If Civilization V were real life, I would be the world’s greatest diplomat. I can forge alliances with even the fiercest of nations and allow peace to reign for many many years. While I may not be able to lead an army to march across the world, enslaving everyone as I go, if you mess with my peaceful nation you will feel the wrath of my military. After all, war is just an extension of diplomacy right?
Civilization V is a 4x (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) turn-based strategy game developed by Firaxis Games. In this game you play as the leader of a civilization and are responsible for leading them from prehistoric times all the way into the future. You must learn to micro-manage everything from your economy and military, to your science and international relations, all the while trying to remain dominant and achieve one of the conditions for victory.
Growing up I was never really interested in turn-based games. Even board games would get on my nerves at times. I was, however, quite obsessed with RTS (Real-Time Strategy) games like Empire Earth, Age of Mythology, and Rise of Nations. I owned Civilization III and played it now and then, but it filled less than 1% of my childhood gaming. Civilization V has completely changed the way I look at strategy games. I now thrive on that feeling of “just one more turn . . .”
Civilization V implements quite a few changes over the past games but I think all of the changes were done well. One big change is that the game features hexagonal tiles as opposed to square ones (pictured above). Not only does this allow more flexibility and better strategy, but it feels more natural as well. Armies are also no longer allowed to “stack” on top of each other either. This adds yet another level of strategy to the game. You’re now forced to choose your invasion force carefully and align them in order to best achieve your goal. It also makes you plan your movements carefully because otherwise you can accidentally trap one of your units and prevent them from making a move that turn.
Civilization V also introduces “City States” for the first time. City states are individual cities being controlled by the game’s AI and are helpful in many ways. You can trade with them, conquer them, or become their ally. City states add a whole new variable to the game. If you strive for a diplomatic win, as I typically do, you will need to learn how to deal with city states early on because when the time comes to vote for a world leader, you get an additional vote for every city state ally you have. The same applies for your enemies as well . . .
When I start a game, I typically set it up for one or more of Steam’s achievements. These achievements make the game a lot more fun and range from winning with different nations to winning on different difficulty levels, to even more specific things like earning a Great General through combat as China. Currently, I’ve won on every map type and on every difficulty up to King. I’ve won with each victory condition except Domination and have won with around 10 different civilizations. Achievements help keep the game interesting and encourage players to try different strategies.
Of all the things you can do in Civ 5, my favorite part of the game is diplomacy. I love trading with other civilizations and building alliances. Each AI leader has a different personality and it really makes for a challenge when dealing with them. Some leaders are really friendly from the start and others are aggressive. Some leaders are very loyal and others will turn on you as soon as they get a chance. Learning how to judge other leaders is one of the most interesting parts of the game to me. I love when I’m able to turn a former enemy into an ally as well. I’m not great with combat, but I can win one-on-one conflicts most of the time, so I try to keep out of war unless I need to. To do that, diplomacy is a must.
If you’re new to the Civilization series you will face a relatively steep learning curve. There are a whole lot of things to learn in the beginning, but it’s exciting once you get the hang of it. Every game starts out simple with just a settler and a warrior to manage and quickly escalates to a much more complex game as you meet other players and start founding new cities. Your first few turns might last just a few seconds each, but later turns can last for several minutes as you move your units, adjust production and research, and deal with international relations.
There are so many things to do in this game that I believe almost anyone could jump in and get hooked. Whether you like taking the world by force, striving for technological innovation, or winning your enemies over with kindness, you’re sure to have a good time with Civilization V. At the time of this post the base game is on sale for just $15 over at Steam. The Gold Edition is only $10 more. At that price this is a game that you simply cannot skip out on.
My Rating: 5/5