Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The boardgame. Not the state of society.

When I'm not writing, but need a creative outlet that involves other people (I am an introvert!), I love to play a good game. Civilization the boardgame is the latest I've tried my hand at.

So involved the game takes up the entire table!
 There are many online versions of it as well, both the official Sid Meier version and various free "shareware" knockoffs.

If you're not familiar with the game, Civilization allows you to assume the character of a prominent culture--current and historical. In the case of the boardgame, you can be Egypt (Cleopatra), Rome (Caesar), Germany (Bismark), Russia (Catherine), America (Lincoln) or China (Mao). Each empire comes with its own strengths and handicaps and the players build their empires hoping to establish dominance in one of four categories: economic, culture, technology or military might. The first player to win one category wins the game. I'm not big into military strategy, but I love strategy games, so I enjoy the fact I can play a game like Risk without the whole game being about war.

But my favorite part of the game is the modular board. I discovered modular boards with Settlers of Catan, and my whole perspective on games shifted. I LOVE modular boards--it means endless, fresh game play each time you play because the board is NEVER the same. So I can play on more equal footing with my brother-in-law who is better at memorizing board games and implementing strategies. He would kill me at a game with a static board (tic-tac-toe anyone?).  Civilization's board isn't quite as modular as Settlers, but the concept is there in practice. 

The only thing I like better about the online version over the boardgame is the territory your empire explores and conquers is more modular and larger. If you manage your resources right you can have multiple cities and settlements, whereas the boardgame limits you to three. I'm not sure I like the boardgame version quite as well as I enjoy the online version, but my eyes appreciate getting a break from the computer screen.

It's highly addictive and I recommend the boardgame or any of the online versions (including the free one--it's just as fun and easy to download!) The boardgame is a bit expensive so if you're not a hard core gamer (I'm actually not one) you might want to get hooked on the free online version first. :-)

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