Guest article: What it is like to live with a Civ Player

I don’t play Civ but I certainly live with it

I am a partner of a gamer. Not any gamer, a Civilization player. I don’t play video games, I don’t engage and I avoid knowing about them*. As such I have no business writing about gaming. In fact, as this is to be published on his Civ blog, I don’t even have an audience. So:

Hi there, be kind, this might as well be your special someone talking to you.

What can you possibly gain by listening to yet another voice telling you about the drag and daze that is living with you, you ask. I am not arguing, I am not here to convert you into better partners. I am only here to vent.

There is nothing wrong with a little bit of playing harmless Civilization, you say. Your dark days of living and breathing World of Warcraft are over, you say. Civ is educational, you say. Civ is just a bit of fun, you say. I dare you, check your playtime stats. Not much of the above, I say.

In fairness, you do beat me in any trivial pursuit, you know your history. You are a patient little historian of the world. You know how to win a marathon of Monopoly. You know how to organize your data files and you know that in some version of this life you will get the girl or boy. And clearly, you got one. Achievement unlocked, well done.

However, I know, you don’t know how to go to bed**. In fact, you are unable to go to bed together with your partner. And I bet in nine out of ten cases sharing your Civ struggles at home is received as well as your employer telling you, you might need to recheck your expense reports of the past year. There might be a nugget of greater benefits in there but no sane person should willingly indulge in that.

And I have tried to be that model employee, that great girlfriend who spares a minute or two for a bit of Civ stories around his current Civ game. Because, why the hell not, I might have missed some of the fun last time I tried.

partner of a gamer

The lesson is, I haven’t. It is still the same ages old story: You play, you save, sometimes you reload, you encounter unexpected behavior, you retry and after an eternity you finish the scenario. Don’t be fooled, that is not the end or even a win, the most recent finish is simply a reason for another version, another scenario. And you talk about it. You have frequent Civ road raging, I want to call it. That is the mildly amusing  phenomenon that follows when the game is tiring you out. The hours are getting longer and you are spewing explicits to remedy your gamer’s despair. It doesn’t though however stop you from continuing this game. Or the next one.

Unfortunately, this Civ road raging isn’t exclusive to your computer desk. It invades the kitchen table conversations, bedtime sweet talk and general coziness at home. You come by as your most innocent self and seem to want to bare your soul. As a good partner that I am, I see you approaching, I lean in, smile and listen. You close in on me with your big puppy eyes and start crying over the big bad Mongols, the unbalanced AI on Deity difficulty, your unhappy Catholic people and general upset that the Moroccan seem to get their gold from a well drawn up by the devil.

And what do I do, I say the only thing that is to say about Civ road raging:


And leave the room.

Let me tell you: Don’t. Just don’t. Your partner isn’t you, doesn’t want to get involved and really what you want is to clone yourself and share an evening or breakfast or thoughts in bed with yourself. Don’t mind me, I live in a different scenario.

*Full disclosure: I have played Civ with my partner for 12 hours straight to learn what it was about. I enjoyed naming all my founded cities alphabetically in chronological order with first name styled fantasy names. I knew 40+ by heart and I got into the game ten times slower than any average player, took ten times longer to decide and tried to wear my patient teacher out. I didn’t finish the scenario and I didn’t reach the end of his patience. How could I really, his game of choice is Civilization. I respect that I just don’t like it most of the time. It is a marathon I didn’t even want to see and I am still feeling the pain.

**Remark by this blog’s author: That is because there’s sooo much left to be played!!!

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