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vharishankar 03-18-2005 10:08 PM

Strategy gaming fans: A question
I know this is a broad subject but I'll ask anyway.

In the first place, I am a big fan of Strategy gaming especially Real TIme Strategy likes of Microsoft Age of Mythology (which is one of the best RTS I've played recently, seriously. In spite of its lack of depth, it's eminently playable and has great theme music :eek: ), Empire Earth and so on.

I've also tried to play Civilization: Call to Power, which is a really difficult turn-based strategy game.

The question I want to ask is simple. How do you play a turn based strategy game and win? I've tried so hard, but Civ: CTP is very difficult indeed because no matter how much you think there's alway a hundred things you need to worry about and inevitably you'll lose to the AI. It must be more a multi-player game, but I still feel that it's so hard to play a turn-based strategy game where you need to keep your finger on a hundred different aspects.

Personally I prefer strategy games that allow me to build a huge army and go to war fairly quickly. I like the feel of playing a battle with a large army of soldiers, tanks and other machines of war.

So why is Civ-type games so popular? I wonder how many of you play the Civ-type turn-based strategy games and for what reason? Also how many of you prefer a RTS to a TBS (turn-based strategy) game?

wapcaplet 03-18-2005 10:33 PM

I haven't played Civ, but I've gotten into some RTS games (Warcraft, Starcraft) and am into turn-based board games like Risk and Axis & Allies. I think the level of complexity you like to have in your game determines what kind of game you'll like. Players who have built up a strong knowledge of strategy and are good at maintaining control of a lot of things at once will like the more complex games, while players (like you) who just want to build an army and attack would probably prefer simpler games.

I sort of like games that are in the middle-road of complexity; Risk is almost too simple, but Axis & Allies has enough variation to keep my interest (which is good, considering games run several hours in length). I prefer I don't think I'd like a game where I have to keep track of 100 different things, unless it was very well designed and did most of the maintenance work for me. Some people are into managing every aspect of their game, though.

harken 03-19-2005 04:40 AM

NFS rules! :D

Crito 03-19-2005 05:58 AM

Other: FPS' and MMORPGs -- First-Person Shooters (like my fav Tribes) and Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (like my fav EverQuest.)

Hangdog42 03-19-2005 09:00 AM

I'm a big Civ fan (it's the main reason I keep Windows around) and one of the reasons I like it is because there are alternative ways to win that don't involve building a huge army and bashing the bejesus out of the neighbors.

However, you're right that in multiplayer mode, Civ really is a pain. If you play turn-based, then there are large stretches of time where you end up counting holes in the ceiling while everyone else does their turn and if you play in real-time, it is REAL easy to loose track of things. I'm sort of the opinion that strategy games like Civ are actually best played alone rather than in a multi-player mode.

vharishankar 03-19-2005 09:40 AM

Maybe because I'm such a gentle guy in real life ;) I like to destroy things in computer games, but not just shooting blindly.

The reason I like fairly easier-to-win war-based strategy games is that I can build as strong an army as I can and unleash the fury on a hapless opponent as quickly as possible rather than wait for a long involved in civilian operations. Mind you, it's not that I don't like the strategy element, but I hate the Microsoft Age Of Empires model of economics where I merely collect wood, gold and food without the "trading" or other aspects. It quickly becomes a chore to keep up the production of basic amenities just to build a single tank or an artillery truck.

I like the sound effect of metal on metal and bombs going off as I crash another building into oblivion and turn my wrath on my foes :p I'm a bit of a cyber Hitler. :D

firefly2442 03-19-2005 09:54 PM

Galactic Civ is fun. I like both RTS games and Turn based. Depends what I'm in the mood for. As for beating Civ, I think the best way is to start off quick in the beginning. The key is creating as many cities or conquering as many cities as possible. Later in the game when borders and areas are firmly established it becomes more difficult to expand.

pevelius 03-20-2005 05:02 AM

first 20-30 turns in civilization are the foundation on which you place your victory. there are numerous tactics to use, but basically the key is to maximize efficiency in every situation. this means you build your cities to correct places, build in correct order, use workers in a wise manner and negotiate good trades of technology.
if and when you need to fight, the key is to fight, again, efficient war. you must pick your fights and force enemy to lose itīs picks.
go and learn more at . it is a really great site devotet to make you a better civ player. actually i uninstalled civ after a month of intensive play. my life was getting messy :) so, i wonīt play anymore.

vharishankar 03-20-2005 05:18 AM

I'm sorry, but Civ is a frustrating game to play for three reasons.

First of all, I'm not against intense strategy in general. Just that when the level of strategy goes beyond what a single human player can manage, it becomes increasingly unfair. The AI can perform a hundred thousand calculations at the same time, but the a human player simply cannot think of every different aspect especially in the later stages of the game.

Secondly it's like a game of chess with the odds becoming stacked more and more against the human player than the AI with each move. The more cities I build, the more difficult it becomes for me to manage every aspect of the city. I start neglecting some cities at the expense of others and the AI is very quick and much more efficient in taking advantage of my lapses when compared to my taking advantage of the AI's lapses. It becomes clunky and complicated and a chore: not fun.

Thirdly, the action is painfully slow. True, you might not always want speed in a game, but the controls are clunky and difficult when it's time for action. Moving troops or units from one region to another becomes a huge pain. Expanding is awfully difficult and painful because you need several moves just to move to a location and build a city.

Agreed, the building part of Civ is not the real pain. It's maintaining existing infrastructure and expanding while at the same time managing the development aspects and using individual cities to the maximum possible efficiency for your Civilization.

I read the Civ manual three or four times and while the concepts look great on paper, the implementation actually leaves a lot to be desired.

Hangdog42 03-20-2005 09:11 AM

I'd second the suggestion of civfanatics, it is a good site to pick up tricks and tips. Civ is a complicated game, but it sounds like you aren't taking advantage of some of the automation that it has. For example, I tend to set my workers to Auto rather than directing every little thing they do. In general they do the right things and if I need something specific done, I just interrrupt a couple and set them to that task.

For the mililtary, nothing beats setting rally points. If you right click on a city producing a military unit, you'll get an option that allows you to choose a place on the map where the rally point will be. After that, every time the city produces a unit, that unit automatically moves to the rally point. Then if you use stacked moving, it makes hauling the army around much easier.

I agree, the pace can lag and the AI will gang up on you. Nothing can be done about either of those. However, the AI does rely on the fact that at higher levels, its only advantage is that it produces stuff faster than you. Beyond that, the AI can be profoundly dumb. I've found its military strategy to be exceedingly stupid and easy to defeat. For example, if you take an AI city, the AI will spend all its time trying to get it back, and largely ignore other threats elsewhere.

vharishankar 03-20-2005 09:23 AM

Ok. Thanks for the hints. But Civ can eat up a substantial portion of my life :) so I'll give it a try when I'm very bored and have nothing else to do.

Playing Civ can be quite addictive in spite of the flaws I mentioned simply because it is challenging in the extreme. But so far, I've had no luck with it even in the easiest difficulty level.

The problem with some of the RTS games are that the strategic elements like trading, diplomacy and military espionage are missing.

A game like Seven Kingdoms is very good in military and espionage aspects, but its actual gameplay is quite simple and easy.

darkleaf 03-20-2005 10:26 AM

Nooo! Now I have to play too :) I played freeciv in linux but I didn't get really used to it so I think I'll check the windows version again. Need to get in windows soon too to make an access assignment for ICT :(

I always take my time and watch those messages you get, especially the empty queues. Further I get some cities up soon at the start and once there's not much to build I start my army in those.

vharishankar 03-21-2005 11:00 PM

I've just installed CivCTP and played it once more in the lowest difficulty level. Certainly it is a great game, but a few points I noticed which frustrated me earlier came up.

This game has a few difficulties for those who want a quick victory. In the first place, building military units early on in the game becomes fairly meaningless for several reasons. First of all, moving troops can be really slow early on in the game and frustrating. Many units will move only the distance of one or two squares per move. Getting from one city to another can become fairly frustrating and long-winded and the paths taken will be quite meaningless.

Building roads will help, but these will take a long, long time because the public works will be zero initially and every unit of road you build will consume every bit of it almost every time. Besides, wasting your initial moves on military building will quickly drain your cities of their productivity which you must keep up to progress in the game.

Besides with rapid scientific progress model of the game, your old units will become slow sitting ducks when you finally manage to move towards your enemies.

The best way to approach the game is to build up your scientific progress very rapidly and start churning out more and more modern units. These units are not only faster in movement, but are also more effective against the ancient outdated ones. Building more cities is the best way because your productivity will increase a lot and gold output will also increase.

Initially one must target a weak enemy and bring him down fairly quick. I managed to take over quite a few of my AI opponent's cities fairly early in the game and this helped me increase my productivity. As far as diplomacy goes, I ruthless kept signing peace treaties and then broke them with disdain to take over yet another city and then again signed another peace treaty. Bribing your opponents will also help.

Finally in the modern era when I was on top of the world and all my opponents were still trapped in their middle ages, the damn game crashed on me and I lost my savegame...

Wartz 03-22-2005 06:43 AM

When I played civ II (alot) I would go very heavy on science and making alot of cities. Also I would get as many alliances as possible. Then one I got seti defense I could spam nukes at will. Fun. :)

If you like turn based games but find them sometimes overwhelming, maybe you should try out Rome Total War. True, its a windows game and it needs a fairly powerful computer to run, but IMO its one of the best games ever. It has an almost perfect blending of high strategy on the turnbased strategy map and real time tactics in the battle engine.

Its turnbased strategy isnt as crazy deep as Civ, but the amazing real time battles more than make up for that.

Cron 03-22-2005 07:31 AM

I see no one mentioned the great series of Master Of Orion. That game is almost PERFECT! Civilization (all versions) is closest to it, but still lacks some work in diplomacy, but is much easier to play. I saw someone complaining about the count of the cities you must manage in Civ, but in MoO you have to manage hundreds of planets with many cities on each :). Not too difficult to me. It's all about how good is UI. I saw some games, when building a building in the city was much more pain, than managing an entire empire.
Also I prefer to destroy an entire solar system with my gigantic space fleet, than just merely conquer the planet. :p

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