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Sid Meier's Civilization V

2 months ago

Feature: Farming XP

Will It Harvest Moon? – a beginner’s field guide to rehabilitating inferior games

To this day, the jaunty static of the opening jingle to Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town brings me back to a simpler time. Summer evenings spent hunched over my Game Boy SP, a pane of glass between me and nature’s suburban bounty as I tilled my little squares of land, pet my happy little chickens, and bribed a town’s worth of reticent heartthrobs…

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1 year ago

Feature: We can rebuild you

The best Civilization games are these total overhaul mods

I’ve been playing Civilization long enough to remember building gaudy palaces that combined Arabic minarets with Ionic columns, and the sight of pixel-drawn Stalin grimacing at me with his retinue of Asiatic advisers. But after 20-something years and untold in-game millennia, I’ve finally begun to feel its insatiable fantasy of empire-building subside. Luckily, total overhaul mods exist.

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Feature: Changing history

Soren Johnson on challenging the norms of 4X games

“Sid [Meier] didn’t know he was inventing a genre back in ’91 - if he had he might have been a lot more careful. He was just making it up as he went along.” That’s how genres begin. By mistake. Somebody creates a set of rules and systems for the needs of a particular game, and then either people adopt and adapt those rules. Soren…

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Feature: AI-mageddon

How the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk’s Civ V mod should make us fear superintelligent AI

What do you reckon is the greatest threat to the future of humanity? Climate change? Nuclear war? A global epidemic? They’re all causes for concern, but it’s my belief that one of the greatest risks is actually posed by superintelligent AI. You might need some convincing of that, which is why researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk have…

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Feature: Going beyond evil robots

The creator of the Civilization V superintelligence mod on AI safety

Last month, the University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk released a mod for Civ V that introduced superintelligent AI to the game - not in the form of AI opponents, but as a technology that can end the game for every player if it's left unchecked. It's a novel overhaul to the science system, as well as an attempt to teach…

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2 years ago

Feature: Culture and colonisation

Cree concerns hammer home why Civ needs to reject its own traditions

In Civilization, civilization is a competition. Land and resources are limited, and even those nations that don't expand through military might are attempting to climb to the top of the league table in other ways. Geography, technology, culture, religion, diplomacy – they're all, to some extent, weapons to be deployed, or at least arenas where an advantage can be gained. Culture and history are the…

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Feature: The biggest hits of the past 12 months

These are the top 100 Steam games of 2017

Another year over, a new one just begun, which means, impossibly, even more games. But what about last year? Which were the games that most people were buying and, more importantly, playing? As is now something of a tradition, Valve have let slip a big ol' breakdown of the most successful titles released on Steam over the past twelve months. Below is the full, hundred-strong…

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Feature: Master of maps

Jon Shafer on designing Civilization 5, joining Paradox and making strategy games better

Jon Shafer was 21 years old when he became lead designer of Civilization V. Now working at Paradox on an unannounced project and on his own historical strategy game At The Gates in his spare time, he says he's learning from the likes of Spelunky along with the more obvious strategic influences. We spoke about how the second half of every Civ sucks, the part…

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Feature: And how they can do it better

How historical games integrate or ignore slavery

Video games always come with an expectation that the player will suspend disbelief to some extent. Genetically engineered super-soldier clones don’t exist, radiation has never and will never work like that, and overweight Italian plumbers could never make that jump. In most cases, if we are unwilling or unable to suspend our disbelief, we may well struggle to enjoy the game and our questioning of…

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3 years ago

Feature: One million more turns

Civilization VI Brings The Series Back To Its Best

A month ahead of its release, I’ve spent a week with Civilization VI [official site]. The build of the game is near-complete, though only ten of the twenty civs are playable and there are some limits on startup settings. When I heard that I’d be able to play so much of the game so long before release, I hoped that was evidence of 2K’s confidence…

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Feature: Deep and revolutionary

Civilization VI: Four Hours Of Wars And Wonders

Last month I spent four hours playing Civilization VI on a very hot day in central London. I came away wishing I could play for another four hundred hours, and also wishing that I had an ice cream. Mint and choc chip preferably. Since then, I've spent a lot of time thinking about what Civ VI is doing and how its many systems create a…

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Feature: Not as good as Civ IV

Have You Played… Sid Meier’s Civilization V?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time. Sid Meier is famous for his line that games are "a series of interesting decisions." Which makes it interesting that Sid Meier's Civilization V is a game about telling people to stand still over and over again.

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Feature: Location, location, location

Civilization VI Releases October: Here’s Every Detail

As if 2016 didn't already contain a rich enough seam of strategy games, Firaxis announce today that Civilization VI will be released on October 21st. Development duties are in the hands of the team behind Civ V's expansions, Gods & Kings and Brave New World, and when we spoke to designer Ed Beach and associate producer Sarah Darney last week to learn all the details,…

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Feature: Reconstructing Civilization

Wondrous: The Civilization V Community Patch Project

The last big official update to Civilization V [official site] came in 2013 with its second large expansion, Brave New World. Three years later, and almost six years after the game’s original release, there’s another big new release expected, but it’s not an official expansion. It’s the Community Patch Project (CPP; to be named Vox Populi on release), a community-made mod that overhauls and improves…

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Feature: Sid Meier's Diminishing Returns, more like

The 4X Genre Has Grown Stagnant, Here’s How To Fix It

When Civilization II came out, I spent an entire summer playing it for several hours a day. The only check on my binging was the fact that my parents would eventually come home and force me to pretend, for a few hours at least, that I cared about things other than Civilization II. I was a senior in college when Civilization IV arrived. I'd barely…

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4 years ago

Feature: Games for new and lapsed gamers.

The Beginner’s Guide: A Journey Through Genres

One day I'll write a Desert Island Discs about the games I'd keep with me until the end of days, given a choice of ten. It'll no doubt be a Desert Island Digital Downloads given the absence of physical media in my life. I live with the ghosts of entertainment. Rather than compiling the list of games I'd take to the Vault with me though,…

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Feature: AI Showdown

Why People Are Making The AI Fight Itself In Civilization

A strange thing happened in the Civilization community r/civ on January 10, 2015. Inspired by similar, smaller-scale offerings by a Twitch.tv livestream and fellow redditor DarkLava (from whom he explicitly sought permission), user Jasper K., aka thenyanmaster, shared the first part of an experiment he was conducting wherein he put 42 computer-controlled civilisations in their real-life locations on a giant model of the Earth and…

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Feature: SPACE BUSINESS

Early Impressions: Offworld Trading Company

Offworld Trading Company is a combat-free, sci-fi real-time strategy game from the lead designer of the sumptuous Civilization IV. A great concept with a great pedigree – can it possibly be as good as it sounds? But enough about Snickers More Nuts, let’s talk about Soren Johnson’s new game, an Early Access version of which was released this week.

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Feature: The joy of limitations

The Random Element: Scenario Generator

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. Scenario Generator is a tool that creates random restrictions, goals and startup settings for a variety of games, and it's the reason I've become happily lost in Crusader Kings II [official site] and Civ V [official site] again. Reinvent an old favourite with the click of a button, as you find out precisely…

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5 years ago

Feature: Deadly colonisation

Civilization Beyond Earth: 200 Turns On The Final Frontier

A whole new world. A new fantastic point of view. ...I'm so sorry. However, I am pleased to report that sci-fi strategy game Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is not simply Civ V with green face paint on. It has the same hexes and it does have much of the same infrastructure as its historical-themed predecessor, but its transformation into something alien goes far more…

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