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SummaryA challenging game with amazing depth
The GoodComplexity. However, this can be relieved by letting the computer take over tasks while you master each aspect one at a time. (This means you replay, replay, replay.) The ability to not only select a difficulty level, but modify those things that compose each difficulty level, allows someone who just can't get the exploration part moving to lessen the computer players' dominance.
The BadThe battles are the weakest part of this game. However, my opinion may be based on the fact that I don't yet feel in control of the battle sequences.
I also dislike the limit on readily available saved games. You save to a slot instead of naming the game to disk. (The work around is easy enough but annoying.)
The Bottom LineA challenging, multifaceted game of exploration, exploitation, empire-building, military-posturing, diplomatic maneuvering, resource management, research management, financial management, and trade/transport management. The game is difficult. Each time you think you have learned how to play, you learn one more lesson. The replay potential is vast. The computer opponents, while predictable, are predictably dangerous and cannot be ignored.
I believe this game is well worth the hours of learning. As a Civ fanatic, I didn't think another game would hold my interest. It's not Civ, not at all. It's different and it's difficult and it's fun. (If you really hate losing, pick a lesser game.)