Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Civ IV

I'm waiting to write up extended impressions of Civ IV because I'd like to see the first patch first. The game is complex enough where I think it's fair to use the first patch as part of the evaluation.

Having said that, though, I honestly feel somewhat unqualified to write about this game. It's a wonderful update to the finest turn-based strategy game ever. It's also the last turn-based strategy game that will ever acquire critical mass commercially. Civ came out at a time when the gaming "hive mind," so to speak, was tuned to turn-based strategy games. It's what we were all thinking about, and it blew us away. Today, even if a new turn-based franchise comes out and it's outstanding beyond belief, the hive mind has moved on. There just aren't enough turn-based players left to propel a new franchise to the top of the sales charts.

So every time a new Civ comes out, it occupies a very unique place in gaming history as an extension of the last great turn-based franchise.

Why don't I feel qualified to write about it? Because I haven't really played the series to any degree since Civ II came out in 1996. I didn't like Civ III and only played it for a few hours. And I really enjoy playing Civ IV, but it's not making me stay up until 4 a.m. Not because the game is different, but because I am. Right now, I'm spending more time on The Movies, believe it or not, than Civ. Not because The Movies is a better game--it's not even close--but because it's a new idea.

So I think many of you are far, far more qualified to write about how this iteration of Civ fits into the canon than I am. I approach it with far less intensity and scrutiny than you do.

Here's an example, and I'm glad that DQ Legal Advisor Lee Rawles allowed me to share this story with you. He's not just a hardcore player of Civ--he's in a Civ family.

That's right, a family of Civ players. How cool is that?

Here's the breakdown:
Just for the record it is me, two civilized brothers, a civilized father and a civilized sister-in-law. In case you are wondering, two attorneys (including me), one psychiatrist, one medical doctor, and one retired high school teacher.

And here's how it all started:
Our civ-like family gaming love dates back to a text-based dos game called Strategic Conquest. Civ is like the ultimate extension of that game.

After Civ IV came out, he went back home for a weekend, and here's an few excerpt:
We had a good run Saturday night, until 2 am and another from 8 am to 12:30 pm on Sunday (both three person games, with 4 - 5 AIs thrown in; standard map; random everything else -- We would have had four person games, but one laptop was too old to run Civ IV properly).

Coolest family ever.

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