Firaxis Talk Us Through Civilization V’s Brave New World

There’s going to be a second major Civilization V expansion. It’s called Brave New World, it introduces 9 new Civs, the concepts of tourism, ideologies, international trade routes and archaeology, and basically it sounds like it’s pretty huge on an under-the-hood front. I had a big chat with Firaxis lead programmer Ed Beach and senior producer Dennis Shirk on what’s in there, why, how it works and why we’ll be forming impressive in-game art collections.

RPS: I guess the thing is to sum up for me and the readers how this is going to make Civ V different.

Ed Beach: We felt like with Gods and Kings, we’d really done a good job looking at the early to mid-part of the game, adding a lot of content and a lot of richness to the game there, with the new religion systems and then later with the espionage system. And we didn’t want to ignore that part of the game entirely, so we’ll talk later about the international trade routes which definitely come into play right at the very beginning of the game and are a big new change there.

Overall what we wanted the focus for this expansion to be was to look at that back half of the game from when you get into the twentieth century, and then you push on to one of the four different types of victories that are supported in Civilisation V, and we wanted to ramp up the tension and excitement level in that part of the game. So there are two things that we did: one was that we looked at the conflicts of the twentieth century. We already had a concept we just started to introduce in Civ V a little bit about different ideologies, where we had a freedom policy tree, an order policy tree, and an autocracy policy tree, and we wanted to bring that to the fore and really make civilisations make a commitment to one of those three different types of ideologies.

So when you reach the modern era you have to look around the world, see who’s going with which of the ideologies, who’s your friend, what type of victory you want to pursue, which ideologies might help you get there. You’ve got to make a key decision at that part of the game, are you going to be a freedom Civ, are you maybe going to take the workers of your country and try to unite them and get behind order and push towards victory that way? So there’s a big decision point there, big political and diplomatic blocks form around that, and that’s sort of where the tension towards the end of the game revolves.

RPS: And you’re completely locked to it once you choose it, presumably there’s no way to switch out to another one?

Ed Beach: Mostly. You can change it. You probably don’t want to, but there is this idea of a brand new system we have for cultural victory. Before in cultural victory all you were trying to do was just fill up policy trees, and you weren’t interacting with the other civilisations at all, very, very different now with Brave New World.

With Brave New World what you’re doing is you’re creating Great Works as well as Wonders, basically all sorts of different items that will attract people to want to come and visit your civilisation and sample all the great elements of culture that you have present in your civilisation. That starts producing what we call Tourism, and what you’re doing with the Tourism is you’re taking the glories of your civilisation and you’re pushing it out on all the other players and civilisations in the world, and getting them to realise what an amazing civilisation you’ve created.

If you push that cultural pressure out on them hard enough, and you have a different ideology than they do, then you can actually start to see effects in the game that are sort of similar to the 1989 bringing down of the Berlin wall, maybe Arab Spring sort of thing that we’ve seen more recently, where the people within those AI civilisations will start to become very unhappy about their leadership having adopted an unpopular ideology. And they will actually gain a whole bunch of unhappiness and they can actually choose, wow, we really need to switch and adopt freedom or order, or whatever the ideology that’s putting that cultural pressure on them is.

RPS: So you could basically disrupt someone’s autocracy and either they roll with it and adapt to what their people want or they basically end up losing because they’re in a state of revolt?

Ed Beach: Right. And as a player, if you are put in that position, then, you were saying do you ever switch ideologies, well you could, you might be in a situation where maybe you’re a very scientific player and you’ve been ignoring this whole cultural, diplomatic, theological battle, but your people are telling you that you picked the wrong ideology. You could go and switch to a different one and hopefully get your scientific progress still fast enough that you can get to the finish line before everyone else does.

Dennis Shirk: And you can certainly suck it up, if you’re not playing a culture game and your people are getting brow-beaten by this other ideology and they want to switch, I might decide to do the strongman thing and instead build plenty of happiness-inducing buildings and try to offset that loss of happiness to stick with the ideology that I believe in. So as a player you have options for that.

RPS: And the AI will presumably be trying to do the same to you, or does it behave a different way to how a player would in that regard?

Ed Beach: It’s playing the same game you are.

RPS: Ok. And with the ideologies, presumably there can be any amount of say, freedom ideologies, they don’t get taken out of play like building a wonder does once the first person chooses it or anything?

Ed: That’s correct, that’s a good point because the way the religion system works is as you’re configuring your religion, you’re pulling those religious beliefs out of the common pool, and once you lock that belief into your religion, it wasn’t available to anyone else.

Ideologies are a little bit different but they are more free-form than the social policy trees that are in the game right now, where there are five different choices, and the way they branch is all kind of hard-wired into them. With the ideology system, we just have level one, level two and level three social policies, we actually call them ideological tenets, and you can mix and match those and configure them. You can’t get a level three tenet until you have a certain number of pre-requisite level one and level two tenets, but you can kind of build up your own ideology. Your Russian order ideology is drawing from the same pool as the Chinese order ideology of your neighbour, but they might decide to choose exactly what social policies are slotting in where, and build it a little bit differently than you are.

RPS: With this added on to Gods and Kings as well, it’s quite a complex game now compared to Civ V when it first came out, which seemed to be trying to streamline a bunch of stuff and split it into core values, and now you’ve got quite a lot to learn in there.

Ed Beach: I would say that is true, but we do like the fact that a lot of these systems come on line and get unlocked as you go through the game, so you don’t have to learn it all at once, even if you’re brand new to this and you buy whatever megapack gets you all the content at once…

RPS: Civ V ultra-gold platinum edition…you’re going to run out of qualifiers soon for those I think…

Ed Beach: As soon as you get that pack you could still dive in, and you get to the early part of the game, you’ve got to learn religion, and now you’ve got to learn our trade routes, but then you play another 20 turns before another system kicks in, and they sort of build throughout the game like that.

Dennis Shirk: There are still new players out there that will probably try this not having touched Civ V. Being the second expansion pack, this is something that we really wanted to keep kind of building on, that people have been playing the game, at least our existing fans, for quite a long time now, and they’re ready to try some new depth to the game.

Ed Beach: And nine new civilisations coming to the game. We can’t talk about them all right now, we can only really talk about Poland, but what we have stuck to is that every time we introduce a new civilisation, we try to shake up the play style. That’s one of the things about Civilisation V, each civilisation has its own unique abilities that give it a special path through the game, and we’ve definitely done that as well with all the different civilisations in this expansion, which now brings the total to 43 different civilisations.

RPS: Good lord, that’s a lot of time to spend at the menu when you first boot it up I think. Was this, and I guess Gods and Kings too retrospectively, was it ever a part of the original game’s design, or was it only stuff that has come up as a result of what people are playing and what people are asking for?

Ed Beach: We’ve definitely come up with concepts, especially on the expansions on the fly, because as our fans have played it for a while, I mean we’re constantly on the community sites looking for the things that they think would be really awesome in the game. Sometimes we pick up on those ideas, sometimes we pick up on the ideas simply by playing some of our older titles, but we always see these lulls in the game, for instance in Civ V, the late game we didn’t think was as compelling as it could be.

The first half of the game, as we know with exploration, the new things that come online in the middle of the game are all very compelling, but as people start gearing up for the victory types that they’ve wanted, sometimes you find yourself clicking ‘next turn’ just a little bit too often instead of really engaging with the game. With this expansion we really wanted to give this whole new level of these interactions and ways to win in the late game that really make the late game race, the victory race, a lot more exciting.

RPS: Does it become more unpredictable as opposed to the more common long-winded stalemate that we do see in games in Civ?

Dennis Shirk: I personally think it’s become more unpredictable because especially the new battle of the culture game, your outgoing culture versus their incoming, et cetera, that battle means that you never quite know if you’re going to win. Just like if you’re playing Domination, you can try your best but sometimes you’re going to hit a roadblock. You might find that other civilisation that has this culture game that’s as strong as yours that might be really difficult to overcome, so you decide ‘I’m pretty far in the tech tree, I’m going to start switching to that’ and go for a spaceship instead, or decide to get to a culture victory by capturing all their great works or something like that.

I think you have play styles that you can switch to now whereas before, especially with the culture game, you couldn’t really switch. When you’d started down the culture path, you were dedicated to that. You couldn’t easily switch to a culture victory, you couldn’t gear up suddenly for a domination win. So I think the play styles are going to be a lot more varied.

Ed Beach: And part of that is that each of the ideologies, there are three ideological trees, and each of them supports three different ways, three of the different victory types with a lot of the ideological tenets that you can purchase within that ideology system. So for instance, if I’m playing as a freedom civilisation and I want to go for a culture victory, in that particular game what I want to do is, freedom gets huge bonuses for building broadcast towers in cities, and spreading their culture in that sort of Radio Free Europe, Voice of America type style, and that’s one way to go to a culture victory. But it might be very different if I’m playing as an order civilisation.

The way that the order civilisation wants to get to the culture victory, is they want the workers of the world to unite, and so if you can have a civilisation where your people’s happiness is very, very high, and all the other civilisations in the world see ‘wow, they have very great happy workers in their order civilisation, maybe that’s the way that we should be going,’ and you actually get bonuses to go towards the victory in that circumstance by trying to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat and making the workers of the world all happy with everything.

We have four different victory types, but a lot of the different ideologies actually have different ways to play the game to get to those victory types, so again another explosion of different ways to play through the game.

RPS: You mentioned this tourism concept for culture; is that something that’s actually visible in any way or is it more just a concept to explain the number as it were?

Dennis Shirk: It’s very visible, what we’ve basically done is before you just generated culture, you built lots of buildings, you filled up your tech trees. Now the culture yield itself is actually a defence for your civilisation, the amount of culture you’re pushing out. When you get to around a third of the way through the game, you’re going to start generating great people: great artists, great writers, great musicians, and they’re going to be able to create a great work of art or a great work of music in the game, and we actually have, in your cultural buildings now, we have slots for these, so one of your great artists might create ‘Starry Night’ and you put that in one of your museums.

That piece of work now is creating tourism, and it’s an actual yield, and you’re staring to build up tourism. Later on when archaeology comes online, you’re going to be running around on a second phase of exploration and discovery in the world when archaeology comes up because there’s now all these digs around the world that are actually reflections of stuff that happened earlier in the game where a battle might have taken place, where a barbarian camp was. You can extract artefacts from these sites and also put them in your museums.

Some of your wonders now have different great work spots, they create tourism. So you’re now creating tourism in parallel with creating culture, and that’s going to directly go head to head with other people’s culture, and you can get bonuses,. In other words if you have open borders with another civilisation, that creates a boost for your tourism. If you’ve got trade routes to that other civilisation, more boosts to your tourism. So it’s an ongoing battle that really becomes dynamic late in the game, because late in the game when you have a lot of tourism being pumped out, other civilisations might have to take notice and start creating more culture to defend against it, because their culture’s now being overwhelmed by your pushing tourism, it’s a dynamic way to play that game.

Ed Beach: We actually have a screen in the game where it’s a way for you to browse all the great works and amazing things that your civilisation has created. You can click on those, bring the painting back up, listen to the music again, just sort of enjoy your civilisation’s culture if you want to.

RPS: Yeah, ‘Look how amazing we are.’ That’s a nice idea.

Dennis Shirk: That’s kind of cool on a side note, it doesn’t really impact gameplay too much, but all of our great people now, the great artists, writers and musicians, aside from being real people, all of the writing snippets and the music samples and the artwork that you see come up when you use them are actually those great works. So, ‘Starry Night’ coming up, or Shakespeare’s Hamlet, you’ll hear Morgan Sheppard actually reading a snippet from Hamlet. It’s actually a really nice touch on top of it.

RPS: The archaeology thing, does that actually reflect previous in-game events like would you actually find a relic on a battle you know you’d been involved in a century earlier, or is it random?

Ed: It actually is, and as battles occur earlier in the game, we’re writing data onto the map, storing that information, and so at the point in time whenever the first civilisation discovers archaeology, at that point in time we do sort of lock down where all those different, we call them antiquity sites, are.

Those antiquity sites we keep track of, which civilisations were involved, whether it was a battle, whether it was an ancient ruin that was uncovered or a barbarian camp that was destroyed, and so that’s exactly when your archaeologist goes there, he’s going to try to extract that item and he’ll be able to take it back and create another great work, an artefact, and put it in the museum. And based on the different types of museums you have, you’re sort of trying to collect different types of archaeological pieces.

So for instance the Louvre, if you think about the Louvre, it’s got art, archaeological things, all sorts of things from across the world. So for instance, if you build the Louvre wonder, trying to fill that with a great diversity of different works of art and artefacts from all sorts of cultures from around the world, and the better you satisfy those what we call theming bonuses from the different wonders and museums in your civilisation, the extra points of culture and tourism that you can generate.

Dennis Shirk: It’s actually a really interesting mini-game that kind of happened into being that our community gameplay testers really started to enjoy, because you’ve got this UI that you can bring up that shows all of your great works and artefacts in all of your different buildings. As Ed said, theming them or matching them up or putting all the ones that you’ve found in one particular building, you can get different variations on these tourism buffs, like plus two tourism or plus four tourism, if you theme them well, so actually discovering the themes because we’re not documenting them. It’s up to the fans to find all these different kinds of themes. It can give you big benefits, but it’s actually a lot of fun just seeing what will actually match up from similar time periods, the kind of variety and diversity of artwork you put into place. Very cool.

RPS: Is there any extent to which you could game that, like you have in the early game, you have loads of different battles near where you are knowing that you’ll come back to them later with your archaeologists and just get as many relics as possible?

Ed Beach: Not every single ancient battle turns into an archaeology site, and we do try to keep a relatively even distribution of them across the map. So you can make sure that there are going to be a couple nearby you, but there’s no real advantage to try and form extra ones of those.

RPS: Ok, cool. That’s completely the kind of thing that a min/maxer player would do if it was there, I’d imagine.

Ed Beach: You’re not the first person to have thought of that.

RPS: You mentioned the trade route stuff could happen right from the start of the game?

Ed Beach: Yes, what happens is that both land and sea trade routes open up right in the ancient era, you get one of each type typically, and as the game progresses you can get more and more of those, and those represent the way your civilisation generates additional wealth. It used to be in Civ V that settling along a sea coast or along a river gave you free gold. We’ve taken that gold out of the game and now you actually have to earn it by creating these trade routes.

Trade routes not only shift gold back and forth, but as the game progresses and the other systems in the game unlock, you can start to see that maybe you’re trading with a civilisation that’s much more advanced than you are scientifically. You’re actually getting a trickle of science back from that interchange of goods. You’ll also see, once the religion game is in place, that religion will spread along trade routes. You might want to think twice about whether or not you want to hook up a trade route to somebody who has a very strong religion’s holy city. That might be good if you want that religion to come into your civilisation, but if you’re trying to keep it at bay, you may not want to do that.

So the trade routes, you can unlock by the end of the game, you usually have seven or eight trade routes at least, and there are a lot of different implications for what cities you decide to hook up with with trade, what other civilisations you’re connecting to, there’s a lot of depth added to the economic side of the game with that new system.

Dennis Shirk: And keep in mind, these aren’t just nebulous UI trade routes that float around the map; you actually build the units, you build a caravan, you build a route and they act as an automated unit. When you build your caravan you decide to assign it to a trade route, it comes up with a city list and shows you all the benefits of the different cities in the area that you can connect to, and then it’s going back and forth and you have to also protect those routes because barbarians can kill the caravan. If you’re at war with someone they can come and find your routes and destroy them, so there’re actual physical units on the map that you interact with. They’re not just a nebulous concept that you have to just bring up a UI screen to look at.

RPS: Presumably you need to have discovered all the cities they can go to, just because you said it would work from the start of the game and obviously the map starts off dark, they couldn’t just head off into the ether and find someone to do it with automatically?

Ed Beach: Correct, although you don’t necessarily have to have uncovered every step on the path, they’ll be able to come up with the best sea route even if you haven’t explored all of it, but as long as you’ve found that other city on the coast you can open up trade with them.

Dennis Shirk: But they don’t have visibility, in other words they might pass right underneath the fog and that’s where the barbarians might be, so it actually behoves you to have some military units out in the ether, keeping your paths lit up to make sure nothing bad happens to your financial goods as they’re heading off into the fog.

RPS: Is there an element in the game which you’re really proud of but most players probably aren’t going to notice?

Ed Beach: I think probably the system that we were talking about before where the different ideologies interact with each other and they can possibly cause enough unrest in another civilisation that that’s going to be the tipping point.

That system grew out of where we were going with the design, with ideologies and with culture and the new culture victory, but it sort of has this kind of interesting ring in the contemporary world with events that are happening in the middle east right now so. We weren’t trying initially to mirror world history with that, we were just trying to come up with a neat system for the game, but all of a sudden it started to have these echoes in terms of current politics and stuff that was pretty fascinating.

RPS: I guess it kind of does the Cold War thing a little bit as well, where two countries are really opposed without necessarily being in open conflict.

Dennis Shirk: Right. Also the way that it ties into the New World Congress to the way that you’re going to have horse-trading in terms of the buying and selling of tech with other civilisations. A lot of that coming into play in the late game, combined with the ideologies really gives it this 1980s/1990s Cold War feel.

RPS: Thanks for your time.

Civilization V: Brave New World is due this Summer.


  1. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Aw. Was actually hoping this was going to be a future dystopia where you could oppress the under classes and have pneumatic partners whilst watching a feelie

    • mouton says:

      Brave New World was not about oppression. It was about drugs and sex for everyone.

      • domogrue says:

        I’m pretty sure out of all the dystopias I’ve read, that seems like the best option.

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          @mouton – Hmm … could have sworn that those who were deliberately bred “inferior” had to defer to those who were “superior”? A form of oppression, just one those lower down the chain accepted. So no we are not talking 1984 oppression, but a kind of biologically rigged version of the British Class System. Maybe I am confusing it with another book though, its been a while since I read it.

          Also yes, it has sex and boobs. Pneumatic boobs.

          • Klydefrog says:

            Yeah that was the case but everyone was conditioned in such a way that they loved doing what they were forced to do more than anything else, even the people who just cleaned lavatories etc. Basically everyone was completely fulfilled in all that they did, and if any of the higher-ups got too clever and decided that maybe there was something more to life, they just got sent to an island where they were allowed to read books and shit.

          • darkath says:

            12 years old me couldn’t finish that damn book, because i found it really depressing somehow. The concept of depriving people of their free will of all things was really mortifying for me. I got around finishing the book later, but this is one of those extremely rare times when I was shocked when reading a book (and no the sex parts had nothing to do with it, except adding even more wrongness in the way feelings were totally shoved away).

          • mouton says:

            Yeah, lower castes were bred to be inferior, but they were also bred to be genuinely happy about the menial tasks they did. A delicious dose of relativism, heh

  2. mfcrocker says:

    All I care about is them fixing their janky multiplayer netcode.

    • x1501 says:

      Finally adding mod support to multiplayer (what century is this?) would also be, you know, nice.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        This is still my number one annoyance with the game. The terrible AI (it has a really hard problem to solve so it is no surprise it is terrible) is work-aroundable through MP and hotseat. But when you cannot use the various great mods, MP and hotseat lose a lot of luster.

        I hope they focus some of the expansion on making the tactical game easier for the AI (ditching ranged attacks, squashing down movement, and generally reducing modifiers to lower levels). I doubt they will though and will instead just have “more of everything” instead of “better”…

        Computer game expansions have always been so frustrating.

      • LegendaryTeeth says:


        I didn’t buy the last expansion, and I won’t buy this one until mod support is added to multiplayer.

        You don’t get to sell me multiplayer content without letting me build my own.

      • The Random One says:

        “What century is this?”

        I min-max and unlock the Mod in Multiplayer technology by the 1200s.

    • PostieDoc says:

      This, fix the multiplayer!

    • Rumpel says:

      simultanious player turns fuck up pvp combat royally. you just keeping clicking and hope to be the one who gets off his shots first. its a catastrophic design thats not even acknowledged by 2k as something that should be adressed.

      pitboss was also promised at release, and im waiting ever since for it (or any kind of dedicated server really). people with small bandwidth really start to hold up your game when you approach renaissance, and it turns into literally minutes between turns after someone bulbs satellites.

  3. InternetBatman says:

    That sounds absolutely fascinating. I admired a lot of Civ V’s ideas despite its short-comings. City-states and hexes felt like particularly worthy additions.

    • abandonhope says:

      Agreed. I picked up Gold the other week and have yet to play, but this expansion sounds rather good.

  4. mlaskus says:

    Polish hussars, weee!
    That’s some properly cool cavalry.

  5. SF Legend says:

    Will this make the multiplayer actually work?

    • dannyroth says:

      Yeah I hope they fix the multilayer. Trying to do a game with more than 4 people in it just doesn’t ever work right. Other than that it’s a good game.

  6. Amakir says:

    Is it worth picking up the original?

    • basilisk says:

      I just started playing it yesterday (foolishly thinking it was complete now) and it definitely is. It’s perhaps less interesting to hardcore players, because there’s certainly been some dumbing down in terms of opportunities for micromanagement, but some of the new additions make so much sense it’s astonishing they took so long. (So long, stacks of doom! I always hated you!)

      Also, it’s one incredibly slick game. Sexy, even.

      • BTAxis says:

        1UpT was definitely an improvement to the formula as far as I’m concerned. I know many people hate it, but the stacks of doom are what ruined Civ 4 for me.

        • mouton says:

          While nobody really mourns stacks of doom, for a transfer to 1upt you need an AI that can actually use it in a non-stupid manner. That never really materialized, did it now.

          • Ernesto25 says:

            I mourn them, no really never thought id miss them but the hex combat didn’t really make sense when i have a large army that can’t overpower an unmanned city.

          • Squirly says:

            There ARE no unmanned cities in Civ 5. Which I like, and which is ultimately moot. Taking a city took effort and siege units, not just a quick rush with a low level unit to what is hopefully an unoccupied hovel.

          • Ernesto25 says:

            @Squirly i know that but its still pretty ridiculous concept that your power is vaguely limited to the size of your continent.

            Edit: to everyone i know how the CIV5 city defense works and i like that its doesn’t mean raw power is the only factor when you have terrain and defense on your side but i still argue man power should be a big factor in taking some cities rather than have 20 units all in a line for no apparent reason at all.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            The problem is that making an AI to function in the current mix of terrains and units functions diversity is basically impossible. If you stripped it back a bit and made the general modifiers lower and all the units melee it would greatly ease the burden on the AI and they would be able to make something decent.

            But sadly most gamers would rather have 100 different units and a crippled AI than 30 and a competent one. The same reason all computer game expansions are light on fixs/game mechanics improvements/ and AI coding and heavy on MORE civs/units/game systems/victory types/et cetera.

            Gamers sadly won’t look at a box that says “way better AI and bug fixes” and pay $30 for it. But “10 new civilizations the game totally doesn’t need and 20 new units (that are actively detrimental to balance and the functionality of the AI), oh I’ll pay for that.

            Game companies drive me crazy, but mostly they are just responding to the purchasing decisions of players.

          • Pony Canyon says:

            I really don’t really see that as a bad thing. Especially as that was part of the design of Civ V, that no city is actually ‘unmanned’. Every city has a level of automated defense, between the HP bar that you have to chew through and the free ranged attack every turn.

            Overall, I very much like V’s city defense system. You don’t need to create and post guards in every city just so that wondering barbarians wielding clubs don’t overtake your 20th century metropolis.

          • Soulstrider says:

            @Joshua Northey: Your argument doesn’t make much sense, better AI and bug fixes SHOULDN’T be in expansion, they should be in patches and for free.

            Expansions are what their name means, expanding the existing content with more new stuff..

          • Joshua Northey says:


            That is a stupid and anachronistic way of looking at and exactly the mindset that has led us here. Games have never been perfect and perfection is not the standard that should be expected for a major release. Gross functionality sure, but not having every bug quashed and every AI routine maximally optimized (if that were even possible?.)

            As a matter of fact game companies devote a relative set amount of resources to the main development. The SOMETIMES they will devote a second round of resources and ask for more money.

            Many point is simply that frequently the game would be better off and the end product better if that second round of resources you had to pay for (i.e. the “expansion”) was a bunch of bug fixes and AI/UI improvements. I understand that isn’t the current model. But the current model is crap.

            Fixing AI/UI issues isn’t cheaper or easier than making up new art assets. In fact it is much more difficult. If anything the new art assets should be in the patches and the core improvements be the thing you pay for.

            With even rudimentary mod tools I can make as many Civs and Units as I want. Why on earth would I want to pay their developers to do that? I would much rather pay them to do stuff that is too hard for one person with limit time.

          • TheTuninator says:

            My one real problem with the cities is that the sheer power of an archer camped in a city early game seriously chokes off aggression in earlier eras.

            Not being able to do any damage to a ranged unit that can use the city’s entire HP bar as an invincible shield is really frustrating. I can accept cities taking several turns to grind down, though it seems a bit daft to me that a city with no army to defend it could still offer resistance when historically this was never the case, but a unit hiding inside the city should at least take collateral damage as you siege the city.

        • Captain Joyless says:

          Stacks of doom were a problem.

          The solution was not 1UPT.

          • Chris D says:

            Out of interest, how would you have liked to have seen it solved?

          • mouton says:

            I don’t know myself, but there could be a limit on stack size or somesuch. Could solve the doom-ishness without bringing all the 1upt issues.

          • Vercinger says:

            So true! Firaxis just replaced one bad system with another.

            Chris D, here’s my proposed solution:

            Stacks fight as armies, not as individual units. All units in the stack have their strength summed and compared to the enemy stack’s total strength. Also, a maximum of 10 to 20 units can be stacked with full efficiency, and any extras lose part or all of their strength.

            The way the stack strength is calculated is by first going through each unit and applying its bonuses to its own strength, then summing the results. For bonuses against specific enemy types, the bonus gets multiplied by the percentage of those enemy types in the enemy stack. So if a crossbowman with +50% against melee units was going against 2 swordsmen and 3 archers, he would only get +20% added to his strength.

            Combined arms FTW! In other words, stacks are no longer unassailable if they have anti-melee and anti-cavalry units, so long as you don’t only use one type of unit in your armies.

            Edit: Oh, and also, keep the not-to-the-death fighting from Civ V. It should take several engagements to eliminate a stack entirely.

          • TheTuninator says:

            Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri had a perfectly elegant solution all the way back in the late 90s. Any time a unit is destroyed, any units stacked with that unit take 30% of their HP as collateral damage.

            This preserved stacks as a great way to maneuver units around the map while still forcing players to spread out their units in combat, lest entire armies be heavily damaged before ever firing a shot.

        • killias2 says:

          Every time someone acts like 1UPT is an unambiguous improvement, an angel loses its wings.

        • iridescence says:

          I like “stacks of doom”. and do mourn them. It felt like you were building up a massive army like a real empire would instead of just “my horseman beats your spearman. I take this tile!!”. They tried to make Civ into a tactical wargame but the problem is that the scale is all wrong. In an actual wargame a hex may represent a mile or two. In Civ. the hexes represent hundreds of miles. Saying only one unit can fit on that amount of territory is just stupid.

          • MellowKrogoth says:

            That’s a pretty stupid claim. There are wargames at all scales, and depending on the game a hex can represent anything from a few meters to a whole country like France.

          • iridescence says:

            Well, I haven’t played a lot of wargames and am only vaguely familiar with them but I would have the same objection to a wargame that allowed you to put only one unit on a hex that was supposed to represent France as I have with Civ V. The scale would seem totally off.

  7. smb says:

    Huh, didn’t expect Civ V to venture so boldly into another frontier.

  8. Maxheadroom says:

    C’mon! we’re over half way through the day and no Simcity story yet??

    (I know that sounds sarcastic but I’m actually looking forward to them now :) )

    • Chris D says:

      If you need your fix, Paul Dean gave it 4/10 over on Eurogamer.

  9. westyfield says:

    We’ll start… we’ll start all over again!

  10. c-Row says:

    Hmm, those additions somehow don’t get me as excited as G&K did. I’ll probably pick it up nevertheless and sink another few weeks into Civ V, though.

    • darkath says:

      Come on, they’re making Culture interesting again that didn’t happen since CIV IV !

      I actually skipped God and Kings, but might come back for this !

  11. FunkyLlama says:

    And it still won’t be half the game that Civ IV was.

    • Ernesto25 says:

      I got that feeling i liked the idea pre release but hated how it turned out in the end. Then the expansions like G + K just seem to promote added what was removed from civ 4 in the first place!

    • Cinek says:

      I thought it’s already way past this point, in some ways: actually being cooler than Civ IV.

      • Vercinger says:

        Not really. I found Civ V mostly a sidegrade to Civ IV. Most changes weren’t for the better, but they didn’t worsen the game either. In it’s core concepts, the game was just different from IV, not better or worse.

        However, 2 things made Civ V inferior. First, the removal of the World Builder. I considered that a core feature of Civ IV. Second, the graphics. The game is now several times more resource hungry than IV, and for no good reason. Even at minimum settings, my not-that-old PC struggles. Graphics should not get in the way of gameplay in a strategy game.

        G&K may have had an impact, but I doubt it.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Meh, Civ 4 was getting to be a bloated anachronistic mess. It was in some sense Civ 1 4.8.

      The franchise needs to be reworked with a fresh and better designed foundation. Certainly 5 isn’t perfect and there are a lot of misteps, but it is a much better base for moving the series forward than Civ 4.

      On top of that many of the things people hate the most about 5 (the AI and diplomacy in particular) were equally terrible in 4 until modders fixed it up.

      • Ernesto25 says:

        Not that true when 5 feels like they just removed rather than added alot of the content making it feel dumbed down for the most part. Alot of the stuff added gave me choice and depth. Then it seems alort of 5’s expansion packs just re add things abandoned in 4. Gods and kings for the most part just promised what was in 4 but not 5 in the first place.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          The game was a bloated unbalanced mess. Stuff needed to be taken away. Frankly 5 is already too fat before this expansion.

          More and more and more mechanics and units does not a good game make. You think religion was a good mechanic in 4? You just spammed missionaries and converted people. There was no nuance there, nothing interesting.

          Bolting on more and more things just to do so is terrible game design.

          “You know a design has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”.

          I have no idea what kind of person can look at Civ 5 and think it is too simple. It is extremely complicated compared to just about every non paradox game on the market and unbalanced as all get out because they spend all their resources adding in more stuff rather than balancing the current stuff.

          You are just repeating angry “it was better in my day” talking points without thought. You do realize people said the exact same things about 2, and 3, and 4 when they came out? On the 2 forums there were 1 loyalists, and on the 3 forums there was nearly outright rebellion. Then on the 4 forums suddenly people remembered three fondly. 4 people didn’t warm up to until after BtS, and even then there were lots of complaints about the AI until 5 came out, then suddenly 4 was the standard of perfection. Gamers are so predictable.

          • Ernesto25 says:

            “You are just repeating angry “it was better in my day” talking points without thought. You do realize people said the exact same things about 2, and 3, and 4 when they came out? On the 2 forums there were 1 loyalists, and on the 3 forums there was nearly outright rebellion. Then on the 4 forums suddenly people remembered three fondly. 4 people didn’t warm up to until after BtS, and even then there were lots of complaints about the AI until 5 came out, then suddenly 4 was the standard of perfection. Gamers are so predictable.”

            Not at all don’t make assumptions. I sunk 24hours into this game before giving up releasing i was going through the motions. Why would i be buy it on release just so i hope to complain when the dlc comes out? I wanted to like it and alot of the stuff sounded good on paper. Civ 4 was my 1st civ game and not everything had to be balanced its what made nations feel unique and the AI didn’t blatantly cheat in front of me like spawning barbarian camps in my field of view!

            Religion was a good mechanic in 4 imo at least i knew one possible reason were attacking me while in 5 i didn’t really know what the AI was thinking / doing. I didn’t exploit missionaries or anything like that tbh. Haven’t bought / played gods and kings due to the feeling i was paying for stuff i missed in a game i already had. I hoped the diplomacy would be more gal civ but instead it wasn’t really much of anything.

            But i’m not so much angry but disappointed i didn’t enjoy it, that’s all.

          • Vercinger says:

            As someone who insists that Civ IV >> Civ V, I can tell you that IV is very far from a standard of perfection. So far, that it’s not even a game I would recommend to anyone unless they were going to buy Civ V instead. I’ve spent hundreds of hours in Civ IV and tens of hours in V and gotten a lot more frustration than enjoyment in both.

          • iridescence says:

            I love how you state your very subjective opinions as though they are some sort of divine wisdom. I like “stuff” in my games, e. it makes them for fun to figure out and replay I can accept that some people like more minimalistic and simple games but it doesn’t mean that is the only valid way to design a game. The complexity and depth of IV is what makes it my favorite game of all time, Actually, I don’t think the problem with V is simplicity so much as poor design decisions. It is a perfect example of trying to fix something which isn’t broken and innovation for the sake of innovation backfiring.

            While this new expansion does seem like a step in the right direction I doubt V will ever be as fun as IV is for me and that isn’t just blind nostalgia but simply the fact that I find IV to be a far better designed and more fun game.

      • Vercinger says:

        Could you please explain how Civ V is a better base than Civ IV?

  12. Skeletor68 says:

    Honest question, are they going to fix worker automation?

  13. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    I haven’t looked at Civ 5 since the first week it was released. Can anyone tell me if ICS (infinite city spam) has been fixed, and how it was fixed? Does the AI actually understand how to fight back? Is the diplomacy still completely opaque? Does building roads still ruin your economy?

    It seemed like such a step backwards from Civ 4 in so many ways, but I might be willing to give it another try if they fixed the game’s biggest issues.

    • derbefrier says:

      Diplomacy is still kinda a joke. Roads dont ruin the economy, well they can if you don’t know what you are doing. The ai I guess is decent but of course could be better and its pretty easy. I don’t know what you mean by infinite city spam though. If you mean being able to make Shit tons of cities with no downside I would say that’s been fixed. I only started playing a few months ago so I am not aware of most launch issues I guess. I do think its a fantastic game though.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        The diplomacy actually works. It operates like how a player would operate. People are just mad because it is the end of the days where there is an overly friendly enemy next door who will cooperate with you even if it makes no sense. People get furious when their friend of 500 years betrays them, forgetting the 1000 times they have done that exact thing to the AI.

        If you behave sensibly and care about the AIs wants and needs the diplomacy makes sense.

        Roads are fine, just don’t build them everywhere like in the past (which is an improvement).

        • Brun says:

          This. Roads cost gold to maintain and if you build them everywhere you will wreck your economy. The same goes for pretty much all other tile improvements. It just means you actually have to pay attention to what tile improvements you make, rather than just clicking “auto build improvements” on your workers, and that you should only build improvements on tiles that will actually be worked by the city in question.

          • Ernesto25 says:

            I agree with that but it was the same for 4. In 5 i felt like i never wanted to expand due to the resources barely being worth the time, happiness and effort to get a city near them. I missed the feeling of exploring and being happy to see a fairly worthwhile plot of land.

          • Brun says:

            Expanding is about making sure you have enough surplus happiness, gold, etc. to absorb that early period in a city’s life during which it isn’t really productive, especially if you’re just making a resource grab and not putting that city in ideal terrain.

            It’s definitely doable, especially if you take the expansionist social policies early in the game (“Liberty” tree). It’s also certainly worth the time if you want to pursue Scientific, Cultural, or Military victories as you need many cities feeding you research, culture, or production.

    • Pony Canyon says:

      Roads are much improved. The trade bonuses you get for connecting cities basically offsets their upkeep, or even results in a gain. Building roads on every tile, as in Civ 4, will bankrupt you though. (which is honestly an improvement)

      The ICS that was present around release is basically gone. The last couple posts of this thread do a good summarization on the changes that have happened:

      link to

      Still possible, I guess, but definitely not rampant.

      Diplomacy is still (IMO) sub-mediocre and very much opaque.

      I’ve been a long time follower of the Civilization series, and V is actually now my favorite. Give it another shot, a lot has changed.

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        I actually just remembered what I hated most about Civ5: the permanent cultural tree approach to policy.

        It drove me crazy that a warlike civilization will always and forever be warlike, rather than realistically seesawing between aggressive and passive policies like past Civs. It just seems so reductive, like they forgot that Civ is a game about writing a history.

        I can’t imagine revisiting the game if that’s still a core component.

  14. rocketman71 says:

    While they’re at it, we’re STILL waiting for Pitboss and PBEM. It’s been YEARS since they promised they would implement both “a couple of weeks” after release.

    • Ernesto25 says:

      At least they added hotseat, about a year after which was included in pretty much every other civ game ever.

    • mouton says:

      Worry not, next Civ will be always-online single player.

  15. derbefrier says:

    Add the ability to play with mods in multiplayer too please.

  16. popej says:

    I bought this on day one and played it for 16 minutes (I think my steam account says?) and then fired up Civ 4 again.

    I’ll probably give it another go now that Gods & Kings is out. This new expansion sounds good as well.

    • Quickpull says:

      I just checked steam and I’m showing about the same for each Civ 4 and Civ 5, about 120 hours each. They’re both great games with different strengths. Civ 5 clearly wasn’t as good as Civ 4 at launch, but that’s not really fair, Civ 4 had been tweaked and expanded over the course of years of player feedback and testing. Since luanch, Civ 5 has been making similar improvements. Civ 4 still does some things better, but I haven’t even booted it up since Gods and Kings came out.

      My pro tip for making Civ V more fun: At game setup, look at the default number of city states for your map size. Divide that number by 3 and add that many AI civs. Set the City State number to 0. Some people like city states, but I think they’re tedious.

      • Ich Will says:

        Whenever I set citystates to 0, they all seem to show up anyway, is this a known bug, or is it just me! – Couldn’t agree more about packing more AI’s in either!

        • Cinek says:

          The number you set is there is an amount of city states at the beginning of the game. As far as I understand it – through the game progress new city states might be created.

        • Quickpull says:

          I’ve never had this problem. I’ve never even heard of anyone having this problem.

          And no, the number of city states does not change during the game. They are there from the start or not at all.

          Edit: One thing to note is that any changes you make in the advanced setup get wiped if you go back to the general setup and change something. So if you change your map size after setting city states to 0, they will be switched back to map default. Maybe that’s your problem

    • X_kot says:

      You know, I really enjoyed IV (especially after playing the innovative but clunky III), but for the life of me I can’t recall much of the time I spent with it before Warlords or Beyond the Sword. The only one I played without expansions or mods was II, and even though it is one of the seminal games of my life, I still think it needed some further iterations beyond MP.

  17. sonson says:

    Sounds really good, if they can get the AI to actually follow the rules ala Shogun II. Otherwise it’s essentially pointless fluff.

  18. Didden says:

    AI AI AI AI. That is all.

  19. Dunbine says:

    How about some “under the hood” expansions for XCOM, Firaxis?

  20. SamC says:

    That archaeology bit sounds amazing. I always wished I could read a history textbook summary of my civilization after, with the major periods and battles broken down. Or a travel guide, although I guess civilizations aren’t differentiated enough for that to be interesting more than once. Sort of the Dwarf Fortress style world histories, except I made it and it wasn’t just randomly generated.

    • X_kot says:

      This. I’ve always found the “City Ruins” tile such a poor reminder of the foes that were crushed under my boot – they deserve better. Plus, the tech will mean more than just “woo, more culture buildings”. The DF reference is apt; acknowledging the emergent storytelling can be very immersive.

  21. Blackseraph says:

    I have another where is sequel to SMAC?

    I know about all the stupid things involved and why it isn’t very simple but they should try and deal with it somehow.

    Or just make game that is inspired by it à la Torment 2.

  22. Eagle0600 says:

    Here’s hoping they stop completely ignoring Australia.

  23. lociash says:

    Am I the only one that noticed the frequent switches between Civilization and Civilisation. Pick one, it’s killing me.

  24. Stexe says:

    I think Ed Beach is talking about a different game. He keeps mentioning this “Civilisation V” game but I have no idea what that is. The only game I know is “Civilization V” — no wonder he is talking about all these weird concepts and forcing people down specific paths. Definitely a different game!

  25. Baal_Sagoth says:

    That all sounds potentially very interesting. Especially archeology! But I always have a hard time imagining how Civ expansions will really play out in the game. I didn’t think G&K sounded that good (just adding Civ4 stuff back in) but I ended up enjoying it very much when I finally got back into Civ5 .
    As different as the game is from its predecessor I still quite like it, played for a long time and will be sure to pick this expansion up. I’m ready to sink even more time into it whilst having new concepts to play with.

  26. buxcador says:

    time between turns is so long that makes the game unplayable.

  27. Jekt says:

    That’s nice. Can they fix the multiplayer so that the game is actually playable though. That would be great.