March 24, 2010

Civ 3/IV -- shipped

Fry's shipped my copies of Civilization 3 and Civilization IV yesterday. Fedex will deliver them tomorrow.

It's been a long time since I tried to play a game requiring that much mental concentration. I wonder if  I can do it any more? (It's hard these days. That's one of the reasons I stopped doing serious blogging.)

I've never played either of these versions of the series. The last one I played was Civ II. So I know that as of Civ 3 they added a lot of new unit types. I assume there are more Wonders of the World. I'm sure the graphics will be much better. I bet the government types are more intricate now, too. I remember that for a lot of that stuff, the only real way to learn how to use them was to louse it up a few times. (Sid Meier doesn't design games for dabblers.)

UPDATE: That was pretty fast work by Fry's. I put in my order about 2:30 PM, and they shipped it same day.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 10:27 AM | Comments (15) | Add Comment
Post contains 177 words, total size 1 kb.


I didn't think Civ3's graphics were all that much improved, to be honest.  The rendering of leaders was really fugly, for example.  Someone really needs to iron Gandhi's neck.

Lots of new units, wonders, etc.  Civ 4 looks like it's tweaked the tech tree a LOT, including a lot of alternate prereqs ("you need a plus one of b or c to get d") for techs, new buildings, a fairly different system of religion, too.  (I just started playing a couple days ago.)

I'd recommend doing a small amount of strat-reading for Civ4 because the little bit of research I did suggests there's been a lot of tweaks to make some old strats weak, for example, spamming cities isn't a good plan any more in 4.)

Posted by: RickC at March 24, 2010 10:56 AM (d5FDH)

2 I'm not planning on playing Civ IV immediately. I bought it just in case Civ 3 wouldn't work acceptably on this computer. But if Civ 3 works, Civ IV may spend a year in the cupboard before being opened.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 24, 2010 11:03 AM (+rSRq)


Gotcha.  Well, depending on any quirks of your definition of "acceptable," it should be OK; my brand-new HP core i5 handles it, modulo a few weird things like the installer griping that I don't have directx 8 installed (that's meant to be a representative, not an actual, example, and is also what "Run As Administrator" and "run in compatibility mode" are for )

FWIW I have been playing Civ 3 about two weeks, and I'm starting to get bored--too much tedious MM.  Civ 4 looks like it might be a big improvement in that regard, but I'm not sure yet.

Posted by: RickC at March 24, 2010 11:08 AM (d5FDH)

4 I have to say- Civ 3 left a bad taste in my mouth.  Too much complexity and not much replayability.  Civ 4, by comparison, adds ALOT of clever new features that I really liked.

Posted by: Gothmog at March 24, 2010 01:35 PM (ANvHH)


I really hate games that does NOT allow me to 'spam' cities if I choose to, especially through brute force techniques.  Pox on the developers' houses!

I like Civ3, though not as much as Civ2.  The removal of the terraforming ability Civ2's engineers had, really irritated me.  And the fiercer implementation of global warming - yeah, that really impressed me - NOT!

(And yes, I was one of those folks who actual bought the Play the World expansion when it came out.  Good thing I never installed it.)


Posted by: cxt217 at March 24, 2010 01:40 PM (O7B75)

6 If you are still jonesing for Civ2, there's a rather good clone: FreeCiv.

Posted by: Mark A. Flacy at March 24, 2010 01:57 PM (Lbkvv)

7 I did not like III at all.  Biggest problems:
1. Artillery units could be captured if not defended.
2. City flipping from culture: you'd go conquer a city, garrison it with enough to keep it from being retaken, and two turns later, the entire city WITH your army would flip over to the enemy's control.
3. Saltpeter, and the unequal distribution thereof.  If you don't have any, surrender, because you can't build gunpowder units..

All that was fixed in IV, but it was much more graphically intensive.

Posted by: ubu at March 24, 2010 04:26 PM (cxiqH)


Oh, no. They included natural resources into the system?

Several people have written to me to tell me that Civ 3 was a disappointment. Maybe I won't keep Civ IV in the cupboard after all.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 24, 2010 04:49 PM (+rSRq)


ubu, if you're getting cities flipped you're doing something wrong.   I'm not sure what but I leave a big stack on captured cities until I get notified the resistance is ended.

Steven:  yes, there are a half-dozen "strategic" resources like iron, rubber, and so on, and if you don't have access to them you can't build units that depend on them.  I'll admit to not having played a lot yet but i never was unable to find enough strategic resources to get by.

From the (even less) I've played Civ 4, strategic resources are more widespread yet; I haven't had any trouble finding them.  Steven, you need ONE of any given strategic resource to power your entire civilization (that's connected by road to the resource.  Getting your empire cut in half, when all your big production cities are on the opposite side of your empire from the one with saltpeter really sucks, heh, but it teaches you a lesson about the SHAPE of your empire. )

Posted by: RickC at March 24, 2010 05:01 PM (aXVvl)

10 Oh, forgot to say, I found artillery units lame enough that I just stopped making 'em, so no worries about losing 'em.

Posted by: RickC at March 24, 2010 05:03 PM (aXVvl)

11 Make sure to patch Civ 3.  One of the largest initial complaints was how severe the corruption penalty could become if you tried to make a large civilization.  Since that corruption effects both trade and production it was quite easy to grind your entire civilization to a halt by overexpansion.  Before that patch came out I ended up razing every city I conquered to control corruption and provide unpaid 'slave' workers to improve my own territory.

Additionally units gain experience in Civ 3.  They go from Regular (3hp) to Veteran (4hp) to Elite (5hp).  When it shipped the game was bugged so that Elite units were calculated as having no strength.  That led to a single unit holding of hordes of barbarians as a Veteran, and then dying the moment it was promoted to Elite.

Civ 4 took all of the concepts in Civ 3 and substantially improved on them.

Posted by: Betelgeuse at March 24, 2010 06:06 PM (qMdAP)

12 Back in Civ3, they added "strategic resources". You can't see them on the map until you get the appropriate enabling technology. When you get one (generally by linking to it by a road and building an improvement on it), everything linked to the transportation network gets access to the units that require that. Thus, it's a lot easier to manage an empire with a few ports and some rivers than it is to deal with a totally land-locked, dry area.

Civ4 has a slightly larger selection of strategic resources, but they're not quite as important - there's more alternatives where having the resource is an advantage but not an overwhelming one. You can, of course, trade for them - each instance of the resource on the map will provide enough for one civilization, so if you've got three horses, you can trade horses to two other civs.

There are also luxury goods, and usually you'll get them in clumps. Each luxury is one happy person everywhere you have it available, so if you have a wide variety of luxuries, you have a much, much easier time keeping your cities happy and productive.

In Civ4, you also get a similar effect from religions - so you want as many religions as possible in your cities, and you want your neighbors to have the religions which you "founded" by being the first one to pick up the related technology. Not only does this ease diplomatic relations, but you also can get ancillary benefits (extra income, etc.) I've won more than one game by aggressively proselytizing with missionaries...

Civ3 wasn't BAD. It was a lot of fun when it came out. But Civ4 is substantially similar everywhere Civ3 was good, and with many refinements that make it even more enjoyable.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at March 24, 2010 06:32 PM (pWQz4)

13 Don't forget about the various mods available for both 3 and 4.  I can't remember the last time I played a vanilla game of either.  In particular, Sevomod for Civ 4 is outstanding.  More civs (I'm currently about to conquer the world as the Dutch, and my main rivals are the Malinese and the Australians), more unique units, more units in general, more "great people", more varieties in gameplay... it's just excellent.

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 24, 2010 07:01 PM (mfPs/)

14 The thing me and my wife always hated about Civ3 was how the computer cheated horribly in battle.  Their spear men would beat your tanks, and all that.  Well, not *always* against tanks. . . but this is why her strategy was basically "avoid war, climb tech tree ASAP, giant tank assault against foes still at medieval tech."

Posted by: metaphysician at March 24, 2010 07:04 PM (DQ9zJ)

15 Enough with the advice, folks!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 24, 2010 07:58 PM (+rSRq)

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