Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Mega Civilization

Many of us have That Game That Got Away. It's a game we played and liked and then dragged our feet on picking a copy up, because "Steve has it."  And we forgot that Steve could move to Texas or California. Or we might move away. And not every group has every game.

For me, that game was Avalon Hill's Civilization, with the Advanced Civilization expansion. About twenty years ago, when I was learning that there was more to strategy gaming than just Chess, I had a group of friends who got together to play a bunch of hobby games. And this was one of them.

And then we all grew up and moved away from one another. And I wasn't able to play the game because my current group was too young and didn't have it.

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on one of the (far too many) blogs I follow that stated that "Mega Civilization" was now available directly from (that link takes you directly to the game).  Hmm, I thought to myself, I wonder if that's at all similar to the Avalon Hill version of the game.

And it is.  In fact, it's the Avalon Hill version turned up to eleven.

So I had to order it.  I needed this game. Even at €249 including shipping. Because €50 in shipping isn't crazy for a 22lb package from Germany.

Now I have an internet savings account.  It's not there as an emergency cushion (although I have used it that way before).  It's there specifically for things like this. Things that I want, but that I need to think about before buying. Because the transfer takes a few days, and I only get a few transfers per month (here's a referral link).  I hesitated about ten minutes before setting the transfer up.

And I placed my order with Pegasus Shop.

The good news?  That price includes VAT. As someone in the US, I don't have to worry about VAT, so my total cost including shipping was only €209.25.  About $230.

... and then I learned that they don't take credit cards. Or PayPal. You need to wire them the money. I'm 39 years old, and my only personal experience with wire transfers was when someone in the UK subscribed to this blog on their Kindle, and they paid me via wire transfer.  I made $0.40 and my bank charged me $25 for the privilege. So I was a bit wary of the whole thing.

I called my bank and inquired about wire transfers, and it would have cost me another $50 in fees to wire funds to Germany.  Ugh.  So I went to BoardGameGeek. Someone there recommended Transferwise. Several someones, actually. Transferwise had a $3 fee and had a better exchange rate.

The drawback to Transferwise is that they were slower to process.

But here's the magical thing:  Less than a week after Pegasus had my money, the game was in my hands.

That shipping cost - which I found not unreasonable - was actually express shipping. Meaning it was even more reasonable than I'd expected.

And now the game is in my hands. Here I am opening the monster:

I spent a few hours yesterday punching and cutting tokens. I hope to get a group together to play sometime early next year. Because I can't not play this game.


  1. Anonymous8:11 AM

    I got this as a surprise Christmas present from my family. Apparently they had similar troubles getting the product shipped over from Germany!

    Anyway, we managed to rustle up 14 people over the New Year (only half of whom had ever played the game) and got in a couple of rounds using an advanced start and fast-play rules. It was an absolute blast, with manic trading taking centre-stage.

    Have you had a chance to play this yet?

    - Jo Pearson (London Board Games Co)

    1. We're getting together on the 21st of February to play. We might even have the full eighteen players.

  2. Anonymous10:05 AM

    I tried to puzzle my way through the German website and figured that I had somehow failed because I never entered my CC#. So a few weeks later I was surprised to find that honkin' big box on my door with a bill and info for a wire transfer. So I went down to the credit union to do said wire transfer.

    1. The publisher is reportedly now sold out, so you lucked out!