Civ IV makes plenty of great changes and additions to just about every aspect of the hazardously habit-forming strategy blueprint that famed designer Sid Meier and his talented team have made famous the world over, from combat to diplomacy to research to production to winning the space race. undamentally, this is a much-improved version of the same Civ games we've all been playing and desperately trying to put down for years. And that's far from a bad thing. In fact, it's an awesome thing.If you're familiar with the Civilization series, then you're already well aware that they've traditionally been turn-based strategy games that let you play as the political leader of one of the world's nations in a fictitious bid to take over the globe.The series gives you plenty of ways to do this, such as conquering your neighbors, researching advanced technology, or, in Civilization III (and IV), creating the most cultured society on the planet. It's this great variety that helps give Civ IV the same alarmingly addictive quality its predecessors carried. Like in previous games, your political leader has two special traits that will influence his or her reign, though all the game's traits are new.The Civ series' gameplay has several components, and almost every single one of them is improved in Civ IV. For instance, the series' combat system, which pits different military units against one another based on relative unit strength and technology, has been changed to a "strength" system that seems more intuitive.Civ IV has also improved on the way diplomacy works. While you can still make nice with your neighbors, you have more options than just trading goods, cities, technologies, and/or relations. You can attempt to influence your neighbors to make war or peace with other neighbors, and you can even fence everyone out of your backyard using the game's new "open borders" system.The new great people system is an interesting and useful addition that will probably be especially appreciated by experts. Great people can be expended in exchange for a number of powerful abilities. Civ IV makes a turn for the better by emphasizing strategic planning in general, which ultimately makes the game more balanced. In response to fan requests to adjust the pace of the game, developer Firaxis has added three speeds: the surprisingly fast normal speed, the even-faster quick speed, and the slower-paced epic speed. Even single-player and multiplayer options have been improved in Civ IV. The single-player game offers much-improved artificial intelligence that seems to cheat much less than in previous games, or not at all.Multiplayer also seems to work quite well, and thanks to the game's faster pace, it seems much, much more realistic to actually finish multiplayer games, especially on the "quick" speed setting.The actual game itself looks considerably better, even though the interface can seem a bit rough at times.An incredibly addicting, engrossing, and incredibly well-designed inclusion. No stone was left unturned as the developers crafted this masterpiece and if you’re a fan of the previous installments of this game, you’re definitely going to enjoy this one.