Civilization Ho!

On Tuesday evening, after work, I swung by the local Best Buy, plunked down fifty bucks and bought the latest edition of the Civilization video game series, Civilization V.  This game first went on sale Tuesday, but by the time that I reached the store they were down to the last two copies.  When I left the store, feeling rather satisfied with myself, this Best Buy was now down to its last copy.

For the uninitiated, Civilization is a video game where you grow your civilization from prehistoric times, through the course of human history and onward into the future.  It is not strictly a war game, although war is always an option.  A player’s primary goal is to develop their civilization’s cultural growth, think America’s present day cultural imperialism that Hollywood has spawned.  Eventually all of the competing civilizations either capitulate or if time runs out, you win on points.  To say that Civilization is a great time waster is a gross understatement.  Base upon my past experience with editions three and four my return on my fifty dollar investment will yield hundreds of hours of entertainment.  I even fear that this lovely little blog might suffer from neglect.

My love of strategy games predates the Civilization franchise, it even predates the computer gaming era and I date its origin back to when I was eight years old.  It was the summer between my second and third grade and between my family’s move from La Jolla to San Rafael.  My Dad was in the Navy and we spent the summer in on-base housing on Hunter’s Point.  There was a summer camp that Chris and I attended.  At this camp I saw my first strategy game.  Two of the older boys were playing it, Tactics II.  The game board looked like a map; the playing pieces were little half-inch squares of cardboard.  It was incomprehensibly complex, but I was fascinated by it.  

Once we were ensconced in Marin County, my Dad’s folks moved to nearby Burlingame, well not that near.  My Grandfather Earl and I would play Milton-Bradley’s Civil War.  It offered a map like game board, but instead of cardboard squares, it had plastic figures for playing pieces.  In hindsight, I suspect that I was not as good a gamer as my perfect record against my Grandfather might had indicated.

Fast forwarding to the present, begins with Danny Abrahams and I playing Blitzkrieg in junior high, followed by Diplomacy games in early high school and then the move to Ann Arbor.  There I met Ned, Armin and Cooper and our expertise at war gaming developed to a crescendo, before it all fell apart in the end.  Work, women Anne, and eventually children all relegated strategy gaming to the backburner.  What about Bob?  “I’m one task force looking.”  “I’m one task force looking, too.”  “I see you.”  “I don’t see you.”  “I call day.”  “I call night.”  “It is day, then night.”  Eventually, I manage to breed two strategy gamers, Dan and Dave.  This launched the era of Warhammer and Warhammer 40K.  These are table top miniatures games, which meant lots of painting and way more cost.  Now I am an older, empty nester, but I still am able to enjoy some of the benefits of Civilization.

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