Saturday, October 8, 2016

Civilization V Countdown: #2 Poland

We're getting toward the end of the list and there won't be any lightweights from here on in, that's for sure. Today's topic is Poland, a civilization that for whatever reason hasn't been a major player in the Civilization series until Brave New World when they claimed a spot as one of the strongest choices. My list is all about that sweet subjectivity, of course, but even on a more legitimate "power ranking" I doubt many people would argue against putting them at #2. Well, those cranks that will argue anything, because manufactured drama is a lot of fun and a good use of my time would, but that's only like 70% of the internet, tops. As for me, no one will ever accuse me of forgetting Poland.

Why is Poland #2

Solidarity! This is, hands down, the most enjoyable unique ability of any civilization in the game. I love exploring the social policy tree, but dislike the fact that you generally open Tradition or Liberty, finish whichever you took, throw a few picks into one of the filler choices and then focus on Rationalism and your Ideology. Any other choice is sub-optimal and will likely lead to defeat on higher difficulties where this little room for error. Playing Poland solves this problem with free policies, allowing for some experimentation. Also top it off with some rather uninspiring horse-themed specials, but for me it's all about the chance to fill in aesthetics or try a hybrid opening or the many other little bonuses that open up, both providing strength and encouraging replay-ability. And, of course, Poland can into space.

Casimir III wields a scepter, has a formidable beard and my spellcheck thinks I was trying to type "similar." He's also the "Polish Justinian" a patron of the University system and an army reformer. He was killed while hunting, probably because they didn't have those orange vests in the 1300s.

He's also the Polish Henry VIII, fathering only daughters.

Most Memorable Game as Poland? 

Playing on "Emperor" for the first time I went with Poland and was able to play a four city turtle, not even fighting a war until a brief conflict in the modern era. I eventually won a space victory, beating several other nations that were also attempting it. After that I realized I could win on higher levels, shrugged my shoulders and went back to King without looking back. Honestly, what is the point of being forced to play one very specific strategy, over and over, and deal with the same inept AI that simply receives comical bonuses? The game has a better feel when there's actual room to make mistakes or suffer setbacks. I've even played games where I lost cities in war, couldn't get them back and kept playing. I know, crazy.

Not a flying toy.

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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