You might have already known that Musk loves turn-based strategy game The Battle of Polytopia. A 2022 Grimes profile in Vanity Fair discloses that Musk “has the top score” on it; impressive, though he inaccurately describes the game as a “much more complex version of chess.”
Polytopia is more of “an approachable game for newcomers to the civilization builder genre,” Sisi Jiang wrote for Kotaku, but it reflects Musk’s long-term fixation on strategy games in general.
“Musk had enjoyed all types of video games as a teenager in South Africa,” Isaacson writes, “including first-person shooters and adventure quests, but at college he became more focused on the genre known as strategy games, ones that involve two or more players competing to build an empire using high-level strategy.” Or something.
Some of his college favorites include Civilization and Blizzard’s Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, but Isaacson describes Musk’s modern attachment to Polytopia as a special “addiction.”
One time, Musk refused to speak to Grimes for the rest of the day after she’d “surprise-attacked him with a flame ball” in Polytopia, Isaacson writes. Another time, he delayed international work meetings because he couldn’t stop playing the game, and then he played it for the entirety of his plane trip home. He missed his sister-in-law Christiana Musk’s birthday because he was spending “hours by himself in his room or in the corner playing the game.”
Musk’s brother, Kimbal, learned to play Polytopia because Musk had told him it would teach him how to be a CEO, but he eventually had to stop “because it was destroying my marriage,” he said. Musk also tried giving up Polytopia after finding it “was taking up too many brain cycles,” appearing in his dreams, but he redownloaded it on his phone a few months later.