Critical Play: Balance

In Civilization 5 by Sid Meier, players can compete against each other to accomplish different victory modes such as technology, culture, religion, domination, etc. Players can choose the same or different victory modes, but it wouldn’t be smart to pour all of one’s resources into the specific victory path they aim for because developing one’s civilization to be able to cover all bases of defense, culture, or tech is necessary to not get left in the dust. Going for a tech victory and building only science-beneficial buildings or advancements would leave one vulnerable to attack if their military is not developed, or vulnerable to world religion if they don’t have a religion. Thus, everyone is required to put their resources towards all the victory modes while balancing more in favor of their preferred victory path. This way, all players do have equal ability to win, strategies are equally viable, and the resources have the same cost/benefit ratio.

Additionally, some advancements you can build towards are buildings that only one can be built, so there might be a race to spend resources on these big-ticket items. There are also different ways to set the victory mode — for example, maybe it’s just a points game where the system totals all your development and progress compared to all the other civilizations including the number of people in your civ or how well you work your land/resources, and you win if you have the most points at some end time or when the first player reaches a certain technological age. All the civilizations are set up in a way where no one has an over-powered advantage over anyone else. Civ also allows players to choose the difficulty level in the game setup (for example, the default setting is Prince), which controls how the AI civilizations will play. (sidenote, the AI system is pretty sophisticated, like a four-part AI system.)

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