Once, while living in Los Angeles, the elderly woman in front of me at a donut shop was having trouble finding her payment. As it was a small purchase, I offered to pay for both of us. She was overjoyed, informing me that it was a Romani holiday, and this minor kindness couldn’t have come at a more meaningful time for her. She asked if she could give me a blessing, and while I’m not really one for such things, I indulged her. Whenever somebody gets on the topic of religious experiences I remember those apple fritters.
The late night diner is really a cornerstone of modern civilization. Lately I have been going to a local joint to get donuts after pulling all-nighters. Whether working on an article, or partying hard, nothing hits at six in the morning like watching the sun come up from a place of total solace. The donuts are to die for. In all the storms of my life there has always been an eye in the storm somewhere inside a donut shop or diner. This background backdrop exists in my universe much the same way the game Civilization does.
I have been playing Civilization for a long time, and I have played many iterations. The brilliant strategy has always entertained me. I love watching my empire grow from a single humble village to an advanced civilization. The way the buildings transition in design through different eras, the progression in sophistication of the game and meta, also the dynamics of my relationships with other empires. They rise and fall, sometimes they totally surprise you. It is necessary to maintain the friends you have, and not take anything for granted.
Specifically, I have played Civilization 6 on the Switch over 50 hours, and have yet to walk away with a win. Do not think this means I am at all disappointed. These have never been games you can just knock out of the park your first attempt, especially since I am not the best at strategy games. I have had enormous amounts of fun playing. It has been really close, and like I said other empires have really shocked me at times with moves they’ve made.
Much of my playtime has been spent enjoying this game while hanging with friends. It is so casual that it is easy to maintain a conversation, or pay attention to other things while occasionally glancing at the game for a minute or two, here and there. Even said time is a very loose engagement, except for occasional thoughts of deep strategy. My friends have seen my struggles with Civilization the game and civilization the societal structure. I am still trying to find a good job and always working at integrating into society better.
My strategy in Civilization is much like life. I live by the philosophy that if I don’t start a fight, there won’t be a fight. Of course, the game is a competition I fortify all my cities, and don’t completely overlook muscle. But my goals are related to some victory over military. Combat in Civilization is not all that glamorous, so I find greater satisfaction winning by say science, or culture. Capturing an enemy capital takes strategy, indeed, but developing the ability to live in space is tantamount to mankind. Culture allows you to spread your empire without violence.
As I sat in that diner, the only thing I could think about besides my breakfast was my next move. What order should I assemble the space station in Civilization for my science victory? Are medieval walls sufficient in a modern age? Do I really need to broadcast my mental illness to the world? All questions I can’t immediately answer, but I can make informed decisions. I’m still experimenting, so it matters less which order I build the space station. Medieval walls are definitely insufficient. And I don’t have to broadcast my disability, but I do because I believe in honesty as a journalist and human being.
Every campaign I play of Civilization 6, I learn so much. There is still loads I have to understand yet. The turn-based board game structure has had consistencies over the many installments of the series, but the overall idea has remained the same. Except specific campaign scenarios, you start as a caveman with one warrior and one settler in the Stone Age, and build toward the future. There are numerous ways to win, such as science, culture, faith or military victories. My games have taken almost ten hours each. You can save anytime, and play with friends, something I have always wanted to do. I even bought a copy of the physical table-top Civilization “New Dawn” board game with the hope of finding friends with whom to learn it.
I will always be a night owl. I love going out with friends, or staying up all night alone. Either way I may play Civilization 6. I’m sure those close to me can attest to hearing me curse out Frederick Barbarossa, or the like while they’re trying to talk to me. The late night diner, or even early morning donut shop will forever be a pillar of my life. It is where all my grandest strategy goes down. From there, I see my friends in life when I am hanging out are like my allies in Civilization. We are just trying to get a win in a competitive world while constantly checking in with one another to keep ourselves strong.
Part of what inspired this article is that I am thinking of trying to improve my skill at strategy games. I would like to pick some others to try, but not sure where to go from Civilization, from which I still have so much to learn. Comment your favorites and I will check them out, especially if they are on Nintendo Switch. I was a newbie on JRPGs until Octopath Traveler, and I have come a long way since then, so I’m thinking about trying my hand at other foreign territory. I’ve also been thinking about trying the fried cinnamon roll versus the baked.