I'm trying out for the first time. I'm curious to see if Sid Meier slapping his name on every one of these out of pride is justified or not.

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@mayor they tend to be, yes.

1 and 2 are a bit ... well, 2 is fine, just freeciv is better (:
III is really good; IV was excellent, the addons were ok, the expansion side-things were an interesting exploration of ideas.
V was solid, and later expansions made it REALLY good. Then ... one kinda broke it (: Not fully, but the religion expansion made some of the initial game strategies not even close to viable (or some folks complained who enjoyed it.)
And Bismarck is the biggest pain in the rear if you are playing against him with AI...

VI is also very good. None of these are missteps, all are engaging.

None are Alpha Centauri. Gog has that game, and it's also brilliant.

The 'modern' take on Alpha Centauri ... suffers.

Nonetheless, I think you'll have many hours enjoying these if you enjoy strategy games that have replayability (:

@mayor Oh I've spent so many hours with civ. I think mostly with 5 as it was the newest one when I started playing but also some time with 4 and lately 6

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Take me down to Misandry City Where they all hate men and the mayor's witty