Civilisation V [5 Minute Review]

Governments should learn to fear their people, but the people should learn to fear their leader.

I’ve always been afraid of playing Civilisation. It’s not due to the fact that I’m terrible at strategy games, nor is it because of the lack of bullets / action / etc. It’s because the game can freakin’ control my mind.

You know what I’m talking about. The “one more turn” mentality. The hours that melt away with every turn. Harvesting nukes. Sending tanks against pikemen. Everything else is tuned out. Reason is lost, such as the need to eat, bathe, and sleep. Eventually you manage to stave off invaders threatening at your borders while cobbling together parts for your interplanetary spaceship, and the victory screen appears. Suddenly you realise several hours have passed, and you have work in a couple of hours.

Civilisation V doesn’t need to change its tried and true formula; the same basic concepts of settling, research, military, and diplomacy are all still present and accounted for. Barbarians still linger around, randomly popping up to represent a common threat. There are now city-states, which only control a small portion of the map and are not major civilisations unto themselves, but can be traded with and befriended.

I still don’t like diplomacy in the game. Civilisation V adds some very pretty animations that all speak in their native tongue, but trying to get some meaningful trades going doesn’t seem to ever work. It seems like they are never willing or able to help you out, yet constantly latch onto your resources like a parasite nestling somewhere warm and moist. If you request one of their resources, they end up requesting all of yours, and refuse to budge. If you’re attempting a Diplomatic Victory, you’d be better off making friends with all the city-states and riding on the backs of their collective votes instead of trying to please those other whiny ponces.

The grid now uses hexagonal tiles rather than square tiles, and units can no longer be stacked on the same tile. Cities can also defend themselves without the need for a garrison. This means that cities take far longer to siege and can dish out the hurt to a smaller concentration of units. This was a problem, because my strategy in the original Civ games was to build a ball of units, and have them roam around the map rolling over the opposition. I figure change is a good thing – after all, it encouraged me to explore other avenues of victory other than crushing the opposition beneath a polished jackboot.

At the time of writing, there’s a “Game of the Year” edition available on Steam, complete with new scenarios, races, maps and so on. Not that the game is in dire need of it – I’ve only played three games and I’ve already put in about 10 hours worth of game play.

Not recommended for those with addictive personalities. Jeez, I have enough vices to satisfy…

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