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Civilization V 3-Years Later Review


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).


  1. Civilization V - Introduction
  2. Civilization V - Game Creation & City Founding
  3. Civilization V - Research, Social Policies, and Economy
  4. Civilization V - Movement & Combat
  5. Civilization V - Diplomacy
  6. Civilization V - Victory
  7. Civilization V Base Game Conclusion
  8. Civilization V - Gods & Kings Expansion
  9. Civilization V - Brave New World Expansion
  10. Civilization V with Expansions Conclusion
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