For Civilisation 5 players seeking a bigger challenge, expansion pack Gods and Kings adds deeper gameplay and a plethora of new cultures to play as that would satisfy even the most power hungry dictator.
Although one of the best entries in the series, Civilization 5 featured slightly simplified gameplay in comparison to its predecessor. Many players missed these extra complexities – and so they have been reintegrated as part of the Gods and Kings DLC.
Also featured as part of the add-on are new units and buildings, new technologies and new World Wonders. The basic game had an extensive amount of historical icons and curiosities and with the addition of Gods and Kings this is list is burgeoning. The selection of civilisations you can choose to play as has also had extensive expansion – 9 new rulers, each with their own idiosyncratic benefits and troop types have been added to the line-up of ancient celebrities. The way Naval combat works has also been tweaked – each navy unit is split between two ship types, melee and ranged, making war at sea much more tactical and coastal cities harder to defend.
The most interesting new features – and certainly the ones that’ll have the most impact on your typical game – are Religion and Espionage. New buildings cultivate Faith points – similarly to Culture points in the basic game – and this can be used to found a Pantheon of Gods. As your game progresses can use your Faith to purchase bigger and bigger places of worship (like Cathedrals) or Great Prophets which will turn your Pantheon into a full blown Religion and allow it to spread to cities beyond your borders. This then allows you to select from a huge list of Beliefs to integrate into your new faith to benefit your civilisation. Perhaps you’ll add Tithing to boost your coffers, or add Missionary Zeal to make converting foreign cities easier. There’s also the option to go full-Bob Geldof and add the Feed the World belief to bolster your food production.
The developers’ approach religion in the game is that of an objective skeptic, as the beliefs you select are always for the selfish benefit of your cities, so it’s much more of an analysis of how religion affects society than how it affects the soul. This is still a game, not a Sunday school lesson. It’s also fun to be able to rename your religion – finally, after decades of being written off as a cult, I was able to see the world converted to the noble faith of “Dudeism”, if only though my monitor. For those who prefer a stab in the back over a prayer in the heart, the addition of Espionage and spying is brilliant fun to use.
Whereas in the basic game international relations were almost wholly dictated by the proximity of your army to foreign borders and who you had paid tribute to, you can now happily spy on and sabotage your enemies or rig elections in local city-states without going out and declaring full scale war. Information gathered by your intelligence network can be shared with allies for favour in their court – but if you’re ever found out it can seriously harm your standing in the global community. Although always risky, it’s great playing Machiavelli with your rivals – friendly neighbour to their faces, deadly enemy behind their backs. Of course, they could always be doing the same thing!
If you’re getting tired of the historical recreation of the usual Civ game, there’s also the chance to don your goggles and play a Steampunk scenario with it’s own unique opponents and Victorian sci-fi tech tree. Harvesting make-believe resources such as Aetherium to build deadly fleets of airships and H.G. Wells’ land-ironclad is a great change of pace from the typical game, although your tactics for victory will remain mostly the same. It’d be brilliant to see more custom fantasy or sci-fi scenarios added to the Civ canon in the future.
As with the original version of Civ 5 this is a seamless port to OSX, although if you’re running an older Mac there will still be some inevitable lag when scrolling around the larger maps. If after a while you feel you’d prefer a ‘vanilla’ game you can switch off the add-on in the options.
While already a fantastic game, Civ 5 benefits hugely from these extra adjustments and additions – whether you’re a casual player or a Civ nut Gods and Kings breathes new life into the game.