In our ongoing series about binge-worthy games, we present various kinds of games, that we can play for days without end. In Passing Time on a Farm, we looked at farm life simulations. Today, we take a look at turn-based strategy games. How do games like Civilization VI make passing time in turns so fun?

Civilization is a game series that started in 1991 for PC and has continuously improved on one concept. We start during antiquity by founding the first city of one of various important civilizations on a boardgame-like map. Turn by turn, we lead it through history. We explore the world, expand our city and found new ones, exploit resources, and exterminate our enemies. The last part is optional, since there are multiple ways to win the game and most of them are non-violent.

At the beginning of every turn, the game informs us about what requires our attention. Our scout has reached is destination, where to go next? We have developed a new technology, what to research next? We have finished a building, what to construct next? There is always something to do. And if there is not, we repeatedly click on the next-turn-button until there is. Often, I have been passing time in turns thinking “I will just finish this research and start with this building, before saving and quitting, so I do not forget my plans,” or “I will just finish that war, so I can continue in peace tomorrow.” Then something else catches my attention until it is four in the morning and I hear the birds outside.

There are more games with the same effect. Age of Wonders III is very similar, but takes place in a medieval fantasy world with heroes, magic, and various species that offer very different ways to play. Endless Legend offers a fantasy world as well, while Endless Space II turns that fantasy world into science fiction and takes the concept of passing time in turns to space. If you want to try out this kind of game without spending money, Freeciv is an open source game in the style of older Civilization titles that is available for free!

If you want to create a turn based strategy game that makes your players crave just one more turn, do not shy away from learning from the top-titles. Starting small and growing in an unknown world while balancing resources is always interesting. The 4X-formula of eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate has proven itself, but the genre still offers lots of possibilites to explore. Do not try to reinvent everything, but focus on little changes, that make your game special and interesing.

What are your favorite experiences of passing time in turns? Share them in the comments below! I look forward to reading them. In the meantime, I will play just one more turn.

(Photo by Serkan Turk on Unsplash)