Daily Archives: May 21, 2014

Civilization – Thoughts on a Wider Multiplayer Game

Nearly every time I put up a post about our ongoing Civilization V game, I get a note from somebody wanting to join in.  I have, I hope politely, declined to add people to our game, it being made up of a group of Potshot’s long-standing friends.  I went to high school with him back in the dark ages, while Mattman and Loghound were college roommates of his during the time when you could sit down, read pretty much all of Usenet that interested you with your morning coffee and feel like there wasn’t much there.  So it is a bit of a special group of cranky old guys who can all pick on Potshot equally.

Still, there is clearly some interest in multiplayer Civilization V out there.  So I was playing with the idea of how to set up a game that readers and fellow bloggers could join.  Our own closed game has shown that players can jump in and out of a game, with the AI holding down the fort, pretty well.  So it seems like maybe one could create a semi-open regular game that people wander into if they so desired.

So I started on a plan, on which I hope people will comment.  The plan so far:

  • Find somebody to host the game at a regular weekly interval for 2-3 hours.  It doesn’t have to be me, but to keep continuity it probably should be the same person over the course of the match.
  • Find people interested in playing, get all linked up on Steam.
  • Decide on game version and parameters
  • Actually bring it all together
  • Profit… or play… or something

There are clearly some holes in that plan.  Basically, in my mind’s eye, I see one person will launching the game every week, inviting players who are online and ping him via Steam chat, them dropping into the open slots, and the game running… adding late comers if there is room… until the time slot is up, at which point there will be a save which will be used to start the game the following week.

Comedy will no doubt ensue when it comes to picking game parameters, picking a time slot, picking a day of the week, what the AI does with civs when people are away, people not getting the same civ every game, the game being full, timer impatience, client crashes, connection issues, that guy trying to join in on his laptop using WiFi at the Starbucks in Tierra del Fuego, and the usual disparity of skill level when playing against real people.

Chuck Hestonia nuked and open

Oh, and nuclear terror…

But aside from that, what could go wrong?

Anyway, I am looking for input on this idea.  Is it viable?  Should we try?

Oh, and most importantly, we need to call this something.  I have tentatively tagged the post “Summer Civilization,” but am not totally invested in the name.

Civilization – Hands Across the Something

In which nothing happens in my corner of the world.

Another round with the big map with Civilization V… and I still haven’t come into contact with Mattman or Loghound.

We started off at the usual time even though Loghound hadn’t showed up yet.  We have grown confident in Civ V’s ability to let us come and go at need.  The first order of business seemed to be to take SynCaine’s advice from last week’s comments and get a few scouts out watching our respective hinterlands, as barbarian camps won’t spawn in hexes that you have under direct observation.

I actually knew that somewhere in the back of my brain… the founding of my most southern city was most to cover my exposed flank that way… but I had not considered putting out some scouts to expand coverage.  Not that I could get full coverage with a reasonable number of scouts.  Too many hills in my area.

Barbarian wildlands

Barbarian wildlands

But it did cut down on the amount of time I had to spend fighting the barbarian hordes.

Then it was time to see about getting into the thick of things.  My only neighbor was the Spanish.  I said something about attacking them, maybe in conjunction with Potshot, last time around.  However, my military advisor wasn’t very optimistic on the subject.

Basically, forget about Spain for now...

Basically, forget about Spain for now…

Basically, I had no real advantage to exploit to give me leverage over the Spaniards, and I hadn’t gotten close enough… physically or diplomatically… to Potshot in order to plan any sort of campaign against them.  The Spanish would have to wait.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the fog on the map, Loghound joined in and got into a shoving match with Mattman.  Judging from the comments on our Google Hangout (I have so many different voice coms apps on my system, Skype, Vent, TeamSpeak, Mumble, RaidCall, and probably a couple others I have forgotten, plus all the built-in coms, but we managed to find yet another way to hook up voice communication) Loghound was building a city or cities in what Mattman judged to be his sphere of influence.  As this was all off under the fog and involved civs I had not yet met, I cannot tell you who had real claim here, but the whole thing came to blows.

Mattman declared war because of these incursions, which seemed to surprise Loghound.  However, this did not end up working out well for Mattman.  Shortly after the declaration of war, Loghound had to drop out of the game for a bit, letting the AI take over for him.  The AI managed to make common cause with another of Mattman’s neighbors and soon he was facing a multi-front war.  He managed to sue for peace, but I think it cost him a city.  Loghound got back to find things had rolled his way.

While that was going on, I managed to push out a couple more cities to bring me into closer proximity with the Spanish.

Slowly expanding empire

Slowly expanding empire

I also started trying to focus on building up some sort of technological lead I could exploit when the time came to turn on them.  Towards that end, I also concluded and “open borders” pact with Potshot and was able to send a scout out to get the lay of the land at his end of things.

Brasil!

Brasil!

We seemed to be fairly well positioned to put the squeeze on Spain when the time was ripe.  Their empire could best be described as something of a wedge in between Potshot and I, with a city not too far up the coast from Tuckahoe representing the point of the wedge.  Now we just needed to get our act together.

In the end though, we never got there.  My military advisor had the same message for me as when we kicked off this round.

We made it through 80 turns before we decided to call it a night, stopping upon the completion of turn 300.  Things did not look good, score-wise, for the human players.

r2wk3turn300score

I think  I am out in front of the humans mostly based on population.  As we saw at the end of the last game, population influences the score noticeably.  But we are still early on in the life of the game.  I am currently working on navigation as a technology, which will open up the seas, while gunpowder looks to be a ways off.  The demographics showed me out in front in two categories this time.

Demographics at Turn 300

Demographics at Turn 300

I still have the most land area, which isn’t a real advantage currently, and my crop yield is the best out of the empires in the game, so my cities are growing.  But growth also means problems with happiness.  And the turn timer… well, after last week’s post everybody seemed to be a bit more aware of not letting the timer run unawares.  But the clock also grew to close to allowing 12 minutes per turn.

r2wk3Timer

We shall see how big that number will grown.

So not a very productive round, aside from laying groundwork for future moves.  Maybe I will get stuck into things next time around.  This game is going to go on for a while, which should be interesting, as Mattman will be going away on vacation for a stretch in June.  Maybe the AI will revive his fortunes.