Civilization IV

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What are we going to do today?

The same thing we do everyday, try to take over the world.

Civilization satisfies the megalomaniac dictator in us all, bringing us the satisfaction of guiding a group of people from the dawn of man to the near future.  Take the helm of the Roman Empire as Julius Caesar or America as George Washington (though it is a little weird having America start in 4000 BC).

Civ is a turn based strategy game.  Meaning that you take a turn, build units, buildings, attack, and such. Then the computer takes a turn.  You allocate money to research and culture (with the proper tech) as well as expenses of maintaining cities and buildings and your standing army.  You can build worker units that can improve the tiles around your city by building farms, cottages, roads, and the like.  It can be a little complicated, though not nearly as much as its predecessor Civ 3 (which had much more micro managing).

I like this version of Civ quite a bit, the interface and rules are much simpler.  There is no pollution that causes junk to show up on tiles like in previous games, cities get a health stat and a unhealthy stat if the unhealthy is greater than the healthy then the city is smelly and people will get pissed.  There are no riots anymore, pissed people just don’t work.  As in Civ 3 each city gets a cultural boarder which tells you which land you control, as your cities grow in culture, their boundaries expand.

There are several ways to win the game its not just all war all the time (though you need some standing army or the ai will attack and overrun you).  Diplomatic is super gay, so I’ll just skip that.  You can build the spaceship like in previous games, first one to blast off to Alpha Centauri wins!  There is the cultural victory where you get three cities to legendary (i.e. an ass load of) culture.  Then there are the two war victories, domination (60% of the land mass is under your cultural boarders) and conquest (you eliminate all other Civs, this is possible because you can choose to destroy a conquered city rather than keeping it).  You can also win by default when time expires (apparently the world will end in 2050). 

I thought the AI was good not great, it still has to cheat to win and does a lot of really dumb things.  The diplomacy is much better as you can actually see why they are pissed at you.  There is a new feature of having religion (no religion is better than any other) which can add a cool dimension to international relations (i.e. kill the infidels).

Some advice if you are playing: Try to learn the hotkeys and shortcuts, it will save you boat loads of time.  Don’t automate the workers, they build too many farms and not enough cottages.  You can automate them later in the game but make sure you have the option to not replace existing improvements.  Don’t expand to quickly, if you build/conquer too many cities too fast you will have too much maintenance cost and your economy will drag thus bringing down your research and other things (wait until you can build court houses and other economic buildings before expanding too much).

Overall, this is a high quality game, simple and elegant.  An epic boardgame in the way that the original Civ was intended.  It is simply one of the best turn based strategy games ever made.  There is something about having your tanks roll over the pitiful musketmen or knights that is extremely satisfying.    I would recommend this game to Civ vets and newbies alike.  It is hopelessly addicting and leaves you wanting just one more turn…

 Civilization 4

rating: 9/10

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