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Hello and welcome to episode nine of Game Diary: Civilization 5, the ongoing story of my first campaign in the latest edition of the infamously addictive Civilization series. Last time, I decimated the Greek civilization but stopped short of taking the capital. Instead, I agreed to a cease fire in which I was given two Greek cities on the condition I would not attack Alexander’s forces for at least ten turns.

It seemed like a great idea in theory, but a combination of my ignorance and a major bug resulted in me involuntarily annexing both cities. The result was severe unhappiness in my civilization, which reduced production, weakened my defenses, and halted growth. I threw all my attention to recovering happiness, and got sucked into a permanent war with the city-state of Almaty while attempting to procure favor from their rivals.

11 November 2010

I decided I’d steer clear of Almaty for a while, lest I become a hated figure amongst the other city-states. This allowed me to focus my attention on the Greeks, who I was just about ready to conquer.

My desperate scramble to recover happiness worked out pretty well — by 1924, the unhappiness rating of my civilization was down to 6. This meant that my only penalty was now a drastically reduced growth rate.

It seemed a good a time as any to finish off Alexander, so I declared war on the Greeks.

Civilization 5 - Alexander defeated

Gracious in defeat.

Even though only one of my units — the Lancer — could reach Athens in under a turn, I captured the city in 1927. The Greek civilization is annihilated; they never stood a chance. I promptly chose the “create puppet” option, bringing my civilization out of its unhappiness slump. I’ll wait until I have a high happiness rating before I consider annexing Athens.

The Songhai, who had been making threatening motions for centuries, shocked me in 1928 with a request for Open Borders. I thought perhaps this signalled the beginning of a peaceful stretch. I could not have been more wrong.

Ramkhamhaeng, the Siamese leader, came to me out of the blue in 1937… and declared war. It was a blatant grab for power — as his nearest rival for world domination, I had to be destroyed. He didn’t mince words, either, stating: “This world is destined to be mine. It is time for me to show you what that means.”

Civilization 5 screenshot - Siam declare war

Look in his eyes. This guy's a psychopath.

I had worried about a war with Siam for a few thousand years, but this struck me as a war I could win. The Siamese have a much larger navy and a large cash reserve, but otherwise possess no real advantage over me. I thought perhaps the city-states could be a problem, but my experience thus far suggests that one or two strong units can capture them relatively quickly.

Then it all went horribly wrong.

Caesar (Romans) and Askia (Songhai) declared war on me, followed the next turn by the Iroquois, Germans, and Japanese civilizations. With the exception of four or five city-states, I am at war with the entire world. Crap!

Growing increasingly nervous, I went from city to city optimizing the distribution of citizens and specialists across the available resources. I needed to maximize production and gold output, but couldn’t risk reducing the science output by more than a fraction (because the Siamese are at a similar point on the technology tree). I lacked the money to upgrade even one obsolete unit. Instead, I had to build new ones and hope that the existing Frigates, Riflemen, Cannon, and (solitary) Lancer could hold their own.

Civilization 5 screenshot

Note the path of destruction being left in my wake.

Up in Greece, where I shared an island with the Romans, this did not appear to be an issue. I quickly razed one city and destroyed three units — one Crossbowman and two Musketmen — with the forces I still had on the island, driving the Romans back rapidly. The combination of two Riflemen, one Lancer, one Cannon, and one Frigate looks to be a force capable of conquering the entire Roman civilization single-handedly.

Elsewhere, things are not going so well. As I write this, Alexandria is under a large naval blockade from the Siamese, which includes three Destroyers and one Caravel. The Siamese have destroyed the Fishing Boats that were working the two fish tiles near the city of Elephantine. And a large Japanese invasion fleet — at least nine units — has descended upon Genoa. My defenses are stretched very thin — let’s hope they don’t break.

Civilization 5 screenshot - Japanese invading

I got 99 problems and a bitch ain't one.

Previous entries:

Later Entries:

Starting conditions

I decided to go with Prince (“normal”) difficulty on a standard map size, with standard game length. My civilization was determined randomly, as were my opponents and the map itself.