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The decline and fall of all empires

I'm coming to some depressing conclusions about Civ III, some of which I was already 99% sure about, but sometimes it takes a few more iterations of pounding your head against the wall before the message really sinks in.

1. The AIs cheat at all but the least challenging level, but I knew that.
2. The AIs cannot be trusted to keep a deal any more than a djinn can be trusted not to screw you on a wish.
3. Once you reach a certain level of power, the AIs will gang up on you.
4. The initial setup is guaranteed to deprive you of some essential material (saltpeter, coal, iron, or all of the above) which you'll need in order to build the necessary units to fight off your aggressive neighbors - who will, being AI, be ready long before you are.

The implications of this are that you can't really play the game above the basic setting with more than a couple of AI opponents and have a reasonable chance of winning, unless you're Eric Drexler, Stephen Hawking, Sid Meier or someone on that level, in which case you probably have better things to do with your time than get whipped on by software that cheats. Even if you could beat it with half your brain tied behind your back.

In other gaming news, I saw a secondhand XBox downtown at EB Games for about what I paid for the Carbon. The downside to getting it, of course (assuming I had the money) is that I'd feel compelled to go out and get a TV suitable for multiplayer HALO 2 (with, say, a 20" screen), so the damn thing would actually set me back around $250.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 12th, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC)
I've not played Civ III, but I've heard about that. I did just get Civ IV just about a month ago, and from what I understand the AI is dramatically improved since III. It _certainly_ has since Civ II, which is the last Civ I played.

I won't say that AI cheating isn't gone, but it's a lot better in IV. There really is such a thing as diplomacy; you _can_ get a friend for life through good use of trading and aiding in war (and having the same religion helps a lot; OTOH religious wars are huge and having a different religion can mean the difference between everlasting peace and unavoidable war). And the "diplomantic victory" is one of the first I've accomplished.

OTOH if you are doing dramatically better than everyone else, you will be attacked--especially if it's around the 1940s. "Aggressive" nations are also always a pain in the ass to be near. I played a game recently where I was parked near both Japan and Greece. When I discovered that, I should have just started a new game. I hoped to pit them against each other but it just didn't work (but that sort of thing is way more possible than in previous Civs).

Anyway, if you like Civ as a rule, you might look into IV at some point.
Feb. 13th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
I liked the Call to Power versions of Civ II, much more than I do Civ III. I may give Civ IV a look down the road a bit after I check to make sure I don't need to radically update the CPU, memory or video card on my desktop, since playing it on my laptop as much as I do isn't good for my neck or shoulders.
Feb. 13th, 2006 02:29 am (UTC)
Who was that masked gamer, anyway? ^^
Feb. 15th, 2006 05:51 pm (UTC)
It was Death Quaker. Sorry, I forgot to sign it. :) I refuse to join the Borg-erm, I mean, LiveJournal. *big wink and grin* I should add, I am currently having a love-hate relationship with Civ IV. It is in many ways a great game but I also get very frustrated with it in they way one only can with a strategy game. It _will_ get frustrating when you have 10 military units all die at the hands of a single one-third strength Longbowman--the lone protector of that city you want to capture--who just happens to have City Protectorx3. But then an hour later I want to start a new game and try again.
Feb. 16th, 2006 01:48 am (UTC)
I kinda thought it might be you. ^^

I've had that same frustrating experience in both directions during games of Civ III, with modern units dying in droves while trying to root some pikemen out of a city and conversely with Infantry getting fuzzy-wuzzied by a bunch of Knights. They really need to work on those combat algorithms, I tell you.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )