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SummaryThe best Civilization yet.
The GoodHaving followed (and bought) Civilization from the very first game (DOS), I was very interested in this release. Having played it to death (often mine), I still find myself coming back to it - especially with friends.
As you may have guessed, the multi-player options have been improved far beyond any previous release. You have the option to play on one PC (hot seat), on a LAN, or on the internet - there's even an email option, although my experience convinced me that email is far too slow an option. A new option - that of simultaneous turns - added speed, and a RTS-type feel to multi-player games. That, along with the "Quick" game speed, makes for a stunning game that can be finished within 4 hours. ;)
The AI is very nicely tuned, and you have the option to make AI peaceful or aggressive (always peace or always war). The various leaders each come with their unique characteristics, and once you have played a few times you will settle on those characteristics that suit your style of play.
Another new option I enjoyed is the "One City Challenge". This limits you to one city (certain rules are changed where applicable, like needing 7 cities for certain national wonders), which makes for an interesting game.
The BadIt comes to an end (eventually), which means I have to start again. ;)
The Bottom LineThe ultimate "god" game, this addition to the ever-increasing list from Sid Meier represents a return to the roots that made the first Civilization the masterpiece it was.
Overall, the game deserves its 2005 Game of the Year award. If you've never played Civilization, this would be the best place to start.