Wrapping Up Civ III (I Hope)

In my last post, I wrote about the cultural assimilation mode of conquest introduced to Civ III. I'm nearly done with my first full game of Civilization, and I have a few more thoughts about it. First is that Civ III does a great job of really giving you a 'feel' for the flow of time. A single game is played out over 540 turns or less, depending on how quickly you can meet certain victory conditions. At different points in the game, each turn represents differing numbers of years. For example, in the very beginning of the game, at 4000 B.C., each turn represents something like 50 years of game time. But by 1950 and the modern era, each turn represents only 1 year of the in-game history. What this does is really give you a sense of how daily life and scientific progress was significantly sped up beginning with the industrial revolution in the 1800s.

In its own right, 540 turns of a turn-based strategy game is a lot. I've probably spent at least 10 hours on my first game. But the last 150 turns or so really make you feel like your civilization is advancing at the speed of light. For the beginning of the game, you largely have the same units. Sure, there are a few upgrades, such as knights, but the number of units available to create doesn't expand significantly. However, in the modern era, once you start researching things like Flight and Modern Warfare, you suddenly have dozens of military units available to choose from, all of which are significant improvements over their predecessors. Your world, and the game, literally change exponentially overnight. The rush of scientific advancement is huge. In this sense, Civ III does an outstanding job of making you 'feel' the flow of time, and the weight of history.

Second, as I've already mentioned, this game is long. But as long as an individual game might last, I totally see how people could play it repeatedly, trying new strategies and new civilizations. The constant building and discovery of new things makes the game incredibly addicting. As of right now, Civ III would easily be my Desert Island Game. To compound the lengthiness, if you're engaged in a war (or two), the game slows down to a crawl. Because now, not only are you managing all your cities, but you also need to micro-manage all of your armed forces. And to be honest, as a Civ novice, I don't fully understand how the combat works quite yet. I've been successful only because I'm playing on the easiest difficulty setting.

As you can tell, I've absolutely fallen in love with Civ III. But it's also a huge time sink, so after I finish my current campaign, I'm going to devote my primary game-playing time to something else, and put Civ III as my secondary game. I just look forward to some day having a new computer and getting Civ IV. I'm also eagerly awaiting Civilization Revolutions, which I'll probably get for the DS. A faster, more stream-lined version of Civilization would be a blessing.


Michael Abbott said...

I love Civ III, and I'm even crazier about Civ IV, so I hope you'll be able to play that some day soon.

Nevertheless, my life doesn't have enough room in it for these games anymore. I can set aside time to devote and really get into them, but I inevitably must move on and leave them behind...always intending to return and pick up where I left off.

The promise of a more streamlined version (Revolutions) is exciting to me, even though I'm sure important gameplay aspects will be sacrificed. I'm guessing that it will be my best chance to become a devoted Civilization player again...in 15-minute play-sessions. :-)

Korey said...

Hey Michael. I hope to be able to play Civ IV someday when I get a new computer, but for all I know, Civ V could be out by that time.

After completing my first full game of Civ, I totally appreciate how they're trying to trim the game down for the console audience. Much like you, I don't have time to devote to an infinitely replayable game that takes 15-20 hours to play each time. I'd love to be able to, though, because it's a great series, and there's so much I don't even fully understand yet.

So for the indefinite future, Civ III will be a backup game of sorts, as I focus on other things. In fact, I think I'll try to finish up No More Heroes next. Only 5 more bosses to go! And then just load up Civ occasionally to play a few turns at a time.

I definitely can't wait for Civ Revolutions, although if I don't get a 360/PS3, I'll be limited to the DS version. Which by all accounts shouldn't be much of a problem.