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Civilization V: Brave New World Review - It's All About The Culture

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 4 4

Brave New World is Civilization V's second expansion and is all around the better of the two. While it's first expansion, Gods & Kings introduced new ideas, it also left a lot of loose ends. Civilization V: Brave New World ties up all those loose ends into a neat little bow. Essentially, Brave New World is all about culture and improving the end game experience, which has been needed in Civ 5 since its release.

Essentially, in Civ 5 if you wanted to win ever you had to commit to a victory condition and strive towards it. If you didn't win by just before the 20th or 21st century, there was a good chance you weren't going to because clearly you made poor decisions. If you aimed for a cultural victory, it was almost impossible to win in any scenario, as Civ 5 penalizes large civilizations with hefty culture bonuses. This meant to win a culture war, you had to be weak, and all strategy players know what happens to weak nations.

civilization 5 brave new world

However, Brave New World sets out to improve a cultural players chances in the end game, in doing so they improve the flexibility of the game overall for every type of player. This expansion allows for a new choice in ideology for your people once you hit the industrial age. Players can choose from freedom, order, or autocracy to gain abilities to further work towards a victory condition. These ideologies work much the same way religion worked in Gods & Kings, you found a religion and you get to choose your beliefs. Except this time, you found a nation and you get to choose how you rule.

While new ideologies and their abilities are all fine and dandy, the biggest improvement introduced in Brave New World is the new concept of tourism to combat the overall weakness of fighting for a cultural victory. Instead of now just having a Great Artist, it has been split into Great Artists, Great Writers, and Great Musicians all of which will produce Great Works. These Great Works will be stored in wonders such as the Louvre (for artists) and that will attract toursim. If you reach enough tourism from another civilization, will fall under your influence. When all the other civilizations have fallen prey to your deadly beautiful artwork, you win the cultural victory. Take that, German war machine!

new ideology brave new world

Of course, while Germany and their panzerschrecks may be easy to influence due to low culture, civilizations with high culture are significantly less easy to dominate in this way. That is where a good military offense comes in handy. With the addition of the tourism element, it makes playing towards a cultural victory in the end game much less like a sluggish slowly losing battle and instead makes it infinitely more exciting with numerous new possibilities.

Brave New World, in every way, encourages more interaction between different civilizations especially with the addition of the late game World Congress. This is what really heats up the end game and can expand new possibilities. This is the setting in which you can confer with everyone else and vote on a global policy that gives bonuses or penalties to civilizations. For example, you can strangle the economy of militaristic civilizations by strongly raising their upkeep on their armies or increase the rate in which civilizations generates great people. This world congress can also be used for the new diplomatic victory of naming a world leader, hopefully yourself.

This sounds like a lot of fun, and it is when things work in your favor, however it is a well known fact that the Civilization V AI is just terrible when it comes to decision making. So it makes it very difficult to form voting coalitions and actually win a vote. I actually saw an AI civ that was at war with the civilization I was trying to penalize vote against it. Civ 5 AI hurts my feelings sometimes.

Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World [Online Game Code]
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Brave New World does better utilize spies that were implemented in the Gods & Kings expansion into a bigger and more useful role. However, spies turn less into spies and more into diplomats. They go into city-states and persuade them your way or go to other civilizations and try to swing votes for the world congress.

The final big implementation in Brave New World is that of tangible trade routes. They have always been there, however now there are actual ships and caravans that traverse the world trading goods to other civilizations. however, goods are not all they carry, they also may be bringing religion and tourism with them to a civilization, so now you have to trade wisely. Turning them into actual moving people also makes them attackable. So now if you are waging war with a country, you can cut off their trade by killing their ships and caravans.

brave new world trade caravan

Like with the Gods & Kings expansion, Brave New World also comes with nine new civilizations, all but two are completely new to the game. The new civilizations are:

Shaka of Zulus - Unique Unit: Impi (replaces pikeman), Unique Building: Ikanda (replaces barracks), Melee units cost 50% less maintenance, all units receive 25% more experience from combat.

Maria I of Portugal - Unique Unit: Nau (replaces Caravel), Unique Building: Feitoria (built in city-states, copies on luxury good), resource diversity grants twice as much gold for Portugal in international trade routes.

Casimir III of Poland - Unique Unit: Winged Hussar (replaces lancer), Unique Building: Ducal Stable (replaces stable), receive a free social policy at the start of each new era.

Pedro II of Brazil - Unique Unit: Pracinhas (replaces infantry), Unique Building: Brazilwood camp (places in jungle, adds +2 gold and +2 culture), Tourism output doubled and spawn rate of great artists during golden age.

Ashurbanipal of Assyria - Unique Unit: Siege tower (replaces catapult), Unique Building: Royal library (replaces library), steal and enemy technology when taking a city but can only be used once a day.

Gajah Mada of Indonesia -Unique Unit: Kris swordsman (replaces swordsman), Unique Building: Candi (replaces garden), the first 3 cities that you create get 2 unique luxury resources.

Ahmad al-Mansur of Morocco - Unique Unit: Berber cavalry (replaces cavalry), Unique Building: Kasbah (built on desert tiles, gives +1 food, gold, and production), Receives +3 gold and +1 culture for each international trade route.

Enrico Dandolo of Venice - Unique Unit: Merchant of Venice (replaces great emrchant), Great galleass (replaces Galleass), Cannot gain settlers nor annex cities. Double the normal trade routes available, may purchase puppeted cities.

Pocatello of the Shoshone - Unique Unit: Pathfinder (replaces scout), Comanche riders (replaces cavalry), founded cities start with additional territory, units receive a combat bonus when fighting in their own territory.

Likewise, there are also eight new wonders that can be built including: Borobdur, Broadway, Globe Theatre, Parathenon, Prora, Red Fort, Uffizi, and the International Space Station (which is a World Congress wonder).

Civilization V: Brave New World Amerowolf 2013-07-09 4.0
4/5

Like every Civilization expansion in the past, this one brings a whole slew of new things to the table. However, during the modern age it still lags terribly. Regardless of that, which I am sure Civilization V players are used to by now, it is a fun game with new maps and new strategies to try out. It definitely renews interest in the game and makes players actually want to play until the end game as they can make up the ground they may have lost early on there with various victory conditions. Though this expansion caters more towards cultural players, it is still amazingly fun for whatever strategy you pick.

 

Comments

Jul 9, 2013 6:31pm
MrRooibos
Great article, I myself stopped playing the Civilizations after Civ 4, but Civ 5 does look like quite a fresh game.
Jul 10, 2013 4:37pm
Suliczwp87
Absolutely love CIV. More addicting than crack. Love it!!!
Aug 11, 2013 3:51pm
vicdillinger
The Civ series, to me, is one of the best games ever, and I never get tired of it. It's one of the few I can revisit from time to time and get to try different strategies. Good review.
Aug 11, 2013 6:12pm
theman0605
Civ used to be an absolute addiction for me...I finally had to put it down for a while. I don't miss it, but enjoyed reading the article!
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