Civilization IV

I love to play computer games. And I recently bought a new game: Civilization IV.

For those who aren't familiar with the Civilization series: They are turn-based games, which means they are basically like board games. You take your turn, then your opponents (whether real people or computer-controlled) take their turns. These games aren't shooters; you don't need good reflexes or steady nerves to play, just time and strategy.

Why am I mentioning this in a royalty blog? Because in Civilization, you get to play as a real historical leader. You can be Saladin, Montezuma, Qin Shi Huang, Hatshepsut, Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Alexander the Great, Asoka, Mansa Musa, Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, Cyrus, Julius Caesar, Catherine the Great, Peter the Great, or Queen Isabella of Spain, among others.

The game assigns two traits to each leader, and each trait has certain advantages. For example, Queen Victoria is expansive (which means she gets +2 health per city) and financial (she can construct banks at half cost). Napoleon is aggressive and industrious; the Indian emperor Asoka is spiritual and organized; Peter the Great is philosophical and expansive; and so forth.

So far I've only had time to play twice. In the first game, I played against a friend. I was Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut. My friend was Peter the Great. He was the first leader to build a spaceship, so he won.

In the second game, I was Napoleon. I played against several computer-controlled leaders (seven, I think), and this time the winner was determined by the player with the highest score at the end. That was Asoka. I came in third.

There are several other ways to win. You can win by destroying all other civilizations, or by controlling most of the world's land and population, or by building three cities with a very high level of culture (determined by the number of cultural institutions such as libraries, theaters, universities, etc.) You can also win a diplomatic victory by building the United Nations and persuading other nations to elect you as the diplomatic victor.

If this sounds like fun to you — it is! In fact, I think I'll stop typing and go play.

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