With everyone cooped up in their home with not much to do, boredom has become a major problem for teenagers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Luckily for video gamers such as myself, COVID has provided a very thin silver lining: free time to invest in our favorite games. Despite the massive upheaval of society due to social distancing and quarantine, most gamers have found the transition to be surprisingly easy. That leaves us with one major question, “Which games should I play?”
For some more casual players, it’s relaxing games like animal crossing. For other more competitive players, it’s whichever first-person shooter happens to be the rage at the time. However, for those who wish for a challenge such as myself, the grand strategy game “Sid Meier’s Civilization VI” is the game to beat.
Civilization 6 is the latest installment of the beloved Civilization series. The premise of the series is to lead a nation to greatness and build an empire that will stand the test of time. The player has a vast selection of nations and leaders to choose from, each promoting a different and unique playstyle.
Want to relive the glory of Rome and conquer the world? You can! Want to explore and colonize the stars as England? Go right ahead! Want to spread the word of god through the one true faith as the great Russian Empire? The choice is yours!
The tools at your disposal are endless and provide the player with a sense of playing in a sandbox of infinite possibilities.
My favorite civilizations to play are either Germany led by Fredrick Barbarossa or Japan led by Hojo Tokimune. Their unique abilities make them especially versatile and provide excellent bonuses for those who excel in city planning. Something about arranging city districts in a way to maximize adjacencies and gain bonus yields gives me a sense of accomplishment that I can’t quite achieve in a first-person shooter.
With that being said, winning the game will not be a cakewalk.
The randomness of the map can lead to interesting starting spots that can either make or break your game. The fog of war hides much of the map from view in the beginning. Barbarians can spawn in the fog of war and decimate whoever they happen to come across. I have lost a fair amount of games to hordes of barbarians seemingly coming out of nowhere two or three tech levels above me.
The numerous complex game mechanics can be overwhelming to new players, such as districts, governors and government policy cards. AI leaders will be there to rival you at every point of the way, either through direct conflict or other, more subtle ways like espionage and religious conversion.
Although the AI can make some questionable decisions from time to time, they can prove to be deadly adversaries. My advice is to be wary of them, try to befriend them if you can and don’t pick a fight you can’t win.
However, it is because these challenges are so great that we are drawn in to overcome these obstacles. Even if those obstacles just so happen to include the peace-loving Gandhi and his multi-ton nuclear arsenal for use as “deterrence.”
This game might not be for everyone, but it holds a special place in my heart. The vast sense of scope and power this game gives me is invigorating. Especially during times like these where it feels like we have very little control over our own lives, “Civilization IV” provides an escape to a world where everything can be controlled, strategized, and prepared for. It may take some patience and some effort, but for many of us building a strong, functional empire is its own reward.