Tag Archives: Sid Meier

The Best Hangover Game – Civ4

A while ago, the Guardian’s Games Blog did a piece on the best videogames to play when hungover. I rather disagree with some of the selections: the vivid colour pallet and slightly unwieldy controls in the Nintendo DS remake of Super Mario 64 make it a rather distressing experience when you are trying to hide from the infernal daystar. On the other hand, space-goth styled Eve Online needs too much number crunching and carries a high risk of losing your valuable in-game ship to player pirates if you don’t pay attention. Much to my distress, the brilliant Harvest Moon series of farming simulators has been concentrated on the GameCube, Wii and DS for the last seven or eight years, preventing me from using them as a hangover cure without investing in a new console.

I don’t begrudge these selection though. I’ve played all three games and enjoyed them and I understand why they often feature amongst people’s favourite games. My problem with the Guardian article is the omission of what is possibly the best game to play when you are hungover: Sid Meier’s Civilization IV

Civ 4 is a good game at the best of times, with the addition of it’s expansions – Warlords and Beyond the Sword  – it is an excellent game. It takes a number of features which were introduced in Civilization 3, but which didn’t work well as well as they should have – such as culture, borders and resources required to build units – and refined them. It also re-examined a number of the best features of Civilization 2, a game which regularly features highly on lists of the best video games of all time, and improved them, making managing individual cities far more interesting and some much needed personality to diplomacy. Civ 4 also a certain something over the more recent Civilization 5, although it’s hard to nail down exactly what “it” is.

What makes Civ 4 an excellent game for dealing with the morning after is its sheer simplicity. The game can be controlled using only the mouse and the screens feature clear menus and text, allowing you to slouch away from the screen to your heart’s content. Aspects that you don’t feel like dealing with, such as building roads, micro-managing cities or planning tech research can be semi-automated, allowing you to concentrate on your favourite aspects. If you are feeling particularly delicate, you can even turn off features such as the barbarian invasions to make the game easier (although it’s more fun to desperately rush the building of the Great Wall to prevent the barbarians getting near your cities).

With a random map, Marathon game speed (giving you 1,500 turns to complete the game) and playing against 11 other civilisations, a game can go on for most of a day. This should be more then enough time to either win a technology victory or to shake off the hangover, whichever comes first. The time flies past as you start to plan ahead and wait for your resources to accrue, only to have a neighbouring civilisation take over the iron resource node that you so desperately needed to build Swordsmen so you can take over their cities. You will feel accomplished when a carefully crafted military strategy works out and or when an opposing civilisation’s city swears allegiance to you on the basis of your advanced culture. You will find yourself muttering “One more turn…” as you forget about how bad your stomach feels, which is exactly why Civ 4 is the best game to play when hungover.

On Steam, £15 will buy you copies of Civ 4, the expansions and the remake of Colonization in the Civ 4 engine for both Mac and PC. An absolute bargin for hundreds of hours of gameplay.

The Quotes of the Civilization V Debut Trailer

Looking at the feedback which is appearing around the internet, it seems that people are questioning whether or not the quotes in the debut trailer for Civilization V are real.

I am happy to confirm that all of them are real and listed below for your contextual pleasure, but first lets recap the trailer itself, courtesy of Machinima.

In order, the quotes are:

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance.
Jawaharlal Nehru

Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India and is considered one of the greatest Indian statesman. Along with Mahatma Gandhi, he is considered one of the architects of free India. Members of his family are still active in Indian Politics.

The second quote is from a speech by General Douglas MacArthur. It is slightly altered from the original. The full quote reads thusly:

Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.

Douglas MacArthur was a five star US General, credited with masterminding some of the most significant victories in World War Two. He was also the American commander during the rebuilding of Japan from 1945 to 1950.

The third quote is the only one which is from ancient history. It is attributed to the the Athenian general Themistocles, who defeated two Persian invasions but eventually became a tyrant. The quote originates from Plutarch’s biography of the general:

I never learned how to tune a harp, or play upon a lute; but I know how to raise a small and inconsiderable city to glory and greatness.

Quote number four is from Otto Von Bismarck. A German aristocrat, Bismarck was responsible for uniting nearly 20 different kingdoms to create the Second German Empire. He is still regarded as a great statesman, not least for his use of realpolitik – the idea that political decisions should be taken on a practical rather then ideological basis.

Not by speeches and votes of the majority, are the great questions of the time decided — that was the error of 1848 and 1849 — but by iron and blood.

The penultimate quote is from Mao Zedong. Better known as Chairman Mao, he led a largely successful but bloody uprising in China which led to the country which we know today. While the quote specifically refers to Chinese communism, it is equally applicable to any mass movement.

I have witnessed the tremendous energy of the masses. On this foundation it is possible to accomplish any task whatsoever.

The final quote is from Eleanor Roosevelt. Despite often being overshadowed by her husband’s reputation, Roosevelt was a diplomat and activist in her own right, campaigning for human rights and specifically the rights of women and children. The UN Declaration of Human Rights is often specifically credited to her.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Civilization V is due out in Autumn 2010.