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Civilization V 3-Years Later Review

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Game Creation & City Founding:

The potential for micromanagement begins immediately as you can control multiple aspects of a new game. Naturally you may select the civilization you play as, or leave it as random, as well as the map size and difficulty, but you can also control the topography of the map and the pace of the game. My preference is Continents or Continents Plus, which attempt to focus most of the land mass into two continents, but you can also make the world a single supercontinent, a collection of islands, the Earth itself, and numerous variants. With some exceptions, each map is randomly generated, so you will never play on the same map twice, unless you save the map.

Importantly, each civilization offers different benefits and occasionally units. For example, Japan can eventually unlock the Zero fighter, which has different stats from the air fighter other civilizations have access to. Japanese units also have a bonus effect on all combat units that allow damaged units to do as much damage as a unit at full health.

And all of that is available from the simple setup screen. The advanced setup screen offers more control, including the ability to set, add, and subtract enemy civilizations; increase or decrease the number of city-states; control resource levels, temperature, world age, rainfall, available victory conditions, disabling barbarians, espionage, allowing social policies to be saved, and various other options. I will get into those features later.








When a game begins, you have two units placed somewhere on the map. One unit is a band of settlers and the other is group of warriors. Warriors will eventually be replaced by more powerful units, but settlers will be available throughout, as they are how you found cities.

If you are lucky, your initial placement has resources around it, so you can quickly found a city and get to building a civilization. Every turn you do not build your capital city is a turn lost, as your opponents get to initiate their economy. If you are not lucky, you should probably just found your capital in the best location immediately available, and then send settlers to better areas.

Importantly, though an area may not initially appear to have much in the way of resources, that may change by the end of the game. Research will reveal new resources on the map, such as iron, coal, aluminum, oil, and uranium.


When founded, a city will naturally use the resources on its tile. If you build on a pile of iron, then that resource and its production bonus will be granted. This can be very useful to know, so you can make sure your cities have a strong start. Also when founded, a city will claim the six tiles immediately touching it as yours. Over time, these borders will naturally grow, but you can also purchase tiles. The purchasing price can vary, depending on where it is and how many tiles you have purchased previously.

The maximum distance you can purchase tiles for a city from is three tiles, but a city will actually continue to grow out to as much as a five tile radius. The inner three-tile radius can be worked by the city, which you can control, but the further tiles cannot be. Those outer, unworked tiles need not be wasted though, because you can build improvements on them, such as mines or farms, as they are within your borders. If you then build a new city closer to those tile improvements, it will have those tiles immediately at its disposal. However, tiles can only be worked by one city at a time, so you do not want to build cities too close together.

As tempting as it may be at this point, with your capital built, to send your warrior out in search of new lands to build on, you should probably keep that unit close. Barbarians will randomly spawn camps on the map and immediately hunt you down. Over the time I have played Civilization V it has seemed like their AI has changed, making them much more aggressive. At least killing them can give some nice rewards, including money if you capture a camp and experience for your offensive units. Of course you can also turn barbarians off when starting the game. This is what I tend to do, just because they can be so annoying to hunt down and stop.

One more thing very much worth mentioning is the Great Person mechanic. Great Persons are special units that can be very powerful. They include the Great General, Great Engineer, and Great Scientist. The Great General applies a buff to nearby units and can be consumed building a Citadel. This structure provides a defensive bonus to a unit positioned within it and will do damage to enemy units adjacent to it. The Great Engineer can be expended to hurry up production of something at a city or to build a Manufactory, a special tile enhancement that provides a great deal of production when worked. The Great Scientist, like the Engineer, can be used to speed up research or can be spent building an Academy, which provides a large science bonus when worked. There are other Great Persons, but you can get the idea from these three.


I think that is enough for this section. Next up, research and social policies.

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