Guilt trip


Jan 16, 2002
Nottingham UK
Howdy y'all,
I have a dilemma I'd like to address to the assembled CivIII fans.
Is it okay when I start a game in a completely dire location and hemmed in by 2 or more expansionist/militaristic civs that I end the game and start again? Well, to tell the truth that's not where it ends. I also save games before I attempt things like planting spies or declaring war etc... and then reload if it all goes tits up. I'm only doing what I see my fellows and peers doing - there are people in this forum who are always talking about doing this.
But does it really make for an exciting game if I give up at the first sign of losing and start again from the last save point (or completely from the beginning if things have got that bad)? Is this a sign of our modern attention-span-lacking society, or is it all related to our 1st world, consumeristic, never want for anything, never tasted defeat ideology? Or am I just waffling now (it is 4:30 am and I'm still at work, chained to this PC like Ben Hur on a Roman galley)?
Regardless, I'd like to open a debate about 'cheating' and whether it is prevalent throughout Civ-gamer circles. Can you do certain things but not others? Is it all completely false and wrong to present a Civ-successful attitude when you had to cheat to do it (thus losing the respect of your peers)? Or does it all not really matter as long as you enjoy yourself (a possible hedonistic trap)?

My personal view is that if I can justify why I am reloading the game I let myself do it. For example: As I am about to crush the Babylonians beneath my feet I save the game, then if it goes pear shaped I tell myself that it was all a premonitionary dream I just had, thus avoiding the same problem. Or I tell myself that my top secret agents in the enemy capital have the same omniscient powers that the AI has and I knew about those 17 units of swordsmen all along..... you get the picture.

Anyway, whadda ya think - I'd appreciate an opinion. (I'd also like to apologise if this subject has been done to death but I'm rather new here and could not find any related issue that has been discussed previously.)
here is my take on this subject. Who cares if you cheat or not? The point is, you bought the game, playit anyway you like.The main point of the game is to enjoy it.If cheating helps you enjoy it more, then cheat, if it doesnt,then dont. Simple as that no debate.If you dont like people cheating then shutup and play your own game.It has no effect on you as its not MP,And viceversa, subject over.Play it how you like and dont tell other people how to enjoy it for them selves. I know I personaly, enjoy cheating,even with trainers at times,Other times, I enjoy just playing the hand that the civ god dealt me.I dont really give a damn if someone has a problem with how I play as I own the game. Its mine. If I wanna use the cd to set my drink on or put out a smoke on, whos to tell me different? No one. LOL. Just play it and enjoy it how you like. :lol:
I knew I 'd get that sort of answer from several people (I'm not knocking you, don't get me wrong) but as Civ plays such a big part in my life right now, I think it quite important to put it all into perspective. Sure it's a game and it's there for enjoyment, and more importantly it's my game and I can do whatever the hell I like with it. The thing is that for the past few weeks I've done little else with my life apart from play the game, and I can see it going on for longer than that. I've neglected girlfriend, mates, work and other hobbies because this damn game is like a drug. I know loads of you guys are the same so don't try and deny it either. The thing is that we have a forum for something that we all have in common - the CivIII game - and there are people communicating from all over the world in here, some of them from nations that were at war not too long ago, so to my mind it's quite an impressive sight. Antway, what I'm really trying to say is that should we cheat at the game and then boast about our exploits to our fellow gamers? That in a nutshell is that. Would you for instance expect a professional athlete to take a banned, performance-enhancing substance and then tell everone about it after he wins Olympic Gold? No, of course not as he'd be ridiculed and shunned for the rest of his life as a fraud. I'm not saying that Civ is as important as the Olympics, but it's the best analogy I could think of.
And please don't tell me to shut up, I'm brainstorming here and that's how all the best forum discussions are created - that is why the forum is here after all, and you don't have to read my posts.
Ta for responding anyway.
I see where you're comming from: You're saying are you diminishing the gaming experience by being overly reactionary to reloads.

I'd say try playing a game where you NEVER reload (except in cases where you intended to do something and forgot or you accidentally click for a unit to move to the wrong place, ect.)

Try playing through without any reloads, if you enjoy it more, do that. If not, stick to your system.

I can't think of times where I reload. Mainly it is with the spy system and when I misunderstood something about the rules, but I do that very sparingly because it takes a good 3-4 minutes just to load a game and I'm not that patient.
First, I think it'd be usefull for you to examine the distinction between a "toy" and a "game." Simply put, a toy is something you play with. You also play with a game - but there's more to it
: Winning, losing, and rules.

Is Civ3 a toy or a game?
Well, it's clearly a game... but you can play with it as if it were a toy. When you "cheat" you're tossing concerns about winning losing and the rules out the window - your just fiddling around, right? Having fun - getting that Spy into Moscow is fun. Failing and having the Russians declare war on you isn't fun....

Of course, if you cheat simply so you can win - because you want to _win_.... Well, I don't think that's especially healthy - not if you really want to tell yourself "I won."

Success rate and bragging rights: Just keep loose track of how many times you had to reload to get your win. "Hey, I won! In 1840! Wow! Of course, I had to reload, like, a hundred times to do it, but I finally did it!"

Too much cheating: If you feel guilty about it you crossed further over that toy/game line than you wanted to go. Sounds trite, but I think its true. If you're having a ball even with massive "cheating" you're enjoying Civ3 as a toy - nothing wrong with that.

Getting a bad starting position: Starting position is _very_ important. Think of it as an additional difficulty scale. (A game on Regent with a rotten starting position could easily be more challenging than a game on Emperor with a good starting position.) How challenging do you want the game to be? It isn't cheating to want to play at the difficulty level you're comfortable with. Just be honest with yourself. "I won on Emperor level... but I did have a good starting position." or "I won on Emperor level... but I did restart untill I liked the starting position."

BTW - I find I do have the most fun when I start in a poor position and have to play catch up through most of the game.

I enjoy Civ3 as game, but not as toy: I almost always quit when it looks certain I'll win.
lol we're quite different, I cant stand starting in a poor place, i always restart. Well maybe thats because i'm not that good at this game :). Or rather why im not that good at this game :lol:. But it all depends on what makes you have fun. If you find reloading more fun, go ahead and do it, i you dont then dont reload it. Its just if you do reload you dont realy have anything to brag about. Only if you can get your strategy to work without reloading do you have something to talk about, But then again thats just in my books.

And also dont worry at all about cheating, If theres anybody out there whose played games for over 3 years and says they have never cheated are quite frankly liars, I beleive that everyone who has played games quite a bit has cheated a few times. We all get PO'd from loosing and use a cheat here and there, just make sure you dont get "addicted" to cheating and giving yourself God mode. I feel if i cheat too much in some games it just becomes extremely boring, God mode in a FPS is boring as hell.
Why is saving and reloading considered a cheat in Civ 3 when it's the accepted standard tactic in many games such as FPS? Most people play those with a creep and save tactic, why should civ 3 be any different, making it somehow a cheat to do so?

I don't like save/reloading in civ 3 myself, but I couldn't care less what anyone else does in their game.
I've been known to cash in a game when I get a bad starting position, and I agree that the game is yours, do what you want.

I also like to get creative and try out mods using the editor, just to see "what if". I don't really consider that cheating, since my aim is to make things different and test them out, not to make things ridiculously easy.

I was always brought up to believe that by cheating you're only cheating yourself. And when it comes to save/reload in games like Civ, that's exactly what you're doing. You might end up beating the game on Diety, and think you're really good at the game when in reality you're not. Then one day a MP version comes out and none of your plans work because they depend on that cheat, and you get trounced. Now I don't mind getting trounced once in a while, but if I had built up a belief that I was really good and one day found out that I had been fooling myself, well that would be a pretty rude awakening and I'd feel bad.

Now I'm no total purist, and like most people I've taken the occasional mulligan in a golf game, but I never sit at the tee and hit ball after ball until I finally land a hole-in-one or a 300-yard drive up the fairway. If you've ever played a friendly game of golf, I think the analogy of mulligans ought to give you the right perspective.

Of course, these are just my thoughts. I don't expect everyone to like my style or play the way I do. It's your game do what you want. But since you asked, I'm giving you my two cents. And I don't pretend it's worth any more than that.

You poor sod, are you really playing Civ III at work at 4:30 in the morning?

I think if you're THAT dedicated to Civ III (and to work) then you deserve the luxury of saving and reloading when things go wrong.

Personally, I can't see anything wrong with re-starting if the initial position is bad. What's the point of staggering through a few hundred game years if you know you can't possibly survive? YOU are the human player, YOU paid the money for the game, without YOU, all those lying, cheating AI civ's wouldn't even exist. They OWE YOU. And for that, I would not have the slightest guilt.

I do not look at it as 'cheating' when you see something is not working and want to re load and try it again.
Who wants to keep kicking at a dead dog? If it looks like I am beat, I start a new game.
The way I look at it is that doing the occasional save and reload is a learning experience. Sometimes you have to ask "what if I did this instead?" I have saved games and then played them out in two different directions after the save, and the differing outcomes are quite illuminating.

When I first played, I just tore into the game and played, never saved. I didn't do very well. Then my friends taught me to save and reload for goody huts and I began to do better. As my skill progressed, I began to save and reload less and less. And I admit, I still do usually save and reload for goody huts. I look at it as my counterbalance to the free advances the AI gets, or the advances they'll ALL have but NONE will trade to you, etc. They have their dirty tricks, we have ours.

Using such dirty tricks can enhance the fun factor a lot. Even those like me who like this game a lot seem willing to admit that there are many tedious aspects of the game that impair the fun. So there's nothing wrong with enhancing the fun, because as previous posters say, you bought it, play it the way that makes you happy.

The important thing is use save/reload not just as a cheat, but as a teaching tool to learn how to do it "right" when you have to, such as for the eventual MP, or things like GOTM.
Re-starting at the beginning of the game is fair game in my opinion. No point in starting a game if you are in the middle of a desert (although it could be a challenge - I might try it sometime).

Also, re-loading after you've done something unintentionally is fair game too (like when I didn't change production before the end of a turn and built an improvement instead of a wonder).

Anything else, though, and I would say it is just cheating yourself. Sure, you might win easier, but I would rather have the satisfaction of knowing that it was all my own work.

I also refrain from retiring, rather than quitting, until I have contacted all the other civilisations and traded maps - it ruins the game if you know where everybody is too early.

I'm also not sure that saving and reloading actually changes a lot of things (e.g. what you get from goody huts). I seem to have read somewhere on the forums that the random number seed is fixed, and that saving and reloading doesn't change this at all once you have started a game.
Reloading for experimental purposes is not only acceptable, but encouraged.

Nevertheless, if you reload, consider the game a loss. Don't brag how you beat the game. If you restart because of a bad starting position, that's a loss too.

No guilt. Currently, these are my stats:

15 wins
1,147 incompletes
7,249 losses

(I made these stats up. I feel guilty now. :cry: )
Everyone has their own personal standards. My rules are:

1. I'll quit and restart freely on turn 1, until I get a good starting position.

2. I'll never, ever reload after that.

3. Well, okay, unless I do something REALLY boneheaded like leave a stack of 12 Artillery undefended at the end of a turn so the enemy can capture them.

If the starting position weren't so damned critical in Civ3, I'd even do away with Rule #1. But it's just no fun for me to see the other civs out-populating me to death in the ancient era. If I can't crank out cities at a competitive rate in the early game, forget it.
Ironman, the only way to play!

Well, it feels better when you win that way.
My basic opinion on cheats is do whatever you want. My more refined opinion is why cheat when so much of the game is editable? If there's something you don't like so much that you'll cheat, go ahead and fix it.

For myself, no cheats allowed.

Starting position is very important but its not critical. I find that a bad starting spot usually doesn't have an impact on whether I win or lose but how I play the game. In the desert on a flood plain? Okay, we're building settlers. In the hills with no food in sight? All righty then, we're going to have to go kick butt to fulfill our manifest destiny. By not restarting when I have a "bad" spot, I've been forced to develop a whole bunch of different strategies and it's made me a better player.

Of course there are some starts that are so bad that you WILL lose. I play those out too. I've surpised myself by hanging on to the bitter end of some and even winning an occasional one. Those are the best games I've ever played.
You can do whatever you want in sp, any NOBODY has the right to knock you. But ask yourself will you survive in a MP game.

Granted, if you use the cheats and reloads as a learning experience, nnp. It could help with playing a game in the future when youre the underdog and are able to come out on top. You may also learn when and how much to risk in a possible mp game.

So as long as you dont depend on cheating exclusively, I think its a good idea.
I understand your moral dilema as well. Just before going to war with someone, I'll almost always save the game. If it turns out I get my ass handed back to me in a hat, I do want the opporutunity to give it another try. Maybe I should have brought some of my forces back to the homeland to protect my own cities instead of forging deeper into enemy territory. Maybe I should have kept a few artilley back to soften up the counter attack before it got to my main city. As opposed to cheating, I'll convince myself that I'm developing my strategic skills. What I'll never do it is reload and then change my strategy based on knowledge I'd gained from my first attack. For instance, I attacked city one then city two, and city two had 10 artillery in it. Maybe I'll attack city two first this time and use the catured artillery against city one. That's cheating, and it's much harder to convince yourself otherwise.

As far as starting locations go, I always use the starting location I'm given. I do this because the most enjoyable game I've played to date was one where I was incredibly resource poor. My only Iron resource dried up the turn after I built a road to it. My only Saltpeter resource dried up three turns after I built a road to it. My expansion was over, with civs hemming me in on all sides. I had so much much fun playing as the underdog this game. I couldn't really defend myself properly, so whenever someone went to war with me, I'd pay all the other civs to declare war on them. I'd lose a few cities, and like clockwork, I'd see all the forces that were attacking me start to head back to defend their own territory as 6 other civs start pounding on them. I'd make peace and about 3 or 4 turns later, and the captured cities would revert back to me. I learned a ton about diplomacy that game, and used culture as my only weapon, since I was playing the Babs. I prided myself on surviving to the end of this game. I only had two cities left in 2050 (they both had about 15 riflemen and 5 artillery in them), and was last on the Histograph. The two cites were also surrounded by masses of Modern Armour from a variery of different civs, and the people in my city were all starving, but the game ended and I was still alive! In your face you stupid AI! Can't even take out some weak pathetic resource poor neighbour you've picking on for 5000 years. HA!

There's so much variety in this game and so many different strategies to follow that I think it's a shame to limit yourself by quitting too early. Losing really badly isn't much fun, but doing some damage on your way down or trying to hold on to the end can be realy entertaining.
My .02$:

Only time I ever reload is on turn one, if my settler is just in an awful spot (got middle of the desert 4 times in a row) ill reload right away wont set my guy down, nothing, Ill just quit and start a new game, Im playing my first Monarch game right now. And holding my own (barely), i did reload twice to get a decent starting postion but I wanted to at least be able to be alive longer that 20 turns to see just how much, how fast they (the AI) build. I am doing allright on this game, do i feel its trivial because i reloaded a few times to get a decent starting postion? not really, im not all that great at this game (never played either of the other two civ games) Will it still feel good to nuke them as my spaceship takes off around 1950? darn right it will. (The american's AI in this game are such a big pain, and I AM an american) Do i feel my reloading was a cheat? Not at all, my reload for a decent starting spot is very small in comparision to the one turn building of the great lib. that the americans did. Besides its MY game, MY time, and as long as im having fun with it, who cares. Just have fun and play the game the way you like
I am one of those who will start a new game rather than play a desert or jungle start. I think it is just that - starting a new game. This is vital to me now as I am trying to learn to play on regent. I have enough trouble with the level when I can at least build some cities - can't imagine doing it in one crappy city with never a hope of more. Think jungle - ain't going to happen.

In my current game, I started with great land and expanded like crazy. then the boring part set in. Move this unit here, get ready for the war Greece is going to start soon, tell this settler to irrigate and that one to mine etc.

The only saves I do are because real life keeps intruding - like sleeping. I had one save in this game at 1168 (roughly)

I put off getting back to this game because it was sooooo borrrrring. But I did go back. I continued to move units, get ready for the war Greece was going to start nauseum.

A bright spot - I found land near me that was uninhabited so I had some fun getting new cities up and running - moving defenders over etc. I got to 1370-ish (not one war to this date- anywhere) when the French started putting settlers on this new island and trying to push my borders - they were not going to be able to do it - I have the cultural lead.

Sure enough, they declared war- probably because they knew I had the only saltpeter on the island. they had boatloads of units ready. I hit the exit button. This game was too tedious to deal with pipsqueak french morons to no purpose. This was yesterday.

Today, for the first time ever, I considered restarting from my 11 68 save and playing it differently. Your post has saved me because, even as I thought about how I would do things this time- I knew it was a cheat. Sooo, I won't be cheating --thanks.

I agree that everyone has a right to play as they wish. I also think that I have the right to think less of people who re-load for an easy shot at winning. I am very impressed with the succession games. Those guys know that they are in for whatever comes and they take the lumps and the blessings as they come. You don't get that sense of victory (even in defeat) with a reload for a good goody hut.

Reminds me of an old joke. A woman speaks to a man sitting beside her at a bar. Eventually, she says to him, "Would you sleep with me for a million bucks?"

He says, "Sure"

She says, "Would you sleep with me for 20 bucks?

He says, "Of course not, what kind of man do you think I am?"

She says, "We've already established what you are, now we're just haggling over the price."

If you'll sell out for a goody hut - what won't you do and consider it a win?

I should probably restate here that I have tagged buildings (temps, libs, caths and unis for corruption reduction - I've said it elsewhere before but let's be open here. This does not give me any advantage or extra knowledge over the Ai so I consider it fair. I won't be playing any succession games or turning in any GOTM scores so no one is affected by this procedure.

You are free to do as you wish with your game but I really wouldn't brag about it - not in this forum--the standards are too high. [for which I am grateful-- I am a better payer because of the generosity and patience of the people here]
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