When Civilization was the most fun?


May 4, 2022
The reason people usually play video games is to take a break from reality and have some fun. Instead of trying to create a perfect civilization simulator, Civilization should aim to be a fun gaming experience. A lot of the fun has been lost over the years and to address this tragedy, I thought it would be a good idea to ask the forum, when was Civ most fun for you?

For me civilization was most fun in Civilization I and III.

In Civ I everything was new and thus exiting. The game was simple to learn and even the flaws of the game were fun aspect of the game in retrospect in the times when a tank could lose to a barbarian warrior. Turns did not last forever and game was lot easier to finish.

Civilization III is the previous versions on steroids. Better graphics, more snowballing and min maxing; it was a lot easier to dominate the map than it is now. The game had more depth which also negatively influences turn duration and time required to actually finish. Cities could grow beyond 40 and if you had a good start you could be driving tanks while everyone else still had swordmen. Obviously this is not ideal in terms of balance but it was fun to get these types of domination victories and it served the Hall of Fame feature well. Overall the game was more rewarding experience to play and the game recap at the end was a satisfying experience to watch through.

In Civ VI, I rarely get to end of the game anymore. After the beginning the game starts to feel like work due to turn duration and the monumental task that it is to achieve the victory condition.

Thanks for reading.
Civ2 and SMAC/X (and Colonization, though it's kind of a guilty pleasure in retrospect, because of how the game actually worked).
1-4 was the golden age. Every iteration from 1-4 got better. 5 was normal age. 6 is the dark ages.

Having said that, I’ve tried going back to civ4 and I just cant. It’s over. It was a contemporary feeling of that time. I’m just hoping they get back on track with civ7.
Civ 2, which was the first computer game I ever played - I use a Mac for all my work, so there weren't a lot of games available on the platform when I discovered Civ 2 for Mac in about 1997. I remember more than once looking up to see the sunlight coming through the window and realizing I had stayed up all night - one more turn, indeed! Civs 3 to 6 all had their moments, but none have matched that original wonderous immersion.

SMAC, because the backstory was so well done and interacted so well with game events that the game seemed always fresh, even when I played the same faction a second, third, or more times. I still think it is the standard against which all science-fiction-based games should be measured, and none since have measured up.
Outta all of them I think civ 4 could've been great because it brought back everyone from civ 1 2 and 3 in 3d graphics for the first time. That used to be big particularly when the expansions came out. Colonization and San salvador was cool too 😎
Civ I, obviously, because it was something completely new for me back then. It was one of the first PC Games I played, and my first proper strategy game. As a history buff I just could not get enough of that game - exploring the world, building my own civilization, making alternative history felt incredible. Civ 2 did all of that better, granted, but I had the most fun in Civ 1.

I had the least fun in Civ4 - by the time it was released the concept of a stack of doom was just too simplistic, too anachronistic. It spoiled the game for me, and my fun.
2 was the best for me. This got me thinking about why that is. Ultimately I think it comes down to sandbox vs theme park game design. By sandbox I mean the player has far more control over what happens in the game and by theme park I mean the game design actively pushes players to certain outcomes.

In 1 and 2 the player largely had complete autonomy. Civ choices were strictly for RP. The game's rules were relatively simplistic. 3 started adding a few things that pushed back on this, like UUs and some measures to combat the most overpowered strategies, but it was largely still pure sandbox. 4 was when the more open-ended nature of the game started going away. They added leader traits which meant the way your playthrough was going to feel was already strongly influenced before the map even loaded. They also started adding a bunch of rules to combat the dominant player strategies. 5 is when it really got out of hand for me. Civs bonuses became quite strong and unique, making your pre-game decisions weigh heavily on everything. Playing wide instead of tall was basically removed from the game for all intents and purposes until many patches in and even then it was still not really viable. It basically felt like the game designers were predetermining what gameplay would feel like for the player. It was as though they were saying "you must play tall, and how you do that is based on what civ you pick." 6, fortunately, relaxed many of the gameplay restrictions of 5, but the civ/leader abilities got even more out of hand.

Because the civ powers are so strong and unique, you almost feel compelled to play a certain way based on your civ choice. I am not at all opposed to there being strong, unique, fun things that "break the game." I just think those are best left to things like wonders and government choices within the game. For example, I really like the idea behind Eleanor's ability. Loyalty flipping just seems fun to me. Getting cities and wiping players out without declaring war. That's cool. What I don't like is having to play as Eleanor and commit to that strategy before I even load the map. I would much prefer being able to play as whoever, see how the game is playing out, and then commit to it if it seems viable. If I could get all that loyalty pressure from a combination of wonders and other stuff instead of just from being Eleanor, then it would feel like I was being rewarded for playing the game cleverly instead of feeling like I just did what the civ bonus told me to do.
I started with Civ I - my faves are Civ II, V, and VI. I was on a Prodigy "room" for early Civ, likely in 1993? A bit of community feel. Civ IV Beyond the Sword was pretty great. I lurked here forever, then once Civ V matured a number of people started creating Deity challenges - so I finally joined the site. That was in some ways the most fun I had. Acken's mods made a world of difference. (BTW, you absolutely can play Wide in V, I did it often on Deity and never lost.)

I think VI is my favorite in the series, which is saying something being as it's horribly flawed in a multitude of ways. I've only finished the game 2x, I think. But there are so many interesting ways to play the first 120 turns or whatever - I never get bored with experimenting. Once again, an unpaid modder, Gedemon, made the game super great with YnAMP. Many, many other mods are must-haves for me. Tons of customization possible!
Never played Civ 1. Started on Civ2 for me. And for me the answer is Civ2, Civ 4, and Civ 6. Honestly loved all 3 games. Only thing I didn't like about Civ2 was the Test of Time expansion, it just wasn't for me.
Never played Civ 1. Started on Civ2 for me. And for me the answer is Civ2, Civ 4, and Civ 6. Honestly loved all 3 games. Only thing I didn't like about Civ2 was the Test of Time expansion, it just wasn't for me.
The Test of Time immensely expanded the horizons of Civ2. I can't imagine what would be a negative about it.
I loved Civ II, especially the WWII scenario, it was sooo fun.

Civ IV was good at the end too, as I recall.

Civ VI has been a blast, especially due to YnAMP, the Modder needs to be chief designer of Civ VII!
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