Hi, My Civ V Tactic Is Annihilation, What’s Yours?

September 29, 2010

Sid Meier’s Civilization V is more addicting than crack. I am shocked, considering how over the years I’ve gradually lost interest in the strategy genre and didn’t think any game was going to pull me back.  When Civ V caught my attention I wasn’t even sure I wanted to get it. I was on the fence until last Thursday evening when my husband called me on his way home from a business trip and asked if I could buy it for him off Steam. Boy, I love it when the tough decisions are made for me.

For a few nights straight, both of us sat enthralled at our computers after dinner playing the game, exchanging words only to share thoughts like “Cool, a Great General was born in my capital” or “Dammit, why is Augustus Caesar being such a dick?” Truthfully, I think a part of me already knew I was going to enjoy this game even before I installed it, probably while reading Anjin’s first Civ V post when it hit me just how much everything he described sounded like something I would like.

Anyway, what I’m writing now is not a review, but just an earnest testimonial expressing my appreciation for the game inspired by Anjin. His post also motivated me to have fun with my own game. Which is probably why after the tutorial, I thought it would be interesting to fore go war and instead try to win through “peaceful” means, like securing a cultural victory. I bumped the difficulty up a notch or two and started my game.

  • The random selection handed me the Japanese. I began to build my empire right away, and dreamed of a future of policies, world wonders, and cities inhabited by a learned and sophisticated population. That all changed when I met Darius, leader of Persia, who immediately got on my case about building my cities too close to his empire. War was not in my best interest, so I put on my diplomatic hat and suggested a compromise: you stay away from me and I’ll stay away from you. The man refused, and I knew at that moment he was going to be a problem. You are going straight onto my shit list, Mister Darius.
  • I admit I made some bad choices near the beginning. The progress was slow-going to say the least, but I stayed the course, until suddenly something inconceivable happened. Darius shows up on my doorstep again. And this time, he insults my kingdom to my face, implying that my people are a bunch of backward savages still knuckle-dragging and wallowing their way around mud huts. Right there and then, I resolved to give my life a new purpose —  to become a royal pain in Darius’ ass. A cultural victory can wait, but right now I wasn’t going to rest until I annihilated him and his empire from the map.
  • I realized then that I had a problem. All that time spent concentrating on cultural improvement meant that my empire was sorely lacking in the resources required to wage full-scale war. A shortage of iron, for example, prevented me from churning out those combat units. My attention turned to Montezuma, leader of the Atzec empire, who was my other neighbor on the continent we all shared.  Monty had two things going for him — one, he was a lot more courteous than our friend Darius, and two, he had a lot of iron. The two of us had negotiated an open borders agreement a dozen or so turns back, so I decided to solidify our friendship with an offer of trade. Before long, I had all the iron I could ever want.
  • With my new army, I made a clean sweep of the land, taking over every Persian city I came across. It was with much glee that I watched Darius squirm under my relentless attacks, begging me with offers of peace treaties. Too little, too late, Darius. Too little, too late. I watched his capital fall to my forces with satisfaction. The Persian civilization was no more, and the exultation of victory was made all the more sweeter when it was suddenly revealed that my people were the most literate in the world. Who’s uncultured now, huh, Darius? At least I have a culture.
  • Something happened to me after that. I had my first taste of war and I found it suited me. I began to ask myself questions like, “Who are all these other idiots on my continent?” and “Why can’t I have it all?” I turned my baleful gaze upon Montezuma again, whose indirect help had led me to my victory against Persia. We still had an active trade agreement, but why let that get in the way of total domination? In short, I used Montezuma’s own iron to forge the swords and pikes that destroyed him. There’s a lesson to be learned somewhere in that, I’m sure.
  • After I took over the Aztec, I went ahead and picked off the remaining independent city-states that still dotted my continent. My warmongering had not gone unnoticed, however. Around the world, other city-states were grumbling and proclaiming me as a menace that must be stopped at all costs. It only served to remind me that a whole other landmass existed somewhere out there, full of cities waiting to be conquered. My current empire wasn’t enough, I wanted more. Finally, on one fateful turn, I took some of my troops and loyal citizens across the ocean to explore a new world.
  • Almost immediately, I met Napoleon of France. To my great chagrin, he had an empire that looked almost as big as mine. Declaring war on him before I’ve barely even made landfall was obviously a bad idea, so I struck a deal with him in exchange for open borders, so I could move around unrestricted. Along with this came a trade deal, allowing my citizens access to his bounty of luxury goods — gems for their jewelry, silk for their scarves, marble for their homes! Around my empire, my people rejoiced and celebrated “We Love The King!” Day in all the cities. Napoleon has done me a great favor in this regard, so I made a promise to myself to kill him last.

  • As I made my way south, I encountered another great empire. Alexander of Greece came to greet me, but unfortunately he had no desirable luxury goods like the ones Napoleon offered, and we parted ways with only an open border agreement between us.
  • I soon came to realize that France and Greece were the only two major civilizations on this continent. These two had probably been stepping on each others’ toes for a long, long time. A part of me knew it was only a matter of time before either of them would approach me for an alliance. Sure enough, both Napoleon and Alexander eventually offered to form pacts of secrecy against the other. I accepted Napoleon’s deal, partly because of my promise to kill him last, but also because Alexander had the smaller empire. Like forming an allegiance with the stronger contestants to gang up on the weak on Survivor, there was a strategic rationale behind my decision.
  • The big day finally came. Napoleon declared war on Alexander, and we struck together. Napoleon came from the north while I steamrolled over the south, making quick work of Corinth, Athens, Knossos and Sparta. My priorities placed on war made for a pretty disgruntled population back at home, not to mention the hordes of unhappy citizens in the trail of occupied cities I left in my wake. While I waged my battles across the ocean, my cities back on the old continent worked hard at constructing “happy” buildings like circuses and theaters to raise morale. My people are mindless sheep, so of course it worked.
  • At last, only Argos remained of Greece. I went in for the kill, but Napoleon beat me to it. Reluctantly, I let him take the Greek capital. After all, this minor victory was the least I could offer to my poor, clueless French ally before I swoop in to snatch his empire from under his feet. But first, my combat units needed time to recover and I had to oversee production in my collection of newly annexed and puppet cities. War with Napoleon was going to have to wait. Instead, troublemaker that I am, I decided to provoke France first by harassing the nearby city-state of Edinburgh, knowing full well that the two were friends. As expected, le petit caporal was not happy with me after that. I told him to stuff it.
  • I descended upon France all at once, striking from all directions, by land and sea, with the goal of pushing myself into the interior of the empire where the French capital of Paris waited to be conquered. But there were a couple problems. First, Napoleon was no pushover. He probably had more combat units at his disposal than all my other opponents put together. Second, around the world my people were dying of starvation! I was so focused on the war effort, I had neglected the food shortage in my empire, especially in the older cities that had outgrown its food supply. With the raging famine and Napoleon killing so many of my combat units, there was a moment of real fear that I might actually lose.
  • It was a struggle, but in the end I took Paris and won. I won’t go into the details; you all knew this was going to be a happy ending.

So, wow, what happened there? I started the game with the noble goal of winning a cultural victory, which got completely derailed even before the first couple dozen turns.

As you can probably tell, I had a lot of fun with Civ V. Despite that, I still have mixed feelings about the game. I’m certainly not afflicted with those urges to play it every single waking moment (like the ones you get with really great games), though once I sit down to it, I’m playing for hours. I need to play more to get a better feel for it, and start exploring other avenues now that my first game is out of my system. I certainly enjoyed myself though, and I can’t deny the pleasing satisfaction I derived from covering the entire map with my empire, tile by tile. I didn’t know I had that passion for battle in me.

I blame Darius.




    • Yeeeeaaaah! All my enemies tremble before me! HAHA! >:)

  2. Nice!

    Similar thing happened to me. I wanted nothing but diplomacy, but Japan decided to take down my city-state allies. So they had to be put down.

    • Fighting is addictive, isn’t it? And it’s hard to keep a cool head when you’re so brazenly provoked 😛

  3. I am playing on Prince setting and my happiness cannot keep up with my rate of capturing city states. This might also be due to the fact that I always annexed, no idea what a puppet state does. Despite ranking first I am quite bored, as my production dropped seriously due to unhappiness and everything takes ages.

    • I had the same problems until I started to raze the suckers. I would puppet important cities with vital access to ressources and claim the capitals were the wonders are built. The rest are burned to the ground 🙂

    • Yes, at first I annexed city states as I captured them, but my population became pissed off at me at an alarming rate. I was also too bent on conquering the map, so I couldn’t bear to raze any cities. Making them puppets slowed the unhappiness a bit, and I went back to annex them only after I had raised my happiness to healthier levels.

  4. I think Cultural victories might be the hardest ones to achieve. You can’t make too many cities cause it boost the cost of culture by 30% each time and that means you play the game low on ressources and having to rely on diplomacy and city-states to stay alive.

    Trying to achieve this victory with Greece right now with a single city and I’m allied with 5 city-states at the moment to help me defend. It’s a ton of fun pissing off the romans and arabians by giving units to city-states and fighting proxy wars but I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep it up until the end. The arabians are looking really pissed. Only 8 more cultures to go and I’m good!

    • Yeah, I wanted to make things interesting by giving myself a challenging goal. I had originally planned on at most 2-3 cities because of the increase to cost of culture, with just enough combat units to fend off any attacks. Of course, fucking Darius ruined my plans! 😛 I’m going to try to do it again with my next game, and hopefully this time I can stick to my guns, though heh, in this case, leaving them behind might serve me better 😛

  5. Great write up, I really enjoyed it.

    • Why, thank you! I had a lot of fun writing out my warmongering exploits too, heh heh 😛

  6. Civ V is great. Here, too, all MMOs have to wait. 🙂

    • Tell me about it, pretty much all my MMOs have been placed on the back burner. Gotta conquer the world first, dammit!

  7. Really enjoyed reading that, and I’m not even playing Civ V 🙂

    • I think I had way too much fun 😛 If you’re looking for a fun and straightforward strategy game, definitely give this one a try 🙂

  8. Sounds like you had an awesome game. I just completed a three day game as the Romans where I spent much of my time in combat. I suspect its easier to roll up the map at the lower settings so I’m bumping the difficult up to Warlord (which is still the Easy setting) for my next game.

    Thanks for the shout out. Excellent use of bullet points. 🙂

    • You inspired those bullet points as well, I found they were the perfect format to use to detail my Civ V exploits 😀

      My game took me about three days as well. I’m going to start a new one tonight, bump up the difficulty again and hopefully get myself a huge map!

  9. Ha ha ha, been busy playing Viv 5 umm going just One – More – Turn lol. No joke but one more turn turned into more than 20+ hrs of play, yeah hardcore there a bit. Needless to say i completely forgot about my blog or updating my EVE skills. But the damn game is addictive!

    I picked up the game on launch day but was unable to install it due to work till the weekend starting friday. I did take the time to play through all the tutorials so relearn a few things since its been a while since played Civ 4 and learn how a few things that seem to have changed. Was fun! Tutorials were set easy for tutorials learning.

    When i started to try the single mode game “regular” games I had issues with the game using the DirectX 10/11 mode for video settings as it would freeze up and crash while attempting to play. This was a problem many had on starting the game especially on Civ’s forum. That ate up over a day or so. I spent time on Civs forums trying to fix my problem. The solution to fix my problem i eventually figured out was just by fluke of a change I decided to see if i had the most updated “Video Drivers” for my fairly new PC. Apparently i didn’t have the most updated drivers and downloaded and updated my Video Drivers. Game worked perfectly after that and never any further issues with DirectX 10/11 and video problems playing the game.

    After fixing my game video setting problems game was fine. I bumped things up a bit and started at the Prince level which is considered the standard or regular level. Haha this level is much harder than the easiest level for sure and many things more difficult as well.

    Learned allot over course of hors and hours of One – More – Turn of play lol.

    When you conquer a city try do install a “Puppet” leader vs clicking to Annex the city immediately. If you annex city immediately after conquer you will cause massive unhappiness in and across your empire and thats not good at all for troops moral and empire growth and productivity. Keep a Puppet in city till that city can build its own courthouse or few things to build happiness in the city. A puppet city you can use the resource but you cannot control what it produces.

    Diplomacy is really really really hard to master! I’ve played several full campaigns and its really hard to master Diplomacy as well to keep generating enough gold to even keep good diplomacy at Allies level with more than 2 City States as well diplomacy with empire states. But i learned some tricks. If and when you donate enough gold to a city state to 60 Influence it makes that City State you Ally! That allows then to fight with you as a ally or render aid as well as add a large amount of culture and trade resources to your city as a ally. Helps allot as culture points helps your culture points to grow faster so your empire can adopt new policies which gives huge bonus to entire empire. Below 60 influence your just friends.

    Having a heavily defensible city and some cities in your empire is hard to take down if heavily fortified to invaders. However also you don’t need to keep troops in city either or territory. Helps allot if your a war happy lol!

    As the games goes on in progress Cities can be harder to take down due to fortifications built. You shouldn’t have a problem with that i would say since you like to go to war.

    One thing i used to ignore was watching the news results on ever new turn at the right side of screen. That is invaluable information for Diplomacy! Really it is. If you pay attention to news on every turn the pop ups you will see when your diplomatic trades are no longer in effect. At that point instantly you can restart your diplomatic trade initiatives again to renew them and ive had great success with almost 100% every time. That allows you to grow your gold reserves in your empire economy. Negative economy is not good as you loose workers and if not them troops. I won a game unlock for some kind of achievement due to trade can’t remember the name but it was due to amount of trade which helped in diplomacy to drain the coffers of the other empires lol.

    Prince level was rough. Have only won once with 3 losses. Now great record yet but learning allot. Game is dam addicting!

    One – More – Turn. Wait where did Wednesday go. Hell its Thursday.

    • Nice, great tips you have there. I’ve started a new game, this time on a harder difficulty and I actually want to attempt to try my hand at mastering diplomacy and gaining tons of allies. The biggest problem I encountered was lack of funds. Like you were saying, gigging city states and trying to make then friends takes a lot of gold and I constantly found myself broke trying to maintain my relationships with them. The other issue is that I didn’t realize the relationship de age so quickly too. I once spent 250 gold only to have the friendly status last only a handful of rounds. With more enemies around, it’s hard to maintain combat units at the same time. I’m slowly trying to work my way back to maintaining a surplus of gold again.

  10. Sounds like Civ-GC and T’Androma have quite a bit in commmon.

  11. I really can’t decide whether or not to get Civ 5. It seems to be getting a lot of mixed reactions from players plus I really dislike being forced to install and use Steam. Hmm… I’ll go up to the shops today and see what happens 😉

    • If you’re not sure you can probably hold off on buying it until it goes on sale or gets cheaper. That had been my original plan, until my husband changed the situation :p

  12. Wants you to play the harder levels at least and see how well that Annihilation plan works 🙂

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