Merry Christmas, O Thief of Time!
More present blogging. I have a love/hate relationship with Sid Meier’s Civ series. It would be too simplistic to say I loved 1 and 2 and hated 3 and 4, but it’s not too far off.
Civ is basically two games for me. At first, it’s like an ant farm…exploring, building cities and then making them pretty with roads and farms and things. I interact with my neighbors as little as possible.
Then, when we get to modern-ish times, I look around at the rest of the world. If I’m lucky — due to chance and geography — I’m the most advanced civ on the planet. Then I end the game crushing my opponents like bugs.
Man, I loved that animation at the end, with the guillotine descending upon the heads of my enemies. More smiting!
Well, as of Civ 3, some a-historical lefty idiot got hold of the gameplay. All civs advance technologically at about the same rate (Huh. I guess Firaxis never heard of Papua, New Guinea). This totally ruined the “crushing my enemies like bugs” part of my fun.
Worse, the AI in Civ 4 was so aggressive, you had to build settlers like a madwoman and fling them all over the world or you’d be squeezed right off the continent, so that one even ruined the “ant farm” part of my fun.
So! Civ 5? Very, very pretty. Easier to learn and maneuver. So far, though, it seems to suffer the same aggressive AI and lack of civilizing unevenness.
Ah, but one of the best parts of the franchise is how modifiable it is. The early versions, the text and pictures were simply left lying around where you could get at them and fiddle. I discovered this quite by accident and had a stoat of a time with it.
I would replace my preferred ruler picture with my own face and called myself the Grand Exalted Queen of Clan Weasel or something. Then I’d change the conversations. Instead of, “would you like to trade iron for furs?” I’d make Bismarck say things like, “I say, what fetching panties, Weasel. And how jaunty they look on your head!”
This could be awkward if I forgot what it really meant, but totally worth it for the enhancement to gameplay.
Modifying the new versions is more complex, but there’s much more you can do. Firaxis is wise enough to encourage modding and provide tools to make it possible to get under the hood. There’s even a Civ Mod Wiki going. Stand by for weasel enhancements.
CRUSH THEM! CRUSH THEM LIKE BUGS!!
By the way, it’s clearly Patrick Stewart doing all the voiceovers, but he’s not credited on the box or anywhere else I can find. Odd. Must be a contractual thing.