Strategy game takes over

At last, the 19th Wonder of the Ancient World has been completed within the stone walls of Rome. The year is 2016, and my space station is also nearing its final phase of construction. Life has been good to me, Shaka of the Zulu tribe, and now that Rome is the cultural leader of the world, it is time to unleash my ultimate weapon and wipe their smug little Roman faces from the face of the earth. As soon as I discover the alphabet.

Board games are usually seen as childish games with funny themes to be played on the dining room table with family, but this particular version of Civilization Revolution takes a different turn. The biggest difference is that it isn’t even a board game; however, I can’t come up with anything better to compare it to. It’s a turn-based strategy game on the X-box 360 in which up to five players, whether AI or other humans, select a famous civilization and build it from the ground up.

The game begins in the year 4,000 b.c. and as far as I know, can last until the year 3,000 a.d. (the farthest I’ve gotten has been 2012). The date rises with every turn taken, sometimes by leaps of 100 years, sometimes at a grueling pace of one year per turn.

Each turn is taken up by moving units around the globe; these units are usually military-based and can be built at any city the player controls. Once all units have been moved or told to hold their current positions, the turn ends and the next players take their turns. Although constructing roads and other buildings do not take up an actual turn, launching nuclear warheads for some reason do (much to my annoyance).

The game ends by one of four means: economic victory: having a vault of 20,000 coins and constructing the world bank, domination victory: eradicating all enemy civilizations on the map and becoming world dictator, cultural victory: gaining 20 Wonders of the Ancient World or Great People from history or technology victory: constructing a space station and reaching Alpha Centauri.

It sounds extraordinarily boring when describing it with words; however, when playing it, it becomes one of the most addicting games in existence. There are times when hours of my life vanish in what feels like a single second. Conversations with friends fade into distant memories even though I am still wearing my headset. This game has ruined my life more so than Grand Theft Auto V and Plague Inc. combined, and it is a beautiful thing.

Despite its multitude of fabulous characteristics, it also has quite a few shortcomings. For example, multiplayer games cannot be saved like single player, meaning if two friends were to play the game they would either have to end the game before a winner is announced, or finish the game as quickly as possible. The servers also struggle to support two players, let alone the maximum of five.

One of my favorite aspects of this game is the possibility of diplomacy with other civilizations; however, the aspect however crumbles under the massive unintelligence of the AI. Diplomacy with China was a fantastic idea on paper, and Mao was happy to form the alliance. But the next turn one of my horsemen just happened to be too close to his city, so he did the only sensible thing he could do. He declared war.

This is one of far too many other true stories of my failed diplomatic attempts while playing Civilization Revolution. There are also stories of failed attacks against enemy cities, ridiculous reasons for war from other nations and one story of how I received a tank from the Atlanteans in the year 2300 b.c.

Despite its quirks, this game remains one of my favorites, a magnificently difficult task for a game to accomplish. Even without the possibility of multiplayer games, and the barbarian-like intelligence displayed by the AI, it is impossible to not enjoy this game. It is currently free for download on the X-box Live marketplace; however, it won’t be free for much longer.