Pc game “civilization: beyond earth”: taz civilization in the afterlife

"Beyond Earth" is the name of the latest sequel to the classic PC game "Civilization". We once tried to play along as taz.

Overview is elsewhere. This was also not intended in the editorial statute. Image: 2k games

After 218 turns it’s over. The Slavic Federation has attacked from the east and conquered a city. Meanwhile, our capital Le Coeur is attacked by Polystralia and taken with only little resistance. That’s it for the settlement project taz, which is called Franco-Iberia in the PC game "Civilization: Beyond Earth" (renaming is not possible). 218 of 500 turns survived under adverse conditions – that’s not bad. But dead is dead.

The taz in a computer game? I think a few words are needed on that. The idea was to take the editorial statute of the taz and, so that it wouldn’t be too theoretical, also some core topics from everyday editorial life in the latest version of the game series "Civilization," which was released at the end of October, as a basis. A civilization of our own was then to be built on this. This in turn has to face the confrontation with unknown life forms and the competition with other civilizations for scarce resources on a new planet.

The taz editorial statute cannot be transferred one-to-one to Civilization. What is only a link online, covers four and a half pages when printed out. It can be summarized as a sophisticated system of grassroots democratic co-determination, which allows hierarchies, but provides them with control instances, which in turn can be influenced by many.

The self-image includes terms with positive connotations such as "critical," "human rights," "freedom," "democratic," "discuss" and "intercultural. They are distinguished from terms with negative connotations such as "powerful", "discrimination", "stereotypes", "conformism" and "influence". In addition, there are characteristics that are not explicitly mentioned in the statute, but have found their place at editorial conferences for years and radiate from there into print and online: Ecology, protection of minorities, sexual self-determination, a free approach to drugs, etc. We have drawn from both areas to make the Franco-Iberia civilization in "Beyond Earth" as taz-like as possible.

The idea: Combine a new digital game and sometimes older, sometimes newer philosophy/political theory.

The game: Civilization: Beyond Earth. 2K Games. So far only for Windows PC, versions for OS X and Linux to follow.

The theory: Editorial statute of the taz.

For those who don’t know any of the games in the Civilization series, this is a turn-based strategy game that is mainly played on the PC, but is also available for consoles, tablets and smartphones in slimmed-down versions. The goal of the game is to gain dominance on Earth (Civilization I to V) or on other planets (Alpha Centauri, Beyond Earth). Different paths can be taken: economic, cultural, technological, military. Since the opponents and worlds also vary, Civilization has a great variety of development possibilities.

The foundation of the taz civilization

"Civilization: Beyond Earth" begins as if the reporting of the taz departments Abroad and Ecology&Economy had become reality on a grand scale: Wars, ecological catastrophes and resource depletion have turned Earth into a planet on the verge of collapse. The survivors look for sponsors and equip five spaceships to start over somewhere else. A planet is found and there the taz spaceship lands before all the others – how unrealistic.

The requirements are high from the beginning: A game level has to be chosen, a city wants to be founded and expanded, more cities are to follow. There are locals about whom one knows next to nothing. There are substances in the environment ("miasma") that weaken our exploration, construction and military troops. It must be decided which "affinity" one’s development path should follow. "Affinities" are leitmotifs, the choices are "purity," "predominance" and "harmony.

"Purity" sounds like National Socialist racial science and violates virtually all paragraphs of the taz statute, especially §2.3, §2.4, §2.5, §2.6, §2.7, §2.8, and §3.2 and §3.3. We also discover blatant violations of the editorial statute for "predominance": this affinity is not compatible with §2,5, §2,8, §3,3, §4,3, §6,1, §6,4, §7,7 and §8,4. We choose "Harmony."

Also, in the initial list of technologies to be researched, some research areas disqualify themselves: Genetic Design and Chemistry do not violate the statute, but get in the way of taz core topics. We choose Habitat first, then Ecology, and later Alien Ecology and Vertical Agriculture.

Aliens, trade and the competition

The goal of the taz strategy is to create a world that is governed as democratically as possible, produced as ecologically and sustainably as possible, and interacted with others as peacefully and diplomatically as possible. A construction party is developed and sent off, as is an explorer, and the first trade link is also quickly established (according to §3.5; what remains strange is the idea of why anyone would ride a taz wheel through miasma-infested areas or why small colonies need the taz doorstop Sweety).

Since bellicists belong to the taz (§2,5, §3,2, §3,3) like long loading times to "Beyond Earth", we also have a military unit trained. It doesn’t take long until all soldiers, explorers and construction crews are dead and the trade routes are interrupted. Aliens, among them nasty bugs and powerful worms, don’t seem to understand our gestures of democratic-ecological interspecies understanding. New soldiers, explorers and construction troops must be generated. This costs a lot of energy, which serves as a substitute for money in the game. The new characters are not available for explorations and city expansions that could bring in new energy. This is because they are editorial councils and, as the editorial statute stipulates, are first taken away from their work to participate in further plans (§7,8).

The discussions are tough and take a long time until it becomes clear: continue as before, only marginal changes. We are not aware of any mistake, we have only badly communicated our goals to the aliens. What is new: The Bellicists enforce an additional troop of soldiers, the Pacifists another explorer, for both positions the chief editorship comes up (§6,2), the construction of a new city is taken over by the publishing house under consideration of §1,1-3. Trade is dropped. The most important question, whether orbital units, which could help in the crisis but cause a lot of protest because of flight noise (§2,2), should finally be launched, is postponed.

Stupid, too: In the meantime, the other four spaceships from Earth have landed, they have founded cities, explored the surroundings, driven away the aliens, developed technologies, made cultural progress and are now settling near us. Since we have stopped trading, friendly relations with them are hard to come by.

Aliens and troops everywhere you look. The best bio-well is of no use. Image: 2k games

On the contrary, they constantly send spies to our cities, which further increases the "intrigue level", traditionally high in taz anyway. Our soldiers are involved in superfluous battles with aliens far away from the cities, who don’t even have a subscription. Again, construction teams and explorers have to be called back to discuss the further procedure (§7,1, §7,3, §7,9). But they do not get the chance to do so, because the Slavic Federation and Polystralia take advantage of the situation and flatten the taz.

For a short time the beauty of the many bio-wells announces the transient taz-ecotope, which wanted to become a world empire. Then it’s over.

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