Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Help the Captain Choose a Video Game

Figured I'd stand a better shot consulting the thousands of minds that populate the Capposphere rather than consulting a ton of reviews.

Looking to get a relaxing video game like Civilization where you build up a society, fight off others, and inevitably try to dominate the world.

I absolutely LOVED Civilization II way back in the late 90's.

What I hated was how the Civilization series then got INSANELY complex.  Soon you have to worry about spying, diplomacy, a bunch of peripheral BS that made it impossible to play even at the slowest time setting.

Any recommandations for a similar such game that is not going to make me pull out my hair?


Anonymous said...

Battlefield 3 Nuff said!

Matt Forney said...

Off the top of my head:

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: basically Civilization in the far future. Loved it when I was a kid. The expansion pack Alien Crossfire is rare, but worth it if you can get it.

Rise of Nations Gold: a hybrid between turn-based games like Civilization and RTSes like Command & Conquer. Fun if repetitive. Haven't played the sequel.

Galactic Civilizations II: I LOVE this game. Civilization in space. It's complex but not overwhelming and has a scarily intelligent AI.

Europa Universalis series: real-time, historically accurate grand strategy games about creating alternate histories. They have a high learning curve but are damned fun once you've mastered the basics. Of the new 3D games, the only one I've played is Europa Universalis III and its expansions, but I can't put it down (at least when I had access to it). There are also spinoff based off of Roman history, the Middle Ages, the Victorian period and World War II.

Total War series: Civilization-style world conquest, and real-time, historically accurate battle strategy. I've only played Rome and Medieval II and their expansions; the former is great, the latter is so-so due to its bugs and balance issues.

Pete M said...

Civilization Revolution, then maybe Rise of Nations, Settlers or Age of Empires

Anonymous said...

Steffen said...

Here's some good bets:

Alpha Centauri was old school Civ in space.

Sid Meyer even remade a few of his older games like Pirates! and Colonization a couple years ago, but the remakes aren't available through the previous link.

Can't think of much else at the moment.

hanz said...

x3 terran conflict has a fun economy. no taxes either

daniel_ream said...

Dawn of Discovery for the Wii fits your bill, but it's been cartoonified, and you'd have to own a Wii.

FreeCiv is a free open-source remake of Civ II with better graphics, so you can always give that a try.

It sounds like you want at least some wargamey elements in this game; there are good city-building games that don't have much military expansion like Children of the Nile or Imperium Romanum.

If you want the expansionism you could try some of the Settlers series, although the complexity yo-yos up and down between versions.

There are 4X games like the Space Empires and Galactic Civilizations series that have the same gameplay but have an SF theme. If you really want to tip towards the action side at the expense of the civ-building, Sword of the Stars is cool.

William Hughes said...

Sins of a Solar Empire. For design engineer hidden within.

D'Anconia said...

How about you play Civ II?

Totally agree on the later versions, that's why I still play Civ II whenever I get the itch to dominate the world. Master of Orion 2 is great for dominating the whole galaxy.

I guess it's a sign of getting old. And I'm not even 30 yet.

Anonymous said...

Civilization: Revolution for PS3 / X-box. My wife and I play it pretty much every day.

I find it is a simple version of Civ 3, fairly cartoony but I like it. We actually have two PS3s and two copies, so we can play against each other.

Can get through a game in 2 to 3 hours, faster if you don't micromanage.

Aurini said...

Rebuild II is a simcity-like game where you try and rebuild after a zombie apocalypse (available on newgrounds).

Currently, I'm playing an oldschool RPG called Tales of a Drunken Paladin - I've played/read few things that have had me laughing out loud this frequently. The mana potion is called "Jar of Female Angst - This jar is rich with the plight of feminists everywhere", and the priest's stunning attack is called "Altar Boy's Offering".

Both of these are free to play, to boot.

Anonymous said...

You can try Supreme Ruler 2020.

Strauss said...

They are not related in any way to Civilization, but my recommended video games are:

- Ico
- Shadow of Colossus
- Psychonauts

The first two i love the story and the ambient, the third one is kind of psychedelic journey.

Anonymous said...

alpha centauri

Anonymous said...

alpha centauri

Anonymous said...

Xcom has a reboot. Don't know if you played the original in 94 but this one is a fair update.

Aliens invade earth - you lead an organization that fights them off. There is some micro-managment but not too much. its turn-based.

Todd said...

1. Alpha Centauri (wish I hadn't lost my game disc in one of my house moves)

2. Galactic Civilizations 2 (just reinstalled this week!)

Anonymous said...

The Conquer the World mode in Rise of Nations (I prefer the Thrones & Patriots expansion) sounds like it may be what you're looking for.

C&C3:KW has a similar risk-esque world map mode as well.

Unknown said...

Dude, Sid Meier's Alpha Centuari.

Aurini said...

Psychonauts - great game! The only problem is that the difficulty curve is all over, and I could never finish the last level (nearly impossible jump required, and on the PC version the double-jump frequently fails to activate). Nonetheless, excellent game.

Andreas Agorander said...

Space Empires V with the "Balance mod".

my favourite 4x genre game.

LoneWolf said...


This is a bit "old school"... but I've been playing this game quite consistently since I purchased in back in March of 2001 --- "Heroes of Might and Magic III" (I purchased the "complete version").

This is a turn-based game, so you've already eliminated the RTS frustration right there. You can take your time and really look over your resource planning, forces, skills, etc. It's old school sprite graphics, not 3d modeled at all... so you do not have to be concerned with processing overhead. I have been able to minimize the game, surf the Internet and then come back to the game at will without crashing - and contrary to some information I have read, it works just fine in Windows 7.

The copies I have seen on amazon have been going for $52.00 (which is a complete rip-off):

... I bought mine for $14.95 in 2001.

You can also play this game with up to 8 friends over the Internet, or LAN. The "random map" feature is nice, because you can set up a random game configuration each time you play and the game is never the same.

It's old school... which fits my approach to life perfectly.

Pulp Herb said...

I'll second the vote for Europa Universalis and Sins of a Solar Empire.

Also, while it's not my cup of tea (I'm a big Civ IV fan) you might like the change of direction in Civ V if you haven't tried it.

Alexander said...

Matt's recommendation of the Europa series of games would be my suggestion as well and I've enjoyed most of the spin-offs. A word though - if you dislike the later CIV games due to excessive micromanagement, these games won't help. Victoria has a enormous economic engine that the game revolves around, and the EU games themselves are very detail oriented.

Of the set, I found Hearts of Iron II (World War II to the mid 50's if you play without expansions) to have a forgiving learning curve and playable without being excessively micromanaging. When I play Victoria or Europa, I do it wanting the nitty gritty experience...

Geoarrge said...

I've played every Civ game from II through V and I understand where you're coming from, at least through III and IV, but Civ V is actually more streamlined in several ways. I'd recommend taking a closer look at it if you've only been basing your opinion off of what you've seen of III and IV.

Kirlon said...

...or Spore. It's not as complicated, which I guess it's good in this case, but it's fun and you can actually build an entire race, from cell swimming in primordial soup to space-faring civilization. When you reach the space-faring stage you battle other races, conquer their planets, etc.

Leif C said...

Endless Space is a new game that plays like the first few Civs. It's easy to learn but hard to master, especially if you like Rumpie when you play.

jso said...

xcom enemy unknown just came out a few weeks ago

it's a turn based strategy game but you only control 4-6 people and fight aliens, so maybe it's not that relaxing.

I've been playing payday: the heist lately, the total opposite of a strategy game. I'm not helping much am I

Edward said...

Without a doubt, Command & Conquer Red Alert and Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. You're welcome.

Vicomte said...

I'm surprised no one mentioned this.

Orphan said...

Best turn-based strategies:

Lords of Magic II/Special Edition
Alpha Centauri
Civilization: Call to Power

Warlock: Master of the Arcane is a newer remake of an older game you've probably never heard of; it's decent, and fast-paced.

Dungeon Keeper is real-time strategy, sort of, and one of my top five games of all time. Yes for slapping minions and/or chickens to death, torturing enemy creatures to death, and using their ghosts to kill their allies.

Outside the turn-based strategy domain, Terraria is insanely awesome.

Anonymous said...

Natural Selection 2 - Real-time Strategy / First person shooter combination
Lots of fun, easy to pick up, difficult to master (but there's nothing forcing one to master it)

Jokah Macpherson said...

Haha, basically anything made by Brian Reynolds.

self-exiled Spaniard said...

Europa Universalis III

Anonymous said...

Definitely Psychonauts.

Also, OVERLORD! Overlord and Overlord 2 are hilariously funny single-player action games.

Bulletstorm is also a hilariously funny action game.

Mini Ninjas is a very fun action game, if a bit cartoony and cute.

Also, STARCRAFT! Starcraft and Starcraft 2 are excellent RTS games similar to what you said you were looking for. For plot, Starcraft 2 is especially good, and the multiplayer game is very good as well.

Anonymous said...

Starcraft 2 is an excellent game along those lines.

As for other games:
Overlord 2
Mini Ninjas

Tam said...

I still play Civ II. The sequels just lack the magic that had the original poised between complex strategy and beer'n'pretzels fun.

Every now and again, get some friends together and play a multiplayer game of Civ II Gold.

Reido said...

Although not a civilization building game, LA Noire is really good, you are a Phillip Marlowe like gumshoe in the late 50's LA, tracking down clues and solving crime. Very difficult to not do "one more chapter" then go to bed.

Anonymous said...

i have been playing Eve Online for 4 years now, and i'm one that is easily board with games. i figure them out and use the game mechanics to my advantage. if you try the 2 week trial message me in game name 'pontin'

also check out the game 'anno 2070' i think its right up your ally

Anonymous said...

Sid Meier's Alpha Centuari, if you've never played it before. It's a masterpiece.

More modern, I'd suggest Darkest Hour. It's basically Hearts of Iron II with 7 years of player input and modifications/improvements, sold cheaply as a "new" game. It's WWII strategy generally, but it also does a great WWI scenario.

Kindjal said...

Pax Impera is an interesting older galactic empire game by Tin Drum. The planets roll around in orbit. You have to consider the positions of planets and ships whenever encountering opponents. Results in interesting hit and run skirmishes. The music is pretty.

dhill said...

Alpha Centauri could actually be even more complicated than Civilization II. I guess you are not a target anymore as a working man. I used to play that as teenager and it always ended with a month of life being cut out.

Anonymous said...

I've tried Civ 111 a couple of times but found it unplayable. Thee is no middle ground. The AI players are always able to outbuild me early in teh game and then seem to all be on the same side to eliminate me. On the easiest setting, they still outbuild me but let me survive as a third world country while they dominate the world in every way.

If you haven't tried it yet, you might check out one of the older games like Emperor of the Fading Suns. Turn-based civ building conquoring style game and you can download it for free.

sth_txs said...

Civ II was also one of my favorite games. I liked the idea that if one did not have enough money to run their government, it would have to sell improvements and downsize. Also the idea of 'gold' as money was also good. No fiat spending sprees.

I never could get into the new Civ's after II.

laowei said...

Having played all of the variations of CIV over the years, I agree with the discussion of CIV V. Now that they are designing the games to be adaptable to consoles, they are becoming much more strealined and simple, not less (which was very disappointing for players who relied heavily on nuclear detente, espionage, and religion)

jaericho said...

I loved civ2 as well. Age of Empires 2 was great. Rise of Nations was great. I'm not too sure about any newer games.

Giovanni Dannato said...

I'll second Heroes of Might and Magic III. Easily one of the best turn based strategy games ever made.
Since excessive graphics are little more than a distraction when it comes to strategy, I've never been bothered in the least by it being 'old school.'
Not really any focus on politics, economy micromanagement, or religion. Military strategy reigns supreme.

Galactic Civilizations II also a good recommendation.
It's not as complex as Civ, but you still need to micromanage your economy and learn to develop each planet according to its strengths.

Civ IV, however, IS unsurpassed.
I think a lot of people would be able to advance in skill and not get crushed mercilessly if they understood the importance of diplomacy.
Without a clear idea of long term foreign policy objectives, there's little chance of going far.
People who are new to the game will recklessly convert to whichever religion they happen to found first unaware that they're making a choice that will determine their friends and enemies.

I'll also mention Homeworld. Even though it's an RTS, it's much more slowly paced than usual.
Fleets with large ships move slowly
and maps are huge.
Once you've moved somewhere, you're committed. So you have to think ahead almost as if it were a turn based game.
Also, its just fun to be able to move units in 3 dimensions.

Anonymous said...

If you're on a budget, stronghold kingdoms is great. It's free to play, has a huge community, and you get to be lord of a medieval village while sending out attacks and customizing your castle's defenses.

sharethink said...

I suggest you play Portal ll if only for the wonderful dialogue.

It is a short game, but features some of the funniest writing I have ever seen in a game.

One of the key characters is a crazy industrialist, who is supposed to be a caricature of a heartless capitalist. He actually has more admirable qualities that any other entity in the game.

The authors tried to mock the gung-ho, can-do attitude of the 1950's, but unwittingly created a model for the sort of adventurers and entrepreneurs America so desperately needs right now.

Best quote: "Science isn't about 'why?'; it's about 'why not?!'. You ask why it's so dangerous. I say, 'why not marry safe science if you like it so much?' In fact, why not invent a new safety door that won't hit your ass on the way out, because you are fired!"

Dystopia Max said...

If you're into REALLY old-school platforming, play Super Meat Boy. The music is fantastic.

And if you want to play a ridiculously addictive roguelike Zelda game (yes, a ROGUELIKE ZELDA GAME,) play Binding of Isaac, which, as a bonus, is about a child fleeing into hell from his psychotic single mother.

Peacemaker said...

Another vote for Civilization: Revolution. They got rid of religion and much of the diplomacy. Stream-lined the whole game without removing the fundamentals.

Gandhi was a pacifist? Not in Civ:Rev. That jerk starts war if you don't give him Alphabet.

I've beat Deity with every leader through all four methods of winning and still play it. Probably 300+ hours. Tokugawa FTW!

Anonymous said...

try Stronghold Kingdoms. Its free too :)

Anonymous said...

C&C Red Alert, select a version to match your hardware. Red Alert 3 needs a decent (nVidia) video card, I play Red Alert 2 on my laptop.

I spent years as a Civ addict. I can play a RA game in 10 minutes or 2 hours depending on how I play it. Very relaxing, minimal time commitment and an easy learning curve. Massively replayable. Best $40 I've spent in a long time.

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