Brian J. Weighs In

You Never Move Your Settler! – Opening Strategy Splits Civ V Studio:

“What?! Are you crazy?! You never do that! You fool!”

People got a little crazy during a routine design meeting in the Firaxis Games offices, where the developers of Civilization V take strategy very seriously. A designer talking about his recent playthrough to a large group of his gathered colleagues casually mentioned he didn’t like the starting position of his settler so he moved it that turn to look for greener pastures. The reaction was immediate. Half the designers in the room erupted in anger and disbelief – while the other half vehemently defended the move. They ditched what the meeting was supposed to be about, and instead argued for or against a specific move in the first turn of a Civ game. Clearly, this issue was very important. Sid Meier once said that all good games were a series of interesting decisions, and it’s a testament to the power of Civilization that even the first decision could evoke such a strong reaction in the current Civ team at Firaxis.

I don’t play Civ V because, well, when I got it, it challenged my computer, and, secondly, the Steam login every time I started my computer was a pain and its TSR components lingered and impacted my machine’s performance even when I wasn’t playing the game. Also, I’m feeling a little old to learn new game concepts after, what, a decade on Civ IV?

But I don’t tend to move my settler the first move unless I’m moving off of a desert or frost square onto a better grassland or plain square where I can still build my first city on the first turn.

I also have a host of other bad habits, such as playing the easiest level even after a decade on it. In Civ II, I am pretty sure I tried upping the difficulty, but I just dabble in this game, and a long (or short) frustrating learning-style game just wouldn’t satisfy me. So I also abandon a lot of games early when I don’t start in a strong enough position.

Because I’m doing this to be entertained, not to learn something.

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