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I had to laugh

Discussion in 'Civ1 - General Discussions' started by Blinking Joy, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. Blinking Joy

    Blinking Joy Chieftain

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
    Messages:
    38
    Location:
    Babylon
    I was browsing around, hoping to find a copy of the original civ.dos -- I would LOVE to play it again, it's been years -- and I came across this review that got me laughing.

    Even though this guy slams the game, he isn't saying anything untrue. It's all a matter of perspective: what he finds infuriating, I found hilarious and adorable.

    He wrote:

    Absurd, utterly absurd. I realized that when I was building a space ship and a Zulu diplomat stole the technology and the Zulus started building their own spaceship. Now in this game, when a civilization gets wiped out, another one often pops up in the form of a settlers' unit, which builds a city, and starts again from scratch. The Zulus were one of these newborn nations. They hadn't discovered anything much beyond chariots and they set about building a space ship! I was also pretty miffed once when I attacked a Barbarian diplomat with my tanks, and got zapped out of existence. That is when I stopped playing, to take a long hard look at the game and to write myself a saved-game editor allowing me to modify the properties of military units and the contents of cities. In the process I discovered what a mess the coding was. It was like digging middens in an archaeological site, uncovering layers upon layers of rubbish. But, once finished, I then could price diplomats right out of anyone's reach, and make movement a bit more realistic. Still I could not knock any sense into combat rules, that is, short of disassembling CIV.EXE, I imagine, and rewriting the mess.

    Combat is as unrealistic as the rules of chess compared to real war. There is only one possible outcome to each engagement with an enemy unit: total annihilation of him, or of you. No attrition, no morale, nothing. And you can only attack a unit on an adjacent square, even with artillery, even with a battleship. Now have a battleship attack an enemy phalanx. Your battleship, the most powerful unit in the game, stands a chance of getting zapped out of existence by the phalanx. And with what weapons would that be, pretty please, javelins?

    The so-called AI is nothing but cheating, cheating, and more cheating. Have you ever tried to build a Wonder, say, the Pyramids, or the Hanging Gardens? Suspiciously often another civilization will beat you to it, just before you succeed. And all out of thin air. Just hit %^ to reveal the map and you'll see. They just didn't have the production capacity by far, but they still managed to build that Wonder. The only way you can hope to beat those cheats is to build caravans, caravans, and caravans, and keep them stored away until you have enough to build your Wonder in one single turn so as not to give your hand away.

    Speaking of caravans, have you ever seen an enemy caravan roaming the map? Of course not. But when you take over their cities, by battle or, better, by subverting them, you will see trade routes to here, there and everywhere bringing in good money. YOU have to build caravans and send them under military escort to distant cities, THEY just conjure them out of thin air and teleport them.

    Diplomacy? There is no diplomacy. Blackmail and intimidation, yes, but you cannot strike an alliance with another civilization. Oh sure, you can ask the Romans to attack the Babylonians. They will want payment up front, and then they will do nothing at all. And once you have sworn eternal friendship (sic) with, say, the Russians, they will turn against you at the drop of a hat. Which is whenever your coffers are full enough to make blackmail a going proposition. As for striking an alliance against a common enemy, forget it: there is no way it can be done. Soon you learn your lesson, which is (spoiler ahead): once you are a Republic or a Democracy, always refuse to talk to foreign delegates--otherwise the Senate will force you to sign a peace treaty and then forbid you to sabotage their cities and steal their technologies. And just before you become a Republic or a Democracy, don't forget to declare war on everybody you are at peace with.

    Movement? Movement is ridiculous. In the early stages one turn is equal to twenty years of calendar time, so that it takes a phalanx about 400 years to go from Rome to Moscow. Yes, dem soldiers were long-lived in dem days. How long would Alexander's conquests have taken? And Xenophon's march? Something like 2000 years I guess.

    Scoring. Starry-eyed me played his first few games trying to shower his citizens with goodies, and got rewarded with defeat and a Dan Quayle rating. Oh yes, building Wonders and keeping citizens happy does count towards the final score, but not as much, by a very very long sight, as destroying other civilizations. Once I had figured that out, I managed to end up regularly with top marks, having destroyed ten civilizations, sometimes eleven. "Civilization"? This should have been called "Thuggery and Savagery".


    The Bottom Line [of Civ I]: Search me. The more I think about it, the less I understand. Yes, it is addictive, but, as I have already written, so is crack. I suppose that outsmarting the cheating, brain-dead AI might be what makes it attractive to many. I had a good belly laugh when, having priced diplomats at 200gp, I started "building" one, immediately "bought" it, and found myself credited with 1752gp. A great way of making money. There are many more such gems, such as when you discover the trick for opening a mine in just one turn, instead of five. But in the end, it's a bit like playing chess against a ******** five-year old.
     
  2. Gundus

    Gundus Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Norway
    Oh my!

    "Starry-eyed gamer ends up with Dan Quayle rating"
    This is too funny!
     
  3. akTed

    akTed Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2015
    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Anchorage
    While I didn't fully read the actual review, I skimmed it and Blinking Joy's excerpt appears accurate. Here's the link to the full review on Moby Games.

    If that link goes dead, hopefully this one at the Wayback Machine does not.
     
  4. akTed

    akTed Chieftain

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Anchorage
    Oh, yeah. The reviewer mentions paying $99.99 for it...was it EVER that price, retail, anywhere? While the review was written in 2004, it doesn't mention when he purchased it.
     
  5. GoldBerg

    GoldBerg CivDosPlayer of '91

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    I did live in an expensive end of the world and in ~1992 it surely did cost the amount of $99 / USD '99' (or even more, like '120', back in that year).
    A standard 1991 PC did cost $3000 here (or much more a year before).
    386, 66MHz, 640kB, Tseng (VGA), DOS or WIN 3.1 ... that was the beginning in IBMworld, before "HomePC-Multimedia" was born.
    'Gaming' with an office device, a PC, ...oh wow.

    I bought an Amiga already in 1988, so no game was a problem those days,

    but 'build me' that IBM 386 / 66MHz, with 640kB, and Tseng graphics
    for testing purposes sometime in the 90s (when that still well-working hardware 'was thrown away' by it's owners...).
     
  6. kirkham7

    kirkham7 Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    288
    Location:
    Hayward, CA
    I still remember when I got civ for the first time. A family friend built our computer and then installed civ on it. I can't remember if it was a 286 or a 386, but those were good times. In fact I used to get boxes of computer parts for free and fix up (or upgrade) my computer.
     
  7. Renergy

    Renergy Warlord

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    Nov 2, 2010
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    197
    Location:
    Czech Republic
    386/66MHz? There was no such thing. There was 386/33MHz (~1991), usually with 2-4MB RAM, later amd386/40MHz (~1992) 4MB RAM, then 486/66MHz/8MB RAM was popular setup (~1994)
     
  8. GoldBerg

    GoldBerg CivDosPlayer of '91

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    i don't know, i don't care.
    ...it's just debris from my humble memory.


    the point of my entry was another one anyway: the costs back in the days to play this game back in 1991 on a proper pc.
    so f.e. the cheaper commodore amigas and civ amiga version were the 'way to go' (in my part of the world).
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016

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