Tl;dr: semi-turn-based 4X game on the blockchain (but don't expect Civilization depth-of-gameplay because indie-game). Hexagon-tiles-based world like Civ but also Age of Empires influence since the creator is more familiar with that. Focus mineral deposits, sell excess resources for eth gainz. Click Genesis map above to start. Also see the tech tree.
CivD aims to bring the 4X ("eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate") strategy genre to the blockchain in a multiplayer form.
Because the whole game is played out on the blockchain and multi-player, it is not turn-based like Civilization nor realtime like Age of Empires, but more a hybrid of the two, a so-called time-based strategy game.
This means that units can be moved/attack without having to wait for your turn, but have a cooldown that needs to finish before they are ready again.
Since this is not a real-time game, the game moves at slower pace, so generally you'll just open the game to complete a few actions, then alt-tab out while waiting for the cooldowns. However the need to confirm every action makes you consider every move you'll make more carefully.
Also since the game is still beta, it's a bit bare-boned, ie. it is not as complex as some other 4X games.
This is a 3D browser-game that utilizes the Ethereum blockchain, so you'll need a webbrowser, preferably Google Chrome, with the Metamask plugin, and a decent graphics card.
Some knowledge about strategy games and Ethereum would also come in handy.
This is a tx-heavy game, so expect a lot of Metamask popups while playing, most only cost the tx-fee though (~$0.01 to ~$0.08). A few actions do cost ether, notably expanding your territory in a non-military way and auctioning resources for ether has a 4% fee.
There are a few ways to make ETH in this game, most importantly trading resources with other players. In the future, if the game attains some kind of playerbase, you'll also be able to found an alliance of players, earning an entry fee from each applicant if desired (provided you provide value for joining your alliance, such as protection or resource sharing).
You'll start by choosing a map (for now only a choice between ropsten and mainnet) and scouting for a suitable settlement to colonize. Note the location score which indicates how easy it is to gather resources in this area. Try to aim for a score of 50 or higher, you'll want to choose a settlement that is adjacent to many different kinds of tiles. Plains for farms and forests are the most useful in the early stage, mineral deposits are more desirable in the later stage game.
If you're not satisfied with the current location, click 'find another settlement' to find another location.
Once you found a suitable settlement, click the tile, then click Colonize in the dialog. You'll be prompted to enter a name, and then you'll have to confirm the Metamask tx.
To further your civilization, you'll need to gather resources first which will be used to construct buildings, research technologies, and train units for battle. To gather resources, you'll need more land to grow them.
You can expand your territory by buying tiles adjacent to your current territory or by conquering other player's territory. Let's look at the former first, since we're just starting out.
To avoid unbridled expansion, you can only buy adjacent tiles to land you already own, and the farther the tile is away from your capital, the more expensive it will be.
To buy a tile, click the tile you want to buy, click the Colonize button in the dialog, and confirm the tx in Metamask. You'll need different types of tiles to grow different types of resources.
You'll need to research technologies to create stronger units, advance eras and unlock additional buildings, technologies and units. Definitely refer to the tech tree to see what you need to research to advance.
Many technologies are researched in your capital, but a number of technologies are researched in specialized structures.
To research a technology, click on your capital (or another structure) to see which technologies are available for research.
Click the one you want to research and confirm the Metamask tx.
Technologies will take a while to complete researching. More advanced technologies will generally take longer to complete, especially era-advancing ones.
You can only research one technology at the same time at the same building.
If a technology is in red, it means you can research it, but you currently do not have enough resources.
If we click our settlement tile, we see we can research Stone Age to advance to the next Era, but we currently don't have enough linen.
Linen is produced from flax, so we better Research Flax Farming first, which we do have the resources for. When we confirm the Metamask tx and waiting for the tx to be mined, research will commence, which will take time depending on the technology.
Generally the deeper you advance in the tech tree, the more time it will take. Era-advancing technologies also take longer and cost more resources.
After obtaining land through colonization (see above), you can put different kinds of resource generating structures on them, depending on the type of tile (plains, body of water, forest, mineral deposit) and which technologies you researched and what era your civilization is.
If you just started, you'll still be in the Nomad Age, in which case you only construct a few kinds of structures.
After the technology Flax farming is finished, we can construct a flax farm on a Plains tile we obtained. It costs 20 wood, which we should still have ample of.
After you click Flax Farm, confirm the tx and wait a little while until the tx is mined, the Flax Farm should appear. Each tile you own also has its own hp and passive attack to defend against attackers. Tiles passive attack is generally fairly weak and important production tiles should be defended by military units.
Now we need to wait a while for flax to grow. Meanwhile we can colonize other tiles and construct other structures like wood tiles for wood, water tiles for fish or ship production, mineral deposits for stone and ores which will become important in later eras.
To collect the resources from a production tile, we need to Harvest it and wait for the tx to be mined. We should wait until we have at least 10 flax because we'll need 10 linen (and the conversion rate is 1:1).
You can harvest any time you want, just note that you'll have to pay a small tx fee every time you do. For optimal resource production, harvest at least once per 24 hours, because production structures will not store more than 24 hours worth of production.
When the tx has been mined, the harvested resource should be added to your resource collection visible in the upper-right corner.
Since we have Flax now, we should construct a Textile Mill to convert the flax to linen cloth, which we need to upgrade our civilization to the next era.
The textile mill is a building that is constructed inside our settlement tile, and doesn't take up its own tile. Generally only production tiles take up their own tile.
After we constructed the textile mill in our settlement, we can use it to spin flax into linen.
When we confirm the tx, the change will be logged in the chat window (along with most other actions).
Now we have sufficient resources to upgrade to the next era.
To speed up research time, there is an option to instantly finish the research, which will cost ETH depending on how much time you're skipping.
Types of Resources
Here is a non-exhaustive list of resources that are needed to advance your civilization and how they can be obtained. In-game is also an overview of all resources and how to obtain them.
Food is arguably the first and most important resource and luckily one of the easiest to gather in all ages. It can be gathered from a gathering camp, fishing grounds if you own water tiles or from Stone Age onwards farmed from a grain farm, which is the most efficient. Food is used for for almost all technologies and training of units.
Wood is important for building structures, both inside and outside your settlements. Wood can be gathered from a Lumber Camp which can be built on a forest tile.
Like wood, stone is also important for building structures.
Copper Ore and Bronze
Copper Ore is the first ore you'll be able to mine from mineral deposits. With Tin Ore, which you'll be able to mine in the same fashion, you'll be able to make Bronze, an important resource in the Bronze Age. Later, stronger metals will supersede bronze.
Flax and Linen
Linen is the first cloth you'll be able to make, from Flax. Flax can be gathered from a flax farm.
Hides and Leather
A cattle farm produces hides, which can be turned into leather, an important resource in the Stone Age and also used in later ages.
Now that our civilization is getting stronger and larger, it would be a good idea to produce some military units for defending, or attacking nearby civilizations if you so choose.
Successfully attacking enemy civilizations can conquer you their production tiles and even their settlements including their capital. The same can happen to you of course, so it is important to defend your territory, especially your valuable production tiles.
There are several structures that produces military units, the first you can produce without any technolog is the Barracks, which produces melee units. Most production buildings are built in your settlement, with the exception of Docks which produces naval units, and in the future Siege Factory.
Let's build a barracks first.
When barracks finished constructing, new options will appear in the dialog for our settlement.
While we did finish researching Stone Age, we still only get only one training option, the Warrior, a Nomad Age unit. To unlock additional units for Barracks, we'll have to research new technologies unlocked by Stone Age, (hint: Curing Leather then Leatherworking to unlock units wearing leather).
For now we'll construct a warrior. It should appear shortly after confirming the tx.
Military units can move and attack other units and enemy controlled tiles, and will defend themselves when attacked (unless the attacking unit outrange them).
After finishing an action units will have to cool down and can't be issued any new commands. This cooldown is generally from 5 to 15 minutes. They will still defend themselves when attacked, though.
Units can freely move in friendly or neutral territory, but cannot move on enemy territory unless they conquer it first. To move, select the unit you want to move, then right-click on an adjacent tile. For simplicity, all units can move one tile per move except cavalry which can move two tiles. Some units stilil move faster than others because of different cooldowns.
Conquest is one of the most efficient ways to expand your civilization and join the big boys in selling resources for real ETH. Units can be used to defend your territory, and to attack other players' units and territories. When you attack enemy territory and win, you'll gain ownership of the tile. You can do a quick raid of a resource tile to harvest their resources and leave again, or attempt to keep control and possibly conquer all tiles of that territory if your attacking force is strong enough.
If you lose your capital, you'll be able to acquire a new one in a different location as if you were a new player. All your research, resources, surviving units and non-capital tiles will still be yours, so its definitely not starting over from scratch.
Units have 4 stats: health points, attack power, armor and range.
Health Points indicate how much health this unit has, current and maximum. If it reaches zero, the unit dies. A unit can be healed in a settlement you own.
Armor indicates how much the unit benefits from damage reduction when attacked. The higher the better. With enough damage reduction the unit can be made immune to certain attacks.
Power indicates how much damage the unit does on attack.
Range indicates how far a unit can reach when attacking. The unit with the highest range in battle gets to attack first and possible defeat the enemy before even being attacked themselves. Mêlée units have a range of one, bowmen, ships and siege have higher range.
Metamask says there is an error for the transaction "ALERT: Transaction Error. Exception thrown in contract code.".
There are many causes for this error, and unfortunately one of the shortcomings of Solidity/Ethereum is the lack of descriptive error reporting. However there are some common causes. If a unit just vacated a tile and you want to move or produce another unit in said tile, Metamask might throw this error because the previous tx hasn't been mined yet. The solution is to just wait a block or two, that is, 17 seconds, and try again. The same goes for research that claims to be finished but trying to produce a unit that requires that research produces an error. Even if the game reports the research is finished, the blockchain might not be there completely and you may need to wait a few additional minutes for the blockchain to also complete the research.
My assets (territory, units, structures) won't load!
I've had this problem once during testing, I'm not exactly sure what the problem was, but my first guess is the ethereum node I was connecting to had some temporary issues. The next day everything seemed to work again.
Acquire all mineral deposits around your capital asap. You'll be in a stronger position later being able to mine several different ores at the same time.
Protect your valuable tiles (settlements and mines) with your strongest units.
You can issue commands to multiple units at the same time. You don't have to wait for every individual tx to mine before giving another unit an order. The same goes for building structures or harvesting resources, you can harvest all your tiles at the same time.
You cannot attack settlements in the Nomad Age (new player protection).
As with most strategy games, always have a research in progress in your settlement.
Conquering other player's territory is a much cheaper way to expand than buying tiles.
If you are lacking a certain resources without access to farming it, you can buy it from other players if you have a market. Additionally you can pillage other players for that resource by conquering their tiles that produce that resource, harvesting the tile, then going back to your own base.
All player data with the exception of chat is stored on the Ethereum blockchain. This includes territory, resources, settlements, technologies, units, auctions, etc. The only data stored centralized is chat and the initial game map(s), and the client.
Because of the nature of the EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine), there are certain limitations to making games on the blockchain, not the least of which is the fact that you need to wait for every transaction to be mined, making real-time gaming harder to pull off (imagine having to 'Confirm tx' every bullet you fire in an FPS)'. Personally I would like more of an Age of Empires-style game, but sadly I don't see how to it on Ethereum right now. The Loom network is making some progress on this front, perhaps at some point this game can run partially or completely on Loom.
The blockchain is also only ever reactive, meaning it won't execute code 'by itself', only reacts when a user calls a function. This means that gaming mechanisms like spawning NPCs in a world won't be possible without some work-around.
Smart contracts are permanent, which means it is impossible to add features, fix bugs, etc. on the current contract. If ever there will be features added to the game, it means a new smart contract will have to be deployed. Data migration would be possible but cumbersome.
This game heavily utlises smart contract event logs (as opposed to caching on a centralized webserver, which would make it more or less a normal game with assets on the blockchain), I'm not yet sure how well events perform under stress from many players.