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Civilization 5 is free to play this week

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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 (opens in new tab). 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 has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.