The Game Board
Most of the game board depicts the "known" world and is called "world map". The world map is divided into regions. The color scheme used for the regions signifies which regions are playable during each given era.
Era-I regions are playable right from the start of the game, Era-II regions may be entered in Era-II, while Era-III regions are only playable in the last era.
Note: Scandinavia may not be entered; therefore it has been "blackened out". (No slight to Scandinavia is intended; the region is considered to be part of Northern Europe in game terms).
Each region contains a "standard" (banner) with two victory point values. In addition, each Era-I region and Era-II region contains a symbol. If you control a region at the end of a game turn, you receive benefits based on the region's symbol: additional player (population) cubes, gold, resources, or food.
You place your player cubes on the world map into or adjacent to at least one region already having one or more of your player cubes. A region is adjacent to another if it shares a common border or is connected by an arrow.
Note that North and South America in the New World do not share a common border.The Mediterranean Sea region has no connection to the Black Sea.
You keep track of your accumulated victory points on the victory points track that borders the game board.
You mark each of your actions and its type on the action display. You mark your position in the progression of play on the turn order track-i.e., who goes first, second, and so on in a game turn.
Finally, you mark your accumulated food points on the board on the food track.
The Tiles Display
Initially, you place all of the progress tiles, territory tiles, city tiles, and empire tiles on the tiles display. In addition, the trade track is on the tiles display.
The Player Aid Cards
You have a player aid card that includes the sequence of play and a list of all progress tiles in the game.
The Player Cubes
There are 150 wooden cubes, 30 in each of the five player colors (white, red, blue, green, yellow).
These cubes are used to occupy regions on the world map and to fight battles.
There are four different types of tiles: progress tiles, territory tiles, city tiles, and empire tiles.
There are 48 progress tiles. You use progress tiles to keep track of your civilization's "progress" and "advances" in the game.
Note: The color of each tile corresponds to an era of the game. The Era-I tiles are available in the first era. Era-II tiles become available in the second era, while Era-III tiles become available in third era.
There are 40 territory tiles. Each depicts one of the various types of terrain. In general, for each of your territories, you earn player cubes (or some other benefit) and you either earn or lose food.
There are 36 city tiles. For most city tiles, you must pay the tile's cost in gold when you acquire it (see the number in the top left corner of the tile).You earn victory points for each of your cities (as noted on the tile); however, a city may also cost you food and/or resources.
Note: The color of each tile corresponds to an era of the game. In addition, each city tile is further classified as being initially available in either the "A" turn or the "B" turn of its era.
There are 8 empire tiles. One side of each tile is used in Era-I (note the color). The other side is used in Era-II and Era-III (note the two colors).
The large number in the top half of the tile indicates how many different valid regions you may place cubes into when using that empire tile.The "ratio" of cubes at the bottom is used during battles.
The Resource Discs
There are 40 black resource discs. You earn resource discs when you control certain regions and when you own certain territory tiles.
You can place resource discs on the trade track to earn income or victory points.
There are two different gold denominations: coins with a value of "1", and coins with a value of "5".
You can earn gold in several different ways during the game. You spend gold in order to conduct certain actions.
The Action Discs
There are 45 action discs.
You have 9 in your player color. You use 6 of them to mark your actions on the action display.
You use 1 on the victory point track, 1on the food track, and 1 on the turn order track.
The Alliance Pieces
There are 5 alliance pieces.
You use your alliance piece to mark an alliance with another player after picking the Diplomacy progress tile (see the player aid card).