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Category Archives: Civilization


Alpha Centauri was, as far as I can remember, my introduction to the Civilization series and, by some strange coincidence, released ten years ago today. In the years between Civilizations two and three, the legendary Sid Meier and Firaxis games released this dark slice of 4x strategy. Upon reaching a Space Race victory in Civilization, the completed spacecraft sets off on its journey into distant space, to escape the strife on Earth and colonise a new home for mankind. Alpha Centauri is what happens next.

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Jim Rossignol’s book, This Gaming Life, arrived in the post this morning, so I’m plowing through it in between turns; but anyway, on to business, this Empire isn’t going to expand itself.


1200 AD– As the English I’m getting some nice, upbeat orchestral music to accompany my path to domination. The only thing that’s missing is some nice summer weather but, alas, there’s nothing but overcast skies outside my window.

1220 AD– I use a new great scientist to kick off a golden age.

1250 AD– The French now have galleons out and about. I’m already working on getting privateers to sort them out, though.

The Aztecs and Americans, alone in North America, have declared war.

1260 AD– America asks for assistance; sod that. Although I do give them the gift of horseback riding to help them in their fight.

Further exploration of South America reveals that the East coast is unsettled and rich in resources, definitely a site for future colonisation.

1290 AD- Our economy should now be able to easily afford long distance colonies and settlers head off to islands in the Atlantic. After that I can send more to the Caribbean and South America.

1320 AD– Warwick and Newcastle are established off the coast of Europe.

We can now build privateers!

1410 AD– While they haven’t expanded to the East coast, it seems the Mayans have most of the West coast of South America under their control.

1490 AD– The BASTARD Americans got a settler to the main Caribbean island a few turns before we landed and the BASTARD French have a newly built city on the North end of South America.


1505 AD– Oxford is built in the Caribbean.

1520 AD– My new privateers claim their first kill, a Spanish caravel. Time to start giving the rest of Europe trouble on the high seas.

1530 AD– Liverpool, our first colony in South America, is built.

Time for another break.

580 AD– Our galley discovers the extent of the French empire, with Athens under their control they’d obviously been the ones who’d done away with the Greeks early on and now they controlled a good chunk of Europe.

780 AD– A great scientist appears. I begin establishing harbours to reap the rewards of trade.

800 AD– The Mongols start sending threats so I decide to build more defenses, I’ve been here before, in a galaxy far far away.

820 AD– England is now the wealthiest nation. Hurrah!

860 AD– Research finishes on optics and starts on Astronomy, and the galleons that will let me dominate the sea.

1000 AD– The first of many ocean faring vessels sets sail from York.

1010 AD– Despite numerous demands for Optics from other nations, I jealously guard my advantage. No dice.

1020 AD– Another great scientist appears!

1050 AD– England is slipping down the scoreboard, more cities our needed to expand our empire, Greenland/Iceland looks ideal.

1050 AD– England reaches the new world and makes contact with the Americans.

1150 AD– I’d already decided to trade Astronomy to the Malinese in exchange for Engineering. It was easily the best offer I’d received until France offered 1460 gold and Philosophy.


1180 AD– Another great scientist appears, and my Caravels in the New World discover the Caribbean. It’s entirely uncolonised and a possible site for more English cities.

1200 AD– Time for a break.

And we’re back to Civ again, Civ IV.

Trying out the 18 civ Earth map, as England.

4000 BC– The island start should keep me free from harassment while I colonise the British Isles. Built a worker and focused on the technology to exploiting the many resources next to London.

2200 BC– Stupid idea, but I happened to have a quarry setup fairly quickly, the Great wall of england is built. As usual, however, i wasn’t paying attention to my economy and had slipped into the red.

1200 BC– A great spy appears in london and I establish scotland yard, never really made much use of espionage, now might be a good time to give it some attention.

875 BC– First galley constructed and I send a settle across to colonise Ireland.

725 BC– Hastings is established in Ireland.

675 BC– Started moving the palace to the centre of my empire in York to cut down on maintenance costs.

600 BC– Ze Germans cancel our trade agreement. I didn’t want their fucking pigs anyway.

425 BC– Judaism has swept through Europe and is now supported by all of the nations I have contact with, so I go with the flow and convert.

300 BC– York is now the capital of England.

175 BC– The massive amounts of food in England has left me with heavily populated, and therefore unhappy, cities, I’m hoping a wave of aqueducts will sort that out.

Intermission– Already I’m losing focus, my first plan of controlling the British Isles is complete. I’m thinking about playing it like Britain, with sea power and trade.

My default route in Revolutions has been an economic victory, no such luck here, but a decent economy can be applied to many things, maybe a Space race victory.

25 AD– Another great spy in London, meanwhile, I send a couple of spies France’s way.

50 AD– Who send me and offer of 400 gold and Meditation in return for calender.

125 AD– Which is convenient, as my two spies got rumbled trying to steal from their treasury.

175 AD– Oh dear god it’s 5am.

Kind of.

I must have run straight into France’s next attack, because they hit my forces as soon as they moved across the border. Easily dealt with, but enough to pop a tank division before being overwhelmed. Even with the firepower of later units, the right type can still be lethal. After that they practically walked into Al-Ain and Chartres.

Right into the cultural wall.

Chartres started showing the flipping imminent flag as soon as I took it, forcing me to rush temples and push on over the Champagne river as soon as possible.

And there it was, Paris.

Victory was inevitable, but the French weren’t going down easily, they moved support North, from Marseilles, and held out for several turns before Paris fell.

It was game over at this point, so I’ll wrap it up.

  • Marseilles fell shortly after, pushing France of the continent to their island cities.
  • The Arabs and Aztecs, finally, went for Democracy.
  • Florence Nightingale appeared, opening up the United Nations.
  • France did not concede defeat, sending swarms of fighters across the channel.
  • The game crashed a few turns from the UN, bah.

Right, so, a decade later and the infernal Aztecs are pacified again, and the Greek-France border had been very quiet after the siege of Tangier. I’d managed to hold onto it while I diverted attention to the Aztec. French troops were probably going to make another assault in a matter of turns, but they could easily be driven off. My civilization was now on a war footing, with my gold reserves allowing me to pump out legions of Tanks and new researched Modern Infantry.

Now, this game had started with the intention of trying to keep things peaceful, and while, in the grand scheme of things, that had failed horribly, I could continue to defend my empire quite easily until the end of the game. This was when I really started thinking about the end game.

My last two games had ended in an economic victory, which could easily be achieved again. It was probably the relentless taunting by the French from their, now not so far away, cities of magnificent culture, but I decided to chase a culture victory, and with both of us level on the victory scale, France had to take a hit. Along the main road into France lay Chartres and Al-Ain, and beyond that, Paris, the jewel of their empire.

In 1972, Greek tanks crossed the border.

The latest chapter in the thrilling series “Andy has played Civ: Revolutions almost non-stop since Monday”!

Started out as the Greeks to see if spreading Democracy early on will lead to a more peaceful game. In my previous game, as Japan, the later stages had been entirely peaceful as everyone scrambled for tech/econ/culture victories.

The answer seems to be no, if everyone else chooses instead to use different governments. It makes sense, in the early stages you are best going after republic as your first government. Democracy also ties your hands tremendously in wars. You don’t get to pick your fights, only able to attack opponents in self defense, and even then you are unable to refuse a call for peace, making completely eradicating a faction troublesome. Wars never really end, they just stop until your opponents decide to strike again.

Anyway, things didn’t work out entirely to plan, with most of the factions not even bothering to dabble in democracy. The Arabs flicked between Despotism and Fundamentalism, and along with the Aztecs forced me into paying them off with tech while I was still gathering an army, but at least they were doing something; the French, on the other hand , were all talk as they sat on the other side of the world. The Chinese were they only one to settle on Democracy, and only got in touch to trade tech now and again.

Off to a slow start, my military picked up nicely towards the end of the middle ages and I was able to hold off the combined Arab/Aztec hordes. The Arabs were a constant thorn in my side until I managed to beat the Aztecs into a truce, and out tech them to the point of running over their cavalry with tanks. The perils of fundamentalism, I suppose. With superior firepower, I smashed through their offensive armies and plowed straight into Tangier, resulting in a rapid demand for a truce.

There was one thing I hadn’t noticed, though.

Tangier was right next to the French monarchy, who took the opportunity to send troops across the border almost immediately. No tanks, yet, luckily, but a sizable contingent of riflemen, knights, and cannon.

Then the Aztecs declared war, again.

So, what about the other government types?

Communism: Increased production, temples and cathedrals produce no culture.

A fierce, industrial, empire can use the production bonuses from Communism in many ways. Units, for churning out masses of troops, and buildings, for increasing science and gold income. There’s also the obvious application for building wonders faster, but using them for a cultural victory is hampered by Communism’s culture penalty.

It’s also the last government on the tech tree, and the only one unavailable to a specific civilisation from the start. As well as limiting your culture, there’s the possibility of your non-walled cities becoming vulnerable to flipping from culture heavy neighbours.

Fundamentalism: +1 attack to all ground units while attacking, no science bonus from libraries and universities.

The warmonger’s choice, combined with barracks it can can give you a fearsome army very early on, and is enough of a reason to keep an eye on the Arab empire if you start nearby. Slower tech progression can be a problem, but really you want to put most of your trade into gold and buy new tech from the civs you aren’t at war with, while pillaging from the rest.

Despotism: No culture loss from using nuclear weapons.

The basic government type, everyone starts with Despotism active. With nukes being such as small part of the game, the only benefit is that it has no real strengths or weaknesses.

Republic: Reduces the population cost of settlers by one.

The earliest government on tech tree, and easily worth dumping despotism for. The cost reduction makes it the best option for expanding your empire quickly in the opening stages of a game, but by the mid to late game it becomes redundant with most of the best terrain already settled.

Monarchy: Doubles the bonus to culture in any palaces you own.

A 100% culture boost to your capital, rather than the usual 50%. Definitely worth picking up between Republic and Democracy, even if you aren’t going for a cultural victory. the potential for expanded borders and additional great people cannot be ignored.

A peaceful late game, it seems.

A 50% boost to science and gold production at the cost of not being able to declare war, and being vetoed into peace by congress if an opponent demands it. Obviously the government of choice for science and economic victories, but it limits your military actions to self defense. You can’t even launch nuclear weapons at an aggressor, which annoyed me to the point of switching to Communism just to glass the island city of Calcutta, and show the Indians just how unimpressed I was with how they’d treated me for the entire game.

The main advantage of Democracy, however, comes from other nations implementing it too. Unless you are the Greeks, it doesn’t show up until the mid-game, but once Democracy becomes dominant amongst the factions it makes the later stages very peaceful as everyone chasing victories other than domination.

So there is an incentive to spread the Democracy tech around one you get it, in order to pacify other nations. It also makes them easier to predict, a Democratic neighbour isn’t going to send tanks your way, but expect trouble as soon as they switch out to anything else.

Next, an overview of the other government types.

Fired up my first game as the English; glory to the empire, and all that jazz.

Started close enough to the Mongols to seize a town very early on; not their capital though. Early rushes are possible, but, as soon as bronze working is discovered, archers can make most early settlements impenetrable until catapults start showing up.

Not entirely happy with the diplomacy so far, it seems to consist of me being threatened by another civ demanding money or tech every so often, which usually leads to war.

Speaking of war, the domination victory is now based on capturing a capital cities, which means not having to clean up a faction after smashing them into submission.

The Mongols have had enough of the kicking I was giving them by the middle ages and demanded peace, but now the Egyptians want a piece and are bring their armies up from the south.

Another great feature is the economic and cultural milestones that give you an extra unit, bonus, or technology as you acquire certain amounts of each resource. Hitting one hundred gold for the first time gives you a free settler, which is more than enough incentive to boost your economy in the early game.

Naval units can’t attack cities, with bombardment removed, but add to their firepower of adjacent land battles, making naval presence scarily effective.

After repelling the initial waves and storming south as I reached the Modern Age, the Egyptians ask for peace, and I accept, but only because I want to finish researching combustion.

Next time I’m hitting them with tanks.