Civilization V 3-Years Later ReviewGuest_Jim_* - November 27, 2013
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Brave New World Expansion:
Brave New World is a very appropriate title for this expansion because of everything it contains. It thoroughly reconstitutes the social policy system, adds the Tourism economy, changes the cultural victory, introduces archaeology and trade routes, and adds a bunch of units and buildings. With so much to choose from, it is hard to know where to begin, but I think the social policy system would be best.
The accumulation of culture points has not changed and neither has their spending. What has changed is almost every social domain as they have been tweaked for better design or edited so another domain can be added. Yes, you do get new domains such as Exploration, which I will get more into later. These additions give you a lot more to read and understand, but again, not everything is available to you at the beginning, so you have time to figure it out. And then you will reach a point that it changes in a rather large way.
Before Brave New World, there were three domains for Order, Freedom, and Autocracy, which were mutually exclusive. In Brave New World they have been broken away from the other domains and stand separate as ideologies. Policies within them follow a tree with three tiers of tenants, with two tenants of one tier being needed to unlock one tenant in the next tier. When you adopt a tenant, you are given a list to choose from. Though I have never had occasion to do so, there is a way to switch ideologies, in case you require certain bonuses or if your citizens want the change.
The ability to build some wonders is now dependent on what policies you have unlocked. This is an interesting and somewhat realistic change that is worth being aware of, especially if you are used to Civilization V without this expansion. Some wonders may not be available to you due to certain choices you made.
That Exploration domain I mentioned earlier has bonuses associated with the archaeology mechanic. Eventually you will unlock the ability to produce archaeologists that can be sent to excavate archaeological sites spread across the world. Most of these sites are visible upon unlocking archaeology, but some are hidden and are only made visible by completing the Exploration domain.
When excavated, an archaeological site can be turned into a landmark or an artifact. Landmarks are sites that provide culture points, with the exact amount dependent on how many eras it is older than the current era. Artifacts, however, are items that can be housed in your cities or traded with other civilizations, and are integral to the Tourism economy.
Tourism is about getting people from other civilizations to visit your cities. To attract them you need certain buildings or great works, like paintings, music, or literature, or artifacts like what archaeologists produce. These great works can only be kept in buildings with the proper slots for them, such as libraries. Some of these buildings have multiple slots, in which case having the proper combination of works can grant a bonus. Perhaps all of the works must be from the same era and civilization to grant the bonus, or maybe everything needs to be different. It depends on the building.
To make the Tourism economy interesting and worth exploring, it has become central to the cultural victory. Now you can achieve that victory by reaching the point of influencing other nations with your culture.
Going along with the Tourism mechanic is the creation of the World Congress, instead of the United Nations. With the World Congress, you and the other nations may vote on proposals, such as banning certain items, putting a tax on standing armies, and even start a world's fair or the international games. The latter two are events you have to produce in your cities, and you are rewarded for how much production you invest. Relationships with other civilizations can be affected by what you propose and how you vote. Also you can use your spies to take the place of foreign diplomats to increase your voting influence.
Finally, perhaps the greatest addition has been that of trade routes. Over land and sea, you can now send special units to trade between your own cities and those of other nations. Between cities this can provide food or production where needed, and between nations it can produce gold and research points. Trade routes can also spread religious beliefs and cultural influence, which factors into the cultural victory.
On its own, the trade route mechanic may not seem very powerful, but the game has been rebalanced around it, or at least it appears to have been. Production and food seem to be harder to come by in the average city in Brave New World, so new cities will develop more slowly if left alone. Do not leave them alone then and send some food or production their way to get them up to speed. There are two catches with that though, as trade routes exist for a specific number of turns, which cannot be changed, and there are a limited number you can have at one time.
To be fair, you probably do not want to try to maintain dozens of trade routes, but realistically, should there really be a limit? I am not sure, but that is something you should be aware of. When combined with the nonnegotiable lifespan of a trade route though, it can become challenging to best optimize trade routes, unless you plan many turns ahead. Going back to the more slowly developing cities, you may want to make sure you have some trade routes available to accelerate their growth before founding them.
If I wanted one thing to change about the trade routes, it would be that they can be terminated early, at a penalty of course, and that they can be negotiated, at least in length, if not in substance. I am not sure if that is something that could ever be patched in, but perhaps it could make it into future titles. The other gameplay changes and additions introduced in Brave New World, however, are really well done and solid mechanics. The only potential issues with those are that the depth they add to the game may be too much for a new player to grasp. The in-game advisors and help articles can assist with that though.
Simply put, Brave New World adds a lot to an already good game, making it a worthy expansion to purchase and expand your gameplay with.
Due to the length of a Civilization V game, I am not able to edit the video as well as I would like. (What can I say, the video editors I have do not want to work with nine hours and forty two minutes of 1080, 60FPS footage.) The complete game is separated into six parts on YouTube, with a playlist covering all of it, but here is just the final segment, where victory is achieved.