Soren Johnson thinks Civilization is too long. His opinion on the matter is probably more valid than most – he was the lead designer on Civilization IV, after all – and he’s currently working on his own distillation of the leading 4X game: Old World (formerly 10 Crowns, if you remember the original announcement).
It’s not as overt a challenger to Civilization as Amplitude’s Humankind, which has its own problems in its attempt to take on the definitive 4X. Old World is more of a subtle commentary on 4X design than an out-and-out rival, but it comes with plenty of smart ideas as to how a historical strategy game can empower the player in each moment.
Step one: don’t be too long. “6,000 years of world history, for Civilization… it’s really a blessing and a curse, right?” Johnson tells us. “Everyone gets it, you get why you want to play the game, and there’s built-in motivation. But the reality is a lot of people just never finish. It’s just too long. We really wanted to make a game that people actually finish.” Games of Old World are locked in what would essentially be Civ’s ‘Classical’ era, and they’re capped at 200 turns.