It’s a touchy subject, religion. Most game developers would rather ignore it altogether as to avoid any sort of controversy. But not Sid Meier. He and his team at Firaxis went and built a whole damn expansion around it.
They’ve also made some other interesting and welcomed changes to Civilization V which might even make those who’ve ignored the series 5th entry up until now become, “true believers.”
Yet religion is not the only thing that’s new to Civ V in Gods and Kings, oh no. There’s also new civilizations, new leaders, new city-states, new combat units, new combat improvements, new wonders and even espionage. That’s a whole lot of new in this expansion and Firaxis and 2K were kind enough to show it off to me, and now I’m being kind enough to tell you all about it. So as Deckard Cain would say, “Stay awhile and listen.”
Before we get into the religious meat of this expac, let’s talk about some of the more subtle improvements and additions.
The combat has changed in some rather favorable ways in my opinion. Battles now work on a 100pt instead of 10pt system which makes for more strategic fights and longer battles. Firaxis says it makes the battles more “dynamic” and, after what I’ve seen, I’m inclined to agree. You can also now have ranged and melee naval units. These new melee units can raid coastal cities to plunder loot and help conquer other Civs. Yarrrr. On top of these improvements come new unit types, including great war, religious, new ranged troops and new civilization-specific units. But that’s not all. New leaders include: William I, Prince of Orange, Boudicca of the Celts, Dido of Carthage (pictured above) and Pacal the Great of the Mayans. There’s someone for everyone to love.
Speaking of new units, as I mentioned above, spies and espionage will play a part in Gods and Kings. However, they are not the same as your combat units on the map. Your spies will interact with you via menus you can use to assign and upgrade them before they head out and do things like rig elections and stage coups. Spies can also intercept valuable information from other civilizations. They are spies after all.
There are also two new types of city-states in Gods and Kings, mercantile and religious. Mercantile states grant happiness and luxuries while religious states will reward you with additional faith. Firaxis has retooled their city-state influence system so that gold is less important and diplomacy is more important. Sounds like a wise move if you ask me.
Now we come to the heart of this expansion, religion.
In Gods and Kings you will earn faith that will soon lead to religion. Once you earn enough faith you can found a Pantheon and choose a belief system. All the major players are here including, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and Shintoism. Once you have a pantheon and a belief, you can start earning enough faith to generate a great prophet (like that Jesus guy), which will allow you to found a religion based upon your initial belief and two more. That’s right, in Gods and Kings you can mix and match philosophies to come up with your ideal religion. If only the real world worked that way…
You can then use your religion to spread influence to help take over other civilizations. Not spreading the word of “RipTenism” fast enough? You can enlist missionaries (I almost typed mercenaries) to help speed things along, or send out inquisitors (I almost typed mercenaries again) to help keep out the influence of other religions.
Firaxis made it clear that there will be no “religious victories” in this expansion, and that this isn’t about “holy wars.” Religion simply exists as a tool and a weapon in Gods and Kings. Will you use it wisely?
Civilization V: Gods and Kings will be available this Spring for PC.