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Civ IV -- Aaargh!

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  • Civ IV -- Aaargh!

    This is just me venting. You can ignore this post if you have better things to do.

    I've been playing Sid Meier's Civilization since its first incarnation, way back when. It's the most addictive computer game I've ever played, and that's not a good thing. I can't say I really enjoy the game all that much; it's just that I keep being pulled back to it and then can't tear myself away for hours.

    The hell of it is that there's never any satisfaction to be had, no matter how I play or how the game turns out.

    If I play above Noble level, I'll most likely lose. And losing happens in one of three ways, all disappointing, of course:

    1. I'll find myself relatively isolated on the map and just merrily build up my civilization, feeling I'm doing pretty well. Then, in midgame, I'll encounter a rival civilization and find that it's way ahead of me on the scoreboard. There's no chance of catching up; I'm doomed, and I know it.

    2. Similar situation, only maybe I'm not so isolated. But this time I'm way ahead of everybody else on the scoreboard, and I'm feeling very good. All I have to do now is beef up my defenses, keep researching, and look forward to winning a space race. Then I hear the bugle, and my heart sinks. Somebody has declared war on me, and I soon find out he's got military units I can only dream of. I can quit, or I can sit back and watch my hard-built civilization be demolished.

    3. Full of anguish over situation 2 above, this time I make up my mind to be a formidable military power myself. I build and expand, but I make darned sure I've got a solid army too. Things are starting to go well, but then a neighboring civilization attacks me. I have to slow down my expansion and start pumping out military units. I hold my own in the battles, but the enemy keeps coming after me. We're both wasting all kinds of resources and starting to fall behind, but he doesn't care; he won't make peace. Despite my best efforts, he takes an outlying city of mine, which makes me furious to get it back. But that wastes much more time and drains me of many more resources. Meanwhile he's going after another city. After a while I look at the scoreboard and see I've sunk to the middle or bottom. The writing is on the wall.

    Now, if I play below Noble level--at Warlord, say--then I have a pretty good chance of winning the game. But it's never a satisfying win.

    It goes something like this: I happily build and expand and conduct my research in whatever order I fancy (after getting the basics in order, I like to make a bold dash to be the first at Liberalism, and it pays off sometimes). When I start encountering other civilizations, I find I'm on par with them or ahead; and as I quietly continue to expand and research, I get further and further ahead. Later in the game, one of my enemies usually declares war on me, but it's a feeble effort, and if I don't already have armies I'm rich enough to upgrade my older units and meet the threat handily. Soon I've turned the tables, and the aggressor is begging for peace. I'm careful not to trade away any spaceship-related resources or technology, so eventually, if there's time, I build a spaceship of my own and win. Otherwise I win a time victory.

    And then I yawn, because it was anticlimactic. Of course I won; I got big faster than everybody else and just coasted into the victory circle. It was no big deal, and it's not very satisfying.

    Yet, whether I win or lose, and no matter how I win or lose, something always pulls me into starting another game. It'll be so fun to build a civilization from scratch -- and maybe I'll learn something new this time. And in any case, there's that mysterious map to explore.

    If only I could say I love the game, it'd all make sense. But in all honesty, I'd have to say no -- I play it all the time, but I hate it. Weird.
    --Patrick Carroll


    "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

  • #2
    What I hate worst in the single player version is the nation that you have 10+ realtions with that suddenly decides to declare war just for the heck of it. Purely gamey with no real point or logic.
    Boston Strong!

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    • #3
      Civ IV = electronic crack.
      If you can't set a good example, be a glaring warning.

      Comment


      • #4
        The expansion is almost due...oops, forget I said that !!

        JIM
        If you're not taking losses, you're not doing enough.
        RAdm. Kelly Turner, USN

        ***************************************

        www.fairtax.org

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        • #5
          Beyond the Sword adds some extra high level techs, some neat wonders, and a few really cool user made mods and scenarios, but nothing worth dropping more than $15-20 on.
          Last edited by chrisvalla; 21 Aug 07, 21:53.
          If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by chrisvalla View Post
            Beyond the Sword adds some extra high level techs, some neat wonders, and a few really cool user made mods and scenarios, but nothing worth dropping more than $15-20 on.
            WRONG!

            what you get with BtS is what you can't see until you play the game: the AI is MUCH better at fighting. it's finally learned how to attack in stacks of doom and attack weakness

            in one game i was cruising to a space race victory and neglected my army. the zulus attacked me with two stack of 20 units each PLUS cavalry units to pillage. game over.

            best expansion yet
            The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism. From a barbaric Bronze age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved.

            - Gore Vidal

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            • #7
              Don't sweat it Pat, I could have written your post, hell I could have used your post verbatim

              I think there are lots of us out there, and that's why Civ sells so well eh.
              Life is change. Built models for decades.
              Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
              I didn't for a long time either.

              Comment


              • #8
                Patrick- I play Civ3Conquest all the time. Are you a member of the CivFanatics Forum? If not, you should check it out. The members
                there will help you out alot. I usually win no problem on emperor level,
                only having real problems at diety level. I think the trick is, at least in
                C3C, to attack a neighbor early- wipe them out or severely cripple them,
                take some of their techs for peace, and there you go. Hope this helps.
                SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Krasny View Post
                  what you get with BtS is what you can't see until you play the game: the AI is MUCH better at fighting. . . .
                  Yeah, that's what I need -- an even stronger AI.
                  --Patrick Carroll


                  "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dgfred View Post
                    Patrick- I play Civ3Conquest all the time.
                    I used to, till I got Civ IV. Now I can't go back. The very best thing about Civ IV IMO is that you can play on a truly small map and finish a game in a reasonably short time. I tend to dislike games I can't finish in one sitting (even if the one sitting takes a few hours).

                    Are you a member of the CivFanatics Forum? If not, you should check it out. The members
                    there will help you out alot.
                    I've visited a time or two. Took at look at the strategy guides posted there, and maybe learned a tip or two.

                    But what I'd really like to see (but probably never will) is a well-written strategy guidebook -- the kind they used to publish in the good old days. Studying Prima's strategy guidebook for Master of Magic was a pleasure in itself. And you could really learn the game by reading the book.

                    The whole reason I keep coming back to chess is that there's so much literature on it. When I read a book like Seirawan's Play Winning Chess, I'm inspired to get back into it and see if I can improve a bit more.

                    I find that online forums don't serve me nearly as well. Most good game players are not good writers. It's easy to find scattered information, but it's hard to find anything coherent. (That's probably because most game players don't want to read; they want to just play.)

                    I usually win no problem on emperor level,
                    only having real problems at diety level. I think the trick is, at least in
                    C3C, to attack a neighbor early- wipe them out or severely cripple them,
                    take some of their techs for peace, and there you go.
                    I've used that trick on small maps in Civ3, and it can work there. The main thing I used to do to win was expand vigorously and hem my opponents into small areas. But that doesn't work so well in Civ4; there are penalties for expanding too far too soon.

                    One problem I have is that I hate the way war works in Civ. Unless you have some huge tech advantage or something, war is almost always a very long, drawn-out affair. I soon get fed up with it. So, I tend to avoid war at all costs.

                    In all my games of Civ4, I've only declared war two or three times, and it has never once paid off. I did it when I thought I saw a way to knock out an opponent very early in the game -- only it didn't work; it backfired on me, and I lost early every time.
                    --Patrick Carroll


                    "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well I found that following the succession games helped alot. They usually
                      show lots of screen shots, plan out their stategies among themselves and basically lead the way to different styles of playing. Sorry I can't help you
                      with CIV, but following the forums sure did help my C3C game.
                      SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "One problem I have is that I hate the way war works in Civ. Unless you have some huge tech advantage or something, war is almost always a very long, drawn-out affair. I soon get fed up with it. So, I tend to avoid war at all costs."

                        The one problem I have with war in Civ, is I am too much of a board game wargamer as it is. And the methodology for waging combat, even just moving units around, and it taking several years, or in early games hundreds of years, is just to illogical on my mind.

                        The only reason I can get past it, is it's fair to all in the game. No one is getting treated any worse.

                        Still, making units, going to war, and seeing the turns just tick on by, year after year after year, and knowing how much occurred in just 6 years of WW2, does tend to make combat and war in Civ (any version) look so completely full of crap.
                        Life is change. Built models for decades.
                        Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                        I didn't for a long time either.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Aries View Post
                          The one problem I have with war in Civ, is I am too much of a board game wargamer as it is. And the methodology for waging combat, even just moving units around, and it taking several years, or in early games hundreds of years, is just to illogical on my mind. . . .

                          Still, making units, going to war, and seeing the turns just tick on by, year after year after year, and knowing how much occurred in just 6 years of WW2, does tend to make combat and war in Civ (any version) look so completely full of crap.
                          I guess some pretty wild distortions are needed to keep a game at this scale from being too abstract. How do you summarize the passing of centuries and millenia in terms of a few hundred game-turns?

                          So, I stretch my imagination and rationalize. What looks like a stack of units attacking an enemy city really isn't that at all; it's a representation of some kind of on-again, off-again military struggle that took place in that general area over the course of many years. And it may look like musketeers are attacking and longbowmen are defending, but the actual weapons and unit types would have been varied and changed even during the course of that one game-turn.

                          Movement looks ridiculous too, when you take it too literally. In the early game, it seems to take many years for a group of men to get from one coast of Italy to the other, and maybe decades or centuries to get to the other side of Europe. But if you want to rationalize it, you can make up a story about how the movement doesn't represent an actual march per se, but a long series of sporadic movements culminating in the relatively permanent occupation of a new area.

                          I usually don't think so hard about it; I just take the game as it comes. But if pressed, I can usually dream up something that makes the game events seem plausible.

                          People have the same complaint about other games at this scale -- Medieval Total War II, for instance.
                          --Patrick Carroll


                          "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Tried something new last night: I set up a custom game and checked "Permanent Peace or War." I've never run into an AI player who declares war right off the bat, so this basically means there's no warfare in the game at all, unless I choose it when I first encounter another civilization.

                            I half expected it to be boring, but so far it's going OK (I had to save the game and go to bed last night). I'm on a continent with two other civs, and since they agreed to peace, there's no way they can ever attack me; I'm like the USA sitting between Canada and Mexico -- we're one big, happy family, and I'm developing into the most advanced and powerful.

                            We'll see what happens when I encounter the civs on other continents. If one is way ahead of me, it could be incentive for declaring game-long war (but I guess I won't really know until I've already chosen peace or war).

                            Anyhow, I must say it's pretty pleasant to have divvied up a continent with two powers that are guaranteed to remain at peace with me.
                            --Patrick Carroll


                            "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

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