A Free World: Civilization V (For A Little While)

We are most amused! What? No, I DON'T care who said it! I'm the bloody Queen now, bitch!

Crush the weak, spare the weekend! Sid Meier and Some Other Peoples’ Civilization V is open to all-comers for a bit, from now until some point on Sunday (1PM PDT, whatever that means in real time), making it the perfect time to give its hexy new style a shot. If you like it, you can buy the full game for 75% off, and have plenty of time to get used to it before the imminent Gods and Kings expansion hits. What megalomaniacal goodness does that contain?

Totally worth redownloading all 5GB of Bioshock...

Obviously, the big addition is Religion. You’ll be able to pick a real one, from Christianity, Islam and Judaism to Zoroastrianism and Confucianism, or create your own from scratch if you want One Nation Under The Flying Spaghetti Monster. On the secular side, spies are another tool in your bag of dirty tricks, with the power to shake-up the late-game. Unlike most units, they’re not built but unlocked individually, improving the more you make use of them.

Along with this, there are new scenarios to play through, including the Fall of Rome and a new steampunky adventure, extra civilisations including the Celts and Byzantines, new Wonders, a more advanced naval combat system for all your belly-button related conquest needs, and an improved AI. It’s due out on June 19th, and you’ll find all the details right here.


  1. CaspianRoach says:

    I’ve yet to defeat the “This item is unavailable in your region” boss, so tough.

    • TormDK says:

      Thats the price you pay for living in that part of the world.

      On the up side you buy cheaper than we do for games that are released in your region.

      Civ5 isn’t released at all in Russia? Or just not this special offer?

      • MistyMike says:

        Civilization is yet to reach Russia.

        • pistolhamster says:

          Heh :)

        • pistolhamster says:

          I was unaware that Civ 5 is going to get an expansion that seems to change for the better many of those things I disliked about Civ 5. That is, reading about it since I never bought it. Untill today, great thing with the free weekend. It let me nibble enough to the bait and a tenner for such a game is truly a bargain – no matter what disagreement over design philosophy you might have.

  2. Shortwave says:

    Is two days really long enough to get anywhere in this game?
    It would be neat to go 1v1 against a buddy all weekend but not if it only means we can only finish one or two rounds. I heard matches can last like 10+ hours / days? Ja? >.<

    I admit, never played a game quite like this but still tons of RTS..

    • Strangerator says:

      Two days is enough to get through a game of Civ single player, though of course a lot depends on what settings you choose.

    • JD Ogre says:

      Just think of it as just a timed demo with no gameplay restrictions or caps…

  3. zeroskill says:

    Might want to add that Red Orchestra 2 is also free this weekend. Comes with a 75% off too.

    • brulleks says:

      I logged in to say this as well. Much more interesting than moving little itty bitty doll men around your itty bitty girly board.

      • lurkalisk says:

        How dare you!? Us manly men of might and velour make our manliness known through strategy and bizarre settlement nomenclature!

        • brulleks says:

          Ah, PC gaming – the psychological saviour for all those with a Napoleon complex ; )

          • brulleks says:

            OK, I take it back. I just tried Red Orchestra and hated every second of it. Back to TF2 again.

    • JD Ogre says:

      Only the multiplayer, though, so not very interesting.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        The multiplayer can be simply outstanding when you get enough human players in the same match.

        I’m hoping the free weekend and discount bring a whole lot of new people into the game; it definitely needs the boost. I understand that the latest patch has dramatically improved the game too, so I think new players coming in will be getting a better experience compared to pre-patch.

        • B1A4 says:

          I already played several hours with new patch and classic mod is superb, it could bring back all those RO vets. Also there were 1500 players, where normaly used to be 300 max, so… i hope this will stay for a long time. It really is a great game.

  4. golem09 says:

    just picked up Civ 4 two days ago on amazon for 7,49$, now I’m wondering wether I should get this, or play Civ 4 until the expansion

    • Nick says:

      stick with civ 4

      • JD Ogre says:

        Civ 4’s definitely the better game.

        • Rich says:

          It’s especially fun when you use too many nukes and the game goes wobbly.
          After a while they started falling down sideways and the mushroom clouds would come up at a 40deg angle from the ground.

          …or at least that’s what happened to me years ago.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Stick with the f-four. Four.

        Just in case though, we’re police.

    • djbriandamage says:

      I think I prefer Civ 5. You won’t likely find it much cheaper than 75% off so I recommend buying it. I enjoyed it very much and I’ve played every Civ game since the first one for DOS. I don’t know (or care) whether it’s the best Civ yet but it’s outstandingly fantastic and is streamlined to reduce needless complexity to make gameplay leaner and more focused.

      You won’t regret buying it, but the DLC doesn’t add much so I’d avoid that unless you want a few new scenarios or civs.

      • TormDK says:

        I much prefer Civ5 as well. No stacks of Doom is a god send.

        • Smashbox says:

          Stacks of doom are gamebreaking, in my opinion. For that alone (plus hexes) Civ V is better. Hopefully the religion addon can solve their biggest omission, too.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          No stacking was the only thing I liked about Civ V. I haven’t played the game with religions yet, so maybe that will add something. But yeah, I have to agree with the earlier sentiment that Civ IV is a much better, richer game….except for the unit stacking.

      • The First Door says:

        I much prefer it too… feels more like a well balanced board game (except the A.I. naval combat of course), rather than the slightly rambling rules of Civ IV. That being said, though, I think it is just a preference thing.

        • eaprivacypolicy says:

          If an objective god-entity was to evaluate Civ IV against V it would find IV a better game, nevertheless V is a good game and personally I am glad they made it different (as in Civilization: Panzer General) because IV was still not outdated.

          However, the biggest criticism I have of V is not even the Xbox like interface, but the total destruction of the once-glorious diplomacy. Diplomacy is broken and it makes it a shadow of a Civ game in my opinion

    • MaXimillion says:

      Civ 4 is the better game by far, and has lots of interesting mods like Fall From Heaven and Caveman 2 Cosmos should you get bored with the main game at some point.

      Civ 5 is a decent, but mostly broken game, even after all the patches. He’s a nice analysis of what exactly is wrong with it: link to garath.net

      • drewski says:

        That’s a really interesting PoV.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Yeah, vs. what I’ve played of Civ V, for all its just-a-wee-bit-obsessive-disassembly, that article does mmmostly ring true. Particularly the AI grumbles and bit about how IV solved ICS.

        Although AI leaders insulting you goes back to Civ I, IIRC. From what I’ve played of V, it seems to be as tied to their slightly quirky stance toward you as usual—the friendly Mongols are quite polite.

    • lurkalisk says:

      Civ 4 is better (BtS, that is), but I’ve played far too much of it. It seems this expansion will do nicely to put Civ 5 on comparable ground, though.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I think four is more polished and the pinnacle of its formula. Five saw them trying to go to a better formula, but it’s not quite there yet and will improve with iteration.

    • ichigo2862 says:

      Both are good in their own right. I’d say get it.

    • benkc says:

      According to a friend who plays way more Civ than I do, Civ 4’s Fall from Heaven mod beats Civ 5, but Civ 5 beats Civ 4 unmodded.

    • Taorgax says:

      I say give it a shot. Most of the hate comes from Civ IV veterans anyway. Newer players like yourself won’t be as jaded with the changes, so you might get a lot of enjoyement out of it

  5. MrYo says:

    Like I said after the first time I played the Demo: I’ll never play this game, not if it’s free and not even if they give me money to play it. It’s just that bad compared to Civ IV.

    • Xardas Kane says:

      So basically you judged a game, a Civilization game of all things, by playing a DEMO? A demo with a 100 turns limit?


      • LionsPhil says:

        You mean the same way people judged Civ IV and then went “here is my money, all of it”?

        I mean I kind of get the point, but forming an opinion of if the full game is worth your money is what the demo is for. If you don’t like the demo, paying for the rest of it isn’t really rational behaviour.

        • Xardas Kane says:

          It would have been perfectly fine if he had said “I didn’t like the demo, not interested”. However did you miss how hateful and judgemental his comment was? And all that based on a pre-release demo? So hateful in fact that he refuses to try the game for FREE? No, I don’t get it.

          • MrYo says:

            No reason to freak out like that. I just wanted to say, in my opinion, Civ V is not worth playing. They did remove all the things I liked in Civ IV and tried to hide it under some wonderful graphics. Then, when I was actually just about to try it again because I thought they might have fixed some issues, they started this DLC crap. I mean, come on, in Civ IV I could just download a FREE mod or mod the game myself if I wanted to add new units, factions and things like that. Now they want me to PAY for this, even after I already paid the full prize for the game? I will never support any company treating their customers like that.
            So, there you got more reasons for that “hateful” comment of mine.
            Oh, and I refuse to try the game for free not because I’m full of hate, but because I don’t want to waste my time when I could play better strategy games and have more fun.

          • lurkalisk says:

            @MrYo – “in Civ IV I could just download a FREE mod or mod the game myself if I wanted to add new units, factions and things like that.”

            You could do that in Civ 5 as well.

            To be honest, you seem unnaturally passionate about your distaste for the game. Willful ignorance is a terrible thing, so were it free, it would only make sense to give it a try, being a Civ title. At least then you’d know. Who knows, maybe it wouldn’t destroy your soul.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            What lurkalisk said. To me it seems you are just desperately trying to find a reason not to like the game. You don’t want the DLC? Don’t buy it? You want mods? There are TONS of mods for the game out there. And what oh so much did they remove? Religion always felt half-baked in Civ 4, they were all interchangeable and only made the early game diplomacy that much easier and simpler, not to mention having 5 religions in a single city makes no sense.. Whipping, drafting and chopping were interesting mechanics, but they never were intended to be as OP as they were. The slider was almost a no brainer – keep it above 70% by spamming cottages and that’s basically it for it, except for the occasional drop to 0% to accumulate money right before you get your first library. I also like policies more than the civics. So what exactly DID they remove so much?

            Not that Civ V doesn’t have its faults, it has a terrible AI, a happiness system that is nowhere near as good as the maintenance in 4 and way too few units and technologies. Guess what, they are adding at least half a dozen new technologies, 27 units, 13 buildings and 9 wonders.

            So I still don’t get the hate. Try the game, it won’t destroy your humanity.

        • LionsPhil says:

          …having played the free weekend for an evening, I’m left with the distinct feeling that my demo impression was right, and I’m glad I haven’t spent money on this, even sale money.

          The reason I’m even typing this comment right now is because the damn thing locked up because the useless advisor’s vague and unhelpful links to a ruined civilopedia popped up after a declaration of war with an ally against a third party while the diplomacy pane was still open or something and made the game lock up. Wouldn’t even redraw the screen. Been out how many months now?

          Edit: Oh, nice! It’s not even that much of an edge case; it’s repeatable a few seconds after war is declared. Quality.

  6. Gnoupi says:

    I applaud Richard for the effort taken in making that second image.

  7. Torgen says:

    I enjoyed this, but got sidetracked when something else went on sale. Sooooo many games. I think I’m done until Christmas at least. Looking through my Steam library is like checking under the couch cushions and finding things you forgot you owned.

  8. MFToast says:

    Can’t wait for Gods and Kings! Everything that I initially bitched about not being included in Civ V will now be there. Also, Irish people.

  9. golem09 says:

    After all, how can you start getting into a mega game like Civ, when the Binding of Isaac expansion is released on Monday and will eat your time raw in big chunks.

  10. Vinraith says:

    It’s worth noting that most Civ 5 content is 80% off on Gamersgate this weekend, too. Since it all has to be registered on Steam no matter what, you might as well hunt down the best price.

    • Torgen says:

      Damn you, Vinraith! (shakes fist)

      So, if you were to pick two DLCs, which would they be?

      • JD Ogre says:

        Definitely not the Cradle of Civilization pack(s) – they’re just maps.

        Otherwise, any of the DLC civs’ll do ya fine – they’re all quite overpowered compared to the defaults…

    • MythArcana says:

      Mandatory sTEAM account required! And this is yet another glowing example exactly why I won’t touch the damned thing.

  11. pakoito says:

    Where’s my shit-poking stick? This game needs it badly.

  12. Elmokki says:

    Let’s start by saying Civilization 5 is very good regardless of being a dissapointment. I actually went back to Civilization 4 for a while after playing Civilization 5, but the removal of stacks and the other new combat things drove me back. Even if Civilization 5 was a horrible game, which it isn’t, the removal of stacks if something it does right. Sadly AI couldn’t quite handle it and it was (hopefully it’s been patched somewhat) fairly easy to beat massive armies with a small well placed army.

  13. yhalothar says:

    I’m going to buy Civ5 when it goes Complete, with all DLCs – i.e. when it become the game it should have been in the first place.

    • Xardas Kane says:

      It already has such a release? Just buy it now for 13 bucks (GOTY that is) and the expansion when it comes out…

  14. Xardas Kane says:

    Just a heads-up, those aren’t the only changes Gods and Kings will bring. In fact most of the reasons why I considered Civ V inferior to IV will be fixed. Artillery has been nerfed and has bonus damage against cities only, many new archery units, which was a pretty big hole in the original, new technologies and now the Classical Era has 2 levels of techs instead of one, Modern Era a bit more fleshed out, reworked combat with units now having 100 hp instead of 10 and will generally take longer to kill; melee ships, better combat AI (supposedly).

    And the absolutely WORST thing about CIv V – the diplomacy, has reportedly been beefed up. The “trying to win the game the same way as us” modifier is gone, modifiers will fade out over time (meaning they won’t hate your guts just because they denounced you 2500 years ago), no warmonger status for destroying a civ that attacked you in the first place, deals can be renewed and don’t just end abrupty, and embassies can be built in the capital cities of other civs revealing them on the map. You can’t make Defensive Pacts or open Borders without an embassy. Your choice between the last 3 policy trees will have an impact on diplomacy much like in Civ 4, kind of replacing religion after the Renaissance.

    Also, new city state types, CSs offer more varied missions and the influence you gain by giving them gold has been nerfed. You can also park an army at their border and ask for tribute.

    Overall the only thing still sorely lacking IMO is a local health system (as opposed to global happiness) and a better diplo VC, Still, apart from balancing concerns (new luxury resources+religion=game-breaking happiness boost? And since Stonehenge gives faith now does that mean that culture VC is even harder than before to achieve?) this is shaping up to be a fantastic expansion. Kudos to Ed Boon, at least on paper it sure sounds like the guy knows what he’s doing. Unlike some other people cough* John… cough* Shafer…

    • Severian says:

      Thanks for summarizing all those important changes in your comment, If they actually come to fruition, and Diplomacy and warfare AI aren’t as borked as they are now, I will be a happy camper. Didn’t Civ IV only hit its stride after an expansion or two?

      • Xardas Kane says:

        Since I have been on the lookout for every piece of detail out there I felt I had to share it here. :D

        Well, Civ IV’s launch was indeed quite messy too, ATI graphic cards not working, chance of winning a fight not showing etc… So yeah, it actually took one disappointing (Warlords) and one excellent (BTS) expansion to become the game we love.

        However, vanilla Civ 4 with all the patches still is better than vanilla Civ 5 in almost every way.

      • drewski says:

        The impression I get of vanilla V is that the design is (to varying degrees depending on the observer) borked.

        Vanilla Civ IV design was fine – needed tweaking, but it was conceptually sound. It was buggy as all get out, and missing playability features, but the gameplay was there – they just needed to refine it and bring it to the player better.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Vanilla IV’s a pretty solid game. The most important thing BtS added was to remove the CD check IMO.

  15. ExecutionersBong says:

    Was dissapointed by Civ V but loved the hexes and one unit per tile. That being said, Civ IV wasn’t exactly the hottest shit around before the expansion packs.

  16. Carra says:

    Civ 4 already had religion though… and spies.

    So what’s new?

    • Xardas Kane says:

      Did you actually care to check how religion and spies work in 5? Please do so and tell me 4 had THAT.

  17. NathanH says:

    I still like Civ 2 the best…

    • jaheira says:

      It is pretty difficult to top a game that has Elvis as your Culture Advisor.

      • LionsPhil says:

        It’s kind of disappointing that no Civ since that has actually had the advisors as a council of people who talk to you and each-other. IV and V’s little icons and tooltips for advice are nice gameplaywise, but V’s damn “I have some information” popups are pretty dire (not least because the information is often uselessly vague). They spent all this effort voicing and full-scene animating the diplomacy, then used static images, boilerplate, and what amounts to a “Hello! I’m annoying!” soundbite for the advisors.

        Good times, good times.

  18. Bfox says:

    omg i’m such a nerd, I knew instantly that second screenshot was from Systemshock