Thursday, September 29, 2016

Civilization V Countdown: #5 America

America, fudge yeah! Is any more of an introduction necessary? Well, yes, obviously. America has always been a strange case in the Civilization games, a relatively recent "tribe" going against opponents with thousands of years worth of history in some cases. In later iterations of the game this became less of an issue, but it always struck me as strange to see Boston as a bronze-age city with clay buildings and stone monoliths. The bottom line is America was never a favorite of mine until Part 5, which really got it right with the USA, as it did with so many other things.

Why is America #5?

Part of me likes America just because it's off badmouthed as a weak civilization or an inferior version of other, better choices. Even the usually even-handed Civilization wiki feels the need to tell us that America has boring unique abilities and won't come into its own until the modern era. None of that is even true, let alone the bottom slot on tier list America sometimes inhabits. In reality the extra line of sight is a nice ability for the entire game, helping with both exploration and war and the cheaper tile purchases is nice for anyone who regularly buys tiles i.e. any competent player. The unique units are fun as well, with the Minutemen getting an advanced promotion right away and the B-17 bomber which is both powerful and hard to hurt. I'm not sure why there's all this negativity against America, but I am a bit of a contrarian (wait a few days for my Venice review...) and this is a fun civ to play as.

The leader is Washington this time (Lincoln has appeared as well and in part six we're getting a ridiculous cartoon version of Theodore Roosevelt) and he appears in Mount Vernon, complete with a picture of the Oracle on the wall, finally solving that whole ancient 'murrca problem. It's such a cool little detail, well done whoever got that put in there.

  If you print this out and fold it you can make his head into a mushroom.

Most Memorable Game as America?

What started with the usual peaceful development became a battle for survival against a very hostile Mongol horde that wanted me gone. About halfway through the war I was able to start building Minutemen and was soon using them to fight steppe riders in the forests around New York. It's moments like this which make this game so much fun. It was like the world's worst, or possibly best, alternative history novel. American revolutionaries throwing off the Mongol yoke, using their own novel tactics to counter a ruthless and bloodthirsty Genghis that wants to make them a Golden Horde colony. One of you #amwriting newbies needs to make this concept happen, I'm dead serious. 


Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.  

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