Civilization V: The Greatest Game

As my online moniker might suggest, I’ve always been a fan of the Sim City series. I wasn’t old enough to really enjoy the first game, but from Sim City 2000 on, I was hooked. But the last edition, Sim City 4, is already 7 years old and there may never be a fifth. So I’ve had to look for other games to scratch that building and planning itch. Tropico is a great series for that. I’ve also discovered the Civilization series. To be truthful, I never gave any of the first three a chance, but I’ve played the hell out of IV.

Between the vanilla game and its two expansion packs, there is so much re-playability that I’ve probably reinstalled the game four or five times. There are just so many civilizations and leaders to choose from, so many different maps and strategies to try, that almost no game feels the same. The epic nature of recreating the world is incredibly addicting. I’m ready to reinstall it right now just writing about it. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately as far as my free time is concerned), there is a new version coming out this month: Civilization V. There have been a slew of previews that have me convinced of its greatness without even trying it. If you’ve played Civ IV, you understand.

The Escapist just posted a new preview which is actually an in-character walk-through of an entire game, complete with video and narration. Definitely work checking out. Here’s a quick sample of the writing:

Crossing the mountain range to the north, I met the first civilized leader, poor Augustus Caesar. No amount of flattery or attempts at trade would crack his smile. Surrounded by finery such as he is, Augustus couldn’t open his heart and mind to the Iroquois way of life. Perhaps that is why he attacked me with his legions, unprovoked and without warning. Caesar’s armies took my great city of Grand River. Little did Caesar know that the Iroquois nation is blessed and that the first our many Golden Ages dawned soon after his treachery. It was the turn of the tide.

Now go read the rest and watch the movie, its well worth it if you’re a Civ fan. You’ll be excited, trust me. While you’re still here, check out another great video preview of the game:

My Favorite Forum

Obviously I use Google Reader, I keep up on lots of RSS feeds. I read blogs, news websites, Twitter, all the usual suspects. But by a wide margin, I find the majority of my useful information from a more unexpected source: the Something Awful forums. I was a fan of the website back when it first started and after “lurking” in the forums for a long time I finally bit the bullet and paid the $10 fee to get an official membership. Since then I’ve checked it almost daily, staying up to date on a number of different subjects. That is the wonderful utility of the forums, they have so many members that there is a thread for just about any topic you could imagine.

For web design, I keep the WordPress thread bookmarked at all times. If I ever have a question about themes that Google can’t answer, this is where I go for answers. In fact the whole coding forum has a wealth of useful information.

Since I just bought a new GTI, I keep up on both the VW/Audi Question&Answer Thread and the 2.0 FSI Tuning Thread (that’s the engine). If you have an even remotely sporting car, chances are there’s a thread for your make/model. Sometimes there might even be an official rep from a dealer or manufacturer that chimes in with very useful information.

I’m playing Fantasy Football this year (go USC Boosters!), so I’m now following the Week 1 Sit/Start thread (I’ll have to bookmark week 2, etc.) and Fantasy Football 2010. Even if I have a very specific question about which player I should pick or start/site, its likely that someone else will have the exact same problem and has already asked the question and had it answered. Like I said, there are just so many members of the forum, there is a wealth of useful information available.

Be sure to look for free magazine subscriptions, find some hilarious comedy podcasts to listen to, catch up on what you’ve missed since you stopped collecting Legos, and see some beautiful automobile photography.

Trust me, if you can think of a topic, you’ll probably find it buried somewhere within the Something Awful forums, where a group of nerds are discussing it fervently. I’m sure you’ll lurk for awhile before realizing that $10 is nothing and it will be worth it to get rid of the annoying ads, bad language filter, and have the ability to actually contribute something yourself.