Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby Gopher of Pern » Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:51 pm UTC

Played an hour before I had to get ready to go. Quite fun, got my initial explorer and my second marine killed by stupid aliens. Had a couple of worms near me, but they haven't killed anything yet. There seems to be alot more buildings to build, although it may be just that my tech path is a bit haphazard atm. There doesn't seem to be anything worth trading with other people yet, as there's no luxury resources, so all I can do is open borders (mostly useless as none are near me) or give money for favours. Which might be worth it. Gone with African people (10% extra food when healthy), Scientists (+2 science per city), Coastal mapping, and a worker to start. Not sure which affinity to go for yet, got one level in harmony from an exploration, and a little bit in supremacy from quests. Game is running pretty smoothly atm, on low graphics, but Civ5 sometimes could take a long time to take turns in the later part of the game, so I'm pleased with the performance.

Just my first thoughts.
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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:14 am UTC

Bastards, I won't get it till tomorrow...

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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby ArgonV » Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:56 am UTC

I'd recommend getting one level in Purity asap, since that'll stop aliens attacking tiles with explorers, which means they're also excellent at guarding workers.

Furthermore I really like the new mechanic that lets you upgrade buildings as soon you'be built them, usually you can improve their core functionality or add something, like increase a reactor's energy output or add production toe it.

And favors are nice as well. Sure, take all these resources I don't need right now. I'll be back for all your petroleum for my weather control satellites!

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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Oct 25, 2014 2:37 pm UTC

On my current game, I'm sharing a large landmass with the Americans and the Africans. I've settled a large chunk of it, the Americans won't leave their city, and the Africans are starting to expand. Time to mass produce marines and gunners...

Anyway, trade routes. You want to use lots and lots of trade routes...

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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby Vaniver » Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:16 am UTC

So, I rearranged my week so that I could wake up at 11pm on Thursday when it unlocked, and then I played it for 30 hours, and then I slept for 12 hours and am posting now.

TL;DR: It's comparable to Civ V. Lots of systems are different in interesting ways, but it's not quite balanced yet. Apparently a common view is that it should have been an expansion to V instead of a standalone game, and that seems like a somewhat fair assessment to me (but I look forward to them actively developing BE, which I don't think they would have done to an expansion).

Some thoughts:

1. I loved the Art Deco UI for Civ V; it was a huge improvement over Civ IV and made the game much prettier. I'm enjoying the BE UI even more (but part of that is my natural preference for sci-fi).

2. The customization of building your faction is as nice as I thought it would be, and they seem to have done a decent job of balancing them.

3. There are surprisingly few good Wonders, and in general Wonders don't feel like a part of the game to the extent that they did in V. I'm not sure how to feel about this. In V, and to a comparable extent in V, the ancient era wonders were a huge part of early game strategy, and tech choices were typically decided by "I need to rush mathematics to start the Hanging Garden" or so on. That there were lots of choices meant you specialized- "okay, he's rushing Great Library, I'll rush Stonehenge." The only early wonder that seems worth it is the Gene Vault- and so if everyone rushes Gene Vault, that seems like it might just be a perk for the PAC.

4. Trade routes were already really, really nice in V. They seem even nicer in BE, and the limits are now per city instead of per nation. So instead of "okay, where do I want to put my extra ~20 production" it's "you mean I get 20 more production per city? Where do I sign up?" In particular, the benefits to trading between A and B seem proportional the wrong way- both of them benefit from the other being bigger, but A benefits more from A's size than B. So when your massive capital trades with each of the 20 new cities in your empire, your capital gets 20x capital size instead of 20x new size.

5. Relatedly, Polystralia looked weak and uninteresting to me before I played- "2 more trade routes? Really?"- and it's troubling for the balance of the game / restriction of ICS that 2 more trade routes is now one of my favorite sponsor bonuses.

6. Speaking of ICS, just like Civ V's launch, they don't seem to have done a good job of preventing it. So let's talk about health. I'm generally happy with one limit on population instead of the minimum of two limits--like V instead of IV--and I'm also happy about it being stuff that all comes from tech and buildings instead of trade relationships and the RNG of the map. In V, you would plant a city by a luxury resource because the resource would 'pay for itself'; here, a city pays for itself once you build enough medical buildings in it, which makes sense. (It's easy to imagine flying people from Jimboomba to Freeland until Jimboomba has a well-developed medical infrastructure, but it's sort of hard to view this as the most pressing societal problem.) Unfortunately, health seems to low until midgame, when it takes off, and it seems beneficial to have several cities on a permanent colony pod/3 trade vessels loop.

7. The aliens are interesting but the ways to shut them down make them uninteresting. Research a single Purity tech, and now your cheap explorers are alien-proof. Do expeditions anywhere, park them in critical strategic gaps to contain aliens, take out alien nests with them (since the aliens wander, and you can slowly burrow through), or protect workers (as discussed above). The Ultrasonic fence has a customization option that lets your trade units ignore aliens, which turns trade from a "I've staked out a tiny corner of the world that's safe, and anything outside that needs patrols / is super risky" to just picking names off a list because it doesn't matter where Le Couer is, or how many aliens are in the way.

8. The building customization options are nice- some are hilariously easy choices ("An extra trade route per city or a handful of energy? Hmm, I wonder how much energy I could get with that extra trade route?") but in general I could imagine someone being in a situation where they want the science instead of the health or the energy instead of the production. I've played four games and don't think I made more than one or two difference choices per game, though, even going through each affinity and four different victory types. (I think I might have made a few more odd choices in the dominance victory, but even then they were pretty standard.) It is unconscionable that these options are not in the civilopedia; for me, the primary benefit of the Ultrasonic Fence is the trade unit protection, and the primary benefit of the Autoplant is the extra trade route. If you never build those buildings, or put them off, you don't discover those options until too late- and if you forget and want to find out "which building gave an extra trade route again?" good luck figuring that out in-game.

9. Given the ridiculously OP nature of trade routes, I'm imagining that MP games will be problematic. Given the incentive structure, it might be best to just do team games. (Imagine something like 'each city puts one trade route to the capital, one to the ally's capital, and one to either new outpost development or whatever city gives the most food/production.)

10. Intrigue is interesting; it's mildly bothersome that the harshest options seem to require multiple people collaborating to bring down a city (again, see the MP implications), and also that it looks like a handful of buildings just shut down the worst options.

11. Perhaps this is only true on large maps, but it's not obvious to me how much the countdown timers to victory actually do. If it takes me ~10 turns to get my army to your capital, and the Mind Flower takes you 5 turns to open once built, I'm kind of screwed.

12. The leaders and quotes and so on just feel silly to me; nothing like the awesomeness of SMAC (or the historicity of IV or V). I have a couple of the quote soundbites from SMAC on my phone because I love them that much; what's the equivalent of the Nietzsche quotes in BE?

[edit]A reddit poster claims you can refresh an explorer's expedition kits by sending them back to a city? I must try this. (If true, more evidence for the documentation not being very good. :\)
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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby liveboy21 » Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:57 am UTC

Vaniver, I agree with everything you said.

I picked Polystralia because I'm in Australia. With just those 2 extra trade routes, I out-scienced, out-energied, out-produced, outgrew and out-cultured everyone else. I do like that they made the city state equivalents worth trading to but I dislike that they removed the allied points (I forget the name) and specializations of city states. It makes them just feel like they exist to give you stuff (an easy source of culture in the early game if you are lucky) and nothing more.

The explorer regaining their expedition modules in a city is true. I read the civipedia, played with advisors and played with full guidance and NONE of them mentioned this. I only realized it when I noticed that one of the used explorers that I automated suddenly had a new expedition module.

On a related note, you should almost never automate your explorers. If you get a virtue that increases expedition modules per explorer, they will suddenly feel the need to stop exploring and find a site to explore. This is bad because exploring sites near other civs can make them quite angry.

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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby Diadem » Sun Oct 26, 2014 11:55 am UTC

As a long term civ fan I have been keeping an eye on this release.

First reviews though seem to be pretty negative. It seems to suffer from all the same problems Civ5 had at release. That is a damn shame. I was really hoping for another good Civ title, after the big disappointment that was Civ5.

I guess I'll just boot up Civ4 again.
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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:10 pm UTC

While unbalanced a bit (for now), I haven't experienced any bugs that crash the game. So there's that much...

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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby ArgonV » Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:08 pm UTC

I knew the thing about the explorers, but only since I watched a developer interview. And about automating them and excavating near rival sponsors: Let 'em! If you haven't grabbed that ruin next to your capital by turn 50, it's mine!

The AI can be a bit weird at times though. I had colonized what turned out to be a large peninsula, with my capital blocking off all land-access to it. I settled two cities for resources, making up a roughly triangular pattern, when I settle a fourth in the middle and suddenly my neighbour tells me I'm colonizing land he considers to be his, while he's got a whole subcontinent to himself :roll: If I got the complaint that I was settling every piece of land I could get my hands on, I'd agree, but this was weird.

Only bugs I've noticed so far are quests asking me to build a resource-dependent structure in a city that has no access to said resource, like a refinery in a city without petroleum or a neurolab in a city without firaxite; and the unit portraits in the upgrade menu overlapping, so you get an aircraft carrier with a soldier standing in the middle of it.

Speaking of units, I really like the unit upgrade system. You've got six basic units and you instantly upgrade them throughout the game. Once you get enough tech, you get unique units. I prefer this to Civ 5, where I didn't use half the units.

Trade routes should be nerfed though, especially the naval ones. I just withhold trade routes when I'm about the start a new outpost, then send them all to the new city/outpost. I had cities up to 5 population in 5 turns, using internal trade routes. I've yet to try Polystralia, but I imagine they are strong when played right.

What I've found to be a good tactic is weather control/orbital fabrication satellites over water, so you get extra coral or algae. And on the subject of satellites: If you are Supremacy and need more Firaxite, research the tech that gives the phase shift satellite, pop it over an unclaimed source of Firaxite (you can do this with Supremacy 7 I believe) and warp in a colonist, worker and guards. Also a fun tactic to annoy non-Harmony civs with a Miasma condenser.

Has anyone been able to perform intrigue operation of level 4 or higher? I always get stuck at level 3.

And one more thing. As Harmony you are trying to live in harmony with the local wildlife. You also need Xenomass, which is what the local wildlife builds its nests on. So you need to destroy nests in order to harvest the Xenomass. Thematically a bit weird and slightly harder to do then just building a Floatstone quarry or Firaxite mine.

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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby mosc » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:30 pm UTC

I wish I had 200 hours to throw at this game and then get on here and whine about glaring flaws and how they could improve it. I miss that part of my life. Civ 5 is the last time I'll probably get to do it for a long time :(

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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby Gopher of Pern » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:15 pm UTC

I gotta say, the interface is a bit clunky. In the city screen, the icons for the worked tiles are so huge, you cant see under them to see what resources you are working. I've mis-clicked a few times in buying tiles because I'm not sure which one I'm buying. It also took me awhile to find the trade overview screen. Honestly thought the game would be more polished than this. Still fun though.

Finished my first game with the Emancipation victory. After starting a bit slow, due to grabbing techs willy nilly and not realising the importance of the building quests and trade, I still romped home, as I don't think any of the AI were close to victory. This was on Vostok difficulty, with Samar, scientists, continental survey and free worker, on epic time.

Almost finished my second game on the next higher difficulty, and its a total stomp. I've got almost double the points of the next person, and almost completed the mind flower for the transcendence victory. This time I'm Polystralia, refugees, free clinic, and see resources, on standard time. Ignored health at first, as the penalties dont do much early on, and just went wide. The trade is way too powerful.
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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby Diadem » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:18 pm UTC

I caved and bought the game anyway, and i have to say I kind of regret it. It seems they took everything that made Civ5 bad and made it worse.

Example: Up to civ4 the civilopedia contained a wealth of information about the game. In Civ5, it suddenly only contained very brief descriptions about everything, without any numbers of anything solid. Here, they dressed down the civilopedia even further. It's impossible to figure out what bonusses the various tile improvements give, and what techs or buildings modify this. Ridiculous for a serious strategy game.

But then again since Civ5, it is not a serious strategy game anymore. Winning no longer requires thought or skill, game balance is missing, and everything is pretty first and functional second. You'd think they'd learn something from the horror (and, as far as I know, disappointed sales) that was Civ5, but guess not.
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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:30 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:But then again since Civ5, it is not a serious strategy game anymore. Winning no longer requires thought or skill, game balance is missing, and everything is pretty first and functional second. You'd think they'd learn something from the horror (and, as far as I know, disappointed sales) that was Civ5, but guess not.


Possibly what they learned is that you make more money by abandoning your niche and courting the mass market...

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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby BlackSails » Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:25 am UTC

I cant get this game to launch.


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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby Coin » Thu Oct 30, 2014 1:33 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:But then again since Civ5, it is not a serious strategy game anymore. Winning no longer requires thought or skill, game balance is missing, and everything is pretty first and functional second. You'd think they'd learn something from the horror (and, as far as I know, disappointed sales) that was Civ5, but guess not.

I wouldn't say that Civ 5 has had disappointing sales figures. In April this year there were almost 6 million copies registered on Steam. Considering that Firaxis put out the figure 21 million copies sold for the franchise as a whole (Civ 1-5) I would say that it's a roaring success for them. At the same time I share your view on the qualities of Civ 5 and play more Civ 4 these days.

I've been following Beyond Earth to see if it might offer something new and fun, but the reviews have been lacklustre (PC Gamer, Rock, Paper, Shotgun) and not even watching Quill18 on Youtube fills me with any confidence. I think that it's good for us consumers that there is a demo available. I think that it shows the right "spirit" from the company in that they would rather take a hit on sales than sell people a game they won't enjoy, but also that they are confident that it's a game people will enjoy.

Edit: Here is the link I was using for the figures, by the way: CivFanatics
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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:41 pm UTC

The demo really hasn't sold me on the game - though 100 turns with no affinities may not be entirely typical...

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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby ArgonV » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:00 am UTC

Well, you won't get very far with affinities in 100 turns. It really starts to come together after that initial period, where you can say: Right, I've got lots of Floatstone, let's go Purity and start researching some purity-specific techs. In the beginning you're more focussed on additional military units and buildings that boost food, culture and production. At least I am.

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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby Diadem » Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:38 pm UTC

It took a while to get into it, but I am now having some fun. I'm still not sold though.

I can't figure out why so many great features from Civ4 and Civ5 are simply missing. I can't even draw a grid or highlight all resources, or show an overview of tile yields. There's no window where I can see all my military, there isn't even a good way to figure out how many units are on a tile, or what the exact stats of a unit are. The civilopedia is almost entirely empty, even the most basic things are missing. It's frustrating.

All these things were in Civ4 and to a lesser extend in Civ5. So it's not like they didn't think of them. They actively worked to remove them. I suppose they want to draw in a different audience or something, a more casual gamer that doesn't want to think about details. That's already a big shame, but even if you follow that strategy, at least offer me the option to see those kind of things!

The other things I noticed is that the game feels rather bland. Civilization has always been about watching an epic story, about making an epic story happen. That story just isn't here. It kind of feels like they have an underlying story, with competing factions, and quotes from leaders of these factions if you research a tech. But all the tech quotes are read in the same bland voice, and the intro video shows a girl boarding a spaceplane, and her father looking on. Put in some of that faction politics in the intro, and for God's sake hire a separate voice actor for each leader! Give them some personality! Right now when I research a tech, the words literally mean nothing to me. I find myself not even listening to them, despite this being my first game. In Civ4 I was always thrilled with those quotes, despite having heard them hundreds of times.
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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby Diadem » Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:43 pm UTC

Also, what the fuck is up with this AI?

Two AIs declare war on me at the same time. Ok, tension had been building for a while, so that's fine. But both show up with pathetically small armies (I think 4 units each or something). So I easily dispatched them without barely a loss. Then I asked for peace (I want to play a peaceful game this playthrough). They won't even talk about it. Fine, I send some units in to pillage them some. Still won't talk about peace. I take a city. Still won't talk about peace. I surround their capital with my units. Still won't talk about peace. What the fuck. They aren't even making unreasonable demands, they simply don't want to even discuss it. I don't think it's a hardcoded minimum time for war either, since the war has been going on for very long.

I'm now stuck. I don't want more cities, especially not badly placed ones. But I'm not allowed to raze a capital. So my only option is to stay in war with them for the rest of the game?

How do you mess up a diplomatic system that badly?

edit:
Wow. Just found this: Select a worker, hold down your right mouse button, and scroll around the map. If a tile not otherwise impassible displays as red, there is a unit there. Terrible bug.
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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby bigglesworth » Sat Nov 01, 2014 3:32 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:I can't figure out why so many great features from Civ4 and Civ5 are simply missing. I can't even draw a grid or highlight all resources, or show an overview of tile yields. There's no window where I can see all my military, there isn't even a good way to figure out how many units are on a tile, or what the exact stats of a unit are. The civilopedia is almost entirely empty, even the most basic things are missing. It's frustrating.
Grid and resources are found by clicking the eye icon next to the minimap. Hovering over a unit's picture will give you its stats.
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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby ArgonV » Sat Nov 01, 2014 4:02 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Also, what the fuck is up with this AI?

Two AIs declare war on me at the same time. Ok, tension had been building for a while, so that's fine. But both show up with pathetically small armies (I think 4 units each or something). So I easily dispatched them without barely a loss. Then I asked for peace (I want to play a peaceful game this playthrough). They won't even talk about it. Fine, I send some units in to pillage them some. Still won't talk about peace. I take a city. Still won't talk about peace. I surround their capital with my units. Still won't talk about peace. What the fuck. They aren't even making unreasonable demands, they simply don't want to even discuss it. I don't think it's a hardcoded minimum time for war either, since the war has been going on for very long.

I'm now stuck. I don't want more cities, especially not badly placed ones. But I'm not allowed to raze a capital. So my only option is to stay in war with them for the rest of the game?

How do you mess up a diplomatic system that badly?


Exact opposite of what I had. Space Brazil started quite near me, then starts expanding towards me. He declares war, I dig in with ranged units, destroy 9 or 10 of his units without losing any myself, he contacts me and offers peace, a lump sum of money and the city nearest me, which has access to Firaxite, Titanium and Petroleum. Pretty nice deal.

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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby Xanthir » Mon Nov 10, 2014 7:30 am UTC

Diadem wrote:Wow. Just found this: Select a worker, hold down your right mouse button, and scroll around the map. If a tile not otherwise impassible displays as red, there is a unit there. Terrible bug.

This was in Civ 5 as well. I considered it a bug there, too; it was very frustrating that when I said "I want this Great Prophet to head over to this city on the other continent to start conversions", I'd often have to reset its target position multiple times as they moved units onto that tile and rendered it temporarily an "invalid destination". You don't know that yet! JUST LET ME ASSIGN WHATEVER TARGET TILES I WANT UNTIL I CAN ACTUALLY SEE SOMEONE BLOCKING ME.
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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby EvanED » Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:49 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:This was in Civ 5 as well. I considered it a bug there, too; it was very frustrating that when I said "I want this Great Prophet to head over to this city on the other continent to start conversions", I'd often have to reset its target position multiple times as they moved units onto that tile and rendered it temporarily an "invalid destination". You don't know that yet! JUST LET ME ASSIGN WHATEVER TARGET TILES I WANT UNTIL I CAN ACTUALLY SEE SOMEONE BLOCKING ME.

Holy crap, so that's what's happening.

I got Civ5 a while ago but only played once or twice, but this thread reminded me that I have it and I was looking for something to play a few days ago so I did a couple games. And there were a bunch of times when I'd give someone a multi-turn move order, and I'd seem to have to give it to them repeatedly. There were times even when it'd get blocked and tell me to give it orders again, and I'd send it to a completely different place thinking it was another unit and then a few turns later wonder why nothing was at the original destination. Thanks for the explanation!

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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:04 pm UTC

I like aquatic worlds. Late game tactic is tanks and ships. Tanks when upgraded hover over water, keeping up with your ships. Ships bombard everything with impunity, single tank captures the city. A carrier or two with airplanes for a bit of support. Nothing stands in my way.

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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Sep 08, 2015 12:46 pm UTC

I take it you'll be looking forward to Rising Tide then.
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Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:13 pm UTC

Nope, waiting for Anno 2205 instead. Will get that when it comes on sale for like $20 sometime in March.


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