What is the CBR?

The Official /r/civ Civilization V Battle Royale emerged from the union of interested parties in /r/civ, the subreddit which dominates online discussion for Firaxis’s Civilization video game series, and the premier Civilization 5 modding team Colonialist Legacies.

The Civ Battle Royale

The original Battle Royale was presented as a community event hosted by redditor, and Colonialist Legacies director, TPangolin, and supporting him were celebrated members of the community. This event was centered upon a simple concept—one enormous map approximating the geography of Earth, and 42 AI civilizations located in their respective historical starting locations. There are no human agents influencing the events of this game; the host, and the audience, are only spectators to series of events that unfolded before them as the 42 computer AI systems consistently calculated what the optimal moves were available before them. The only victory condition for the Battle Royale was one of total domination, as per Firaxis’ programmed ruleset. One civilization needed to capture every other opposing starting capital city to win the game.

This was not the first instance of such a simulation; however, the Battle Royale was the first of its grand scale, the first to rally the audience of r/civ, and the first to feature an expansive list of modded civilizations to its roster of competitors. All civilizations were chosen by the members of /r/civ through popular vote, and the finalists included both modded and vanilla (game developer included) civilizations alike.

The Unexpected

The Battle Royale, producing only bi-weekly updates on the events of the simulation, exploded in popularity. The video game press, and other tangentially related news outlets, reported on the event after its launch and the audience multiplied. Quickly, a new subcommunity, /r/CivBattleRoyale, was created to manage the influx of discussion and management of the original content the community was creating to follow every step of the action. The Battle Royale in short created its own significant niche in the Civilization community, and attracted people from different cultural and technical backgrounds to add their own interpretations and input to explain the madness.

This community content is consistently scaling and evolving. Discussion threads became written novellas, simple stats gathering into extensive encyclopedias, quick fanart into dedicated series of comic strips and illustrations. As the Battle Royale grew, so did the resources its host and community managers had at their disposal. From growing ambitions came the opportunity to become a part of the emerging trend in entertainment to take command of this content, fueled by intimate connections with its audience, and to transform the Battle Royale into an entertainment platform that could be delivered and financially supported directly by its audience.

Battle Royale Mk. II

In August 2015 the Battle Royale Mk. 2 was launched to great anticipation. For the second iteration, not only was the system running faster and more efficient, all the new modifications allowed for a greater number of civilizations in a game, bring the competition to 61 AI competitors. TPangolin, now running the game entirely in one session, could focus entirely on running the simulation.

This sophomore effort proved to eclipse the first iteration of the Battle Royale in every way. The community kept expanding, the game easily surpassed the previous in-game milestones, and anticipation for new content could only be accurately described as feverish. Unfortunately, as progress moved further, old software problems also began to reappear.

The game, by October 2016, had reached a very advanced state within the game. Already exceeding traditional in-game limits, the simulation still had not come to end, even after 800 in-game turns (with the conclusion still not in sight). TPangolin, hosting the simulation on his personal hardware, was now obligated to oversee the upwards of 10+ straight hours of monitoring the software in order to ensure the delivery of images for each album.

As an unfortunate series of events unfolded, which included the announcement and unsteady work on an Mk3, a failed Mk2 database resurrection, and a massive reduction in dev personnel, a whole new strategy was created by the skeleton crew that had remained. Now with a new team of talent, the current solution was outlined and brought into existence by its directors collectively known as Blue Cassette.

Blue Cassette

As project founder TPangolin has stepped down from day-to-day operations, a new team was formed from the remainder of the Mk2 dev team and formally came together under a new name and organization. The necessity of this change is principally to protect both past and future work of its members, and secondly to provide new leadership required to oversee the future growth of the project.

Blue Cassette’s directors are Reon Monterus, Lunar Needle, Limerickarcher, and Coiot. In late May, these four gathered together what remained of the work from the abandoned efforts of Mk2’s revival and took it upon themselves to do what was necessary in order to bring the simulation back alive. This process has not been without compromise, and indeed even after several months of work the result will be a slight variation from the game that the audience last saw in October 2016.