Dan Drezner reveals that he was (is?) a Civilization addict:
Occasionally, despite my mental efforts, one of these activities sneaks it’s way through my defenses. I’m convinced that had I not gotten hooked on Sid Meier’s Civilization game, I’d have another article somewhere on my cv. [What about blogging?–ed. A more complex answer — I’d probably have another article or two, but the articles on outsourcing and blogging would not be there either.]
Without a doubt, Europa Universalis II cost me more hours in lost productivity than any other computer game. I warn all International Relations scholars who are both interested in historical world politics and have a gaming bent to keep far, far away from it.
Good simulation of diplomatic parameters, balancing behavior, the chronic instability of early modern states, trade competition, religious dynamics, and lots of opportunity to create historical counterfactuals (so what might have happened if the French Crown had converted to Calvinism anyway? If China had turned towards outward exploration? If the Eastern Roman Empire survived and turned the tide against the Turks?). In sum, a nightmare for an International Relations nerd.
For me, it was like “playing” my dissertation. If a dissertation could be a really, really fun game.