Why are you playing civ 3 after all these years?


Apr 2, 2013
Oklahoma City
I remembered the comment, and I also was not denouncing that opinion about game complexity, either. Just saying that if you do already have those features in the game which you happen to dislike, it's not the UI's fault for representing them faithfully.


Oct 21, 2004
Chelsea, MI
Disclaimer: I rarely use mods. I play C3C from Steam (so it will work easily on my Win10 PC) and I use the BUG mod from this site for Civ4 BTS. I can't comment on Flintlock, CCM, or Realism Invictus.

Part of the appeal of Civ3 / C3C for me is indeed the streamlined nature. Key game mechanics have depth -- sliders, worker improvements, prebuilds -- without overwhelming complexity. Part of the appeal of Civ4 / BTS is the additional complexity they have added, bringing up so many interesting decisions. Which GP to produce, which religion to pursue, when to change civics, when to whip. The user interface for BTS, especially with BUG, facilitates these multi-faceted decisions.

While I appreciate Sid Meier's original design decisions to make the game tighter and smaller -- and see those design traits in C3C -- I also appreciate Soren's design decisions to add richness to aspects of the game. My taste/preference favors richness from time to time. My taste also favors streamlined, simpler when my real life has been tough and I don't have the mental energy to engage with BTS.


Jul 10, 2006
Chicago area in Illinois
I start playing Civ3 in the Vanilla version with the Atari disk on my iMac. I discovered this website in 2006 and promptly join. After battling with the very buggy editor on the Atari, I went to the dark side and bought a surplus Windows Laptop from my son' school. I have been playing and editing ever since. I was less than impressed with the initial release of Civ4. I play for fun, and Civ3 in its various versions, Play the World and Conquests, supplies that in abundance. I also edit like mad, if you check out the Creation and Customization forum. I have even used the game for teaching purposes. I simply love the game, even with the restriction on the number of strategic and luxury resources. That challenges my out of the box thinking. And the Test of Time scenario for Play the World has DINOSAURS! That really gets my creative juices flowing. Here come the T-Rex to eat your settler. Beware the Israeli Triceratops cavalry. Great fun, even if on a regular basis my creations come back to bite me, hard.


Nov 10, 2016
Here's the reason (at least in my opinion) why Civ 3 works and Civ 5 and Civ 6 don't:

Civ 3 knew what it was and didn't overextend itself with radical changes to gameplay. Basically, at its core Civilization is a chess type game with a veneer of history plastered over it. In short, it's a war game (albeit with some peaceful victory conditions thrown in for variety). Whereas Civ 5 and 6 tried to be more than that by tacking on gameplay mechanics regardless of whether or not it benefits the over all gameplay and it suffered for it.

Zombie Horde

Sep 16, 2022
I have all the civs available on steam and civ2 for ps1 and civ3 ultimate on disc, but have not played civ 3 for a while literally a decade i think but it was, in its day my GOTY for many years.
I have just recently bought civ 4 after playing 5 and 6 for a year or so, not sure why 4 passed me by at the time but 3 kids may have something to do with it (2008 onwards were my progeny years) and i think i stupidly listened to others who said 4 was not very good and just a civ 3 rehash, how wrong they and i were.

I still think 3 is a golden game but 4 looks to have all the charm and goodness of 3, but i will have a civ 3 session again soon if only for nostalgia.


Nov 16, 2011
Still playing Civ III 'cuz it resonates with certain inexplicable fibers of my being. Love the combat animations and how combat works despite RNG gripes. Civ IV not so much; agree with Civinator in that it overwhelms me with unnecessary complexity. Never played any later editions; one look at the graphics and 1UPT simply turned me off. And that's my totally subjective opinion. Cheers!


Feb 7, 2010
I play Civ 3 because I find it to be the most fun and the most accessible for modding. For un-modded games, it is the most balanced of the series and offers the proper amount of strategic choices. In terms of modding, the types of games I make or like to play would quite simply be impossible for any other entry to the series.

The first two games I got to try thanks to good friends who allowed me to play on their computers. Unfortunately when Civ 3 came out I was sidetracked for a while by work-related distractions. By the time I got to dig into it, Conquests was already out and Civ 4 was on the way. I had many gripes with Civ 4 which I will now describe in nauseating detail. If you're easily upset you may wish to skip this section because I intend to treat civ 4 like Anderson Silva treated Vitor Belfort's face.

Spoiler :

Civ 4 is hideously ugly. When I first tried it, I had to check my hardware because there was no way the leaderheads could actually be so much worse than Civ 3. It achieved a rare state of having terrible unit graphics on vomitous terrain, surrounded by an atrocious interface that is slathered with useless information. This is before you check the city and are treated to yuck faces, minecraft hammers, and a claustrophobic display that makes you feel like you are in Buffalo Bill's dungeon. Let's not forget the amazing Civilopedia: as Civinator described it is filled with nonsense and has children's illustrations in tiny boxes. I enjoy such classics as this guy, who looks distraught because Dr. Venkman gave him too many shocks.



Or the incredible attention to detail on the wonders that blows away civ 3.



Ok, maybe it's an ugly duckling but inside inside a beautiful swan is waiting to come out. Civ 4 did add some new features which I enjoyed. I liked the idea of policies that you could change, although I thought they would have worked better in conjunction with governments instead of in place of them. The addition of resource-specific on-the-map tile improvements was a good feature. Rolling over production was fine. The health feature was a tolerable alternative to pollution. And everybody likes Nimoy. Some of these features, however, were a double-edged sword. Religions were a good idea, but their implementation was clunky. There was too much emphasis on the bonuses that come with founding a religion, and the evangelical mechanics are raw. Diplomacy got an upgrade from Civ III but still left much to be desired. And many minor details detracted from the game.

My biggest beefs with the game are the atrocious city-founding mechanics that were intended to limit expansion, the horrendous combat that made me avoid wars at all costs, and the old trap of thinking that more content equals more strategic choice. First, the cities. The manual explains how they wanted to get away from the huge empires of the early games, and find a replacement for the corruption system. Fine, ok, got it. So their plan was to make it so every new city you create sends your treasury into the ditch. Founding religions and other distractions are necessary just to have enough money to create more cities. Remember in history when nomadic peoples wanted to move to new regions with better resources, but couldn't because their treasury was running low? So the series went from "100 cities is a bit much" to "Five cities will crash your economy". Forget trying to compete for contentious middle ground. Never mind early wars and seizing critical areas. Remember in history when Alexander was like, "I'd like to conquer the known world, but our treasury is running low and only 16 more turns to Ceremonial Burial"?

So the King of Fun took our expansion phase away, and then gave us the most ignorant combat system imaginable. Nothing like ancient catapults that launch DPICM submunitions and weaken whole stacks of "Axemen". Better get those winged horsemen to ride 'round the Anglish and FLANK them. Rock, paper, scissors sucks and everyone over age 7 knows this. So, the big plan to remove stacks of doom instead gave us stacks of Macemen with redundant and pointless promotions, wandering all over creation. Don't forget exciting new additions like the SAM missileer, and the stealth destroyer! I never wanted Civ to be a wargame, but neither did I want it to be a goofy circus.

Third is the plethora of nonsense infused in the game. Endless buildings and wonders await you, most without purpose or meaning. You're supposed to pick and choose, according to Firaxis, but instead of coming up with a nice system of specialization (even a simplified one like in Total War), you instead have to wade through piles of trash to see what to build. This can be added to byzantine labyrinth of the tech tree, which looks like a flow chart for dealing with a nuclear meltdown. This is just my preference, but the game made the decision to allow multiple paths and the ability to skip around the tree. They deliberately wanted to blur the lines between eras, which is the opposite of what I was looking for in the series. This approach worked nicely in Civ Revolution because that's a casual game. But in the main series it makes history into a soup sandwich. Sometimes I would discover riflemen only to realize that I had skipped musketmen and about 300 years of development. Half the trash in the tree never got used, because it was useless. Instead of the tech tree propelling the narrative of the game, it felt like a morass that even Nimoy couldn't save.

The end result was a game that was an endless, frustrating slog. It was ugly, and irritating, and unrewarding. The music sucks. Using disconnected classical music is not good game design, and the post-modern discomfort music makes you want to end the nightmare as soon as possible. The game fails to communicate critical information clearly and effectively. That's one area I really enjoyed in Civ 5, where the care given to the gorgeous interface and music helped move the game along. Better than trying Civ 4 diplomacy with plenty of options to make sure you don't miss any important details!

So immersive.png

OK, enough ranting against 4. Suffice to say it felt like such a breath of fresh air to come back to 3, with its simple tech tree, clean map, pleasant and informative graphics and sound. There are things I liked about 5, especially the polish given to graphics and sound which had never been a priority for the series. Civ 5's shortcomings are pretty well known and its modding suite is like trying to read hieroglyphics. Civ Revolution was also a fun aside that I played with friends who didn't play computer games. I never tried 6.

So that left Civ 3. It's still fun, and has tremendous modding potential and a slew of great mods from lightweight to fantastical. The full game, whether modded or unmodded, feels appropriately epic and strategic without drowning in detail. Plus there's a great crew on the site here still. With the Flintlock exe and the development of Civ 7 there's plenty of new possibilites on the horizon. So, that's why I'm still here.
Top Bottom