So I was at the Penny Arcade Expo today, and so was Civ5! There was some kind of semi-public screening (with limited seating and you basically had to reserve a spot, I didn't go) as well as two very low-key stations a little ways away with the playable game (don't feel bad if you were there and missed it, I almost didn't see it myself). I figured I might as well give my first impressions of the game after some hands-on play, and offer a chance for people to ask questions that they may direly want answered, since I'll be going back on both Saturday and Sunday. No guarantees on answers because I might not even be able to get on that station again, but I can try to keep an eye open for stuff if I do play it again. Keep in mind all this is from someone who didn't hunt down every tidbit of the game, so treat it as coming from a Civ player who's only heard about the biggest changes (1UPT, hexes, etc.) First, I tried Civ5 in 3D, the kind you have to wear the special glasses to see. I gave that up after a few seconds, because while having city boxes and stuff float in midair seems cool, I could tell it would be painful to try and play an extended session with. I'm thinking it was because of the tinting on the glasses, but I could be wrong. Anyways, I eventually got onto a regular laptop that wasn't 3D, and started up a new game. First thing I noticed was that the controls are a little different, namely right-click being move unit - I managed to accidentally send my starting Settler running off while trying to get an idea of what the yields on everything was. (Later, I went into the options menu and found a setting that automatically revealed tile yields when economic units are selected) Resources seemed a little more difficult to keep track of on the world map, as there wasn't a resource bubble toggle like in Civ4 that I could find. The tile graphics seemed fine, and the water-based resources like Fish are easier to notice at least (there are seagulls flying over Fish resources). It might get better over time, but I'd like the option of resource bubbles anyways. The fog-of-war cloud cover also had a tendency to obscure hexes that were on the northern edge of the clouds, if that makes any sense. Strategic view is workable, but feels a bit cluttered to me. I was trying to find barbarian encampments, but I had to focus a bit in order to find them, because there were a lot of similarly shaped bubbles around (resources). Would be nice if there was a filtering system for the strategic view; I didn't notice any if there already is one in place. Combat feels good. Expect some degree of micromanagement, especially when coordinating assaults. Capturing a city takes roughly three turns for a moderately prepared assault; the game will try to nag you if you try attacking with less than four units available, but I took two cities with 3 units each and a Great General, so it's not strictly necessary. Gold is definitely a lot more important now. Rush-buying doesn't require anything in particular, so a well-timed rush can give you an early edge easily. There's no discount for rushing something you already put production into however. You'll also want to use gold for unit upgrades and diplomacy (city-states, research agreements, etc.) so there's some decisions you'll have to make. You won't have too much trouble making gold at least, since I was able to increase my GPT without even paying attention to it. Diplomacy interface is terrible. I had a lot of trouble figuring out where my relationship stood with 'real' civilizations (city-states had a nice visible bar so they were easy to manage). I couldn't get a good overview of my existing deals (I agreed to a pact of secrecy against someone, except I couldn't figure out who I made it with or against later. I'm not even sure what a pact of secrecy does). Songhai came around demanding Silver, and I couldn't open any other menus to figure out what kind of impact it would have (Civ 3 and 4 allows you to examine your trade overviews and whatnot). I couldn't tell what the relationships between other civilizations were, other than the occasional message saying such and such made a research agreement or when someone came around asking me to declare war. General user interface has some issues. I started hitting the function keys to open menus (Civilopedia is now F1, by the way), and it turns out that opening a new menu doesn't close the old one, so I had to click close on a half dozen or so menus manually. If I open a city view, click 'change production' and then exit city view, the 'change production' menu persists. Notification bubbles pop up on the right, but the menus where you select your choice show up on the left (lots of right-left-right mouse movements). Unit XP seems to be completely opaque, as I couldn't tell how much XP a unit had, or how much it needed for a promotion. That's all I can remember for now. Things I'd like to do if I get a chance would be to examine the Civilopedia more in-depth, figure out hotkeys and shortcuts and such, and try more mixed-unit army compositions (I didn't try building any archers).