My thoughts on Civ 5, with a few days now under our belt. First off, the first thing I feel about the game is that it is unfinished. This feels more like a Beta than a release. To some extent this is true for most games on release, but more true for Civ V than most. I think it was rushed, and the testers given insufficient time. I only somewhat hold this against it, and am hopeful that it can improve significantly with patches. I think Civ V has a few incredible ideas. Specifically: * City States are an awesome addition. Diplomacy with civs that are not competing to win! * Culture providing the ability to unlock Civics is very neat. I like that culture is more important now. (But its still not as good as civics in Alpha Centauri). * Not having the Gold/Research slider is a massive improvement. I love that they are separate resources now. * One unit per tile: This is an awesome change (if only the AI didnt suck at it). * No technology trading. Finally they got this right. Tech trading warps the game so much, and the AIs dont know how to broken techs well. I also like how its not as important to increase quantity of cities, I like playing a smaller number of cities. I like the projects requiring 1 of X building per city - rewards smaller numbers of cities. I like land units embarking and moving along coasts. I like the new barbarians much better than Civ 4's. So thats the good. There are a number of great ideas that push the game forward and make it better. If they had simply kept the rest of the game as similar to Civ 4 as possible, this game would be absolutely amazing. However, there are many other areas where the game takes huge steps back: * The AI is horrible. Wow. Just atrocious. They cannot fight effectively AT ALL. They seem to ignore city states, which are quite powerful to ally with. They seriously overpay for your happy and strategic resources early in the game, giving you all their money such that you can get all the city state alliances. This is the #1 problem. * Production costs are way too high for many buildings. A ton of buildings are not worth building EVER, as their cost and upkeep are too much for the small benefit they give. * Land and especially special tiles production is too weak. I loved that in Civ 4 the special tiles were actually special. Now, stuff like cows and sheep and the like are practically worthless. Its way too hard to make production. The only benefit of this is that start positions are more balanced. However, I'd like to see both. * City growth gets way too expensive. The cost to increase a city size becomes practically exponential. It takes way too many food for the smallish benefit of one additional population once the city becomes large. All previous civ games have handled this far better, Civ 4 did the best imo. * The game is really slow to play. It just takes a LONG time to get through a game, and not because of a slow computer or anything like that. Its just way too dang long. Its like standard is Civ 4 marathon, and quick is Civ 4 epic. It just takes far too long to accomplish things in the game. * Its way too hard to get decent production. You really cant afford to build much. The only way to build buildigns at a reaosnable base given their high cost, is during golden ages, working a bunch of plains and hills tiles. (Hills river tiles are great, farm them for 2 food/2 production. This feels pretty silly. Grassland is pretty terrible, given that large food excesses dont help much when the city gets big. You can get food surplus from maritime city states anyways). * The balance of things is not very good. City state alliances are insanely strong. Patronage tree is extremely good. Some Civ abilities are super weak while others are way too good (Babylon!! Yay for paying $10 to unlock the super broken civ!). Some early wonders are amazing (Great Library, Stonehenge), others are super weak (Colossus, Pyramids?). Horsemen are crazy good, and there are some early horse based UUs that are insane. Companion Cavalry!! Overall balance feels much worse to me than it was in Civ4. * Maintenance costs are crazy high, and erratic. You can delete a unit lategame and pay 9 less gold a turn. Delete another and it doesnt change. WTF? * Documentation is extremely poor and often innaccurate. Part of the game being unfinished, the rulebook is horrible, and many important game concepts are briefly mentioned but with no technical info. How much do great people improvements provide? What do specialists give? No info anywhere. * Great people one time bonuses are massive (free techs!) while the long term benefits they can give from settling are pretty weak in comparison. Also, scientists are pretty much massively better than most of the others, and the way that the GPP points add up, you'll basically only ever produce one type of great person: whichever type you are focusing specialists in. * Settlers cost 89. WTF. Seriously, was 90 not good enough? So thats the bad. Unfinished, unbalanced and bad AI, way too slow, hard to accomplish much. The good: some revolutionary and great ideas. Some big steps forward and some big steps back. I wish that they had taken the great ideas, implemented them, and then tried to make other things similar to Civ 4, instead of completely screwing them up. I believe that the game will get MUCH better with patching and modding. I hope that in time enough things will be fixed that the game comes to be better than Civ 4. It definitely isnt now, but it does have some wonderful ideas.