Cities, Civilizations, and Combat

When I read geek culture websites, computer games are a recurring topic. Unfortunately I feel rather left out, because I’m not fond of most of the front-runners. My reactions are too slow for first-person shooters, and I definitely need a pause button on most real-time strategy games. Even when I slowed Starcraft down to its slowest rate, large battles past the first few scenarios were too much for me. I could probably get into some of the CRPGs, but for now my one MMO (Lord of the Rings Online) satisfies that part of my interest. I get frustrated quickly with the puzzle solving in the adventure games I’ve tried; simple stuff is fun, but they seem to rapidly get obscure and involve putting together clues of objects from widely separated parts of the game.

My long-term favourite classes of games are turn-based strategy games like Civilization (I-IV; never tried V) and city-builder games like Zeus/Poseidon , Pharaoh/Cleopatra , and Emperor, all of which are quite old at this point. I’ve played through the Zeus/Poseidon scenarios twice (about 6 years apart), am trying the Cleopatra scenarios again, but haven’t finished Emperor. In the four versions of Civilization, I had a lot of fun at the lower levels of difficulty, but I’m a “builder” who just wants to peacefully grow my civilization, and at higher levels you have to be able to fight wars. Those aren’t fun for me. The same is true of other 4x games like Galactic Civilizations II: fun until there’s a war, then unfun.

There’s an obvious conclusion. I don’t like combat, and most popular games have lots of it. The small amount in the city-builders is OK, but there hasn’t been a new city-builder in a very long time. Now there’s the latest SimCity, but it’s an always-online game, and I’m not happy about that technology.

I suspect I’m a very small part of the market for computer games, but there ought to be someone out there who’s got an idea for a game that fits my build-stuff, low-combat, low-speed-input requirements. If you know of something, let me know.

2 Replies to “Cities, Civilizations, and Combat”

  1. Minecraft is great for building stuff, although at a lower scale than what you were talking about above. You can turn monsters off altogether if you just want to relax and make things, or you can use the Creative mode to experiment without your character being constrained by piffling details like physics or injury. Personally I keep monsters at Easy level — enough to keep me on my toes without having to be constantly on my guard.

    There are lots of online servers for it, but most of them seem to have a non-zero jerk population. Luckily, the single-player mode works just fine.

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