Several years ago I played an earlier iteration of the Civilization series on my old PC. I loved it, but it kept crashing my computer and I drifted away from the series. Recently I felt the itch for a new gaming pasttime, and since I figured my new Mac would be robust enough to handle it, I decided to check out the latest version of the game: Civilization V.
Civ is a powerfully addictive, turn-based strategy game involving manipulating units on a detailed, randomly generated map of a planet. You start by selecting a civilization to play (American, Chinese, or Roman, for example), settle your capital city, and then send your units out to explore the world. The map fills in as you move around, revealing resources and various types of terrain (deserts, mountains, and so forth), and eventually you start bumping into other nations and city-states, with whom you can trade and negotiate. There are various ways to win the game: everything from military domination, to diplomatic victory, to building a space program. And as such, you can adopt a play style to fit your personality, focusing on the military angle, diplomatic interactions, policy, or cultural initiatives.
It’s a robust, compelling simulator to be sure — and so far, my experience with it has been limited to single player mode with the difficulty level set relatively low. For diehard strategy gamers, I expect the higher difficulty levels would be more fun, and of course you can also play online games against other human-controlled civilizations. (The game is so time-consuming, I can’t imagine fitting group play into my scattershot video gaming sessions.) My new Mac still has trouble with the “Huge” map size, but other than that it’s been able to handle the game’s complex world-building and graphics. Be forewarned: this one can get its hooks into you and eat hours of your day, but it’s great fun!