I played a very fun Mongolian scenario last night, and had one of those epiphany things: If you see Civ V as a spin-off, not the continuation of the franchise mainline, it is actually very enjoyable. It's "Civ War", not "Civ V" -- you don't build an empire to stand the test of time, but a life-support system for an army. That's the whole secret. (I'm tempted to call it "Civ Var" with a German accent, but I'm not sure everybody would get it.) This explains why the game is so much more shallow than Civ IV BtS, why stuff like health and religion were removed, why the other froms of victory seem like an afterthought, and why resources and yields are so brain-dead. They are. You don't need any of this for war, so they took it out. I still have some hope that in about half a year, they will release a "beyond the sword" expansion that adds the depth and complexity that are the hallmarks of a real Civ game. But even if they don't, I'm sort of at peace now with the game: It's war, baby. And I'll be keeping the "real" Civ, Civ IV BtS, on my hard drive until Civ VI comes around and hopefully continues the main series.