Civilization IV

Posted: 7th May 2010 by Mister Critic in Random
“Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh, who would ever want to be king?”
-Viva La Vida, Coldplay

To answer your question, Mr. Coldplay, I would want to be king.
And now you too can be king of your very own civilization thanks to the makers of Civilization IV. This video game allows players to pick a famous world leader, ranging from Julius Caesar to Catherine the Great to FDR, and lead your chosen people from a roving band of natives to a great and powerful nation.  You choose the technologies to focus on developing or the trade agreements you want to make.  And because there are multiple ways to win the game, you can choose whether you will be a peaceful, culturally rich society, or a technologically advanced nerd-land winning the space race, or, my preference, a war-mongering dictatorship bent on world domination.

You start off with simple advancements like the wheel, and move towards developing even better modes of transportation, like tanks, ships, and even airplanes. That is, if you can get that far without nuking everyone once you develop your stockpile. Make sure you have built up enough of an army to protect your young cities, and order workers to build improvements around each city, like roads and mines, and within each city, like a granary or an aqueduct, or even better, a world wonder likeStonehenge.  But watch out, you must make sure you people are happy or they could revolt. They will not be able to obtain your head on a platter, but they can defect to the opposing nearby countries.  So make sure you work on increase your cultural influence on the world by creating great works of art or music, and then your boundaries will expand. And you can even send in spies to other countries to gather information or sabotage their developments.

I like that as the game advances, more resources are discovered and the balance of power can flip at any time.  One country that was powerful in the beginning may not have access to oil or uranium, and thus will need to make some sort of alliance with a weaker country that has that resource, or better yet, just wipe them off the map.  But this factor makes for some interesting twists in a game.

Another cool aspect of this game is that you can be the first to discover a certain religion, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, etc., and then spread that religion to nearby cities with “missionaries in a foreign field.”  But watch out because some nations may not like your religion and begin a holy war with you to convert your heathen ways.

My favorite part of this game, aside from the kick-butt song at the start of the game,Baba Yetu, is that you can play against multiple live players rather than just the computer, making every game unpredictable.  So far I have only had the chance to play against my wife, which usually results in one of us quitting just as our rear end is about to be handed to us.  And we don’t get to play as often as we would like.

So I dream of the day where I can play a large, intense game with a number of friends gathered together, each hunched over their respective computer, engaged in a full scale world war. Alliances are broken, remade, then broken again, trade embargos are threatened, rivals are erased from history in only a few turns, elephants are killed, tears shed, and only one is voted the leader of the United Nations to win the game. And that one will be me.

Well, all that’s when I rule the world.