Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘please don’t over share’ edition

  • Early this afternoon, sitting in my office, I started to hear the strains of ‘In the Air Tonight’ by Phil Collins. Now I have nothing against Phil Collins and in fact I have been known to blast that song myself a few times. Usually though I am a little more considerate. As Deb and I were leaving for Best Buy later they had changed to Bob Dylan. We seem to have the most inconsiderate neighbours. We have the partying swingers next door and then the losers across the street. Not only do they blast their music they also chain their dogs outside all year round. The dogs whine and cry and who can blame them? There is a special place in hell for people who leave their dogs outside.
  • Still on the over sharing theme; it seems that Deb and I are always treated to some dumpy, middle-aged white man with NO shirt on either walking or riding a bicycle. The guy today looked like he was mostly naked. Why they feel they have the right to subject the rest of us to their white-dough like bodies is beyond me. Oh, yes, I forgot, the patriarchy that allows white men to do whatever they want. My poor virgin lesbian eyes.
  • I blogged quite a while ago about Civilization V. I have played every iteration of this game since it was first released. This time I could not seem to get into it. I found that it was almost impossible to play. One of the things that seemed to really slow it down was that it was integrated through Steam. You had to launch Steam in order to play it. I am pretty sure that Steam was slowing it down. Now Civilization V is offered through the Mac App store with Steam. I took a chance and bought it again. It is the Campaign edition and includes two expansion packs. Now it plays very well on my new computer. I am looking forward to playing the game and listening to music!
  • We are still having problems with our ride on mower. A belt broke the other day. When we call our local Home Hardware and talk to the owner it is almost like he gets annoyed when we break our machines. It is really rather funny. We do get great service from him. Today he came and picked up the mower to put the new belt. He is going away for 2 weeks and he wanted to make sure it was fixed.
  • I still need to tinker with the Logitech Remote. There is one command we are missing that we had before. I noticed today at Best Buy that they charge $149 to program one of those things! I am not surprised as they are really complicated.

Civilization V – Review

I have now played Civ 5 for a couple of days and I have to say – it does not inspire me at all. Compared to other Civ games this one is boring. Yawn. Boring. Maybe I have played too many of these games but I don’t think that is the problem. I was also not as enthralled with Civ IV but I still found lots of amusement and played it for hours on end and through 3 expansion packs.

The graphics are beautiful in Civ V. I am not sure if maybe that is the problem. It takes so long for everything to happen that you spend a lot of time waiting. Personally, I don’t want to wait that extra 45 seconds to a minute, I just want to play. Even when I reduced the number of Civilizations and City-States, turns were still delayed. Even though I checked the box that is supposed to mean that the turns go automatically, I still had to click the box or hit enter. Incidentally, they have also removed the ability to use the space bar to signal the end of the turn manually. The Steam overlay really slows things down more.

The first couple of games I played I had the barbarians turned on. Just at a normal level of barbarian activity, I found that those altercations took my focus away from the building part of the game. Plus, in Civ V, cities can bombard hostile units. This was interesting to begin with but it soon became annoying to have these warnings up that they city could bombard an enemy. Once I turned barbarians off the game became quite boring.

It also seemed that coming into contact with resources is far too easy. Every time I started a new city as soon as I discovered ‘horseback riding’ I would miraculously have horses. The game just does not seem as difficult as other games. There are all sorts of improvements you can make to your cities but none of them seem to have any real net effect. I never could find a screen that showed me which tiles were being worked by citizens of the city. Players have also lost the ability to set how much of their own settings for taxes, science and luxury. I seemed to have way more money than I should. I was also encouraged to spend money on helping out city-states but I never knew to what end.

This edition of Civilization is a bust. If someone were a first time player they would certainly not get the magic in the earlier versions of the game. I have played every version of this game and while the graphics have come a long way to enhance the experience it seems that in this version they have killed the experience. One of the things that I loved was stacking multiple units in a square to blitz attack an opponent. You can’t stack multiple military units in the same square any more. I am really unsure why they made this change to the game play.

If you really want a great game to play pick up Colonization. It gives you goals to strive for and you have a lot of control over the game play. Give Civ V a miss.