those new to Realms Beyond...
focus is on quality, not quantity. We're not interested in being
a 'top site' or having a large 'group'. We earn no advertising revenues
nor do we have any agendas other than to foster a fun and safe environment
for spirited gaming. As we discover interesting new things about
the games we enjoy, we want to share that with others. The Realms
Beyond are one subset of a wider "Variant" community where
we use **self-imposed** game restrictions to increase challenge,
add a role-playing element, explore new (sometimes wacky) scenarios,
or push a game to its limits.
has its roots in the original Diablo game. If you're familiar with
Diablo, you might know that a Sorcerer is fairly easy to play. At
high levels he can be grossly easy to experienced players. Try playing
one who wears no magic items. That's more of a challenge. But why
stop there? Go Beyond! Wear no magic items EXCEPT cursed items!
Play with a significant handicap and an old, tiring game can be
made new again.
that flavor over to Civilization, we play not only regular games
but ones with no mounted units, games where you don't whip the slaves,
ones where you never trade your map, games where you declare war
on all rival civs at first sight and never make peace, and many
you want to participate in an RB-sponsored event, you do NOT have
to meet any performance criteria. All you need is the desire to
join in on the fun. If you're looking to learn and enjoy yourself,
if you can respect others during group games and by making civil
posts, if you are willing to go beyond your comfort zone and try
new things, then you are welcome to come and play with us!
Civilization 3 community formed when several members of RB began
participating in Civ3 succession games at CivFanatics.
The original series of games were called the "RBD" series
and spanned 23 games. RBD succession games (SG's) opened with four
"normal" games, during which the proceedings and discussions
coined terms that are still around today, such as "dotmap",
"weedy move", and "farmer's gambit". It did
not take us long for our variant spirit to break out. Charis launched
"RBD5 - French Musketeer Artillery Variant" and the next
thing you know, the variant bug had infected the entire SG community!
We went on to launch other series, for Deity level and for the Civ3
games were fun, but there is room for only a few players in each
game. Others can only spectate. There was no way to compare between
games because they were played on different maps and settings, or
even under different variant rules. Other sites ran Civ3 tournaments,
but these allowed significant "spoiler" information to
be posted, and they did not have support for the sometimes wacky
variant scenarios that RB players preferred. So we decided to launch
our own tournament.
May of 2002, the Civ3 Epics were born. Between that time and summer
of 2005, a total of fifty events were organized, sponsored, and
completed. Participation ranged from only a few players in the slowest
cases to a range of dozens. These numbers sound modest, but the
Epics culture and traditions include full length reports, detailed
analysis and accounts, often illustrated by screenshots, and followed
up with significant discussion of results. Our emphasis was placed
on the journey more so than the destinations. We were only a tiny
niche in the global Civ3 community, but we had wider impact than
the numbers would tend to indicate.
3 was not a static game. Civ has been in continuous development
from the moment Civ3 was published. Soren Johnson, Civ3's AI programmer,
took the lead on the patching process, which spanned a whole year.
His approach revolved around tuning in to the fans, listening to
their feedback and analysis of the game's performance, and relying
on this input to help improve the game. Fans who saw real and meaningful
improvements in the patches were encouraged. As the game got better
through the patches, RB players grew hungry to play more and more
to Soren's approach, the game and the gaming communities have evolved
together, and they continue to do so today!
Civ3 Epics spanned several patches plus both Civ3 expansion packs.
Our activity became intertwined with the evolution of the game itself
because the game's designers and developers were hungry to make
it better by paying attention to feedback from the fans. Our variant
games, the scenarios often crafted with a few simple rules tweaks,
provided a rich source of insight in to how the game itself performed.
Seeing how the AI or the game balance would shift in performance
with simple changes provided a steady diet of interesting feedback
Soren Johnson was chosen to lead the design of Civilization 4, this
ensured that the new game would be built upon the solid foundations
he had laid for Civ3 through the patching process. Fan involvement
was central to his approach. Soren and Producer Jesse Smith created
the Civ4 Play Session, where testers from a wide cross-section of
the Civilization community would test Civ4 and share their thoughts
and suggestions from a very early stage in development -- long before
an alpha version of the game had been prepared!
the start of 2003, Soren got in touch with Sirian regarding his
Civ3 website. They opened a private dialogue about Civ3 AI and game
balance issues, especially items that could be patched or else included
in the expansions. This conversation continued, evolving right on
in to a job opening for Sirian to lead the single player section
of the Civ4 Play Session. Sirian also became Civ4's Game Balance
Analyst, AI Analyst, and Lead Map Designer.
RB community members had a hand in Civ4's development, too. Sulla
was hired as an on-site tester for 2K Games, working at Firaxis
HQ in Hunt Valley, MD. Several RB'ers participated in the Play Session,
including Sulla, Griselda, ME0003 and his wife, and Cyrene. (RbCiv
vets know that nobody plays Civ quite how Cyrene plays it, so he
was able to provide his unique perspective on the game). T-hawk,
Charis, and dathon were also invited to join the Play Session.
members who participated in the development of Civ4 are bound by
a Confidentiality Agreement, so they cannot discuss what took place
behind closed doors. They are allowed to discuss the final game,
though, and to play and have a good time, of course.
a small community, RB was well represented throughout the development
of Civ4! We hope that this unique opportunity has given us insight
into the game that will help us create unique scenarios and foster
interesting discussions and strategical choices, as well as to spread
some part of our culture and consciousness out through the wider
Civ community. With the game's release, we can finally share this
beautiful game with our friends in the Realms Beyond community.
It's time for everyone to have a chance to participate in Civ4.
is expanding our schedule! The Civ3 Epics are closed. Our journeys
through the old game are now complete. A new day is dawning. We
expect a bright and joyous experience. We invite you to participate
in our succession games at CivFanatics, as players or as lurkers.
Our new casual tournament, the RBCiv Adventures, will bring you
games on Normal and Quick speeds, including events held on lower
difficulty levels to enable a wider level of participation, to ensure
that newer players are not excluded from our schedule. Our premiere
tournament, the Epics, will begin anew with games played only on
Epic speed, and will cater to the needs of our veterans.
Diablo, RB players brought you Jim, the Black Knight. In Civ3, we
brought you Pepe Le Pew, the M'eer Commander. What are the stories
that we will remember from Civ4? Join us! Maybe you will be the
author of tales that will be remembered for years to come.