Chey’s Top 25 – #6 – Civilization 4

Genre:  Strategy
Platform:  PC

My husband first introduced me to the Civilization series via Civilization III.  I was immediately hooked and played that game A LOT.  When Civ 4 came out, I was really excited and was not disappointed.  The game really came together with the next two expansions, specifically Beyond the Sword.

This game is a turn-based strategy game, meaning that you make all of your moves during your turn, end your turn, and then all the other players take their turns.  If you are playing other humans, this can make for a really long game, especially if you like to play on the huge maps like I do.  For this reason, I only played multiplayer for maybe two games.  I prefer to keep this a one-player game against computers.  I do like a lot of opponents, however, and will often add up to 15 other civs, just to keep it interesting.

Everyone plays this game differently.  My husband is a war-monger.  I prefer a peaceful game and would rather win by cultural victory, democratic victory or space race.  I tend to focus more on defense and democracy or theocracy than conquest.  While my husband builds structures to aid in his military domination, I build the great wonders of the world and make sure that all of my citizens have access to theaters and universities.  That is a part of what makes this game so great – you can play it a different way every time.  The maps are different, the opponents all have their own personalities and tendencies and the game feels dynamic.  You can pick which era you start in, how many years go by with each turn, what the general climate of the world is and so many more things!

Your ultimate goal is to win by several different means – cultural, space race, conquest, democratic, domination or score (if you can’t achieve any of the others).  You start with a single settler and military unit.  You found your city and start building items to help you grow as a nation.  The early exploration is one of my favorite parts of the game.  There are primitive huts that you can find that will give you a surprise.  They usually help, but not always.  As you play, you research technologies which allow you to build new and better things.  The tech tree is large and highly customizable:


There are also many civic combinations to try to play to your civ’s strengths and weaknesses:


Another big part of the game, especially for a cultural player such as myself, is religion.  It is a powerful tool to earn allies or enemies.  I always try to race to get Hinduism first and then use great wonders to get quick religions early.  I’ve found that if you own the foundations to as many religions and spread only the one that you want, a cultural victory is nearly guaranteed.  A democratic victory is also within your grasp if you build the apostolic palace early.  You can build the UN later in the game, too, and try for a democratic victory that way.

Anyway, this game is awesome and I strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys map-based games.  It has endless replayability and I still play it regularly.  My husband plays this near-exclusively still.  We did not like Civ5 and you can find my reasons for that here.

Genre:  Strategy/Simulation
Platform:  Playstation Portable (PSP)

What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord!? 2.  Yeah, that’s really the name of this game.  I was so excited to get it.  It looked like a lot of fun.  The premise is simple enough – you build a dungeon by digging out the earth and creating monsters to help the villain avoid the heroes.  Sounds easy enough, right?

Wrong.  Totally, completely wrong.  This is the hardest game I’ve ever tried to learn.  I started by going through their numerous tutorials, but I could barely pass those.  This game requires you to start, develop and maintain a very delicate ecosystem below the ground.  Your basic monsters are eaten by the next tier, and so on.  But you can’t run out of nourishment for them or you won’t have any future growth.  No matter how much I tried, I just could not get it and pass more than the first few levels.  I tried A LOT.

This game came with the original on the UMD (disk), so I tried that as well.  Failed there, too.  Only on this one, I can’t get passed the first level.  I have looked up tutorials online, but the consensus seems to be that this game is just stupid hard.  Here’s the thing, though – it’s still a really fun game!  There’s some sort of satisfaction digging in a large area and trying to thwart the hero.  The game uses humor very well, too.  I would definitely recommend that you try it for yourself.  Maybe you’ll think in a different way and be wildly successful.

Stinkers – Civilization V

Genre:  Turn-Based Strategy, Simulation
Platform:  PC

It’s been a couple of years since this game came out, and it still hurts to have to put it on this list.  I wanted to love this game so much.  I have played A TON of Civilization over the years between Civ 3 and Civ 4.  This game was a monster disappointment.

Civilization is a turn-based strategy game, which means that you take as much time as you need on your turn (you’re playing either other players or the computer).  Once you are done, you end your turn and the other players do the same.  Then it’s your turn again.  The goal of the game is to win the world – peacefully with a cultural, space race or democratic victory or by force with a domination or conquest victory.  You build up your civilization with new cities, buildings, technology and military.

There are many out there who say that this was the best Civilization game yet.  I just can’t agree with them.  It was not a fun game for me.  They took out a lot of what I found fun about Civilization 4.  First, I could not adapt to the new combat method.  In Civ 4, you could have “stacks of doom” on a single tile, which had its advantages and disadvantages.  It provided a lot of defense bonuses to your army, but if you were flanked, you could take heavy casualties.  I HATE the new system.  It forces me to play a new way, but I just couldn’t adjust.

They also removed religion from the game.  Now, if you know me, you’ll find it ironic that I have a problem with them removing religion from anything.  However, it really added a deep strategic element to Civ 4 and I really missed not having that as a tool.  Now, they did add this in an expansion, but I had no interest in buying it.

There were some good changes as well such as ruins in exploration, natural wonders, barbarian changes and city-states.  These were not enough to keep me playing, though, and I never finished a full game.  If you’re a fan of the Civ series, I would recommend playing it and making your own judgement.  It just wasn’t a good game for me.  I’m a bit nervous about Civilization 6, which is coming out later this year.