PAX Impression of Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Gods & Kings

The game I almost missed out on is one of the best games I’ve seen thus far at PAX East and is a game nobody should miss. Amidst being caught up playing another major 2K game with Borderlands 2, I missed my scheduled viewing of Civ 6. Luckily a extremely kind PR rep let me view it anyway when the next viewing showed. It was pretty much a sign from God, because that game looks absurdly good and I would have totally ignored it if I had missed that.


Of course like all the past ones it plays the same, basic turn-based strategy. You use units to take over land and blah, blah, blah. Come on. It’s Civilization. You know what it’s about. But this time there are some interesting changes.The team consists of a lot of older members alongside  lead designer Ed Beach, who’s worked on Civilization games in the past. But, as few people know, he’s also an award winning board game designer. No, not “Don’t Wake Daddy” or anything like that. Legit games based off the American Civil War and Renaissance Europe. His reformation game “Here I Stand” won a few awards back in ’06. He’s a great fit for the Civilization franchise.

The most blatant and immediate change to Civilization V is the reintroduction of religion including “faith” as a resource. Although it seems to function just as culture and science has in the past. There are eleven religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, Tengriism, and Zoroastrianism although you can change their name if you wish to do so. In the beginning you’re basically rushing to gain a pantheon  and found their own religion. Once you have a pantheon you can found your religion and gain unique traits according to your choice. Along with that you gain a benefit that one, and only one person will get. There are many to choose from but once another civilization has chosen to use one for themselves you will be forced to pick another. Over the course of time if your capital city will spread it’s influence over 7 hexes and push your religion on to those areas giving them unique city-based bonuses. You will also spawn prophets over time based on your actual history. This can drastically change your game making religion very important especially early on. But you will find later in the game that when it starts to become the modern age people kind of stop caring about faith and religion and lean heavily toward social policies.


Another thing they brought back was espionage. This time it’s a whole different feel to what we’ve seen in the past. No more 25 spies awkwardly roaming the entire map. They are much harder to get. Only coming from great wonders and a few more will be brought up over time. They’re no longer just something you can throw away and make 15 more in a few turns. They’re valuable now; and not just because they take a long time to spawn a new one. Spies and infiltrate a city and help rig elections, stage a coup and learning valuable information. You can learn of secrets such as leaders secretly building armies to attack another nation and use it to gain diplomacy with someone by ratting them out or letting it happen and preparing to clean up following the aftermath. And the best part is these are really what the AI is planning. None of that garbage of just listing things their nation may do. You’ve looking right at their real-time plan because you placed your spy in the right place at the right time and played your cards just right.

One of the other major things is that that  quests and diplomacy are much more important. Just being a technology powerhouse isn’t enough to get you by until you can finish of the weaklings here. There are city-states (religious and mercantile) that may require you to ally with certain foes in order to gain resources or knowledge you can’t get on your own. These city-states can also include quests (the example we were showed is to gain the most influence in x amount of turns) which are very rewarding and pretty much keeps you from ever being way too far behind.

The other things worth mentioning but don’t need as much explaining are the graphics which are much better. The textures are drastically nicer. It’s certainly not award winning graphics, but nobody really expects (or should even want) that from Civilization. The other thing is that diplomatic victory is much harder. People don’t just want your money anymore. They’ll certainly take it, but it doesn’t have anywhere near the same impact as it used to. This will require you to win the way the game was always designed. By advancing, becoming a technology powerhouse and forming the right alliances with the right nations.  Oh, speaking of that there’s also 27 new units, 13 new buildings, 9 new wonders, and 9 new playable civilizations. God damn. They also really improved the AI combat system to give them more balanced armies as well as adding the ability for naval ships to lay siege to your coastal cities making things much trickier and adding a whole new challenge to a much loved game. I’m dying to play this game as soon as humanly possible, but, unless I’m lucky I’l have to wait for the release date of June 19th and is rumored to be around $20-$30~

About The Author: Ryan

RPG, RTS and Flash game junkie. With the combined effort of his dog, he has broken everything from records to controllers. Nerd rager.