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Web Original / Civ Battle Royale

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"Texas is at war with Canada and Mexico. The Nazis just converted to Judaism. And a little while ago, Steve Jobs conquered the city of Chichen Itza — which was a huge blow to the Mayans."
Kierran Petersen summing up the madness of the CBR.

The /r/Civ Battle Royale is the biggest Civilization V AI game ever created, featuring no less than 61 civilizations from the base game and various mods.

The project is the brainchild of the popular Civilization modder TPangolin. For the uninitiated, the goal of Civilization V is to build a civilization to stand the test of time, and in this game that means annihilating everyone else. The current state of the Battle Royale is shared through albums on the official website with screenshots, known simply as "parts".

The first iteration of the Battle Royale featured 42 civs, but due to technical problems it had to be abandoned after 19 parts. The its sequel, commonly referred to as "Mark II" featured 61 civilization on an even larger map. After three years and many installment gaps, MK II concluded with one civilization (Brasil) capturing all 61 capitals. The latest iteration (called "CBRX Season 2"), again features 61 different civilizations and recently started in 2021.

To give you an idea of the scale of these games, one turn roughly took 96 hours to process by the end of Mark II.

The Battle Royale is also notorious for its small but very dedicated fanbase, which has created everything from fanart, to fake newspapers commenting on the state of the world to a stock market where fans can invest in their favorite civilizations. If you want to try to dive in, you can start with the first megathread.

Tropes associated with the Civ Battle Royale (WARNING: There are most likely unmarked spoilers below):

  • All-Powerful Bystander: Both in the physical game and the lore around it, TPangolin (playing as Nebuchadnezzar), through the use of the In-Game Editor mod; technically, TPangolin could do anything he wants with the game, but for the sake of the battle just takes screenshots and fixes bugs. TPangolin's role was later taken over by ReonMonterus from the Blue Cassette team.
  • Alien Space Bats: There's no non-supernatural lore explanation for the nations of the Battle Royale existing as they are; as the page quote makes clear, the CBR world is not far from a straight up Bizarro Universe.
  • All There in the Manual: Although the narrators typically do a good job of explaining everything that happens, the Battle Royale is definitely easier to follow if you're already familiar with Civilization V mechanics.
  • Alternate History Wank: Inevitable given the nature of Civilization; It should be noted however that compared to real-life nations such as the United States or Russia, the land held by frontrunners such as the Boers or Inuit isn't that implausible.
    • Inverted with the actual US, which was crippled early on by Texas and Canada and never expanded much further than the East Coast.
  • Anti-Climax: Part 55 saw a series of interconnected wars break out, centered in Northern Asia. These wars, dubbed the "Khanflict" by the fanbase, were massively hyped up... until Part 56 saw most theaters of the Khanflict make peace after only a few turns.
  • Anyone Can Die: Mid-tier nations get destroyed utterly if the superpowers put their minds to it. Even superpowers aren't safe.
  • Ambiguously Human: The Inuit. They're characterised as The Spook amongst some fans, with winter-related powers not unlike the White Walkers.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Some civs (including Finland, Korea, Vietnam, the Buccaneers, and Brazil) have been lauded for making intelligent tactical moves...
  • Artificial Stupidity: ...but plenty of terrible strategic decisions have been made as well.
    • Portugal and Burma both infamously ceded non-endangered cities in peace deals.
    • Several civs have declared peace only a turn or two before they could have made serious advancements.
    • Still others have undermined their war efforts by only bringing a handful of units to the front.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Many civs love creating aircraft carriers. Unfortunately, they aren't as eager to actually put planes on them.
    • This bites the Buccaneers hard in the ass once Australia declared war.
    • Another example would be Vietnam's unique unit, which had extremely useful bonuses but also crippled Vietnam's war effort for a time, because it could not take cities as an infantry unit.
  • Back from the Dead: So far, the Sioux, America, Israel, the Philippines, Japan, and Hawai'i have all (temporarily) been brought back by another nation liberating a city another nation conquered long ago. A number of other nations have ceased to exist for a turn when their last city was flipped then soon returned.
  • Being Good Sucks: The Civilizations that choose the Freedom ideology (democracy) have all been tiny, weak nations, whose lot only got worse when the rest of the majority-fascist world started to hate them even more. In fact, no two nations held the ideology at the same time, each being destroyed before the next could adopt an ideology.
  • Berserk Button: Don't ever try to harm Japan while Korea is still around.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Even the beloved civs commit major atrocities.
  • Butt-Monkey: Rome could never catch a break in the early game, which eventually led to their elimination.
    • Byzantium lost their capital by part 6, and although they weren't eliminated first, they are generally considered to have performed the worst out of everyone in MK. 2/2.1.
  • Cool Boat: Fielding the next-generation Advanced Destroyer is the first sign that a nation has moved into the future.
  • Cool Helmet: Multiple civs are almost universally represented with their signature headgear on.
    • Sparta wears an ancient greek battle helmet.
    • The Boers wear a futuristic Cyborg mask.
    • Brazil wears a regal crown, fitting for their position as the ultimate winner of the CBR Mk. 2.1.
  • Crapsack World: The world is ravaged by near-constant warfare, and most luxury goods have been banned by the World Congress.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Sitting Bull was resurrected twice, the first time being in a part that came out on Easter Sunday, leading the community to view him as a supernatural savior.
    • Crowfoot of the Blackfoot has been nicknamed "Necrowfoot" due to his reviving of several Civs, including the aforementioned Sitting Bull.
    • Now applies to the resurrected David, who is fittingly the leader of Israel.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Happens periodically when war breaks out among unequally-powerful civs. Examples include...
    • The Boers' conquests of the Kongo, the Zulu, Mali, and Sparta.
    • Iceland's sweep through Ireland, and then through France.
    • Vietnam's eradication of Persia.
    • The Kimberley conquest of Indonesia.
    • Ethiopia's destruction of Carthage and Arabia.
    • Korea's invasion of Yakutia.
    • And overshadowing all other curb stomps, Brazil's total conquest of Boer Africa, and ultimately the world.
  • Curb-Stomp Cushion: Although the Australia/Maori war ended with the Maori all but eliminated, the Maori still managed to nuke— and briefly even capture— the Australian capital of Sydney.
  • Cyborg: The Boers are depicted as half (or more) machine, as they have built the most machine Future Worlds units, as well as wonders like Skynet.
  • Day of the Jackboot: Almost all civs have adopted fascism.
  • Decade Dissonance: Since each civ researches technologies independently of the others, this frequently occurs between leaders and laggards.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Has happened with a few of the superpowers, but most substantially with Iceland, who became a global-scale power after their ruthlessly efficient takedown of Ireland.
    • Although they were rated highly from the beginning of the battle, it was the Inuit's first war against Canada and Texas that truly established it as a global power.
    • Brazil is currently the pinnacle of this, having grown from the most potentially powerful civ in the infamously sleepy South America to a civ with total dominion of three continents, one of which used to belong to the Boers.
  • Genre Deconstruction: A lot of fan content deconstructs the game's setting (and that of Civilization games in general) by showing the massive amount of human suffering caused by the cylinder's endless wars.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Sparta/Dvin went back from being a city-state to a small empire, despite being massively behind in units and tech. However, they were eliminated by the Boers a few parts later.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: Many, many of these civilizations are considerably more... formidable in the Battle Royale than they ever were in real life. We are talking about a world in which there's an Inuit Empire dominating most of North America and in which the British islands and France were conquered by Iceland.
  • Humongous Mecha: Thanks to the Future Worlds mod, Giant Death Robots are easier to mass-produce. The mod adds a number of other units, some of which approach this trope.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: The Buccaneers were seen as an ambiguous civ included to show pirate trickery, until they nuked all of Mali multiple times over.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: On several occasions, civs who were already on a downward spiral lost land to chains of aggressively placed citadels.
  • Land of One City: Eliminating a civ entirely brings serious diplomatic penalties, so a number of civs have been reduced to single-city rump states.
  • La Résistance: Freedom News Network is a Tibetan (later international) news organization which tries to report the news objectively and is organizing civil resistance against the autocratic warmongers which rule every corner of the cylinder.
  • Last of His Kind: A few nations, such as Rome and the Ashanti, have a single remaining unit wandering the cylinder.
  • Last Stand: Even after losing all of their territory to the Boers, the Kongo had a large enough navy to flip their coastal cities back and delay their extinction for a few turns.
  • Lazy Bum: A problem with many civs. Norway, Portugal and recently Yakutia found out the hard way that playing passively for too long essentially entails a death sentence in such a highly competitive world.
  • Million Mook March: Only a few screenshots have managed to truly capture the sheer size of Australia's navy; those that do are pretty terrifying.
    • Brazil had such a large army at one point it spilled over deep into other Civ's territory.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Giant Death Robots. They live up to their name.
    • The Boers, especially in their heyday.
    • Even more so for Brazil after they took over the Boers.
  • Never Was This Universe: What, you don't remember every civilization on Earth suddenly appearing all at once six thousand years ago simultaneously?
    • For that matter, it's widely accepted that the Battle Royale planet is a cylinder note .
  • Not Big Enough for the Sixty-One of Us
  • Nuke 'em: Some nations utilize nuclear weapons as a last resort or at least sparingly. Others not so much.
    • The Buccaneers dropped eight atomic bombs on Mali (which had no nuclear arsenal) in the space of a few turns. Much of the area was radioactive for several parts after the war itself ended.
      • Could be partly justified as retribution for starting worldwide coalitions of COMCAST and SOPA, which included two top-3 powers in Australia and the Boers.
    • The Inuit and Yakuts nuked each other so much that they erased a city from existence.
      • And, as the game drags on, it has been more and more common for cities to be nuked into oblivion.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted by Henry Parkes (Australia) and Henry Morgan (Buccaneers).
  • Over Shadowed By Awesome: Much like the Maori in their prime, Blackfoot are a decent sized nation that could be a regional power if they didn't have a world superpower (the Inuit in this case) breathing down their necks.
    • The Boers have built many Future Worlds wonders that would give any other nation a huge advantage, but don't do much for one as advanced as they are.
    • For the longest time, Korea, in spite of being one of the most technologically advanced nations, were overshadowed by their Vietnamese neighbours. Averted once Korea invaded Northern Vietnam and conquered most of Yakutia.
  • Pirates: The Buccaneers, of course, as well as the Champa.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Deconstructed with Attila, whose habit of sacking cities left him with a very weak production base.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Despite being perpetually behind in tech, Carthage still fought a number of successful wars in its day.
  • Schizo Tech: This happens when civs don't upgrade all of their units; for instance, the Boers once ferried a Giant Death Robot on a caravel.
  • Self-Destructive Charge: Occasionally civs declare wars they simply cannot win, like Byzantium against Finland or France against Iceland.
  • Shout-Out: The mighty Boer and Inuit empires are referred to as the Draka and White Walkers respectively.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: The Champa owned by far the most gold by the time they were eliminated.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In a game where infrastructure and production can make or break an empire, the Huns razed nearly every city they conquered.
    • In MK 1, the Hittites unwisely settled many of their cities behind enemy lines.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Tends to happen when multiple major wars are occurring simultaneously.
  • Underestimating Badassery: This is thought to be the reason for Byzantium's war against Finland, as the bulk of Finland's sizable empire was not visible to the Byzantines.
  • Vestigial Empire: Very common, the community refers to these as "rump states". The most spectacular example of this was Mao's China. Once ranked second in the power rankings, a devastating war with Vietnam eventually reduced them to a single city, which became the butt of many jokes by the community.
    • The Buccaneers used to rule all of Central America, half of South-America and significant chunks of Africa and Europe. Almost all of their Eurasian and South-American cities where conquered by the Boers and Brazil respectively.
    • Oh Yakutia, poor Yakutia... They previously reached the number one spot in all of the CBR! But ultimately, they were reduced to a crappy city in a isolated spot, just waiting until someone put a end to their misery.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's hard to talk about Brazil without acknowledging that, starting around Part 96, they amassed a grotesquely huge army that trampled all of the other frontrunners.
  • War Is Hell: Most wars between major powers (e.g. the first two Inuit/Yakutia wars) have turned into long, bloody stalemates.
    • Other wars, like the invasion of Hawaii, have seen massive civilian death.
    • An early war between Brazil and the Incas ended up lasting thousands of years.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Part 27, titled MULTIKILL!, saw three civs being eliminated: Poland, Sioux, and Kongo.
    • Australia's DOW on the Kimberley and Vietnam started the largest war at the time, and ended any chance for lasting peace until this very day.
    • The Maori nuking Sydney was viewed this way by a lot of fans.
    • Part 49, the 'Red Dawn', saw the death of multiple civs including fan favourite Mao Zedong.
    • The Anti-Boer coalition, nicknamed by fans the OCP(Orange Containment Project, where several civs (Brazil, Ethiopia, Buccs, Inuit, Vietnam, Iceland) declared war against the Boers, ended in Faliure due the complete death of Ethiopia, but to Iceland fans it was a win, since they ended the war by getting two capitals.
    • Part 102. Not only do two Civs (Armenia and Sri Lanka) finally get wiped out, the end of the part has Brazil, Iceland, Sibir and Vietnam all declaring war on the Boers in what's been dubbed the second Orange Containment Project. Considering that Brazil's military dwarfs the Boers, it provides the first and perhaps only threat to the Boers, the presumptive heavyweights of the game, in a long time.
    • Part 103. The Second Orange Containment Project manages to drive the Boers out of Europe and Persia. Brazil captures the statue of liberty and the statue of Zeus, giving Pedro a massive boost to his production and attack power respectively. While Kruger manages to peace out Iceland the Boers are still in the worst position they have ever been in.
    • Part 105. Starts of with Brazil peacing out Sweden. Finland gets eliminated by the Kimberleys, who then procced to get invaded by Vietnam and Brazil ending with the Kimberleys getting eliminated. Then the entire world declares war on Hawaii for no reason, ending with them being eliminated as well. All in all an eventfull part.
    • In part 107, Brazil reduces the Boers to a fraction of their former self, taking the entirety of North Africa all the way up to the Boer core, including important Future Worlds wonders such as the Nephilim Gene Template. Meanwhile in North America, the Blackfoot finally declare war on the Inuit, who promptly triple their military numbers and almost wipe the Blackfoot off the mainland in a single part.
    • In part 108, Pretoria has fallen. That is all.
    • And of course Part 120, the series finale of MK II. Brazil slowly eliminates the last traces of global resistance, killing Vietnam, Korea, the Inuit and Sibir in a single part. After this, Brazil starts a ruthless campaign to conquer the Australian mainland, leaving large parts of Australia and the Pacific completely depopulated. Australia survives, but only in a few cities in New Zealand and Melanesia, leaving them to watch helplessly as Brazil captures Sydney and ends the game.