What’s the attraction of multiplayer? I’ve never thought 4x games made for good mp.
Actually, they make excellent multiplayer games. First of all, games like this are excellent candidates for Hotseat multiplayer. The main advantage of hotseat is that you only need one copy of the game, and one computer around which you can gather.
MOO2 is a great example. It’s an excellent hotseat game. You’ve got to set a few ground rules though. Some people like taking a long time micromanaging every little thing, and you can’t let them. You’ve got to keep on the pressure. Second thing, it’s more fun if you’re not playing competitively, but cooperatively. Now this doesn’t mean you have to share all your technology. That’s a bad idea too. If you’re going to share your technology with a guy who sucks at spying, and the AI players steal all the technology from him, you’re going to be in trouble. Usually you do equal exchanges. You give away technology, you get either equivalent technology in return, or maybe the other guy agrees to leave a few ships around your space to protect you against computer players.
Now all this works on a LAN setup too, of course, except you get all your turns simultaneously. This is definitely a step up if you can all still hear each other and communicate, approximately in the same room. Pretty much the same rules apply though. You should play coop, on the hardest setting, with the biggest galaxy, against the most players possible. You’ve got to make the game really really challenging. That’s what makes it fun in multiplayer. That you’re always up against the wall, and only true cooperation can help you win the game.
Now, I admit there are flaws. There’s definitely a phase in the game when one person is at war with an AI army and you have to wait a long time for him to finish. At that point, if you’re playing on a LAN, it’s better for everyone to leave their computers, and go watch the fight.
The tactical combat in MOO2 is not only fun to play, it’s fun to watch someone fight. Especially if its an evenly matched fight. On the hardest difficulty, this is often the case early on in the game. (Then later in the game, either you start kicking trash, or they do, either way, it usually gets less balanced the farther the game progresses).
The late game isn’t as fun in multiplayer if you’re winning. Cleaning up the computer can sometimes be a pain. To bypass this, you can turn on an Altarean victory, and go into their system and kick their asses. But don’t use this option on games where you are having a pretty exciting war with the computer, because, come on, its kind of like cheating.
Me and my friends play a lot of multiplayer MOO2. That’s how I was introduced to the game, and that’s how we still play. Once we all got our copies of the game, we graduated from hotseat to LAN. (The Pre-Ordered Civ3 came with MOO2 bundled with it, so I jumped on it). Unfortunately, we all bought MOO3 the day it came out. Ugh.
I didn’t try single player MOO2 until recently. I have to admit, it’s pretty nifty. I love the way the game fast forwards time when you’ve got nothing going on except waiting for something to be built. It’s a really neat feature that really speeds the early game compared to multiplayer. Though with Hotseat multiplayer you can just have one guy be the “Driver” early on, and make sure that after people have set up their queues, that he just says “ENDING YOUR TURN”, to let them know he’s just skipping forward through everyone. Then you can object if you have something you want to change.
Overall, I’d say the lack of a Hotseat multiplayer is definitely GalCiv 1 and 2’s biggest flaw. I can’t convince any of my MOO2-playing friends to buy the game because of that reason. I don’t think any of them have tried single player MOO2, and have no desire to do so. I don’t think Hotseat would have been THAT difficult to implement.