So, I play this stupid game called "Civilization" off and on, and I don't think I ever really get the hang of it. I've noticed that my games follow the same pattern, with mixed (but fairly similar) results.
I play a game with a huge world (cause I like 'em big, I guess), and usually 7 other competing civilizations. Sometimes I pick the civilization I am, sometimes I let the computer pick. I always let the computer decide who the competitors are. My world is earth-like, in that it's roughly 4 billion years old, temperate (as opposed to predominately wet or arid) and 70% water, with continents.
The object of the game is to develop a civilization. Gain territory, technologies, resources, luxuries, build & develop cities and so on. You can win by controlling 66% of the planet, or elimintating all your rivals, being elected leader of the UN, winning a space race, and probably a couple other ways. A game lasts 540 turns - if my civilization still exists at the end of that time, I've done ok.
There are lots of stategies you can follow. You have to gain a certain amount of techology before you can move from one age to another, but you choose the order in which these technologies are learned, and the rate at wich you budget for taxation, science & luxuries. You can choose to take an economic route, or a military route, for example. Each civilization has specific tendencies, military, commercial, scientific, religious, expansionist etc and each tendency has strengths & weaknesses.
So when I'm playing the game, here's what happens. The first thing I do is set my resource allocations heavily toward science - as much as I can and still have some tax money coming in. Then I try to grab as much territory as possible, and I do it to the expense of everything else. I usually do not build the early "wonders" so I miss out on some of the earlier benefits, and my defenses are spread pretty thin. But I keep churning out those settlers, exploring my continent & expanding my territory, finding out where the other civilizations are and building as many cities as possible. I know some cities won't be worth much for a few centuries, but it doesn't matter, 'cause future technologies will lead to future development. I feel it's important to get the territory, which hopefully will equate to future resources and luxuries. Resources are very important. During this period of the game I generally let the computer choose which technology to learn next, and I buy, sell and trade technologies quite freely with other civilizations I meet.
I also ugrade my government as soon as possible, generally moving from despotism to monarchy to republic to democracy. There are some benefits to learning communism and facism, but, with one major exception (conducting warfare) republic & democracy are more effecient. Each have it's strengths and weaknesses, but generally the higher the level of government you have, the better off you are.
When I move out of ancient times and into the medieval period, I begin to direct my technological acquisitions much more. And I almost always take an economic route - theology, education, banking, economics, and try to trade my gains there for some military technology. I do generally manage to have a stong military, and I do have a lot of offensive type units, but I am much more prone to building defenses and economic development as opposed to starting wars and conquering. If I'm attacked, tho, I want to be able to defend my cities & hit back pretty hard. I tend to avoid military alliances (unless attacked), becoming quite the computer game isolationist. It is rare for me to haul off and attack a neighboring civilization, though I have done it upon occasion.
The computer has a way of putting valuable resources right on the border of civilizations, thus encouraging a little warfare here and there.
The risk is if a neighboring civilization finds itself with a military advantage - in technology or in numbers, there is a good chance they'll attack. If the Aztecs have tanks and all you have is cavalry, they're going to be knocking at your door and there isn't much you can do about it. You'll find yourself on top of their temple with one of their priests ripping your heart out, then saying rude things about you as you're tossed down the steps.
Usually I manage to survive. I don't usually "win". Frequently I say the heck with it and start over.
Ok. The whole purpose of this post is just a little introspection. Like everything else in life, how you approach an activity says something about you. Who knows what. Why do I play the game the way I do? I suppose the bigger question is who cares? It's just a stupid ol' game I play off and on. It's not life & has nothing to do with moralities.