I was watching a Final Fantasy VII 100% stream this morning and wanted something to do while he was grinding up all of his limit breaks for every character. I haven't played Civ V in a while and looking at my 'most played' games last week brought it to the front of my mind. I gave it a go, and then ended up giving up when I found out the strategy I was going for had been nerfed and the resting point for all the city states with protection and the policy is now only 25, not 30. I'd sacrificed a lot to make that happen and decided I wasn't likely to win the long game on immortal with a bad plan and a ton of rust.
So I went down a difficulty to derust and had some fun. But I'm always frustrated with the way Civ games do difficulty settings. I realize that I'm way better at the game than an AI so if we're on even footing I'll demolish it, but it's very frustrating for me to never have a shot at wonders and the like as I work my way through outnumbered tactical battles where I eventually win because I'm better or lose because they just have too much stuff.
It got me musing about playing against people again. People don't cheat! But finding time to play always seems like a real issue, and the way it switches to asynchronous play when a war is running made me sad. I think Matt should totally be allowed to declare war and try to crush me, but I don't like that it makes people sit around with nothing better to do. There has to be a better solution, doesn't there?
I did some poking around and found a website called Giant Multiplayer Robot. The basic idea seems to be you install a client on your computer that connects to their servers. The servers keep track of ongoing games that you're in and notify you when it's your turn to make a move. Then you can download the saved file, take your turn, and send the new file back to the server. It'll notify the next person in line and so on.
On the one hand this seems like it turns the entire game into one big asynchronous thing which will undoubtedly take weeks or months to play. On the other hand it means you're never sitting around in a game waiting for someone else to make a move. You get to take moves when you get to take turns and if you're not up you can just go do something else. This sort of thing has worked out well for board games (Yucata, boardgaming-online...) so it seems like it may work out well for Civ as well?
It's set up to be a free service, but you can only be in 2 games at once. If you pay them money you can have more games going at a time. This seems like a pretty reasonable pricing scheme, especially since it tops out at $15 for all of the games. I have no immediate interest in paying them any money, but I do want to give it a shot to see how it actually works out.
So... Anyone want to play a big asynchronous game of Civ V? I'm thinking one slot for a smaller game of people who can take turns often and one slot for a big whoever wants to play and we just see what happens?