'Civilization V' combines history, culture, warfare and diplomacy

A zoomed-out screen shot provides perspective of the game map.

A zoomed-out screen shot provides perspective of the game map.




A player performs a rocket attack near an opponent’s city in this screen capture from “Civilization V.”

Imagine being able to rewrite the course of world history.

Perhaps Rome makes it into the modern age, and has a fleet of battleships. Maybe George Washington conquers the Middle Ages with help from an unlikely ally: Montezuma’s troops. That’s the premise of “Sid Meier’s Civilization V” in a nutshell.

“Civilization V” is a computerized board game of sorts. There’s a giant map divided into hexagonal spaces. Each space on the map may contain anything from food to iron, diamonds and bananas.

You control one of over a dozen different cultures from world history making its mark on the map, using its resources for your own purposes.

Each civilization in the game is based on one from real world history, George Washington, Alexander the Great, Oda Nobunaga, Montezuma, etc. Each possess unique traits that set them apart from the other cultures in the game.

For example, if you choose to play Catherine the Great, you’ll get way more “strategic resources,” like horses and iron, to use in the game.

After choosing a civilization, you build your first city on the map, and start building up your empire. You can do everything from improving your cities’ infrastructure with things like aqueducts to constructing roads to allow the cities you build to trade goods between one another.

All the other civilizations in the game are doing this at the same time, and they also want the valuable resources on the map for themselves.

A large part of this game is war. You can assemble armies to cross the board and conquer cities. This is both tense and satisfying. Poorly calculated attacks put a serious dent in your economy, but a well-delivered attack can decimate your opponents’ infrastructure as well.

But conquest isn’t the only option — there’s a fairly involved diplomatic element as well. You can establish trade routes between yourself and rival civilizations; you can sell resources to your opponents to raise funds; you can even team up, forging alliances to take on the other civilizations.

“Civilization V” is a deep, strategic game with a lot of elements to consider at every turn. It’s an excellent choice for anyone who’s looking for some board-game-style strategy on their computer.

“Sid Meier’s Civilization V” was developed by Firaxis Games for 2K Games. The recommended Gold Edition includes the Gods and Kings expansion pack, which improves the base game considerably. It is available for Windows and OSX.

Noah Hinz is an art and game design enthusiast living in Walla Walla. Contact him with questions, game and playing suggestions or anything else related to games at noahhinz@gmail.com.


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