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Culture Bombs

September 16th, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

Gamespy has a report on the multiplayer component of Civlization IV. Dave Kosak is writing about an event that I had the good fortune to attend. My reflections on MP Civ and the game in general should be in an upcoming issue of Computer Games Magazine.

Dave explains in pretty good detail the “culture bomb” strategy that we reporters were introduced to. You build an artistic wonder of the world, it generates a Great Artist, you walk the great master to a puny border city and put him to work there. All of a sudden, your tiny town gets thousands of points in culture and foreign cities are clamoring to join your enlightened empire. As Dave puts it, “It’s as if Michelangelo painted the roof of the Sistine Chapel in Podunk, New Jersey, and it became the hottest City in the Northeast.”

The instant I heard about this strategy I thought it was a little cheap. I like the idea of culture flipping since it’s a route to expansion that doesn’t involve a lot of guns or threats. It’s not clear if an opposing culture bomb can be dropped to bring the defecting cities back or if the AI will be able to deal with such a strategy. My time with the game was almost all in multiplayer (I started a few single player games in between sessions, but never got very far) and the game was still being tweaked anyway.

The more I think about the game though, the less concerned I am since the Great Person mechanic gives lots of ways to influence your enemies. Religion could be very powerful if you can convert a fontier town to your one true faith. There are lots more wonders now, so the culture wars can get intense even without Leonardo setting up in Nipissing. Until my preview is published, I can’t elaborate too much on this (there’s lots of other info online) but I can say that Civ IV could be the one of the best strategy games of the year. And I’m one of the people who wasn’t sure it should be made in the first place.

If culture bombs aren’t easily countered (everybody who reads Gamespy knows about them now) or aren’t tweaked (maybe a minimum size city limit?), the early game could be a Parthenon Rush. Every Civ game had ideal build orders, but if everyone starts the game by trying to get Phidias to Argos before your enemy can send Schiller to Munich, it might get a little annoying.


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