The original Clash of Cultures, released back in 2012, was a breakthrough entry into the "4x" genre of gaming. With a large modular map and plastic miniatures representing civilizations and various units deployed onto the board, the game was a hit among strategy board game fans. Renowned for having so many player options, it could take multiple play-throughs to get a sense of all the things you could do in the game, Clash of Cultures made a name for itself due to the sheer size of the game. Now, thanks to a brand new reprint from Wizkids, the game's back and bigger than ever with Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition. Wizkids provided us with a copy to check out, so follow along for this preview to the brand new re-release.
What's Different About Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition?
The largest difference between this edition and the previous edition of Clash of Cultures — and what makes it "monumental" in size — is that this edition incorporates the Civilizations expansion (and folding in the mini Aztecs expansion as well). What that means is that, in addition to the standard player boards that each player starts with (which we'll cover in more detail below), players can choose one civilization to add to their play area, which comes with increased play choices and leaders for each civilization to recruit.
Monumental Edition also includes fully redesigned and re-sculpted miniatures, as well as custom miniatures designed for each of the "Wonders" available throughout the game. Along with that, there's a refined dice system (switching to d12's from d6's), an incredibly easy-to-follow fully rewritten rulebook, new art, and updated graphic design to make understanding the natural flow of the game that much easier.
How Do I Play Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition?
As mentioned above, Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition is a 4x strategy game. For those unfamiliar with the term, which crosses video and board gaming, a 4x game is a strategy game that focuses on four X's: Explore, Expand, Exploit, and Exterminate. In Clash, players will explore the land around them by traveling across and flipping hidden land tiles. They'll expand their dominion by sending settlers out into the world to lay out new settlements and use resources to grow their cities larger. They'll exploit the land around them, gaining resources such as food, ore, and wood from the tiles surrounding their city. And they'll exterminate their rival players, leading armed units into conflicted combat across tiles.
At its heart, Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition is a game all about growing your civilization through advancements. Each player board contains the same tech tree, with 48 total options for players to choose from as they progress through the game. From Irrigation and Sanitation to Taxation and Civil Liberties, the way a player chooses to advance their culture is truly customizable. Add to that the additional four options that come with each civilization, and this game becomes an exciting exercise is on-the-fly civilization development.
But how do you win? Points are earned throughout the game by growing cities, placing advancements on your player board, and fulfilling objective cards drawn throughout the game. In the end, points are tallied and the player with the most points wins.
How's The Overall Presentation of Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition?
There's no denying it, this is an absolutely gorgeous game. Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition is the revamp and glam up this game deserves. From its refined rulebook to the way it presents its central actions, and even down to the miniature design (I especially like the look of the elephant miniatures), this edition of the game completely blows the original edition and its expansions out of the water. I also especially like how it does a great job of introducing you to its game play, with the ability to easily leave out the expansion content if you're new to Clash, or want a simpler experience. Though it packs a lot into this big, hulking box, you don't have to sit down and immediately feel overwhelmed. The rulebook, too, highlights which rules are relevant to the expansions, so you can skip past them in your initial play-throughs.
Overall, this is not an inexpensive game. With an MSRP of $149.99, it's certainly on the upper end of the cost for board games, even games of this size. But if you're a fan of the original and couldn't get your hands on the expansions, or you're just a fan of strategy 4x board games and have never given this a shot, Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition could be worth checking into a bit deeper. While we're holding off on full impressions for a full review, our initial play-throughs of the game have been surprising, fun, and relatively fast-paced for such a large strategy game.
The copy of Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition used in this preview was provided by Wizkids.