Thursday, April 23, 2009


Though this week's game falls out of my usual fare, it would be wrong of me to focus solely on simple Flash and Shockwave software. There is an ever growing number of more complicated, expansive titles, bringing together networks of gamers from all over the world. Personal favourites such as Kingdom of Loathing and Forumwarz have in the past eaten up far more of my time than I'd ever like to admit. The game I'm reviewing this week, Civony, has done much the same thing, but in a totally different way.

I'd seen ads for Civony on practically every website I've logged onto in the last two weeks. Whatever company owns this game has their advertising down to a fine skill. The first thing you see is some cute chick in medieval dress telling you to come to the website and referring to you as "my lord." And then when you go to the Civony website you're met by a knight in kickass armour, swinging a broadsword through the air. Immediately appealing to the two biggest fantasies in any hardcore D&D player's life, it's no surprise people are filling up the servers.

But first, one question: what is "Civony"? I looked it up but there wasn't any such word in the dictionary. The nearest I could find was "ciphony," which is "the process of encrypting telecommunication signals, as to prevent information from being intercepted by an enemy or competitor." And I suppose that could be what they meant, except very little (in fact, to my knowledge, none) of the game involves encrypting telecommunication signals. I can only assume that the "Civ" part of the title is a reference to "civilisation," which is what you're supposed to build as you play. But "ony"? I have no idea. Maybe they meant it as a tribute to Oni, the third-person action game developed by Bungie.

Whatever, let's play. The first thing you need to do, of course, is register. Registration is quick and easy, requiring only an e-mail address. You can play as either a lord or a lady, and I of course chose the former because I'm all man. Or something.

Hold up - that guy's no bad ass medieval warrior! There's no way in hell I'm letting that avatar represent me among the online nation building community. Fortunately you can scroll through a fairly decent number of images until you find one you like.

Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about! And when you have a helmet with big ass horns sticking out of it, you can call yourself pretty much whatever the hell you want.

You also have the option of deciding where you'd like to base your city. I decided to go with Bohemia, largely out of my fondness for Queen.

This is what greets you when you begin: a largely empty town and a suggestion that you play the Routine Quest. As far as names for quests go, "Routine" doesn't exactly get my blood pumping, but I might as well get on with it since I'm not given much of a choice. The Routine Quest is designed to get players used to the game interface and also supply them with a decent chunk of resources, so folks can build up a nice little city before raising an army, marching on their neighbours, stealing their food and women, and basically getting their warlord on.

You'll get to do all of those things - eventually. But first, there's a lot of building to do. And then, once you've built everything, you have to upgrade your buildings. Oh, and this will take some time.

Cottages take about a minute to build. Ditto for the farms, sawmills, rock quarries and ironworks. That's not the problem; I can occupy myself for a minute. But then you try to upgrade your buildings and... well...

Thirty minutes to upgrade the town hall!? Why? Seriously, why? Does it take thirty minutes for the information to go to the server? I could upload four high quality Youtube videos in the time it takes for this one sprite to appear on my screen.

OK, so it takes a while for stuff to get done. That's all right, I'll just carry on and get a few more things built while I wait.

Or maybe I won't. So, if you want to upgrade a building or, God forbid, construct some walls, you better have a lot of time to spare. I ended up going to another website and playing some games while I waited. That's right - I played other games to keep myself entertained while playing Civony, which defeats the entire purpose of playing Civony in the first place!

I got all of this stuff as reward for achieving certain tasks, but most of it isn't even all that useful until you've got a good-sized town. I was quickly losing patience with the game and wasn't all that interested in any of the items, though there was at least an item that could cut down the amount of time I spent pissing around waiting for something to happen.

This area gives you all the information you need to know about your community, such as the population, your resources, and the size of the workforce. As you can see, my town is composed mainly of bums.

Civony is a lot like Sim City for the Middle Ages. And like Sim City, I'm sure it gets really interesting once your town starts to grow and expand. But you see, I never had the attention span to wait that long when I played Sim City, and I clearly still don't. The least Civony could do is let us release a monster or a natural disaster to make things fun.


  1. nice guide :P, you know you dont have to wait for constructinos under 5 minuites right ? lol u can just click speed up and it constructs instantly aslogn as the construction is under 5 mins :P

  2. Oh, wonderful! Still doesn't help me when I gotta wait thirty minutes for a tavern, but great!