My newest addiction

I have a new addiction. Well, maybe an old one restarted with a new version. Specifically I’m speaking about Civilization 5.

The Civ games have been around for a long time, about twenty five years now. I’ve been plating since Civ II. That one was lots of fun. Three wasn’t quite as enjoyable as I recall, but I still played it. Four was something I played every day.

And now Five is out. I think it may be my favorite of all, so far although it’s a little early to tell. There’s been a fair number of changes from Four.

The first, most noticeable change is that the map is now laid out in hexes rather than squares. This means that units move the same distance no matter how they move. There’s no diagonal moves which means a unit moves farther than when moving in a straight line.

The second most noticeable change is that you are limited to one unit per hex. In the previous games it was not uncommon to see a Stack of Doom, where a player stacked a gigantic number of units and just blew through their opponent. That doesn’t happen now and so more attention must be payed to tactics. There are units that can fire over other units such as archers and cannons which requires that you have depth to your battle lines. This is something I’m really enjoying. Your armed forces no longer have to be gigantic, just properly placed, and you have to have reserves.

In Civ 4 each civilization had a unique unit, one that had abilities other units didn’t have. For example the French had musketeers which had a movement of two rather than the one of musketmen which was what ever other civilization used. Now every civilization has two unique items which may be units (the Greeks have hoplites and companion cavalry) or a unit and a building (the Indians have war elephants and Mughal forts). It adds flavor to the game.

Another change is that some resources are limited in availability. Before, once you mined, say iron, you had enough for any purpose. Now you use up iron with the units you build. This means you have to think carefully about what you build. “Do I use an aluminum to build a hydro plant here? Or do I use it to build a rocket artillery? I can’t do both.” This adds depth to your strategic decisions, and forces you to improvise if you don’t get a lot of a strategic resource, which happens too often.

Another new thing is city-states. These are one city states that never expand. You can negotiate with them. If they become allies they will provide you with any resources they have access to, and you can move your units across their land. They may also provide you with food, culture, military units or even Great People under certain circumstances.

So I’ve been playing Civ 5 every day for a month now, and I am loving it. The designers have simplified the game where, in my opinion, it needed it. And they’ve made it deeper without making it more complex. Civ 5 is a lot of fun,

So if you like strategy games with a huge scope, get Civ 5. You won’t be disappointed.

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