The Good: Amazing depth and strategy, addictive turned based game play, lots of leaders to chose from, great visuals and audio, new changes are for the better
The Bad: Can be too hard for super casual players, not 100% balanced, takes too long to finish a game, can be too addictive
After playing my first game of Civ 5 I realized how much of a greedy jerk George Washington was. 500 gold, all my resources, one city, and open borders for just one silk resource?! He's just begging to get wiped out, but I keep my cool and press on as the most advanced civilization for the next 150 turns. I build many great wonders such as The Great Wall, The Great Lighthouse, The Colosseum, The Taj Mahal, and even The Hanging Gardens. Of course it takes about 100 turns to create most of these but it keeps my people happy and sets us into a Golden Age.
This is just the beginning of Civ 5 and it's deep turn based strategy game play, but yet it's so simple to grasp and that's the beauty of it. Civ 5 may seem like some overwhelming beast when you first play it (mainly newcomers), but you learn as you play. After my 50th turn I already had the hang of 90% of the game, and just learned little things from there on out. You start out by picking your leader of a country, but each one has special attributes like a better economy, military, or even science. You establish your main capital city, and from there you learn new sciences, produce buildings, great wonders, workers, or different military units. Different tiles on the map may have icons for mining, farming etc. and you deploy workers here. Connect these to your capital and your income will increase.
Of course after awhile you must expand your empire or people will get unhappy and may even rebel in the city due to over population, or not having enough entertainment, food, or other resources. Keeping your people happy is just part of the struggle to create a great civilization. Other cities may want to ally with you by having you gift units, give them gold, or vowing to protect them. Connect your cities with roads and voila you have more income. Or you can just wipe them out and either annex the city (requires building a courthouse before you can use it), or use it as a puppet city and just collect the income, but don't control what they do. There's also the option to just raze cities and let everything burn!
Yes Civ 5 let's you play as you please sadism or masochism is all up to you. You can be friends with all your neighbors and just run out to 2050 and be the first and most advanced civilization. Or you can do what I did and get tired of the other leaders and build an army to take over. After having a rapidly advancing civilization over Washington I decided to open my borders to him, but he was still guarded because he didn't like my huge army. Sure I made my people suffer a tad by the high upkeep of this vast army, but it was well worth it. I started attacking his capital and this declared war. After a few turns he offered a peace treaty for 10 turns so I accepted and during this break I got every unit I had and surrounded his capital. After the treaty was over I attacked and quickly took over his entire empire. It was easy thanks to my advancement in military technology so I was way ahead of him. Musketmen versus spearman doesn't exactly equal fair. He offered peace treaties, but I swiftly turned them down and he eventually declared defeat.
But...just...one...more...turn! Even though I technically beat the map I kept on conquering, and even stole over his allied city before defeat. I bought tiles with lots of resources to quickly build my empire up and expand my borders. Turn after turn I swept up all resources, and horded my gold, and built massive structures to be the greatest of all time.
That's how every game plays out, and with the great AI, stunning visuals, and excellent little tid bits like Social Policies which act like perks, and the fact that not every map will play the same way twice. While you can't stack units anymore it really makes for a better strategy, and makes things a bit simpler so you're not just concentrating completely on your army. There are so many little things to this game you just have to play it to realize what's here. With a great in game user made map, scenario, and other item download section, excellent multiplayer, and countless hours of endless ways to play maps you will never get bored. Tactics must be changed up for each leader, each map, and each opponent. The only real issues I had were the fact that not every leader is balanced, and that a game can take days to finish plus some changes may turn hardcore fans off. So, the question begs the answer: Can your civilization stand the test of time?