I’ve got a little more than 100 turns left in my second game ofciv4. As my first game served to teach me many new concepts in the civ series, I have fared much better. One of the key concepts I’ve learned is that barbarians are everywhere, even in Settler mode. Previously, in the easiest difficulty level the barbarians did not attack too much. In fact, I remember being shocked about how often they came when I went up one difficulty level in civ3. So, until barbarians stop appearing on the world map, it is extremely dangerous to send settlers to build new cities without first protecting the cities. Take the extra few turns to send at least a warrior (preferably a bowman of some sort) to protect the newly founded city. Also, if you are building near the edges of your boundaries, be sure to send the unit along with the settler to ensure its safety as it makes its way to the new city site.
I’ve also learned to use the Civics to my advantage a lot more. Gone are the civ3 days of racing to democracy to get the extra gold per turn. Now the civics can be tailored to your current situation. Although I’m most of the way through the game, I’ve also begun to use specialists a lot more. I’d never really used specialists too much before. I just let them be entertainers so that my citizens would stop rioting; therefore ending all production in the city. By adding the appropriate amount of specialists, I have not only increased my great person production, but have begun to influence the type of special person the city generates. In my next game I would like to really begin to specialize the cities so that the wonders and specialists combine to make lots of artists, engineers, and prophets.
I have also begun to work on making sure I have my cities properly defended. My reason for doing so is twofold. First of all, I have been playing with humans who may or may not attack me depending upon the circumstances. Second, I intend to shift up in difficulty levels for my next game. Right now, the game is so easy that it does not matter with who I make defensive pacts. The computer does not declare war on me or itself. I have tried everything to provoke war which was not an actual act of war. In other words, I tell the computer to piss off when it tells me to break a deal with this civ or another. I also tell them to go away if they ask me to adopt a specific religion or give them something I don’t intend to. I can get them to the “annoyed” state, but I cannot get them to declare war on me. Therefore, most of the policy decisions I make in the game carry no consequence. This makes the game a little less fun since I don’t have to think strategically. Still, I wanted to play this second game at settler difficulty to make sure I understood to a greater extent, the intricacies of this new game.
My next game will also mark a new turn in my gameplay style. I will not be playing as the Japanese, and my never play as them again. Civ3 was the first major attempt to differentiate civilizations so that one was not just playing the same civ with another game. Civs had characteristics which would change the way they played. I originally chose the Japanese for two reasons. I liked Japan at the time and was watching a lot ofAnime. Second, they were militeristic and religious in civ3, giving me the advantage of stronger military units and temples reducing unhappiness. It was great! I tried playing as the French once since they were mercantilistic and so, I thought, they would produce lots of beakers for tech research. However, they were always unhappy and temples would not help. Although I intend to experiment with different styles of play, I am essentially a builder/defender. That’s why I never did well in Comand and Conquer. I loved to build up my factories and bases and spent more time on that then building up my forces. I was always crushed. In civ, however, there is room for my type of player just as much as a warmonger. However, as I have learned, going through the leader traits in civ4 and matching to the style of gameplay that has evolved from National Wonders and Great People, I have begun to reconsider the Japanese as the best choice for my gameplay style. Therefore,in future games you may see me play with civs as diverse as the Chinese and Germans, while I attempt to find my niche. Of course, since each civ game is slightly different as I gain more expeience as well as the randomness the programmers put into each game, I may not be able to easily decide if one of them is a best fit. However, over the next few months I hope to see if I can prove which civ is best for me if any of them stick out significantly – the way that the French, in civ3, were so obviously the wrong civ for me to play.