less resources than the current age (game has 5 ages), then you will take more from the supply till you have equal to the current age. If the supply is empty and you need to take more resources to match the current age, you may take the resources from the reserve. Play will continue till the future card is placed in the market or directly into a player's civilization. Once the current player's turn is over, the game ends. Players will then total up points to see who won. Points are earned at the end of the game by 3 ways. Each culture icon is worth 1 point. Every 2 icons that are not culture are worth 1 point. The last way you will get points is from cards with end game effects. Follow what the card says and add that to your total. The player with most points wins the game.
The Flow of History takes the fun of epic civilization games and provides a shorter, compact version that provides that similar feeling and enjoyment. Flow of History reminds me of a mix of Through the Ages and 7 Wonders. While providing lots of critical decision making and resource management, it maintains the ability to learn the game easily. While the game has a lot of icons, they are easy to get familiar with and scoring is very easy to understand, even at the start of your first game. The one big short coming is that you will use the same cards each game which will make players who played the game a lot have a drastic advantage. The amount of cards also means that the game may get stale seeing the same cards every game. I do think it will take at least double digit or more amount of games before you get to that point and each person has difference tolerance for repetition. I really enjoy the game because of the condensed feeling of an epic civilization game. I am also a huge fan of tech tree mechanics and it worked very well in Flow of History. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to dip their toe into a civilization game or enjoys games like 7 wonders or engine building. I found the learning curve to be great for new people while also providing strategy and critical thinking for those hardcore gamers. This is staying in my collection and look forward to introducing it to more people.
+Compact, easy to learn civilization game
+Good amount of strategy and critical thinking
+Plays around an 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
+Cards are big and designed to not be overwhelming
+Rule book explains everything in detail and with examples
-Use the same cards each time
-Experienced players will have a huge advantage by knowing the cards
-Generic wooden disc resources are bland compared to the rest of the game
-No 2 player mode for those who play specifically with that player count.