Time Management Disaster

Just when I was climbing on top of any number of issues at work, and was ready to start blogging again in earnest, Civ 5 was released yesterday.  Yes, it has all the time destruction potential of its older versions.  Some quick thoughts from a few hours of play

  • Beautiful interface.
  • The things that were removed (ie religions) are not missed
  • The only thing I don't like about the interface is that the new way of showing armies makes it harder to distinguish what type of troops they are.
  • Love the new combat system and the elimination of absurd stacks.  The new city defense system is a nice add as well.
  • More barbarians on the loose in the early game, but if they attack you no combat units (workers, settlers) they drag them back to their encampment and you can go and free the hostages
  • Early game very different -- not a headlong race to settle open space.  Early game city states change the early dynamics, for the better I think.
  • I like not having to build transports to send armies overseas.  This certainly will make oceans a less formidable barrier to conquest, which I think is good.
  • Can't comment yet about balance or unbalanced strategies, not far enough along, but am very happy so far.


  1. Dr. T:

    No transports are needed to move armies across oceans? That's sacrificing too much realism to make game play slightly easier.

    I'm not religious, but nearly everyone else is, and religions have played major roles in the development of nearly all civilizations. Removing religious factors from the game sacrifices (no pun intended) realism.

    I like the rule change that doesn't force you to rapidly acquire territory like a power-mad czar.

    The user comments on Amazon.com are scathing. (The average rating is two stars.) Some of the low ratings are due to bugs and crashes, some are due to the need to install Steam (which sucks big time, in my opinion), and others are due to the radical changes in game play.

    I don't have personal experience with Civ V yet, because I have to wait until the OS X version is released.

  2. EconStudent:

    I have played all of the previous releases, and am anticipating purchasing this one. I haven't yet just because I want to wait and hear some other reviews. I appreciate your review of this Warren. When it comes to the realism of using transports to move armies overseas, at least in modern times, that made it take 2-4 years instead of the 2 months you can do now. I have always thought the least realistic thing about the game is the movement time.

  3. rsm:

    Dr.T: I don’t have personal experience with Civ V yet, because I have to wait until the OS X version is released.

    Which just invalidated every comment you made. *sigh* Whenever was Civ about 'realism'.

    Thanks for the quick review Coyote, I was waiting until after Three Moves Ahead's Civ episode to see if I was going to give it a whirl. Odds are pretty good I will, but the time management risk is... immense, which is for me at least a compelling reason not to buy.

  4. Kevin R:


    The transports are there, you just don't have to build them in your cities and move them around manually. It's abstracted a bit so that your land units just climb on a transport when they hit the water. They don't walk across the water. ;) I think it's a fantastic change, since transporting units across oceans was something I always hated. (In Alpha Centauri I often found it easier to just raise the landmass and create my own land bridge.)

    Religion is there as much as it was in Civ 1, 2, and 3: you can build temples, there are religious government effects, etc. It just doesn't have the Civ 4-style specifically named religions.

    And Steam rocks. I've bought so many more games than I would have otherwise. (So it is a good thing if you are a game developer or publisher; it is not a good thing if you are my wife.) You can still play the game offline, you know.

    Anyway, Civ 5 is fantastic so far. No crashes or anything. I've noticed a couple graphics bugs (I built the Hanging Gardens in a coastal city, and it apparently was built offshore), but no crashes or anything.

  5. Kevin R:

    (In rewording my last paragraph I left "no crashes or anything" in there twice. So I guess there are double no crashes. :P )

  6. Andrew:

    You can't save multiplayer games... :-(

  7. Eric Hammer:

    My free time, as well as most of my allocated time, just screamed in terror and ancestral fear at the release of Civ V. I will probably end up grabbing it when it goes on sale on Steam for ~10$ or so. Hopefully any bugs will be worked out by then.

    As to Steam itself, I HATED it so hard until about 4-5 months ago. It tended to crash itself and the game I was playing, even when playing offline, which made me nuts. However, right around early summer/late spring that pretty much stopped happening. Lately it has been pretty transparent, and offered a nice way to chat with some of my friends and buy up some good games on the cheap. (Titan Quest and Blood Bowl for 10$ each were totally worth it. Dawn of War 2 with expansion for 20$ or so wasn't too shabby either.)

  8. Evil Red Scandi:

    Thankfully, my Linux desktop shields me from this temporal sinkhole. I can only imagine how much more my net worth would be if the earlier Civs were never released :-)

    But my laptop runs Windows...


  9. TripAZ:

    My only nitpick with the game is that selecting 'communism' has a positive productivity bonus.

  10. Elliot:

    @TripAZ, I concur with the idiotic "communism boost production" rule. I play Civilization Revolution and I've yet to adopt communism, even though there were a few instances where it would help. Also, I've never played as the Chinese, since their leader is Mao. Bastiges.

  11. TripAZ:

    In prior CIVs, communism would 'spread misery equally' by averaging out city unhappiness amongst all of your cities. In Civ V, I don't think unhappiness is done on a per-city basis so they couldn't do that anymore.

  12. Floyd McWilliams:

    I like Civ V a lot, there are some really nice features and I don't miss most of what was jettisoned from IV.

    The change from units being transported to units "wading" across the water is strange, but probably mandated by the elimination of stacking. If you can't stack units, it's hard to load several of them onto a single transport.

  13. markm:

    "More barbarians on the loose in the early game, but if they attack you[r] no[n] combat units (workers, settlers) they drag them back to their encampment and you can go and free the hostages"

    What, no militia?

  14. Spanky68:

    Just found your blog on a link from Maggie's Farm. I bought Civ V on release day. I have played a game and a half.

    My early impressions: I like the new combat system more than the old. I don't miss the religions either. I am only now (after 20 hours+ of the game) learning that the key to expansion is building happiness buildings (Colosseum, theatre, etc). The interface is definately prettier. But the game hasn't hooked me the way that Civ IV did in the early days. I am not saying the game is bad or won't ever hook me. I am sure I will play it repeatedly and will become immersed at some point. But the visceral urge to play hasn't come over me yet.

    Great generals being able to start a golden age is neat. But overall, great generals seem less powerful in Civ V.

    I was hesitant to buy Napoleon Total War because of all the hysteria over Steam games. But I am using Steam for NTW, Civ V and another game and have had no trouble at all.

    The blog looks great. Keep it up

  15. smitty:

    My practice is to go to a store, pick up the box, and anticipate the feeling of having my time drained away in a vampiric fashion, the way so many hours have been in the past.
    After half a minute, I put the box down.

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