I have spoken - thoughts on Civ5


Give it a tumble, sport
Apr 18, 2002
Having completed my first game of Civ5, the following thoughts come to mind.

Hextiles - EPIC WIN.

I don't see how this is even debatable. This has been discussed as far back as Civ2, the need for the hex. It has arrived. It is overdue. It is welcome. And it is wonderful.

Expanded City Radius - WIN.

Combined with the hextiles, I love the new radius. Buying tiles is also a nice feature, to get that one tile with the goods you want. Also gives you flexibility in city placement that I just love.

Roads - EPIC WIN.

Finally, we are free at last from the road spaghetti. Since the very first CIV maps were covered with roads and rails to every tile, I have long argued that roads should be for transport only, with a mechanism to limit the extent to which the AI wants to spam them. Civ:CTP had a decent way about it, and now, it seems all of our prayers have been answered - roads connect cities and allow unit transport, but give no bonus, and have an active deterrent to just slathering the map with them. The map looks like our maps. Roads connect places, they don't exist simply because one wasn't there before...

City Demands - WIN.

LOVE some old school tribute. For those who never played it, Civ1/2 would have a city demand, where that city wanted a good, and delivering it meant BONUS. Nice to see it here.

City Combat - WIN.

Like this. No longer have to sit and watch your city get pummeled by a frigate with impunity. I think this was handled very well. You come in range, and we will reach out and touch someone.

Unit combat - WIN.

I like how it's handled. Yes, it's just one game, and I might find flaws later, but I enjoy the notion that an engagement can end with two wounded units, instead of the Thunderdome model of two men enter, one man leaves. I never got the sense of Spearman vs. Tank, and I also didn't get the sense I always did in Civ4 where 33% really wasn't one chance in three - the Civ4 engine always struck me as a random streak generator. So far, I like what I am seeing. I have always preferred the Civ2 combat model, and this strikes me as closest, but with advantages that, at first blush, make it my fave. Of course, I wiped out everyone with Legions so never got to see the advanced age, and reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks...

City-states - WIN.

I like them. But they are a mile wide and an inch deep right now. There is gold to be mined in the concept, but right now it's not particularly elegant.

Great generals - WIN.

Not epic mind you, but win. I've always thought the best way to handle a general was a bonus based on proximity. They've done it. BUT, I have liked the notion since Civ3 of attached a general to a unit to move as one. And now you can't. Let's talk pain in the butt trying to keep these all together, and oh look, a worker, apparently one man can't share a tile with a gang of workers. But that's a stacking issue (see below).

Transporting troops - WIN.

This is close, because I do like the concept of transport ships, but putting your troops on the water for embarkation, and watching a huge swath of sails head to Troy looks pretty great! I actually waited thirty or so turns trying to research techs to get a transport ship, before going to the unit list and determining that... there are no transport ships. Those legions sitting on the coast just need to hop in their dinghy and set sail for foreign lands! This might change in more modern times, but building transports does seem superfluous and an extra step compared to this. I vote win.

Civics out, policies in - STALEMATE.

This one is sorta iffy. Like the increased breadth of the new policies, but worry that over repeated gameplay, it might feel too locked in. SMAC got this right fellas, why are we reinventing a square wheel?

Interface - STALEMATE.

This interface reminds me of Civ:CTP. Which is good, in some ways. In some ways - not so much. Not sure I like the city interface. As many have noticed, the whole look/feel seems very console to me. Having been playing with Civ4 and the Better BUG AI, I am used to a wealth of information, accessible immediately, to help me make decisions. Sure, it's new, and I might find it easier with time, but for the life of me it seems that all the things that set Civ apart from console gaming is hidden from me.

Random events - FAIL.

Did I miss something? Played until the early 1500's but didn't get nearly the same sense of world occurrences that I did under Civ4. In fact none spring to mind at all. Now, mind you Civ4 did have some pretty ******ed things - it seems every other turn a plane full of people are crashing creating some event and making me wonder why anyone would fly anywhere at that rate. But my game seemed devoid of those interesting things that happened, quests and the such. And no, building something for a city-state isn't interesting.

Unit stack of 1 - FAIL.

Can't go with you on the train to crazytown with all this love of a stack of 1. It is tedious to deal with. A limit of 2, or up to 4, makes good sense. Unlimited stacks do not make sense. I have a few posts on Civ4 and stacks. But this is the opposite extreme. Is there a way we can meet somewhere in the middle, rather than the binary choice of all or one? Allowing a small stack allows you to protect wounded units, move units in an easier way, and a create a combined arms approach. Sad that after decades, Civ still loses out in combat concept to Civ:CTP.

Rivers - EPIC FAIL.

How did this get past quality control? No excuse for such graphical flaws considering the amount of time spent trying to prettify the map.

Diplomacy - FAIL.

I don't get anywhere near the rich sense of diplomacy as I did in previous Civs. Again, after one game you've likely not tapped into everything, but I just don't feel diplomacy matters near enough in this game.

Overall - WIN.

Overall, I think there are the very, VERY rough edges of a gem here. Many are smoother than Civ4's initial edges, plagued by horrific crashes and game enders that really frustrated me early on. My hope is that as they move forward, some of these changes are done so in a way to address concerns of those who want changes, and maybe leave the option there to keep it - say, allow stacked combat checkbox, that kind of thing. Civ4 ended up with that very nicely - disallow culture flop for conquest, disable tech brokering, etc. Hopes are high.
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