My empire was one of the greatest in the world. My people were the best educated in the planet. My cities were highly productive and filled with Wonders. I even claimed the strongest army, both in numbers and technological superiority. I should have been happy. But then something happened: I glanced at my Victory Conditions, and saw there were one hundred turns left. Only one hundred turns before the game would halt, take stock of my affairs, and choose a single winner. And that's assuming no one else launched a Space Shuttle, or finished a Utopia Project, or won the game through a United Nations election. It was a stark realization; all of the excellent work I'd done so far would mean nothing if 2050 rolled around and I had nothing to show for it.

I realized that I had stopped playing one hundred turns ago, and had been spending all my time since trying to win.

Up until that point, my first game of Civilization V was a casual yet engaging experience. During most sessions, I'd check on worldwide developments, build new roads and farms, respond to requests for trade, and take one last glance at my defenses before logging out after twenty minutes. I maintained friendly relations with all my neighbors, and in the single case when I was attacked by another civilization, I pushed back the invaders before signing a peace treaty. Developments progressed smoothly, my people were flourishing, and I was satisfied with that.

But now the endgame approached, and I was being told that if I didn't meet one of five victory conditions, everything I'd done would be forfeit. My strategy changed. I redirected all production towards Scientific and Cultural pursuits, the most likely candidates for success, and literally stopped paying attention to anything else. If a unit had nothing immediate to contribute towards victory, I ignored it. Producing my own resources was already cost-effective, so I neglected trade agreements. Most surprisingly, when my allies asked for help against an increasingly aggressive empire, I declined even though my presence would decisively end the conflict. My nation secluded itself from the world, churning out new technologies and wonders solely to advance to the next stage. Eventually I completed a Utopia Project and gained a Cultural Victory, but I realized that I had stopped playing one hundred turns ago, and had been spending all my time since trying to win.

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