A strange thing happened in the Civilization community r/civ on January 10, 2015. Inspired by similar, smaller-scale offerings by a Twitch.tv livestream and fellow redditor DarkLava (from whom he explicitly sought permission), user Jasper K., aka thenyanmaster, shared the first part of an experiment he was conducting wherein he put 42 computer-controlled civilisations in their real-life locations on a giant model of the Earth and left them to duke it out in a battle to the death, Highlander style (except instead of heads they need capital cities).Since then, the practice has exploded in popularity. Reddit’s Civilization community has AI-only fever, but what exactly is so compelling about watching the computer play a very slow-paced turn-based strategy game with itself?The early stages of Jasper K’s game saw most of the world engage in a gentle process of discovery and expansion into unoccupied land, Europe was an immediate clusterfuck. Casimir III’s early aggression put Poland on the wrong side of its neighbours just as a desperate power struggle ensued between around a dozen civilisations vying for control over the continent. It seemed like Poland would fall quickly, hemmed in on all sides and lacking the natural defenses that protected the likes of… Read full this story
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