"I guess I think of that Sid Meier as another person."
March 8, 2016 2:40 PM   Subscribe

The Man Who Made A Million Empires by Colin Campbell [Polygon]
Not many creators have the brazen audacity to slap their name in the actual titles of the things they create. John Lennon didn't call his 1971 album, "John Lennon's Imagine." Mrs. Dalloway isn't called "Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway." James Cameron has so far managed to keep his name out of all his movie titles. But a lot of Sid Meier's games flash the words "Sid Meier" right there in the title. Most famously: the Sid Meier's Civilization series, which has sold more than 33 million units over the past 25 years. The most recent is 2010's Sid Meier's Civilization V. It's one of the greatest strategy games ever made.
posted by Fizz (96 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
There's a whole huge article here I'm reading that seems pretty good so far, but I can't help but engage with the pullquote because really?
posted by ODiV at 2:49 PM on March 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


They mention Pirates, but no mention of Railroad Tycoon? I saw that as the precursor to the Civ series. I wasted a lot of days on that, the original Civ, and Colonization. I even got my dad hooked on Railroad Tycoon. It was the only non-card game he ever played on the computer, and he would have been 60 when I first showed him how to play.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 2:57 PM on March 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


The titles are still just "Mrs. Dalloway" and "Imagine" though. Civ is literally titled "Sid Meier's Civilization".

Of course one difference is that it's customary to put the artist/author on album and book covers. You never see it with games outside of designer board games. So this is pretty much the only way to have his name directly associated with his work.
posted by kmz at 3:00 PM on March 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


The most recent is 2010's Sid Meier's Civilization V. It's one of the greatest strategy games ever made.

Yeah it's up there, just behind Sid Meier's Civilization IV
posted by Hoopo at 3:03 PM on March 8, 2016 [23 favorites]


it's one of the greatest strategy games sleep deprivers ever made.
posted by tittergrrl at 3:08 PM on March 8, 2016 [14 favorites]


Alpha Centauri forever!

One of these days I'll play as someone other than the Gaians.
posted by Lexica at 3:08 PM on March 8, 2016 [25 favorites]


"They come and say, 'I’m playing this game with my son and daughter and we’re having fun.' I hear about the fun experiences people have had. There’s a sense of a connection."
Yeah, but what does he say to the people who tell him, "You ruined my life, you goddamn crack dealer!"
posted by clawsoon at 3:11 PM on March 8, 2016 [17 favorites]


And there's an open-source clone, as well.


See? I'm not a monster - I didn't link straight to the web version, which would've destroyed the rest of your day.
posted by eclectist at 3:16 PM on March 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


"You ruined my life, you goddamn crack dealer!"

Having Sid Meier's name in the title is something of a public service, like a Mister Yuk sticker, for those people who might nearly have flunked out of second year by spending so much time (waking or otherwise) obsessed with original Civ.
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:17 PM on March 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


"If you can survive with just four cities, you can say, 'I declare victory.' But what the game defines as winning may not match your play style exactly. "

Babylon/science/three cities (four MAX) or gtfo. Who is this noob?
posted by Tevin at 3:18 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wait, Sid Meier wrote F-15 Strike Eagle?
posted by octothorpe at 3:19 PM on March 8, 2016


Based on that "name in the title" thing I now want a Sid Meier/John Carpenter collaboration.
posted by brundlefly at 3:21 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also with warmonger penalties are you kidding me? The game rewards all-in on the battles or as little as possible. If you're going to play peaceful you have to be a hippy peacenik for the rest of the game if you have to break Napoleon in half because he's getting a little too cultural for his britches.

Unless you share an island pre-seafaring. Then its your little secret.
posted by Tevin at 3:22 PM on March 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


I have thoughts.

Just one more turn...
posted by nubs at 3:22 PM on March 8, 2016 [15 favorites]


They mention Pirates, but no mention of Railroad Tycoon?

Yeah, Railroad Tycoon was the first game I ever bought for myself. Big white box with both sizes of floppy disks. A friend and I would buy controlling shares in competing railroads. Order them to go deeply into debt to build a cross country railroad, then collect the reward the game gave for doing it.

The Civ games never really grabbed me the same way.
posted by ODiV at 3:22 PM on March 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


I know American McGee's name was slapped on a few games as well. Who else did this?
posted by Harpocrates at 3:23 PM on March 8, 2016


What gets me so nostalgic and weird-feeling about Sid Meier is... he's a link to a pre-digital games world. A reminder that these games came from late nights at college board game clubs. I sort of miss that world.

There's a pretty good episode of the podcast Designer Notes with Bruce Shelley (who was Sid's second-in-command for a while) interviewed by Soren Johnson (designer of Civ IV). For my extra nostalgia feels, Shelley grew up around UVA (as did I).
posted by selfnoise at 3:25 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Who else did this?

Roberta Williams' Phantasmagoria
posted by anazgnos at 3:27 PM on March 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


One of these days I'll play as someone other than the Gaians.

The idea of not being Prokhor Zakharov confuses and enrages me.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:29 PM on March 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


DON'T FORGET THIS ONE!!!!
posted by Tevin at 3:31 PM on March 8, 2016


I can't help but make the counterpoint joke to the pull and I feel like I have spent so much of 1999 playing Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri that I'm allowed:

Tyler Perry's Civilization V

(I would also play this game.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:31 PM on March 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Alpha Centauri forever!

I was so hoping that Civilization: Beyond Earth would be the spiritual successor to SMAC but it just isn't.
posted by octothorpe at 3:34 PM on March 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Every civ is Perry in elaborate costumes but they all play the same.

Actually what if every civ was just Medea and the victory conditions was learning a thing or two about life?
posted by Tevin at 3:35 PM on March 8, 2016


[installs DOS emulator]

Well, this is just GREAT. Thanks so much. Looks like I'll be finding out how to function normally on about 30 minutes of sleep again.

Seriously though, thanks for the nostalgia, one of my all time favourite addictions games!

send help
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 3:38 PM on March 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


What if Civilization (IV) had lyrics? Watch out for that prick Montezuma (He's a douchebag)
posted by zachlipton at 3:46 PM on March 8, 2016


clickclickclickclick
clockclock
clickclickclickclicketyclick
clockbangbangbang
clickclickclickclickclick

I had a roommate who was totally into Civilization back in the day. Pax Imperia, too. Those games frustrate the hell out of me, but he was an automaton for hours clicketyclicking away. The mouse noises were a dead giveaway as to what he was playing. I never got the draw of feeding people, building cities, scrolling all over the map, multitasking in a game...my life is busy enough and frankly, I don't want to...oh wait, I have to build a factory, just a sec...spend hours keeping up with and optimizing...hold on, need to suppress a worker revolt...a realm from farmland. My friend? He was addicted to that shit.
posted by Chuffy at 3:50 PM on March 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Always a bit sad that John Carpenter didn't make a Dracula movie, and then Sid Meier the game, because then it would be Sid Meier's John Carpenter's Bram Stoker's Dracula.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:51 PM on March 8, 2016 [26 favorites]


Sid Meier's Crusade in Europe was likely the first RTS strategy game I ever played (before they were called RTSes). If you've never played it. It followed from D-Day to the end of WWII with actual troop placements and battles, following recorded schedules of resupply, resupply levels, bomber usage, General's strengths and weaknesses, and even battalion makeup and troop count. It was insane.

And it played on a C-64 like a champ.

And here's the music intro and some game play from the Atari to show you how good it was.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:52 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Played Civ, II, and III; then I wandered away from it for years. On a whim, I bought Civ5 the weekend Himself went away on a fishing trip. And then proceeded to discover in real time how long it takes to go from being a perfectly functioning human to a shambling greasy-haired mouse-wristed cheeto-crumb-covered wretch. (Answer: 2 days)
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 3:57 PM on March 8, 2016 [24 favorites]


I always suspected Meier's name was there to distinguish it from some then-hypothetical computer adaptation of the board game Civilization (which strongly influenced the computer game).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:01 PM on March 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh God, so in the early 90's (I can't even remember the year now, but it must have been 1991 or later for obvious reasons), I was working as a publicity director at a University theatre. The only computer powerful enough for poster design was in the light booth of the theatre. I saw an icon that read "Civ." I clicked on it.

Holy cats in a box of cats! This was the game I'd dreamed of ever since I could dream of such things. Build cities? Conquer territory? Time moves forward and you discover things? I was totally overcome. I didn't design the poster that night. In fact, I didn't go home that night. I crawled into my classes the next morning, bleary eyed and conquered by the program. And did the same thing the next night. And sort of for the rest of the time I was publicity director.

I never discovered who installed Civ on that computer and sometimes wished I'd never clicked on the icon. To this day, it was the worst best decision I've ever made.

Just one more turn...

This was the phrase that propelled me through hundreds of sleepless nights. In retrospect, I think I may have done major damage to my brain via sleep deprivation in the 90's and its completely because I just couldn't stop. I know this is a common story that almost everyone who loves Civ has experienced, but I feel compelled to write about it.

Also, Fuck Napoleon. And Ghandi. But mostly Napoleon.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:01 PM on March 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


Played Civ, II, and III; then I wandered away from it for years. On a whim, I bought Civ5...

I hate to break it to you, but you missed the best one.
posted by zachlipton at 4:02 PM on March 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


I always suspected Meier's name was there to distinguish it from some then-hypothetical computer adaptation of the board game Civilization (which strongly influenced the computer game).

I own a copy of that game...
posted by Chuffy at 4:03 PM on March 8, 2016


Single city cultural victory is my favorite way to play. Great Wall is the key, and it's just so satisfying to blow past the warmongers.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:04 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I always suspected Meier's name was there to distinguish it from some then-hypothetical computer adaptation of the board game Civilization (which strongly influenced the computer game).

I bought the board game because I enjoyed the PC game so much. (The first one, of course, by the time Civ 2 came out you couldn't find the Avalon Hill Civilization in stores anymore, I believe) They're quite different, but you can see the impact AH's Civ had on Sid Meier's Civ - that, and Empire, Wargame of the Century. Civilization is, in many ways, just Avalon Hill Civ and Empire combined.
posted by evilangela at 4:06 PM on March 8, 2016


No one's mentioned that Sid Meier is IN the XCOM games, as a cheat/easter egg? (He's OP AF)
posted by danny the boy at 4:10 PM on March 8, 2016


octothorps: Wait, Sid Meier wrote F-15 Strike Eagle?

And Hellcat Ace and Spitfire Ace, two *surprisingly* good flight simulators for computers like the Atari 800 and Commodore 64.
posted by hanov3r at 4:11 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


OK, back with thoughts.

I have lost I don't know how many thousands of hours to the Civ series; I started with the first one, and still play to this day (in fact, for one of my tabletop RPG groups, I bring a laptop with Civ IV on it, to play during times when my character isn't part of the focus of the action. I have about twenty different games going on it, because enough time goes by between game sessions that I feel compelled to start anew). Despite this, I am an amazingly poor player - I don't have the patience to micromanage empires well enough to truly be a masterful player of the game. And that's ok.

"People remember the big incidents. They have memories of the time they had this great big battle and finally captured that city, or Gandhi nuked them or whatever. Those moments are as vivid in your memory as your first day of school, perhaps, or whatever other things remain in your memory."

I think that's why the franchise remains so strong; I have many memories of games where I finally cracked a city or defended one or where the AI did something unexpected - like the time in Civ III where I was about to launch a spaceship and thought I had all my border choke points well defended, only to have Ghandi come pouring in through a section of terrain I thought was too slow to be a viable invasion route, resulting in me dropping nukes to slow his advancing troops while I circled my defenses at the capital. But it's also the small moments - the desperate raid with a few troops to knock out an enemies strategic resource, or the subtle playing of diplomacy to set other empires against each other, or finally getting a particular tech that opens up a path to development you've been aching for. There's a lot in the games, and the complexity of interactions between the systems is what makes them work, along with an incredible level of replay value.

Beyond having Sid's name on the box, the franchise also invigorated the whole 4X (eXpand, eXplore, eXploit, eXterminate) style of computer games; they are, I would suggest, the archetype. That being said, there are some interesting things happening with 4X games (Endless Legend being the one top of mind right now for me), and part of me is curious to see what a Civ VI might look like in terms of some of the developments it might undergo in the face of a marketplace that has changed a bit.
posted by nubs at 4:11 PM on March 8, 2016 [11 favorites]


Metafilter: the worst best decision I've ever made
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:17 PM on March 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


I remember deep dorm room discussions as to whether or not it made you racist when the first thing you do when discovering the Zulu nearby is try to exterminate them in order to avoid a games worth of hassle.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:30 PM on March 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


Every single campaign of Alpha Centauri became a race to see if Miriam would declare war on me first or not. In either case, only one of us was going to walk away.

SMAC's end game dialog box is also the best. "Please don't go. The drones need you. They look up to you."
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:34 PM on March 8, 2016 [12 favorites]


fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit: "SMAC's end game dialog box is also the best. "Please don't go. The drones need you. They look up to you.""

Get Stapled, Drone Scum!

As long as we're nattering about CIVILIZATION GAMES, please enjoy I've been playing the same game of Civilization II for almost 10 years. This is the result.
posted by boo_radley at 4:36 PM on March 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


Heh. I remember being on the phone with a friend and he asks what I'm doing. Oh, just started playing some Civ, I say, so he asks how the game is going and I'm like "pretty good, I've got X and Y and working towards this other thing...oh, shit..."

"What?"

"Shaka"

He stayed on the phone with me for two hours as we plotted and planed our way through the war.

By the time of Civ IV, though, it was Montezuma who I feared and hated more.
posted by nubs at 4:38 PM on March 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


brundlefly: Based on that "name in the title" thing I now want a Sid Meier/John Carpenter collaboration.

You mean Escape from Zombie Hotel, Sid Meier's sadly never finished sure-to-be blockbuster?

May not contain actual John Carpenter.
posted by Kattullus at 4:39 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Aaaaaand there ya go. An hour blown on the web client.

I'm weak.
posted by eclectist at 4:47 PM on March 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


did not read the thread cannot read the thread. you guys are trying to kill me. like look it says it right there on my character sheet:

strengths: Interpretation of Marx, obscure references, sudden and disorienting shifts in tone
critical weakness: cannot withstand exposure to Sid Meier's Civilization.

Civ IV is to me as the movie Infinite Jest is to characters in Infinite Jest. And SMAC, to me, might as well be, well, smack.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:52 PM on March 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


I never played Civ V, but in Civ IV I play the civilization that I chose in the original because I was taking the language in college. It's almost the only surviving relic of that interest in my life today.
posted by praemunire at 5:06 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


On a whim, I bought Civ5 the weekend Himself went away on a fishing trip. And then proceeded to discover in real time how long it takes to go from being a perfectly functioning human to a shambling greasy-haired mouse-wristed cheeto-crumb-covered wretch. (Answer: 2 days)
That's not how I understood the wreck of the Mary Ellen Carter to have occurred..
posted by Nerd of the North at 5:28 PM on March 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Never played the Civilization games, and I never tried cocaine. I feel I am well served by these parallel Life Choices.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:28 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Alpha Centauri forever!

One of these days I'll play as someone other than the Gaians.


Oh wow, you have to play as the Believers. If only to understand how the AI is not evil enough to use them effectively. The only way to gain tech is to steal it, so you have to groom your allies to do your research for you; then you take it from them. If they don't like it, take their city then agree to peace. Next turn, declare war again and take another one.

You wind up with the reputation "wicked." Miriam is so awesome and by awesome, I mean evil.
posted by BYiro at 5:36 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


octothorpe: “Wait, Sid Meier wrote F-15 Strike Eagle?”
hanov3r: “And Hellcat Ace and Spitfire Ace, two *surprisingly* good flight simulators for computers like the Atari 800 and Commodore 64.”
F-19 Stealth Fighter will always be my favorite.

Although Sword of the Samurai is my favorite Sid Meier game. He also did Red Storm Rising which was super fun.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:46 PM on March 8, 2016


Steam happily reminds me that I have logged 433 hours on Sid Meier's Railroads! and that the last time I played was "today."
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 5:47 PM on March 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


so when you run a proper REX strategy in SMAC it's pretty easy to effectively become the world government through military means; you pick a target, you beat the crap out of them and refuse to entertain any offers of surrender on anything but unconditional terms, keep doing this until you get the unconditional surrender, accept the unconditional surrender, pick next target...

And so forth. The thing is, though, because you're playing on deity (of course you're playing on deity), the AI cheats. This means the AI researches faster than you. This means the AI makes money faster than you.

This means that once you've beaten the snot out of them, that it is then in your interests to transfer as many bases as you can back to the factions you've taken an unconditional surrender from, because AI-controlled bases are wildly more efficient than player-controlled ones are. Make sure the bases you give them are scattered across the surface of Planet (so that they're not even conceivably defendable), make sure you're maintaining enough of a military to keep your captured factions scared, demand technology and money from them as often as you please, and be prepared to droplift overwhelming force to any point on Planet, on the off chance that any of the other factions momentarily step out of line.

In order to get the highest scores and quickest wins using this strategy, you want to be very aggressive about your experialism. If you don't have a very good reason not to give a base away, you should give it away.

anyway.

did I tell you I had to not just delete steam from my computer, but also I actually locked all the civ games behind a parental password that I don't even know — I made it by banging my hands randomly on the keyboard and then copy-pasting to confirm — and that since I made the decision to do that I've finished three dissertation chapters? Yeah that's a thing that has happened.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:50 PM on March 8, 2016 [30 favorites]


aaaaghhhhh stick it in my VEINS
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 6:00 PM on March 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


You Can't Tip a Buick: So basically, you've rediscovered colonialism, worked out all the pesky problems where the colonies become big and powerful enough to demand independence, and adopted it as your game strategy. Nice.
posted by zachlipton at 6:03 PM on March 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


at least one time I set my faction name to "The Culture"
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 6:05 PM on March 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


If someone ever invents a game that somehow combines Civ grand strategy with the base-building of Minecraft and the visuals and gameplay of Fallout 4 then humanity is in a lot of trouble.
posted by um at 6:45 PM on March 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


I haven't gotten into Civ 5 yet after delving into Civ 4 mods I had to stop completely because it sucked all my time away. The most addictive one was a fantasy based one called Fall from Heaven 2. Be warned.
posted by john at 7:56 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Tom Clancy's Literally Everything
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:10 PM on March 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Always a bit sad that John Carpenter didn't make a Dracula movie, and then Sid Meier the game, because then it would be Sid Meier's John Carpenter's Bram Stoker's Dracula.

That reminds me of one of my greatest moments:
San Francisco, Calif.: I hope someday I'll see my dream movie: Joanna Pacula and Scott Bakula in Alan Pakula's Dracula. Can you make it happen?

Scott Bakula: LAUGHS. That's always been a fantasy of mine -- to see a marquee that has Bakula as Dracula. Ironically, I just met a week ago the quintessential Dracula, Frank Langella, who came to see the show here in D.C.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:44 PM on March 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


I still regularly play the original Civ and copies of Civilization or Rome on 640k a Day and The Official Guide to Sid Meier's Civilization are the only two books to have had a permanent spot on my desk next to my computer for the last 20-odd years. Civ, Lemmings, Sim City, Scorched Earth (still have an ongoing weekly scorch tournament with a university friend, 23 years running now), and Duke Nukem ate a lot of time in undergrad that probably would have been better spent on studies.
posted by fimbulvetr at 9:18 PM on March 8, 2016


Alpha Centauri and Civ IV for life. Love the hexes in Civ V but the combat and the one unit per hex just don't do it for me.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:16 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


The fact that two strong games in the series,"Sid Meier's Civilization II" and "Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri" were both done by teams led by Brian Reynolds left me down on Sid, which after reading this article I now think is totally unfair.

IMHO Civ IV is probably the best Civ game. I actually love the tactical thinking you need with one unit per hex in Civ V. Unfortunately (unless recent patches had a big effect) the AI doesn't love it at all, and vastly superior forces will circle around trying to get into position, letting themselves get whittled down by distance attacks.
posted by mark k at 10:50 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I ran into some situations with Civ V one-unit-per-hex where geography would make a city utterly uncapturable no matter how many units you brought to the fight and how many turns you kept at it. While it's interesting to model the concept of naturally well-defended cities, the utter futility of it was frustrating to say the least.
posted by zachlipton at 11:02 PM on March 8, 2016


I've seen ones in 'cul de sacs' bracketed by mountains, which are definitely intimidating and to be skipped early game. But once you have indirect fire and bombers cities should be vulnerable if you have the patience (or obsessive levels of determination). I mean, they can reinforce them either so even without bombers you can get a slight advantage and hammer away.
posted by mark k at 11:36 PM on March 8, 2016


Playing Sid Meier's Pirates! on the C64 when I was a young teenager in the very early '90s led to me ransacking the local library for books on Caribbean history and then becoming completely obsessed with the history of European colonial expansion, making me the person I am today. Sorta.
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:13 AM on March 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Giant Multiplayer Robot has hugely freshened my Civ 5 experience by building the multiplayer community and infrastructure needed to play with friends or strangers asynchronously. Way better than suffering the oddities of the AI. It has a desktop client that handles the file swapping and a website for coordinating the games.

Speaking of which... if anyone wants to get a MeFi game going... I'm in!
posted by seejaie at 5:10 AM on March 9, 2016


I read this whole damn thread even though I have a project deadline at 5pm.

And I just launched Steam....
posted by Mick at 5:28 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


No! Don't do it!
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:29 AM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


seejaie: "Speaking of which... if anyone wants to get a MeFi game going... I'm in!"

I might be interested. I've actually never played any Civ against a human before.
posted by octothorpe at 5:30 AM on March 9, 2016


I recently got sucked in once again, and I have to say my opinion has changed about Civ V. I never really got into it when it was released, despite building a PC specifically for it 5 years ago (I ended up getting hooked on Minecraft instead...) and having played countless hours on Civ IV.

But honestly, with Brave New World, some patches, and a couple of mods, I think I'm ready to accept Civ V is the best Civ so far. There is more depth than I gave it credit for, and there are nearly always two or three ways of achieving a specific goal (or failing it, for that matter). Each separate system (religion, espionage, tourism, etc) interlocks with each other and makes for some very varied and interesting playthroughs - particularly for the war-averse like me. The guys at three moves ahead were also very impressed, and they are a tough crowd. It wasn't until I watched some of the Let's Plays by FilthyRobot and Marmozir on YouTube that it it finally clicked for me.

SMAC is an amazing game too, but it's obviously a bit aged and is altogether a different animal. Still, I have yet to play Beyond Earth and, even with the recent DLC, it doesn't entice me in the same way.
posted by Acey at 5:48 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm a big fan of V now that it's all patched and with the two DLCs. I love that there are so many ways to win. I just won a fast game last night by maxing out my cargo trading to buy off all of the city-states then got both my religion and my ideology declared globally which gave me just enough votes to be elected world leader.
posted by octothorpe at 6:29 AM on March 9, 2016


Played Civ, II, and III; then I wandered away from it for years. On a whim, I bought Civ5...

I managed to escape, but then bought Civ: Revolution for the iPad. And while it's not as complicated or involved a game as the others, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Civ Lite. Civ Methadone. You can play while half-watching teevee, and a game is done in a couple of hours. You get Civ with no loss of sleep, no clickety clack compulsion. You can walk away.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:41 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


how long it takes to go from being a perfectly functioning human to a shambling greasy-haired mouse-wristed cheeto-crumb-covered wretch. (Answer: 2 days)
Conversations from after 2 days of a friend's dorm-room Civ II marathon back in the day:

"Why are you wrapped in your blanket? Are you wearing any pants?"
"I figured out how to get from my bed to my computer chair without touching the floor!"

"When was the last time you showered?"
"Gimme a quarter or I'll touch ya!"
posted by roystgnr at 6:59 AM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


seejaie, octothorpe, and anyone else who is interested in a Giant Multiplayer Robot game, I've played a little bit though their servers and I'm up for the challenge.

MeMail me and we can sort the details out.
posted by zyxwvut at 7:29 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Am I the only person who hated Civ IV? Like with a passion.

So the thing is I like to play very peacefully and not go to war and just build my empire. The thing is, the way the combat worked in the game meant defending put you at a disadvantage, if anything.

So in civ games, having your military defending in a city generally gave them an advantage, especially if you had built walls and fortified the city a little. The thing is that in Civ IV, they had artillery units that could spend a turn reducing defenses of cities at no risk. So basically if you had 3 or so of them, the most defended city would offer no defensive advantage in a couple of turns.

The other thing was the stack of doom problem - i.e. what's to stop someone moving all their units together and concentrating their force in the most advantageous spot? In civ 2 - all units in the same square took damage if a unit was destroyed there unless they were stationed in a fort or city. In Civ IV, the ability to damage multiple units was given to those same artillery units. Which mind you had weaker combat strength and still actually had to win the battle.

The upshot of this was, as I learned after many frustrating games where even my industry and tech advantage wasn't enough to save my cities from unprovoked hostility, was that a military force that was sufficient for defense was pretty sizeable and actually more effective sneak attacking and laying waste to the other civilization's cities.

So I played two games out of spite, going all Mongol horde on everyone and handily wiping the floor with all of the other civilzations, a strategy which turned out to be so much safer and easier than being nice and peaceful, and never touched the game again.
posted by Zalzidrax at 8:08 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've logged more hours in CIV 5 than I care to think about and I avoid that page on Steam that reminds me. My rule these days is that if I see Attila, build up a shitton of gold and a small army. Let him attack me, destroy his army, demand half his cities as repayment. Burn every single one of them to the ground, found my own cities there. If there was an option to simply salt the earth, I would.

Forget Gandhi's nukes. Forget Montezuma, Tokugawa, Genghis Khan, all of the other warmongers. Forget Col. Santiago and Sister Miriam. Attila needs to die. I only wish that Civ 5 had the animation of the pain sphere when you destroy a civilization, like Alpha Centauri does. I want to shove him into one and watch him roast for ages.

I've even brought in a cheat mod just so I could nuke him at one point in time during the Classical Era.

I may have a few unresolved issues here.
posted by Hactar at 8:47 AM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


This long article from 2007 goes into detail on the early history of the game starting with the founding of MicroProse by Sid Meier and fighter pilot Bill Stealey.
posted by exogenous at 8:51 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I played Civ to death. I remember realising I could go into the game files and rename the civilizations and cities etc and I felt like a computer genius. (I was 10, and not particularly savvy)

The fact that it came on 5 floppy disks seems hilarious to me; I wonder how many Civ 5 would need?

I'm not sure if Sim City or Civ had a stronger hold on me at the start, but I've definitely played more Civ through the years.
posted by trif at 8:52 AM on March 9, 2016


I remember realising I could go into the game files and rename the civilizations and cities etc and I felt like a computer genius.

I specifically made sure that I was the only player in a couple of games so that I could just civil engineer to my hearts content: rail everywhere, massive cultivation, all cities at max population before pollution becomes a problem, in a delicate balance. It was amazing.* I wasn't ever a GOOD Civ player, but I had fun building awesomely advanced parts of a map before I handed them over to a more militaristic opponent.

*Why didn't you try Sim? I did. I found it crushingly boring. Civ just did it for me.
posted by eclectist at 9:02 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


> The upshot of this was, as I learned after many frustrating games where even my industry and tech advantage wasn't enough to save my cities from unprovoked hostility, was that a military force that was sufficient for defense was pretty sizeable and actually more effective sneak attacking and laying waste to the other civilization's cities.

So there are two ways to play peacefully in Civ 4.

One is to play on a lower level, so that you have a consistent tech advantage over everyone, so that you can just idly brush aside attacks. (you do have to post up scouts and keep a close eye on what's happening in other civilizations' cities, though, so that you can see the stack of doom before it's suddenly next to one of your favorite cities).

There is another way to be peaceful, though, which works up to emperor (deity in 4, as far as I can tell, is only playable if you're a child with poor supervision and infinite free time). What you do is:
  1. Consider your neighbors in terms of the sum of their aggressiveness and religiosity. You want to find the neighbor that's most aggressive and most religious. If you're next to Montezuma or Isabella, you've hit the jackpot.
  2. Adopt the same religion as your fighty religious neighbor. This will make them like you bunches.
  3. Spend the rest of the game making sure that your pet zealot is at war with someone. Doesn't matter who it is. All that matters is that Monty isn't sending catapults at you, because you've nicely pointed him toward some infidels to kill, and no one else is sending catapults at you either, because they're too busy dealing with Monty.
Civ 4 is without a doubt the grimmest of the Civ games that I've played. You don't have to be warlike... but if you're not warlike, you have to be Littlefinger.

(I've actually never touched 5, in the interest of remaining semi-functional as an adult-type person responsible for feeding and sheltering himself.)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:16 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


also for reals I've got to leave this thread, cause basically right now I'm a heroin addict giving tips on how to find veins that still work.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:19 AM on March 9, 2016 [11 favorites]


Funny story: I've had loads of fun from a tiny mod that auto generates culture-specific map labels on rivers, deserts, etc, and allows you to name anywhere anything you want. Nothing beats crossing an ocean and naming the places you come across regardless of who lives there. Morocco? I think you mean New South England!
posted by Acey at 9:22 AM on March 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


So the thing is I like to play very peacefully and not go to war and just build my empire. The thing is, the way the combat worked in the game meant defending put you at a disadvantage, if anything.

If you don't intend to go to war in Civ IV, you need to have no pride whatsoever. Pay any tribute you can possibly bring yourself to. Convert if you must. Maintain trade relations with only one or two partners, to reduce the likelihood that you will end up trading with a strong civ's worst enemies and/or have to refuse their demands to break off the trade. It all pays off in the end when you win SWEET ULTIMATE VICTORY.

(Even then, you'll need a fair amount of luck. Okay, maybe a lot.)
posted by praemunire at 11:08 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've been playing FreeCiv for a few years (mentioned upthread), and I believe I've come up with a novel strategy, one that allows me to win the hardest versions of the game even if I handicap myself by getting rid of all my starting units except a single starting settler:

- All city centers go on hills.
- Pollute as much as possible.

If you're able to survive up to the mass pollution stage, you can flood the entire world. Your cities will be single hills surrounded by ocean; in other words, they will be completely immune to howitzer attack, since no howitzers can be landed next to them.

With veteran mobile infantry and coastal defenses, your cities will also be immune to battleship attacks, as a result of the hills' doubling of defense strength.

YOU PEOPLE NEEDED TO KNOW. IT'S THE ONLY WISDOM I HAVE TO OFFER.

(Actually, I have a bunch of FreeCiv strategy tips, but the hills+global warming combination is the most interesting.)
posted by clawsoon at 11:13 AM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


If you're able to survive up to the mass pollution stage, you can flood the entire world.

Eco-war (move a bunch of Sea Formers next to an enemy city just long enough to sink it) was the most fun part of SMAC/X.

Well, no, everything was the most fun part of SMAC/X. But eco-war was part of everything.
posted by Etrigan at 11:20 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you're able to survive up to the mass pollution stage, you can flood the entire world. Eco-war (move a bunch of Sea Formers next to an enemy city just long enough to sink it) was the most fun part of SMAC/X. Well, no, everything was… [more]
favorited 1 time, recently by You Can't Tip a Buick


GET OUT OF HERE. SHOO!
posted by Etrigan at 11:24 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


god dammit people i have stuff to do
posted by the phlegmatic king at 11:25 AM on March 9, 2016


So if you're currently obsessed with XCOM 2, it seems you're immune from the siren call of Civ provided by this thread. Of course, you're still buying from the same dealer (Firaxis), but you feel better about it.
posted by zachlipton at 11:37 AM on March 9, 2016


The fact that it came on 5 floppy disks seems hilarious to me; I wonder how many Civ 5 would need?

About 6400.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 1:30 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have lost as many nights to Civilization as I have to Metafilter. Maybe even more.

Either way, sometimes I go nuclear. I always regret it in the morning.
posted by rokusan at 1:33 PM on March 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


As a Maryland native and frequenter of the MD Renaissance Festival, the most fun part of Civ 2 was watching the advisors, as at least two of them (Military and Trade) were regular MDRF performers.
posted by hanov3r at 2:57 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


did I tell you I had to not just delete steam from my computer, but also I actually locked all the civ games behind a parental password that I don't even know — I made it by banging my hands randomly on the keyboard and then copy-pasting to confirm — and that since I made the decision to do that I've finished three dissertation chapters? Yeah that's a thing that has happened.


You continue to be my favorite untippable thing. That was amazing.
posted by Carillon at 5:07 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


So if you're currently obsessed with XCOM 2, it seems you're immune from the siren call of Civ provided by this thread.

I think the only reason I've managed not to sink back into the addiction is that my husband and I have been playing Sunless Sea. (Hey Steam, could you stop with the helpful "you've played XX hours" message? Much appreciated.)
posted by Lexica at 7:16 PM on March 9, 2016


Damn it, now I need to play Civ IV again. I recall one of my last games where I was sharing a continent with (I think) Napoleon. I was trying to be all peaceful, only dropping the occasional Great Artist culture bomb, but he kept declaring war on me. After the third time, I nuked three of his cities on the same turn, rolled over them and made them part of Greater Examplonia, then demanded a fourth city as a concession before I would sign a peace treaty.

Then I finally settled down and started building libraries and theaters again. Do not fuck with the liberal arts majors.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:24 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hey Steam, could you stop with the helpful "you've played XX hours" message?

That's my "You have wasted XX hours that you should used to write your dissertation" message. Shame and woe.
posted by pemberkins at 3:28 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


« Older Syntax and Bird Calls   |   Cyclists chased by an ostrich Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments