The Bittersweet Nature Of Victory In Civilization Games

I have played Civilization [official site] games as long as there have been Civilization games. I have always enjoyed them. I have always hated winning them.

Be it Civilization I, VI or anything in between, this is the arc of any campaign I play:

1) I feel so small and the world feels so big. I can’t wait to see what’s out there
2) Literally all I care about right now is building a Settler so I can found a second city, but it’s going to take like 20 turns and that is forever
3) Oh, no it’s not. The world shall be mine!
4) War is scary and, most of all, expensive. No way I want to get involved with that. I’m going to be peaceful. I love a Granary, me.
5) I can’t expand because some dickhead neighbour is occupying all the tiles and boats are boring and expensive so I don’t want to sail to another continent
6) I’M GOING TO DESTROY HIM, TAKE EVERYTHING HE OWNS AND BECOME ALL-POWERFUL.
7) War is really hard work and expensive, so let’s make peace.
8) Oh my God I wish I hadn’t made so many cities, I’m constantly being pestered to build things I don’t really need.
9) I’m going to win I’m going to win I’m going to win
10) I have won. I feel a profound sense of loss.

Victory is always a let-down, because it’s the point in any Civilization game where there is no more development to be had. I have seen every tank and most Wonders by that point, I have stamped my mark across the majority of the map, and there is, quite simply, nowhere left to go. My dozens of hours invested in this campaign can only be paid off with a short pre-rendered animation and sombre voiceover.

For hours, I have dreamed of colonising another world, or seeing all of this one fly my flag, or being hailed its hero for uniting all of humanity. But Civilization, in any iteration, is not able to meaningfully depict any of those outcomes.

This is the terrible truth of that ‘One More Turn…’ option offered in the modern sequels: you get to see what the world looks like in the wake of your victory, and it is absolutely unchanged. The promised transformation does not happen.

I can watch the short animation. A rocket ship. A joining of hands. A world subjugated. Big whoop.

Civ is about the journey, not the destination. It is a long and colourful journey, one which never goes as expected and yet is somehow always the same, and that’s how I like it. The trouble is that the journey has to end, and over the course of several decades Civilization has not devised a satisfying manner of achieving that.

I dream of an impossible future where a space race victory in a Civilization leads to a brand new campaign on another planet, or links seamlessly to some Alpha Centauri or Beyond Earth sequel: the same people, the same Civ, facing a genuine brave new world. God, I’d love that.

Or a shift to the grand political problems of maintaining a world-wide union, or the lawless horror of a world subjugated under one immortal tyrant. A bravura demonstration that yes, the world and humanity itself has profoundly changed because of what you did to it.

It’s too tall an order, of course it is. To ask that an enormously complex game that already occupies an order of magnitude more time than almost anything else suddenly morphs into something entirely differently once victory conditions are met is purely, rawly unfair.

I yearn for a new solution to this ancient problem though. In my first completed Civ VI campaign, I reached the point where I realised I was but six turns from a Science victory and I felt sudden despair.

I knew exactly what was going to happen. All that time I’d put in, all that motivation to win was about to pay off, and of course all I’d get was a short CGI sequence showing a ship launching into space while Sean Bean narrated something pseudo-profound.

Everything I’d cared about right up until the moment I realised that I was definitely going to win was on the verge of becoming academic.

That seaport in Cumea, that Wonder in Boston: their eventual construction was pointless now. It was no longer important that Spain might declare a snap war and give me the excuse I’d long needed to wipe the whingeing bastards off the face of the Earth. It didn’t matter that Sumeria had nearly spread Islam to every city on the planet. I had no reason to left to care about whether I could snatch that Uranium tile from England.

The victory cinematic was almost exactly what I expected it to be. Hell, if the game had declared that, actually, all my Mars colonists got squashed by an asteroid en route I’d have gotten more out of it. Some twist, some shock, some interference with the crushing inevitability.

It’s not Civilization’s fault. A campaign has to end. There has to be a reason to finish, a reason to start a new campaign and a new challenge. Money can not realistically be spent on some dramatic second stage that disrupts what Civ is and steals development resources from making the real game as good as can be. But. But I wish there was some way to make an impossible ending that felt like something real had been achieved after 20 hours.

It’s not Civilization’s fault. It’s human aspiration’s fault.

When I was 17, I was an enormous fan of the band Suede. I had been too young and without any disposable income during the imperial phase that was their first two albums, and so had missed all the singles and the precious b-sides which, back then, could only even be heard by physically obtaining every CD or 7″. Part-time jobs and then a first-year student grant meant I gained a little bit to spend, and, in an all too stereotypically male fashion, I became determined that I absolutely had to collect every Suede single. This was the age when singles were often released in two-parts, the Britpop boom powering an enormous thirst to get hold of everything an artist could possibly put out.

Most were easy to come by, and postal orders sent to far-off record stores filled most of the more difficult gaps. But there was one I just couldn’t seem to find: The Wild Ones, part two.

It didn’t even contain any new songs. Just live versions of known ones. But it was The Last Single. I had, quite literally, everything else. I had to complete the set. I hunted far and wide without success, bar a couple listed at then-impossible prices: £60, £100. If I’d had that kind of money I would have have bought it: that’s how much it seemed to matter.

I found The Wild Ones part two in a CD shop at some music festival, entirely unexpectedly, flicking through the racks on muscle memory alone, already convinced that it would not be there, as always. But there it was, unbelievably.

It was shock I can still feel. Just to see it at all after some 18 months spent hunting, and also that it had a perfectly reasonable price instead of the traumatic ones I’d seen on mail-order lists. I paid my money – £4, I think? – and I had it, in my hands. The Last Single.

Ten minutes later, my heart broke.

It was finished. Over.

I had no purpose anymore. Sure, a new one would arrive in due course, but the crushing reality of the completion I’d desired for so long was awful.

Two years later, all those Suede singles went to a charity shop. Part shame at teenage obsession, but mostly the sick, bleak feeling of pointlessness now that the crusade was won.

I almost uninstalled Civ VI last night, when I completed my campaign. No reason to return. The awful nothingness that followed a victorious game.

It’s not Civ’s fault. It’s mine. It’s humanity’s.

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52 Comments

  1. Moth Bones says:

    I’ve played many hours of Civ 4 (with mods, usually Rise of Mankind or a similar ‘more stuff’ mod), find it very enjoyable, and never finish a game. I like exploring and developing, and seeing how the budding civs interact, but actually going through to the end has never interested me and I stop when I get bored.

    I think this was why I didn’t like Civ 5 much. It’s more evidently about the game, rather than the pseudo-historical simulation I can imagine Civ 4 to be. I’d like to think Civ 6 might also be suited to my playstyle – the city sprawl certainly sounds like it would fit – but remain unsure.

    • Doubler says:

      I can relate. I used to play lots of civ games without victory conditions just to create scenarios and see how they’d play out, but Civ V felt much more competitive in essence. The AI especially seemed very intent on going for a victory of some sort. The whole thing felt annoyingly gamey.

  2. Blastaz says:

    Sounds like you’re about ready to trade up to Paradox games and play a Grand Campaign through four separate games with converters that work between them…

    • BluePencil says:

      Yes! That’s precisely what I was going to recommend. It shouldn’t be beyond (no pun intended) Firaxis’ wits to do a Civ game that directly set you up for a campaign on a standalone Mars colony game. You could have some continuation between the two. I mean, OK, nobody wants that *now* because hardly anyone likes Beyond Earth. But the concept, rather than the present actualities, is sound.

    • April March says:

      Wait, does that actually work? In the present day? I know that there is a CKII ► EUIV converter, but are there more?

      I still can’t wrap my head around Paradox’ games, but I feel a pressing need to, because they know what I actually want from a game in this style: to see a different history. I don’t care about who wins, I want to see strange things like 200-year border skirmshes between the Spanish and Inca empires or Ethiopia being the first nation to circumnavigate the globe or the great medieval battle in which many Brazilian swordsmen couldn’t fell the Knights of Seattle. I only care about victory insofar as it puts a final stop to this story.

      • Haplo says:

        In the ‘first series’ of Paradox games, there were converters in place- both official and unofficial- that would allow you to go

        Crusader Kings (1, the janky version)
        -> Europa Universalis 2
        -> Victoria 1
        -> Hearts of Iron 2

        With all the expansions in place, you’d be able to follow a country from basically 1066 all the way to 1960, or nearly a thousand years’ worth of history. CK2 does export to EU4, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were converters that converted from EU4 to Victoria 2, or Vicky 2 to HoI 3 (or even 4).

        If you wanna know what it looks like, then this LP is one example, albeit with the writer also writing his own events to reflect the ‘new’ history (I think he now works -for- Paradox, so).

      • Zamn10210 says:

        Most of that really wild stuff can’t really happen in Paradox games because they have systems to make sure things develop in roughly historical fashion. In EUIV, the Inca will never be strong enough to resist the Spanish; Ethiopia will never be the most advanced seafarers. Except of course if a human is playing the Inca or Ethiopia, in which case a good player will be able to produce some crazy outcomes.

      • Vayra says:

        It might even be pretty awesome linking Civ VI to Stellaris, even if just in your head by adapting the Traits and Ethics of Stellaris to your Civ VI victory type. They’re all there, and there’s even some wiggle room to add some special trait.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      I’m not sure HoI and Stellaris share enough common factors to really convert between them, but it sounds like it’d be fun to pretend

  3. Guvornator says:

    You have discovered:

    Bittersweet Memories

    “Nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.”

    Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

    (If you can imagine Sean Bean reading that out loud, that would be grand)

  4. Jac says:

    “I dream of an impossible future where a space race victory in a Civilization leads to a brand new campaign on another planet, or links seamlessly to some Alpha Centauri or Beyond Earth sequel: the same people, the same Civ, facing a genuine brave new world.”

    I dream the same dream.

    On an unrelated note – I’ve only played civ6 for about 50 turns but the four ai’s I met all suddenly declared war on me out of the blue on the same turn and I have no idea why (as far as I can tell none of them were allies or anything either). Thought this one was meant to be more transparent about these things.

    • A Wanderer says:

      You are not the only one.
      Even though such a game would be a pain to handle if it was one big campaign, someone could implement the ability to transfer your save from, say, a Civ-like game to a space 4X, like Paradox did with EU, Vitcoria and Hearts of Iron.
      I would have loved to be able to do that in Endless Legend. Given that it’s set in the same universe as the Endless Space one, that it is closely related to it, and that the ending cinematic of at least one race (The Vaulters, don’t know for the others) strongly implies that the next step is space, well, I would have liked to be able to transfer saves.

      • Danley says:

        I think the lore is just the opposite, but I could be wrong. You represent the races from Endless Space, crashed on this planet and having to escape in the events of Dungeon of the Endless, at which point you emerge into the brave new world of Endless Legend.

  5. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    Yes, it is kind of sad to say goodbye so abruptly like that. Maybe the lack of a victory condition is why I play Paradox games so much and never ever finish them (except once in EUIV, just to say I had).

  6. Rogerio Martins says:

    That blue building on the first pic kind of reminds me of R2-D2.

  7. skeletortoise says:

    I would argue that it’s not so much the unfulfilling ending that makes beating Civ such a bummer so much as it is, as you say, the inevitability. In most cases things have progressed such that someone has been obviously barreling toward victory for a long time. Conquest and diplomacy are that way by design. No one is just gonna whip up all those UN votes when somebody already has them all, nor is anybody gonna conquer a civ that owns 75% of the planet. Science is better for a horse race, but counting down the turns until your ship is done and hoping no one surprises you isn’t exactly high drama. In all fairness, I don’t understand or pursue culture victories. There’s potential for racing with different victory forms, but this isn’t prevalent since dominating one category correlates with domination of the others. Anyway, I understand the feeling. I almost always delete Civ after finishing a game.

    • SadOldGuy says:

      The writing on the wall problem I see all of the time in Civ 5. There is one other civilization left that has one spearman versus my 20 infantry units but the home city is 40 turns away. Maybe Civ needs a “I win” button that allows you to gamble all of your wealth versus your score differential.

  8. A Wanderer says:

    Well, the Eternal War thing in CivII is a good example of what happens when a CiV game does not end…

  9. Jenuall says:

    I’ve not played any Civ since II but that did see a lot of playtime back in the day. Reading this article made me realise that I don’t think I ever actually finished a game, I seem to recall enjoying the initial exploration and establishing my empire stages of the game, then losing interest shortly after that point!

    Civ 6 may be a good time to jump back in and see if I can finally finish one of these things!

  10. a very affectionate parrot says:

    That video of Civ 1 made me really miss the simplicity of the first game, the bleep-bloop rendition of la marseillaise will forever be my jam.

  11. Louvellan says:

    Well, here was me going into this article, all giddy, expecting a funny read. Which is in part what I got, but I hadn’t expected it to conjure up the sad feelings of loss and loneliness.
    It put the finger on some hazy mixture of feelings I got after every victory I scored against friends of mine. We’d look at our stats, chat for a bit and then log off Skype and go back to our respective businesses. Then I’d hit that one more turn button, just to bask in my newly acquired glory.

    And everytime I won, which wasn’t that much (we got this insufferable friend who goes to great lengths to micromanage and optimize just about every aspect of the game and snatching the victory from him was as rare as it was satisfying), I’d see what remained of their nations, their attempts at outpacing me, their wonders, their own conquests… And I’d feel so damn lonely, looking at this cold blank tapestry I had created, sad that it ended, that our regular meetings to resume our game would stop (or rather that we’d have to start a fresh one, but that wasn’t what sprung to mind at that point). Call me a crybaby but I always felt the need to chat some more with my friends after this fleeting moment of bittersweet triumph. I never figured out why exactly these feelings came to be, and this very good article just presented me why.

    Well played, you heartless bastards.

    • cautet says:

      How is being better insufferable?

      On the other hand you, and also the article author, are spot on. Civ is really bad particularly for it. But so are many, many strategy games.

      Even in Heros of Might and Magic you reach a point where instead of everything being a struggle you are dominating your enemy so completely and utterly that they can’t compete. Even playing from that point becomes a chore.

  12. Elric666 says:

    I feel the same way, but with many games and other media. As you say, it’s not Civs fault. The same thing happens after I finish a great book. I have grown attached to the characters and the world, so I don’t want the story to end. I guess the same thing happens in a Civ game. I have grown attached to that little empire of mine, with all the little cities and their needs and all the little goals I still had in mind. But somehow once a game ends, especially in victory, everything seems devoid and empty.

    Man, I think I even had a small depression after finishing the Witcher 3. The game is so glorious in the story it tells, it was just pure sadness that it had to end. And I even got the “good” ending too, but that didn’t help either. It was over and that’s all that mattered.

    But at least the Witcher 3 gives you a very worthy ending. Some closure. You get a really long sequence explaining all that happened in the world due to your actions. It’s still sad that the game is over, but very satisfying and rewarding in how it is presented to you. I think this is something at which Civ and many other games really suck big time. You have played a campaign for 40 hours or more, and then you get some short and lame 30 second animation. It’s extremely disappointing to end a game like that.

  13. bfwebster says:

    I’ve been playing 4X games for over 35 years (no, really — Galactic Empires by Ursine Engineering on the Apple II is the first one I remember), so I understand what you’re saying. And, yes — the early part, the exploring, the struggle to get to a sustainable level, is always the best part. It’s why I inevitably play on ‘huge’ maps, and usually with a fewer number of AI opponents — to make that part of the game last as long as possible.

    My own complaint, though, is different: most 4X games aren’t smart enough to understand when you are on a path to victory and force you to grind it out to the specific victory conditions. Usually, after I’ve played a given 4X game enough to get familiar with it, it becomes pretty clear to me during a given game when victory or defeat seems inevitable, and that’s when (like Moth Bones) I quit and start a new one.

    Side note: it’s also why (as I did with Civ6) I usually turn off “score” victories if I can, since I find the scoring methods tend to be opaque and arbitrary.

    What this means is that I probably have something close to a 10:1 ratio of games started vs. games actually played out to completion; maybe even higher.

    Alec’s article and the comments here suggest that there might be a market for a different type of 4X game, one that’s more like a 2X or 2.5X game — just the explore and expand, and maybe some exploitation. What if the goal of the game was merely to explore the world/cluster and set up a survivable collection of cities/systems? You weren’t trying to become the Grand Poobah of Everything; instead, you’re simply trying to become viable.

    Thoughts?

    • A Wanderer says:

      I love your idea of a “2X”. In a way, I feel like that’s what games like the Anno series are trying to do – of course, you can wipe out your enemy, but the main goal is to create a viable society in a limited space with limited ressources.
      Now, the risks with such games is maybe finding the same problem as 4X. What feels like an achievement i
      s finding ways to cope with a crisis and expand even further (like my Mars colony has been hit by a tornado, limiting damage and rebuilding is what makes the game fun, because it’s hard). Once everything works perfectly and your little world is autarcic, well, it becomes boring (like Anno becomes boring when everything works).

      But I do like the idea of a “2X” game where you goal is just to survive and explore.

    • Premium User Badge

      cpt_freakout says:

      That’s sort of what Thea aims for, though it changes enough things for it to be entirely different from the 4x genre. Still, its reduction in scale and its focus on characters and people make it an interesting case for a kind of 2x. I think you should give it a try, it might be to your liking!

  14. Kala says:

    “But he did not understand the price. Mortals never do. They only see the prize, their heart’s desire, their dream… But the price of getting what you want, is getting what you once wanted.”
    ― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country

  15. Technotica says:

    I have played all of the Civ games and I don’t think I have ever seen any of those ending cutscenes! I didn’t even know they existed… maybe I should play with win conditions some time.

  16. Rainshine says:

    I have similar feelings sometimes. I’ve found inflating the difficulty level helps (for me) for the game to take longer and be more fraught with tension, but any game that I survive almost inevitably becomes apparent that I’m going to win, with one or two exceptions. Usually then I try to get excited about the next game, and things to try differently. And while I absolutely love the idea of a game progressing you from Civ II to SMAC or similar (Hey, look at Spore! Of course, part of my issue with that game is none of your decisions really mattered, and I didn’t care for anyone else’s sandbox), it isn’t necessarily needed. Already mentioned was Paradox games, and as someone who picked up CKII on a whim and then disappeared into the abyss for a while… Not that it’s really winnable per say that I know of (surviving?), but after a game of it, I’m always bursting with stories.
    “That one time, I had to fight my half-brother/nephew for the crown of Scandinavia then declare a peace treaty and take his daughter as a concubine so we could fend off the honorless aggressions of the HRE while Ireland split off and became it’s own thing and started taking Spain, so of course I try to find a child to marry off and…”
    Those memories are part of what makes playing through a given game a fun and enjoyable experience after the fact for me.

    I haven’t played Civ VI yet, but I’m hoping the Great People change might help add some story to each play through.

  17. Neurotic says:

    This is why I read RPS, to read the things we all know and feel about our hobby but don’t always think to talk about. The bittersweet feeling at the end of a Civ game is precisely one of them.

  18. icarussc says:

    “Vanity of vanities,” says the Teacher, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!”

  19. kabill says:

    One of the game modes in Civ 2: Test of Time was an extended campaign which continued once you launched the spaceship and you would get to continue playing while colonising a new world. Not that this solves the problem – the game still has to end – but it has nevertheless been done.

  20. Pantsman says:

    Someone recently told me that dopamine, often thought of as creating a feeling of reward when released into the brain, actually creates the feeling of the anticipation of reward. I’m not a neuroscientist and I don’t know if this is accurate, but it does reflect my experience with 4X games. The compulsiveness of taking “just one more turn” seems to be always about what will happen next; I’m always excited for what’s about to come, not for what’s actually happening now. And when the game ends, the let-down I feel seems to be just that there’s not another dopamine hit around the corner. It’s why I’ve sworn off these games; as much as they’re respected as perhaps the most “PC” of game genres, I suspect that their draw has much in common with the Skinner-box addictiveness of Farmville and its ilk.

    • Leroy says:

      I believe it changes from person to person.

      But in people who like gambling games there is definitely a greater dopamine rush from anticipation than actually winning. This obviously isn’t just to do with gambling, but general risk taking.
      But this is why people can gamble for long periods and not care about the money lost. Because the experience is what appears, not the end result.

  21. Noumenon says:

    Civilization: Revolution fixed this by having the pacing move so fast the game ended a little before you were ready, and with small worlds so you didn’t have to repeat your attack pattern over 50 cities.

  22. ben_reck says:

    Yes, Civ endings dispirit me just as the author has described. The game ends and I’m left with myself, a fate the game had negated at least for some hours.

    But I think that’s too dreary an outlook. I do get a decent sense of satisfaction from some games–the tidy epilogues to Phoenix Wright cases, the multiplicity of endings to 999 or Virtue’s Last Reward.

    That takes writing, one thing Civ doesn’t appear to have.

    Little skill-based video games can be satisfying as well. A small game like Butcher is good at keeping the challenge constant. I just barely complete the level, and that feels good and filling.

  23. Jason Moyer says:

    “I dream of an impossible future where a space race victory in a Civilization leads to a brand new campaign on another planet, or links seamlessly to some Alpha Centauri or Beyond Earth sequel: the same people, the same Civ, facing a genuine brave new world. God, I’d love that.”

    Didn’t Civilization II: Test Of Time do that?

  24. BooleanBob says:

    This is definitely a thing.

    The capacity for surprise is still in the hands of the player though. If the game refuses to throw a spanner into the mix, you can take it upon yourself. I was spinning my wheels in Civ 1 once, waiting for my ship to reach Alpha Centauri. I fought off the boredom by setting myself a challenge – rush through a nuclear program before the game ended and wipe out an uneasy ally I’d been quarrelling with since the bronze age.

    Little Boy trundled up to the capital’s border hex with one turn to go. I braced myself to become history’s greatest monster and pressed 6. My evil schemes were thwarted at the last second, however, by my own pesky parliament refusing me clearance to start a surprise war. The game ended with the French serenely unaware of how close they had come to a fiery Armageddon.

    Democracy, eh? What is it good for?

  25. Chiron says:

    Once I hit about 1800’s tech I tend to lose interest in Civ games, you can usually tell by then if you’ve won or lost, so quit and start again.

    It never ends!

    Its annoying because war is a real pain in the arse in Civ4 and I usually end up buried in wave after wave of enemy units, I can’t keep up (well I can but thats because I rarely attack and I can defend strategic points for hours). Taking a city before you get Trebuchets is also a real pain in the arse which means war is a very dull affair for the first few hundred turns.

  26. Gus314 says:

    Every time I see 4x players complain about too many cities and too much fiddling I wonder what map size they use. Assuming tiny, small, medium, large, huge, I always pick small. The number of cities etc to manage is greatly reduced but most of the interesting decisions remain. Tiny tends to make diplomacy much lesser so I always find small is the sweet spot. I can see the appeal in huge marathon games but I never play them as the reality seems far too fiddly for little strategic gain

  27. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    I find management games like Dwarf Fortress or Rimworld hit most of the same buttons as 4X games, yet without the sudden ends. Of course, the problem there becomes the necessarily limited tech trees.

    If Maxis were still the great, ambitious developer they used to be, I wonder if they may have continued with their attempts to integrate The Sims with Sim City with maybe a wider Sim World and Sim Universe.
    Spore obviously had the ambition, but failed in the execution, in part I felt because when you advanced through the ages, you couldn’t step back through previous stages and continue to experience the more advanced society at a more personal level.

  28. Wednesday says:

    I notice a few people suggesting Paradox games as the remedy. The key to those, particularly CKII, is knowing where to stop on your own, and not dragging your own game into a grind.

  29. lglethal says:

    Whilst I was always disappointed to be ending a game, I loved that part at the end where you got to review the history of the world you created. Seeing the colours grow from single dots on the map, to spreading across the map into vast empires, seeing the push and pull as enemies fought over terrain, seeing one empire become dominant and others disappear for good. It always left me awe inspired after having watched it through.

    If only I could create my own Version of that Civilisation history, but with the history of the real world… ahhh… but to dream…

  30. DuncUK says:

    I read this article and thought of the wise and sobering words of The Wire’s Lester Freamon:

  31. Retinoo says:

    Like others have said, this kind of post is why I love RPS :)

    It seems odd to say this, but in most games of Civ I’ve played since Civ II (I did not play the orginal), I found the end game to be the least fun. I never once considered just… stopping…

    I was playing Civ VI last night, and I was way ahead of the AIs, and I was just waiting for the final space project. It really wasn’t fun, it did feel like work, but I also felt committed as I had really enjoyed the journey with my Greek empire.

    That said, I am really enjoying Civ VI, the early game, expansion, the sprawling cities, even the more aggressive barbarians. I really get a sense of my civilization setting up and expanding.

  32. not-the-beez says:

    One of the story lines in Psychoville touches a similar topic (that anti-climax you get upon obtaining something you’ve longed for) with Snappy the Crocodile. The Tina Turner impression is also worth a watch.

  33. geldonyetich says:

    “Why Hello, good Sir! I just wanted to let you know I invented a procedural boardgame that simulates the entirety of the human struggle!”

    “Capital! Let me install that with great excitement! Please take my AAA game price and I, too, shall guide the hand that leads a civilization from the stone age to exciting space-age victory!”

    “Ah hah! I see that you are doing well! Any minute now, you too shall see the pinnacle of human evolution unfold before your eyes! I have foretold it in the exciting set of rules that drive my glorious electronic clockwork machination!”

    “Hurrah! I have won! What an exciting journey from mankind’s first steps to the unforeseeable future! However does this splendorous machine work now?”

    “Why, you restart it and watch it happen again, of course!”

    “… but, why would I want to do that? It renders everything I just did moot. I thought I was playing the story of mankind, I was very excited about everything happening. Are you telling me that was nothing more than some kind of pitched fever dream unfolding in glorious beyond super VGA?”

    “Precisely! Now be a good chappy and choose a different civilization a higher difficulty this time, and we’ll restart the board game from its very opening moves.”

    “Excuse me… I think I need a moment. World… spinning. Tea… failing to compensate. Does the uninstallation function work?”

    “Why yes! It is quite important to us to allow you to uninstall the game so you have a clean slate in which to reinstall the game, as though the original installation was but a meaningless fever dream!”

    “…I… I think I will leave it installed for now.”

    “Suit yourself, I say! Suit yourself! Now, who’s up for checkers? I enjoy a nice bracing session of a couple thousand games in the morning.”

    “Thank you, but I will pass. You are mad people.”

    “Crown me! Hahah!”

  34. redwings1340 says:

    After seeing a suggestion on civfanatics, I’m going to try to play my next game with no victory condition to see how it works out. I’m going to try to make all the accomplishments I make my accomplishments, not accomplishments I’m doing for a specific victory, then stop when I know I’ve guided my civilization to be a presence on the world map. Maybe that will help with this feeling, knowing that even if I don’t create a utopia, I’ll still create something excellent.

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