It’s crack, but it could be so much more addictive

I’m addicted to Civ3. I was addicted to Civ2 and still played it regularly until Civ3 came out. The game is addictive, and since I’ve been sick and alone in the house, I’ve played a lot. Civ3 is a great update of the previous game, but it’s missing a lot of the stuff that made playing more convenient in Civ2. I’ve come up with a little list of things I’d love to see them add back to the new game.
  • The Go to city command for units. It’s a pain in the butt to have to drag each little unit individually to a city.
  • The “Upgrade All Units” that Leonardo’s Workshop used to give you. If you’ve got cash in the game, there’s no real reason to build it.
  • Build Railroad doesn’t work with the R key like it’s supposed to.
  • I haven’t played enough to have tried putting the barbarians past the second level, but they never show up. I have yet to see one.
  • Ou est le cheat menu?

There are also some things that other strategy games do that would make the game a lot better and more than a facelift.

  • In Command and Conquer and Age of Empires, granted they’re both real-time strategy instead of turned based, you can group units and move them together. Why oh why can’t we do that in Civ3? Towards the end of a militaristic game when you’ve got hundreds of units, moving them all individually is a waste of time that doesn’t improve the game experience.
  • Better special units. I’ve only played the Americans and Zulu’s so far, but the Impi is a horrible unit. Once you’ve got Spearmen, he’s useless, other than looking kind of cool.
  • Swordsman should be upgradable to Musketmen, or at least Infantry. I never build them now because you can’t upgrade them at all until Mechanized Infantry (which only take 1200 years)
  • I’m not sure anyone else does this, but how about a different leader over the years? No one’s emperor lives for three thousand years, although I guess in the game, the player is the leader. It would be interesting though to see Abe get older, and then be replaced by Kennedy, then maybe Reagan.

I was thinking about this yesterday on the way home from work, through my swollen face, that the diplomacy in the game is just a little more complex than in Civ2. Trading and making deals through the diplomatic screen is great. But, I’d love to see more nuance. I know it would be incredibly complex, and be a game within itself, but wouldn’t it be cool if you could nurture your advisors, make them act like real people, put them in charge of trade altogether, military operations, etc. That way, you could concentrate on the parts of the game that interest you without completely dropping the others. Also, it would be great if there were a system of back channels. Clandestine meetings with other countries’ advisors instead of going to the leader, with each nationality getting a different set of unique advisors (for example, the Greeks would have a killer Cultural advisor, the Americans would have great military and trade, the Romans, a great military advisor). Also, it would be cool if you could recruit away the Greek’s cultural advisor to improve your civilization’s culture. Yeah, that’s complex, but would add a new dimension to the game that I think it’s missing. Now, it’s “Hey, want some stuff?”, “Want a map?”, “Die, scum!” and that’s about it. There’s no real way to intimate sabre-rattling without sitting a bunch of naval units inside their borders until they declare war on you (cuz I don’t like to throw the first punch).

I’m not saying Civ3 isn’t a great game. It’s an excellent turn-based strategy game. It’s held up well over the years, and this installment adds some nice wrinkles. I just think it would be nice if they didn’t remove some of the nice utility features of Civ2, and added some more complexities.

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