I've played 156 hours worth of Civilization 5 now. I have played witness to some pretty incredible AI stunts by all the leaders. But, in playing my 156 hours of Civ V I feel like I've gotten to know each leader and their personality... like I've looked into the ice cold eyes of Catherine The Anti-Oprah and shaken hands with Alexander City-State Thief. I just wanted to take time to reflect on the various leaders in Civ V.. you know, take stock of the stupid things they've done and give credit to the amazingly brilliant things they've done. Washington the Passive Aggressive of America - No one takes a butt kicking more gracefully than Washington does. There has yet to be a single game where he has done anything but be railroaded by a neighboring civ. However, true to form, Washington at least has the dignity to know when to quit... often making and then maintaining peace after losing two or three of his cities. Of course, you then have to deal with a Washington that conducts foreign policy like a four year old for the rest of the game; but, hey, what gives? Harun al-Rashid the Donald Trump of Arabia - If the root of all evil is money than Harun al-Rashid is one evil human being. Usually, I find a way to get along with him and I take advantage of the fact that he always has an extra copy of all his luxury resources laying around by trading with him frequently. But, of course, all good things must come to an end and al-Rashid isn't afraid to drop you like your an ugly baby whose mother can longer bear to look at it. Harun al-Rashid runs a powerful economy, very powerful; and, in my games, it doesn't take long for him to start throwing his weight around. I have yet to play a game with him on the map where he isn't a threat in some way or another - he is always a consideration. Montezuma the Psychologically Imbalanced of Aztec - Speaking of conducting foreign policy like a four year old... this guy never knows when to quit. He declares war like he's "compensating for something." Always ready for a fight, Montezuma will always manage to crush his neighbors in my games. But, it isn't long thereafter when the International Team of Super Best Friends realizes how much of a threat he is and bands together to force him to "retire." It's classic Montezuma - get pissy because someone is close to you, declare war on them, wipe them off the face of the map, attract the attention of the civ's who see your warmongering as reasons enough to DoW and then proceed to implode because the military forces of EVERY CIV ON THE MAP are bearing down on you. Oh, and Montezuma - nice job on losing your capital city to the city state of Seoul in our most recent game. You know you don't know when to quit when even the city states have it out for you. Wu Zetian the Science Nerd of China - There's always something not quite right about Wu Zetian, isn't there? You aren't quite sure if her request for a Declaration of Friendship is so that you really can be friends, or because she noticed that you had some sweet and sour pork in your fridge and is just waiting for the right moment. Always a threat for a Science Victory, Wu Zetian blazes through the tech tree like no other... I've signed so many research agreements with this woman that Harun al-Rashids accountants are going to have to file my taxes. Not to mention that she always seems to conduct her foreign diplomacy with a stinging touch of cunning... trying to outwit her takes all my concentration. Otherwise, it's always a pleasure to have her on the map. Ramesses II the Hermit of Egypt - "WHY WON'T YOU OPEN BORDERS WITH ME?!" I scream at the computer screen. I don't know why, but, Ramesses II plays the isolationist card to a fault... and what really burns my rectal cavity is that he gets away with it. I could lose count of the number of times when the ENTIRE WORLD is at war and there's Ramesses sitting in his little corner of the map spamming out world wonders like he just won the Powerball lottery or something. He annoys me... to no end. For once, I just want him to get his lazy Deity butt up off of the throne and do something. Elizabeth I the "Rear" Admiral of England - Yes, the innuendo in her title is intentional. On water maps, she literally likes raping people... and she always seems to do so by slipping her large, powerful navy through someone's rear... ... ... ... ... flank. Aside from being the most snobbish leader in Civ V, Elizabeth usually puts up a respectable show in my games. She always runs a strong economy and isn't afraid to throw down like two obese Turkish women in an oil wrestling match. I swear to god though... the next time she says, "I beg your pardon" to me with a dismissive wave of her hand, I am going Spanish Armada on her... ... and I know about the fire ships Lizzy. Napoleon the Supremely Diminutive of France - I am just poking fun at his stature in his title... because, truth be told, there really isn't anything diminutive about his gameplay at all. I have a lot of respect for Napoleon in my games. He's reasonable in his requests, is one of the more loyal leaders if you make friends with him early on, and certainly isn't afraid to take on a much larger and more powerful civ. His nickname - Little General - seems oddly appropriate in a number of ways. Sorry... no witty one-liners here... this guy is legit. Bismarck the Curmudgeon of Germany - What an old, grumpy piece of horse feces. There aren't but two leaders that I actually hate in Civ V, and Bismarck is one of them. I will declare war on him just because I hate him. In my games, he always makes the most erroneous requests and acts like the world truly does revolve around him - "Why hello there neighbor. Why don't you put on servants robe and come massage my calloused, wrinkly feet?" Ew... gross... no. Bismarck is always a military threat, mostly due to his unique ability. The only problem he seems to have in my games is that he thinks he is more awesome than he actually is, which usually leads to me bombarding his Renaissance pikeman from afar with my Modern Era Battleships... bwahahahaha! Alexander the City State Thief of Greece - In addition to the two Civ V leaders that I hate there are also three Civ V leaders that I fear and Alexander is one of them. Having absolutely no regard for the well being of ANYTHING OR ANYONE, he will raise an army, he will kill the city states that are settled in "his territory", he will attack everyone on the map at some point, and he will, mark my words, will steal the city states that you are allied with at some point. He's like a toddler with a bad diaper rash and no father figure in his life - he just does whatever he wants. It takes the collective efforts of at least three large empires to quell the fury of the well groomed and so painfully metro-sexual Alexander in my games. Gandhi the Forgettable of India - Oh Gandhi... aren't you just the cutest little thing to ever grace the world of Civilization? No, no, he's not. Listen, I understand how some of you might be fooled by the unassuming nature of Gandhi. I mean, small empire, science focus, no military to speak of, makes friends with everyone... I know it sounds nice; but, that's just before he whisks you off to some popular pacific island resort to watch you drown in a tsunami. If you hadn't realized it by now, this is the second leader in Civ V that I hate. I can't stand him. His niceties make me want to barf... no one can be that nice, no one. In my games, Gandhi is actually responsible for the majority of the wars that break out. He makes friends with everyone on the map and then randomly decides that he doesn't like someone anymore because they ate his favorite curry that he was saving to take to work on Tuesday. Once he publicly denounces someone, everyone does... and the great war breaks out and the civilization that was unlucky enough to covet Gandhi's scrum-dilly-umptious curry ends up completely wiped out. The guy's annoying... that's all there is to it. He's never a threat for victory in any of my games and spends most of his time causing problems. I wish he'd just go and drown himself in that ocean that's in his leader background. Hiawatha the Wildcard of Iroquois - I am not really sure what to make of Mr. Hiawatha. I think he is a most interesting addition to the Civilization franchise; but, I can't decide how to frame him within the context of an AI competitor. In my games, he's never really a threat, but you can't ever really forget that he is there either. He goes to war every once in a while, always seems to do pretty respectable on the science end of things and his empire is usually pretty sprawling. He's like the wildcard team during NFL playoff season: Not really an outright threat for victory, but more than capable of surprising you. It's more dangerous to discount him than one would think - the Germans made that mistake once... Hiawatha smacked the stache right off of Bismarck's face. Oda Nobunaga the Terminator of Japan - And now we come to the second leader in Civ V that I fear. Oda Nobunaga is like one of those frightening diseases that you see on the television show House: It destroys everything in its path and just when you think you've found the cure and have the bloody thing beat, it comes back... and with a vengeance - sometimes you win and the patient lives and sometimes you lose and the patient dies a horrible, slow, painful death. In my games, it's pretty simple to gauge Oda Nobunaga. 1.)If you share borders with him, you better prepare for war at some point. 2.) If you don't share borders with him, you better prepare for war at some point. 3.) If he likes you, you better prepare for war at some point. The thing that makes him so hard to fight is his UA... I mean, come on... really? It's like fighting a zombie army... and unfortunately I don't have a sweet gun totting, Hummer driving sidekick like Woody Harrelson in Zombieland to help me with that. Suleiman the Moderately Amazing of Ottoman - I can't play as the Ottomans... period. But, the AI seems to have found a way to make it work. While never an outright threat in my games, Suleiman protects his interests with the same oddly effective yet benign ferocity a stay-at-home mother displays while on her period. Now, you laugh, but any of you who have worked in retail can attest to the fury of the stay-at-home-mom. Suleiman always seems to be out-teched in my games; but, he also always seems to manage quite well for himself despite his military-tech disadvantage. I've always wondered what that big book he's holding in his leader scene is.... Darius I the Malnourished of Persia - First of all, he really does look like he should gain a few pounds. Now, that being said, Darius is like an odd mix of Ramesses, Hiawatha and Alexander. In my games, he is usually pretty heavy on the military side of things and is usually busy taking over city states or picking off the border cities of neighboring civs. He's also usually pretty reluctant to become tied down to anyone through diplomacy and it isn't easy to get what you want from him as far as open borders and agreements and pacts are concerned. Sometimes though, Darius overextends himself in his empire expansion and can't hold on to his recently acquired border states. In the games that I've played with Darius, his viability as a civ that's a threat for the win seems to hang on whether or not he is able to maintain empire expansion or not. Sometimes, the International Team of Super Best Friends bands together like they do with Montezuma and they crush poor Darius; and, sometimes, he simply steamrolls everything in his path. He's a weird one that Darius is. Augustus Caesar the Probably Homosexual of Rome - Being a homosexual myself, I've got pretty "gaydar"... and let me tell you, this guy is a flamer. All joking aside, Augustus Caesar is another guy like Napoleon to me. He's one of the most loyal civ's in the games that I play where he is on the map. Always a respectable show on the battlefield and reasonable in his diplomatic dealings, I find playing against him to be a fun and awesome experience. Catherine the Anti-Oprah of Russia - Ah, yes, and we have come to the person that I fear most in Civ V. She truly is the Anti-Oprah of Civ V. We have Oprah: gives her studio audiences free cars and trips to Australia, preaches world peace and is a generally celebrated figure in American pop culture. And then we have Catherine: Catherine would buy you a car and then call you out the driveway, set it on fire and make you watch it burn just to show that 1.) she has the money to buy a car and you don't and 2.) she really is that big of an "a"-hole. As far as the trip to Australia... ha!... forget about that - she bought you a one way ticket to the gulags of Siberia. And don't even get me started on the world peace platform. Pff...please... Catherine and world peace go together like Glenn Beck and common sense. Catherine is the entirety of everything that ever was and ever will be completely and totally bad "a" in this world. She is the armies of Mordor, the dual lightsaber of Darth Maul, the butt hairs of that one guy who threw a pie in the face of Anne Coutler (aka the Coutler woman), every samurai that ever lived and the most bad "a" thing of all - she is Russian, a term synonymous with bad "a." I have yet to play a game where Catherine isn't making my armies bend over and take it up the rear; where she isn't buying up all the city state votes three turns before I win a Cultural Victory with a UN Vote only two turns away; where she isn't launching nukes to her little heart's delight; where she isn't backstabbing EVERY CIV ON THE MAP; where she isn't just being generally bad "a" and awesome-scary. Catherine doesn't know the meaning of nice, and even if she did she would stab it in the face with a soldering iron, rape it, and make it apologize to itself for being so dumb as to try and open borders with her. Ramkhamhaeng the Bookie of Siam - This guy drives a hard bargin. It's never easy to get what you want from him... he walks around his leader scene with an amazing sense of entitlement. But, I can't say that he doesn't have good reason to swagger about. Always a threat for a cultural and science victory, keeping tabs on him is a priority in my games. The odd thing about ol' Ramkhamhaeng is that - at least in my games - he fields a pretty sizable military... certainly not a pushover; and, in several games he has been an outright threat for a domination victory. There is something to be said for the rapidity with which he befriends city states too... if he and Alexander are on the same map, they usually always end up at war with one another because they are competing for the affections of city states. He's a weird guy Ramkhamhaeng is; but, I always like dealing with him... for some reason, I see him as one of the more friendly civs in the game. Besides, when he smiles at you he kinda looks like a frog... hehe. Askia the Pretender of Songhai - What the? Really? So, let me get this straight... you developed a civilization that is specifically geared towards military conquest and cultural growth and in my games he's the biggest push-over, second only to that pathetic little thing Washington? Huh... alright. Askia never does anything of any consequence in my games... ever. He's never been a threat for a victory of any kind and spends most of his time trying to manage border skirmishes with neighboring civs. However, he definitely get my vote for most bad "a" leader scene... the burning castle in the background is a nice touch.