Civilization 5 is free to play this week

Civilization

That's free to play, not free-to-play—an important distinction. Steam is again playing host to more (temporarily) free goodies, with a midweek trial of Civilization 5. The offer, which lets you play the full game until Thursday, 10am PDT, will give everyone a chance to experience the unstoppable wrath of Gandhi.

This, of course, is designed to prepare people for the upcoming Civilization: Beyond Earth, which has begun pre-loading ahead of this Friday's release. That game bears many similarities to Civ 5, only it's on an alien planet in the future. It is not, for instance, a game in which Genghis Khan can negotiate a beneficial spice deal with Bismarck.

Unfortunately, the free trial doesn't include the excellent expansions. Nevertheless, it's worth an investigation if, somehow, you've managed to hold off this long.

Phil leads PC Gamer's UK team. He was previously the editor of the magazine, and thinks you should definitely subscribe to it. He enjoys RPGs and immersive sims, and can often be found reviewing Hitman games. He's largely responsible for the Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.