Sid Meiers Civ V

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Basic Information

Civilization V (often abbreviated “Civ V”) is a turn based strategy game, where players take the role of a famous leader of a country. Currently only available on the PC, though earlier titles in the series, such as Civilization Revolution is available on XBOX 360 and Playstation 3 as well. Your goal throughout the game is to become the world leader in some way, either through military conquest, becoming a financial or scientific super-power, or becoming leader of the United Nations.

Civilization V's Logo

Throughout the game you expand your nation by settling new cities and make it more advanced by researching technologies. This is all done through managing resources that are near your cities: food, science/gold production, productivity, culture, and happiness. The resources each city can get depends largely on the area around the city. Cities near coasts and forests have an easier time producing food, while cities near mountains can mine more for producing buildings, ships, and more.


Rule How You Wish

There are several different ways to go about playing Civ V in order to achieve a variety of victory conditions. Will you be a military power, and conquer your enemies at the cost of the happiness of your citizens? Will you choose to become home of the greatest scientific minds and create the International Space Station? Or will you choose peace over war and create the United Nations and attempt to stop conflict across the globe?

How It Works

The game is turned base, meaning you and your opponents each take their turn one after another. Each turn your cities will get resources from nearby tiles equal to their population, which increases the more food you gather. Food will increase population, you use production from forests, hills and mountains to create buildings and units, and exotic resources like incense and gems will make your civilization more cultured. Some tiles can also produce research points for technologies, or gold which can be used for a variety of things. How you gather and use resources is up to you and how you decide to play. You might choose to prioritize production and create an army, or research technologies quickly in order to gain certain perks and advantages.

Tools At Your Disposal

Since there are many ways to win, there are many choices you have to make to accomplish the goal you choose. Each city you have can work on producing one thing at a time, once one thing is completed you can immediately start work on another. Research is a civilization wide endeavor, and each city will contribute to the whole research effort. Gold can be traded to other civilizations for other goods, maintaining peaceful relations, or supporting nations that need help. Gold can also be used to rush a building or unit to completion. Once you have units you can use them to defend your cities from hostiles, or use them to explore the world and meet potential allies along the way, its up to you what relationships you decide to have.

Screen shot of Civ V's tech tree.

Once meeting other nations you are able to trade with them for exotic goods or help researching technologies. Friendly nations will also come to your aid if you are under attack. If you choose to go to war, you can attempt to take their cities by attacking them with military units such as knights, archers, infantry, navy vessels and even aircraft. War makes your citizens unhappy, and that can cause riots in the streets and halt production. Much of Civ V is a cause-effect system, with actions often having a cost associated with them. If you face a difficult decision, you also have access to advisers: scientists, generals, foreign relations officials and merchants can offer helpful advice on how to proceed if you need it.

Playing The Game

The world of Civ V is divided into hundreds of hexagonal tiles. Each tile has a terrain type: grasslands, hills, forests, mountains, water and deserts are the most common types. Most tiles can have cities settled on them (the exceptions being water and mountains), and some building can only be built when near certain other tiles (you can only build harbors when there's a cost). You select your cities and units by clicking on them, which will bring up a list of available commands.

A screen shot of a map in Civ V, showing the nation's borders

Units can move, some can create a defensive line or attack other units, others settle cities. Cities will show what they are producing, how much longer it will take, and the amount of resources they are gathering each turn. You can also have cities spend gold to finish what they're producing faster. Buildings will provide different bonuses to cities. Granaries improve food production, libraries and schools more science, markets produce more gold, etc. This allows you to make cities specialize in certain things, or make them more balanced and able to handle multiple projects at once, it all depends on what you're going for.

Educational Potential

The Civilization series has a lot of educational potential behind it, and covers a lot during games. At its core, it teaches critical thinking skills and decision making. There are also several subtle opportunities to learn. One thing is what I would call logical progression or process handling. This is most apparent in researching technologies, you can't have horseback riding if you don't know how to take care of animals, so you need to research animal husbandry. You can't build walls if you don't know how to gather the resources to build them, so you research mining, and so on. Another important potential for learning is the resource management, which helps facilitate planning skills.

A screen shot of the in-game Civilopedia, highlighting the wonder Teotihuacan

The Civilization games also offer information about the nations represented in game through the “Civilopedia”, Civ V's in game encyclopedia. Within you can learn more about nations and their leaders, the technologies that players research and even about the wonders of the world. Since the game doesn't force any of this information onto its players and is entirely optional to look through,it allows those interested in learning further to take a look, while those not interested in a particular subject can avoid it.

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