I have a degree in political science. This is nothing like real science.
I do, however, have a deep interest in science and technology, especially their history. It may have been a brave man that first ate an oyster, but it was an especially clever man that figured out you could melt certain types of mineral and mold them into useful tools.
Ever since Sid Meier’s Civilization, scientific research and progress have been at the heart of long view strategy games. A game design that has science and technology as core concepts makes certain assumptions about science, but more importantly, tells us what they think about the place of technological improvement and scientific knowledge in a game setting.
This series will look at ten games that have research components, and some of these are games I have written about before; like a great book, a great game can be revisited from a number of angles. The list may change as I discover new things or games that have mechanics I have never written about. But please hold off from filling the comments with suggestions – most of these entries will make reference to other games. I am dealing with them as series, as well, since many of them make changes in the game structure that are worth talking about.
The series is also pretty loaded towards recent games, and I’ll explain why in one of the entries.
1) Civilization series (1991-2010)
2) Master of Orion series (1993-2003)
3) X-Com (1993)
4) Age of Empires series (1997-2011)
5) Imperialism series (1997-1999)
6) Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (1999)
7) Space Empires IV and V (2000-2006)
8) Hearts of Iron series (2002-2009
9) Empire Total War (2009)
10) Pride of Nations (2011)
First up, the game that started it all. Civilization.