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Can I play Civ 5 without having Steam installed?

I purchased Civ5 Game of the Year Edition (physical CD) in June from Amazon - a seemingly brand new, unopened package. I was never successful in installing and opening the game, and the Valve/Steam system was beyond confusing (I had no idea that you'd have to do anything other than purchase the game and pop in the CD). For nearly 6 months, Valve/Steam reps have been entirely unhelpful and their most recent reply said they couldn't help me because the CD was previously purchased and the CD activation code had been registered in the past (explains the "duplicate / error" message I received when trying to get the game going). As you can probably already tell, I'm a total novice when it comes to this kind of tech thing - although I'm a Civ vet... started with Civ1 around 1992 - so apologies if my rank amateur rambling is too much. As it stands right now, I have nothing to show for the $38.44 I spent to buy this game on Amazon... nothing except 6 very frustrating months. So, is there a workaround I can use (legal or otherwise)? Or anything else you could recommend? I have a MacBook Pro Mac OS X 10.7.5 Thank you VERY MUCH for any help you can offer me! Like everyone else, I just want to get on to playing a favorite game! Thanks! - theo

  • 2
    I'm afraid that if redeeming the key through Steam doesn't work, we can't help you. Looks like someone sold you a copy of a game they themselves redeemed. Your best option is to re-purchase it through Steam, unfortunately. We won't be helping you work around this issue.
    – Frank
    Dec 1, 2012 at 14:58

2 Answers 2


Judging from Steam's policies, there's nothing you can do other than buying the game again.

Even if you got the "duplicate cd key" message in error, the way to remedy that is to contact Valve within 90 days of your purchase for a "reset cd key" process. Since more than 90 days have passed, there's not much you can do now. I mean you can always contact them directly and ask for help, but that didn't seem to work out for you so far.

Alternatively, you can complain to the store that originally sold you the game and demand a refund or a new copy. That has nothing to do with Steam, though, it will be between you and that store.

  • After 6 month, the store will most likely not provide refunds though. In such cases you have to contact the store immediately, not wait several months.
    – user1978
    Dec 1, 2012 at 19:10

It won't do a thing for your sunk cost, but, since you have a Mac, you can simply circumvent Steam entirely by buying the game from the Mac App Store.

The MAS version does have several serious limitations compared to the Steam edition: no multiplayer, no mods, reduced availability of DLC/expansion content, it won't run on Windows, and of course, you need to buy the game again, but if you're truly fed up with Steam support, it is an alternative available to you.

  • Thank you for the advice! I'm getting a refund through Amazon - this is after all a fraudulent sale. Now on to MAS!
    – WayOpens
    Dec 1, 2012 at 18:14
  • I wouldn't call it fraudulent necessarily... It could just as easily be a defective product or a problem on Steams end for some reason. Also, if this answer or Oaks helped you, please upvote then (the up arrow on the top left), and 'accept' (the check mark) the answer which you consider to have been the most helpful! Dec 1, 2012 at 18:43

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