Civ 5, Helping Me And My Society Survive.

I returned to Sid Meier’s Civilization V [Civ 5] over the last week, and it had nothing to do with the recently released expansion Civilization V: God and Kings. No, my return to this top-down turn based civilization game (where victory is achieved through research, diplomacy, expansion, economic development, government and military) was based on my desire to play a game that wasn’t frantic and could be enjoyed at my own pace. The beauty of turn based games is in their flow, which you dictate. What I was looking for (and found) in my return to Civ 5 was control, and the calming effect a turn based game brings – despite the constant harassment from the warlike civilization of the Songhai.

Pearls, Aluminum, Incense and Gold; yep, Genoa, you will make a perfect ally.

With the restart of my career potentially on the horizon, once again, I needed a game that could act as a sedative rather than a shot of adrenaline. With first person shooters [FPS] you are constantly on edge. The FPS experience is not relaxing, but an edge of your seat ride – it’s like you are Liam Neeson himself, in Taken. During times of high stress, where I am playing the waiting game, I find myself reverting to a turn based prescription. When things are a bit out of control, a game that places you as the leader of a civilization provides that dose of Stalinism that everyone needs.

The winning conditions of Civ 5 are within your control as well. One does not need to just kill the competition; culture and science are other routes one can take to victory. You can build your societies’ level of intelligence by focusing on education, or go greedy and go for the gold (non-Olympic style). Or, if you are like me, you can build a well-rounded society through education, capitalism and democracy; while you simultaneously mask your Manhattan Project.

Yes America, I do put a lot of resources into my education system (but even more into my nuclear program).

Civ 5 provides you with a game that allows you to dictate pace, victory conditions, and about as many aspects of building a society that you can imagine. When everything else is out of your hands, Civ 5 provides just enough control to help you stay regulated. It allows you to make decisions that impact your entire society. You control your political relationships with other empires and city-states. You control your economic rise and educational aspirations, and when you get bored with being decent, you can unleash your Manhattan Project on the Songhai.

Little did you know Songhai, that I was saving the Manhattan Project just for you.

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What’s Your Gaming Juice?

You want that gaming edge but can’t afford or have a moral issue against cocaine? You know steroids don’t provide the focus required for an epic gaming run by evidence of the 5 or 6  keyboards you have smashed your sweaty, meaty fingers through. What is your gaming juice? Well here are a sampling of some with additional details on what time of day they are best for and for what type of game.

Coffee flavored anything is the proper medicine for morning gaming.

Coffee:  If you just got up and you have the urge to play but not the mind motivation, then coffee is your cure. Coffee has always been the ‘wrong side of the bed’ alleviator and it is the morning gamers cup (or 5) of gaming juice. There is something about the flavor of coffee and early morning sunrises that go hand-and-hand and coupled with a brain draining RPG, it is the perfect recipe for gaming success. If you have the extra funds splurge for a homemade coffee concoction, with the extra shots of espresso, to get you to a 10th level character plateau. When you start to feel the initial effects of the gourmet brew fade, grind your own pot of coffee so you can grind to level 15.

 

From experience, Tazo's green ginger tea is the best choice for providing hours of aid.

Ginger Tea:  3 hours deep into a Civilizations 5 [Civ 5] marathon and your eyes are already tired and blurry. You can’t focus on what Wonder to build in what city because you are dizzy. You don’t know which city to defend from Gandhi’s surprising wrath because your stomach is in knots and feeling woozy. There is a cure for all of those symptoms that will allow you to turn back Gandhi, build your Wonder, and refocus your peepers on the changing tides of Civ 5 diplomacy. A caffeinated ginger tea (no, not a drink brewed from hairs of a redheaded person) is the ancient days cure all and a current day aid to extended gaming sessions. Gingers healing powers’ [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginger] are numerous and perfect for those who get a little nauseous from rapid eye movement induced by rapid monitor movements so, it’s also useful for First Person Shooter [FPS] marathons. Make sure to use a version of ginger tea that does include caffeine so you can focus on your game without the negative effects of motion sickness and have the caffeinated energy to make it through a eight hour plus Civ 5 map. Tea used in this way should be sipped like wine at a pace of 1 cup per hour or hour 1/2 of game play.

The only energy drink better than Chuck Norris's...an energy drink from Chuck Norris's beard.

Energy Drinks:  So here are the heavy hitters. The super sugary sweetened caffeine bombs. They pick you up quick and hard but let you down dirty and messy. They are the hookers of caffeinated drinks, cheap, plentiful and a few… are actually tasty. If you are a FPS fan-boy then you are very familiar with these mistresses of the night, these caned caffeinated vigor venereals. From the ugly stepchild Monster, the world wide branded Redbull, to the champagne of energy drinks, Bawls – all are good at what they are supposed to do, wake you the f*ck up! From the time you yell “CLEAR”, like you are getting ready to jolt your heart with a defibrillator, to your crash, similar to a heroine junky coming down, you are a gaming animal. From a twitch based shooter like Counter Strike to a more multi-class based shooter like Team Fortress 2, energy drinks are your temporary solution. Just be prepared to crash like Windows Vista.

Bawls, put it in your mouth.

Vodka/Bawls:  Is it the weekend? Are you and your friends meeting up online for an epic FPS shootout? Want to keep the conversation social and entertaining and give yourself an edge over the online competition? My favorite and most effective gaming juice blend takes the aforementioned Bawls energy drink plus a top shelf vodka and gives you pure gaming euphoria. First and foremost, moderation, this gaming juice is only effective if paced out and mixed properly. For each 10 oz. nubby bottle of Bawls mix ONE SHOT of vodka over ice. Yes, just one shot. For this gaming juice to work properly you need to ease into it with about one mixed drink per hour until you hit that gaming peak performance that provides equal parts focus, quick twitch ability and booze infused ‘Bawls’. Once you hit this prime time intoxication (you will realize it because you will be at the top of the player score screen) you should ease off the vodka to half a shot per 10 ounces of Bawls. This will help you hold you in the gaming juice zone and extend the positive effects of it. Be warned, if you do not moderate your alcohol intake as mentioned your peak performance will quickly crumble into a mountain slide and there will be no coming back.   Be warned, you will hit this wall no matter what, but the more you regulate your intake the longer it will last. How will you know you’ve past your gaming juice prime? You will be at the bottom of the list of player point totals, your kill to death ratio will be horrendous, and that noob, who just spray and prayed you when you came around the corner, he/she will be setting just above you on the player score screen. The solution, go to bed.