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Civilization V - my little epic journey

Disclaimer: The following is written by an opinionated oaf and should not be taken particularly seriously. If you get offended, it's your own fault for reading it and taking shit seriously. No facts were considered, opinions withheld, spelling checked, and certainly no proof reading occured. Read at your own risk.


It started with Humble Bundle which, at the second tier, contained Civilization 3, 4 and 5. With my reactions getting slower as I’m getting older, I really fancied a slow, turn based game. A quick Google later and I’m reading that Civ V needs all the expansion packs to be “really good”, and you can’t buy them all these days unless you get the Complete Edition. Another Google and I’ve found the Civ V Complete Edition for sale for much the same price as the Humble Bundle.


I like Humble Bundles, I buy quite a few, but why add to the mountain of unplayed games? I decided to get Civ V The Complete Edition.


27 minutes into my first game, and I’m in a tutorial and pottering along quite nicely. Andy, a long term Civ player, jokes that he hasn’t even decided where to settle after 27 minutes. I figure I know the game by now (haha), so decide to go it alone.


Where to start? Via Steam Workshop I download a bunch of Earth maps, because, well, I want to play a large game. The whole world. Difficulty, I have no idea but I want a challenge, so I randomly whack it on Hard / King level. 5 out of 8, which according to the blurb onscreen gives the AI some advantages - I’m guessing not smarter so much as probably more powerful units, maybe some kind of combat multipliers, cheaper units to buy? I didn’t want to make it stupid hard, I wanted to have some fun!



Rule Britannia and all that I selected Elizabeth, and had…. maybe 15 other civs in the world? I assumed I’d start off in England but I began my campaign in South America. I didn’t know it was South America when I started, as you can’t see much of the map initially. I put my Settlers down, founded London, and away I went.


I'm the red circle with white dot in it pretty much exactly where Rio is IRL.



The early game was mainly exploring, grabbing any relic tiles I saw for the bonuses. The game moves at a sedate pace and technological advances are slow. I met a couple of city states, founded a few more cities, and soon realised I had all of South America to myself - no other civs, just 3 city states.


As things went on I really needed to solidify my position as the civ in this location and I was in a land grab mood, so I took the central based city state in the area - they weren’t too keen on my anyway, and the other 2 city states were providing nice trade routes so I decided to leave them alone. I placed various settlements around the area and added roads when I could. Remember, I had no idea what I was doing, so I was grabbing land and putting settlements near resources I thought I’d need. You have to adopt social policies, so again I was just randomly choosing them - this would prove a hurdle later in the game, I really should have read up on them first!





The first civ I found was based in the Mexican region of the Earth map, and were Shoshone, a Native American Indian civilisation. Very friendly, we agreed open borders and throughout the game, I had a great relationship with their leader, Pocatello. He’s a great game to trade with.


“Relationships”? In a game? Well, it’s interesting. The game is about building relationships with city states and other civs. The next civ I met were the Celts. Now, maybe it’s because the game has some hard code in there, but for no reason whatsoever, the Celt leader Boudicca did not like me from the start. Total disdain….


As I started to explore and then put a Settlement down in North America, I ran into Boudicca. Blimey, was she grumpy! Immediate distrust, warning me away. From the outset it was clear this was only going to end one way.


I explored North America a bit further. The Celts has the northern area, and the Chinese were on the east. I had a tiny settlement on the west coast, so set about expanding a bit further, but both threatened me.


By this time I had a few tech advances so looked to defend myself. I built some catapults. Just in case. I wanted to play peaceful, to be a diplomat.


Then Boudicca sent some Missionaries into one of my cities and spread their religion, threatening to undermine the city. What would the outcome be? Would the city defect over? I had no idea.


The next Missionary who stumbled into my area, I attacked. I didn’t mean to, I thought moving my troops on to their hex would, well, dissuade them from continuing their propaganda. Nope, my troops attacked and that was that. Boudica declared war.


I send my siege weapons and troops into Celt territory. It took a while to work out just what I was doing, but by sheer force and numbers, I took Edinburgh, their capital. This was interesting. Previously I’d not played any attention to the Happiness number for my population, but taking a city by force made it plummet. I now had an Unhappy population…. that’s ok, right?





With the first city conquered, I decided to keep my advance going. A few more cities fell and I was happy to call it quits, when Boudicca approached me for a Peace Treaty. She offered me a few cities in exchange, which I figured I may as well have. It left her with one, all the way at the top of the map, and I had a huge amount of Unhappiness.


The war was over, but my Population were Unhappy, and the amount of cities I was holding on to through force took it’s toll. Production was down, population growth was stunted. I had no money!


Then things got really bad. From what I can gather, an Unknown Civ had been advancing technologically quicker than me and had invented Radio? I’m not sure to be honest, but suddenly all civs were introducing themselves to me, and around that time I needed to choose an Ideology.


So I randomly picked one, because, well, I’d not read anything.


Unhappiness climbed to over 30. Suddenly I had enemy forces (ie Rebels) spawning my territory around London, destroying all the tile improvements I’d made. We were descending into anarchy.


I looked into the Unhappiness and realised I could change Ideologies, which helped, but a few turns later the Population wanted to go back to the one I started with. It was getting messy.



I lost a city that revolted, I took it back but China were getting rowdy. The single city state in the north of the country and I were on good terms and trading. I pledged to protect them. Then China declared war with them, forcing my hand to attack their cities. It took all my troops, improved siege weapons and boats, but I obliterated the enemy, forcing them out of North America entirely.





Then my biggest threat grew. Far off in Africa and spreading out all through Australia, was Ramkhamhaeng from Siam. He had amassed a lot of influence with city states and when the World Congress formed, Siam had a huge amount of votes and were bossing everyone.


It was now I looked into winning conditions. I’d not been worried about “winning” the game. During the first few thousand years I was happy to just expand and advance my technologies. Now, the world was a much larger place, time was marching on, I was invested in my civ and my little empire and, well, I didn’t want to lose.


Siam gained influence over 2 of the 3 friendly city states near me and I’m not sure how it happened, but they went to war against me! I have no idea, they both declared war on me at the same time. So, well, I attacked and took their cities. I felt bad doing it, and it left me with just one city state as an ally. More importantly in the view of the World Leaders, I seemed to be getting a bit of a bad reputation. Only Pocatello was sticking with me.





War meant more Unhappiness, occupying cities meant more Unhappiness. Things were bleak, but the never ending appearing of Rebels in my territory was giving me a chance to level up my military units.


I started building more of a fleet, then an amada. We were getting near game end, which is the year 2050, and I needed a plan. There are varying Victory Conditions and some were just not achievable - I wasn’t going to get to the Moon first as my tech was way behind both Siam and India. I couldn’t Occupy all capitals of the world because the map was too big. I couldn’t get an Ideology victory as I’d dismissed Culture for most of the game. If we got to the year 2050 I was on track to win by having more Points than everyone else, but I knew Siam and India were in a space race and I didn’t think the game would last the long. The other Victory Condition was being voted World Leader by the World Congress. Hmmmm….. well, most of them don’t like me.

Then I discovered you could bribe people to vote for you.


I out everything I could afford at it, I had no money at this stage but had quite a few resources.



I chucked a settlement, Reading, in a little bit of free land in Africa, between the Siam empire and 3 city states. It was near enough to the coast that with the help of an Aircraft Carrier in the Atlantic, I could move my bombers across in 2 turns. I amassed my Naval fleet on the other side of Africa. Siam responded by blocking me off with their fleet.



I was getting myself in place in case my election rigging failed. Which it did. There was no clear winner in the election.



There’s an election every 15 years or something. Siam was way out in front with all the allied city states. Plus the top two civs get an additional 2 votes in the next election, and the total of votes needed to win drops. Siam, all by itself, had the next election in the bag. I needed to slow them down, both taking away their influence over some city states and putting back their space race program. Then I’d bribe my way to the top Smile


Interestingly, other World Leaders asked me to join them in going to war against Siam. Apparently everyone else thought they were too big for their boots as well. Siam it seemed had been bullying other Civs all over the area and occupied various cities (I can’t talk, ahem). With time ticking on, I struck.


I didn’t want to do it. It may only be a videogame, but ethically and morally I didn’t want to use an atomic bomb. But when I go up to the north east of Africa I saw Siam had done just that, they had dropped one on a neighbouring Civ to expand their own empire. I still felt bad though….


I hit Nakhon Chum. It was the first Siam city I needed to get, and they had a large fleet around it. The bomb took about half the cities defense away, and all the enemy fleet in the area lost a load of health. From there I steamrolled in and about 10 turns later, grabbed the city. The Siam allied city states in the area started attacking Reading, but a few well placed battleships on the West of the continent and continued air and ground support allowed me to take a couple of city states at the same time. Things were going well.


Most of the Siam Naval fleet has been destroyed in the battle for Nakhon Chum, so I pushed north. Keeping my distance and just using upgraded battleships I took Phitsanulok. India joined in against Siam on their own and took Hippo Regius.





I was still pushing for the World Leader vote. I had bribed anyone faintly friendly to me, but there were still some standout world leaders who I needed. It didn’t look likely I’d win at this stage.


I looked at connecting Reading to Nakhon Chum and holding a large area of Africa. There were two Siam cities in the way. I had no chance of taking either as all my strength was at sea, and they were too far inland to attack with the battleships. India was pushing hard against Muan Saluang. An opportunity may open there. I moved a single unit of paratroopers from Reading, next to Muana Saluang. The city had almost fallen. Next turn, India used all it’s nearby units to get the city to 0 defense, but as luck would have it, they didn’t have anyone else to move that turn. So my single unit rolled into the city and took it. They must have been pissed Smile


I was winning the battle and there was little resistance left, but winning the game was still out of my grasp. Then I attacked Zama Regia, which only took one turn thanks to a huge buildup of Naval force. Would I Occupy the city? Puppet state? Or Liberate? That was interesting. I didn’t need it or want it, I was only there to push back Siam. So I Liberated.


And that was the turning point.


The city reverted back to Dido, who previously was never giving me her vote in the World Leader. Now she was gushing my praises. I asked her to vote for me - of course she would, I was a hero! Other World Leaders who previously said No, now Fearing me but appreciating I had liberated Zama Regia from Siam, likewise changed their tune.


Siam offered me peace so I took another city in exchange to solidify my position in Africa.


The vote was just round the corner, and I had enough to win!


I was so happy.




All of this blog, the names the cities the stories the situations, it all means nothing to no one except me. My voyage through a long, epic game game of Civilisation was, well, Epic. I have stories to tell, it felt like I really went through an epic campaign of epicness. It took 60 hours according to Steam (though only 30 in the game.log, which is odd). The victory meant something to me. It was hard earned. It was Epic.


And saying all that, I’m now done with Civ V. I have a little longing for another game, but the time scale is too great and I feel in that one game, I got enough out of it. I may return for a shorter, smaller game in the future, but I may well keep it as one of those games I played once and truly treasured.


And yes, it looks great ultrawide Smile

For future generations, here's my end of game log file.