Never Underestimate a Civilization V Opponent
Sid Meier's Civilization V

It's been a while, so a friend and I decided to settle into another one of our epic Civilization V battles. We like to do this every once in a while, you know? Sit down for about three or four hours straight and see who's better. Our last encounter, in which he was Japan and I was Egypt, ended with my nuking one of his cities. (He claimed it was a peaceful city of artists, but that was surely a lie.) I ended up pulling off a Utopia Project win after that though, of which I was especially proud.

The scars have since healed, and it was time for another round. Naturally, I won again, but this time some underhanded dealings almost led to my unseemly demise, and I feel I must share the turn of events as a cautionary tale.

I like to think I play Civilization V like Gandhi, which, as any Civilization player will tell you, means that I play crazy. You can't trust me, and I'm just as likely to use nukes as I am to declare eternal, everlasting friendship. My main objective is to mess with my opponent, much like a cat with a mouse.

And it was working in this match, which I had optimistically called JenBeatsJer3. I was playing as Ramesses II again; though, I was wishing I had choosen Dido, because my starting point was along the coast, with plenty of room to grow, and surrounded by mountains on one side. Still, I was making do. I was a tad worried, because my opponent had chosen Genghis Khan and was attempting to play mind games, but mostly because I couldn't find him on the map. He was goading me, saying that I better make friends with the city-states before he did, and that when I did find his city, there would be another one hidden away. After I sent in a missionary to convert the one city I did find to Jennism, and asked him if he really only had 7 troops, he called my religion filthy and said there were more than that.

So, naturally, I went to my failsafe plan. I'd been doing quite well, had researched some nice planes and all. I decided to set up Alexandria near his city for bombing purposes and troop deployment. It went well, until it turned out he had 12 troops hiding within his boundaries, not 7, and it would have been at least 4 turns before the land tanks I'd dispatched from Thebes and Heliopolis would reach Alexandria.


I decided to propose peace. Something mutually beneficial, of course. I could see he needed resources, so I offered a peace treaty, open borders, some horses, and some iron. You know, the basics. Catch him off guard. Kill him with kindness. His turn went, and mine came up again. The proposal icon still was showing in my list, as though he hadn't touched it, so I kept messaging him in the game about calling a truce and that he should look at my proposal.

On the next turn, Alexandria was gone. Apparently, Civilization V doesn't alert you to opponents altering your proposals, because he had adjusted it, not said anything, and had added Alexandria to his list of demands. Granted, it was a sacrificial city. I only created it to bomb the heck out of his Mongolian hotbed of lies. It hurt, and I demanded to know how he had pulled it off. I was ready to call him on the phone and ask. All he'd said was that he'd tried something similar before in this match, to see if I'd notice, and when I didn't, he struck.

As you can understand, I was irked. This was a true act of war and aggression. I set up another sacrificial city, Pi-Ramesses, near Alexandria. If I couldn't have it, neither could he. He claimed he was razing it, but I could still see it on the map. However, his newly founded city of Hisa was right nearby. So, I atomic-bombed it, and sent a tank to truly raze it to the ground.

I can't really recall what happened next. I knew I was close to a spaceship victory. I had been assembling the parts in my core cities and sending them off to Thebes. I knew he was starting to raise an army again, and I think I was afraid he had bombs as well. All I know is somehow, another proposal came up. He sent one demanding all of my cities, and I refused it. Then, another one appeared, and I'm pretty sure I said I'd agree to equal peace on both sides. All I know is, somehow, he ended up orchestrating a deal that almost left me in tears.

One turn, I had it all. The next, I was down to just Thebes. He explained he had been using Civilization V's faulty proposal system to alter the deal, then been relying on the fact that I wouldn't notice the change, and it would be automatically accepted because I didn't realize he had made counter-offers.

Sid Meier's Civilization V

Now, this was meant to be a cautionary tale. One that would warn you to always check your proposals every turn, to make sure the game doesn't auto-accept a deal that will screw you over. You're probably wondering what happened though, so let me tell you. I miraculously still won.

Things were said. I may have threatened to never play with him again. I know I said I was ready to cry. The next turn, there was a proposal from him offering me all my cities back. By this time, I was so mad that I was determined to beat him with only Thebes. I had the three SS Boosters, the SS Cockpit, and the SS Engine. I was so close to a spaceship win. All I needed was the SS Stasis Chamber, and I was one turn away from learning about Nanotechnology.

Except suddenly, I was on top again. He was begging me to take back my 6 other cities. He couldn't afford any of them, and they were generating crippling unhappiness. While he thought he'd made a dirty, cheating move that would grant him an instant win, he'd instead brought unimaginable consequences down upon himself. I agreed to take back Memphis, and was ready to start building my Stasis Chamber, when the game ended.

Apparently, I'd forgotten that I'd set the game to run for a certain number of turns. Despite the last minute twist of fate, I'd done so well throughout the rest of the game that Civilization V declared me the winner.

Which brings me to the second part of this enlightening tale. Sneaky, dirty, underhanded tactics will always fail when you're playing against a true Civilization V mastermind. Don't try to exploit an easily overlooked flaw, because someone who really knows what they're doing will still win.

Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada

Site Editor
Date: 11/05/2013

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