Mikolai pulled down his hood and surveyed the frozen wasteland that had been his country. The thousand-year war was over at last; the great enemy defeated, washed away by a great nuclear flood.

Victory at any cost! They’d said.

The world was theirs; an endless white desert to die in.


So after reading this Reddit post about the so called ‘eternal war’ I decided I’d get a hold of Civilization 2 and give it a go. As it happened, searching brought me to freeciv, a freeware recreation of civilization 2 made by a group of computer science students. I downloaded it and had a quick go; not going to lie, I had no idea what I was doing. It’s a little hard at first and I couldn’t be bothered to read the extensive online tutorials. Happily, there’s an Android version of the game which I downloaded onto my phone that has a tutorial mode built in. The android app is really well done and works well, take a look at it here.

So, I started playing through a tutorial game, I was set up as the Poles with the Danes as the only other civilization. I played through peacefully, building up my empire across the continents available until about 1200AD. By this time the Danes had started to build fringe cities on what I considered to be my turf, so I decided now was as good a time as any to make a start on the road to conquest.  I built a load of war ships, surrounded all their ports and once I had enough troops amassed started my assault.

Things went pretty well at first, being in times of peace the Danes hadn’t built many defences and their first few cities fell quickly. Here’s where I made my first mistake: I laid off for a few turns whilst I got my troops over to their continent. In that small amount of time they managed to get some city walls up and a few musketeers in each city. Now I don’t know if you’ve played civilization, but troops inside a city with walls up are pretty hard to kill. I didn’t know this.

Wave after wave of troops fell on the walls of the cities as musketeers gunned them down from within (I understand now that I should have just built up a huge force and attacked all at once rather than just a few at a time). Killing all my troops hardened the defenders and made them progressively tougher to kill.  About 600  years of in game time passed by as I waged my war, and  I began to grow weary of sending my troops to their deaths without a great deal of success. At one point what seemed like a single musketeer fought off (and destroyed) eight or nine battleships. That was the last straw, this strategy obviously wasn’t working. I already controlled most of the seas, so I thought I’d try a new tactic,: I blockaded all their ports and began researching nuclear weapons. I’d leave inside their walls and wipe them out in one fell swoop.

It took a long time to get to nuclear missiles and, annoyingly, a few ship had slipped through my blockades some hundred years before I got them and set up cities along the northern and southernmost continents. The Danes showed signs of making a comeback. They even started moving on some of my cities. Too late though, I built up a stockpile of nukes and in one turn I launched a strike on every one of their strongholds, leaving my troops free to simply walk through in.

It took a while to clear out all of the cities, some of them had tried to hang on and rebuild but they provided little trouble for my empire. What I hadn’t counted on was the effects of my nuclear strikes. The huge amount of fallout caused a century long nuclear winter that turned the entire game world to ice. Far from being free to populate the land once occupied by my enemies, my civilians were all starving to death in the inhospitable world I’d created for them. I tried to terraform the lands, but I took too long. By the time I had cleared the ice about 90% of my population had died from famine.

Its just a game, and obviously the way it played out was mostly a result of my having no idea about what consequences nuclear warfare would have in-game, but I couldn’t help be a little taken aback by the whole thing: How my drive to win at any cost and lack of foresight basically ended the world for everyone. It moved me enough to write a saga about it anyway; I’ve resolved to be a better ruler next time round…

Anywho, give freeciv a look if you fancy weaving your own tale of doom and destruction!

(TLDR: I was playing freeciv and I doomed my civilization to a second ice age through nuclear warfare)


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