Friday, November 19, 2010

Civilzation V

Okay, so I'm a little behind on this one. Civilization V came out a while back and I waited before I got it. And I wanted to play it through a few times to get the hang of how it all fits together. And, I've gotta be honest, when it comes to a Civilization game, I have a tendency to keep clicking "next turn" until the wee hours of the morning.

I've been a Civilization fanatic for a while now. I know I've played this franchise since at least Civilization II, possibly even the original on my roommate's Mac back in college. When I heard that they were releasing a new version, I knew that this would be one I'd be buying and playing obsessively. But I've got to be honest, there were some changes I'd heard about that I wasn't entirely sure about. But it's Civilization, so I figured it would work out okay.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Civ franchise, it's a turn-based strategy game. You are the leader of a civilization and you have to guide it. Do you want to focus on scientific innovation? Spread far and wide by founding new colonies? Become a blood-thirsty, ruthless warlord intent on crushing everyone beneath your feet? Or some combination thereof? You can do that, playing such historical figures as Gandhi, George Washington, Queen Elizabeth, or Montezuma. Along the way to victory, you can fight barbarians, build great Wonders, and eventually, extend your reach to the stars.

For those of you who have played this franchise before, that's old hat. So let's talk about some specific changes from IV to V.

The biggest change is that you can no longer stack your units. That was one of my wartime strategies in the old versions: build several dozen tanks, flock them together in one big stack, and then have this massive army roll over everyone else. You can't do that any more. Only one unit can occupy one space at a time. That adds some interesting twists to planning a battle. You have to figure out how to get your army from one point to another and there are times when your own units can mess you up.

Let me give you an example. In my first game, I was perched on the north end of an hourglass shaped continent. A nation I wanted to wipe out was on the southern end. I had to move my entire army through a narrow isthmus but couldn't because my workers were constructing a road. I had to stop them, move them out of the way, and march my troops through. It adds an interesting wrinkle to battles.

There are a lot of other changes that I could go into but I won't. They've axed religions, revamped cultural policies, added in independent city states, and streamlined a lot of the game's interfaces. Since I'm so late to the party, I won't go into detail on each and every one of them. Instead, I'll say this: it's a great game.

I wasn't sold right away. A lot of the changes threw me my first game and I had a hard time navigating the new interfaces and figuring out the changes. But the second game went a lot smoother. I've racked up a few victories now and while I can't say that I've got it all figured out, I'm comfortable enough to know that I'll be enjoying this one for a long time.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go conquer the world as Alexander the Great.

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