Good evening again fellow Civilization players.

Today I’m going to reflect on the several different diplomatic treaties you can usher with other civilizations in Civilization IV; Beyond the Sword. You cannot play a game of Civilization IV without ever having to worry about the numerous diverse diplomatic aspects of the game. And I myself would even have to say that these momentums are what make the game so intriguing.

There are a diverse range of diplomatic treaties built in to the game, to make it appear more realistic. These treaties and diplomatic moves are up for negotiation in the game’s “diplomacy screen” and include the following settlements; trading, an open borders agreement, permanent alliance pacts, defensive pacts, and proposes of others to imply embargos or declare war to others.

To start off, you have the various options of trading with simple commodities, resources and technologies. Even though this does not really have to be a diplomatic move, it does anyhow affect the civilizations or nations diplomatic relations. Besides from being a realistic aspect to the game, I believe that this is a very interesting feature. It means that you have to think through your every move or trade with other civilizations.

To draw an example from the game; let’s say you’re currently in a game with a very divided diplomatic landscape. Your opponents have clearly selected their enemies and allies. In such a diplomatic landscape you have to tread carefully to avoid annoying or irritating someone by mistake. If it occurs that you for example trade techs or even hand them out for free to a civilization, it will leave a negative impression on the opposed civilization and their allies, which leads to a narrower range of diplomatic or economic trade options with the opposed civilization at later events, and if it happens a lot it may even trigger a war.

These sanctions relate a lot to the real world were trade plays a big-, or some might even proclaim that trade or business plays the role in international diplomacy, even though the step to go to war is a lot higher than in the game.

Following; you have the option to impose an embargo with other civilizations, or to propose a suggestion that one of your allies should impose an embargo with another civilization. An embargo in an early stage of the game can have a great impact on a civilization’s development, and may lead to that the civilization is left behind technology-wise which thereafter may lead to a game loss.

This reflects in a great manner how embargos can have great affection on a country’s economy. America’s current embargo with Cuba is a great example on how an embargo affects the economy in a negative direction.

In the real world most Nations operate with open borders to a certain extent. Open borders are necessary to maintain the growth and development of a modern community both economic and culturally. In the real world it is a severe step to close the borders and the world community would most likely show a political pressure to negotiate a resolution. In the game on the other hand, you always start out with closed borders. This gives you another card to negotiate with, but it’s always positive to engage in an open borders agreement because it gives you an easier base for later negotiations.

By some reason the game manufacturers included a “permanent alliance pact” in the game. This is something you’ll in my opinion probably never see in the real world, at least not in my time. Not because not everyone doesn’t want world peace, but because the term “permanent” never goes well in international negotiations in the real world. Diplomats may agree, but at some point someone will break the treaty, simply because it lies in the human’s nature.

Anyhow, it’s an option in the game. It allows civilizations to share technologies, resources, enemies, and allies. Once you’ve entered a permanent alliance, you can’t break it, and you can only form one during a game.

The closest things we have in the real world are different unions, but history shows that they break up after some time. For example Norway was in union with Denmark for over 400 years, but it was the whole time characterized by the fact that Denmark suppressed Norway in a greatly manner which (apparently) wasn’t sustainable.

Defensive pacts represent a terrific diplomatic treaty. It gives you the opportunity to focus on the development of your civilization instead of warfare and helps sustain a peaceful world community. Defensive pacts do also represent a wide usage in the real world, especially in diplomatic unstable areas. History tells us that defensive pacts have saved the global society for the loss of thousands of lives by preventing the outbreak of a war.

So to conclude my post; civilization has included a various range of relevant diplomatic opportunities.

Erlend Søraas, Nordahl Grieg videregående skole, 07.11.2012


The Civilizations and their Leaders

The Civilizations and their Leaders

Hello, I am a 16year old student and for the moment I am participating in a gaming project. For those of you who have not been reading this blog before and want to learn a bit more about this project can find this in my earlier blog assignments. Today I am going to blog about the different civilizations and leaders in the game we are playing, Civilization IV.

Select a Civilization 

When starting a new game, you will have to pick a civilization and a leader who will represent you in the game. This choice decides which technologies you will get to start with, and which unique units and buildings your civilization will be able to train or construct. Your choice here is often quite important for your success. Some civilizations have more than one optional leader, like for example the American Empire. Here you get to choose between Lincoln, Roosevelt and Washington which all are previous presidents, or leaders of the American Empire (or United States of America as we call it). These different leaders have different personalities which also gives you some advantages. Roosevelt for example is industrious and organized which means you get +50% production of wonders, and -50% upkeep for your civilization.Image

Most of the empires are picked out from the history books as well as their leaders, because this game is meant to be as realistic as possible. After playing this game a while, you will most likely get an favorite civilization and a favorite leader. In my case this is the Byzantine Empire and their leader Justinian 1. The reason why is because the Byzantine Empire has one unique knight and a unique theatre which fits me quite well. The knight is a unit that I often produce a lot of so therefore, I quickly fell in love with this Empire. In addition, and this is maybe the most important reason, the Byzantine leader is both Spiritual and Imperialistic. This is in my opinion the two best qualities a leader can have in this game because with Justinian 1, you avoid anarchy and gets double production of settlers, something that is extremely important especially in the beginning.

Normally I spend the first 36 rounds on producing one settler, but with Justinian 1 it only takes half the amount of turns and you will experience a huge development in your civilization, compared to the others.

In the Real World

If I was supposed to start a real country, I probably would not have taken the same choices. The goal in this game is of course to become the hugest and most powerful country, but this can happen one of two ways; either through technology, science and civilized, well developed cities or through military power and wars.

The first way is the one mostly related to the real world while the second way, through war is the most used in this game so therefor I believe most of the gamers would have chosen differently if the game was real. I can admit that I, as well as many of other players frequently use war as my way to win games in Civ IV, but if this was a real game I would go for charismatic- instead of military power. Therefor I believe the American Empire, led by no one other than George Washington would become my favorite pretty quickly.


In the real world there exists a lot of peace fighting organizations like the UN and the EU as well as for example smaller co-operation groups like NATO that would make fighting a useless, or at least extremely difficult. Of course, there is an opportunity for cooperation with other countries in the game, but nothing as powerful as the effect of for example the EU. In addition the game, Civilization IV is operating with around 8 different countries, while we in the real world can find many hundreds. This also makes the opportunity for world supremacy considerably less likely to happen.


Since the opportunity of fighting your way to glory is blown far away, I probably would have chosen the peaceful way to glory; through science, technology and justice with the American Empire, which today is one of the most powerful countries in the world. In addition, George Washington is a man known by anyone that has heard of American history and I would choose him to lead my country because of his qualities. George is an extremely respected and charismatic leader who a lot of people look up to, so I believe that he would have been the perfect man to lead my civilization.

Which civics would you prefer?

Lars Erik Kleiven

Boys Only?

Have you thought about why it’s always boys who play most video and computer games? When you talk to a boy on Facebook chat or on the phone, you almost always get the same answer, – Gaming FIFA…, or another video game. Why do you think boys play as much games as they do? And do girls play less games then boys?

One of the differences between boys’ and girls’ gaming habits is that the violent elements. The violence in the game mostly appeals to boys. Mostly girls don’t care about running around and shoot other human beings or blow up buildings. Some girls play the same games as boys, but essentially girls play other games. Research shows the girls like to build things and prefer strategic games. The SIMS is one of the games with big success for both boys and girls. In the game The SIMS you need to use your social skills and knowledge to make the people in the game successful and happy.

Boys can sit for hours and play games. The games boys play is often violent.  They run around in very real surroundings and kill other players. The point of the game is often to kill as many human beings as possible or blow up buildings and airplanes. Many of the games are multiplayer games where you can play with others all around the world, online. Games like Cod, WoW and other shooting games are prevalent for boys. Some ask if it’s healthy to play these games. More and more kids, teens and also adults get addicted to gaming. Boys are especially exposed for gaming addiction. More boys than girls get addicted to games. The reason for the addiction to gaming is often something totally different then the gaming it selves. Bullying, low self-confidence and grief can be reasons why kids, teens and adults want to escape from the real world and into the world of gaming.

There is different expectations form society for boys and girls. Boys are expected to be stronger, harder and handle more violent behavior than girls. Girls are expected to be calmer and not interested in violence and killing. I think the expectations in society in an important factor for the differences in boys and girls gaming habits.

Many girls like to play games and are very good! It’s not like girls don’t play games. They do! But it’s more common that we hear about boys who sit inside all day long and play games. I think girls play games for shorter periods.

Personally I don’t play a lot of games, but I like to play some times. I like to play FIFA for I en short period of time, but I get tired after a while. I also like to play games whit many, but short rounds. Then it’s easier to play when you have a bit of time left over. I don’t like to sit inside and play for many hours, but that’s my opinion.

I think the game we play at school in English, Norwegian and in Social science is a very good game for learning about communities and how to build an empire. We play the game Civilization 4. You have to start with choosing a person, worker, settler, military or others. Further in the game you have to make the right decisions to make your empire stronger and bigger. Every empire has some disadvantages. You have to consider what is tactically right for your city. The game is in English and that means that we have to read and understand the instructions in English. We can see connections between the conflicts in the game and the conflicts that are taking place in the international community today.

I like the idea of playing games in school. It’s different from the way we are used to learn and its fun! Blogging is also a fun way of writing. Blogging is used for many purposes. It’s not just a diary for girls who blog about their daily life, but scientists, politicians and explorers uses blogging to share information and opinions. I look forward to continue with this gamin project. And I hope games like Civilizations can be more used in school.

Civilization i skolen

At my school we are having a gaming project. Weird you may think, or maybe cool? I actually didn’t look forward to this project. But maybe that was wrong of me. In the start I didn’t see the point in playing this game, but now I am starting to understand. We have reached the second week of Civilization gaming. And the topic I am going to write about is being addicted to gaming, and can that happen when we play Civilization? When you play Civilization and you have either won or lost, you can choose to play “just one more time.” You can also choose this after you have played hundreds of rounds. This means that you always have the option to continue playing. Does this lead to addiction? For many people it can lead to it, and this is a very big problem for them. They think that they…

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Game On

The percentage of male computer gamers is way higher than the percentage of female players. Moreover, the genders are playing completely different games (Hepsøe, 2012). Have these factors had a significant impact to why our teachers chose Civilization IV instead of other games?

Last Thursday my class and I went to a gaming seminar where politicians, researchers, media and computer gamers where presenting and discussing their thoughts about computer games.

One of the persons there, Thomas Hepsøe, senior adviser in Mediatilsynet, showed us the statistics of the most played computer games.
Girls’ top three played games are The Sims, Tetris and Draw Something, while the most played games by boys are Call of Duty, also known as CoD, Fifa and MineCraft.
People who have played these games know how different the “girl games” are from the “boy games”.
Hepsøe referred to several researches showing that boys choose games that makes the adrenalin pump harder, has better graffiti and a little more than a handful of violence, while girls on the other hand, often choose simpler games without violence (Hepsøe, 2012).

Ragnhild Bjørnebekk, scientist at the police Academy, said that computer games with extreme violence make her uncomfortable, and so does it make many other girls feel, including me.

Even though girls and boys prefer different qualities in a computer game, some habits in playing can be the same. Both genders are primarily playing to have a good time. A computer game can be a relief from the real life, and a place where you can set your mind to something else. You can achieve success and accomplish goals, which is clearly good for your self-esteem.

As I mentioned earlier, a huge majority of computer gamers are boys.
Are there norms in the society saying that playing computer games is something only guys should do and not girls, or could it be our genes and boys´ testosterone?
I think it is a mixture of both.
Testosterone is a hormone the male body produces.  This hormone makes the competitive instinct and the eager to win, higher (Høidal, 2012). I think this has a big effect to the feelings you have during and after the game. The feelings and impressions they are left with might be stronger than girls´, and therefore their interest for playing will increase.
In addition, the norms in our society have a huge influence on us. Guys can not wear lipstick and girls should definitely not burp or fart, that is just the way it is! These norms are so common to us that we do not even question them. Computer games have now been joining the “guy-list”, and most people have accepted it.

As you all know, we are playing the game Civilization IV at school. This game is not completely free from violence; however, it contains a very small amount compared to many other computer games.
I think our teachers have considered this game to contain a tolerable amount of violence. Civilization IV has a lot more to offer than just blood, pain and death, which are my thoughts of for example CoD.   The game gives you knowledge, it is interesting, you achieve goals while playing, and it is fun at the same time. It is not a high-speed, too advanced bloodbath-game with load noises, which can be repellent to girls, and it still has the excitement most boys like.
In my opinion, Civilization IV is a game which can be interesting for both girls and boys.


Hepsøe, T (2012, October) Konsoll Konferansen.

Høidal, K (2012, October) Lecture in science.

Can games teach?

I am writing this in response to the question; what can people learn from playing games? People of all ages play games, but is gaming purely for entertainment and fun, or does it have educational assets as well? Everything that follows is based on my opinions and experiences.

First and foremost it must be said that the educational sides and assets of games varies vastly between different kinds of games. For instance, I believe that puzzle games and such will have a stronger intellectual effect than mindless shooting games such as “Call of Duty” and other similar games. But even what I choose to call mindless shooting games can teach you things. Using “Call of Duty” as an example once more, playing that game can actually help people develop better eye-hand coordination. So my point here is that while puzzle games might help you become better at noticing small things and draw connections and so on, a first-person shooter can help you with how your body interacts with your mind.
Another thing games can teach is language. If you are Norwegian and you are playing a game which uses a lot of English language in-game, then the player will most likely pick up on phrases and words.

The question I was asked questioned if games were purely for fun and entertainment, or if it had an educational side as well. I have already written about things people learn from playing games, but most of that teaching goes unnoticed by the player. Most gamers play games for fun. They play the games because playing games is fun, so I would say that the question asked is flawed. It is formulated in a way that insinuates that it is got to be either fun or educational. Personally I have learned things from games myself, for instance “Civilization” has taught me how history and technology evolved. I think that games are played mostly for fun and entertainment, but they still teach the players at least a little bit. So the question asks whether games are educational or just entertainment, but I disagree with both of those and instead I say that players learn from games no matter what their reason is for playing. Whether people play for fun, or if they intend to try and learn something, the player will always pick up on things in-game. One could call it subconscious learning. So in the end my conclusion is that the question is wrong, because people learn no matter why they play the games they play.


A new way of learning!

My expectations of playing this game are quite good. The amount of knowledge this game contains are pretty impressing. I can see why the teachers wanted us to play this at school. You will be learning several, different, exciting topics such as: Imperialism, geography, strategy, a bit of history, and how to build a well-organized, rock-solid civilization that will be capable to stand the supreme test of time.

Throughout this project, you will also learn how to act as a respected world-leader. You will have to balance your economy, expand your empire and create politely trade relations. I think the most educational side of the game is that you are starting in the ancient time as a fresh, new civilization that is under a constant development. As the games goes on, you will receive new awesome technologies like Bronze working, Pottery, and map making. If you play a little bit longer you will master the knowledge of plastics, nuclear weapons, and radio.

You will learn how incredible important these events were and in which era they were founded. You will gain some military strategy experience as-well, and once you get some kind of clue of your advantages and how your opponents army works, you will be an intelligent, strategic, emperor compared to napoleon Napoleon. In the game you will also meet a lot of well-recognized faces such as great, Old Persian leaders or respected English leaders. Throughout the game you will also have to be considering participation in several different issues.