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Last month I spent four hours playing Civilization VI on a very hot day in central London. I came away wishing I could play for another four hundred hours, and also wishing that I had an ice cream. Mint and choc chip preferably.
Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what Civ VI is doing and how its many systems create a brilliant competitive race through history while also producing some weird tensions around the idea of what a civilization actually is in the context of the game. Are cultures defined by the choices they make, by their surroundings, their neighbours, by determination or by chance? Whatever the answer might be, one thing is sure: Cleopatra hates> me.
I made a silent promise to myself that I wouldn’t post every single new leader/civ reveal for Civilization VI [official site] because, really, do you need a video to tell you that France is likely to have some big cultural advantages based around museums, and that Japan might have its own warrior code, and cities that enjoy the benefits that come from island life and seafood? The Egyptian video is a good one though, teasing out some details of the new adjacency bonuses for improvements, and the ways that early game strengths might change through the course of a campaign.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
Sid Meier is famous for his line that games are “a series of interesting decisions.” Which makes it interesting that Sid Meier’s Civilization V is a game about telling people to stand still over and over again.
I say top ten, but there are actually only seven different games in the past week’s Steam charts, once pre-orders and deluxe editions are filtered out. It seems like a lifetime ago that Stardew Valley and Factorio were doing a little indie rampage around the charts, as Steam’s best-sellers have now very much reverted to big-brand type. Also: pre-ordering sure doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, no matter how unwise it might seem. … [visit site to read more]
As if 2016 didn’t already contain a rich enough seam of strategy games, Firaxis announce today that Civilization VI will be released on October 21st. Development duties are in the hands of the team behind Civ V’s expansions, Gods & Kings and Brave New World, and when we spoke to designer Ed Beach and associate producer Sarah Darney last week to learn all the details, they told us that almost every system from the complete Civ V will be included in the sequel: trade routes, religious systems, archaeology…there’ll be no need to wait for expansions, it’s all in the base game.
The game is running on a brand new suite of software, built to be far more mod-friendly than its predecessor, and as well as brand new AI systems, there are a host of new mechanics that will explore and emphasise your relationship with Civ’s greatest character: the map.
The last big official update to Civilization V [official site] came in 2013 with its second large expansion, Brave New World. Three years later, and almost six years after the game s original release, there s another big new release expected, but it s not an official expansion. It s the Community Patch Project (CPP; to be named Vox Populi on release), a community-made mod that overhauls and improves a majority of the game s systems in an attempt to make Civilization V the best game it possibly can be.
When Civilization II came out, I spent an entire summer playing it for several hours a day. The only check on my binging was the fact that my parents would eventually come home and force me to pretend, for a few hours at least, that I cared about things other than Civilization II.
I was a senior in college when Civilization IV arrived. I’d barely played strategy games at all for the previous four years, and “senioritis” brought with it a case of intense nostalgia. I bought it in the spring before graduation. It was still consuming my days and nights when the leaves fell later that year.
That was probably the last time my enjoyment of a 4X game was pure and uncomplicated. Lately, I’ve been wondering where that joy has gone, and why so few games seem to add anything essential to those old experiences.
One day I’ll write a Desert Island Discs about the games I’d keep with me until the end of days, given a choice of ten. It’ll no doubt be a Desert Island Digital Downloads given the absence of physical media in my life. I live with the ghosts of entertainment.
Rather than compiling the list of games I’d take to the Vault with me though, today I’m aiming to put together a collection, one from each genre, that I’d use to introduce those genres to a PC gaming newcomer, or a lapsed gamer. A friend inspired this particular bundle of joy, someone who grew up with an Amiga but developed other interests and hasn’t touched a game for more than a few minutes at a time, either console or PC, for over fifteen years. A recent illness has left him unable to engage in his usual outdoor hobbies and games have filled the gap.>
Oh, Civilization: Beyond Earth [official site], how sad you make me. You work so very hard to make me love you but… well, maybe you’re fundamentally unlovable. The Rising Tide expansion, that was a good try. You became more alien, less like your dad trying to wear a spacesuit, but gosh, you made a pig’s ear of Diplomacy, didn’t you? Bugs and bonkers design decisions queered the pitch.
But maybe it’s not too late. I hear there’s a big new patch intended to address one of your biggest problems; what flowers are you bringing to my door this time?
Rising Tide [official site] is the first, and some might say much-needed, expansion pack for Beyond Earth, the sci-fi Civilization V spin-off which met a somewhat muted reception. It’s out tomorrow, but I’ve spent the last few days with it. >
It’s so much better. It’s so much worse.