Civ V and Civ VI

As I wrote in the earlier gaming overview post, my motivation in recent years for sophisticated computer gaming has come as a part of interacting with my grandsons. In October 2015, my introduction to 4X (“eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate”) strategy games began with the acquisition of Civilization V, then available in its final expansion version with a package deal to get all previously released content. My youngest grandson was deep into the game and convinced me it would be a good one for my interests, and of course he was looking for someone to play multiplayer with as his brother was still resisting buying it.

Since then I’ve logged many hours of playing that game, setting as a goal to win at least one game using each of the forty-three civilizations/leaders. Sometime along the way, I did accomplish that. Youngest grandson liked the Shoshone (Pocatello), so whenever we played multiplayer he would choose that civilization. Oldest grandson, after he finally bought it, tended to prefer Germany (Bismarck), I think at least in part because he was studying German in school, but also because of its unique units and powers. I never settled on just one civ. I was not enamored with the Domination victory option; I tended to prefer the Diplomacy, or more often, Science victory options. That meant I often played as Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar), Korea (Sejong), or Poland (Casimir III).

Early on, after learning the basics playing in multiplayer mode with a lot of help from my experienced grandson, I played quite a lot on my own to get better at it so I would not hold them back. While doing so, I began to thoroughly enjoy all aspects of the game, not the least being all the history learned, by reading the Civ V Wiki and in game information.

When we played in multiplayer mode we played as a team most of the time, but as we all became better players, we eventually played every man for himself. Only once did I win a game with both grandsons playing every man for himself!

I had enjoyed Civ V so much, I watched in eager anticipation for the release of Civ VI, which came in October 2016. In fact, I ended up buying it on the pre-release deal so I could get the Aztec civ immediately upon release. Those who did not buy pre-release, had to wait a few months to get the Aztec civ, although it was free then for them.

After playing Civ VI for a while on my own, I convinced the boys to buy it as well so we could play in multiplayer mode. This time I was ahead in knowledge of the new game.

It is quite different in several ways from Civ V. At first, I did not like the graphics look at all. I have since gotten used to it, but still would prefer a different basic look. The original version of Civ VI needed some work, and I and the grandsons did not like it as much as we did Civ V. Even so, I kept playing the game and again set the goal to win a game with each civ. I did so with the civs that came with the original game before the first expansion release.

In February of this year, the first expansion, Rise and Fall, was released and it had several significant improvements, especially in diplomacy. Several new civs were added at that time, so I had a new goal to win with each of them (accomplished). In the process I have decided the Zulu (Shaka) civ, followed by the Mapuche (Lautaro) are my favorites to play. I now like Civ VI more than I did at the beginning, especially after the Rise and Fall expansion and the Spring 2018 update that had more improvements, although I am looking forward to the next expansion. I have read nothing about it yet, which probably means it will be quite a while before it is released. The first expansion was released well over a year after the original version, so if they are on that kind of schedule, it will be spring or summer 2019.

So far, I have bought only one of the individually available downloadable content civilizations – Nubia. I probably would not have even done that, but youngest grandson had read up on it and liked its capabilities, so he bought it. When we first tried to play together after he bought it, we learned to play a multiplayer game using Nubia, all human players had to have it installed, so I succumbed and bought it. In principle, I do not like the idea of having to pay for each new civ so tend to avoid almost all downloadable content. Maybe the next expansion version will be offered as a package deal to get all the civs released to date.  We shall see.

Even as I wait for the next iteration, I continue to play Civ VI Rise and Fall. While I definitely prefer Science, and most of my wins are in Science, I have won at least one game with each victory condition. I find Religion the most difficult and have only tried to win using that as my aim a few times, winning just once. Fairly early in the mid-game, one usually needs to pick a victory condition to pursue. Simultaneously trying for both Culture and Science has not worked out well for me, so Science tends to be my choice.

As far as map configurations go, I’ve tried most but tend to prefer Pangaea, Continents, and Fractal, unless I am playing as a civ that excels in naval operations, such as Norway, when Island Plates is the best choice. Occasionally I will use Shuffle and let the map be random just for variety. I have won at least one game on each primary map type, as well as each map size. On size, I tend to almost always play Standard now.

Except for the goals of winning with each civ, each map type and size, in Civ VI I have generally not been actively pursuing the Steam Achievements. I just take them as they come. In Civ V, I was actively working at getting all the achievements, but only unlocked less than half of the 286 possible. Ironically, I have already unlocked 55% in Civ VI, but almost certainly more will be added to the current 191 possible as new civs become available.

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Gaming Overview

Several years ago, my grandsons introduced me to more sophisticated computer gaming than the simple free stuff like Solitaire. The first game they showed me in detail and had me try was Minecraft. It remains one of my favorite games and I highly recommend it for all sorts of reasons, not the least being how open-ended it is leaving virtually all of what happens to the player. It is a terrific tool for developing creativity.

Before long we also were playing World of Warships (shortly after it first became available). The grandsons had already been playing World of Tanks and wanted to try the Warships. After learning how to play World of Warships and enjoying it, especially with the grandsons, I decided to add and learn World of Tanks so I could play that with them also. Both games are free and can be easily downloaded and installed.

About the time Civilization V was released in its final expansion (2015), younger grandson talked me into buying it so he and I could play it in multiplayer mode. I did so and quickly became a fan of the game. We eventually convinced older grandson to get the game too. We’ve had a lot of fun playing together, using the audio only of Skype to be able to talk with each other while playing. Very recently we have used Discord instead of Skype, because of its better-quality audio experience while gaming.

Installing Civ V introduced me to Steam, a digital game distribution platform, and over time I have added various other games they distribute – Cities: Skylines, Rocket League, Stellaris – and more recently Europa Universalis IV and Civilization VI – again mostly because the grandsons were playing them and it was great fun keeping up a long-distance relationship with them via gaming.

I’ve always enjoyed playing various board games since I was a kid, so the transition to complex computer games was not difficult. One board game that I have enjoyed in its electronic version is Settlers of Catan. Microsoft games owns the rights of the electronic version, and one has to buy a license for the game to play it on a computer, but that is another game well worth the price.

I expect to continue gaming, especially having just invested in a replacement gaming laptop.

Asus ROG G751JY

About three years ago my laptop was not functioning well with the gaming I was doing and I decided if I was going to keep up with my grandsons – gaming with them online – I was going to have to invest in a better computer. After doing fairly extensive research on the options available, I selected the highly recommended Asus ROG model G751JY. I had intended to buy it from Asus directly, but found a much better price on Amazon and so bought it there.

I was very pleased with it and enjoyed using it, especially for gaming. It served me well in Minecraft, Civ V, World of Tanks, World of Warships, along with some other Steam games.

There was just one nagging issue – the internal Intel Wi-Fi adapter. It would just out of the blue drop connection. Through experimentation, I found two things that helped. One was to use the 2.4 instead of 5.0 connection to my network. Apparently my normal location of use of the laptop was just far enough away from the router that it did not always get a full-power signal. That was a minor adjustment, though I wished I had the faster connection. The second thing was it seemed to require nearly continuous driver updates, so I regularly checked and updated. Even so, it was very inconsistent. It was frustrating enough that I finally bought a USB Wi-Fi adapter (Linksys WUSB6300) and that worked very well, although sometimes the 5.0 connection still did not have full power.

Overall, for the time I had it, I liked it. The saga of its demise will be detailed in future posts.