I have a confession to make: I have never been a good general. I tend to... panic when things start going wrong and Mongolians start rampaging through my lands like they'd just taken out the Great Wall. I get flustered when Romans march into my territory in neatly formed columns, forcing my little citizens to worship the Pagan god du jour. The funny thing is that I know exactly what to do in this situation.
Set all my production to military units and launch a counter offensive, while making sure that border cities have plenty of defensive units to defend, and I should be able to hold out long enough to sign a peace accord, and maybe take a couple of their cities while I'm at it. But no, I panic.
You want to know why I panic? Simple, I don't like to see my citizens unhappy. As a peacenik from way back when, I can't stand it when my virtual citizens can't have their theatre or their library. I can just see them sitting in circles singing "Masters of War" and frankly it kills my eardrums (just like when Dylan hits a high sustain).
This approach, in the past iterations of the Civ series has not worked out all that well. The question is, does the introduction of religion serve to fuel the fires of war, or set up a realistic victory condition?
Well, it's a hard victory to achieve, but it does make gameplay a heck of a lot easier on a peace lover like me.
You see, the great thing about founding a religion and then spreading it to your near neighbours; is that they'll like you more. Well, not exactly like
, they'll... tolerate your puny presence just long enough for you to get a good economy going.
Fantastic! I can finally live out all my utopian dreams without being harassed by angry Mongols! I can build all those wonderful things that I've dreamed of, all those centres of culture that will allow my culture score to go through the roof. My virtual citizens will laugh at the Mongols trying to get a good sound out of those two sicks and I'll be free to micromanage to my heart's content.
I've never been in this position before. My mighty capital city is the centre of culture; other civilizations are in awe of our minstrels and commercial output. I start cranking out Great People like they were candy. I begin to look upon them with disdain, they seem primitive... and their land looks mighty tempting.
Do I dare put on my warmongering hat and go kill me some uncouth types? As I bring up my diplomacy screen and my mouse finger hovers over the button, I feel a rush that is surely only reserved for the titans of history.
It's war baby! I start cranking out units like they were candy and I rush the Mongols like the Giants rushed Tom Brady on Superbowl Sunday! YEE-HAW! I take one of their cities and all of a sudden this game doesn't seem so hard any more. Is this Civilization-lite? How can it be this easy?
'Just one more turn,' I say to myself... the rush is just fantastic. I really wish I hadn't have said that.
I look at my cities, and all of a sudden all Hell breaks loose. There's uproar, rioting and generally perceived bad sportsmanship everywhere! Hey! What gives virtual citizens!? Don't you have everything you could ask for? I can understand a few of you are against war, but this is ridiculous! Damn peaceniks!
I click to see why their collective panties are in a twist, and as it turns out, my citizens don't like it when I attack their religious brethren. Sid Meier you sadistic genius. As my production count goes down, and suddenly I find myself on the losing side of a war I started, I can't help but to see a bit of flawed ambition.
Has the new religion victory type become so in the forefront of the game that a military victory has to take a backseat? If you don't found a religion, you WILL have one brought to you by your neighbours, with the added stigma of having none of the gameplay benefits of founding a religion.
As I've found out, it's mighty hard to invade a civilization that is the same religion as your own. The race for religious dominance has now become as important as the rush for land at the outset of the game.
So the question is, has this game become unfairly skewed toward the peaceful player? Well, there ain't no substitute for eight tank units bearing down on an opponent, but it feels as if the diplomatic, religious and space race victories are easier to achieve.
I got to thinking about the reason why this could be over the weekend, and then I cast my mind back to previous games where I have been steamrolled during the Middle Ages. The change, it seems, prevents this from happening and allows the player to enjoy a fuller game experience, and opens up game play options that previous players may not have so much nous in.
If you're militaristic by nature, this game may just seem a little biased toward the tree-huggers and astronauts, and that's probably true. Sid Meier has really tried to implement multi-player into this game, and he doesn't want the newbies to be scared off my by masses of units swarming all over them.
Ultimately, Civilization IV gets the player to focus on other areas apart from production and unit churning. Whether that's a good thing or not is up to you.Hey Joe