Chris
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Marysville
Pennsylvania
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Though here at journey's end I lie in darkness buried deep, beyond all towers strong and high, beyond all mountains steep, above all shadows rides the Sun, and Stars forever dwell: I will not say the Day is done, nor bid the Stars farewell.
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Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game offers a myriad of powerful abilities to create the most incredible civilization the world has ever seen. It is densely packed with various add-ons you to customize your civilization. Its a heavy game that makes 2-4 brains burn for about 3 or 4
hours. But first, a word from our sponsor.



Variable Player Powers
Each player starts with a distinctive civilization. Each civ has a couple of unique special abilities. They form the foundation of your civ’s specialization. Along with the unique power, each civ has a different starting technology. And on top of that, a few civs even come with an alternate starting government.

Variable Win Conditions
There are four ways to win.
Culture Victory: Over the course of the game players may focus their actions to collect culture tokens. Culture tokens may be spent to zoom across the culture track. As you progress on the culture track, you will often draw cards. These cards are the chief source of routine screwage in this game. If you reach the final spot on the culture track, it represents your civ reaching the cultural zenith of creating Pokemon, thus earning you the victory.

Military Victory: History is written by the victors. In Civ you can be the victor if you crush skulls. Well actually you only have to crush one skull. If you destroy anyone’s capital city, you win. The threat of allowing someone else to win militarily motivates all players to achieve a minimum level of military defense. You don't want to be “that guy” that allowed the aggressive player to win via default brutality.

Economic Victory: This is the “variety pack” win condition. You can win if you get 15 coins. Techs are a very common source of coins, but those techs have numerous methods of dispersing those coins. Depending on the tech, you may earn coins through winning battles, cashing in culture, spending resources, or other conditions. Coins benefits any civ. Even if you have no intentions of going for an economic victory, coins have value by improving your ability to purchase tech. And tech is a thing that all people need.

Technology Victory: If you reach the top of the tech pyramid, it represents your civ accomplishing the pinnacle exploration achievement of all time of space flight and then spending decades in space exploration apathy. Technology is the win condition that all civs in all sessions will dabble in to some degree. You may completely ignore coins, you might forgo culture, you may not be military aggressive, but no rational player will ignore technology.

So your starting point is your specific civ powers, and then you combine it with a chosen victory condition that you judge your civ and your disposition is best suited for. That is the wellspring from which all further combo decisions flow. Achieving your victory condition requires deliberate focus. Generally you will have one focused victory condition, with occasionally a backup. A lack of focus will result in achieving none of them. So what other combos are in CIv? We’ll find out, right after this.



Variable Technologies
If your civ and desired win condition are the wellspring of combo choices, techs are the tributaries that feed the river of your civilization. Each player is issued an identical stack of 36 techs. All players begin with the same tech options. New techs will be purchased by most players on most turns. This results in a steady, progressive, increasing differentiation among civilizations.

Techs do a wide variety of things:
Increase Stacking Limits: Civs start with only being able to put 2 pieces of plastic in one square. Being able to squeeze in more plastic per squire improves your potential military might.
Improved Units: All civs start with access to 3 basic military units. Those units can be upgraded to have superior strength, giving you more skull crushing potential.
Unlock Buildings: Buildings can be produced and added to a city to increase its various assets.
Resource Abilities: Having a tech with a resource ability indirectly gives you access to a new action. You have to devote an action to collect a resource. You can then spend the resource to perform the ability on the tech. So if you have the right tech and access to the right resource, in an indirect manner it unlocks new actions.
Unlocks Government: Researching a government gives you access to add yet another powerful global bonus to your civ.
And there’s a broad diversity of other abilities techs can provide.

Variable Buildings
If you have a tech to unlock a building, and if you have the required production capability, you may use an action to construct a building in one of your cities. A building increases the city’s awesomeness capacity. Depending on the building, it may give a combination of increased production, a military bonus, increase your tech purchasing capacity, give you a coin, or boost your cultural productivity.

Buildings provide an interesting decision point because sometimes you will need to choose between developing your city’s capacity versus using a city to work towards your desired win condition. It’s a choice of timing – when do you stop investing in building your engine and start letting that engine whirl. For example, if you want to go for the culture victory, you’ll likely need to put out buildings that produce culture tokens. At some point you need to switch from assembling a culture infrastructure to instead using your actions to reap the cultural rewards of your buildings.

Variable Governments
An ability from a government is about as powerful as a civ’s starting abilities. They tend to give the player a global bonus. It’s just one more power layered on top of the plethora of other powers you may choose from in the game. Techs are the source of unlocking governments. Generally the higher the tech to unlock the government, the more powerful it is. You can only have one government at a time, so you won’t be layering multiple governmental powers, but instead switching around a handful of times throughout the game.

Variable Wonders
Wonders can be the most expensive thing you spend your production on, but they can also have the most powerful impact in the game. Wonders are constructed in your city, and increase its culture capacity. But they also grant a significant power. Wonders are interesting because you usually have to exert some intentional focus to be able to buy one, but they also have a very powerful payoff.



So let’s bring this all together. Your civ will have starting powers. Most turns it will gain new powers from techs. On many turns you will surround your cities with boosters that add to your power. You’ll very likely get a wonder or two, granting high impact abilities. You’ll have a form of government. Most turns you’ll be adding one or more things to your portfolio of powers. This gives the feeling of seeing your tiny little civilization incrementally developing into a superpower that you carefully cultivated.

Because of all these combos, it gives Civ 2 main qualities: immense options, and the opportunity for long term planning.

Immense Options
Civ may be considered complex. However it’s not the rules that are particularly difficult. The rulebook overly details lots of specifics that are easily identified just based on how the board organizes the components. A player aid summarizes the rules quite nicely. At worst, the rules are about medium complexity.

Players are more likely to get overwhelmed with the avalanche of options they are immediately presented with than with how the rules function. When it’s time to choose to do something with a city, you have 3 different actions you can choose from. For just one of those actions, you are presented with a choice to go for one out of: 2 different figures, 4 kinds of units, 14 different buildings, or 4 different wonders. You will not immediately have access to all of those, but those are the options you either have or can strive to have. And then multiply this decision across up to 3 cities.

And then when it is time to research technology, you are faced with 11, 20, 29, or up to 36 different choices, depending how far along you are in technology.

Depending on your tastes, these options can either be overwhelming, or, you can find that all these choices offers rich depth rarely equaled. As for me, I love the complexity, the options, the choices, and the chance to think through and analyze the options to find one that’s best.

Long Term Planning
But I like even better how all of this results in one of the best gaming experiences for long term planning decisions. If you are looking for a game where you make decisions by the seat of your pants and shoot from the hip and live in the now and seize the moment, this game is not for you. Civ may very well be the single best game I’ve played in regards to having the opportunity to make multiple interrelated long term decisions that have a series of resulting sub-decisions.

Civ can be boiled down to: Can the assortment of abilities I put together reach my desired victory condition before your assortment of abilities reach your desired victory condition? The longest term decision to be made is your victory condition. From there, you have to select from a myriad of options to most effectively combine the best powers to get you there.

Here’s a simple example of how you may engage in long term planning. You decide to go for a culture victory. The Stonehenge wonder gives you bonus culture automatically each turn, on top of increasing your culture output. Sounds like a good ability to have for a culture win. But to get Stonehenge you need 10 production. To get 10 production you may decide to get a Workshop building. To unlock Workshop you need the Construction tech. To get Construction you need 11 trade. To get 11 trade you decide to build a scout and move it to a spot collecting trade. Next turn you get the Construction tech. Next turn you build the Workshop. On the following turn you now have a Stonehenge. And that’s just a simple example of the kind of foresight you need.

Vast combos of this scale would not be possible without the expertise, experience, and cheap foreign labor that no one does better than Super Mega Ultra Lightning Combo Industries. Super Mega Ultra Lightning Combo Industries is proud of every power and special ability jam packed into every game of Civ.

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Nicholas
Germany
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These weird pictures really destroy your review. They distract a lot from the text and at least I couldn't really make sense of them.
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Peter Cox
New Zealand
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I thought they were funny

Though I must admit pics with text in a page of text gets a bit much pretty quick
 
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Hugo Soares
Portugal
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Great. review.

[your add here]
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Justin Haxby
United States
Utah
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The "ads" are meant to educate while being ludicrous. Educate you and make you laugh. If you didn't laugh you didn't get it. And if you didn't get it, you need to educate yourself. I hope that is clear enough.
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RoyalRook
United States
Bethesda
Maryland
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You are awesome! I had so much fun reading this. I want to be part of the industry, please hire me, fire me, promote me, demote me, relocate me...let me be a lifer, and if my family can cash in the term insurance then eternal bliss be upon my soul. Hahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahhwahahahahahah.
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