Welcome to this new column called First Turn where I’m going to teach you how to play Civilization A New Dawn by introducing a tutorial of sorts with step-by-step instructions on what to do on your first turn so that you can learn to play. I always find the most frustrating part of starting a new board game is that a manual will teach you how to set up and it says how to play out turns but once you have everything set up – what do you even do? So First Turn is going to be a series where I take a board game and walk you through a sample first turn. So you can set up a game for the first time, come here to see how you can play out your first turn, and start playing the game!

For this tutorial, place each faction as you see them above! You can click the images below on how to setup each civilization properly. Notice on the leader cards it says the proper starting order for the focus cards for each civilization.

Japan’s Turn

Choose A Card

For Japan’s turn, I am going to show you how science works in Civilization A New Dawn. We are going to select the science focus card, Astrology, as the red player’s first action. This moves the tech dial for Japan over four ticks since the focus card is in the fourth slot.

Resolve the Card

In doing so, we advanced passed a tech level! Every time the dial’s pointer advances to (or passes) a tech level, a player may gain a new focus card! I would select Iron Working, the tech level two military focus card, since there are some barbarians nearby for Japan to deal with but you can ahead and look through the other level two focus cards if you would like to make a different choice. Once you have made a choice, you replace the focus card of the same type (like I did below) and you now have an upgraded action you can select!

Reset the Card

You’ll do this at the end of every turn. Move the card from where it is to the first slot and then slide all the cards over. This is the basic primary mechanic of the game. Cards further down the track are more powerful. Notice how earlier we moved the tech dial four ticks – that was because the focus card was in the fourth slot. If Astrology was in the second slot, we would only be able to move the dial two slots and not be able to get a new focus card. This is so you cannot just do the same action over and over and it rewards mixing up your actions. Next turn, Japan would only move the tech dial one tick and that would not be worth it, so the red player is likely to choose a different action. Keep this in mind when selecting a card and think ahead!

Egypt’s Turn

Choose A Card – Culture

For Egypt, we are going to select the culture focus card – Early Empire. This will place a couple control tokens around Egypt’s capital city and capture some resources to help build wonders! This is great early move for Egypt as world wonder costs are reduced by one (as it says on the leader card).

Resolve The Card

I placed the control tokens on the two desert spots surrounding Egypt’s capital city. Control tokens give you, well, control of an area and make that area considered “friendly”  to you and a “rival” area to everyone else (a pair of terms used constantly in the rule book so they are good to know). Also, if you have a control token in every space surrounding a city, the city becomes matured and you will receive a trade token when the event dial lands on the trade section. Don’t worry about this too much right now, I cover briefly what that means later but you can refer to the manual for more details.

For now, know that surrounding your cities with control tokens is important and I chose the two desert spots for two reasons. A) You’ll get the oil token, which is used for building wonders and B) desert spots are harder to build on. Look at the focus bar, each number also has terrain indication (1. Grassland 2. Hills 3. Forest 4. Desert 5. Mountain). Early Empire allows you to put control tokens on spaces that match the terrain of the slot or lower. Since the fifth slot is mountains, any spot (other than water) you can put a control token on. So the desert spots are an easy choice here since they will be harder to control later.

Take the oil token and keep it as it works well with Egypt’s ability to spend less on building wonders. I’ll talk more later on building wonders but know this move is actually very synergistic with Egypt! It’s important to consider the ability on your leader card as it can influence the most effective play for you to do every turn.

Reset the Card

Exactly the same as it happened with Japan, reset the cards and you’re ready for the next turn!

Rome’s Turn

Select a Card – Industry

For Rome, we’re going to utilize how much they like expanding by building a city right away. Go ahead and select the Pottery card and we’ll build a new city!

Resolve the Card

With the Pottery card in the fifth slot, you can basically place the city anywhere you want (within two spaces of your capital city and not on water). You can even place the city on the mountain space if you wanted to. The reason I select the plains here is that it is right beside two resources, so next turn you could select Early Empire and get both of them in one turn! This is a good example of thinking ahead on your turn.

Reset the Card

Guess what you do here?

america’s Turn

Select a Card – economy

America is going to start trading with city-states gaining you resources and bonuses! You can also trade with rival civilization cities with this action but for this first turn, there’s a city state right there you can trade with.

Resolve the Card

The Foreign Trade card is in the fifth mountain slot, meaning your caravan can move through any terrain (except water). So those hills and mountains there are no problem! Your caravan gets to the city-state and couple things happen. First, you get two trade tokens on to your industry focus card (because Buenos Aires is an industry-type city-state). These trade tokens can be used up for special bonuses depending on what card they are on. In this case, because the trade token will be placed on the industry focus card, those tokens can be used to increase the player’s production by one when constructing a wonder. You can see the manual for all the different bonuses trade tokens give you. The second thing you get is the city-state card (see below), which will also help you with building a wonder! You might be able to race Egypt in getting the Pyramids and break history!

Reset the Card

Reset the cards and you have now gone through a whole round! This is basically all you do in this game, select one card, resolve it, then reset the cards so you’re ready for the next turn! You can continue playing from here if you like or reset all the cards and go forward with your own decisions.

Other IMportant Stuff

So, obviously, I haven’t covered the entire game. That isn’t the goal of this guide, it’s just supposed to be a starting point so you can get into discovering the rest of the game! I will cover a few important things quickly but do refer to the rulebook for more information on everything. 


We didn’t choose a single military action (there’s 5 actions and only 4 players, so one had to be left out). Refer to the manual with how military works but basically you’re rolling a D6 for the attacker and the defender and adding bonuses. It’s pretty simple! You also have the opportunity to re-enforce control tokens because barbarians, and eventually other players, can contest control tokens so it’s important to keep them fortified!


Building wonders were mentioned a lot in this tutorial but building a wonder turn one just isn’t possible. Take a look at the wonder cards and the bottom you can see the cost and the eligible resources. Basically, you need to get to that number. You add where the industry card is on the focus row, plus two for every eligible resource you want to use, plus one for every trade token you spend on it. Again, more on that in the rulebook but it is fairly straight-forward.

The Event Dial/Barbarians

This moves at the beginning of the first players turn (with the exception of the very first round). See the manual for more details but simply, this is how barbarians move and you get trade tokens for mature cities, which again, gives you bonuses depending on the card you place that trade token on. Barbarians also, do barbaric things and are a pain – read the manual and you’ll see while you’ll want to deal with them quickly!

How To Win The Game

This is covered in depth in the manual, but basically, you have to meet three win conditions. These win conditions are on the victory cards you should have put out during setup. Every move you make should lead up to trying to get to the win conditions but hopefully, you can see how the steps in this guide can help each civilization reach their goals 

I hope you now know enough on how to play Civilization A New Dawn! The game is surprisingly simple but, honestly, I was slightly lost on what to even do on the first turn. But once you get the ball rolling on your in this game, it’s easy to see the depth in this game and why it’s so fun!

If you’re interested in picking up this game and you’re in the Winnipeg area, check out the store at 1783 Portage Avenue for this and many other games. As well, if you have any questions on how to play this game or anything else check out the Facebook post (insert facebook post link here) and comment there!

Jonny Esports (more like Jonny Bsports for this blog) is an avid gamer of both the electronic and board game varieties. When he’s not building wonders and trampling barbarians, he can be heard shoutcasting various local & international tournaments or found streaming at Twitch.tv/jonnyesports.