Civilization 2 by Sid Meier is an awesome game. I played it from the early 90’s til around 2015 when Windows 10 wouldn’t run it anymore (#%^&!!). One of my most memorable games, with some interesting reflections upon real history, I played sometime around 2012…
This game used the real earth map, at maximum size and on Deity level of course. I chose to play as the Americans, which is a bit of a cheat (as you usually get a continent to yourself) but still…
The game kicked off with my capital popping up on the north east coast of the USA and then I founded another city or two. I encountered the Aztecs very quickly so chased off their scouts and (knowing where they come from) I decided to close them out: I built cities from Florida, across Texas and all the way to California and stopped ‘em getting north…but was enduring lottsa skirmishing for no result. But then I discovered Mapmaking, sailed south and dropped and fortified a phalanx in the Columbian mountains sealing the isthmus and trapping the Aztecs. Within 500 years I’d grown huge enough to squash the penned in pests.
I then began colonising South America whilst totally filling in North America, building up into Alaska and the Canadian Arctic. Road linking south to the Amazon took a while but was hurried up when aggressive probes from the Spanish (in Australia), the Mongols (China) and The Carthaginians (Africa) started costing me Argentinian settlers. Then I began my own naval probes and found the UK vacant! I was ahead in the tech race and getting most of the good wonders, so I dropped colonies in Newfoundland and then Greenland (anticipating bomber milk runs) then set up 3 well defended cities in Ireland, Scotland and England. The French and the Romans were squabbling over Europe and western Russia so made no concerted effort to drive me out. However my ambitious attempts at colonies in Scandinavia, Thailand and a crazy one in unoccupied India were quickly snuffed out by wandering crusaders.
So I settled in for defensive tech race and, after a few minor invasions that I quickly squished, it soon became apparent I was unassailable and with a slight tech lead. The Mongols actually had more cities and were making the most of AI tech swaps with everyone bar me but I figured that I’d still win given the situation. So to keep it fun I upped the ante and decided my new game plan was ‘THE NEW WORLD INVADES THE OLD’!!!
The Atlantic crossing would take too long to reinforce an assault, given the speed of railways. Also the Mongols seemed the main threat so I would go west, to the East- Invading Asia!
I set the timetable for attack as the development of howitzers, so in the meantime built a railway up to the Alaskan west coast and readied a force of transports, subs and battleships as well as alpine troops and engineers for the crossing of the Bering Strait. I probed Asia and found the Japanese under siege on the home islands with Mongol bombers and sea power smashing all and sundry. So I sent out my naval force, declared war on the Mongols and cleared the pacific, saving Japan as they were now reduced to a 2 city tech backwater. The fleet action cost my battleships but I still had subs on patrol and Aegis missile destroyers too as I started popping out howitzers. Then, at about 1890, the invasion began: I crossed the Bering Strait undetected and got a road across the tundra and into the hills and forests of Siberia. They were soon onto me!
A wave of artillery and cavalry hit my sucker alpine troops and I responded with howitzers and cleared the way out of the hills. My engineers kept the road coming while I took the first city. They hit back again with another wave of cannons (snicker) and bombers (eek!) but I was able to hold them off with timely reinforcements. My road from the Bering Strait past Kamchatka finally met up with the Mongol network and then my reinforcements began arriving in force. Their bombers probed the strait trying to catch my transports so I set a perimeter of subs as a meat shield. I soon cleared a second coastal city that their bombers had been using and freed up my fleet.
Once I cracked the third city I was into their rail network and free to roam. Naturally my tech was stolen as I rampaged south into Mongolia and the green Chinese plains, but the massive tank and artillery battles were still in my favour whilst the new cities I’d captured built fighters to counter Mongolian bombing raids. The Mongol heartland was a mass of roads and railways so I was able to conduct fast snuff jobs on particular cities. I soon discovered Samarkand just ahead of the next line of towns. Doing a Napoleon / Hitler I made a beeline for the capital and ignored my flanks, and the sound of howitzers being manufactured quietly all around me!
Samarkand fell and they relocated government out of reach beyond the Himalayas! Then the Romans decided to weigh in via some tenuous road links to the west. And then the French though it would be fun to start bombing my cities in the UK. And then everyone started researching Nuclear Fission! I sent out spy swarms to sabotage the wonder builders but eventually the French (too deep in the continent to get a spy through in time) finally built it and the cat was out of the bag! Then, to top it off, they all got on the Apollo program bandwagon so now I was sabotaging that.
Nuclear Bombs started totalling my Chinese cities costing me precious units and then swarms of enemy infantry were hammering away at my costly big guns. My democracy couldn’t cope as I sent in spies with nukes to return the atomic favours the Mongols were dishing out: so I switched to Communism and reinforcing began in earnest.
Soon northern China was a wasteland of ruined radioactive cities, captured and recaptured into oblivion. My spies and nukes foiled the space-race of the Mongols, Romans and French while we hammered it out across the Asian steppe and the English channel (London and Scotland got nuked) whilst the icecaps melted and my tech lead turned to zero. And then the flippin’ Carthaginians in Africa, who were nicely isolated, completed the Apollo Landing – and the real spaceship race was on.
My assault had stalled; my change to communism was too late to guarantee total force superiority so now I switched my entire homeland of undamaged American (North&South) cities to spaceship building and could only send a trickle of reinforcements to help my crumbling Chinese empire. I’d reached the foothills of the Himalayas, the jungles of Vietnam and as far west as Kazakhstan but still the Mongols had cities enough to fight and wage a space race.
I used a few spies to nuke the Mongols and Romans biggest cites/concentrations of troops and held on to my coastal enclaves. Mongolia and Western China became a tit for tat battleground with a network of roads with gaps where the cities used to be. The Mongols got the first spaceship launched but a year later I launched my own superfast one. I switched to maximum howitzer production and had some payback fun smashing a bloody path to the Black Sea. I made it to Alpha Centauri first by a decade…landing in 1992 and winning the game. But my actual goal of reverse colonisation had been foiled: never fight a land war in Asia! The earth was a nuked stink-hole so methinks the new extra-planetary colony would’ve looked pretty damn sweet.
The game was a bucket -o- fun but I really should have turned communist as soon as I got howitzers: to out-produce the old world and just keep pounding away in order to go for a domination victory. Perhaps I also should have got a foot hold in Africa and/or opened a second front in Europe in order to nip any unwanted Wonder building in the bud.
Regardless, there were lots of fun parallels with actual history: going for a capital ie. Moscow/Stalingrad (or Samarkand in this case) instead of consolidating what I had. Human waves of fanatics and other cheap infantry tied up my expensive (howitzer) units – I could only kill so many of them and I was in turn easily killed if caught out in the open. Japan surviving as tech backwater. Africa being left to its own devices –leaving the Carthaginians free to wonder build etc. Australia being too far away from anything to be of strategic value. America invading the old world etc etc