Thursday, October 13, 2016

Civilization V Countdown: #1 Spain

We've finally reached the end of the road and it's almost time to discuss what is, in my correct personal opinion, the best play choice in Civilization 5. Before we do I wanted to throw out a few honorable mentions that didn't make the Top Ten list but are also favorites of mine. We've got the Mayans (Pyramids for faith and science, wacky date counter, yes please) Egypt (Wonder time!) and Russia (Extra iron? Wow!) just missing the cut and maybe one of them would have made the list if I slapped it together at a different time. Well, no. Let's be real, what you got was completely scientific in its development and brilliant in its execution. Let's take it home.

Why is Spain #1

With most civilizations you're directed in a certain direction by the unique ability, unit, improvement and/or building and I'm not nearly enough of a cool and original rebel to go against the obvious designer intentions. With Spain, you could get a variety of possible bonuses or none at all from whatever natural wonders you find and this gives every game a different character. It's refreshing not knowing. Your start could be absolutely dominant or complete garbage and it's out of your hands. And when it is a good start, forget about it. Throw in the Conquistador's ability to both fight and settle and the Tercio, which is, well, something and they're my clear favorite. I've played them enough to have actually gotten a workable Krakatoa, for goodness sake.

As for Isabella, I think the following amazing image is all you need to know.

Honestly, it's not even close.

Most Memorable Game as Spain?

Finding King Solomon's mines in the first ten turns, settling a city with the 500 gold and building almost every early wonder, even ones I wouldn't normally even consider like Temple of Artemis and the Great Wall. The city's production was absolutely insane even with a few citizens. The neighboring Mayans, perhaps rightly sensing that I wasn't going to share when it came to bronze age monoliths declared war, melted against some hastily raised defenses and ended up getting conquered. Later I founded a city on a City State island and got Krakatoa (!), adding a ridiculous science city to go with the production one en route to winning a cultural victory. 

Time to prevent that whole silly "Netherlands" thing.

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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