In fact, Civ V perversely turns Empire building on its head by presenting the player with such constrained game play options that he or she will not build up a large empire (optimally speaking) and must burn down everyone else's. Most of my games end with me having fewer than 8 cities (many times five or fewer) and having burned down the rest of the world. In other words, I've built a minor, backwater of a nation state and left the rest of the planet a depopulated no-man's land. So much for building an "empire" to stand the test of time. The game should be called Apocalypse instead of Civilization. Just my two cents. Other's opinons will vary.