Mastering Civilization IV – Starting the Game - Part VI – Difficulty Levels (B)
It is widely known that Sid Meier's Civilization had become THE game when it was introduced. The "Civilization" had 7 editions, the latest PC playable version being Civilization IV. In this article we continue the pre-game selection overview, discussing the Difficulty Levels.
Sid Meier's Civilization had become THE computer game when it was introduced and It is widely known and recognized as such by many strategy gamers . It was first real turn-based strategy ever. Launched in October 2005, the latest PC playable version of Civilization is "Civilization IV", and for a computer game 3 years is an eternity; but not for Civilization series game.
Civ IV is a very playable and enjoyable today. With game victory options described in “Civilization IV – Part I" article, and several the pre-game selections (choosing the map, the climate and sea level) covered, we continue our overview the effects of difficulty level.
As it was stated, there are 9 difficulty levels in Civilization IV.
The effects of difficulty level from the aspects of barbarian, tribal villages and research have been covered in previous article. The rest is covered below – once again, by categories.
Generally, you have several units that are "supported" by your cities - so they do not cost you money. The number of "free" unit varies - depending on civics and number and size of your cities. However it is are also affected by game level. You receive a larger number of “free units" on the lower difficulties; in other words, you can build more units before having to pay gold to support them. This number declines as the difficulty level increases.
Not only units cost you money. Cities and civics also have to be paid for. Maintenance costs, civic costs, and inflation also all increase with difficulty level. The net result is that you will have a much more strained budget on the higher difficulties.
Happiness and Health
Every city has certain amount of happiness and health - depending on the city tiles and your civics. All of your cities always start with a certain amount of health and happiness, but this amount decreases as the difficulty increases; for example, cities start with 3 health and 6 happiness on Chieftain, but only 1 health and 3 happiness on Deity. Your cities thus hit the health and happiness limits much sooner on the higher difficulties - making it harder to ensure city growth which is necessary for developing your civilization.
Artificial Intelligence Penalties and Freebies
This is the most significant difference between the game levels. The difficulty level affects how quickly the AI civilizations develop and expand. On the lowest difficulty levels, it takes the AI civs longer to train units, construct buildings and wonders, grow their cities and research technologies. As it was said, on Noble difficulty they play under the same conditions as the human players, and on higher difficulties they receive discounts on these items.
Moreover, on the higher difficulty levels, the AI begins receiving extra units to start the game. Notable jumps in difficulty come from the free worker that the AI civs start with on Monarch, the 2 free workers they get on Immortal, and the free settler they get on Deity - meaning the computer civilizations will have 2 cities from the very beginning!The AI civs also start with additional technologies on the higher difficulties.