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In a Nutshell

  • Gameplay: 95
    Peaceful management of your empire's culture and economy is now more active and challenging irrespective of empire size. War has been strongly discouraged via excessive economic and diplomatic penalties.
  • Visuals: 75
    Aside from new great work splash screens, there isn't much new to look at.
  • Audio: 80
    Lots of new narration by W. Morgan Sheppard and some fun new music for the new leaders.
  • Value: 99
    There's a huge amount of base game content. New features keep the game engaging throughout.
  • Expansion Content*: 85
    Trade route system seems unnecessarily obfuscated, but archaeology and great works add a great deal of flavor and gives the player more to do during parts of the game that used to be dull. Scenarios are underwhelming.
  • Overall Score: 87

  • * denotes wild-card score category
Developer: Firaxis
Publisher: 2K Games
Platforms: PC (DVD or Steam)
ESRB rating: E (10+)
for: drug references,
mild language, mild violence.
Genre: Turn-based strategy
Players: Single-Player
or online multiplayer
Official site:

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.

Table of Contents

Returning concepts

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

Trade routes are an obfuscated combination of physical units and abstract "lines on a map"

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.

Civilization IV - trade panel Civilization IV: Colonization - trade goods
[LEFT] In Civilization IV, trade was completely passive, and happened from city-to-city.
[RIGHT] In Colonization, trade goods had to be manufactured in cities, manually placed in trade units, and physically moved and sold.

The big problem with this mechanic is that it can't decide whether it wants to work like regular units, or if it just wants to be an abstract "line on the map" that you just set up and let run. The trade units are physical units, but they are fully-automated, exist on their own strategic layer (i.e. can stack with both military and civilian units), and don't behave like any other units in the game. At the same time, it's the route itself and not the unit that generates the trade. Yield is not based on the actual movement of the unit across the map. Roads, rivers, and technologies can improve the range of these units (so you can trade with cities further away), but the speed at which the unit moves across the map is irrelevant. However, the trade units can still be attacked and killed by other units on the map, so they need to be protected. But since the movement of these units is entirely automatic, the player has no control over the unit itself. You can't change its route if enemy units block one path, nor can you force it to turn around if your trade partner suddenly becomes hostile or it approaches barbarians, and escorting military units cannot travel with the trade unit through closed borders. This is slightly alleviated by the fact that trade units perform their movement at the beginning of the turn, so it's easier to follow them with your military units, but you're still limited by terrain, borders, and the presence of other units. The trade units also do not provide line of sight, so they don't return any intel about the civilizations that they trade with or move through.

It's like having the worst of both worlds! You lose control of the unit, but still have to protect it like a civilian unit (even from barbarians). To make matters worse, you are locked into trade routes for a set number of turns, so if the political situation deteriorates, you can't just cancel the route. There are valid balance reasons for this, such as preventing a player from being able to switch trade routes every few turns to limit the yield that goes to competing players or to complete quests for city states (who may ask you to send a trade route to them). But it severely limits player options and leads to many annoying situations.

Civilization V: Brave new World - can't protect trade routes
Trade units follow different movement rules than units, which makes them very difficult to protect.

The absolute worst part of the trade route mechanic, however, is the fact that trade routes are automatically plundered if a war breaks out with the recipient city's owner. This happens regardless of the unit's location on the map and whether or not it has military units protecting it! No other unit in the game is automatically destroyed in such a fashion. Units that happen to be in another civ's territory when war is declared are typically just moved out to the closest neutral tile. I understand that there needs to be risk to sending trade routes to potentially-hostile civs, but at least treat the units with some degree of consistency. I would be perfectly happy if the trade route simply ended, neither party receives any more gold per turn, and the unit has to move back to its home city following the standard movement rules. And if the unit happens to get plundered on the way, then that's the price of war. Not receiving trade income for the time it takes to wait for the unit to return home seems to be a perfectly reasonable penalty for the situation. But automatically and arbitrarily losing the unit and being forced to divert time and production towards building more is just silly.

Either treat the mechanic as part of city management, or treat it like a unit. But if you treat it like a unit, then its movement across the map should have some relevance to the trade route, and it should behave like other units in the game, and follow the same rules. But it doesn't...

One fun new feature of this mechanic is the ability to send food and production between your cities. You can use this to quickly develop newly-founded cities, which makes mid and late game expansion much more viable, and allows you to spread out your wonder-building to more than just one or two cities (you can build a wonder in the city where the wonder provides the most benefit, and then just send all your trade routes to that city to beef it's production). This mechanic is kind of weird because it doesn't remove the food or production from the source city, so it's kind of like having free food and production out of nowhere. The trade off, however, is that you're not gaining gold from these trade routes, so it doesn't feel as abusive as you might think.

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World Congress fleshes out diplomacy, but not enough

I'm very on-the-fence with diplomacy. There were some major changes to diplomacy for the new World Congress / UN feature. One of the biggest changes is a bit of a regression for the Diplomatic Victory. The number of votes that players receive for the UN (including "world leader" vote) is determined primarily by the number of City State allies that the player has. This is a bit of a regression back to the way that the vanilla game handled it. And many vanilla players would disable the Diplo victory because it was too easy to exploit by simply saving up money and buying CS alliances at the last minute. The new version isn't quite as bad as the vanilla. In G&K, civs could not vote for themselves for the diplomatic victory, so the problem was effectively solved. However, the changes made for the world congress meant that the mechanic needed to be changed. The general idea (by the developers) seems to be that players should spend the turns preceding a UN vote trying to buy off the votes of other players (particularly their friends). This would make the diplomatic victory a little bit more active (a major design philosophy of this exp), since you would have to take action to ensure victory.

The problem is that the AIs are very reluctant to agree to vote for you. In the few games that I've tried for a Diplo victory, I have not been able to convince any AIs to vote for me. I also have never been approached by an AI with a request / bribe to vote for them. I'm not saying that these things don't happen; just I've never seen them happen.

Regardless, the underlying mechanic is still dependent on CS alliances. Cheap wins can still be attained by simply saving up a butt-ton of money and buying off enough CSes on the turn before the UN vote (or staging coups with spies). This is much harder than in vanilla due to gold providing less influence to CSs, but City State allies still end up being the deciding factor in who can win the vote, and actual diplomacy has been minimized in effectiveness. You can be a total, undiplomatic dick to every AI civilization in the game, but if you give enough love to City States, you still win the victory. I liked G&K's Diplomatic Victory much better because it forced the player to actually have to be diplomatic and nurture friendships and alliances with other civs for the majority of the game.

Civilization V: Brave new World - International Space Station
Civs can contribute to several different global resolutions, and the top contributors will win various awards.

I really do like some of the new bells and whistles that have been added though. The resolutions for "contests" (such as the World's Fair, International Space Station, and so on) are a fun addition. These act almost like wonders that every player in the game can participate in building simultaneously. The civs that provide the most production gain a special reward. Unfortunately, you're completely in the dark about how much production other civs invest into these contests. You could send your spies to their cities, but you'd have to move your spies through every city belonging to every AI in the game to get a good idea of just how much production they are dedicating to these resolutions. It would be nice if your spies would just give you more information about this automatically as part of the intrigue mechanic.

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The "pacification" of Civ V

The combination of the new trade route mechanic, world congress, and a few other mechanical changes has lead to Civ V becoming a much more pacifistic game. Much of the inherent gold that used to be generated by tiles has been removed in order to balance out the wealth of trade routes, so almost all of your gold early in the game is generated by trade routes. This means that maintaining amicable relations with your neighbors is paramount to keeping your economy afloat early in the game. You can still trade with city states if you manage to piss off all the civs near you, but they are far less profitable, and the shifting allegiances of city states makes them dangerous and unstable trade partners.

Trade routes have also radically altered how gold is acquired. In order to offset the gold earned by trade routes, river tiles and coastal tiles no longer generate gold. This makes it very hard to acquire gold early in the game, and significantly devalues cities along rivers (although the increased yield of sea trade routes means coastal cities are still worthwhile). Combined with the requirement to actually build the trade units, it takes a bit longer to get your civilization's economy up and running.

On top of that, "warmonger" penalties with the AIs seems to have been drastically exaggerated. Now, conquering a single rival civ or even a single city state early in the game will result in every civ permanently labeling you as a "warmonger", which will make it nearly impossible to maintain friendly relations with them. Millenia after your conquered foe's culture has faded to dust, you'll still be seeing chain-denouncements and war declarations, making it almost impossible for you to maintain a stable economy. So once you decide to go down the warpath, there will be no turning back! This is especially unfortunate for some of the civs that are heavily focused around warfare, or the civs who have very early unique units, since using those units will result in essentially forfeiting ever being able to trade with anybody.

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Completely original concepts adds fun and flavor to the game

Fortunately, Brave New World is saved by its other new features.

Flourishing of the arts

The culture system has been given a complete overhaul. You still generate culture and spend them on policies, but completing policy trees is no longer the direct path to a culture victory. Now, the new "tourism" mechanic is what will lead you to victory.

Tourism is attained by placing "great works" in certain buildings of your empire. Great works are created by certain great people. The Great Artist from earlier versions of the game has been split up into three different great people: the Great Artist, Great Musician, and Great Writer. Each of these great people is named, and each one can create their own unique work. For example, Vincent Van Gogh will paint Starry Night, Jane Austin will write Pride and Prejudice, and Ludwig Beethoven will compose The Fifth Symphony. Each type of work can be housed in specific buildings. Art can be housed in museums, writings can be performed in amphitheaters, and music can be played in opera houses. Some wonders can also house great works. Each work of art will provide both culture and tourism. Each building that can house more than one work can also attain a "theming" bonus if you collect works from the same civilization and era. Certain wonders will have unique theming bonuses, such as the Great Library receiving a bonus for having literature from different civilizations and different eras.

Civilization V: Brave new World - painting of 'Birth of Venus'
And somehow, this game gets away without a "Nudity" warning from the ESRB!

Each time a work is created, you'll be given a splash screen that will show you the specific piece of art, play a clip from the music, or have William Morgan Sheppard read an excerpt from the literature. This all adds a great deal of flavor to the game and makes each great person feel special and unique.

It is kind of annoying that the writers, artists, and musicians can only be generated by their respective guild, which is a national wonder that you can only build in one city. So you pretty much have to dedicate one city to being your great person farm and try to get all three guilds in that city; otherwise, you'll have a hard time generating enough great people to be culturally competitive on harder difficulties.

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It belongs in a museum!

But great works aren't the only way to generate tourism. Another completely new concept has been introduced to the game: archaeology!

Upon researching the "archaeology" technology, the player will reveal a multitude of "antiquity sites" on the map. These antiquity sites can be excavated by an Archaeologist unit in order to reveal an ancient artifact. Each site appears at a location of a significant event from earlier in the game, such as the site of a battle between two civs, razed cities, barbarian encampments, locations of ancient ruins, and so forth. The artifact discovered will be dependent on the specific event and the civilizations that participated. Collected artifacts can be placed in your museums (or wonders like the Louvre) to generate culture and tourism similar to great works. And similarly to great works, these artifacts can be grouped to attain theming bonuses.

The callbacks to earlier events in the same game is pretty fun, and having to send units out to basically discover culture adds a whole new element of interactivity to the culture victory that makes the later game feel much more engaging. There's also diplomatic repercussions to archaeological digging, as other civs will become angry if you excavate artifacts from within their territory.

Civilization V: Brave new World - Archaeological dig'
Archaeology is an active process that occupies a large chunk of the second half of the game.

The artifacts aren't quite as interesting as the great works though, because there's no pretty splash screens or anything showing us the artifact. Also, since the antiquity site locations are based on events from earlier that same game, it's fairly easy to predict where they will show up and what era and civilization they will represent. So it's fairly easy to game the system. Also, all antiquity sites will appear on land. There are no ancient ship wrecks, or lost Atlantean cities for your archaeologists to find in the ocean. There's also no pre-historic artifacts, so you won't find a T-Rex skeleton, trilobite fossil, or neanderthal frozen in ice (sorry, natural history buffs).

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Tourist attack

And even if you're not playing for a culture victory, archaeologists and great works aren't useless, as you still want to have strong tourism and culture in order fight the ideological battle late in the game.

During the industrial era, you'll have the opportunity to chose one of three competing ideologies: freedom, autocracy, and order (formerly exclusive policy trees). These ideologies act more like the governments of earlier Civ games, in that they strongly affect diplomatic relations. Ancient alliances may break down if your friends adopt a competing ideology, and former foes may suddenly seek out friendship with their new ideological partners. The civs with very strong tourism will also put ideological pressure on civs with competing ideologies, which will lead to mounting unhappiness and the possibility of a revolting populace.

All of these new culture and tourism changes really help to integrate culture into the rest of the game and create a lot more things to do in the later periods of the game, which have traditionally been pretty dull. Ideologies and world congress can create a great deal of conflict and can eventually lead to unavoidable world wars. Sprawling empires can now actually compete for culture victories, since more cities means more culture buildings in which to store great works and artifacts in order to generate more tourism. So these mechanics have really help to swing the doors wide open to a greater variety of gameplay styles, and the fact that archaeology and ideologies don't even become introduced until more than halfway through the game means that there's also plenty of opportunity to change your intended victory path if you find that one become untenable.

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Civilization V: Brave new World - Impi ranged attack
The Impi is a pikeman that gets to make a ranged attack before moving in for melee. Combined with the powerful "Buffalo" promotions of the Ikanda, these guys are insanely powerful!

Fun new civilizations make old civs feel mundane

In addition to new gameplay features and mechanics, Brave New World comes packaged with an assortment of new civilizations to play with. And it's a pretty interesting list! It's a good mix of returning favorites and brand new civilizations and leaders. Each of the new civilizations have buildings or units that have novel new gameplay mechanics that helps make them feel special and unique. Unfortunately, this variety makes a lot of vanilla civilizations (and even some Gods & Kings civilizations) feel very bland by comparison.

Zulu and Shoshone make Germany and America look boring

Fan-favorite Shaka is back in the reigns as leader of the Zulu. The Zulu are a very potent medieval and renaissance war machine that makes Germany look almost tame by comparison. Like Germany, the Zulu receive a discount to unit maintenance and their unique Impi replaces the Pikeman, but receives much more powerful bonuses than Germany's Landshneckts. The Zulu are geared towards pumping out a large army of Impi, and the best part is that they all upgrade to rifles instead of the normal lancer, which means you get to keep all their powerful promotions as part of your primary offensive or defensive military!

Similarly, the Shoshone seem to outclass the American civilization. The Shoshone get free chunks of land whenever they found a new city, and subsequent tile-acquisition starts at the original base cost, which means they get an inherent discount to annexing and purchasing tiles! This makes America's 25% tile purchase discount look puny by comparison; although, America's automatic +1 line of sight is still a powerful advantage. But the addition of a unique scout replacement, the Pathfinder unit, which can chose its reward from ancient ruins makes the Shoshone a much more fun and interesting civilization to play than America, which is sadly lacking in novel gameplay mechanics.

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Venice: the first playable City State!

One of the other new civs: Venice, is a very unique civ. It is the only playable city state. Venice cannot build settlers or annex captured cities. The only way that they can expand is through conquest or to use their Merchant of Venice unique unit (replaced the Great Merchant) to buy other city states (but those city states are still puppets). To offset the highly-limiting nature of this "ability", Venice has the bonus of being able to purchase things in its puppeted city states, and they receive double trade routes.

This focus on acquiring city states makes Venice seem somewhat similar to Austria, but they play very differently, so this isn't a case like the Zulu seeming strictly superior to Germany. Put simply: playing as Venice is really hard! You have absolutely no control over where your cities are located, and all your attempts at expansion will result diplomatic repercussions, since you'll either have to expand through war, or by buying the city states that other AIs might be friendly or allied with, and all of your expansion cities will be on contested borders.

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Other civs provide plenty of variety

Of the remaining new civilizations, I think my favorite is Assyria. On the surface, their ability to steal tech from captured cities and their military-themed Library and Catapult replacements makes them seem best-suited for the military victory, but they are actually a very fun and well-balanced civ for all victories. You can avoid the excessive warmonger penalties by focusing your attacks on border cities instead of capitals, and just stay away from attacking city states. On top of that, the ability to steal technologies from captured cities means Assyria plays very well from behind, since they're the only civ with a catch-up power. Or, alternatively, you can let the aggressive civilizations declare war on you, then capture their cities to steal the military technologies while you devote all your research on culture, economic, or scientific tech paths. Lastly, the Royal Library allows gives you a great writing slot, which means that you can stockpile a lot of early tourism. You'll also have plenty of room to store any great works that you may steal from other players cities!

Civilization V: Brave new World - provoking Assyria's wrath
Jerks settled their cities in the exact places that I wanted to put my cities. Gave me an excuse to use Assyria's tech-stealing powers.

Indonesia is another very interesting new civilization. They have a unique swordsman replacement, the Kris Blade, which gets a random unique promotion after its first combat. This promotion, however, can be good or bad. On the good side of the spectrum is a promo that gives the unit an extra attack (similar to Blitz); on the bad side is a promotion that gives a -30% combat modifier. Ouch. Their unique ability grants them 2 copies of a free unique luxury resource on the first 3 cities that they found on a different landmass than their capital, and they get a unique building that replaces the Garden. These uniques make Indonesia a very map-based civilization. They work really well on archipelago maps, but you may have trouble with them on pangea maps. If there aren't any islands or other continents at all, then their unique power is wasted, and if you don't settle near rivers, you can never build their unique building. And, of course, if you don't have iron, then you won't be building your Kris swords either...

One of my friends really likes Poland, since they get free social policies every era, and my friend loves social policies! They are a much more situational civ than Assyria though, since their other bonuses are based on having access to horses.

Some of the other new civs take advantage of the new mechanics offered by the expansion:

  • Brazil gets a tourism bonus during golden ages, as well as having access to a unique jungle-based improvement (making jungle starts much less of a pain in the ass).
  • Morocco gets bonus gold and culture from trade routes, as well as giving bonus gold to any other civ that sends a trade route to Morocco (which can make Morocco an economic powerhouse). They also have a Kasbah improvement that actually makes deserts worth settling on, especially if you can build the Petra world wonder!
  • Portugal's unique power is a bit "meh": they get bonus gold from resource diversity in trade routes. But they have a very cool unique unit and improvement: the Feitoria can be built in city state territory and automatically gives Portugal any luxury resources that the city state has access to; and their unique caravel replacement, the Nau, is faster and can "sell" cargo one time to foreign civs to gain bonus gold and xp (making them almost like mini-Great Merchants). This is a cool ability for the unit, but the ability is considered a "promotion", and it remains on the ship even after you use the one-time ability, so there is no way for you to know (by looking at the unit) that the ability had been used. I think this is the first instance in which a unit is given a one-time ability that does not consume the unit, so it would have been nice for the game to include an indicator that the ability had been used. This could either be a counter (similar to a missionary's "Religious Spread" counter, or they could just remove the promotion after it is consumed.
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Miscellaneous balance changes, improvements, and scenarios

There have also been a decent amount of general balance changes to the game.

In order to accommodate the new great work and artifact system, culture buildings have been completely changed. They all have great work or artifact slots instead of the old artist specialist. I was kind of disappointed to see that world wonders weren't given inherent tourism yield, but whatever.

Civilization V: Brave new World - coastal city
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.

Some wonders and buildings have been reworked to use the new mechanics. The Harbor, for example, now enhances sea trade routes, and its old production bonuses have been moved to the Lighthouse (which makes that building much more desirable!). The Colossus now provides a free cargo ship unit and bonus gold for trade routes instead of increasing gold on sea resources; and Petra now provides a free caravan unit. The National Treasury and Theater buildings have been replaced with an East India Company (boosts trade route income) and Zoo building (respectively).

There is also now a research penalty for founding new cities. Each city you found or conquer increases tech costs by 3%! This makes rapid expansion risky, as you may stagnate your tech progress. The result is that mid and late-game tech progress feels much slower. It's much harder now to get to the end of the tech tree, which means the Space Race victory has been made inherently harder. Perhaps the intent was for the Space Race to replace culture victory as the small "turtle" victory condition? This tech penalty makes sense early in the game, but I really think there should be something available late game in order to offset it. Perhaps the Printing Press, Scientific Method, and Computer technologies could have each reduced this penalty by 1%? I don't know; this is one area of the game where I would like to see more balancing.

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Missed opportunities for reworking boring legacy civs

The French civilization has also been completely redesigned. Instead of the old bonus culture in every city, France now receives a tourism theming bonus in its capital, and the Foreign Legion unit has been replaced with a Chateau improvement that generates culture and gold. Suddenly, Napoleon doesn't seem as intimidating as he once did... This ability is very powerful, but also very difficult to use effectively. It essentially requires that you build the Great Library, Uffizi, Louvre, or Broadway wonders in order to see any significant benefit, but if you do get the Great Library's theme bonus maxed out early in the game, it can be a real game-changer.

Civilization V: Brave new World - Paris tourism
Paris: Civilization V's ultimate tourist trap!

It's a shame that some other civs didn't get more attention. As I mentioned above, the Zulu and Shoshone make Germany and America feel very bland by comparison, but this is now true of most of the vanilla civilizations, which all lack the unique and novel gameplay mechanics that the new expansion civs bring to the table. I would have liked to see America be given some kind of bonus towards ideologies or tourism. And none of the civs have any sort of bonus towards archaeology, which is something that I could see having been given to England, Germany, America, or China.

France's Musketeer or Persia's Immortal could have been given a variation of the Impi's ability to make a ranged attack then melee, since French Musketeers were famous for their excellent swordsmanship, and Persian Immortals were known for using bows to soften their enemies before charging. And I really like the idea of adding unique luxuries and unique great person replacements. It's too bad some of the older civs weren't revamped to include unique replacements for the other great people: engineer, scientist, artist, writer, musician, prophet. The Netherlands' Polder improvement could have been modified to provide a Tulip luxury, and I wouldn't mind seeing Maya have a unique cocoa / chocolate luxury! Mmm, chocolate... But most of the civs remain untouched, and the few that were modified (except France) were given only very subtle changes (Arabia and India saw minor revisions to better work with the new trade and tourism features).

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Interface updates

The social policy trees have also been completely overhauled. Two new trees: Exploration and Aesthetics have been added in order to augment the culture victory, and the Piety tree has been changed to make it more focused on faith instead of culture. As a result, faith accumulation seems to happen very fast, and religions seem to get founded and enhanced much earlier in the game. I would have liked to have seen some old civs be given some faith bonuses so that the Celts and Byzantium wouldn't have a monopoly on early religion-founding, and so that the Christian religions wouldn't always be the first to be founded. Specifically, it would have been nice to see India, Japan, Aztecs, Greece, Egypt, Spain, China, and maybe Rome be given some kind of religious-themed bonus and/or higher religion flavor.

Civilization V: Brave new World - new war declaration dialogue
You'll now receive a warning about the consequences of declaring war on a rival civilization.

There's also some interface improvements. The most notable is a new dialogue that pops up whenever you try to declare war. This dialogue tells you the status of all diplomatic deals that you have with the other civ, as well as all their allies. This is a very useful and long-overdue inclusion!

There's still a lot of missing diplomatic interfaces though. Players still can't threaten other civs, make peaceful requests, insist that other civs remove troops from the border, or any of the other things that the AIs can unfairly do to the human player. We also still can't exit the diplomacy screen to view diplomatic relations, treaty statuses, or other information when the AI offers a deal on their turn. There's also still no way of coordinating war targets or requesting that your allies give you support during a war, so defensive pacts and military alliances are still a complete crap chute. Player-to-player diplomacy in multiplayer is also still annoying in that it requires multiple turns in order to get a deal done.

But some of this can be alleviated by the fact that support has finally been added for mod play in multiplayer! It's about time!

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Scenarios are dull

One of the big weaknesses of Civ V in general has been the lack of really appealing scenarios, and this trend does not end with Brave New World. The two new scenarios that were added aren't very interesting. I would very much like to see a Civil War game from a franchise like Total War, but I've never felt war-scenarios to be very interesting in Civ games. The big appeal for Civ (to me) is the breadth and scope of the game, so focusing on a single historical conflict just doesn't interest me as much in this particular style of game.

The other scenario revolves around colonizing Africa, and it's a little bit more interesting. But I'd still rather play the base game. The main gimmick of this scenario is that the coastline of Africa is always the same, but the inner map is randomized, so each game is different. The problem with this is that it kind of defeats the purpose of having a historical scenario because the context is lost. If I wanted a random map, then I'd play the base game!

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Brave New World changes the way the game is played, and adds whole new challenges and levels of player-engagement

It takes some time to adjust to this new expansion. I had very mixed feelings at first because the most of the changes that I encountered early on were off-putting (the excessive warmonger penalties, lack of gold, and awkward trade route mechanic). But I stuck with it, and once I made it far enough into the game to play around with the other new features, I found them all very engaging and fun.

Brave New World seems to me to be a much more satisfying expansion than Gods & Kings was. It feels much fresher, and doesn't give the impression of just being a collection of recycled ideas from earlier installments. But the one biggest take-away from this expansion is that there is still plenty of room for Civilization to grow as a franchise. This expansion contains a wealth of new ideas that push the boundaries of franchise. The great works and archaeology mechanics are features that I hope to see return in some form or another in any future installments of the series, and I hope that Firaxis can continue to show this level of creativity in creating new playable civilizations.

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UPDATE: Review of the Brave New World Fall Patch (2013) posted.

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Cities: Skylines: Match Day & ver. 1.4Cities: Skylines: Match Day & ver. 1.4CitiesXL & Cities XXLCitiesXL & Cities XXL
ControlControlCrusader Kings IIICrusader Kings III
Dark SoulsDark SoulsDark Souls Artorias of the Abyss DLCDark Souls Artorias of the Abyss DLC
Dark Souls IIDark Souls IIDark Souls II: Scholar of the First SinDark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin
Dark Souls IIIDark Souls IIIDark Souls III: Ashes of AriandelDark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel
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Dead Space 2Dead Space 2Death StrandingDeath Stranding
Death's GambitDeath's GambitDeliver Us The MoonDeliver Us The Moon
Demon's SoulsDemon's SoulsDemon's Souls (PS5)Demon's Souls (PS5)
Devil May Cry 5Devil May Cry 5Disco ElysiumDisco Elysium
DmC (Devil May Cry)DmC (Devil May Cry)DOOM (2016)DOOM (2016)
DreadOutDreadOutElden RingElden Ring
Endling: Extinction Is ForeverEndling: Extinction Is ForeverEvent [0]Event [0]
F.T.L. (Faster Than Light)F.T.L. (Faster Than Light)Fallout 4Fallout 4
Fallout ShelterFallout ShelterFar Cry PrimalFar Cry Primal
Final Fantasy VII RemakeFinal Fantasy VII RemakeFinal Fantasy XIIIFinal Fantasy XIII
Final Fantasy XVFinal Fantasy XVFirewatchFirewatch
Five Nights at Freddy'sFive Nights at Freddy'sGame of Thrones (Telltale series 1-2)Game of Thrones (Telltale series 1-2)
Ghost of TsushimaGhost of TsushimaGod of War (2018)God of War (2018)
God of War IIIGod of War IIIGone HomeGone Home
Gran Turismo 7Gran Turismo 7Grand Theft Auto VGrand Theft Auto V
Green Hell VRGreen Hell VRHell Let LooseHell Let Loose
Hellblade: Senua's SacrificeHellblade: Senua's SacrificeHer StoryHer Story
HumankindHumankindImagine EarthImagine Earth
Kayak VR MirageKayak VR MirageKingdom Come: DeliveranceKingdom Come: Deliverance
L.A. NoireL.A. NoireLayers Of Fear 2Layers Of Fear 2
Legend BowlLegend BowlLetters To A Friend: FarewellLetters To A Friend: Farewell
Lifeless PlanetLifeless PlanetLollipop ChainsawLollipop Chainsaw
Mad MaxMad MaxMadden NFL 11Madden NFL 11
Madden NFL 12Madden NFL 12Madden NFL 13Madden NFL 13
Madden NFL 15Madden NFL 15Madden NFL 16Madden NFL 16
Madden NFL 17Madden NFL 17Madden NFL 18Madden NFL 18
Madden NFL 19Madden NFL 19Madden NFL 20Madden NFL 20
Madden NFL 21Madden NFL 21Madden NFL 22Madden NFL 22
Madden NFL 23Madden NFL 23Madden NFL 24Madden NFL 24
MADiSONMADiSONMars Rover LandingMars Rover Landing
Marvel's Spider-ManMarvel's Spider-ManMarvel's Spider-Man 2Marvel's Spider-Man 2
Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles MoralesMarvel's Spider-Man: Miles MoralesMaster of Orion: Conquer the StarsMaster of Orion: Conquer the Stars
Maximum Football 2018Maximum Football 2018Maximum Football 2019Maximum Football 2019
Maximum Football2020Maximum Football2020Metal Gear Solid V: the Phantom PainMetal Gear Solid V: the Phantom Pain
MiasmataMiasmataMiddle-Earth: Shadow of MordorMiddle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Middle-Earth: Shadow of WarMiddle-Earth: Shadow of WarMonster Hunter: WorldMonster Hunter: World
Moons of MadnessMoons of MadnessNCAA Football 11NCAA Football 11
NCAA Football 12NCAA Football 12NCAA Football 13NCAA Football 13
NFL Pro EraNFL Pro EraNiohNioh
No Man's SkyNo Man's SkyObservationObservation
Outer WildsOuter WildsOuter Wilds: Echoes of the EyeOuter Wilds: Echoes of the Eye
OutlastOutlastPacific DrivePacific Drive
Papers, PleasePapers, PleasePortal 2Portal 2
Red Dead RedemptionRed Dead RedemptionRed Dead Redemption IIRed Dead Redemption II
Resident Evil 2Resident Evil 2Resident Evil 3Resident Evil 3
Resident Evil RemasteredResident Evil RemasteredResident Evil VII: BiohazardResident Evil VII: Biohazard
Resident Evil VIII VillageResident Evil VIII VillageReturn of the Obra DinnReturn of the Obra Dinn
Rock Band 3Rock Band 3Room 404Room 404
Sekiro: Shadows Die TwiceSekiro: Shadows Die TwiceSettlement SurvivalSettlement Survival
Shadow of the Colossus (2018)Shadow of the Colossus (2018)Sid Meier's Civilization VSid Meier's Civilization V
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New WorldSid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New WorldSid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & KingsSid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings
Sid Meier's Civilization VISid Meier's Civilization VISid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering StormSid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm
Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Rise and FallSid Meier's Civilization VI: Rise and FallSid Meier's Civilization: Beyond EarthSid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising TideSid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising TideSilent Hill 4: the RoomSilent Hill 4: the Room
Silent Hill HD CollectionSilent Hill HD CollectionSilent Hill: Shattered MemoriesSilent Hill: Shattered Memories
Silent Hill: The Short MessageSilent Hill: The Short MessageSilicon DreamsSilicon Dreams
Sillent Hill DownpourSillent Hill DownpourSimCity (2013)SimCity (2013)
SimCity BuilditSimCity BuilditSomaSoma
Song of HorrorSong of HorrorSpider-Man: Edge of TimeSpider-Man: Edge of Time
Spider-Man: Shattered DimensionsSpider-Man: Shattered DimensionsStar Trek ResurgenceStar Trek Resurgence
Star Trek TrexelsStar Trek TrexelsStar Wars Battlefront IIStar Wars Battlefront II
Star Wars Jedi Fallen OrderStar Wars Jedi Fallen OrderStar Wars SquadronsStar Wars Squadrons
StellarisStellarisStellaris mod: New HorizonsStellaris mod: New Horizons
Stranded DeepStranded DeepStrayStray
TacomaTacomaThe Amazing Spider-ManThe Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man 2The Amazing Spider-Man 2The Callisto ProtocolThe Callisto Protocol
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimThe Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimThe Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLCThe Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLC
The Evil WithinThe Evil WithinThe Evil Within 2The Evil Within 2
The Last GuardianThe Last GuardianThe Last of UsThe Last of Us
The Last of Us Part IIThe Last of Us Part IIThe Outer WorldsThe Outer Worlds
The SaboteurThe SaboteurThe SwapperThe Swapper
The Witcher 3 expansionsThe Witcher 3 expansionsThe Witcher 3: Wild HuntThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
This War of MineThis War of MineThis War of Mine: the Little OnesThis War of Mine: the Little Ones
Tomb Raider (2013)Tomb Raider (2013)Total War: AttilaTotal War: Attila
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Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the SamuraiTotal War: Shogun 2: Fall of the SamuraiTrineTrine
Tropico 5Tropico 5U-BoatU-Boat
Ultimate General: Civil WarUltimate General: Civil WarUncharted 3: Drake's DeceptionUncharted 3: Drake's Deception
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A gamer's thoughts

Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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Featured Post

The Humanity of NCAA Football's In-Season RecruitingThe Humanity of NCAA Football's In-Season Recruiting08/01/2022 If you're a fan of college football video games, then I'm sure you're excited by the news from early 2021 that EA will be reviving its college football series. They will be doing so without the NCAA license, and under the new title, EA Sports College Football. I guess Bill Walsh wasn't available for licensing either? Expectations...

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A birthday present from the NFL and the Chicago BearsA birthday present from the NFL and the Chicago Bears10/10/2021 Even though I write frequently about the NFL and the Chicago Bears, I have (believe it or not) never been to a regular season NFL game. Living in Las Vegas, seeing an NFL game always required a road trip. My dad and I went to a few preseason games in Pheonix and San Diego when I was younger (I once saw Joe Montana play the first...

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