Sam Robison

EDT 460

Prof. Ingram-Goble

October 8, 2014

Civilization 5 analysis

Civilization 5 is a popular role-playing strategy game. In the game you play as a famous historical leader and try beat the other characters to one of 5 victories. Civilization is a fun game that also has some relevancy outside of itself, it uses gee’s principals, makes claims about society and possible claims about race.

Civilization V does a great job of instantiating many of Gee’s 36 principals. In my opinion the one it does the best job of doing is #36, Insider principal. You can customize pretty much everything in the game, from which leader you are to what kind of environment you want to play in. You can also change how people see you through out the game by the choices you make while playing. Other players will often be hostile toward you if you have gone to war with them in the past or if you are aggressive toward many other players. You can also mold how the game reacts to you in other ways besides being aggressive. Other characters in the game will react to almost any power play you make, from befriending city-states, to help you chances at a diplomatic victory, to founding a large amount of cities and taking up land that other players could take.

In civilization you can win in 5 different ways. Domination, by taking everyone’s capital city, Diplomacy, by getting enough votes to make you the leader of the UN, Cultural, by more tourism than all of the other nations culture, Science, by getting to Alpha Centarti, and Time by getting to the year 2050 with no one winning another ways and having the highest score. Because there are so many ways to win this game I think it brings in the Multiple Routes principal rather nicely. It allows for the player to choose which way they are most comfortable winning or which way they can formulate the best strategy but they can also try to find other ways if they feel like challenging themselves a little bit more. Because I personally like to stay on the defensive in this game and avoid conflict at all costs I chose to be Venice. Venice can only create one city but they get double the amounts of trade routes. Because they can make so much money I wanted to aim for a diplomatic victory. How this is achieved will be explained later in this paper. The fact that you choose a civilization to play with and then adopt all of their style of play bring in the Identity Principal. This is in play because you take on the role of someone and then have to make choices and interact with other players as that character

The discovery principal is in play in this game too; the game gives you some basic direction in the beginning then lets you loose. You can tell what kind of victories each player would be good for but the game does not tell you. It tells you how to do everything you need to know then lets you formulate your own strategy to win.

Here is my experience playing the game. Civilization lets you choose how you want your environment to be. You can pick what kind of terrain you want the world to be. You can choose how big you want it to be and how many other player you would like to play with you and can decide how good the other player are going to be. That’s one of the cool things about this game; you can have whatever game you want. I chose to play as Venice as stated earlier. You can tell what kind of victory each player would be good for by what perks the character gets.  For instance Venice’s perks are the ability to buy city-states with great merchants and double the normal number of trade routes (the most beneficial perk they get) but they cannot annex or create new cities. Because Venice is able to make much more money than the average player they are best suited toward a diplomatic victory, money does run politics after all.

I wanted a sea based game because other civilizations tend to be less aggressive if you are not on the same piece of land as them so I played an fractal based map. Snaky islands around the map characterize fractal maps.  I played on a small map because MacBook pros are not meant to play civilization and a smaller map helps the computer. Something about the graphics card makes it crash periodically while playing.

The game starts out with a bio about your character. It tells you about what they did to have history remember them. It reads it aloud to you as the map renders and it sets up other thing in the game. This “story” behind the game has no real meaning to how you play. You are almost entirely disconnected from you who choose to be after you click start the game when it is finished loading. The only mention to your character after this is when it randomly pops up the leaderboard for certain areas of game play, presumably so that you can recognize yourself. However knowledge of history it can be helpful in this game. The other characters in the game are programmed to have the personalities of the leaders they are emulating. Alexander the Great is very aggressive and will attack you whenever he feels that you are weak and he can win. The rest of time he is friendly. Siam is very peaceful and will not go to war with you unless you deliberately provoke him to the point of him wanting your gone. Bismarck will act the same as Alexander the Great except that after a war he will hold a grudge against you as opposed to Alexander who will act like nothing happened.

The game started, I got what I wanted and started by a coast on an island all by myself with plenty of city-states around to form trade routes with. I started with making a monument and a church so I could make culture to expand my borders and enough faith to have a healthy religious following (that can make you even more money if you know how to use it correctly and choose the right religious perks). I kept playing without much incident making trade routes with city states and eventually getting to the point where I was making enough money to start buying them into being my allies.

After a while I could no long fly under the radar of other civilizations and I started meeting them. This came at a good point in the game for me because I had already made allies with all of the city-states on my little island and had a surplus of money. When dealing with the other civilizations in the game I have found the best course of action is to have as little to do with them as possible if you are not trying to win a militaristic victory.

This is another interesting point about the game. The best way to keep peace with the other civilizations is to keep as far away from them as possible. You practically have to ignore them. The only thing that you can do with them that will not cause war is trading luxuries. They will often ask for an open borders treaty but these seemingly friendly offer is often just to see how big your military is and if you accept they will often declare war a few turns later. They also ask you to help go to war with them against some other civilization. The other times they talk to you is when you do something like buy land by them or spy on them or settle a city near them. In these cases they will ask you to not do the action again. The game gives you two options to respond to them an aggressive one and an apologetic one. The best way to keep peace is not to do any of the things they ask and reply politely if they tell you to stop doing something. The creator of the game may be saying that the best way for a country to keep peace is by being Switzerland and being neutral in all conflicts and not being a part of any treaties.

Meeting the other civilizations helped open up the map a bit and find more city-states that I could make into allies. City-states will vote for you in the world congress, donate food, give you money, make you troops and donate culture and faith points to your civilization. If you choose the social policies for it, you can have your city-states produce science for you too.  After a while all the other civilizations had been discovered and the world congress could have its first meeting. The person who meets all of the civilizations first becomes the leader of the world congress. Around this point was also when the first civilization hit the renaissance era and espionage was introduced to the game. The game gives you spies and you can either choose to use them as diplomats or spies. As spies they can steal technologies from other civilizations but run the risk of getting killed and possibly having the other civilization find out that you did it, as diplomats they allow you to make diplomatic trades with other civilizations.

I chose to use my spy as a spy and put them in the Chinese capital because they were the most technologically advanced civilization at that time. At the world congress the leader of the congress gets to recommend a bill to be voted on as does the person with the second most number of votes. Since at the first world congress city-states do not get votes I did not get to choose a bill. The bills proposed were banning a luxury and funding the arts, there are many luxuries in the game and they increase the happiness of your nation. Banning them is a political move to try to get someone’s happiness to decrease. If someone you are at war with relies on cotton for happiness banning it would be a good political move. The other one was arts funding which affects how great people are produced. Great people give you certain upgrades in the game. Great scientist help you get a science boost, great engineers help you get a productivity boost. Arts funding takes away from great scientists, engineers, and merchants and gives it to great artists and musicians. The banning luxury bill failed and the arts funding one passes. Some time passed and Rome decided to build a city on my island. They then decided they didn’t like me and declared war. Luckily they were surrounded by my city-states which also declare war if someone declares war against you. They were able to distract Rome long enough for me to build an army and take the city they had on my island. After that Rome was willing to make peace with me. The rest of the game was pretty uneventful. China caught me stealing technologies a few times and then the game ended with me winning a diplomatic victory.

The diplomatic victory in this game is an interesting mechanic. To achieve this feat you have to get the most votes in the world congress. Votes are given for many things being the leader of the congress, building the forbidden palace, discovering globalization, following the world religion, following the world ideology and lastly and most importantly befriending city-states. City-states are the best way of getting votes and they will vote with the person who has the most influence with them. City-states are not the only way of getting votes but they are by far the most effective. The way to get your ideology to be the world ideology, your religion to be the world, and to become the leader of the world congress is to vote on it in the world congress. The ways to get influence are to complete quests for city-states or to give them money. The quests can be difficult and trying to complete them to get enough influence for a victory is not practical. This leaves the best way of getting influence to get votes is by buying the influence. Civilization is probably trying to say that politics is run by money by putting this in their game. Another way this is supported is through the way that diplomats act. The player can put a diplomat in another player’s capital and they will tell the player how that character is going to vote and also make political trades with that person. The game allows the player to pay other players money or really anything you have so that they will vote the way you need the votes to go. No matter how much money the player pays no other civilization will ever vote for them to win the game, so city-states are needed to achieve a diplomatic victory.

Civilization used all races and genders. This can is a rare occurrence in a video game; I think they were able to do this so easily because they use great leaders throughout history. White men mostly dominate our history books, but civilization made sure that all continents were well represented. Africa had leaders from Gao, Ethiopia, Morocco and the Zulus. Asia has Korea, China, Japan and Mongolia. The Americas have Iroquois, Aztecs, Shoshone, Brazil and the United States. The Middle East has a bunch of ancient civilizations. They didn’t exclude women from these either. Russia, China, England, Spain and Portugal are all women.

The African characters are slightly less advantaged in comparison to the others except for the Zulus. Their special traits are significantly worse as a group than any other race. Ethiopia has no real advantage toward any type of victory. They get a 20% attack bonus from civilizations with more cities than them. This serves only for defense because if you want to go for domination you almost have to have more cities than other people. Morocco receives slightly extra gold and a small amount of culture. This is at least based toward one type of victory but does not help much when you get to the middle of the game. As Gao you receive more gold from barbarians and pillaging cities they also get a promotion for their units that help them travel over water. These help but not nearly as much. The Zulus get 50% less unit maintenance and units require 25% less experience to get promotions on military units. The African characters in this game got significantly worse traits than the vast majority of the other characters and they were one of the smallest demographic groups in the game. This may be because western culture does not recognize African history to the extent of other places. There are only two times i can recall learning anything about African history. The first was AP European History, in that class it was look at as something the Europeans conquered and then abused the inhabitants of. It did not show any of the history there only how cruel their European invaders were. The other class I was taught African history in was French. We were taught the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and how the Belgians took over their country and enslaved the inhabitants. In both of these classes Africans are looked to be people to feel pity for. They didn’t tell us about any African empires, any of their great leader or accomplishments of any kind. They are painted like savages. This may be the reason they are not overly available for play in this game. The difference in traits of the African characters versus the rest of the races in civilization can be attributed to a few possible reasons of a mix of them both. One that they are just racist and didn’t want to give the African characters good traits. Another is that they are trying to be historically accurate and those civilizations didn’t have as many advantages and lastly that they are pandering to their audience who have, for the most part, not learned anything about African history.

My experience playing Civilization was a good one. This has been one of my favorite games ever since my aunt bought me it in grade school. It’s a game that just grows on you each time you play. I have been playing it for years and still love it as much as when I got my first copy in grade school. No two games are ever the same you can start with different civilizations, different maps, different starting areas, different AI characters, and different relations with other people, the options are endless.  It’s a game that can be played over and over and has societal value with pointing out some things about the world we live in.

Mincraft impact guide

what mode did you choose? the completed world which is already made by the game producer or the new empty world?  +2

in the first time i enter this game, i chooses the survive mode and got in to the game space which is already completed, because it is the default setting.

what is the first thing you do when you first enter the game space? how does the interface influence you next move?  +1

i naturally attempt to use W A S D to control my move because i have noticed that it is in first person perspective, meanwhile, i also try the left click of my mouse to see if there will be any function in the system. the interface of this game is very simple, basically all the icon are pixel arts, just like the theme of this game.

is there any interesting setting in this system? what is it?  +2

the inventory system was tricky for me, this game does’t display all the slot and option in its interface, the only thing you have at the beginning are several empty slots, it takes time to discover the hidden function, after i got known with the inventory system the first thing i did is to equip gears for my hero, but it seems does’t do much for my hero. i wasn’t surprised by this because i knew this is not a battle game.

what did you expect to do? and how did you plan to do it.  +1

the pixel art style remind me lego toy brick, so i expect to build some house by  building a rectangle rail first.

how did the material option influence you building plan?  +2

even though this game did provide a wide material option  for us, but they are all presented by cube, this feature made me unconsciously prefer to make building at first because they all looks like brick.





Game Basics

Choose a job, and play through the month. How did your choice impact your month?

I chose to be a waiter in a restaurant, because I just needed to work 3 hours per day and had 3 days off. So I had more time to take care of the kids, and I gave the kids all they wanted.

Where did you choose to live? Why, and what are the benefits and costs of that choice?

I chose to live in the place near my working area, because I can reduce uses of car and cut down the cost in cars. Although the rental fee was a little bit higher, but it was still cheaper than monthly car insurance.

Theme Insights

How do different jobs affect someone’s living?

I lost the job at 24th day of the month, so I could not make it through one whole month. Because waiter is the job of low threshold, anyone can apply for this and the employer can kick anyone out easily. Being a waiter is a job with instability, so I was worried about being kicked out all of the time.

How did the financial challenges affect your morals and decisions?

I did not go to my friend’s wedding just because I could not afford the air ticket, and I was unable to pay the loan which will affected my credit which I was unable to take care of. I would take the rick of driving without insurance just because no money.

World Connections

How did playing change the way you think about your own or other’s struggles with money?

After playing this game, I feel more to understand those people standing by the road and asking for money. Some of them do have trouble in life, maybe many of them have a big family to feed. Also, this game taught me that life is not easy, there are a lot of worries waiting for me.

Other than learning the importance of saving money, what other skills did you learn?

I think a good management of money is necessary. I spent money unconsciously within one week just because the cost was not high. However, I could not pay the loan at the next week. So if I have a overview of which money I really have to pay at the beginning of the month, I think I would make a good plan and put the money in good use.

Sam Robison: Pandemic II

Game basics:

  • Choose different types of symptoms to start the game. What type of symptom did you choose? Why?[+1]


I choose to keep the symptom it gave me, sneezing, and to not add any more so that the disease would not be as noticeable and then when my virus would be in a bunch of people to get rid of sneezing so that it would be even less noticeable.


  • What are evolution points and how do you get them?[+1]


Evolution points are used to increase traits of your disease like lethality, infectivity and resistance to the elements and drugs.


  •  How does your evolution help spread your disease?[+2]

Evolution helps the disease spread by either making it more infective with symptoms, increasing its resistivity to the elements or transmitting in a new way.


  •  Read the breaking news on the left corner. What is happening in the world and how does it inform your strategy?[+2]

The breaking news lets you change you strategy according to the world events currently happening. If Mexico is in a drought and you want to expand there you wouldn’t want your only transmission type to be waterborne


  •  Looking at the map, what countries are the hardest ones to infect and why?[+3]

Madagascar is the hardest to infect because its an island and the only kind of transportation it has to it is a harbor that doesn’t take in very many boats. Japan is also hard also because it is similar to Madagascar but instead of a harbor it has an airport.


Theme insights :


  •  What kinds of traits did your disease begin the game with? How did those affect your strategy?[+1]

The trait my virus started with was sneezing which was very visible so my solution was to wait until my disease was established and then get rid of the trait so my disease would be more hidden.


  • How effective was your disease against humanity? Would you evolve in the future? Why?[+2]

My disease was very effective against humanity it infected every country except for Madagascar. I would try this strategy again but get rid of sneezing sooner so that they wouldn’t notice my disease as quickly




  • How do natural disasters in the world help your disease spread faster? [+2]

They make people come together more and help increase transmission.


  • For the countries that were not infected, why did the infection not spread?[+3]

The infection did not spread to Madagascar because the port shut down before I could infect it. It would have been a better idea to have my disease stay under the radar longer.


World Connections


  • What is a pandemic? How is it different from an epidemic?[+1]

A pandemic is a disease prevalent over a whole country or the whole world. An epidemic is a disease prevalent over a community.


  •  Have any pandemics ever happened during your lifetime? What were they and how did they affect the world?[+2]

AIDS could be considered a pandemic because it is prevalent through out south Africa. It is also present everywhere else in Africa and throughout the world.  It has effected the world because there is a world wide effort to halt the spread of this disease. Just like in pandemic when your disease becomes too big.


  • How do nations work to prevent pandemics?[+3]

The nations in the game do things like shutting down borders, closing airports, closing schools, and if all else fails shutting down hospitals. When polio became bad in America they had similar tactics. The closed schools down and enacted curfews. I think the game is pretty close to what countries do in real life.


  • If the disease you created in your game was unleashed against humanity in real life, how effective do you think it would be? Would humanity be able to stop it be before it spreads out of control? Why?[+3]

I think my virus would be very effective against humanity because it is a virus and it is next to impossible to cure a virus. That is why there is no cure for the common cold. Humanity’s best hope would to have a vaccine that would make it unable to infect anyone else.


  • How can a game like Pandemic II be useful against actual pandemics? [+3]

It can be useful because it educates the pubic about how countries deal with pandemics. It can teach people to cooperate with the government’s attempt to halt the spread of disease.

Janelle Wilke: Spent

Choose a job, and play through the month. How did your choice impact your month? [+1]
My choice was a 2nd shift warehouse worker. The job had steady income & hours, but also came with physical strains like backaches and exhaustion. Also, it is not flexible when things go wrong (for instance, when my car ran out of fuel and I was late for work).
Where did you choose to live? Why, and what are the benefits and costs of that choice? [+2]
I lived at the $830 mark, closer to the place I work. While the cost for living is higher per month, the travel costs are minimal and I am not left without options if I need to find alternative means of reaching the workplace —I’m close enough for other forms of transportation. 
What were some extra ways you made money? What were unexpected costs? [+3]
I made money through garage sales and donating plasma. The unexpected costs were immensely higher. I had issues with a tooth I needed to get surgery for ($800), a car loan that needed to be paid ($500), as well as avoiding paying off my credit card debts.
How do different jobs affect someone’s living? [+1]
Some jobs can be more flexible to hard times, but the pay and unstable hours may have more negative impacts. A more stable job requires that I put in more effort to make sure I do not lose that job.
What did you choose regarding your child’s afterschool activities? Why? [+2]
I would almost always pitch in so my child could participate in after school activities, because I feel like in real life, I would want my child to have as many opportunities as possible. The area where I opted out was when they felt embarrassed to be on a free meal plan and being perceived as a poor kid. I thought what food they had would not affect any future opportunities for them. The result was that my kid would decide they’d rather not eat at all.


How did your priorities change during the month? What does being financially responsible mean? [+3]

Some days, if I could pay a bill with at least a $100 cushioning, I would do it (especially if it was near a payday) to avoid up charges and debt in the future. Most of the time, however, I could not afford the setbacks. I think financial responsibility means trying to stay on top of payments and avoiding debt; either investing or holding back with some foresight of future cost to yourself and others.



When have your own financial concerns affected your choices? How were your choices influenced? [+1]

When I have had financial concerns, I would wind up avoiding get-togethers that I knew would have some sort of cost. I got in a good habit of only eating out two meals per week (2 of 21 meals), and -if necessary- I would borrow from my parents. I have always made sure I could afford what I’ve bought, however in one case at the end of last semester, I had to spend $150 on school supplies. I charged it to my credit card, knowing I couldn’t afford it right away. Thankfully I got a job with a bi-monthly paycheck just in time! My parents make it open to come to them for help with money, so I’ve never been in true jeopardy. But I try to avoid seeing them as a way out.

How did playing change they way you think about your own or other’s struggles with money? [+2]

It makes me more empathetic to the struggles they have. I have a co-worker who has nearly all of the issues that came up in this game… no car, not enough food, always asking for money, taking “sick days” off when he could use them to make money. Some of his choices I just couldn’t understand, but this game helps put a bit of it into perspective. And I cannot blame someone -even in a poor financial situation- to be 100% frugal, as I cannot even set that expectation for myself. And if you cannot enjoy life once in a while, then it makes the efforts seem so pointless when relief is not on the horizon.

Other than learning the importance of saving money, what other skills did you learn? [+2]

I learned a bit about the impacts that poverty has -psychologically- on a child. Figuring out ways to allow a child to have a normal life while trying to avoid spending is challenging and a bit of a balancing act.


Peter Talavera : Minecraft

Minecraft is a very different and unique game, because it is a game that only entails the player to build whatever they want with the tools available to them. The game starts with my avatar in the middle of a randomized terrain (near a lake in a forest biome). Immediately, I begin gathering materials starting with the trees for wood. These materials allowed me to craft tools which would allow me to gather more resources and at a faster pace. When night fall was about to occur, I created a small hole in a mountain, set up an improvised camp and block the entrance so monsters could not get inside. Then I would mine more materials through digging downward and exploring caves. I repeated this process of going out and exploring and creating on the surface at day, while doing the same thing underground at night, making unique creations like a house or new caves.

I would make multiple chests to store my resources when I need to make room in my inventory. Then only take the particular resources I would need for whatever task I am doing. When acquiring rare resources, I would use them to create valuable tools or creations. For creations I would set it up for my unique creation, but for the tools I would save only for when I really need it to lengthen its use, particularly diamond. Unfortunately,   diamond was really hard to come by as it’s mainly found in areas near lava which can be hazardous and even then are a rare find. All I could do was be patient and careful and then I would be rewarded with the materials

There are a lot of resources that can easily be renewed like plants and food sources provided the necessary steps are taken to ensure a continued source such as a garden, but things like coal and redstone were finite and can only be used as much as you can find like oil in the real world. Creating things such as a garden to grant ones own plants and trees required first knowing the steps to renew that resource, then creating a system to implement that  such as an irrigation system and soil to plant, and finally performing the action and waiting the required time need