Giant 42-Player Civilization Game Breaks Down, May Never Finish

Giant 42-Player Civilization Game Breaks Down, May Never Finish

Bad news, everyone: the giant 42-player Civilization V game that was turning into the most enjoyable spectator sport of 2015 (at least for me) has broken down, crushed by the weight of its own awesomeness.

A few days back the entire game — which as a reminder is an AI-only, 42-player showdown of absolutely epic proportions — ground to a stuttering halt. Many had long feared this day would come: the thought of that many civs moving that many units sent shivers down my PC’s spine (indeed, it’s reported that before the end the game was taking twenty minutes just to load, there were so many units and cities on the map).

For 11 days, though, everything went well: there were updates, maps, status reports and even gifs like the one below showing how the war was coming along.

But then, on day 12, it happened. On turn 239, the game crashed during Japan’s turn, with the suspected cause being that leader Tojo was building more naval units in a single turn than the game could manage.

Despite the best efforts of organiser TPangolin, and some charitable folks donating new PC hardware for him in the hopes of speeding up debugging (and game performance), the game has failed to return from the dead.

Its only hope now is that the Battle Royale’s save files are in the hands of 2K support (2K published Civ V), who will take a look at the cause of the breakdown and hopefully fix it. But given the scale of the game, and the fact it was using mods, you shouldn’t hold your breath.

If the doctors at 2K can fix it, awesome! If they can’t, you can read up on recaps of how everything went down here.


  • What hardware was this being run on? I can’t find any reference to it in the linked reddit thread. Not that I think it wasn’t capable, I’m just curious what hardware was brought to it’s knees [or whether it was indeed just the scale exceeding all sane assumptions made in the game’s code]

  • This happened once with Great Colombia before. In the end, it was necessary to “rewind” a bit and change some of the actions in the previous turns. The game was able to run smoothly afterwards, but one of GC’s key cities in the middle of a very coveted territory amidst 4 civs was “retconned” which eventually brought about the demise of GC. Still, it was preferable to have the game completely stop. I wonder if they can do something like that here, though I suspect that they’ll have to retcon much more than a few turns.

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