Civilization V

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Steam Controller video demonstration shows Portal 2, Civilization V, CS:GO

Tyler Wilde at

Valve's Steam Controller is a funny-looking thing—an owl-like game pad with dual trackpads instead of analog sticks. It pairs with Valve's free SteamOS and whatever living room PC it's installed on as a solution to the clumsiness of using a mouse and keyboard on the couch. In a new video demonstration, Valve does its best to convince us that Steam Controller really offers a level of control comparable to our traditional instruments of gaming.


The 15 most brutal mods of all time

Richard Cobbett at

Remember when buying a game didn’t feel like a guarantee of seeing the ending? There are still hard games out there, Dark Souls flying the flag most recently, but increasingly, the challenge has dripped out or at least softened, often leading to sadly wasted opportunities. What would Skyrim be like, for instance, if its ice and snow wasn’t simply cosmetic, but actually punished you for going mountain climbing in your underpants?

With a quick mod – Frostfall in this case – you’re forced to dress up warm before facing the elements, and things become much more interesting. That’s just one example, and over the next couple of pages you’ll find plenty more. These aren’t mods that just do something cheap like double your enemy’s hit-points, they’re full rebalances and total conversions. Face their challenge, and they’ll reward you with both a whole new experience and the satisfaction of going above and beyond the call of duty.


Civilization Online revealed, probably isn't the PvP MMO you expected

Tyler Wilde at

Its all-caps studio name is constantly yelling, but XLGAMES has been quiet about one thing until now: Civilization Online, which it's developing under the command of veteran MMO designer Jake Song. Civ Online isn't a grand strategy board game MMO—according to the reveal at Massively, it's more similar to A Tale in the Desert. Players will control a single citizen in a procedurally-generated world and help one of four cultures achieve a Civilization-style victory over the course of a "session."


Civ 5: Brave New World: What you should know before starting

T.J. Hafer at

In addition to making the world Brave and New, Civ 5’s latest expansion can also make it a little confusing at first. With the huge changes to trade, culture, and diplomacy, you’ll probably want to know a few things before you start shepherding your next civilization to victory. Listen closely, my liege...


Civilization V: Brave New World review

T.J. Hafer at

Civilization V was always the most fun just before the end of the Renaissance, with the experience sliding into a slog post industrialization. The new mechanics added in the previous expansion, Gods and Kings, grow less relevant, and you’re either well on your way to your chosen victory condition, or pretty far from it. Brave New World creates an endgame that is as varied, textured, and tense as the early and mid game already were. Overhauls to the cultural and diplomatic victories have made achieving either of these a more hands-on, aggressive process that will keep you making meaningful decisions and planning ahead.


Here's what we're playing this weekend, how about you?

Tom Senior at

The picture - the header of our Thief review from 1999 - may be a bit of a giveaway, but why not? It's Friday, after all. We can indulge in a little bit of misty-eyed nostalgia without fear of our bosses asking us why we're staring wistfully into space and making bow and arrow and mimicking guard-clubbing animations over and over again. That's the sort of freedom only the weekend can bring. Here's what we're planning to play between now and Monday, but what will you indulge in?


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.


The best Civilization V mods

Tyler Wilde at

Now that Civilization V has had a few years to mature, it's gone from Civ IV's scrawnier younger sibling to a full-grown adult (it's even shaving now, we hear). Firaxis' official patches and expansions—Gods & Kings, and now the upcoming Brave New World—have done a lot to help fill-out Civ V's feature set, but the amazing modding community has also been twisting knobs and adding content, with over 1500 mods available on Steam Workshop.


Civilization V's new civilization abilities and unique units, and how to use them

T.J. Hafer at

Civilization V: Brave New World is bringing nine brave, new civilizations to the table. We've had a look at seven of them in the recent preview build, and have compiled info on all of their unique abilities, units, and buildings. I've also thrown in my impressions as a Civ V veteran regarding how to best play as each, so you can start plotting your future world domination.


Fear of commitment in games: how to stop starting over, dating advice style

Tyler Wilde at

I've never played a game of Civilization V from the Ancient Era to the Modern Era. I start out intending to, but then there are no fish or whales off the coast of my starting territory, and Gandhi builds the Great Wall before I can, and Dido founds a city near the inlet where I was planning to put a city, and it's the worst thing that has ever happened to me so I start over.


Civilization V: Brave New World--new details on Civ's new systems

T.J. Hafer at

Civilization V's second and final major expansion, Brave New World, is promising to bring more depth and diversity to the endgame on July 9. Lead Designer Ed Beach recently spoke with Revision 3, going into detail on some of the systems we've seen glimpses of in the past. We grabbed some of the more interesting new details, and set our worker units to build a Handy List improvement in the space below.


Civilization V designer Jon Shafer's criticisms were "a little harsh," says current designer

Tyler Wilde at

Earlier this week I spoke to Ed Beach, Lead Designer on the Civilization V: Gods & Kings expansion, as well as the upcoming Brave New World expansion. I asked Beach for his thoughts on Civ V designer Jon Shafer's recent self-criticisms regarding Civilization V's one unit per tile system and leader AI quirks. "He was a little harsh on it," said Beach. "And I won't try to guess as to exactly what his frame of mind was, where he's coming from."


Civilization V: Brave New World due early July; Firaxis teases "big" new project

Tom Sykes at

Brace yourself for an influx of exciting Firaxis news from PAX East. Are you braced? Good good. In addition to revealing the release date for the recently announced Civilization V expansion Brave New World - it's July 9th in the US, and July 12th elsewhere - the team also teased a distinctly XCOM-like new project (thanks, Kotaku), which Firaxis are describing as a "big" release. The only clues lie in a leaked teaser trailer - oh and the very XCOM-like font displayed at the end.


Civilization V: Brave New World announced - expands culture and diplomacy

Phil Savage at

Firaxis have announced the second expansion pack for their life-destroying 4X strategy Civilization V. Brave New World not only increases the number of leaders, scenarios and wonders for budding empire builders to play with, but looks set to drastically overhaul two key areas of the game: Culture and Diplomacy. This is particularly great news for anyone who's spent hours attempting to cajole Civ V's fickle rulers.

Read on for a full round-up of the new features, and an interview with the expansion's lead designer and senior producer.


At the Gates over 200% funded, Jon Shafer discusses the road ahead

T.J. Hafer at

As of the writing of this article, there is just over a day and a half left in the Kickstarter for At the Gates, the upcoming, Dark Ages 4X game from Civ V designer Jon Shafer. The team at Shafer's new studio, Conifer Games, has already demolished the original, $40,000 goal. Notable stretch goals already met include full mod support and two new factions. We caught up with Jon in a follow-up to our announcement interview to get his thoughts on how the campaign went, and what we can expect from At the Gates after it's funded.


Jon Shafer criticizes every decision he made on Civ 5, explains how At the Gates will differ

T.J. Hafer at

Jon Shafer, designer of Civilization V, has successfully funded his upcoming At the Gates on Kickstarter with 22 days to spare. Today, in an update on the Kickstarter page, he took a long and merciless look into the mirror of self-criticism, admitting what he perceives as mistakes in the design of Civ 5 that he hopes to make up for in this new project. Everything from AI programming to unit stacking is dissected.


Civilization V Gold Edition released, features all available DLC

T.J. Hafer at

If you've been holding off on buying Civilization V in the hopes of snagging all of the released content in one package, your day has finally arrived. Civilization V: Gold Edition includes the Gods & Kings expansion, along with all of the map, civilization, and scenario packs for $50. That's $10 cheaper than buying just the base game and the expansion separately on Steam. Of course, this won't be the complete collection for long if the rumors about the upcoming One World expansion are true. But it's still enough content to keep you busy for a while. (180 hours, in my case.)


The Strategy Chronicles, collected edition

T.J. Hafer at

For the past 16 weeks, I've been chronicling the rise and fall of tribes, kingdoms, and great heroes in historical strategy games. It all started in Civilization V with The Celtic Chronicle, and has made its way to the currently-running Crusader Kings Chronicle. The feature is taking a week off, so between now and next Wednesday is the perfect time to go back and get caught up, or just reminisce about all of the epic moments of ages past. You'll find links to every entry ever, with clip show-esque highlights, inside.


Weekend Game Deals - August 24, 2012

Tyler Wilde at

Thing I love about PC gaming #143: buying old games and buying a new games feels the same. Games get cheaper, but they don't tumble into bargain bins. They get re-promoted. Communities of fans stick around for years. When Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II was added to Steam this week, we celebrated. Today, it's in the top sellers list. The PC is where games go to thrive, on and on.

Oh, and we also spend less on them, new or old. This week in game deals: Civilization V, Grand Theft Auto IV, Torchlight, The Walking Dead, and more!


Civilization V: The Swedish Saga, part 6: The Epic Conclusion

T.J. Hafer at

My friends! Gather 'round the fire and prepare to hear an epic tale that spans the entirety of human history! I've finally finished chronicling my progress in Civ V's Gods & Kings expansion, as part of an ongoing feature every Wednesday. Last week, the Norse Democratic Union (my socialist republic that grew out of the unification of Sweden and Denmark) trounced Greece, ending a massive world war and setting us on the path to victory. This is the home stretch, but we're not out of the woods until we're literally out of the woods. On a spaceship. Will... we... go... all... the... way? Read on to find out, and learn what game I'll be playing for this column next!