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Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gold Edition
Shacknews - Steve Watts
Firaxis has announced two more of the nine cultures being added to Civilization 5's Brave New World expansion. Indonesia and Morocco will join the set, joining Poland, Brazil, Assyria, Zulu, and Portugal, with two civilizations still remaining to be revealed.
Indonesia will be led by Gajah Mada, the Prime Minister of the Majapahit Empire from the 14th century. They'll get a bonus for taking to the seas, as your first three cities formed on new continents get two luxury resources from the Spice Islanders ability. It also replaces the swordsman with the Kris Swordsman, who gets a random upgrade after the first combat, and the Candi replaces the Garden, complete with a faith bonus.
Morocco is led by Ahmad al-Mansur. It is centered around the new trade route mechanics coming in Brave New World, since they get bonuses to gold and culture for each external trade route from the Gateway to Africa ability. Cavalry is replaced by Berber Cavalry, which gets combat bonuses on home turf or on desert. The Kasbah improvement grants extra defense, food, production, and gold to desert tiles as well.
May 17, 2013
The evil Assyrian Empire has finally showed its hand, proving what a threat it is to the world. The once mighty Zulus have fallen to their advancing armies, as have my long-time Swiss allies in the city-state of Zurich. In vanilla Civ V, we may have been left without recourse this far into the modern age. But this is a Brave New World, and I have a plan.
The second expansion for Civilization V most prominently features major overhauls to diplomacy, culture, and trade. While the previous expansion, Gods & Kings, put its emphasis on the early to mid game, Brave New World's new features are most strongly felt in the post-Renaissance eras, as the new World Congress adds a complex and exciting diplomatic layer to the often drawn-out tail end of each world's history.
The new trade route system, of course, is something you'll want to get in on early. In the press build we were given, I was able to play as one of the new civs, Morocco, which gets bonus gold and culture for each civ or city-state it has a trade route with. So, in addition to the base gold output, bonus science, and religious pressure, I found it in my best interests to expand and diversify my trade as much and as early as possible.
Since culture got a major overhaul, I set my sights on the new cultural victory condition, which could sort of be described as Pokemon with great historical works of art, music, and literature. Your ultimate goal is to make your culture "Influential" in every civilization on the board. Well, every remaining civ. There's still the option to bomb those who are slow to catch on to kingdom come. This is accomplished by expending Great Artists, Writers, and Musicians to collect Great Works, which are put on display in various wonders and culture buildings in your empire.
Great Works generate Tourism, a new resource that could be described as the offensive equivalent to Culture (which now, in addition to its other effects, acts as a passive defense against foreign Tourism). The interesting part is that most wonders with slots for Great Works have a theming bonus, allowing you to generate extra Tourism for specific kinds of great works. For example, Oxford University generates bonus Tourism if it's filled with two Great Writings from different eras, and different civilizations other than your own. This requires you to swap your great works with the AI, or in later ages, send Archaeologist to plunder ruins that maybe don't exactly belong to you.
Your Tourism will slowly tick up your influence from Unknown to Influential (and, if you want to go totally overkill, you can eventually hit Dominant at 200% influence) in every civ you've met. The rate at which this happens is determined by their Culture (higher Culture score slows it down), whether or not you have Open Borders, trade routes, shared religion, and shared ideology.
Around the tail end of the mid game, the World Congress will be founded by the first civ to meet every other civ on the board and hit a few tech prerequisites. Unlike the UN in vanilla Civ V, this system doesn't merely exist to elect a World Leader and seal diplomatic victory—though it does gain that ability down the line. For instance, I was able to use the world's general ill will toward warmongering Assyria to place them under an embargo, cutting off all of their international trade routes and crippling their income. When the time came for the Great War to liberate the Zulus and my allied city-states, this had a very visible effect: their armies were outdated, their defenses under-staffed. I won the war in legislation before I ever fired a shot.
The World Congress is still an imperfect system, however, as it's far too easy to snowball. Whichever civ meets everyone first gets to be Host, and the Host automatically receives double the base number of delegates (read: votes) in each era. It is possible to vote to replace the Host, but since the Host has the most votes, this doesn't usually happen. It's also fairly simple to push through reforms that give the Host additional delegates based on religion and ideology, at which point, everyone else may as well not cast a ballot. On top of this, the other civs don't seem upset when one civ is totally dominating the World Congress, the way they take note of a particularly dangerous military conqueror. I wasn't even going for Diplomatic victory, and I almost achieved it anyway.
Brave New World goes a long way toward making Civ V feel like a fully fleshed-out and diverse experience. Like Gods & Kings before it, it adds a lot of optional depth that can be ignored without disaster, but presents new roads with high rewards for those who choose to follow them. The late game slog that often left one civ so far ahead that nothing could be done hasn't been totally fixed—especially relating to Diplomatic victory—but there is at least a lot more to do in the later eras, making them much more diverse and fun to play.
You'll be able to take your first steps into this Brave New World on July 9 in the US and July 12th everywhere else. Be forewarned: Assyria is the new Greece.
May 15, 2013
You may remember Sid Meier from such games as Sid Meier's Civilization, Sid Meier's Civilization II, Sid Meier's Pirates, and... well, you get the idea. While he's currently taking a vacation from PC development, instead creating the iOS strategy game Ace Patrol, he has had some things to say about the oft-PC centric Kickstarter, and its role in the game creation process. Specifically, he worries about the potential inflexibility of the platform with regards to backers' expectations.
Speaking to GI.biz, he said, "I think you kind of lock yourself into a lot of ideas early."
"I really enjoy the luxury of changing my design and evolving over time," he continued. "I’d be a little concerned with Kickstarter if I committed to X, Y and Z and I found out down the road that Z didn’t work very well, I kind of promised to do this. I think it's great for people who want that indie environment, but there are advantages and disadvantages to each situation."
In this area, Meier noted the benefits of Firaxis' relationship with publisher 2K. "They do all the stuff I don’t want to do; they allow me to make games and really focus on that part of what it takes to get a game out there. I get to design games, I get to program games, I get to work with the artists and the sound guys and do the fun stuff. They worry about testing it and publishing it and promoting it and selling it – whatever it takes to do that I would be really bad at, they do."
"So more power to Chris Roberts and the Kickstarter," Meier finished, "but having a great publisher is a real asset and allows me to focus on the things that I can do and not worry about all the other stuff that needs to be worried about."
Is there some truth to Meier's concern? If you back a project, do you expect to get exactly what the original pitch promises?
I've never played a game of Civilization V from the Ancient Era to the Modern Era. I start out intending to, but then there are no fish or whales off the coast of my starting territory, and Gandhi builds the Great Wall before I can, and Dido founds a city near the inlet where I was planning to put a city, and it's the worst thing that has ever happened to me so I start over.
Here's another confession: after 40 hours of Skyrim, I haven't completed more than a few main storyline quests. Instead, I've created character after character, because I’m indecisive and terrified of commitment.
If you're a serial restarter too, let's work on it together with some help from one of the internet's most plentiful resources: banal relationship advice. By slightly reworking advice for the romantically cold-footed, I've developed a plan to help us stop starting over.
Get over the honeymoon phase
I love the initial exploration and discovery in Civ V, and designing RPG characters is my favorite part of playing RPGs, because I become obsessed with the idea of what’s ahead of me; all the potential scenarios I can imagine.
And then it starts getting serious. Oh no. I'm doing more work but I'm getting fewer rewards, and shockingly, the game hasn't molded itself to my imagination’s grand specifications. My glorious naval empire turns out to be a few coastal cities and some boats. My cunning thief is a mute skeleton murderer. My space pirate is mining space rocks. And none of those things ever want to cuddle anymore.
...Except my EVE Online character, maybe.
My fantasies gives way to actual game mechanics. It becomes a Serious Relationship, and it's harder, but ultimately more rewarding. That initial passion is nice, but it doesn't compare to the stories I get from a long-term relationship, when I actually start to care about a character's progression.
So don't be afraid to care. It leaves you open to be hurt—like, say, when an unmet civilization builds the Great Lighthouse first or when an actual pirate suicide ganks you—but that's OK. You can raze their cities and starbases later.
Stop dating playing as the same character
This may be my biggest problem: I almost always choose rogue, thief, or some analogue in RPGs, and I’ve built this concept map in my head of all the things they should be. No one game can deliver all those things, and my disappointment leads to futile re-rolling. As long as I don't get too far, I can't be disappointed, right?
There's an easy solution: don’t keep playing the same character hoping they’ll be a more perfect version of the last. When I try a warrior or mage class, I’m more willing to let the game inform what I can and can’t do, because I haven’t built such a rigid ideal. In Civilization, where I love seafaring nations, my longest and most interesting game was played as landlocked Germans.
Let your characters be imperfect. Let them be who they are, because they will never be exactly who you want them to be.
I've had more fun as Mr. Purrface than with any of my "serious" character builds.
Don't use rough patches as an excuse to flee
When I contracted vampirism in Skyrim, I almost rowed against the current back to a previous save, but I'm so glad I went down that river instead (if not very far). Building a narrative as I go is always more rewarding than trying to overlay my ideal story, and that's especially the case when things don't go according to plan. Tragic stories are inherently interesting, and failure isn't something to undo. Remind yourself of that.
Note: In actual human relationships, contracting diseases should be avoided. Other than that, this analogy is perfect.
See a therapist—you have unresolved issues from your childhood
OK, this analogy isn't perfect. I may have coasted through my psychology elective, if you must know.
The point is: serial restarters are missing out. The goal of these games is to start down a path and react to its twists—to let it challenge us—but instead we're caught in a loop, trying to find a perfect path where there is none. If you identify with this problem, pit the brunt of your willpower against it by vowing to keep playing regardless of the outcome, or use in-game mechanics—XCOM's Ironman mode, for instance—to force your own hand.
From now on, I'm going to be a one-character man. Well, probably not, but I'm going to try.
Shacknews - John Keefer
The Civilization 5: Brave New World expansion puts new focus on tourism and culture, including a new Cultural victory that lets you besiege other civs with just how cool you are with all the works of your new artists and composers. A new trailer goes into a bit more detail, including how the masterpieces will bring in the tourists.
An interesting aspect of the video talking about the discovery of archaeology mid-game. Players can discover artifacts from events earlier in the game, giving your civilization more culture and increasing tourism.
The expansion, which will also implement a new diplomatic victory system as well, will be out for PC on July 9.
While the Brave New World expansion's new, more active cultural victory path is sure to be a great addition over a long Civilization V campaign, it's not the most exciting subject for a one and a half minute trailer. Still, Firaxis do an admirable job in dramatising it - equating the system to the game's more visually immediate battles, by comparing culture to defence and tourism to offence. Anyone who's seen a group of Brits abroad could argue that they've got a point.
In addition to the archaeology, great works, museums and tourism detailed in the trailer, Brave New World will also bring trade routes, and an expanded Diplomacy path through the World Congress. You can read about how these new systems will change the game in our announcement interview here, then check out how the expansion bolsters your campaign's late-game in our hands-on.
Brave New World is due for release July 12th.
May 9, 2013
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - firstname.lastname@example.org (Craig Pearson)
I am saddened to admit that I am not a Civilization player. My brain does not work in that way. No matter how much I try, I just bounce off the game, and then I’m pushed out the way by mean Civ bullies who mock my tactical and diplomatic failings. It’s like home economics all over again. But I’m a bigger man than those meanies, and don’t begrudge Civ fans the opportunity to see the new expansion pack, A Brave New World. And I don’t begrudge Revison3 the hits for the preview that I am shamelessy yoinking. Do click here, as that Sessler guy seems like a nice chap. (more…)
Civilization V's second and final major expansion, Brave New World, is promising to bring more depth and diversity to the endgame on July 9. Lead Designer Ed Beach recently spoke with Revision 3, going into detail on some of the systems we've seen glimpses of in the past. We grabbed some of the more interesting new details, and set our worker units to build a Handy List improvement in the space below.
Portugal, one of the new civs being introduced, is master of exploration and trade. Their unique unit, the Nao, has a one-time trade ability that allows them to sell luxury goods in foreign territory for a gold payout. The amount of gold is based on the trade location's distance from your own borders.
The Portuguese unique improvement is the Feitoria. It can be built in the territory of any city-state (even a hostile one, if you have the forces to protect your workers while they build it). Once constructed, it will give you access to a copy of every luxury resource that city-state controls.
The new Cargo Ship units are used to establish trade routes between coastal cities. Creating domestic trade routes will produce production or food. International trade routes with other civs will produce gold, as well as science for whichever trading partner is less advanced. Religious pressure also spreads along trade routes.
The amount of gold generated from an international trade route is based on the difference in luxury resources at both ends. Two cities that both have gold and spice would not create a lot of profit, trade-wise. But a city with gold and spice trading with a city that has silk and pearls would be very lucrative.
Domestic trade routes will be a good way of getting food or production to distant colonies that can't produce a lot on their own, initially.
The archaeology sites we've heard about previously can be turned into a permanent landmark with an ongoing benefit, or broken down for a one-time boost.
Archaeology digs can be constructed anywhere your units have access to, but dig sites in foreign territory will upset the civ that owns the land.
A new policy tree, Exploration, can unlock a secondary set of hidden archaeological sites for the first civ to reach the end.
The first civ to meet every other civ on the map will found and host the World Congress.
Your number of delegates at the World Congress will change as the eras progress. The host civ always gets a bonus to the base number, but eventually, every City-State you have as an ally will give you additional delegates.
The purpose of the World Congress is to change the rules of the game. Only two civs will be able to propose resolutions for everyone to vote on: the host civ, and one other determined by criteria that was not revealed.
Some example resolutions include trade embargoes, banning specific luxury goods (such as whales), imposing a tax on all standing armies, and a shared World's Fair. The World's Fair is a shared wonder that all civs can contribute production to. Once completed, rewards will be granted based on each civ's level of contribution.
Any civ that can propose a resolution can also motion to repeal a previous one.
There is a special sub-set of resolutions that cannot be proposed by any civ. Rather, they will automatically be put up for a vote when certain technological milestones are reached. These include changing the host of the World Congress (regularly recurring), building an International Space Station shared wonder, and enacting bans on nuclear proliferation.
One such resolution is naming a World Leader, which is the trigger for Diplomatic Victory. This vote comes up at the World Congress on regular intervals once someone constructs the United Nations (at which point the World Congress is renamed as the UN).
The Freedom, Autocracy, and Order ideologies (formerly just represented by Policy trees) are now mandatory. Once you research Industrialization, you will be forced to pick one of the three. Each one lends itself to three of the four victory conditions (military, diplomatic, cultural, and science) and locks you out of the fourth. It also has a stronger effect on who your friends and rivals will be from the Industrial Era forward.
Be sure to check out our hands-on preview for more on Brave New World, as well as our interview from the announcement.
Apr 12, 2013
Earlier this week I spoke to Ed Beach, Lead Designer on the Civilization V: Gods & Kings expansion, as well as the upcoming Brave New World expansion. I asked Beach for his thoughts on Civ V designer Jon Shafer's recent self-criticisms regarding Civilization V's one unit per tile system and leader AI quirks. "He was a little harsh on it," said Beach. "And I won't try to guess as to exactly what his frame of mind was, where he's coming from."
"Unit stacking can be a problem in Civ V, and I definitely think we've been acknowledging that for a while," continued Beach. "In Gods & Kings we made a change so that embarked land units could stack with naval units, because there was a lot of congestion out in the seas. So, there were definitely issues, but I'm still a big fan of one unit per tile. I think it improves the combat in so many ways, there's so much more tactical maneuvering and positioning."
Though he didn't address Civ V's notoriously fickle AI leaders, Beach went on to explain how the one unit per tile system has been improved over time.
"I think you just have to make sure, when you're designing a game like this with a one unit per tile system, that you're setting out for one unit per tile where it's helpful for you, like in spreading out the combat units and adding that tactical positioning play to the military side of it, and you're not enforcing one unit per tile rules in places where it's just getting in the player's way.
"So, I'm a big fan of one unit per tile, but I think we didn't quite hit it right with the initial release, in terms of where it was important to enforce it, and where we could just relax the rules a little bit. As long as we keep that in the forefront of our thinking, we'll be fine."
I also pointed out that Civilization is a series which is known to improve over time with expansions, but wondered what informs the decision to tear it all down and start over with a new numbered game.
"You want to set things up where you have a great foundation to build upon, and when you've invested in building that initial framework, you want to leverage that and get as many cool systems in to play off of that base as possible," said Beach.
"There is a point in time where, as you put each of those systems in, you learn a lot about the base game...and you see where things are working, and where things are still holding you back a little bit. You start to get to the point where, those things you can't change about the base game, because they're so fundamental to this particular iteration, are holding you back from what you want to try, then it's time to start looking at a new foundation."
I acknowledged that Beach obviously couldn't hint at plans for Civilization VI, to which he responded, "It is true that there are now 43 civs in the game, and the most any Civ has had up until now was 34. We actually hit 34 with Gods & Kings, and now we're going to be nine beyond it. So, that particular number is getting way up there."
Apr 12, 2013
Preview by Philippa Warr
A fire has been raging through Paris for the past four decades. Also, Jesus has just been born.
"The caravan unit is essentially a 'business camel' who brokers trade agreements."
That's the news from the other end of the bank of desks as I settle in to preview Civilization V: Brave New World - an expansion aimed primarily at spicing up the late stages of the game. My own Parisians, however, remain unroasted and un-Jesused because I've spent the last few turns ignoring Napoleon and trying to work out whether it would be prudent to build a windmill.
The windmill situation is clearly too complicated so I build a caravan unit instead. This is mostly because the caravan unit is essentially a "business camel" who goes off to other cities and brokers trade agreements on my behalf. In my head he has a pinstripe suit and a briefcase full of important documents.
The caravan appears as an option as soon as you research animal husbandry and creates trade routes. Looking to other civilisations, the most profitable trade routes are built between cities with few resources in common - business camels appreciate a diverse portfolio. But trade routes can also be established between two of your own cities. If one has a workshop, the trade route can export production giving a boost to cities founded late game which would otherwise be outpaced at every opportunity.
"Brave New World tries to deal with the late game peaceful play problem."
As time passes and you get deeper into the expansion you'll realise that the roving business camel was foreshadowing. Brave New World is actively trying to deal with the late game peaceful play problem - namely that you end up hemmed in on all sides with no will to explore, hitting "Next Turn" and eating biscuits.
"It's been a symptom of all Civ games - the late game just isn't as compelling as the beginning," admits Dennis Shirk, senior producer. Firaxis' solution? To prod you into activity via a mixture of international trade (business camels plus cargo ships), cultural scuffles, and the introduction of a World Congress for equal quantities of diplomacy and dickbaggery sans frontiers.
Culture now comes in two flavours: defensive and offensive. Defensive culture is the stuff of previous Civ iterations and is created by building wonders or landmarks. In Brave New World it serves to counter aggressive culture: tourism.
"Invest in tourism and artwork becomes a weapon. You're Charles Saatchi with a diplomatic passport."
Invest in tourism and artwork becomes a weapon. Your civilisation can now gobble up a great artist and spit out one of their famous real-world creations to be installed in a cultural institutions. Pair your burgeoning art scene with increased interaction with other civilisations and tourism flourishes: you're Charles Saatchi with a diplomatic passport.
The World Congress also appears in the latter part of the game; a cyclical system where two players - the host civilisation and the one with most delegates - make proposals. Nations preferring the diplomatic route to victory (or just partial to a spot of political wrangling) can spend turn after turn lobbying for support, indulging in espionage or trading votes to get their preferred policies approved.
These can be positive mandates for the good of humanity or a chance to indulge spite and retribution. "It's not always going to be a clean and shiny, optimistic future," observes Shirk. Indeed, the expansion's title, "Brave New World", explicitly references Huxley's dystopian novel and the ideological and cultural upheavals of the twentieth century.
"Don't expect Firaxis to stop tinkering with Civ V just yet."
But, whether you choose to play as a cynic or an optimist, Brave New World is hellbent on keeping you actively participating to the final turn. So although the expansion tentatively marks Civ V as complete don't expect the tinkering to stop just yet.
"We've already got updates on our schedule," says Shirk. "You can't know how the ideal arc for a game is going to fall until a million people are playing it - we want to have the best version of the game out there."