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Screenshot found posted by the Eternal War creator

The Eternal War is a Civilization II save game posted on the social news aggregation site Reddit by the user Lycerius in 2012, which has attracted a significant amount of media attention. According to the post, the original player had been playing the game on and off for ten years. The game world, in the game year 3991 AD was a "hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation". The civilizations were locked in a perpetual war that lasted 1700 in-game years. All of the land on the map has been transformed into swampland because "ice caps melted 20 times... due primarily to the many nuclear wars". Reddit contributors have helped Lycerius come up with a "solution" to end the war. However, the “Eternal War” continues to live in fanfiction.

Original post[]

I've been playing the same game of Civ II for 10 years. Though long outdated, I grew fascinated with this particular game because by the time Civ III was released, I was already well into the distant future. I then thought that it might be interesting to see just how far into the future I could get and see what the ramifications would be. Naturally I play other games and have a life, but I often return to this game when I'm not doing anything and carry on. The results are as follows.
The world is a hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation.
There are 3 remaining super nations in the year 3991 A.D, each competing for the scant resources left on the planet after dozens of nuclear wars have rendered vast swaths of the world uninhabitable wastelands.
-The ice caps have melted over 20 times (somehow) due primarily to the many nuclear wars. As a result, every inch of land in the world that isn't a mountain is inundated swamp land, useless to farming. Most of which is irradiated anyway.
-As a result, big cities are a thing of the distant past. Roughly 90% of the worlds population (at it's peak 2000 years ago) has died either from nuclear annihilation or famine caused by the global warming that has left absolutely zero arable land to farm. Engineers (late game worker units) are always busy continuously building roads so that new armies can reach the front lines. Roads that are destroyed the very next turn when the enemy goes. So there isn't any time to clear swamps or clean up the nuclear fallout.
-Only 3 super massive nations are left. The Celts (me), The Vikings, And the Americans. Between the three of us, we have conquered all the other nations that have ever existed and assimilated them into our respective empires.
-You've heard of the 100 year war? Try the 1700 year war. The three remaining nations have been locked in an eternal death struggle for almost 2000 years. Peace seems to be impossible. Every time a cease fire is signed, the Vikings will surprise attack me or the Americans the very next turn, often with nuclear weapons. Even when the U.N forces a peace treaty. So I can only assume that peace will come only when they're wiped out. It is this that perpetuates the war ad infinitum. Have any of you old Civ II players out there ever had this problem in the post-late game?
-Because of SDI, ICBMS are usually only used against armies outside of cities. Instead, cities are constantly attacked by spies who plant nuclear devices which then detonate (something I greatly miss from later civ games). Usually the down side to this is that every nation in the world declares war on you. But this is already the case so its no longer a deterrent to anyone. My self included.
-The only governments left are two theocracies and myself, a communist state. I wanted to stay a democracy, but the Senate would always over-rule me when I wanted to declare war before the Vikings did. This would delay my attack and render my turn and often my plans useless. And of course the Vikings would then break the cease fire like clockwork the very next turn. Something I also miss in later civ games is a little internal politics. Anyway, I was forced to do away with democracy roughly a thousand years ago because it was endangering my empire. But of course the people hate me now and every few years since then, there are massive guerrilla (late game barbarians) uprisings in the heart of my empire that I have to deal with which saps resources from the war effort.
-The military stalemate is air tight. The post-late game in civ II is perfectly balanced because all remaining nations already have all the technologies so there is no advantage. And there are so many units at once on the map that you could lose 20 tank units and not have your lines dented because you have a constant stream moving to the front. This also means that cities are not only tiny towns full of starving people, but that you can never improve the city. "So you want a granary so you can eat? Sorry; I have to build another tank instead. Maybe next time."
-My goal for the next few years is to try and end the war and thus use the engineers to clear swamps and fallout so that farming may resume. I want to rebuild the world. But I'm not sure how. If any of you old Civ II players have any advice, I'm listening.
Edit: -Wow guys. Thanks for all your support. I had no idea this post would get this kind of response. -I'll be sure to keep you guys updated on my efforts. Whether here on Reddit, or a blog, or both. -Turns out a whole subreddit has been dedicated to ending this war. It's at r/theeternalwar
https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/uxpil/ive_been_playing_the_same_game_of_civilization_ii/

Sid Meier's reaction[]

According to an interview by The Washington Post with the Civilization series creator, Sid Meier, "'There's no way we could have tested for this, so it was a surprise to us,' he said. He added that 'it's exciting that a fan of the Civ series would dedicate 10 years to playing one continuous game! We should probably send him a copy of Civ V and Civ V: Gods & Kings and check back with him 10 years from now. The Celts are part of the expansion, so it's possible someone could play themselves into a similar scenario.'"

Videos[]

An_Eternal_Game_of_Civilization_II_(The_Eternal_War)_-_Game_Tales

An Eternal Game of Civilization II (The Eternal War) - Game Tales

YouTube documentary on the game

External links[]

Original save game file[]

Reddit[]

Articles[]

Wiki[]

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