CivWorld Relies On Multiplayer, Multiple Game Types To Conquer Facebook

Console game publisher 2K Games’ first Facebook effort, CivWorld, has been a long time coming at just over 18 months in development. The game is shooting for an open beta phase launching this summer following an alpha phase begun in January.

CivWorld, previously called Civilization Network, is meant to be the social version of the classic turn-based strategy video game series, Civilization. In translating the single-player experience to Facebook, developer and series creator Sid Meier of Firaxis Games structured the gameplay experience around independent civilizations that race through time periods from an ancient era on through a space age to see who becomes the most advanced civilization first. In order to “win” an era, a team of players must band together within a civilization to meet one of several “win” conditions for the era, such as discovering a technology, building a certain number of wonders, or earning a certain amount of gold.

The individual gameplay experience puts players in the role of a leader within their own civilization. Each leader is responsible for their own village where they can build houses for villagers, assign jobs to those villagers, and ultimately produce specific resources like gold, science, or culture, that benefit the overall standing of the civilization by spending “harvests,” which regenerate once per hour. How well the player manages their village determines both their rank within a civilization team (where higher ranks afford certain privileges) and how many turns a user may spend in specific mini-games related to the resources they cultivate.

For example, in our playthrough of the closed alpha version, we joined the Chinese Civilization during the Ancient Era. At the time, one of the win conditions was discovering a single Wonder — which requires each player within the civilization to contribute a “Great Person” card to the construction of the Wonder. Great Persons are earned through generating resources within our villages; so we were able to contribute an Artist to build the Stonehenge Wonder after generating a certain amount of culture within our own city. We accelerated the amount of culture we generated by changing the jobs of all our villagers to Artists and building a theater in the village.

The idea with the city-building aspect of CivWorld is to maximize the production of resources so that your civilization can meet era win conditions more quickly. In addition to micromanaging the jobs that villagers have and the structures that encourage their job production, the player must also physically position the houses and structures in a way that allows the villagers to run the shortest amount of distance between their homes, the structure, and the players’ palace where the resource is disbursed. Players that lay out their village structures for maximum production are rewarded with happier villagers that produce more resources than average.

The player’s rank changes as they contribute or fail to contribute to a civilization’s progress. We started out as a Duchess after completing Stonehenge, but graduated quickly to Princess after repositioning our village as a science generator so that we could more quickly research “technologies” like horse breeding and democracy. Technologies are laid out along a skill tree where the more complex technologies require the player to complete strings of lesser technologies. So to research literacy, we would needed to have completed research in writing and alphabets.

On the macro-level, players must coordinate with other members of their civilization to achieve the best results. CivWorld facilitates this communication with Global, Team, and Private chat and with a “news” ticker along the bottom of the screen that updates players on their teammates’ doings. Players can also visit any other player’s village or throne room area for ideas on how to lay out their structures or to see how advanced another player is based on what decorations they’ve put in their throne room.

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