Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Forever War: Civ II version

Joe Haleman's The Forever War is a classic of science fiction.  But Joe Haldeman needed the vagaries of traveling over interstellar distances to make it last forever.    There was a board game based on the novel, but it was a squad combat game, and didn't deal with the length between battles.

Which brings us to the computer game Civilization II.  A turned based game that is, in this case, fought against computer generated foes.  There is a certain amount of diplomacy, and the internal structure of your government puts limitations on your actions. It can run a little long.  And sometimes, it can run really really long.

In what may be the longest continuously played game of Civilization II, the world is just too closely balanced for the fighting to ever stop.

I have been playing the same game of Civilization II for 10 years. This is the result
Lycerius, Reddit Gaming, 13 June 2012 (hat tip: MR)

I've been playing the same game of Civ II for 10 years. Though long outdated, I grew fascinated with this particular game because by the time Civ III was released, I was already well into the distant future. I then thought that it might be interesting to see just how far into the future I could get and see what the ramifications would be. Naturally I play other games and have a life, but I often return to this game when I'm not doing anything and carry on. The results are as follows.
• The world is a hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation.
• There are 3 remaining super nations in the year 3991 A.D, each competing for the scant resources left on the planet after dozens of nuclear wars have rendered vast swaths of the world uninhabitable wastelands.
• The ice caps have melted over 20 times (somehow) due primarily to the many nuclear wars. As a result, every inch of land in the world that isn't a mountain is inundated swamp land, useless to farming. Most of which is irradiated anyway.
• As a result, big cities are a thing of the distant past. Roughly 90% of the worlds population (at it's peak 2000 years ago) has died either from nuclear annihilation or famine caused by the global warming that has left absolutely zero arable land to farm. Engineers (late game worker units) are always busy continuously building roads so that new armies can reach the front lines. Roads that are destroyed the very next turn when the enemy goes. So there isn't any time to clear swamps or clean up the nuclear fallout.
• Only 3 super massive nations are left. The Celts (me), The Vikings, And the Americans. Between the three of us, we have conquered all the other nations that have ever existed and assimilated them into our respective empires.
•You've heard of the 100 year war? Try the 1700 year war. The three remaining nations have been locked in an eternal death struggle for almost 2000 years. Peace seems to be impossible. Every time a cease fire is signed, the Vikings will surprise attack me or the Americans the very next turn, often with nuclear weapons. Even when the U.N forces a peace treaty. So I can only assume that peace will come only when they're wiped out. It is this that perpetuates the war ad infinitum.

Hmmm....  Doesn't sound all that unrealistic.

From some of the comments at the link, I suspect ineptitude has has partially allowed for the battle to continue for so long.  Also, not particularly unrealistic.


John D. Wheeler said...

Darn you, Russell Urkel!! Darn you to heck!!

Do you have any idea how long it's been since I've thought about that game??

Do you have any idea how many hours I've wasted playing??

Okay, 1 game, I'm just going to play 1 game.... no, really....

Degringolade said...

I just had a long conversation with a friend about Civilization II yesterday. This causes me great amusement to read this.

As for your comments about ineptitude, I merely bring up the name of McClellan and Westmoreland to remind folks that this is a facet of real war as well.

PioneerPreppy said...

Bah he didn't switch to a theocracy early enough to overwhelm the other computer players and more than likely didn't take the stranglehold areas before nukes so that the other players would uselessly throw their troops at a fortified square.

Just a lousy player....

russell1200 said...

LOL- I seemed to have stirred up a hornets nest.

JD: I think I started with Civ 3. There was also a space based version (not Alpha Cenauri) that I played. My little one loved the battle-graphics and keeps trying to get me to play again.

D and P: Truthefully, I always found the exploring and building (especially the white elephant special purpose one) more fun than the rather plodding combat.

The latest version seems to be trying to make a more dispersed combat, with more tactical maneuvering a viable option. But I have been resisting the huge amount of time-sink required.