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Civilization 5 will be four years old this September. Since it launched in 2010, it has enjoyed widespread critical acclaim, seen two big game changing expansions, and offered numerous faction and map packs. According to Steam’s statistics, the game still fields over 50,000 concurrent players on most days, and rarely leaves the list of the 10 most played games. If you’ve never played it, you owe yourself the pleasure of picking up the latest entry in one of the most addictive franchises in PC gaming.
On the other hand, if you’ve already poured hundreds of hours of rapt attention into this legendary strategy game, you might think you’ve seen all there is to see. Perhaps you’ve even tried out some of the coolest mods on the Steam Workshop, and you’re still ready to set it aside.
At a time like this, you need fresh ideas to keep the game interesting. From community brainstorms to existing but under explored options, check out five ways to squeeze every last drop of fun out of this timeless classic.
Embrace Advanced Setup
People are creatures of habit. When offered lots of options, most tend toward the known and comfortable over the untested and strange. Civ 5’s game setup menu was designed with this in mind. The first setup screen the game shows gives you just five options with which to tinker. It’s not much to consider, and that’s a good thing for new players.
Once you dive into advanced setup though, you can craft some very wild starting conditions to test your skills. Imagine battling it out to conquer a dry frigid wasteland instead of an Earth-like world. Have a bad habit of defaulting to the science victory in the late game? Deactivate it to force yourself to try new things. Start in the Modern Era and explore some late game strategies. You can even turn on enforcement for the classic one city challenge. Don’t just pick one of these. Try all of the above, or some other bizarre and polarized collection of changes!
Join A Multiplayer Community
Civilization 5’s multiplayer is a big time commitment. Even on quick game speed, matches can last well over six hours. It can be hard to find a big enough group of people to make multiplayer matches interesting, that also has the time and discipline to play them to completion.
To get your multiplayer fix, you may need to join a community of dedicated Civ players. NQCiv is one such community on Steam that gained more attention this summer when one of its top playera, Anzleon on Twitch, began streaming many of his matches. Their front page hosts a long list of rules that encourage good sportsmanship and playing through to the finish. After all, if you had a fairly certain victory ahead, you wouldn’t want players dropping out of your game and robbing you of your moment of glory, would you?
If you only have a few minutes each day to spend with Civ, you might instead try to find a match at Giant Multiplayer Robot. It’s a service that shuttles save files back and forth between players so each one can take a turn or two per day as time permits. You’ll be much more inclined to think over your every move when you have to set your game aside for a few hours after each turn.
Play A Succession Game
What’s a succession game? It’s Civilization 5 played cooperatively! In a game of this type, a group of players pass a single save file around, each one taking an agreed upon number of turns (often 10 at a time) before passing the save along to the next player in succession. Each time the crown is passed, the most recent player is tasked with filling in the others with the current state of the game. You can join succession games on the CivFanatics Succession Game Forum, where many players add an extra measure of fun to the activity by presenting their news as a narrative. Even the simple act of dispersing a barbarian camp can be funny or triumphant with a bit of storytelling behind it.
Try A Challenge Of The Month
Both CivFanatics and r/civ on Reddit host monthly competitions. On each site, a moderator proposes a scenario with specific (sometimes infuriatingly specific) rules. You might have to recreate a historical incident in broad strokes, or perhaps play as though you don’t know a certain subsystem in the game exists. CivFanatics takes their challenges more seriously, distributing a starter save file from which all players begin, and collecting finished saves to rank players. The Reddit community offers a more casual friendly experience, preferring to receive your tale as a thread of photos and blurbs on imgur. Pick the community that sounds the most fun to you, and enjoy a shared tale (or frustration) with your fellow Civ fans.
Though no scenarios were included with the Civilization V base game, if you have Gods & Kings, and Brave New World, you’ll have access to several historical (and not so historical) challenges that use alternate rules and custom civilizations. Enjoy exploring and treasure hunting in Conquest of the New World, or try Empires of the Smoky Skies, an imaginative steampunk scenario complete with airships! Many of these let you play as one of several factions involved, so you can choose to make history repeat itself by claiming a victory accurate to what we know, or send the world on a new course by turning the tables.
What’s Old Is New Again
Armed with these ideas, you’ll find hundreds of extra hours of fun in Civilization 5. And perhaps when you’ve finished, you’ll have truly seen it all. Luckily for you, Civilization Beyond Earth is right around the corner, and your autumn is sure to be filled with a whole new planet of adventures.
Have more ideas or communities that help you get the most out of Civ? Share them with our community, and show us just how deep the game can be!
Image Credit: Denmark_0238 – Treasury by Dennis Jarvis