Sid Meier's Civilization V is probably one of the most recognisable turn based strategy games around. If you haven't played it (why not?) you've most likely seen it at one time or another. Its one of those games that are just known by the majority of the gaming community.
Its part of a long series of Civlization games, namely Civilization 3 and 4. (Also Beyond Earth, but that game is something I think should have been put down at birth.)
Now on to the review. Although it may look overcomplicated and sometimes confusing its rather a simply constructed game. There are so many ways to play, win and lose. You'll never play the same game twice as every time different things will happen.
The game is very centred about historical figures leading player run empires; you can play as, China, Venice, Russia, Korea, France and so on. The way to play with each civ is entirely different, some are more powerful than others by their stats but it doesn't mean they'll win. The ability to be successful in a game relies on a few factors; starting position, land around you for second/third cities, and the ability to compete for wonders early on. Generally, if you cannot get one wonder in the first 100 turns you've lost as people will have small boosts that suit their surroundings that will eventually end up with a dramatic lead when war breaks out.
Military is extremely important, you must achieve a balance to healthily defend and attack when required. You must not have a negative income when at peace, if you are at war everything should be diverted to the war effort or suffer defeat. You can sometimes win the war while not building anything for it, but you will suffer loses and risk angering other players in the process.
If you're being a wonder whore, you must have the military power to back it up; as an example of strength, you need to be around 100k military by turn 200, at least if you're going to wonder whore, as people will gang up on you in both multiplayer and singleplayer.
The game is extremely addictive, and the length of games can vary from a few hours to a few days. It truly doesn't always matter how powerful you are too, you could be fighting someone with a choke point and your entire 100k force could be wiped by someones 30k force. Its a strategy game with the requirement of you to think logically and forge and break alliances when you see fit.
The strategy you adopt when you play any civilization regardless of its abilities should mimic the start you receive. If you're a scientific civ and you start near two natural wonders, you should build two cities near those wonders instead of pursuing things like the great library and so on. The faith, science, culture and so on natural wonders produce will outweigh the need for the great library ten fold. Regardless of civ, you should always construct civ unique buildings and units at some point in the early game if possible.
A lot of people say science based civs are the strongest, but they can be the strongest if they have the ability to fund the science production. Faith civs, like the celts are extremely powerful if they start with forests, they should be the first to found a pantheon and religion if this is the case, these two things are giant boosts and will usual result in them being war ready before anyone. Merchant civs like arabia and venice are heavily dependent on being traders, they succeed when at peace most of the time. Venice is probably one of the most powerful civs due to its ability to make sometimes 1,000 gold a turn if its in a good position. It cannot own more than one city though, but it can use a Merchant of Venice to go into a city state and purchase it as a puppet. Venice is also one of the civs that can pump a military out quickly and afford it, if anyone allies with a person capable of using Venice properly, they'll usually win the game together.
There are only a few civs that can be early on being aggressive, namely; The Zulus (pay less maintenance on units.), Mongolian (receives a unique great person for war.) and the Hunnics (Battering rams, high end siege units for the early game.). They all receive big bonuses for military orientated tasks.
Here is a lovely picture of someone playing as Venice, the best Civilization in the game in my opinion. Its ability to generate wealth is extreme and you can simply purchase an entire army whenever you require one.Left to right on the top bar of the image above:Science;
primary force behind technological advancement. Gold;
the currency of the game, pays for building and unit maintenance and also can be used to trade for resources with other civilizations, pay city states to like you more. Going negative into negative numbers in your treasury results in your science being used up as a form of payment as a consequence.Trade Routes;
you have a set amount of slots to sent out cargo ships or caravans to other cities for gold, science, cultural/tourism and religious pressure gains.Happiness;
the state of your peoples happiness and change your entire fortune around, if its positive you get golden age points which equal boosts for your economy and so on. If its negative you get degrading buffs to your entire empire which could result in barbarians spawning in your land if you surpass -10 happiness.Culture;
the primary defence to tourism for your civilizations. You use it to purchase policies which vary in outcome, you can get boosts to food, gold, science, and even receive units as a result. You can also pick a ideology after awhile which has 3 different ones to choose from which have an entire tree dedicated to them, so culture can win or lose you the game.Tourism;
if you want a culture victory you must produce enough culture to surpass everyone's culture.Faith;
this acts like a secondary currency, its also extremely powerful, you can found a religion with it to add different traits to it, including, buildings, income and so on. It also becomes very useful in the late game past the industrial era where you can purchase great people or entire armies with it.Resources;
there are plenty of resources to use and fight over in the game. They are split into 3 groups; Strategic, like iron etc are used for military units. Luxury, are used to increase happy and trade with. Food, these are high food producing tiles that can help a city grow rapidly. Date;
this is an extremely important piece of information. It gives you an idea where you should be. Just an fyi of how to determine the abilities of yourself and others, people can get a great library up by turn 20 if they're in a decent spot, as soon as someone gets that you'll need to pick up the pace and probably try and attack them.Overview of pros and cons:Pros;
-Multiplayer is simple to use.
-Multiple civilizations to use.
-Fulfilling game when it comes to achievements.
-Large singleplayer for those not wanting to play multiplayer.
-Difficulty settings to ramp it up and down.
-Huge selection of mods to change the game.
-Playing for hours doesn't mean you've mastered the game, you can replay the same map and lose or win.
-Decent sized community that is active.
-Mods increase playability. (You use them at own risk.)Cons;
-Takes awhile to finish a game.
-Multiplayer has a lot of quitters.
-Comes across as overly complicated.
-Can be difficult for older PCs to run the game.
-Is a like or dislike sort of game.
-Some multiplayer players take it too far.
-Some mods don't work together or crash or corrupt save files. (You use them at own risk.)
Its a game that is impossible to summaries efficiently as its an extremely large and varied game that anyone can learn to play. I give it 9/10 panda hearts.
There is so much to the game, its definitely worth a try.