Civilization (video game)/YMMV

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  • And the Fandom Rejoiced: The Gods and Kings expansion for Civilization V is doing away with the vague "they are trying to win the game in the same manner as you" diplomatic penalty. It's also bringing back religion and espionage, the absence of which was a major complaint in regards to vanilla Civ V.
    • The Brave New World DLC brings a number of improvements to gameplay while reintroducing elements from earlier games like ideologies. Combined with Gods and Kings, this has helped elevate Civilization V's reputation as a game worthy of the title among fans.
  • You Fail Economics Forever: Economic systems are tuned for game balance, not realism, so they sometimes produce counter-intuitive effects.
  • Broken Base: Announce that Civ V will have Panzer General style combat, will only allow one combat unit per tile, will be released with Steam, that there will be DLC, and that you will have to pay extra to play the Babylonian civilization. Cue Flame War. And then the game was actually released...
  • Cliché Storm: William of Orange's diplomacy text in III was filled with cliches about the Netherlands (Tulips, clogs, windmills, etc).
  • Contested Sequel: Every game in the series has its fans and detractors, but by far the most controversial is Civilization V. So many staple mechanics of the series as a whole were either significantly retooled or dropped entirely that some fans of the older games refuse to buy it on principle, and an extremely bug-ridden first release didn't help matters for the rest. The improvements introduced in the later expansions however have helped undo at least most of the damage while generally making the game deserving of its pedigree.
  • Crazy Awesome: Nebuchadnezzar's quotes (such as "Are you real or just a phantom of my tortured senses?") are sometimes a bit funny. This is the guy who went crazy for a bit, according to The Bible.
    • When he learns of his defeat, he finds it "very interesting".
  • Critical Dissonance: V has been and still is lauded by the vast majority of critics, while fan opinion is much more mixed, at least with fans that played IV extensively as V plays differently and generally has less features than IV with expansion packs and mods does. The dissonance was especially obvious when V had just launched; before patches, it had far more bugs and weird mechanics which have since been removed and changed, but most critics loved the game right out of the box.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Most of the music throughout the games count, although Civilization IV's Baba Yetu is the first video game song ever to win a Grammy.
    • Christopher Tin did it again with the theme of Civilization VI, Sogno di Volare ("The Dream of Flight").
  • Demonic Spiders: barbarian tribes can get this way pretty easily, especially in V. Because they come from all directions, you need a competent garrison around... and because V has discontinued unit-stacking, having one becomes that more complicated. You have to keep an eye out at all times for incoming barbs who have designs on your settlers and workers. And finally, because units of similar strength are weighted to typically not lose more than 8 HP in any given battle, it requires two units to take out a single encampment quickly--during the early-game phase, where sparing even one unit for scouting is an imposition.
  • Epileptic Trees: In Civ V from the starting narration it seems all of history's great leaders were put on a earth like planet to be given a second chance to rule.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks: Civ V got some of this attitude because it streamlined a fair amount of gameplay nuances. Are you sensing a pattern with the YMMVs on this page yet?
  • Game Breaker:
    • Nukes, for the first civ to build them. Specific games each have their own:
    • In I and II: The Great Library, which could be acquired early on and gave you a massive tech advantage. Changes in later games make it less overpowered, but it can still be leveraged for some tricky strategies. Like all World Wonders, only one can be built, even if another civ was just about to finish theirs.
    • In V: Bushido, the Japanese special ability, causes units to maintain full defense and attack stats even while wounded. If this wasn't overpowered enough, it's possible to combine this with the Populism social policy, which grants a 25% damage bonus to wounded units. In other words, damaging Japanese units in these conditions actually makes them stronger.
    • Also in V: The downside to Gandhi's special abiility can be entirely negated by a social policy and a wonder. If these are combined, you can have an incredible populace, while maintaining a happiness so high you'll be in an almost constant state of golden age.
    • A game-breaker by way of tricking things out: in every game the AI occasionally beseeches you for gifts or demands you give them tribute, depending on how powerful you are compared to them, and, often, giving into more powerful nations results in them doing it more and more often and gaining a stranglehold on your resources until you become more powerful than them. If you decline, however, the opposing power will become angered and, should you keep doing it, eventually declare war, which is bad if they are more powerful than you. In IV, you can negotiate tribute, essentially attempting to make a trade out of it or lessen the blow... but the game treats this like a normal trade -- that is, the game now treats the negotiations as if you started them in the first place, meaning you can exit with no consequences to relationship, basically destroying the entire tribute system completely thanks to an oversight. Since the AI is pretty conniving and cruel when it comes to lording over any advantage in the first place, this seems relatively fair, all things considered.
    • Call to Power has space colonies. Production is absolutely ridiculous there.
    • Although a very late game occurrence, as soon as you get the Giant Death Robot and sufficient uranium in V, opposing armies are essentially completely and totally fucked, especially if you combine them with Stealth Bombers. The combat penalty against cities is all well and good, but even with that a percentage off of a 150 combat strength is all but irrelevant, especially if you happen across a civ that's still playing with swords and musketmen (and there's always one). It's entirely possible to blitzkrieg your way across about 10 cities in a few turns if you're canny about placement.
  • Good Bad Bugs: In the original Civilization, a backwards rollover bug would cause Gandhi to become incredibly aggressive and nuke-happy as soon as he developed Democracy. (Gandhi's aggression score, stored in an unsigned small integer, was 1; Democracy applies a -2 to aggression; Gandhi's aggression became 255 because it couldn't be -1.) This unexpected behavior became so beloved and emblematic of the game that all future versions of Gandhi were deliberately engineered to be nuke-happy.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Spearman beats Tank."[1]
    • Our words are backed with NUCLEAR WEAPONS![2]
      • A sub-meme of which is when Gandhi threatens you with them.
        • Even funnier (or scarier) when you realize that India is one of the few countries that have an active nuclear weapons program.
    • "BUILD CITY WALLS!"[3]
    • "Never trust an Aztec with nukes!" As discussed here, this one probably dates back all the way to the BBS days. [4]
      • Civ V: "Montezuma's peace theme doesn't actually play in-game."
  • Munchkin: Some A Is, especially in Civilization V, play to win. For example, if they have nukes are you're about to win by peaceful means, they are likely to declare war and drop those nukes. But at least they don't exploit any bugs.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: the removal of unit stacking in CivV has had a mixed reception, but one headache resulting is that it kills unit pathfinding. If you tell Unit A and Unit B to both make for the same hex tile, and Unit A gets there first, Unit B will ask for new orders. Imagine if you did that to your entire 15-unit army. The micromanaging is a nightmare, especially when combined with an interface bug that makes Fortified units unselectable once auto-move orders have been executed.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Once civilizations started having unique qualities and traits (which started in III), this became inevitable. As of V, the losers are Napoleon, whose trait, while very useful in the early-mid game, has an expiration date (though Napoleon is unique among playable leaders for his career ending in defeat...), and Suleiman of the Ottomans, whose ability to convert Barbarian boats to your control looks lame in comparison to the German ability to do that to land units (though a recent patch balanced things out by giving the Ottomans greatly reduced naval maintenance costs as well).
  • Unstable Equilibrium: A lot less than in real life, but obviously as a game that has trade-offs between short-term and long-term options, a more powerful civ can invest more into the long-term and become even more powerful as a result.
  • Values Dissonance: For obvious reasons, Adolf Hitler is never a playable leader in any of the games. Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong, on the other hand...

Back to Civilization (video game)
  1. A very annoying phenomenon in all the games, but most noticed in III, is for supposedly obsolete units to get very lucky with the Random Number Generator and survive wave after wave of technologically superior units.
  2. This little snippet is added to the dialog box in I and II whenever your rival has the technology and capability to build nuclear weapons. It sometimes does not mesh well with an otherwise-friendly greeting.
  3. The Military Advisor in Civilization II was very passionate about this.
  4. The Aztecs have, in every game, been a very aggressive civilization who will seemingly use nuclear weapons at the first provocation, or even without any warning whatsoever.