Adam banging on about Civilization VI [official site] – even coming into work chat while ill to bang on about Civ VI (GO TO BED YOU FOOL!) – has persuaded me that this might be the time for the return of the Mighty Pip Empire.
I'm not really a 4X person. I get wrongfooted by the weirdness of "diplomacy" with AI opponents, and irritated by the occurrence of events that seem marooned from time and context as they ping up on my screen. During the tutorial, for example, Egypt suddenly embraced protestantism. As a form of religion, it's so linked to a specific point in human history and tied up in reactions to an existing situation, as exemplified by where the name even comes from, that seeing it just merrily poof onto my timeline without any of the preceding events or politics just seems absurd.
But I do like to go back to the things that I'm not naturally good at every now and again, trying to bend them to my will this time, or to crack them open like a Kinder Egg so I can actually play with the toy inside. This isn't the first time I've tried to get into Civ. I've tried so many times I actually have a naming convention for the cities of the Pip Empire which starts with Pipcastle and spirals out into the world with places like Piphaven, Pipping Norton, Pipton-on-Sea…
I figured I'd try more of a trade-y playthrough as I absolutely hate diplomacy and my military strategy is essentially Zerg Rush or GTFO, my Civilization's hopes and dreams being the thing G-ing the F O in that scenario. As such I am Trajan and the Roman Empire is mine to command.
The first order of business was to rename this "Rome" place to Pipcastle. Apparently that's not possible at the moment but Adam assures me the ability should be arriving in the first patch of the game. I am outraged because without Pipcastle the phrase "All roads lead to Pipcastle" is meaningless. The appearance of Cumae later instead of Piphaven rubs further salt into the wound. Or it would if I had any salt mines. No idea if there are salt mines in the game, by the way, I was just thinking there should be so the Romans could get on with inventing "salaries".
Next up I started scouting, but got a bit spooked by Barbarians and Spaniards wandering about so there's still a lot of fog of war and my Scouts are earning their keep as extra muscle to keep Barbarians at bay.
The people of my towns kept kicking off about the lack of amenities and I think what was happening was I'd ended up researching politics things and science things in my cities and when you finish one it encourages you to pick a next one, so I'd thought that was all I could do at the time. It took a while to realise I had to intervene and shove the game back towards creating builders and setting up those extra structures both for population support and population entertainment.
I'm on turn 100 at the moment and Philip II of Spain and Queen Victoria both seem to be flirting with me from some weird dimension outside of history (they like a leader who is surrounded by a powerful military, they tell me, and Philip also sent a delegation carrying churros). I also have a Hanging Garden, a few quarries, some farms, and some bushels of tea on the horizon, waiting for me to turn up with my Roman baths and make a massive brew.
Works in progress include an entertainment complex, and sending those scouts out a bit further now that the Barbarians have been dealt with a bit. But I want to do the investigating of the map parchment-like fog of war without making the bit with the big octopus on it disappear. I've already lost a couple of its arms so I'll have to move cautiously or lose my cephalopod companion forever...