Posts tagged civilization
The Zulu declared war again, as did the Indians and the Native Americans. (I was particuarly upset with them – I’d been the only civilization prepared to give them anything for centuries and had always refused when other civs told me to stop trading with them.)
Anyway, though I’d built up my forces, I hadn’t built them up enough. The Zulu stormed over my borders and wiped me out – all except one small city stuck between the mountains and the sea. They would have taken that, too, but I paid them off to get a peace treaty.
There was nothing left I could do, except sit back in my little city as the mighty Zulu gained a diplomatic victory.
The glorious Egyptian empire that had once covered half the globe was now a tiny, isolated state with no resources except corn and bananas and no power on the world stage. Our ancient cities were in the hands of the Zulu and we were left with a small city that had once, not so long ago, belonged to barbarians.
It hurts to see our cultural heritage and treasures in the hands of others but, still, we survived. That’s something.
Bloody Zulu and their Indian lapdogs. You see all those cities in Zulu territory to the west of my land? They used to be mine. Okay, so I left them almost completely undefended, but that’s because I was keeping all my neighbours happy. Was working well until the Zulu decided I was too close for comfort and declared way. I eventually managed to buy peace, but at the expense of about a third of my empire.
I can’t even get the help of other nations, as the Zulu are by far the most powerful civilization diplomatically. I’ve just got to try and keep them happy and see if I can launch a spaceship before they decide to take more of my land. I doubt it’s possible.
I did want to nuke them, but I don’t seem to have uranium to build any. Bother.
Anyway, back to it. I’ve got half an hour of lunchtime left.
I did it! I won a game on King difficulty! Look!
I actually only came third in terms of points, but I got to Alpha Centauri, so I won. I was the Americans and lucked out, having a reasonably large area to expand into at the start. My only land border was with the French. We scrapped a few times, but I kept giving them money and technology to keep them sweet. That meant that the civilizations who hated me – the English and Japanese – couldn’t wage any effective wars against me and I was able to actually improve my cities, rather than put everything I had into military units. Good stuff.
So, I’ve tried three games on King difficulty, one level up from the difficulty I was playing on before.
The first game I survived to the end with a tiny wee empire of three cities, but came last.
The second game, I started a very early war with the Egyptians, which turned out to be a mistake, as they took my only city and wiped me out before I’d discovered, well, anything. (I declared war in a fit of pique when they came along and stole a barbarian village I’d been working on. Oops.)
The third game was better. I was the Mongols and basically spent the entire game at war with the Zulu and the Americans. I made a few gains from the Americans, but that was countered by my losses to the Zulu. At no point could I really do anything to improve my civilization, as everything I had was going into military units and trying desperately to research new technologies to try and get ahead in the arms race. It didn’t help that a couple of my tank armies lost battles they should have easily won and were wiped out.
Still, third place isn’t so bad. I just wish I could work out how to improve my game. Trying to keep a small empire means you don’t really have the resources to compete, but expansion just makes you a target for the other civilizations. It’s tough.
Finished my game as the Chinese at lunchtime.
I’d been a Democracy for millennia by the end of the game, but the final capital city was so close and so tempting that I changed to Fundamentalism just so I could storm in with my Ninja Tank Army (who’d roamed around the world and conquered it all single-handed, pretty much) and finish things off.
At the end of the game my starting island and the two next to it were lovely, peaceful idylls full of scientists and artists and happy, wealthy citizens. The main continent was full of downtrodden peasants, cowering under the shadows of the tanks I was building in every city. Sure, I built a temple here and a courthouse there, but I was mainly just building those tanks.
In time I’d have stopped the military build-up (turned out I didn’t need them – the Greeks tried to fight off my invasion with spears and ancient rifles) and tried to make everything lovely, but the conquest phase of the game was a few brief years in which everyone (except the Greeks) declared war on me at once and invited my tanks in to play. Those cities I didn’t drive into decided to join me through choice, impressed by my culture, but I still used them as military bases.
At the end of the game all the other civilizations had disappeared entirely, except for a couple of remaining Greek cities on some islands I’d ignored.
I really do need to try a higher difficulty setting soon – but then I might have to actually think and plan, instead of winging it.
So, I finished up the game I was talking about yesterday with a cultural victory, as I wanted. Then there may have been another game, I don’t remember. Right now, though, I’m playing as the Chinese.
I got my least favourite starting position – a fairly small island. That means that to expand, I need to ferry units over the water in boats. Obvious enough, maybe, but it’s a pain. On the plus side, it means it’s easier to defend the core of my empire. On the minus side, getting units to reinforce my overseas holdings takes ages. I’ve got to what seems to be a big continent now and Shanghai is right between two saber-rattling civs who hate me. I’m trying to build up my forces to keep Shanghai safe, but I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be best just to give up and try to turn my starting island into a scientific research centre. Tricky decisions ahead. (Though as I’m only playing on Warlord difficulty – the second difficulty level – it’s going to be easier than it otherwise would be. I should probably step up another level soon, as I never actually lose a game right now.)
Here’s a list of ten games to play during this month. They won’t be the ten best iPhone games – any list without Angry Birds, Doom and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is not a list of the greatest iPhone games – but they’ll be selected based on a mix of quality, novelty and relevance to the month’s events.
Mostly excellent conversion of the classic board game. The interface is lovely, playing against the AI is fun and it’s a wonderful conversion. It’s let down a bit by what appears to be a completely broken online implementation – many games I’ve tried to play have been full of baffled chat messages and no actual game – but when it works it’s excellent. Easy to pick up, but brain-twisting in the best possible way as you try to make long-term plans based on hopes and educated guesses. Buy it as a single-player or local-multiplayer game with a possibility of bonus online multiplayer against friends and you won’t be disappointed.
The App Store is built on novelty. Games appear for pennies, are the best thing ever for ten minutes, then disappear. Civilization Revolution is different. It eats both hours and battery life with equal abandon and is almost impossible to put down once you’ve started a game. You start with a small, wandering prehistoric tribe capable only of building a small settlement. You end up with tanks and fighter plans and nuclear weapons as you struggle to dominate the world through your military, cultural, economic or scientific might. It’s all incredibly absorbing and doesn’t deserve to be left to rot as you devour the latest, greatest arcade novelty.
Cubed Rally Racer
Of course, there’s a lot to be said for arcade thrills and Cubed Rally Racer is one of the best of the newer games on the App Store. Essentially it’s an isometric driving game, where the aim is simply to make it to the end of the randomly generated course with as many points as possible. You simply choose how long you want the course to be – ten sections for a commercial break, twenty-five sections for a serious challenge – and then try to get to the finish line without crashing. Hard to put down, seemingly infinitely replayable, this is a serious bargain.
Fed up of traditional Solitaire? Has even Spider Solitaire got tiresome? Try this. It’s very much a Solitaire game – it’s all based on a deck of cards and the shuffle is as important as the strategy – but you’ll also have to engage your brain. It’s a great game with the default deck, but there are numerous expansions that add new cards, often with new rules. It’s nothing like Magic The Gathering, despite the screenshot suggesting otherwise, but it is the best Solitaire game I’ve ever played.
FIFA World Cup
This would not feature in a list of the ten best iPhone games, but you can’t really get more topical. And if you do get swept up in World Cup fever and want to play with real players on your iPhone, then EA have had the decency to put a decent game in this bit of merchandise. Nice features like arrows showing where your passes will go and excellent replays mean that this is a very solid game. Will you be playing long after the World Cup is over? I doubt it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good game to have right now.
It’s always good to get free games. It’s especially good to get free games when they’re absolute classics. Initially baffling, if you can work your way inside NetHack, you’ll be rewarded with a deep, endlessly-replayable roguelike. You move through the dungeon, killing monsters, trying strange potions, attacking shopkeepers by mistake and, inevitably, dying. Just don’t get too attached to your pets.
An absolute, stone cold classic. This should be preinstalled on every iPhone. Today, for example, the queue in Spar was huge, so what did I do while I waited to buy my Mini Cheddars? Yes, I played Orbital. Three game modes, all worth playing, all sorts of high scores and a cold, yet beautiful, aesthetic. Absolutely essential.
Robot Unicorn Attack
This is one of those arcade novelties. Maybe you won’t play it forever. Maybe it’s not as good as the free Flash version. Maybe it’s overpriced at £1.79. Whatever. Right now, today, this is great fun. And it makes a change from Canabalt.
If Civilization Revolution seems a bit too much, play Slay instead. Games are quicker, military conquest is the only option and, well, it’s not even remotely the same, apart from being turn-based and based on conquering territory on a map. It’s been around for many years, but the fact that it’s the same as the ancient PC game shows how well the mechanics have stood the test of time. Easy to overlook if you’ve not played it, this really deserves your attention.
Trucker’s Delight: Episode One
And let’s finish off with another novelty. Beautiful graphics, simple yet addictive gameplay and a fairly worrying backstory based on a music video. I played it solidly for two days and haven’t been back since. I keep meaning to, but somehow things get in the way.
Last time I posted I was trying to press home my technological advantage over the other civilizations by shooting them dead with lead while they came at me with swords and arrows. Well, it worked and I won a domination victory with ease.
Next up, I started as the Mongols and got into a very costly early war with the English. I ended up with the advantage, but the struggle over one of my border cities went on for so long – millennia, possibly – that I was left a fairly distant second to the Greeks in terms of technology. (Also possibly territory at that point – I kept away from them and gave in to all their demands, so never saw the extent of their empire. While I was fighting the English, German and Indians the Greeks kept to themselves and even managed to launch part of a space ship from Sparta. So, with a few turns left, I nuked Sparta – it didn’t make any difference, but felt good – and then sat back and waited for the game to time out. Turns out that all my fighting had given me huge amounts of points – I’d conquered all of England, most of India and about half of the German empire – and I won a handsome points victory. Never satisfying to win that way, though.
Right now I’m playing as the Aztecs, simply because I wanted to start with some money. (Building roads in the early game can make a huge difference, but they’re expensive.)
Where I go from here I don’t know, but I’d like to try for a cultural victory. It’s just so difficult to stay at peace in this game. Other civilizations often declare war on me and if they do, I’m going to fight them. (And not just because I can’t work out a way to offer peace. The diplomacy screen lets me see details on other civilizations, but I can’t work out how to actually, you know, talk to them.)
Everybody hates me. Demands flying in every turn demanding tribute. I’m ignoring them all, however, as I am the only civilization who current have tanks. Come to that, I’ve not even seen any other riflemen. I’m trying to take as many cities as possible while I still have the advantage, it probably won’t last long.
It’s been a long time since I played this. I’m not sure why, to be honest. I think about playing it several times a week, but I just don’t start a game. Maybe it’s because I’m scared of it. And maybe I’m right to be. I mean, I started a game as the Zulu last night – having double-speed warriors at the start of the game is wonderful – and then over half an hour disappeared in the blink of an eye. I built some cities, took more from the annoying French and then it was bed time I wasn’t sure how I’d got there.