Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Re-writing history (Civilization)

It took a lot longer than I had anticipated, but we finally pulled out the new Civilization for a second try. In our first game way back in January, I had really liked it despite few concerns regarding combat, the culture mechanic and general thematic wonkiness. In our second play, my opinion has changed somewhat... The military system didn't bother me this time. Now that i understand it better works fine. The randomness injects a little riskiness to battle but generally the superior force wins. It's still a process that introduces downtime in an otherwise remarkably downtime free design (for a game of this genre), but it's nowhere near as egregious as Fury of Dracula. Culture did not play a huge role in this game, at least not the "take that" aspect that bothered me last time (though I don't know if it's because Shemp and Kozure refrained from using those cards because they disliked them or because they were genuinely less useful. I was the culture guy last game and I was playing those quite a bit, because even though I didn't like that style of play it was the avenue i had pursued and I didn't see a better easy available to me). Hopefully they'll chime in and let me know. The one aspect of the game that bothers me the most, however, is the trading, or lack thereof. In the Eagle games version, trading is central. In this one, the system OSS tight thatthereseemslittle reason to do it. Units and work value aren't tradeable, so that really only leaves "trade", resources and promises. Problem is, since resources are random and rare, so it's unlikely and unusual that you have one to trade AND other than temporary alliances there aren't much promising opportunities available that I can see. This leaves trade as the only commonly available resource, which doesn't work since two different currencies are required to make an exchange.

Otherwise, it's a game that has managed to marry quite a number of civilization elements together in a fun and playable package. I look forward to playing it some more.

(in our game, I was Germany, Shemp was Egypt and Kozure was China. Unsurprisingly, I went military/ science. Shemp went Culture/ Science and Kozure went Economic. I was doing well, but I stalled outside the gates of one of Shemp's cities because i was having a hard time balancing my discoveries with the need to press the attack. I kept distracting myself with unit upgrades and ignoring movement bonuses and increases in my stacking limit. Eventually, i decided to march but realized it was too late. I did crush the city, and would have crushed Shemp's capital, but I was one space too short. Kozure won an economic victory the same turn that Shemp would have won a cultural one. It was very close! The funny thing is that if I had realized that even having developped "flight" I couldn't reach his capital that round, I could have played differently and won a scientific victory with Space Flight. Oh well, I deserve what I got for missing an opportunity!

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