Since we have multiple threads for the Paradox strategy games, what the heck. Who here likes Civilization? What's your favorite version?
Civ2: The first one I played, so it gets the nostalgia points. Nevermind the counterintuitive opportunity cost of needing settlers to improve tiles, or some wonky unit upgrades (you get elephants from polytheism and crusaders from monotheism, who are somehow different from knights).
Civ3: Introduced the worker and a unique unit for each civilization. For the first time, you could every civilization on the map at once, not just 7, which went well with the ability to have much larger maps than in its predecessors OR successors (up to 256x256 tiles in vanilla, 362x362 in the expansion). Objectively I should like this way more than Civ2, but I don't remember playing it as much.
Civ4: I recently got Leigh into this one. I think the 3D graphics were a mistake (you needed a PC an order of magnitude more powerful than Civ3 to play a 124x68 map), but the penalties for large empires solved the micromanagement of "Infinite City Sprawl", while the founding of religions and the diplomatic blocs they created was a welcome game-changer, as were the corporations in the expansion. Probably my favorite.
Civ5: I'm not sure what to think of this one. Needs a better PC than Civ4 (which is to be expected), yet map sizes have stayed the same. The hex map and split of military units into melee and ranged makes it more of a wargame. That's cool on one level, but it means that archers in London and Paris can hit each other, i.e. downright goofy at the game's scale. Religion was stripped, but "city states" (spawning 2x as many AIs as the number of normal civs, which can't build settlers or capture cities) adds interesting complexity.
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