I’ve played 36 hours on CIV VI and to be honest I think that’s about as much as I can take. Lovely graphics, cool new ideas such as the way cities are laid out, the welcome return to local happiness from the utter carnage that was global happiness, a better engine which means you can play a game in a reasonable time, some improved diplomacy features such as an ability to declare wars for a good reason, (retake lost cities, religious wars and others), lovely graphics – did I mention that yet? All of it and much more besides is not enough to save the game from this one simple fact:

It’s boring.

Fucking mind-numbingly boring.

I’ve played every CIV game on release going back 25 years and this one is simply awful. I have not yet finished an entire game for the simple fact that I cannot be bothered. I keep starting again with a different Civ and a different world make-up in a desperate but futile attempt to luck onto a combination that won’t send me to kingdom-boredom by the game year 1700.

It hasn’t worked. They’re all dull. They’re all useless, and this game is the pits. No amount of future upgrades or releases are going to fix this steaming giant turd of a game. I went back and played CIV III just to see if I was being unfair. Dull graphics and archaic features aside it turns out that this old game is, how should I put this – fun. There was a resource that I needed way out in the middle of nowhere. I discovered it by chance. So I built a settler unit, turn by agonizing turn as I willed the resource to stay free. Finally I had my settler unit. I sent it out with a couple of military units for protection. We had to fight a couple of battles on the way but in the end we got there and I founded the city. Awesome.

But the problems had only just started. I needed a road from my new city all the long way back to my cluster of three other cities. I sent out my workers and step by step they built a long road. The other civs saw what I was up to and now it was game on. War was declared and I had to send the bulk of my army on a long journey out to this solitary city. The enemy took to pillaging the road so I had to set up little forts at key points to protect it.

I liked my road and its series of forts. It felt like a real world. It was meaningful. It was alive.

Unlike CIV VI which is about as alive as a whale that was washed up on an Arctic beach last summer. All you do with this game is go through the motions. I played one game where the other civs never attacked me at all. It was if I was all by myself. But this was never a problem for me in previous incarnations of the franchise. I loved being left alone to grow my own nation. Not in this game. It’s just boring because there is no challenge. It’s not hard to grow a nation in this game. You just do it while your brain is contemplating other things like how much butter to put on your sandwich.

Another game saw me being constantly attacked by a neighboring civ but even though his tech had advanced significantly he was addicted to using spearmen and catapults while I was fielding cannon and cavalry. With each city that I took my boredom increased another level. The only reason I agreed to a peace deal was because I wanted to see what he would do next. Attack me with spearmen and catapults!  What a surprise.

Mind you, I mention a peace deal but diplomacy is seriously broken in this game. I had one civ begging me for peace every turn. Offering me everything he had in order to call off the war that he had started. But if I asked the same civ to make a peace deal he would outright refuse. This went on for a while. A turn would come up and he would beg me for peace. I would haughtily refuse. Then it would be my turn to act on the very same turn and I would broker a peace deal. His answer? No dice. Not for anything that I had to offer. This went on and on as I wanted to see just how broken it is. The result? Very broken indeed.

And if you start a war? Oh, brother – it ain’t ever going to end. Like ever. The only way it will end is if you eliminate the enemy civ from the game entirely, and even then his ghost will probably come back to haunt you.

This game haunts me for that matter. 36 hours is enough. I’m done. I’m not buying any upgrades. It’s all over CIV. You’re a dead parrot. Thanks for the memories.

 

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