The Let's Play Archive

Civilization 4

by Zoolooman

Part 1

Sweet Sassy Saladin, what is Civilization IV?

I could tell you that it is Firaxis's most recent award-winning turn-based strategy game. I could tell you that it remained one of the top ten bestselling PC games from its release in October 2005 to March 2006, when it dropped to twelfth for one week before rising back into 8th place. And now that I have told you, I could tell you exactly what it is all about :

"Civilization IV is about building a civilization to stand the test of time!" [Thanks Sid!]

It's 4000 BC at the dawn of recorded history, and after centuries of nomadism, your people have gradually come to settle in rich lands. Commandeer your newborn civilization and lead it to dominance at the end of history. Guide the geographic growth, scientific research, economic health, cultural vitality, and military force of your nation until the modern age. Either rule in glory, or become a forgotten footnote in the annals of world history.

Fundamentally, Civilization IV is a 4X game. You eXplore the world, eXpand your empire, eXploit resources and technology, and eXterminate anything that stands in your path.

However, this small description is not enough. Hence, I've decided to post a complete playthrough, in order to have a little fun and to attract new players. Also, rather than fill out an entire post full of features and descriptions, I think I'll let the game explain itself.

But first...

We ask ourselves, how do we reach the end of history?

Francis Fukuyama believes we reach the end of history when we develop liberal democracy, "the ultimate form of human government." Sid Meier believes we reach the end of history when we conquer our rivals, vote ourselves world ruler, gain unsurpassed influence over the planet, develop interplanetary travel, or fall beneath the jackboots of a greater empire.

I believe that history is already over. Let it be known, on the first day of 4000 BC, the sunrise marked the beginning of the end.

Starting the playthrough:

At the starting screen, we're presented with several options that indicate the depth and variety of this game's features. Not only is there the single-player game, but also an extensive multiplayer with PBEM, timed turn, hotseat, and pitboss modes. And of course, what would a Civilization game be without the Civilopedia? It's a thorough source for game mechanics, useless factoids, and snarky commentary on historical topics.

I selected the Single Player option, breezed through several extremely intuitive selection screens, and ended up with this pre-game summary sheet. For those people with odd tastes, Civilization IV boasts extreme modability and a wide array of built-in options to alter the gameplay experience. The Custom Game screen, for example, can be used to tweak many basic map variables, civilization types, and various optional rules. But straightforward Single Player will work best for this playthrough.

The summary sheet:

Click on me and take a look inside!

You'll notice immediately that I can select map types, civilizations, leaders, game difficulty, and game speed, even in the basic single player screen. It's a bit overwhelming at first, but it's just another sign of this game's incredible variety and depth.

I've selected the Russian Civilization with Peter the Great as my leader. His leadership traits (Philisophical and Expansive) and his unique unit (Cossacks) lend themselves to certain strategies which I will utilize during the playthrough.

But let's stop gabbing about this crap and get into the game:

4000 BC

In Tsar's Russia, Peter the Great hates Yakov Smirnoff jokes! Let us get to business, yes?

It is the year 4000 BC, and my people have desired for many moons to settle in these lands, so I let them. But first, I take a look around land.

My scout, Labkovich, he awaits my orders.

We Russians live on border between temperate forest and floodplain. Though river deltas were once uninhabitable to my people, I believe they will provide rich breadbasket for my hunters and my slaves.

I still am careful. I order Labkovich, my great scout, to ford the river and climb the western hill. From there, he may report better lands. Otherwise, I will be most pleased by the area I marked in blue. There are great fields of swaying grass fit for riding, tall forests of oak fit for my fire, and acres of sweet corn to roast and eat. I await my scout's response in a year.

4000 BC

Labkovich's mission was great success!

He discovered fat cows rippling with meat. I know my workers can only travel so far, so I ask my people to cross the river with me to the blue spot. Then both corn and cow will be at hand, and to my pleasure, we will have even more floodplain to feed our people! I settle great city, and name it Moscow. My people immediately begin to produce a worker.

So far...

This first update starts and ends on the first turn. Further updates will encompass 40 turns, 30 turns, and then 20 turns every update after that. I'll try to update at least once a day, but I cannot make any promises. If people participate in this thread, I'll let them name cities, pick (some) technologies, choose between strategies, and name units. Otherwise, I'll just push on through to the modern age while describing this game. Yay!

Note to anyone who had trouble with the game in patch 1.52 or prior: try patch 1.61. It not only improves the game in many ways, it also fixes most (if not all) of the memory leaks and graphics errors.

Next post: probably late, late, Wednesday night (or Thursday morning).

Hosting History:

1. Imageshack, which later blocked SA.
2. BillyBoBob's generous Dreamhost account, which closed July 30th, 2006.
3. happyelf's generous Dreamhoust account, which should be open until July 2007.
4. Switched to my own personal account in April 2007.