Civilization V 3-Years Later Review
Reviewed by: Guest_Jim_*
Reviewed on: November 27, 2013
A necessary quality for a reviewer is the ability to critically analyze an experience and put as complete an impression as possible, into clear and succinct words. Whether the experience was good or bad, a reviewer must be able to accurately and thoroughly describe it, so someone reading it can surmise what their own experience will be like. This has the interesting side effect of being able to find good points in bad games and bad points in good games.
Why did I just write that paragraph? Because the game I am reviewing here is Sid Meier's Civilization V, a game I have put over 230 hours in over the past two years I have owned it (making it the third-most played game in my Steam library). As you can naturally guess from that statistic, I enjoy the game quite a lot. However, as I attempted to explain in the earlier paragraph, just because I, or anyone enjoys a game, that does not mean we cannot find issues with it.
Civilization V is a turn-based, 4X game, which is a variant of the strategy genre, characterized by large gameworlds, finite resources, and the ultimate goal of defeating enemies through conflict or diplomacy. Specifically 4X stands for explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate and a key part of all four is micromanagement by the player. Often the games of this genre will have an AI to assist you, but only a human player can take full advantage of each opportunity and resource.
When you play Civilization V, you are not just some species or race with certain advantages and disadvantages, trying to conquer the world, but a leader from humanity' history. Want to build a new Roman nation as Augustus Caesar? Give Napoleon or Alexander the Great another chance at the world? This game gives you that chance as you take a civilization from its beginning, through the technological ages, until finally reaching the future.
Originally released in 2010, Civilization V has received continued support since then through patches, content packs with new civilizations, and two large expansions: Gods & Kings and Brave New World. As you are actually able to play with or without those expansions, I am going to give them their own pages in this review, rather than mixing the mechanics they add or refine in with the base game's.
Does Civilization V stand the test of time, or should it fade into dust and memory, like many before it? Read on to find out.
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.
Research, Social Policies, and Economy:
Technically speaking, Civilization V has three national economies (and both expansions add one more each) and more local economies. The three national economies are for gold, research points, and culture points. Gold naturally can be used to purchase things, such as units and buildings, but is also a necessity for a thriving nation, as a nation in the red will be punished. Research points are used to conduct research into a long, complex tech tree, and are earned from buildings you build in your cities, and some other sources I will get to later. Culture points are spent unlocking social policies, which can be very powerful, and are accumulated like research points are, but from different buildings.
Careful exploitation of resources will leave you with more than enough gold income each turn. On many occasions I have found myself with many thousands of gold because there is not always much use for it. I tend to only purchase units when I am impatient or need to raise an army immediately, and impatience again is why I will purchase buildings instead of letting them be built normally. However, spending gold is the only way to upgrade units to something more powerful, preserving their earned bonuses. Purchasing tiles to extend my border, though, can be very strategic and is something to be mindful of. You do not want to have a road built outside of your border that an enemy can grab, and those prevent you from using without an Open Borders treaty. Conversely, you can use your borders to limit the movement of your enemies or to snatch up resources you would rather they not get (uranium, for example).
Of course, sometimes you are not so lucky and do find yourself losing money each turn, but there are often ways to turn that around. For example, setting your cities to focus on generating money, instead of production, research, culture, etc., will at least reduce your deficit spending. This leaves me with two minds about the gold economy. On the one hand, it does not seem very powerful on its own, because it is not particularly difficult to obtain. On the other hand, there are instances when you may come close to emptying your coffers to give yourself a necessary strategic advantage.
The research economy, however, you can never forget about. Part of that is because you must always be researching something, but also because research is necessary to unlock all but the most basic units and buildings, and I do mean most basic. Your civilization begins at prehistoric times when all you know is how to build farms and monuments. Pottery, mining, bronze working, and even a calendar have to be researched. As you advance through the technology tiers, you also advance through the eras of humanity, such as the Renaissance and Atomic eras, and unlock the ability to build world wonders. The Pyramids, Great Wall, Statue of Liberty, and more can be unlocked and built in your cities, granting some kind of bonus. (The expansions add more wonders and modify the effects of some.)
'Standing on the shoulders of giants,' is very true for research in Civilization V, which may or may not be welcome by some. You see, the paths of the tech tree cross multiple times, so you cannot focus on one branch for long before hitting a dead end.
Unlike gold, research cannot be stored up; it is just a constant income that must be dedicated to a single project, which will be completed in so many turns. That is certainly realistic as you cannot store up creativity, but it would be nice if you could at least queue up the next technology to research.
The culture economy may be the most powerful of the three, as adopting a single social policy can cause a large swing in numbers. Happiness is one of the more important numbers concerning your nation, as a happy nation grows and eventually starts a Golden Age, which boosts all kinds of output. Many social policies can affect happiness and I have seen single policies swing happiness from a negative value to double digits in the positive. Though perhaps not as extreme with gold or science, other social policies can have a similar effect on them, too.
Social policies fall into certain domains that each have their own focus. Rationalism, for example, has a strong focus on science while Honor affects combat. Within these domains the policies are arrayed in a tree, with some requiring others be explored first. Completing an entire domain will unlock bonuses that can be more powerful than any one social policy offers.
The culture economy is more like the gold economy in how it is grown. You gather up culture points and spend them on new policies, similar to how you gather gold, but you cannot lose culture points, unlike gold. Unlocking social policies and adding cities does increase the cost of purchasing social policies though, so it is not as simple as having a constant income to spend.
To put it simply, if you want to win, you must exploit the social policies. Something that helps with that is an option when you set up a game to allow policy saving. This means you can wait to purchase a policy after acquiring enough points to do so, and gain its benefits at the exact moment you want it.
The Brave New World expansion brought with it significant changes, and in some ways fundamental changes to the policy system. That will be covered later.
That covers the national economies, but there are still the production and food economies that exist for each city to discuss. Production is what you need to build anything within a city and comes from tile enhancements, such as mines and lumber mills, as well as some buildings, such as factories. Food comes from farms and some buildings, and, as you would guess, is necessary for the population of a city to grow.
Each city can be told to focus on any one of these economies, and an AI will try to achieve the greatest results with the city's population. Sadly, while this AI tries, it does not always succeed. For example, when set to production, a city may have some unemployed citizens not because there is nowhere for them to work, but because they are simply not being assigned to work. I have never noticed this happening when setting a city to maximize the output of any other resource.
Altogether, the economies of Civilization V are quite deep, which may make them somewhat intimidating to a new player, especially the science and culture economies. Fortunately parts of them are restricted until you achieve the proper era, so you do not have to read everything the moment you start a game. Just examine what you have access to immediately or soon, and read more as things become available. If you are not interested in studying the complexities of these economies though, you will probably want to stay away from the game.
Movement & Combat:
Okay, normally I would not expect 'movement' to be in a page title, but it has to be in this case, and not for a good reason. One of the technologies you unlock are roads, which speed up travel across the map and increase the gold output of cities. Eventually bridges for crossing rivers and railroads are unlocked to further speed up transportation. That is all good. Building roads, however, can be decidedly annoying.
The workers that build roads can be told to build them on the tile they are standing on, or to build them from one hex to another. The problem is that only an AI can decide what path that worker takes. You may notice in the videos of my playing that I tend to only allow workers to build new roads in straight paths. That is because, normally, they cannot mess that up, but sometimes they do. The AI tries to have the worker take the shortest route, but sometimes that path is not what you want. Personally I tend to have my roads travel straight and make as few turns as needed. The AI, on the other hand, will weave a road through the terrain, which is not necessarily shorter. That is if you are building a new road. If you are instead trying to build a more direct connection between two already-connected points, you are going to want to manually build the road. The worker will actually build a road to the previously built road, then run along it, stopping once it has arrived at the destination you gave it. This leaves that more-direct connection unbuilt and some time wasted. At least you can trust workers to replace roads with the faster railroads, instead of going off the path.
Something else to mention here is that after setting a unit to do something, you cannot see what it was. If you forget where a unit was supposed to go, you will have to wait for it to arrive before you find out. Needless to say, that can be irritating when you are trying to move a large number of units.
Resources are very important for any war, so you must have a secure supply line. Now you do not have to feed your units in Civilization V, but I wanted a transition into talking about combat.
The simplest way I can think to put it is that Civilization V is a turn-based game on a hexagonal grid. That really covers the basic mechanics to it. It does get more complicated as you unlock artillery and aircraft, which can have very impressive range and damage potential, but you still need land units to conquer cities. Some naval units have the ability to directly attack cities as well, but most are limited to just long-range attacks or attacking other ships.
I am not sure what all there is to say about the combat itself, beyond the previous paragraph. When you factor in other components, such as the gold and science economies though, then things can get very interesting.
The gold economy, as I mentioned earlier, can be very powerful if someone declares war on you, as you can quickly amass an army by purchasing the units you need. On many occasions I have turned around a surprise attack doing just that, and eventually crushed my enemy. Of course, one thing that greatly helps, especially late game, is what technology you have researched. More advanced units can be devastating. In one of the games I recorded for this video, I received six units through a social policy that were actually ahead of what I had researched, and they simply dominated the battle. They could wipe out enemy units in single attacks that could have cut my own units down to half health. Cities, too, were devastated by those six units, especially after my artillery weakened them at range. There is an odd sense of satisfaction to destroying a trireme with the cannon fire of a battleship.
While enjoyable and occasionally necessary, combat is not one of Civilization V's strongest features. It is well designed and implemented, but, unless you are confident of victory, you are probably going to stay out of it as much as possible. To be fair, this is probably a good approach for the developers to encourage. After all, you are trying to build a successful civilization, and that does not necessitate militarily conquering the world. Victory conditions, however, will be on a different page. I do want to talk about one result of combat before leaving this page though.
When you conquer a city, you have three choices of what to do with it, most of the time. The three choices are to annex it, which brings it under you direct control; make it a puppet city, which brings it into your empire, but it manages itself; or raze it to the ground. Capital cities, however, can never be razed, but if another civilization conquered it first, you can have the option to liberate the city, returning it to its original owner. This can have the effect of resurrecting a civilization.
Annexing, puppeting, and razing cities each have their own benefits and costs. Obviously annexing a city has the benefit of granting you complete control over the city. However, at first the citizens will try to resist you (which a courthouse will address) and an annexed city will produce a lot of unhappiness. The people do not want to be ruled by you, after all.
Puppeting does not give you direct control, but it does create less unhappiness. Its citizens also do not hate you as much, so a courthouse is not needed. The catch is that you do not get the full output of a puppet city, and without direct control of the city, you cannot have it build units or even purchase units at it. Units can be stationed at it though, including aircraft.
Razing will remove a population tick each turn until nothing is left of the city but ruins (and it will destroy a unit stationed at the city). This does come at the cost of unhappiness and you lose that city's borders, but there can be advantages to choosing this option. Sometimes a conquered city is just in a bad position, and this is how you can fix that, by destroying one city to build another.
By the way, you cannot raze a puppet city, but you can annex a puppet city and raze an annexed city whenever you want (with the exception of a capital city).
Remember, you are but one civilization in a world of many, so you do want to consider how your actions will appear to others, and occasionally try to form partnerships. Constantly being at war will make other civilizations fear and hate you. Granting open border treaties, research agreements, and trading with other civilizations, however, will earn respect and friendship. That friendship can be invaluable if war is declared on you, so you need not fight alone. It can also get you out of a tight spot, if you need some resource badly.
Unfortunately, diplomacy does seem to have a mechanical bias for the AI. What I mean by that is that there are certain things that can really annoy the AI, and they will yell at you or even denounce you, and you will have no idea why. The best example I have of this is that the AI will complain if you are founding cities or expanding borders into areas they claim. There is no way to know what land they have claimed though, and you cannot lay claim to land either, to discourage them from building there. You can say 'Do not settle new cities by us,' as can they, but exactly how far that extends, I do not know. In one game it really felt like this one enemy considered the entire continent it was on its territory. The city I settled may have been on the complete opposite side of the continent from that civilization, but it still demanded I do not do that again. At least they do not complain about this when you are at war.
The AI will also try to make trades about as unbalanced as those my mom offers in a game of Monopoly. I can understand if they want me to give them money as part of a research agreement, especially as those agreements cost money, but when they ask for horses and iron, strategic resources, that is crossing a line. You cannot really negotiate with the AI for a better deal though. They will tell you what will make a deal work for them, but if you do not like that, you might as well move on.
Still, it is best to be on good terms with the other civilizations, which is why I have taken to giving luxury items, which have no strategic value, to a civilization upon meeting them. I have no clue if that really helps, but it might. Of course then I will run into the scenario of being denounced one turn and asked to continue giving dyes or pearls the next.
I do not know if this is the best attitude to have, but it does feel like the diplomacy of Civilization V, when it comes to AI players, is at its best when you are trying to exterminate them. Perhaps in the future this will change. I know I would at least like to be able to lay claim to territory, so every civilization can know not to build somewhere, or so I can know where they want to build. Also the ability to talk to multiple civilizations at once would be nice too, to form alliances more easily.
The purpose of Civilization V is to build a civilization that will stand the test of time. That is a somewhat nonspecific goal, as standing the test of time can be achieved many ways, so there are multiple ways to achieve victory in the game.
The most straightforward is the Domination victory, which requires you to be the last civilization still in control of their original capital. At least that is the case until the Brave New World expansion, which then required you capture every original capital to win this way. Either way, we are talking about military conquest.
If you would rather work for a less destructive end, then you can go for one of the other four victories. The easiest of these is probably the Time victory, which only requires your civilization to be the most powerful by a certain in-game time, typically the year 2050.
The Science victory, naturally, requires you focus on researching technologies. Eventually you will unlock the Apollo Program and the components you need to build a spacecraft. Once built, these parts can be assembled at your capital, and the whole thing will lift off, cementing your success in the stars.
The Diplomatic victory is achieved by getting a United Nations vote to pronounce you the world leader. Being the person to build the United Nations wonder helps as you receive additional votes, but it is also important to have made allegiances with other civilizations and city-states. These conditions have been slightly changed in the Brave New World expansion, as a minimum number of votes must be achieved at the World Congress, which replaces the United Nations.
Cultural victory was originally a somewhat involved victory. It required building the Utopia Project wonder, which is only available after completing five domains of social policies. That can require a significant number of culture points, but is certainly doable. Brave New World again changed this victory type, but in a more dramatic way than the others. That expansion adds a Tourism mechanic and this victory requires your civilization's culture to achieve 'Influential' status with all others. As the other civilizations are trying for the same thing, that may not be as easy as it sounds.
Five means of victory exist, but only one is needed. That does not mean you should just focus on one, as the other civilizations are also trying to win (though at lower difficulties, they really do not stand much of a chance). Be flexible so that you can grasp victory no matter the turn of events. Once you win though, the game need not end. You can press the 'Wait! Just… one… more… turn…' button and continue playing. There is actually an achievement for scoring all five victories, but, in my experience, there appears to be a bug with this. The Science victory apparently cannot be achieved after another victory, for some reason.
Not completely sure what kind of concluding critical opinion I can give this section. The different victories make sense to have and are challenging to achieve, but not overly difficult. Provided you are aware of them as you play, it should not be very difficult to keep driving towards one or many of them. This is definitely a good thing, as at least I find the enjoyable experience of the game being the development of the civilization, and not the final victory. That just means it is time to start another match.
Civilization V Base Game Conclusion:
Has Civilization V scored its own victory, three years after release? I have to say yes. It offers deep gameplay to satisfy a gamer's micromanaging desires and infinite replay-ability, with its various options and randomly generated maps. It also has scenarios you can play out, multiplayer, and modding support, none of which have I gone into, but they all add to it. (By the way, mods are available through the Steam Workshop, making it easy to install and remove them as you wish.)
My personal favorite aspect of Civilization V is the control you have with building your civilization. Combat is nice and satisfying, but it is the empire building I love and play for. If you enjoy such gameplay too, then I can only imagine you loving this game. Of course it is turn-based, so if you prefer a true real-time experience, then you may not find this as enjoyable a game. If you simply do not enjoy strategy games with micromanagement, obviously stay away.
Now, here is a video of some Civilization V, base game, gameplay. It covers the early game, up until war is first declared on me.
Gods & Kings Expansion:
As the first major expansion to Civilization V, Gods & Kings introduced many new mechanics and tweaked some old ones. The two most obvious additions are Espionage and Faith.
Faith is another national economy, similar to the culture economy, as I described earlier. You earn it through certain buildings and enhancements. Eventually you will accumulate enough to found a pantheon and select a bonus that depends on the number of followers. For example, one bonus awards research points for cities connected by roads. You will have this bonus for the remainder of the game.
As more Faith is brought in, a Great Prophet will appear and can be spent to found a religion, which offers two more beliefs that bring bonuses, like the pantheon did. Finally a second prophet will appear and provide two more bonus beliefs.
As the bonuses from religions are tied to the number of followers, you need the ability to manipulate the number of followers, and that comes from two units, in addition to the Great Prophet. The Missionary can be used to convert citizens to a religion, while an Inquisitor is used to remove another faith from a city. The latter is very useful if another civilization sends missionaries to your cities, attempting to convert them, or if you have conquered cities of another faith. You use Faith to purchase these two units, as well as some others, such as Great Persons, if the appropriate social policies have been unlocked.
When you found a religion you do have the ability to select which religion it is, from a list of real religions. Your choice has no impact on the religion in the game, beyond the icon and name used to identify it.
The Faith economy is similar to that of the Gold economy, as I described earlier. It can have a beneficial impact on your civilization, but can also be easy to forget it is there. Sure you will notice if your cities are converting to another religion, just as you will notice if you are losing money each turn, but outside of that and certain prompts, the world just moves on.
Espionage, the other major addition with Gods & Kings is, well, not something I really care much for. Typically I have it turned off in my games (but not in those I recorded for this review) because its affects seem too insignificant or too negative for me.
You are awarded your first spy when you reach the Renaissance Era, and then one more each time you enter a new era, or construct the National Intelligence Agency. Spies can be deployed in any of your cities, to protect against enemy spies, or sent to enemy cities to establish surveillance and potentially steal a technology. You can also send them to City-States to affect local elections. This will grant you more influence over the City-States. Successful missions give the spies experience, so they can eventually level up and become more effective.
The reasons I do not care much for the Espionage mechanic is that it feels rather limited and poorly implemented to me. Protecting yourself against the espionage of other civilizations is not easy, especially when you have a large number of cities to be spied on. There are buildings you can construct to reduce the effectiveness of enemy spies, but I honestly am not sure how effective these buildings are. I have built them in cities but seen no real impact on their potential to be spied on. The wonders, which can only be built in single cities, can have a very noticeable effect.
The only way for a spy to level up is to run successful missions. One problem with that though, is also a problem with their ability to steal technology. I tend to be the most advanced nation in my games, so my spies have nothing to steal, and thus cannot have successful missions to gain experience. Enemy nations, however, almost always can steal a technology from me. As I do not really experience a great benefit for myself, but my enemies do, I simply turn it off. It is just easier that way.
With Faith being somewhat forgettable and Espionage being something I just leave off, is Gods & Kings a worthwhile expansion? Actually it is. Faith is still a useful mechanic, but more importantly, the expansion adds several, useful tweaks. The ability to purchase Great Persons, for example, can really change things. In one of the review games I played, I purchased three Great Scientists to rush to a specific technology I wanted. The expansion also adds a number of units, buildings, and wonders that I really enjoy taking advantage of. The CN Tower, for example, places radio towers in all of your cities, which grants a 33% culture bonus to each one.
Gods & Kings really does live up to the word 'expansion,' even if some of what it adds is not as impressive as I would like it to be.
Here is a video of a complete war in the Gods & Kings expansion. If you want to see how the game began, you can follow the link below the embed.
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.
Civilization V with Expansions Conclusion:
It was hard to write that earlier conclusion for just the base game, because I wanted so much to say, 'it is not as good a game as it is with the expansions.' I could not though, because I had not gone into those expansions yet. Now I can say it. Civilization V is a very enjoyable game, if you enjoy the gameplay it offers, and the expansions only make it better. If you enjoy the base game, you will feel the need to purchase the expansions to augment your experience.
I have over 230 hours in Civilization V, as I stated earlier, and not a minute of that do I consider lost. The game keeps pulling me back in, and the reason is because of its well designed and balanced micromanagement potential. I like selecting the buildings to be built and finding the best spots to settle cities. I relish hunting for new islands and continents to explore, and every match I start offers something new. I know that is why I like the game and recommend it to others. If that is the kind of gameplay you enjoy as well, then I can certainly recommend it to you.