Earlier this year I’ve entered a completely new era of my Civilization V passion: Asynchronous Multiplayer games with the Giant Multiplayer Robot. It’s great! Imagine it like playing Hot Seat games with sending your savegame by email to the next player. Only without the hassle of actually sending emails but with a neat Steam integration instead. It’s also completely free for some casual games, while a really small fee removes your game-limit entirely allowing for an unlimited number of parallel games.
Here’s how GMR, Giant Multiplayer Robot, introduces itself on its site:
Giant Multiplayer Robot is a multiplayer service for Sid Meier’s Civilization V which handles passing your games’ save files from player to player. As this happens, Giant Multiplayer Robot can send you notifications for when it’s your turn via the website, email, and/or our desktop app.
One of the volunteer-admins introduces GMR on CivFanatics like this:
GMR is a very good alternative for people who— Ayubalugu
1. want to play MP but can not dedicate uninterrupted play time for several hours and/or
2. have unstable/slow connections that will make them get kicked from online MP games and/or
3. do not like the clickfest of the simultaneous turns that dominates the online MP
I recommend GMR wholeheartedly.
Over the course of 2020 so far I have engaged in several games. Currently I’m in 13 parallel ones. Sounds like a lot? Let me explain why it isn’t:
First and foremost it’s asynchronous play with most games having a turn timer of usually at least 36 hours. Why such a long time? Imagine you’re living Europe and are playing with players from North America: You’ll be playing your turn ~9 PM, which is still early over there. Now soon after, while you’re off to bed, these folks play their turns and it’s your turn again. You get up, go to work, run some errands and it might not be until late in the evening you get to it again. 24 hours often are a close call when incorporating all time zones.
Some games have up to 12 players, others have only 4. My 13 games have 109 participants in total of which 100 are active players (if a player leaves, that slot is taken by the AI until the game is paused or the slot is filled again). That’s an average of 7.69/game. If all players take roughly one day per turn, I get to play around 1 turn per week. That’s why I joined more games: I’m now playing an average of 2 turns per day with my 13 games.
Playing Multiplayer Civ5 Games is awesome!
Normal games allow for the full flexibility of setting up a Civ-game. Depending on the Add-on you’re playing with you’ve got the full width of Civs to select from and all the world builder options. Those random multiplayer games are awesome. But here’s the thing: GMR also allows for
Playing Multiplayer Civ5 Scenarios!
Yes, that’s right! Now you can play Into the Renaissance, Viking Destiny and all scenarios you always wanted to play in Multiplayer mode! I’m currently on a long running Into the Renaissance game with 12 players. Super fun! We’ve also finished two runs of Viking Destiny:
1st Multiplayer Civ5 Viking Destiny “Deity”
We started our first game on Deity difficulty. You might wonder: Why does difficulty matter when it’s about Multiplayer and no AI is in the game? Well: The difficulty changes the starting conditions. So in this game England started with little money and fewer units to defend against 3 human players invading. It didn’t end well for England:
At first I was pretty dominant playing as Denmark, conquering most of England. I successfully attacked the cities captured by Norway and defended the first advance on London against the Normans. That success didn’t last long. Turns out: In Civ5 Multiplayer games, the tides can turn quickly.
2nd Multiplayer Civ5 Viking Destiny “Settler”
Challenged by the major defeat England had suffered at the hands of Denmark and Normandy, I decided to again try to succeed playing against the AI on Deity difficulty, following my very own “This was their finest hour” strategy guide. Unfortunately some things didn’t go quite as planned and I quickly found myself retreating, overwhelmed and desperate:
Confronted with the reality of different starting conditions depending on level of difficulty, we (the same players!) started a 2nd Multiplayer round of Civ5 Viking Destiny Scenario, but on Settler difficulty. This puts England in a much better position with
- more starting Gold
- more starting Units
- more Gold per Turn
This allows a player to ally many City States over time, buy city improvements (or units, but I find city improvements more sustainable investments) and thus defend against the invaders much easier.
Also I got lucky: The Normans tried to push their way through to London directly from the coast. Constant attacks from both sides and from defensible positions diminished their starting army and killed 10/12 units. The Danes didn’t know about this, so after capturing East Anglia they didn’t turn on me, but on the weakened Normans. Being able to fully focus on defending the North, I didn’t see much of a threat for the rest of the game and built the Domesday Book already in turn 38!
More Civ5 Multiplayer Scenarios?
I’m currently on the 3rd run of Viking Destiny with the same players (attacking Northern England is really tough against a human). Besides the legendary Into the Renaissance game, which will take some years for sure (the last one, before I joined GMR, took 6 years), I’m also playing 2 matches of Conquest of the New World, which is tough because one of the main aspects of that scenario breaks in Multiplayer. I definitely want to try the Scramble for Africa Scenario!
Giant Multiplayer Robot for Civilization 5 Conclusion
Playing those Multiplayer Civ 5 games is really great. Especially for a one-, soon two time dad with not much time it’s a great way to keep playing Civ 5, to engage with other players and (most importantly) avoid the “just one more turn” addiction. Because: When your turn ends, it’s someone else’s turn 🙂