While we are waiting for the next patch, allow me to speculate on why Civ V does not grip most of us like Civ IV does. It in involves brain chemicals and bananas. Oh, and your girlfriend. Dopamine is part of the brain's reward system. Current theory states that what you hold in your attention ("mental RAM", working memory, however you want to call it) is regulated by a "gate" that is open and shut by this chemical. When there is a constant stream of dopamine, the gate stays shut -- your attention doesn't stray. When dopamine levels drop, the gate pops open. When there is spike of dopamine, however, the gate opens, too. If the dopamine level is already very high because of great rewards, even this spike has trouble opening the gate. The best example I have heard involves a monkey eating bananas in a tree. As long as there are enough bananas, there is a constant stream of rewards, and the gate stays shut -- no need to go looking for something else, your attention stays on the bananas. When the bananas run out, dopamine drops, and you look around for something else. Also, even if you are eating bananas, and a sexy monkey walks by, you forget the bananas and follow her (or him): Dopamine has spiked, the gate has opened, and your attention shifts. So what does this have to do with Civ? Civ IV produced a constant stream of rewards. Small stuff, yes, but you were constantly making some decision or seeing the result of an earlier decision. There was always something somewhere that functioned as a reward. This constant stream of rewards, so the theory, produced a high and constant level of dopamine, and kept your attention on the game. In fact, your dopamine level might have been so high that even if your girlfriend came in the room in those "special clothes" (wink-wink nudge-nudge), your attention stayed on the game. Civ V is "streamlined" (aka "dumbed down", etc), with a lot of these "minor" decisions taken out. You spend a lot more time just waiting or clicking next turn. This means that the constant stream of rewards is gone, which means that dopamine levels have a chance to fall, which means that your attention tends to wander. In other words, by trying to make the game "less cluttered", they have removed the mechanism that made it so fascinating. On the other hand, your girlfriend is probably a happier person. If all of this is true -- and, please note, IAMANP (I am not a neurology professor), I just read in the field -- it bodes ill for any chances we have of getting this game up to where Civ IV is in terms of being an attention-grabber. You'd have to patch in something rewarding for the player to do all the time, some problem to solve, even if it is totally minor. This would probably mean going back to a game that has more units, quicker building times, more factors (pollution, religion, espionage) that require doing something all the time. Note this doesn't mean that the Civ V developers were wrong to say that, for example, pollution can be folded in general unhappiness. It just means that doing so is bad if you are trying to get somebody neurologically hooked on your game.