I’ve talked about it on the blog before, but there are certain games that I have a hard time putting down once I start playing. What makes this post particularly poignant is that I’m going to be talking about the game that perhaps started this whole mess of lost time to video games. Back in 1997, My cousin came to visit my family in Ottawa. While he was staying with us, I was introduced to a little game called Civilization II. Now, being very young at the time I didn’t understand what he was doing and why the French couldn’t leave him alone to build a spaceship to Alpha Centauri. But I was intrigued by the complexity and intricacies of world domination. A little bit later I installed the game myself and instantly became hooked to what many have called one of the greatest game franchises ever made.
In case you’ve somehow missed hearing about one of the oldest strategy game franchises, Civilization is a game where you control a world power from the dawn of human history into the information age. You explore and build cities, research new technologies (like the wheel), and occasionally fight enemies who may or not be in your way. There are numerous ways to win, either peacefully or through military conquest, and it’s incredibly addicting to play.
Over the years, I’ve played countless hours of the Civilization franchise. It’s easy to lose track of how long you’ve been when you think that you have time for one more turn. In fact, Firaxis is using “One More Turn” as a hashtag in their marketing campaign for their next Civilization game. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve started a game after breakfast and played well into the evening. One time, when I was in university, I remember one of my roommates coming in to ask if I wanted to grab some food. I replied that I could go for some lunch, to which he laughed and said it would be a late lunch at 8 o’clock. I’d been playing for about 12 hours, not 3 or 4 like I thought. I’d like to say I’ve gotten better, but I don’t know if I’m the best person to say that.
There are two key reasons why I’m excited for Civ VI. The first is the new gameplay mechanics that they’re bringing to the franchise. For example, cities are no longer tied to a single tile like in the last several games. Cities are split across the map into districts, which can be directed to focus on specific industries or tasks. A district can be used for agriculture while another might be used for manufacturing. But, it also means that enemies don’t have to take a whole city to make an impact on a civilization’s viability. This is one of many major gameplay overhauls that Firaxis hopes will make each civ game different every time you play, an exciting prospect for regular players.
The second reason and perhaps the most important to me is a return to form for the franchise. While Civ V was a ton of fun to play, it didn’t feel like a worthy successor to Civ VI. Side note, Civ VI is my favourite game in the franchise. Then there’s Civilization: Beyond Earth, which might have the Civilization name but was more like Alpha Centauri than Civ. I wanted to like Beyond Earth, but part of the fun of the Civilization is the twist on history in addition to the exploration and exploitation. Where else do you have Napoleon vs. Genghis Khan or the Dutch building the Great Pyramids?
My days are numbered as Civ VI is expected to release this October. But, I’m looking forward to ignoring friends, family, and basic survival instincts to play one more turn of a new civilization game.