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I find the early and mid-game great fun: there's excitement and challenge as I explore the world, found cities, and challenge the other players. But then the end-game almost always turns into mind-numbing slog.

For example, right now I'm playing 8-player vs. AI. I've reached the point I always seem to reach: it's basically inevitable that I'll win now, but I still have to give repetitive orders to tens of cities for a hundred or more turns to wrap it up. I go in hoping for an interesting victory condition, but I usually fall back on Conquest since that ends the monotony a little quicker.

A friend of mine has the same experience. Are we doing something wrong, or do we just lack the needed patience? Are Civ end-games usually longer and less challenging than the openings?

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I love Civ, but in my opinion, this is a general problem with all the Civilisation games. You get to a position where you are clearly winning, then you have to decide whether you can be bothered to finish it off. I always end up mass-producing my best units and just grinding it out. Or just starting a new game. ;) –  ire_and_curses Oct 7 '10 at 3:55
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In Civilization IV, played at a hard difficulty level, I never had this feeling. Plenty of things to do and plan. –  Drake Nov 29 '10 at 23:01
    
You just made me realize my major hang-up with this game. –  ken Dec 28 '10 at 22:22
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Yes, the late-game might be boring. Personally i Spent 200 years battling the last nation except for me on earth. Then i decided to Assassinate his capital (this works best if it is at a coast). I simply embarked 5-10 units, then moved in for a lethal strike. took about three turns, and then the game was won (although he was about to rush my troops with his army) but as far as the computer is concerned i won. another way to pave your way is using the A-bomb/nuclear missiles. the land will be quite useless, yes, but you can blast his army sky-high before he has a chance to react. and it looks R –  user9657 May 18 '11 at 18:24
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5 Answers 5

up vote 41 down vote accepted

Tedium comes from feelings that you're making a lot of decisions that don't really impact anything. So...

Minimize how many decisions you have to make:

(Of course, try to get rid of the decisions that don't matter, and keep the ones that do.)

  • Automate! If you're bored with workers, set them to automate, and make them stop pestering you. There's also an auto-explore.
  • Move your units where you really want them to go, not just this turns movement points.
  • Fortify or dismiss unit when they're really not helping anymore. They stop asking for orders!
  • Set build queue for cities. (thanks @Colen)
  • Open the tech tree and tell it to research to something late in the tree. I think with shift or ctrl you can queue up techs as well.
  • Puppet Cities - Rather than controlling every city yourself, take over a few, and leave them as puppets. They benefit your civilization, without costing your decision making time.
  • City States - For that matter, don't take over city states if you don't have to. They'll help you just fine as they are, with the right convincing.
  • Play on faster speeds - This minimizes the extra turns you make decisions for only units, often needlessly.
  • Play on a smaller map - Getting places doesn't take a long, and there will be less cities/units overall.
  • Play against less opponents - This is best accomplished as a consequence of playing on a smaller map, and the benefits are the same: less decisions to be made.

From my experience, quick games on average are just more fun, because even if the game is bad, its over quickly. Then you start a new game and have a chance to learn from mistakes all the sooner!

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Also, set long build queues for your cities, so you don't have to bother going back repeatedly to give them new orders. –  Colen Oct 8 '10 at 16:57
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If you're sure you're going to win, why keep playing? You've already won.

*poof* tedious endgame gone!

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It's like in Go - most games end with many moves left to go, just because playing it out would just be tedium and the winner is already clear. –  Grace Note Oct 7 '10 at 13:16
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because I want to WIN! :-) –  Feral Chimp Oct 7 '10 at 22:47
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Achievements: gotta catch'em all! –  WillfulWizard Oct 7 '10 at 22:48
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Bah! What fun is it to finally be able to produce jets and subs and nukes, but then never actually use them? –  ken Dec 28 '10 at 22:20
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Precisely. Once I have that decisive tech and material edge over all the other civs that spent the last few hundred turns alternately denouncing me or trying to extort money and tech, I'm going to want to use it. –  Shadur Jun 29 '12 at 11:31
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What difficulty level are you playing on? Both the AI and Computer Handicaps increase pretty heavily on the higher-end difficulties. If you're looking for more of a challenge (to lengthen the time before the "tediousness" sets in) kick the difficulty up a notch.

You could also try games against other humans. Ain't nothin' like a surprise coalition of the other seven players to make life interestin'.

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I also recommend this. If you find yourself dominating everyone and being able to go whatever victory condition you want, it probably means you're playing on a lower difficulty level than your skill allows you to. –  Oak Oct 7 '10 at 7:52
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I don't know that this helps though. I'm currently playing on Immortal, and had several games of being defeated. Then I got off to a good start, and I'm back in the situation Andy describes. I'm playing it through so that I get "credit" for my first win, and so I can get an idea of how the end game plays, but its been a pretty clear win since the medieval age. I'm not sure that means I should move up more, it just means that if you're going to win Civ, you're going to do it early. –  bwarner Oct 7 '10 at 12:37
    
Thanks, I'll try bumping up the difficulty. Playing humans may help too when I can find a big block of time. A major cause of the problem is that the AI doesn't know how or when to concede. Faced with an obviously overwhelming force, most players would probably just say GG and leave. The AI doesn't know when it's licked. –  Feral Chimp Oct 8 '10 at 13:06
    
Not sure higher difficulty helps in most cases. One pattern I get often is that serious conflicts with AI start coming up early-mid game and are resolved one way or the other by late mid-game (then tediousness sets in). Maybe my general strategy is just flawed, but with this pattern higher difficulty will just mean that I lose more of the mid-game conflicts. –  user4040 Oct 13 '10 at 0:56
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In general, if you've reached the point where you're sure you're going to win, it's not worth playing it out. Get the military victory if you want "credit" for the win, then move on to a new game.

Some ideas on how to keep multiple games from feeling repetitive

  • Play on a higher difficulty level. This will make it harder to get out to a big lead early, but if you have a good game it can still happen.
  • Try starting the game in a later age. This lets you have all the advanced weapons before you're in a situation where you're already the de facto winner.
  • Play on a different map type. Continents plays much different than Pangaea or small islands.
  • Try for the different Civ-specific achievements, especially the ones like Bollywood
  • Rather than trying for a space victory and settling for Dominance, go for the Dominance victory from the beginning and challenge yourself on how fast you can get it.
  • Try a one-city challenge game. This greatly increase the challenge, and also speeds up the game by reducing the number of decisions you need to make.
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+1 thanks for the good tips, I'll try those. I almost picked this as the accepted answer, tough decision. –  Feral Chimp Oct 8 '10 at 13:08
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The new domination victory condition should minimize this problem. If you are truly far enough ahead that the AI players are incapable of winning then you should be able to take and hold all of the capitals. You may even be able to pull that off in 50 turns or less. Just build at least 1 superior unit per AI player, and on a map with significant oceans at least 1 ship per player to escort the unit. I would expect that you find it more interesting than spending hours steamrolling the AI civilizations, as was the frequent ending to Civ IV.

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Thanks for the tip. I'd still like to try varied conditions, but there are definitely times I'd like to just wrap it up quick with domination. –  Feral Chimp Oct 12 '10 at 19:35
    
I'll agree - I had one AI player left and taking his capital - even though he was at nearly the same technology level - was finished in 20 minutes. (I just grabbed all my units with a few to guard my capital and rushed his capital. No need to protect anything else.) He had really little military though. –  Martin Oct 29 '10 at 20:28
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