Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Civilization V Countdown: #6 Babylon

Today we're going to tuck in between the Tigris and Euphrates and talk about the Neo-Babylonian empire or the Chaldeans if you prefer. That's what is clearly represented here, rather than the more ancient version of Babylon led by Hammurabi from the first game of the series, but as the world's biggest fan of the ancient Near East I'll still take it. Can you guys please include Sumeria, complete with a godawful mobile phone cartoon version of Ur-Nammu, in Part Six? You might get one extra sale, maybe. Think carefully before you say no.

I am aware that there's a mod that lets you play as Sumeria in Part 5 and that's all I'm going to say about that. Aren't we supposed to be talking about tertiary characters from the Old Testament?

Why is Babylon #6?

In this case there's more than just my unhealthy fixation on silt, complex irrigation, ziggurats and cup-bearers that later become kings and conquerors. The ability to quickly generate Great Scientists, including getting a free one just for researching Writing, is probably a bit overpowered and this is the reason this civilization tends to appear on the top of tier lists. The bowman is a fun throwback to early games and could be used for early rushes if you want to play against the obvious focus on peaceful development the science bonus encourages in the early game. The Walls of Babylon, a sort of off-brand Ishtar Gate, fit nicely with this theme and your typical "four city tradition" is going to be very strong as Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar II is a colorful character as well, what with his madness and cup-holding butterfingers. Not quite the cup bearer skills I was hoping for, but it will do.

My days of putting people in furnaces without result are over.

Most Memorable Game as Babylon?

I was playing on a lower difficultly level and got an absolutely ridiculous technology lead while otherwise avoiding conflict. We're talking nearly the "tanks vs. spearman" ridiculousness you could pull off in the early Civilization games. Instead of using this edge to conquer I played the policeman of the world, restoring nations that had been conquered, liberating city states, punishing warmongers and gifting generously to weaker rivals. I eventually won a science victory, but the entertaining part was being the world's sole Super Power and actually acting in responsible fashion. We are nothing if not civilized kings.

This particular museum wall is now much tougher.

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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