Fate Of The World: The Decade-Long Game of Civ II

By Alec Meer on June 12th, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

It's still better than living in Hull

What happens when you play a single game of Civilization II across ten long years? Well, carpal tunnel syndrome and a lifelong fear of pixels smaller than than the size of a fist. Also, an in-game world which is “a hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation”, riddled with nuclear fallout and caught in a terrible stalemate between three ultra-nations which have been at war for millennia.

All this comes from a terrific Reddit post, wherein one Lycerius documents the world he’s made after a good decade of continuing to play on and on and on and on, and currently sitting unhappily in the year 3991. Here’s what it looks like, complete with some captioning:

Lycerius is playing as the Celts, with only Vikings and Americans otherwise remaining. Each of these three nations are “competing for the scant resources left on the planet after dozens of nuclear wars have rendered vast swaths of the world uninhabitable wastelands.”

They’ve been at war for 1700 years, and “peace seems to be impossible. Every time a cease fire is signed, the Vikings will surprise attack me or the Americans the very next turn, often with nuclear weapons. Even when the U.N forces a peace treaty. So I can only assume that peace will come only when they’re wiped out.” Trouble is, due to the prevalence of nukes and that each nation is now completely evenly-matched in terms of technology, there appears to be a perfect stalemate. Each nation is constantly and expensively streaming out new military units, as to cease doing so means becoming the weaker party. “This also means that cities are not only tiny towns full of starving people, but that you can never improve the city. “So you want a granary so you can eat? Sorry; I have to build another tank instead. Maybe next time.”

So, what happens next? Is this dark future to be endless? Is this cycle of war, starvation and fallout really the fate of humanity? This player of games has other plans. “My goal for the next few years is to try and end the war and thus use the engineers to clear swamps and fallout so that farming may resume. I want to rebuild the world. But I’m not sure how. If any of you old Civ II players have any advice, I’m listening.”

Read much more, and ask Lycerius questions about his endless campaign, here.

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153 Comments »

  1. Jarenth says:

    So, essentially, “in the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war”?

    • djbriandamage says:

      Rather pessimistic. I prefer:

      The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades. And SPF5000 sunscreen.

    • tlarn says:

      Exterminatus would be deleting the save file.

      • zaphod42 says:

        Does that make Lycerius the Emperor?
        Nah, he’s not playing Native Americans.

        FOR THE EMPRAH

    • Smashbox says:

      War. War never changes.

      • zaphod42 says:

        Fallout “War never changes”
        MGS4 “War…. has changed.”

        ಠ_ಠ

    • Roshin says:

      Post-apocalyptic vikings with nuclear weapons. Fuck, yes.

    • PacketOfCrisps says:

      Let us see that warface.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s pretty much 1984′s outer scope (assuming you believe the bleating lies of terrorist Emmanuel Goldstein, anyway).

      • ancienttoaster says:

        Thank you, came here to say this, but you did my job for me good sir.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      It’s Warhammer 4K!

    • Phantoon says:

      In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war because we’ve forgotten how to build anything else.

  2. aDFP says:

    This is why procedural games are more interesting to me, because they can present us with situations that are potentially unresolvable. Of course, there’s always real life for that, but for some problems, simulations are preferable.

    • Mr. Mister says:

      Would you consider the real universe as randomly or procedurally generated?

      • FriendlyFire says:

        It is in fact procedurally randomly generated ;)

      • Mordsung says:

        By the strictest interpretation of our knowledge of physics, the universe was actually pre-ordained to end up exactly like it is.

        If all things are a function of cause an effect, including us, then the universe would repeat the exact same cycle of events every time assuming the big bang happened the same each time.

        It’s kind of a mind fuck to consider the fact that the laws of physics states there is no such thing as free will.

        • Mordsung says:

          and a further mind fuck to think that my post was destined to happen since about 14 billion years ago.

          So I was destined to have a conversation about the nature of destiny and free will.

          It’s meta as fuck.

          • Jim9137 says:

            Of particular interest, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_inequality

            “What makes Bell’s theorem unique and powerful is that it shows that nature violates the most general assumptions behind classical pictures, not just details of some particular models. No combination of local deterministic and local random variables can reproduce the phenomena predicted by quantum mechanics and repeatedly observed in experiments.”

          • Contrafibularity says:

            This couldn’t be more wrong if you’d tried. The theory you’re going on is referred to as Newton’s Clockwork Universe, and it doesn’t reflect modern physics AT ALL.

            Also you’re wrong in concluding that free will doesn’t exist. Perhaps it doesn’t exist in the way some people think, but the way current research into the brain, neural networks and quantum physics is heading is that animal free will can be seen as both non-deterministic and non-random at the same time.

            The idea that the universe(s) and everything in it is pre-ordained is a religious fantasy in disguise.

        • ScubaMonster says:

          Free will is different than random events. You seriously believe nothing is randomly determined? The universe is a chaotic place where events play out in defined boundaries of how things work. So yes, certain things will adhere to laws of the universe but that doesn’t mean every single thing is predetermined. There’s still room for random chaos.

          If not, you’re essentially espousing everything religion does.

          • Lone Gunman says:

            Cause and effect is about us not being able to predict stuff due to us needing to know 100% of the initial conditions (which we cant do). But if we could know 100% of the initial conditions then we could determine what would happen. Cause and effect does not state that the universe isn’t pre determined just that it is very chaotic and some apes can’t predict it that well.

            True randomness does seem to exist in the Quantum realm though.

          • Phasma Felis says:

            “If not, you’re essentially espousing everything religion does.”

            Wow, that’s a great comeback. “I know why drugs are bad! If you do drugs, then you’re a hippie! And hippies sucks!”

        • Lone Gunman says:

          Quantum Physics disagrees.

        • Wisq says:

          IMO, the “no free will” arguments are bunk.

          As a thinking entity, I can decide to do anything I want, any time I want. That’s the essence of free will. The fact that you could simulate the universe and predict that I would make those decisions, or that you could run the same universe simulation and I would make the exact same ones, does not in any way prevent me from making “free will” decisions.

          Arguing that we have no free will because our future events are defined by our current state is like whining that modern computers are useless because they only do things according to their input data and logic circuits. In fact, our computers do pretty much everything we need them to do — we just need to feed them the right input data.

          Furthermore, it’s not like we’re ever going to be forced into a particular decision by the laws of physics. If you came to me right now and told me that my decisions tomorrow would lead to me getting hit by a bus, unless I was psychotic or suicidal, I would have no trouble in preventing that action from occurring. Why? Because by telling me that it’s going to occur, you’ve modified my current state, such that my future state is now different.

          In fact, you would be unable to (truthfully) make that morbid prediction in the first place, because a proper simulation of the universe would have included you inventing the technology to predict the future, predicting my future, telling me about the prediction, and thus the prediction not coming true.

          One could possibly make an argument for predictive technology being either flawed and largely useless (because it can’t take its own predictions into account), or paradoxical (because it has to take its own predictions into account). Although the paradox could be resolved by finding a timeline in which the predictions it makes cause the same predictions to come true, even once people know those predictions. Or where the events it predicts are far enough removed that the prediction has no effect on them. (One example would be, predicting things that are going to occur so soon and so far away that there’s no way to get a signal to them to warn them.)

      • kikito says:

        Well, it’s quantum physics at the end, so I’d say fundamentally random. But the set of rules used on top of that random motor is finite. So procedural on the surface & random deep down.

        • Xardas Kane says:

          Actually that’s not true. Said laws of physics govern the universe, not human interaction. No matter what the planet Earth will always be formed around our Sun in the exact same spot it is right now, but what humans do on that planet is entirely left to chance. Free will is very much around in other words

          • Mordsung says:

            The problem is, we have no actual evidence of free will.

            Since we don’t have a second version of the universe to look at, there is no way to confirm that humans are not also confined to a strictly cause and effect relationship, even in our thoughts.

            I’d say it’s LIKELY we have free will, but we can’t know yet.

          • Jim9137 says:

            And the world is black holes.

          • ScubaMonster says:

            Since there is no second copy of the universe, you can’t also say everything would be the same each time. It’s a theory, but not fact.

            Theoretical physics is exactly that; theoretical. There’s tons of stuff we still don’t understand about the universe. And sometimes our old ideas are proven wrong.

          • snv says:

            And how do you reason that human (inter-)action is excempt from the laws of nature?
            Its Biochemistry,Neurology and Cause & Effect there too.

          • Vinraith says:

            Your suppositions are not a theory, they’re at best a wild conjecture. Theories are supported by an avalanche of empirical evidence and successful prediction. Quantum physics has nothing to say about determinism and free will.

          • Jim9137 says:

            Quantum physics does have in fact, plenty to say about determinism. One of the radical differences between classical and modern physics is that the latter is inherently nondetermnistic (and not merely random). There are events in quantum mechanics that happen without a due reason (decay of atoms, for example), and Heisenberg’s principle posits that we simply cannot ever know a system’s state perfectly to even allow determinism – and this is a fundamental property of quantum systems.

          • Baines says:

            That gets into religious debates.

            You can easily argue that free will doesn’t exist. We do what we do because of what we are. Nerves firing, cells growing, everything goes back to physics. Free Will says I chose to type this sentence, but my typing this sentence could have been per-ordained by the makeup of the universe since its origin.

          • Lone Gunman says:

            Well science has not been able explain consciousness very well yet so I don’t think we can definitively say free will does not exist.

          • Vinraith says:

            @Jim

            No, no it doesn’t. Quantum mechanics addresses any number of phenomena in terms of wave functions, which describe probabilities, because of the fundamental “lack of knowability” you mention. This says nothing, whatsoever, about the determinism of the phenomena in question. “Unknowable” is not synonymous with “non-deterministic,” absent another copy of the universe to run forward it’s impossible to know if a given nuclear decay would occur at the same time or not. This is metaphysics, not physics, and it’s outside the purview of science. I also happen to think it’s a pretty useless thing to discuss, for exactly that reason, but I always bristle when I see real science being thrown around to justify fruit-loop pseudoscientific theology.

          • Jim9137 says:

            @Vinraith, herein lies the crutch. Wavefunctions are “all” we /can/ know of the systems in question. The system /is/ the wavefunction. And because they can and are entangled in several possible states makes the system inherently nondeterministic. As far as modern physics is concerned, the world is inherently nondeterministic. Chemistry is wholly explained by nondeterminist quantum mechanics. Coulomb potential of electrodynamics is derived from QED, and is shown to be just an approximate.

            Einstein and other peers could not accept this. Einstein was strong proponent of the so called “hidden variables” theory, which stated that we simply did not know enough of the variables that affected the system, and also formulated EPR paradox. Bell on his behalf, figured out a constraint (the inequality theorom) that all hidden variables have to abide by. If you have certain results and assign certain probabilities, then it has to hold if there are such hidden variables.

            However, experiments (and there have been many since the 70s) have time and time again proven that no such hidden variables exist, and quantum theory (that violates the bell inequality) is the only viable theorem that explains the phenomena. Classical physics is deterministic. Quantum is not, and while classical phenomena can be explained in quantum terms, classical physics cannot explain particle physics (or things that are close to planck constant).

            tl;dr: it’s not a question of “unknowability”. It’s question that this is the way atomic and subatomic world works, deal with it (which was roughly the only reason quantum mechanics was accepted as a theory).

          • Vinraith says:

            I’m very happy to deal with it, I think there’s a semantic misunderstanding here because I don’t disagree with anything you’re saying. “Determinism,” as I understand it to be used in this discussion, is not being used in the way it was used in the “classical vs. quantum” argument you’re referencing. That issue is, as you say, well settled. The question at hand is whether, if you “reran” the universe, you’d get all the same outcomes. Quantum mechanics has nothing to say about that, it’s pure conjecture.

            I should also apologize for accusing you of “fruit loopery,” I misunderstood the argument you were making earlier.

          • Xzi says:

            I read all of that. And enjoyed it, despite not knowing a damn thing about even the most basic level of physics. Thanks.

      • Lone Gunman says:

        This is the only games site where I have seen a discussion on the implications of Quantum Physics spark off.

        • Phantoon says:

          Correction, it’s the only gaming website you’ve seen where anyone talking about Quantum Mechanics actually understands any of it.

          • The Random One says:

            Quantum Mechanics? They’re the light blue Q’s, right?

  3. Haplo says:

    Three superpowers in a dismal world battling in an endless stalemate?

    Why does that sound familiar?

    • DrGonzo says:

      The Vikings have always been at war with the Americans.

      • Haplo says:

        Lycerius is watching you.

      • RaytraceRat says:

        The Vikings have always been allies with the Americans.

        • Mr. Mister says:

          Weren’t Vikings the very first non-americans (not counting the very first hominid species taht got there from Russia) to land foot on America?

          • JerreyRough says:

            Yes.

            Perhaps even the Chinese treasure fleet (well, one or two boats from it) might have beat the Vikings too. Can’t be confirmed though; dynasties tended to destroy the previous dynasty’s records.

          • InternetBatman says:

            The Vikings were the first Europeans, yes. But the colonies became unprofitable due to constant fighting with the Native Americans. I’m pretty sure (as much as anyone can be) that the first hominids in America were just plain old humans.

    • Ironclad says:

      Correction: 3 superpowers in endless stalemate, constantly breaking and reforging treaties and alliances, a government throwing all production into war materiel rather than investing in infrastructure and improving living conditions, large parts of the world decimated, lack of natural resources on account of nukes), communist/theocratic states (which puts disproportionate power in the hands of the Leader), who makes all of the decisions. And all sides seem to have only cosmetic differences.

      Truly, George Orwell was a Civ player

      • Loopy says:

        Someone was impressed enough to copy/paste this to PC Gamer too…

        • Lone Gunman says:

          Someone was impressed enough to copy/paste this to PC Gamer too…

          • cairbre says:

            Correction: 3 superpowers in endless stalemate, constantly breaking and reforging treaties and alliances, a government throwing all production into war materiel rather than investing in infrastructure and improving living conditions, large parts of the world decimated, lack of natural resources on account of nukes), communist/theocratic states (which puts disproportionate power in the hands of the Leader), who makes all of the decisions. And all sides seem to have only cosmetic differences.

            Truly, George Orwell was a Civ player

    • somini says:

      Why wasn’t this the first post?
      Surely it must be a campaign by that terrorist Goldstein!

      • Phantoon says:

        Goldstein is the state.

        You know who will never lie to you, though? Friend Computer.

    • frenz0rz says:

      I always thought one of the best things about Nineteen Eighty Four was that you never really knew if the other two nations even existed, or if they were simply fabrications thought up to keep the propaganda machine rolling and the factories churning out useless nothings.

    • Zarunil says:

      This was my thought after reading the article as well. What resemblance!

    • LionsPhil says:

      Damnit, should have read down further.

      Also, I am impressed w.r.t. the turnout in this thread, hivemind.

  4. Mike says:

    There seems to be talk in the comment threads about posting the savegames and having everyone propose different endings to the stalemate. Pretty cool.

  5. Kerbobotat says:

    For those interested, Lycerius will be posting his save file to http://www.reddit.com/r/theeternalwar sometime tonight, so you can have a crack at trying to save the world yourself.

  6. lizzardborn says:

    That is disturbingly close to the 1984 world. Oh well humanity has been doomed anyway.

  7. Tom OBedlam says:

    That’s amazing

  8. Jimbo says:

    “Every time a cease fire is signed, the Vikings will surprise attack me or the Americans the very next turn, often with nuclear weapons.”

    Video games.

    • Maldomel says:

      Video Games indeed.
      Everyone knows Vikings have no need for nukes to kick ass.

  9. Jargo says:

    Fascinating … i played CIV 2 for 6 month in a row … but TEN YEARS ? That is pure devotion.

    • Xardas Kane says:

      He specifically stated in his post that he plays other games, has a life and so forth. It’s just that every now and then he gets back to this game and tries to solve the stalemate. It was never implied that he played it for 10 years in a row.

      • Jargo says:

        I assumed that to, but even the fact that he plays the same single player game session for 10 years is absolute amazing

      • The Random One says:

        “He played for ten years.”
        “In a row?”

        “Try not to play any more Civ II turns on the way to the parking lot!”

        …wait what am I doing I never even watched Clerks.

  10. Xardas Kane says:

    This is absolutely bloody brilliant! I have never heard of anything like this, I’m honestly rendered speechless.

    Makes me feel bad for not playing Civ 2 the last 8 or so years…

  11. Alehkhs says:

    I always keep my CD of the original Civ2 on my computer desk, just waiting for the day I can play it again…. (Damn you, Win7 64bit, damn you)

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      If you only had that extra bit.

      • Alehkhs says:

        Ha. Be gentle with me, I’ve not slept.

      • frightlever says:

      • edwardoka says:

        What an apt edit.
        [doublethink]
        There are 64 bits, there have always been 64 bits.
        If you believe that there were ever 63 bits you are deranged.
        [/doublethink]

    • Xardas Kane says:

      Civ 2 is completely playable under Windows 7 64 bit… There is a fix patch online, google around.

      • Alehkhs says:

        Nope, not classic Civ2. There’s a patch that changes it to either MGE or ToT, which can both be patched to run on Win7, but both of which are lacking features from the original “classic.”

    • JerreyRough says:

      What Xardas Kane said. I’ve got Civ2:ToT to work.

    • Unfair says:

      Install Windows 7 XP compatibility mode (basically an xp virtual machine free from microsoft): http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx

      I had to do that for old 16bit games like simtower

      • Alehkhs says:

        Not available for Home Premium… :/

      • DK says:

        I really wish people would stop to claim Win 7′s virtual machine backwards compatibility is free. It is not. You have to pay a premium to get it.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It runs fine in VirtualBox, if you have an old copy of XP or 2K to install under it. As does runty successor Civ 3.

      Even the council videos work…King.

  12. x1501 says:

    I bet that no one will even consider spending that much time with the generic pile of dumbed down crap that is Civilization V.

    • neonordnance says:

      I prefer “simplified.” Sure, it’s not as deep in some ways (although hopefully gods and kings changes that). But the combat is much improved, the presentation is excellent, and it’s more accessible. I enjoyed Civ IV but I play Civ V almost exclusively now.

      • ArtVandelay says:

        Glad I’m not the only one that find Civ V more entertaining than IV. V might not be quite as complex but it seems to be more fun.

      • MaXimillion says:

        “Improved”, in the sense that it’s terrible in single player since the AI can’t handle it, or terrible in multiplayer since the devs put zero focus into essential multiplayer features?

        Civ V is a worse game than vanilla Civ IV, and far worse than Civ IV with BtS, and it doesn’t seem like the expansion is really going to fix the main things that are broken in it.

        Here’s a pretty nice writeup on some of the worst mistakes CiV made.

        • Xardas Kane says:

          I would like if, for once, a CiV V hater didn’t provide a link to the same tired post. All hail Sulla, never you mind that his proposed Civ VI sounds absolutely horrible!

          I am also 100% certain that NONE of you haters have played the game since late September 2010. That writeup you posted? Very little of it can actually be said for Civ V in 2012. Not only is this a tired and overquoted post, it’s also irrelevant. Next time post your own summary, thinking does you good.

          Civ V is anything but bland and generic, It has a wonderful arto deco style to it, an overal flawless presentation with the highlight being the by far best Leader Screens of any Civ to date. When you hear Nebuchadnezzar II speak Akkadian, a language long dead and forgotten, you know that someone in Firaxis worked their ass off to make a game that’s neither bland, nor generic.

          Gameplay-wise Civ V has by far the best combat system in any Civ to date. In every other Civ game I absolutely despised going to war because luck and pure randomness was such a big factor. When I lose a battle that I had 98.5% chance of winning I just quit the game out of frustration. For the first time Cultural Victory is actually fun and engaging, and the SPs add a lot of customizability to the game. City States were also a great addition, even if it’s too easy to buy them out and at launch Maritime cities were just too damn powerful.

          Technically the Diplomacy system is also a lot better than the one in Civ 4. In 4 you could trade tech, resources and maps; open borders and ask them to convert/adopt a policy. Research Agreements replaced tech trading and I actually like the current iteration of them a lot (which has NOTHING to do with the RAs at launch), map trading was axed, but the previously coming in way too late Defensive Pacts are now around before the game is essentially over, Pacts of Cooperation and Secrecy, Denouncements (which technically are a great addition, but weren’t balanced well at first) and finally being able to tell other civs not to settle near you all add a lot of depth to Civ 5′s diplo system.

          If you had actually read some more of Sulla’s posts instead of the one that supposedly proves your point you would have noticed something else, namely this quote:

          “And for the record, I don’t believe that this game has been “dumbed down”, as some readers incorrectly seemed to take away from my other Civ5 reports. This game doesn’t suffer from a lack of complexity, and you can see that Civ5 is intended to present lots of interesting strategic choices.”

          . He then goes on to say the balancing and AI are the issues here.

          The balancing has more or less been fixed, the AI will get a complete overhaul in the expansion pack, which will also add VASTLY superior Religion and Espionage systems, better than anything we have seen in a Civ game conceptually, and finally flesh out the tech tree with at least half a dozen more technologies.

          TL;DR You are trolling. Enough with it. Yes, as it stands Civ 5 isn’t as good as 4, it needs a local vertical growth impediment system in addition to global happiness, better AI and a bit more units and techs. But it has the potential to be better than 4 and it’s leaps and bounds better than Civ 3, with its numerous diplo exploits and the pathetic corruption system, or 2, where the Ai gangs up on you when you are about to win.

          • PFlute says:

            I logged on for the first time in like two years to say yeah, this Civ V bashing is gorram’d ridiculous. I’ve read the linked post and it boggles my mind:

            A bunch of balance issues that don’t affect the large majority of players turn Civ V into some kind of irredeemable pile of feces? While you might be able to argue that ultimately, these issues make Civ IV the better game, for people who don’t play the game more than 40 or 50 hours a lot of the presented issues are, frankly, not a big deal.

            I’m sure the raised issues are legit, and need to be fixed. But you seriously need to get over it if you think that where you’ve been slighted means the game is just simply worthless by any standards worth considering. For my friends and I, the game is largely an improvement during our low-to-mid difficulty offline playthroughs.

          • Senethro says:

            Seriously, the Civ5 hate online was ridiculous. Its a high bar to jump for a new game in a mechanics driven series to be better than the previous game after its been patched, expanded and modded for 5 years. At the very least Civ 5 is still the second best in the Civilization series for all its many, well documented flaws.

          • x1501 says:

            Senethro, and taking and improving on that patched, expanded and modded Civ IV was impossible why, exactly? We have a sequel of significantly lower quality, complexity, and scale than its 5-year-old prequel, and you’re wondering where the hate came from…

          • Xardas Kane says:

            Because the patched, expanded and whatnot Civ 4 was NEEDLESSLY complex in many regards. Vassalage and the way it was handled wasn’t exactly the best thing ever, religions were interchangeable, corporations were just superfluous and added nothing to the game, drafting had any role whatsoever only on the highest difficulty settings, chopping down wood was OP and was never intended to be so effective, as does slavery, and so forth.

            “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Sounds familiar? Think a bit about that.

            They also added or completely revamped a lot of things, I have lsited a lot of them in my rant, but you can keep ignoring that if you want.

            In the end of the day I DID feel like they took away a bit too much, I felt like the game needed at least 80 technologies (as opposed to 74) and more units and buildings. Religion, while not that well implemented in 4, was certainly a keeper, and the low production of buildings was kind of a bummer. All of this will be fixed in the expansion, so all is well.

          • MaXimillion says:

            Not once did I claim Civ V was dumbed down, just that it was broken. Great scientists are still OP, happiness is a fundamentally broken mechanic encouraging ICS, and the AI can’t handle the combat. The multiplayer is somewhat more stable but still missing loads of features.

            And I have played it with the latest patch, I played a game on the second highest difficulty where I played very subobtimally, only ever building one city, and still dominated the AI. And when I can do that without it ever feeling challenging, then the game is simply not fun. If I play Civ IV on immortal I need to fight to survive, up it to deinty and I get my ass handed to me by the AI. And that’s a game I’ve played far more than Civ V.

            The incoming religion system seems like another linear progression system, basically another social policy tree. I’ve not seen enough of the espionage system to comment on that, although Civ has never done espionage well so it hopefully won’t be any worse than previous games at least.

            If you really think Civ V is fixed and balanced, then more power to you, but it certainly doesn’t challenge me even if I refrain from abusing many of it’s broken mechanics, so I’ll just stick to IV and it’s mods.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            GSs are OP, it’s true, but I have yet to see how Happiness is a “broken mechanic”. Yes, the AI is bad, that’s why they are revamping but, but it most certainly isn’t good at the game. That hardly renders Civ 5 a broken dumbed down disappointment now, does it? The actual game isn’t broken.

            Yes, some balance issues still remain, but to me at least the game is very much enjoyable and balanced enough to be fun. Not to mention Civ 4 has balance issues as well. An Industrious leader plus a lot of woods plus slavery meant getting Stonehenge, the Oracle, the Parthenon, the Pyramids and the Great Library on Emperor difficulty without any wonder-production increasing resources. It hardly makes the game broken though.

            On to the second part of your post – you are so freaking biased! Honestly, it’s like you don’t want to like the game… Social policies are NOT linear, you are presented with a choice between at least 3 of them 3 times over the course of the game, that’s the exact OPPOSITE of linear. Religion doesn’t look linear either, you have a pantheon belief, 23 in total, and all of them have the potential to change the course of your early game; then comes a founder belief, of which there are 10 so far; follower beliefs, we got 16 of those, and additional 9 enhancer beliefs. If you feel like calculating how many different combinations there are, please do so, and then come back and then tell me the system is linear. Because that’s a load of BS. There are much better and more interesting ways to counter the spread of a foreign religion and even the way it spreads is in a much more predictable and logical fashion than the completely random and very annoying system we have in 4. It’s just better than the one in 4 in every conceivable way.

            Not to mention you can just ignore religion, because focusing on it means building a lot of buildings that generate faith instead of something else. That’s another thing the expansion claims to do better than 4 ever did, where if you didn’t get a religion pretty quickly you were missing out on way to many bonuses with no trade-offs.

            As for espionage, there is plenty of info on the internet, you can read it if you want. It certainly sounds a lot better than anything we’ve seen in a Civ game so far.

          • Nick says:

            Whats more astounding to me is how many paragraphs of anger you write in defence of a bad game.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            Because it’s not a bad game. Care to back up that claim with any actual reasoning? No? Then go troll somewhere else.

          • MaXimillion says:

            Linear progression system in the sense that you don’t ever switch out of what you’ve gained, not in the sense that there’s only one path for you to choose. Civ IV had one such progression on a civilization scale (tech tree), Civ V has two (tech and policies) and Gods and Kings adds a third (Religion customization).

            And IV had choices related to religions as well, you could either aim for founding and spreading them, or using ones founded and spread by the AI, in which case you spent resources on other things but did not gain the beneifts from shrines.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            I got ya now, however linear really isn’t the right word to describe what you mean. I guess it all comes down to personal preferences, but I actually like both systems. And besides, the SPs really do fade out over time, your initial policy tree doesn’t really affect your game that much at turn 400 as it did at turn 100. But I still think religion in Civ 4 was undercooked, and the new system seems to offer a lot more choices when it comes down to what you do with that religion. Missionaries, Inquisitors and Great Prophets are all bought with Faith, as are Beliefs, which presents a unique challenge to the game. Do I buy more missionaries to spread my religion or do I wait till I have enough to get a Belief that speeds it up?

            Like I said, Civ 4 is still the best of the series, but calling Civ 5 a failure, saying that it’s broken, generic or whatnot is just wrong. In my opinion anyways. And no random, pretentious and self-contradictory Sulla posts will change my opinion.

        • Stromko says:

          I read that entire write-up in the link, and while my background isn’t so different from the writer (I played Civ, and played Civ 2 thru 5 when they were each new, and I too feel Square has really gone downhill since the mid-90′s), I largely disagreed with his findings on Civ 5. Firstly I don’t think Civ 4 was very good in most of the respects he’s talking about. Secondly I don’t think half the things he complains about in Civ 5 are bad, and on many of the other points he seems to contradict himself.

          For example, he complains about Infinite City Spam being so effective, then goes on to complain that you can’t get all the Wonders very well if you have a bunch of tiny cities. He talks about building maintenance making it not worthwhile to build infrastructure, but in my experience that’s only a problem for tiny cities. He complains about there being too many options that present too much stick and not enough carrot, but he considers the game brainless. He also complains about things being ‘nerfed’ a lot, but admits there were problems that these nerfs were meant to address– backseat developer much?

          I’m not a competitive online gamer, and I’m not a super-fan that got involved with the Civ developers and the community, so this might be why my opinions diverge. He’s really not playing the same game I am, and frankly that’s too bad for him. I’m not all beat up about there being horribly exploitable game mechanics in a complicated game like that, as those exploits didn’t occur to me and I can’t be bothered to use them anyway as I’d rather build lots of nice tall cities. The AI can whup my ass if I put the difficulty level anywhere past the ‘normal’ scale, so I couldn’t even complain about the AI. It might be dumb about tactics, but when I’m doing badly enough economically I’ve lost cities and been beaten in war so it’s good enough for me.

          I’m not saying it’s a perfect game at all, it also isn’t as much of a leap forward Civ IV was, but to be fair Civ III was really underwhelming so Civ V had a lot more to live up than its predecessor. He’s quite right about the internet (or LAN) multiplayer being broken, which is just unacceptable in this day and age. The silver lining is they did eventually add a functional Hotseat mode, and wish more TBS games had that these days.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            I didn’t even want to go there, I have these issues with that post as well. What you need to understand though is that Sulla was a tester for 4, which means two things. 1. He loves 4 to death and almost any change was not welcomed, even if he states otherwise. 2. He is very full of himself. That is even more evident in this post: http://www.garath.net/Sullla/designingciv.html

            Here he talks about what his Civ game would be like and it’s just pathetic. It’s pretty much Civ 4 ripping off almost everything from MoO that Civ 4 doesn’t have, all this coupled with a lot of features that sound dubious at best, and would make the game so needlessly complex it would render it unplayable for anyone but, presumably, Sulla himself. It goes to show you that just because some guy can write long and critical posts about games on the internet doesn’t mean he knows jack squat about designing one.

    • Harlander says:

      I could see “dumbed-down”, but “generic”?

      That’s not just a word which means “something I don’t like”…

      • x1501 says:

        Okay, okay, it might have been a mistake to apply the word to a trademarked product. Feel free to replace it with “bland”, “vapid”, or “insipid”.

        • Xardas Kane says:

          And my long rant was aimed just as much at you by the way.

          • x1501 says:

            Uh-huh. My favorite part of Civ IV is co-op multiplayer. At the very least, a year after its release, Civ V multiplayer still didn’t have mod support, unit animations (quite ridiculous, if you ask me), and a whole bunch of features that were readily available in singleplayer from the start. The multiplayer, basically, was completely nonfuctional. That’s not a step backwards, that’s a severe case of full-scale regression. And by the way, at least six months in, the singleplayer part of the game was just as bad. I tried finishing the game at least 3 times, and each time I just got bored beyond belief—something that’d never happened to me in any previous Civ and Civ-like games, including the Call to Power spinoffs. It could be better now (although I doubt they were able to fix the “dumbed-down” part with mere patches), but I don’t have a habit of buying alpha versions of software at full price, and then waiting for years for them to become playable.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            I fail to see how the multiplayer problems (and yes, it’s incredibly idiotic that 2 years in those are still present, although a patch that adds animations will go online within a week) makes the game bland and generic, could you please explain that for me? Multiplayer problems means a generic game, amiright or amiright?

            I also never saw you use past tense when describing the game, implying that you are talking about it as it is RIGHT NOW. The first 6 months Civ 5 wasn’t very good , yes. Considering Firaxis’s track record with patching and the fact that there has never been a Civ launch without some severe problems, writing the whole game off like that is just plain stupid, pardon my French.

            But, like I’ve said times and times again, gamers love to hate games. It’s by far their best quality

            /sarcasm

            Oh, and I also like how I wrote a pretty long psot explaining why the game ISN’T dumbed down, so far you haven’t named one thing that according to you has been over-simplified. And all Civ 5 haters generally do that actually. How interesting…

          • x1501 says:

            Are you seriously expecting me to go through in-depth analysis of a product I discarded more than a year ago, one that I found unmemorable, unplayable and unenjoyable? You’re a funny guy.

            Lack of key Civ IV features, like, say, working multiplayer, makes it crap. Lack of vision and any kind of sensible innovation—not just minor reshuffling of a decade old concept—makes it bland. If you need more details, you’ll have to go and read some of the negative reviews that were written right after playing the game and not 2 years after.

            I don’t hate games. I just dislike Civilization V. And I’m not even a Civilization IV fan. I thought the game had many flaws and expected its sequel to take care of some of them. In my option, it failed rather spectacularly. The end. But please, feel free to give me another tediously verbose comment on why you think I’m nothing but a hateful troll, Sid.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            Yes, you absolutely are. Laggy mutiplayer equals a generic and bland game, keep on rocking that logic, Einstein. If this isn’t trolling I don’t know what is.

          • x1501 says:

            Yep, that’s it. The multiplayer is laggy. The mother of all Civ V criticisms right there, and one I repeatedly brought forward in all my previous posts. Einstein 0, Hawking 1.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            And yet you never explained how that makes the game generic. And it can hardly be the basis of such heavy criticism, since Civ has always been priamrily a single-player experience.

            I like the score though, after all I called YOU Einstein, and you give a 0 to yourself and 1 to Hawking. I didn’t even know Hawking has anything to do with this, but giving yourself a zero is quite amusing.

            So how does laggy mutiplayer make the game generic? Do you ever plan to give an answer or are you gonna beat around the bush a bit more?

    • Senethro says:

      You’d better believe that someone will spend that time on Civ 5 just because some people like even the bad games in that series. Anyway, Civ2 wasn’t actually that good, it was just new and the first game in its genre to be good enough.

      • Nick says:

        uh, no, it is acually good.

      • Xardas Kane says:

        No, Civ 2 was an amazing game. And saying it was the first good one of its kind means completely ignoring CIv 1 and MoO, both of which came out years before Civ 2.

        • Senethro says:

          Hey, Wolfenstein came before Doom but we still called the genre “doom clones” right up until Halflife turned them all into FPS. Wolf existed but Doom was the widespread classic that defined the genre. Civ2 was the same game for TBS. But if you take a look at it, poke around the inside, crunch a few numbers then what appears to be this incredible flexible strategic empire builder vs. active opponents collapses into tiresome manual operation of workers, spreadsheeting instead of meaningful decisions, and dumb dumb fake AI that does a poor imitation of cheating at the game. Maybe its just me but subequent games broke the illusion in the same way PS: Torment ruined Baldur’s Gate/Arcanum. (while I think Doom is still pretty good as a fast arcade shooter. Weird, huh?)

          • Xardas Kane says:

            What you fail to grasp is Civ ONE did all of that, not 2. Civ 2 is by far the most conservative of all Civ sequels, it barely changes anything, just adds a lot. Civ 1 was the one to break the ground, not 2.

            I agree about the AI. The same could be said for every Civ game evr made unfortunately. I disagree about everything else. Completely disagree.

    • Lemming says:

      Which is the best Civ game then? I haven’t had one since II. Bare in mind I want the best combination of modern graphics and Civ II-like gameplay. Any offers?

      • Nick says:

        Civ 4 with beyond the sword.

      • JerreyRough says:

        Civ4 mods.

      • mAnon says:

        The best “civ-like” game is SMAC(X) imho.

      • Xardas Kane says:

        Civ 4 with both expansions is definitely the most complex and well balanced Civ game, although Civ 5 is by no means as bad as some posts here make it out to be.

      • Lemming says:

        Civ 4 it is! Thanks, gentlemen/ladies.

      • Balm says:

        SMAC(X), indubitably.

      • Senethro says:

        Civ4:BTS with AI enhancement mods, but you don’t have to start with that. You can get good mileage from playing a few games of the base game and expansion which will also introduce the new mechanisms more gently.

        Other than that, Civ4 with the Fall from heaven mod is a huge thing that is so different, it demands a look. GoG.com has Alpha Centauri which is Firaxis sci-fi civ game and still stands off to one side from Civ as a never surpassed highpoint for them.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Another thumbs-up for Civ IV, with or without BTS, and another thumb alongside it for SMAC because it’s Just Different Enough to not necessarily scratch the same itch.

      • E_FD says:

        IMO, it’s still Alpha Centauri.

  13. NathanH says:

    Why did they get rid of the wonderful global warming event?

    Civ 2 is still my favorite Civ.

  14. pi8you says:

    “Anyway, I was forced to do away with democracy roughly a thousand years ago because it was endangering my empire.”

    This line is tickling my fancy something fierce. Though Civ’s not the sort of game for me, that’s just all sorts of awesome.

  15. tgoat says:

    Just goes to reassure me that Civ 2 is possibly the greatest game ever made. It’s not flawless, and the newer Civs have improved on some of these flaws, but non of them have gotten the whole game balance just quite right to dethrone #2 from its spot in my heart.

  16. zino says:

    Whenever Civ II comes up I ask myself the question “Why haven’t I played it for the last 10 years?”.

    30s research shows that it’s not available on Steam, and it turns out I’m to lazy to dig out old floppys.

    • bempelise says:

      Just to point out that Civ II is available to download for free from bestoldgames.net. A simple google search and you got it!

    • DodgyG33za says:

      I can’t remember the last time I had a FDD or something to insert into it. Nowadays I rarely use the DVD, although I do suspect I have a CIV3 DVDs.

      Civ got better until Civ3 – lost so many nights to all three. I gave Civ4 away after one play thru – can’t remember why. Which is probably why I bought Civ5 recently. I have no idea how the game have such a lousy UI and path finding. Played thru once to the nuke stage, but can’t bring myself to put up with the one unit per square bollocks again or the painfully slow aircraft.

      Seems to me that in streamlining the game they lost the essence (that sense of a history built up from many many turns) but kept the frustrations with the UI.

  17. Maldomel says:

    And say I got tired of Civ V after a few games…

  18. Berzee says:

    Man, that’s an excellent story.

    I never made it that far (I don’t even remember if I ever won Civ 2, actually =P maybe a few early-game wins)

  19. Greggh says:

    I’ve played some Pharaoh cities for years and some pretty massive mega-monuments where built, but “world” games have so much more possibilities for a background story – wether it’s player driven or not

    • Torgen says:

      I always felt like I was playing in a straight jacket with the small maps of all the Impressions city builder games. I think I still like Pharaoh the best out of the old games, because it didn’t have the cartoon gods walking around your city.

  20. golem09 says:

    Having watched all seasons of Futurama in the last week, the professors voide read me those apocalyptic captions.
    And most of the comments.

  21. Bhazor says:

    If ground forces are worthless (as any sizeable army gets nuked) why not pour everything into infrastructure? After 50 turns your cities can have arable farmland and production boosters and they can then pump out units faster than anyone else.

  22. Lemming says:

    “They’ve been at war for 1700 years, and “peace seems to be impossible. Every time a cease fire is signed, the Vikings will surprise attack me or the Americans the very next turn, often with nuclear weapons. Even when the U.N forces a peace treaty”

    Slight oversight in the game mechanics there I think! How is a UN even existing at this point?!

    I’m only teasing, Civ II was always fun.

  23. andytizer says:

    For those who are revisiting Civilization II after so many years (or playing it for the very first time), remember to visit this page of bugs, fixes and workarounds for getting it working on modern operating systems: http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Civilization_II – if you discover a new fix, please add it in (no account required).

  24. Jabberslops says:

    I’ve never played Civ II, but assuming it’s still possible to capture cities during that perpetual war; why not just raze an enemy city to to the ground (also assuming that is possible). Each enemy city captured and razed is one less that can be used by anyone. It would weaken the enemy to an unrecoverable tipping point since they won’t be able to build new units as fast or in enough quantity to survive. I’ve actually done this before when playing Civ IV and V to weaken my enemy when I was close to total defeat. Sometimes you have to weaken yourself even more to make an attempt at capturing a city.

  25. Davie says:

    I had a Rise of Nations game once that played out much the same way. Eight hours in, it was down to two factions, we were both producing dozens of military units a minute, and sending them to an eternal front between our two closest cities. The sound of gunfire never stopped. Of course, in RoN, once you haul out the nukes, the game is over pretty quick, but we still burned right through them and got the “Nuclear Holocaust” ending.

    Rise of Nations and Rise of Legends were so awesome. RIP, Big Huge Games :(

  26. sinister agent says:

    Vikings, Celts, and Americans, all locked in endless battle. This truly was the original blueprint for humanity.

  27. roryok says:

    fun fact: the battle noises in Civ 2 are taken from Monty Python and the Holy Grail

  28. Wooly says:

    The original poster has now uploaded his savegame file for public consumption!