Civilization V: Brave New World's final two civs and how to play them

T.J. Hafer at

Last month, we walked you through seven of the nine new civs coming in Civilization V: Brave New World. The final two, Venice and the Shoshone, were at our fingertips, but not yet revealed. With the official announcement out of the bag, we can finally talk about them, and give you our impressions and suggested strategies. They've been sitting in a notepad file on my desktop for a while, but if you cut the moldy parts off, they should taste fine.

Venice

Unique Ability: Serenissima
You can never build or capture settlers. You can never annex conquered cities.

Wait, what? That doesn't sound like a power.

Well, internal monologue, you get some benefits to balance this out. For instance, double the number of possible trade routes. You get a free Merchant of Venice (see below) when you research Optics. And in cities you've puppeted (which you can do, you just can't annex them), you're allowed to purchase buildings and units with gold as if you'd annexed the city. You just can't choose what they produce on their own time. Phew.

Unique Great Person: Merchant of Venice
In addition to all the things a Great Merchant (which they replace) can do, they can actually buy off a city-state with the click of a button, turning it into a puppeted city.

Unique Unit: Great Galleas
Were you expecting something crazy? You know, since all of Venice's other stuff is? Well, unfortunately, this is just a bigger, stronger Galleas. Next to everything else, I'd say it's a Pretty Good Galleas, at best.

Adviser T.J. says:
What the what? Okay, I freaking love Venice. They turn Civ V into a totally different game, which is something all expansions should aim to do. Removing settlers as a mechanic has huge implications, and it makes your capital the de facto and permanent lynchpin of your empire. Placement is going to be at least twice as important as it is normally, so don't be afraid to wander for a couple turns before setting down good ol' Venezia. Tradition, obviously, is a must. You'll also want to invest in Exploration, if for no other reason than to have a stronger navy for defending your eight bazillion trade routes. Victory-wise, Diplomatic seems like the way to go. Ally yourself to as many city-states as possible, and buy out the ones that ally with your political rivals. There's actually nothing they can do about it. Because you're Venice. And you're amazing.

The Shoshone

Unique Ability: Great Expanse
Newly-founded cities start with more territory, and units gain a bonus when fighting on Shoshone land.

Unique Unit: Pathfinder
Replacing the Scout, the Pathfinder is almost as powerful as a Warrior in combat, and they can choose which benefit they get from exploring Ancient Ruins (instead of getting a random one).

Unique Unit: Comanche Raiders
A cheaper, faster alternative to Cavalry.

Adviser T.J. says:
Venice is a pretty tough act to follow, but the Shoshone have some pretty cool opportunities. Larger starting city borders also means you can get more map vision faster, which works perfectly with Pathfinders. You'll want to claim as many ruins as possible, so I'd ignore warriors altogether in the early game (Pathfinders can hold their own almost as well) and spend a handful turns just cranking out Pathfinders. When you claim a ruin, take the Technology bonus whenever possible, and plan for a science victory. I also highly recommend grabbing the religious tenet that gives you bonus Faith for whatever type of land tile is most common near your start location. Since you'll have so much land so early, you should be able to dominate the religious game.