I was going to be late last time around. My wife and I were watching the pilot for The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency on HBO, which it turns out runs two hours. That was going to push me about 15 minutes passed the planned game start time.
But I figured that would be okay. I could let the AI run my empire for a while. Last time around Potshot and I had evicted our only continental neighbor, so aside from just bankrupting me again and selling off city improvements, I would probably be okay. So we finished up watching the show before I meandered over to my computer to see how things were going. Last week we finished up at turn 430. We try to stop at a round number and always finish that turn, so in this case, when we started the game up again, it would be the start of turn 431. Given our usual rate of advancement, I thought we might be somewhere between turn 440 and 450.
However, when I joined the game, it seemed that things had not been moving forward at all.
When things finally loaded up for me, we were still at turn 431. I had not missed a thing.
Well, I had missed something.
It seems that up to that point Mattman and his antique coal fired Ye Olde ThinkePayde portable difference engine had been trying to get into the game via the WiFi connection at the Dili Beach Hotel in East Timor. However, after a couple attempts at getting into the game even as an observer failed, the idea was dropped. Just because we were playing a world spanning game that featured 19th century technology did not mean that such things were going to integrate smoothly over Steam. Charles Babbage wept.
And that is when I showed up. Just in time!
More after the cut.
So with the game finally set to advance, and with Mattman in the Google hangout, Loghound and Potshot both changed their video options to output their Civ V windows, as opposed to their web cams, so that Mattman could see the game as it progressed. Of course, now all of use could see the world as Potshot and Loghound viewed it, but we were not at war so there was no harm at the moment. I tried to share my game output as well, but for some reason it would only show a black screen. No idea why. So I started sharing various other things, including the CFC directorbot feed from Jabber, my web browser, and the Google Hangout window, which ended up showing an amusing infinitely nested set of views.
The game itself moved forward slowly. We were in something of a consolidation round. As noted last week, and above, Potshot and I had swept our particular continent of foes and would need to build an expeditionary force if we were to go after other empires. My vote for victims was Morocco, since the appeared to be hostile to me for various reasons already.
They don’t like warmongers.
The funny thing is that most of the other civs were guarded or neutral to my Dutch empire. Even Spain, whom Potshot and I had attacked and pushed into the sea was merely guarded in their outlook towards me. So, from my perspective at least, Morocco looked to be high on the list. I will have to ask Potshot how his relations with them are going.
And speaking of Spain, I think our selecting the option that keeps a civ in the game until their last unit has been slain is going to haunt us. Spain is still out there, somewhere. I did actually run into a Spanish naval unit at one point, declared war, and sank it.
This somehow changed Spain’s score, which had been sitting at 311, up to 314, leaving me at a loss as to how scoring works. It certainly seems to involve more than what I brought up last week. But I remained at war with Spain in hopes of finding and dispatching their final unit so as to eliminate them from the mix. I don’t need somebody else denouncing me. But that was about it on the war front. Russia was purported to be plotting against Loghound.
As far as I can tell, the AIs are always plotting against somebody or another. If it is against another AI you can gain some brownie points… or maybe work off some warmonger demerits… by informing the target AI through diplomatic channels. But all I could do in this case was tell Loghound on coms that Russia was plotting. Or Catherine was. Or St. Petersburg was. That came as no surprise to him, as they were lining up military units along the border, and he was returning the favor.
But that does bring up something of an annoyance I have with Civ V. It is rather inconsistent as to how it refers to other civs in its informational updates. Sometimes it will be the civ name, sometimes it will be leader’s name, and sometimes it will be the current capital city. That isn’t so bad with Russia/Catherine/St. Petersburg or Germany/Bismark/Berlin or other civs that my Euro-centric education has left me familiar with. But with the Mayan or the Assyrians or the Songhai it can be a bit of challenge at times to know who is being referenced. It would be nice if they just stuck with the name of the civ for consistency. Or such is my gripe.
The only other big in-game action was the World’s Fair. This is a mid-game international competition that allows you to funnel your city production into building the event. Those who contribute the most are suitably rewarded when it is done. I decided to really push on the World’s Fair front, but was aced out by Babylon by a mere 6.42 units of production.
Considering that third place was over 500 units behind, and that fourth was a thousand back, that was a pretty thin margin of victory. I tried to blame Chad, but he wasn’t hanging around for that. [warning: obscure, decade old political reference] Still, I did get something for second place.
However, third and fourth place also got the same prizes, so I could have spent a good chunk of that production on something else.
Otherwise there were not a lot of breakthroughs during this round. We were all building up infrastructure, going for some sort of tech, and in the case of Loghound, trying to figure out how to survive on the same continent as the triple alliance of Russia, China, and Assyria. That meant a lot of tweaking of his situation, and with the turn clock now constraining us to 20 minutes, turns were starting to take some time to get through.
And along with that, Mattman regaling us with tales from the tropical bush, posting us Daguerreotypes of the view from his hut, and telling us about how he eschews the use of sunscreen, preferring instead to go about covered from head to toe in an oversize burnoose and large straw hat, the latter of which he claimed once belonged to Charles Laughton or Charles Lindbergh or maybe Charles Darwin. The story seemed to change as time passed.
Being one of the least patient people I know, I started tabbing out of the game to fiddle with other things. I started up WoW and logged in a low level alt to play, routing that window into the Google Hangout. My first experience streaming I suppose, because it may have also been the first time I found an actual reason to stream. Granted, streaming to say, “If you don’t press that Goddam “Next Turn” button soon, I am going to go play something else!” might not be the most charitable of reasons, but it is a reason. So Mattman got to see me fly around Ironforge and Loch Modan and kill some crocolisks. I had considered bringing up EVE Online, given how pretty space can be. And, as Potshot noted, it is a easy game to not play. I spend a lot of time not playing it. However, I was already not playing stretches of Civ V, so I figured not playing another game might be redundant.
To be fair, I am impatient enough that I have tabbed out of the game while waiting for turns in the past, often to review and edit pictures for blog posts. Multitasking or something! But this week the situation in the game had begun to grown complex enough that turns were taking a while. So when we started to hit the “not really old, but not as young as we used to be” guys getting tired and ready to call it a night point of our evening, we had only progressed to turn 470, which put us in the year 1880. We seemed to be a bit behind in technology. I didn’t see any steam ships yet and I was only starting to research what one might consider US Civil War level military technology.
The score at turn 470 stood at:
Babylon was still out in front, those World’s Fair stealing bastages. I remained in first place among the human players, with Loghound and Potshot duking it out for second. Potshot once got within four points of Loghound, but couldn’t quite find the mojo to pass him. Mattman’s Chinese empire, under AI control, appeared to be pulling away from Spain for the time being. My goal is to knock Spain out, but not just so Mattman will be in last place. I also don’t want to see Spain on the demographics chart, since a civ without cities is going to be in last place for about everything no matter what.
I fell back in crop yield and land area, but moved ahead in GNP and Manufactured goods. And I managed to score worst in approval ratings. I have some happiness issues to deal with.
Otherwise, I managed to explore a bit more of the world. You can see my lands in orange and Potshot in lime green. He already has a foothold near the Arabs while I have a spot all scoped out next to Morocco, which is the dark red southwest of me.
I really want a bigger and/or better overall map view in the game.
So we vowed to renew our struggles again soon, when we should make it into the 20th century. Mattman will attempt to join us next time via the lobby WiFi of the Magila Motel, the finest one-star accommodation in Port Moresby, also with 20th century aspirations.
For the story of this game so far you can see:
- Weeks 1 & 2 – The Big Map
- Week 3 – Hands Across the Something
- Week 4 – The Siege of Madrid
- Week 5 – Embracing Spanish Confucianism
Author’s note: Information, views, and implications about Mattman’s current and future vacation spots are complete fiction. References to his laptop and views on sunscreen do have some small basis in fact, though they may have been wildly exaggerated in the name of humor.