I’m doomed. Yesterday’s Valentine’s Day is going to cause my downfall.
Like any proper loner, I celebrated the day by relaxing in front of the PC, eating two pizza pops, some nuts, and drinking a couple of beers; strong beers. Thanks to a crazy week, I hadn’t had much time to relax and/or play games (sometimes the two things aren’t mutually inclusive) lately, so a slower paced, easy to get into game was in order.
I first installed Europa Universalis II. Dumb. EU2 is not a game renowned for its easy learning curve. Wanting immediate gratification, I skipped the tutorials and went into the campaign full steam ahead. Also dumb. All of a sudden, I was presented with a complex map of Europe, a complicated interface, and no knowledge as to what I should do and where I should start. All I knew was that I had some troops in Krakow and that Eire declared independence from its brutal English oppressors. Beyond that… no clue. I quit the game, saving the long tutorial for later, and installed Homeworld.
Homeworld was a lot easier to get into. The mechanics are pretty simple and established, it’s just the full three-dimensional controls that take some getting used to. I breezed through the tutorial and the first couple of missions, but the gameplay wasn’t slow enough to relax to. It’s a good game — I’m nearly hooked — and I’ll perhaps write more about it later, but I needed something even slower.
So I installed the old stand-by, Civilization 3. This is a game I’ve already played quite extensively so there was no trouble getting into the thick of things. I played as the Greeks because I wanted to have a science and culture focused campaign. I tend to be an aggressive war-monger with Civ 3 (very often resorting to ICBM nuke strikes) and since I started the game to unwind, I chose to take the path towards peace.
Unfortunately, as it is in the real world, you can’t always control who your neighbours are. As my second city was founded, I made contact with the Germans to the north. Shortly after, I encountered the Egyptians in the south-east. My nation grew to five cities before I realized my predicament; I was boxed in with no where to expand.
Making the most of my situation, I focused on the construction of cultural buildings and Great Wonders. For a little nation, I exuded a lot of culture. Then the Germans approached me with an unreasonable demand. I declined, they declared war. How German of them.
My nations output ramped up for military production. My armies defended my cities valiantly, but they couldn’t hold off the deluge. The Germans had double the number of production centres, and for every one unit that I produced, they invaded with two. The size of my nation made me vulnerable to incursions and prone to resource shortages. As I couldn’t defend these resources fully, my defenses focused within my major cities. When the Germans started pillaging my improvements, there was little I could do. The starvations hit. Then the riots. There was little recourse, I met their demands and surrendered.
Once peace broke out, the rebuilding began…. until the Germans, again without provocation, declared war on me a second time. Frustration set in, the mouse was nearly thrown clear of the desk, and the game was promptly terminated.
That was when I discovered that it was nearly three in the morning! Whole hours were lost to the time-sink of Civilization 3, and now my PC has four (just installed Tropico!) deep strategy games. Tempting me. I am so fucked.