Inspired by the often hilarious chronicle of one man's 20 day long game of Galactic Civilizations II, I got a hankerin' to fire up good ol' Civilization IV.
If you've never played a Civilization game before, you are truly missing out. The Civ games are some of my favorites, paragons of superb design by any standard. The basic gist is you start in 4000 BC with a budding band of nomads (by which I mean two guys, a settler and a warrior), and over the course of many centuries hopefully advance to a booming paragon of culture, military supremacy, and intellectual thought.
I've probably played hundreds of games of Civ IV, but usually I play on "Quick" or "Normal" speed, which allows you to finish a game in one or two sittings (takes a few hours). Never have I cranked the speed higher than this.
For the purposes of this experiment, I jacked the speed to "Marathon". I also chose the highest possible amount of landmass, which means that this game could take a few weeks to complete.
Naturally, I also chose the American civilization with FDR as my leader of choice. I'm pretty sure to do otherwise would flag me at the department of Homeland Security (the terror alert IS yellow, right)?
The Dawn of Man - 4000 BC
Look at me there, smiling at the bright future ahead. Not only does this picture make me look thin, it makes it look like I'm standing up under my own power.
In the early part of the game there ain't much to do except build that first city and start exploring a bit. So I quickly built good ol' Washington DC. Roads that go only in circles will be built later.
I also poked about the surrounding area and made sure to steal technology from any surrounding villages. I intend to populate that space, after all. Manifest Destiny, beotch.
It was when I saw how many turns it would take me to complete my next settler that I realized how ridiculously long this might take. "A few weeks" may be a gross underestimate. Usually it takes a few turns and I just bang on the enter key repeatedly until things get hoppin'.
It took something like 40 turns to build something.
I briefly pondered abandoning this ridiculous enterprise, but then I remembered FDR. He wouldn't have taken this lying down. (Sitting down maybe. Okay that's the last joke I'll make about that. Maybe.) He would've come to a "New Deal" with the people.
The New Deal - 2530 BC
By now, I'm sure you've guessed that I instituted "Slavery". Now that those shiftless, lazy workers were getting things moving, I went ahead and made a couple of scouts to start exploring this place.
For those of you looking at that year and wondering what I'm whining about, it should be noted that in Civ IV the early years go by in larger chunks: each game turn represents a decade or so as opposed to only one year later in the game. Make a note of it.
I had already met a couple of my neighbors who were kind enough to introduce themselves and not attack me. These included Mansa Musa from the Malinese Empire, good ol' Bismarck and his pointy hat from those plucky Germans (definitely a trustworthy sort), Hathshepsut from Egypt (I think the smoke coming out the back of my computer is from spell checker trying to cope with that), and Elizabeth from England. Good stuff.
Shortly after I introduced the "New Deal" to the American people, guess who decided to show their face.
Catherine and those commie bastards from Russia. Look at her there, winking at me. The hussy!! I'll be damned if I'm going to let some lousy red into MY house.
Problem is, at this point my military still consists of only one guy with a club.
So for the time being I don't declare war... yet. It makes my democratic... err... slaving blood boil just thinking about those Ruskies walking around, snug in their finery...
And Here Come the Wild Animals - 1930 BC
In preparation for impending war, I started reinforcing my club-based army with troops carrying bows and spears. That Commie Temptress will never know what hit her!
Unfortunately, my invasion was delayed by rampaging panthers. Eating my scouts. And my settlers.
I sent a fellow with a spear out to get revenge (and a warm coat!), and ended up getting ambushed by a pack of lions.
Okay, clearly I needed to start expanding a little more quickly here if I wanted to get these wild animals under control.
I went ahead and built Philadelphia, making it the fourth city in my budding empire. I made sure the city was heavily fortified with the finest pointy objects technology had to offer.
In the meantime, that luscious Catherine was after me again with an "Open Borders" proposal... Did I say luscious?! I meant heathen!! Good God, who knows what she could mean with such an offer! And why is she winking at me again?!
Clearly what I'm lacking is some kind of spiritual guidance, but I was in a bit of bind. If I remembered my history, the American Empire wouldn't actually place their trust in God until 1954.
But wait a minute... what did I give a damn about history? For Pete's sake Washington D.C. was my northernmost city and Philadelphia was southwest of Boston in the middle of the wilderness!
Spiritual Guidance - 760 BC
So I went ahead and built the Oracle.
Unfortunately that didn't tell me what to do about my rampaging panther problem. Instead it just doubled my production speed with marble.
It didn't seem to matter much though, because by the time I finished construction on the Oracle the wild animal attacks had stopped.
To be replaced by organized barbarian attacks.
Things looked very grim for Philly, but I fortuitously learned how to make swords. I sent as many swordsmen as I could to guard the place, and fought off the attacks. Philly would survive to lose another championship!
The entire time, Catherine the Red continued to proposition me, this time with an offer to trade "fish" for "wheat". Like I don't know what that means, lady!
A Major Edge - 60 AD
I continued to chug along, building Wilmington, Atlanta, and the great tropical city of Chicago.
By now I had met over a dozen different factions, which is about 6 more than I'm used to dealing with. I told the French, like the Commies, where they could stick their "Open Borders" and demanded tribute from the quivering cowards. All they did was get mad. Like they're doing anything with that food anyway.
In 60 AD, however, I came upon a major, major edge. By... uh... subduing a major terrorist threat (by which I mean destroying the last remaining nearby village), I discovered machinery.
That's something that puts me higher on the tech tree than anybody else and gives me the edge I was looking for. Time to start cranking out troops, and hopefully by the end of Day 2 those Commies will get what's coming to them.