I've been playing Civ since version 2 but only registered today. I read the Civ 5 criticism and a thread on this forum where members recommended other games. On the strength of that I bought Europa Universalis III Complete through Steam and thought I would provide a summary of the experience by way of a reality check. Mooted as a possible alternative to Civ5 this game has no manual to speak of. The tutorials on how to play they game are both incomplete and, more surprisingly, incompatible with the version they are shipped with. As a result the game starts without a clue to do even the most basic things like embark a unit for transport across water. Off to the forum for help and we discover you must enter your CD key to register for help or to comment at all. But I bought through Steam. The firm includes some incomplete and mistaken instructions on how to get a CD key out of your Steam install. Once you work out their mistaken instructions you find a key that the forum registration process claims in invalid. I'd post a complaint about that but of course can't. There is no vendor support and no community for this game in this method. You may have better luck but bear this in mind if you can only buy through an on-line partner like Steam. As for the game that is better than Civ. This game is in real time, but you can pause and slow it down a lot. The first big problem here is the computer player cheats in a truly massive way. In the most simple setting it will out play you even if you don't make structural mistakes like starting wars you could never win or triggering inflation to bankrupt yourself. Even if you play an easy nation (England), spend very little on wasteful military and successfully master their income system your rival France will invade three nations with impunity, field a military five times your size and be ahead in every technologies area between 20 and 40% in every field. All within fifty years. The second big problem with this mooted replacement is a disconnection in the sense of control of your own destiny. The game is hugely scripted. After about ten gaming attempts I learned how not to implode within twenty years of game start and that was about it. Nothing you do has much positive impact on your future but you can crash and burn very fast with poor choices. In the end this sense of non involvement in the game did me in. The clock keeps ticking along, you do this and that, but most of the game seems to run without your input. What few decisions you make don't keep you from falling behind. Much of the time I was little more than a spectator. You can't register for help. There are no functional instructions to explain your mistakes. You may have much more success with other games; this is but one person with one game. It's possible aspects of Civ annoy you - but no version of Civ has frustrated me more than this EUIII that was mooted as an alternative. Not even close. After this Civ5 will be a joy.