Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Civilization V Countdown: #10 Assyria

Over the next several days I'll be ranking my ten favorite civilizations from Civilization 5. They are not necessary chosen for being especially unique or powerful, but I like them for whatever reason. It's all opinion, but it is the correct opinion, clearly.

Why is Assyria #10?

I've always been fascinated with the fertile crescent and the ancient civilizations of that general region (more on this when we get to Babylon, major spoiler). I love the aesthetics, the actual game bonuses not so much, which is why they're not ranked higher. Ashurbanipal is jacked, bloodthirsty and a literary gentleman, a combination you don't see nearly enough in either fiction or history. How can you not root for a cultured villain from the bronze age? As far as actual crunch, the siege tower absolutely mauls enemy cities and the Royal Library can hold literary works that grant an experience boost to soldiers trained in that city, because knowledge is power. You can also take technologies by conquest, a fun throwback to the early games of the series. I'd probably be more excited if I wasn't a peaceful builder at heart, but if you're going to be a force of evil and chaos you should at least look good while doing it and maybe horde books to make your armies even deadlier. As usual, the romantic needs no explanation and the cynic won't be satisfied by any, no matter how carefully crafted.

Loves books, bench presses 315, massacres indiscriminately.

Most Memorable Game as Assyria?  

I was still learning the game, but wanted to try out this whole "war" mechanic to see if it could be fun. Soon I'd taken over two city states and destroyed Germany, wielding my siege towers with all the care and discretion of a child who finds a gun in a sock drawer. I wasn't really getting that there is a diplomatic and economic drawback to killing anything that moves. After the glorious early conquests my happiness was low enough to cause revolts and my neighbors Denmark and Sweden both declared war. This led to a seemingly endless conflict where they were both throwing alternating invasion waves at a frontier city, while I converted two generals into citadels and still struggled on defense, what with the massive discontent due to a lack of zoos and the like.

After hundreds of years of constant warfare I was finally able to turn the tide and eventually force a bitter peace after taking a few more cities, while still playing wack-a-mole with rebel scum, as if this was a Paradox game or something. For awhile it looked like I was going to lose the game on Prince level, something that, strictly speaking, should be impossible. Luckily I was able to eek out a victory on points after the final time, recording the lowest score of any victory to this day.

Nice city you got there. Would be a shame if this thing crashed into it over and over.

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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