Civilization V is a continuation in Sid Meier’s franchise of global domination. A player picks from any number of historical civilizations and sets out to dominate through war, culture, science, or diplomacy. Players can find nothing more rewarding than managing to conquer the world as Polynesia, or drop nukes as Gandhi, rewriting history in the most creative ways possible. When the latest installment in the franchise was released, it was lauded for the wondrous graphics, but was criticized for a lack of realism. Leaders, despite their graphics, were anything but realistic. Their personalities were impossible to predict and they tended to contradict themselves in their own goals and actions. The new expansion, Gods and Kings, set out to add new civilizations to the mix, fix some systems that needed fixing (namely combat and diplomacy), and add previously missing features such as espionage and religion. Overall I have found it to be a far greater success than I thought it would be, truly a victory for the franchise.
Revamped Combat and City-States
The changes in the combat system fixed loopholes and overall redid the entire system. It takes some getting used to, but no longer to crossbows become rifles, among other illogical holes. There are now ranged melee units throughout the entire game to replace the awkward transitions. All units now have 100HP rather than 10HP, making a kill that would have taken 1 turn without Gods and Kings, take 2-4 turns. The changes have made it more difficult to capture cities and annihilate foes armies, even on quick settings. Wars are effectively more drawn out, in my opinion, improving the overall game play.
City-states used to be the way to ‘win through money.’ A player would simply bribe enough city-states to give them UN votes in order to win. City-states still take bribes, but you get a lot less from that bribe. They now have ‘quests,’ be they to make great people or convert the city-state to your religion. Completing quests gives you influence on a much larger level than money. The UN victory has also been reworked, and now a civ. does not select who their own vote goes to, and no one can vote for themselves. A given civilization’s vote goes to the civilization they have the best relations with. Probably the biggest failure of the original game, the diplomacy victory, has been effectively fixed in this expansion
New Civilizations and New Features
There are 9 new civilizations added with Gods and Kings: the Celts, Sweden, Ethiopia, Carthage, the Huns, the Byzantines, Austria, the Mayans, and the Netherlands. Each of them brings a new and unique ability to the table, several involving the new features to the game.
Espionage begins in the Renaissance. Through spies civilizations can learn of technological secrets, war plans, and plot coups in city-states. The rank of a spy and quantity a civilization has all depends on how effectively they are used. Overall, this aspect of the game could be a bit more complicated and in-depth, but it certainly does add a lot to the game play to consider. Does one bolster support in a city-state, or go after a more technologically advanced foe?
Religion, one of the most historically important parts of human civilization, finally makes it to Civ V. A player can name their religion whatever they like, or keep a pre-selected name of real religions. The beliefs for any religion vary, it all depends on what one wants to achieve. Culture, gold, science, military bonuses, they all can come from religion. The downside is that one can accidentally lose trying to spread religion or build religious buildings and lose track of other things. There is no religion victory.
Through adding a new crop of players, and a new bag of goodies to play with, Gods and Kings effectively makes the game feel entirely different. I can already hardly remember playing a game where I was not worried of religious conversion or meddling spies. This expansion, though it isn’t perfect, is a true victory for the franchise.