In my review of the Brave New World expansion for Civilization V, I expressed some disappointment that some of the legacy civilizations didn't receive significant updates. I also complained about a few mechanical issues such as how the "warmonger" mechanic works and the value of trade routes. Well, Firaxis has released a major update to the game earlier this fall that addresses some of these complaints.
Several of the vanilla civilizations received a major overhaul. As I mentioned in my review, Germany and America seem to have been completely one-upped by the Zulu and Shoshone. Well, Germany has been given a major update, and America has received a small tweak in order to better differentiate them from the BNW successors. In addition, Japan has received a small (but significant) buff.
Germany was probably the civ that was in the most dire need of a facelift, since the Zulu leave them completely in the dust. Both civs had a huge military flavor, discounts for unit maintenance, and a unique Pikeman replacement, and the Zulu had Germany beat on all accounts. In order to differentiate the two, The Landsknechts unique unit was replaced with a new unique building, the "Hanse". [More]
One of my biggest criticisms with the Gods & Kings expansion pack for Civilization V was that none of the features added really felt all that fresh. They were just redesigns of old features that were present in previous games. Granted, they were also the most highly-requested features by the player community, but as concepts, nothing really felt new or original.
The new expansion, Brave New World changes all of that by adding never-before-seen concepts to the game, and they add a great deal of flavor and dramatically change the way that the game unfolds.
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A few more of the missing concepts from Civilization IV are re-introduced with a new coat of paint in Civilization V: Brave New World: trade routes and a world resolution system. Both systems are implemented differently than in the previous game, and both are kind of hit-or-miss this time around
I have long been asking for the introduction of some kind of international trade route mechanic to be added to Civ V. Without such a feature, the vanilla game (and Gods & Kings) were missing one of the key incentives to maintain peaceful relations with your neighbors. Well now we have such a feature. In some ways, it's a step forward from Civ IV's completely non-interactive trade routes, but it's also a bit clumsy.
Coastal cities might seem weaker due to the lack of gold on sea resources, but sea trade routes are more profitable and have longer range than ground routes, so coastal cities are still valuable.
Over the weekend of June 15, I participated in a bi-weekly Civilization podcast called "PolyCast". This episode was number 175, and it was titled "In Response to That", and focused on responding to several forum topics. The episode can be streamed in its entirety at here.
It was an interesting show, full of confusion and technical difficulties when it was broadcast live; although some of those difficulties were edited out in order to fit into the standard 1-hour format for the show archive. The show started out with difficulties getting the audio to work in the live steam, and it took us around 20 minutes to get up and running. That was a great start to the show. On top of that, I suffered several power outages at my house that disconnected me from the group chat and caused me to stumble through the show's closing sign-off. Oops. I'll do better next time.
This was my second time on PolyCast. The first time I appeared on the show, I predicted Civ V's first expansion. This show wasn't quite as prophetical (is that a word?), but I can't be Nostradamus every day! [More]
This review was originally published 10/17/2010 on Game Observer. In anticipation of the soon-to-be-released Brave New World expansion pack, the review has been republished here for archival purposes.
For better or worse, I probably won’t be able to go back to Civilization IV after playing this.
I want to put my review into perspective before I begin. I’m not a day-one Civilization player. I didn’t start playing the franchise until Civilization III (after it had already been out for several years and both expansions had been released). Civilization IV, however, is probably my favorite video game ever -- or at least, my favorite PC game. The only games that I’ve probably logged more hours with than Civ IV are the Sims 2 (plus all the expansions) and the cumulative sum of all the Madden games I’ve played since 2000.
My hopes for Civilization V were sky-high from the moment the first details of gameplay were revealed about a year ago. This was despite my misgivings about the vendor and edition-exclusive gameplay content -- gameplay content should NEVER be exclusive to a vendor or edition of a game; anybody who buys a game should have the right to play any content that is released for the game (even if they have to pay extra for it) regardless of where they got it or when they bought! But now is not the place to discuss industry politics -- I’ll save that rant for another day.
Back on-topic: Civilization V promised a lot: competitive, tactical combat with a totally new rule-set; intelligent, interactive AI leaders; a simpler, streamlined interface; and simpler, more streamlined gameplay without sacrificing any of the series’ trademark depth. I’ve been spending almost every free moment playing this game for the two weeks since release. Does it measure up? [More]
I recently uploaded a new Civilization V mod onto the Steam Workshop. The new mod adds a National Park building that is unlocked with the Scientific Theory technology. The National Park can be built in cities that contain natural wonders, and the National Park will provide bonus Gold, Science, and Culture to all natural wonders within the city radius, as well as provide 3 global happiness.
National Park building adds gold, culture, and science to all natural wonders within the city, as well as providing 3 global happiness.
UPDATE (July 18, 2013 9:35 PST): National Park updated for Brave New World expansion
I have updated this mod for the new Brave New World expansion. If you have BNW installed, the National Park will now be unlocked with the Railroad technology, and the building will improve the Tourism output of your city.
If you are still playing Gods & Kings, the mod does not change the prereq or functionality of the National Park for that expansion. Updating the mod should not affect saved games for G&K players.
Thanks for playing, and enjoy!
UPDATE (July 24, 2013 10:30 PDT): National Park changed to provide +5 tourism instead of percentage modifier
Version 4 of my National Park mod has been published. The update changes the 25% conversion of culture to tourism so that the building provides a static +5 tourism. This was accomplished by using the TechEnhancedTourism and EnhancedYieldTech properties so that Railroad (the unlocking tech) adds +5 tourism to the building. This is the same method that is used for the Eiffel Tower world wonder.
This was done so that the National Park will always provide a substantial tourism output to the city (equivalent to 2 1/2 Great Works), regardless of how culturally strong the city is. Since many Natural Wonders do not generate large amounts of culture, I couldn't expect that a city containing the National Park would necessarily have enough culture for the 25% conversion to be worthwhile.
The only major downside to this change is that the Airport and Hotel don't synergize quite as well with the National Park. Aw well, can't be perfect, I guess... [More]