Hands-on with Civilization World

Logo for Civilization World

Originally announced near the end of 2009, Civilization World (a.k.a. CivWorld) is the latest iteration of the turn-based strategy games in the Civilization series. CivWorld is a free-to-play massively-multiplayer online game designed for the Facebook platform. While it is still in development (currently the game is in closed beta), this writer was given some hands-on time with the game in its current form. While a brief hands-on is hardly enough to properly gauge the robust content of CivWorld, it is clear that even at this stage the game exudes a tremendous amount of polish. Deep strategic gameplay and heavy social elements make CivWorld a title that both Facebook addicts and Civilization fans will not want to miss.

The purpose of every Civilization game is to develop and lead a civilization through the many stages of human history, from the stone age to the space age. CivWorld takes this idea and expands it into a social and multiplayer experience, by pooling players together to form these civilizations. Each player represents his/her own nation, and the collective group of nations forms the civilization. Elements such as live chat, player alliances and warfare all allow players to share resources with one another and invade and take vital resources from enemy civilizations.

Building and developing a successful nation requires the management of five crucial resources – production, food, gold, culture and science. Players produce these resources by allocating jobs and homes to people. The happier your citizens are, the more productive they will be. Happiness is determined by several factors, but generally your people will be happier when they’re well fed, when their jobs are located near their residences, and when they live near other people with their job-type.

People will produce their respective resource in a timely manner. After a certain amount of time has elapsed, players are allowed to “harvest” whatever resources have been produced. There are a limited number of times a player is allowed to harvest, which is only replenished with time. Focusing on producing some resources more than others allow players to develop their society in unique ways. A focus on food production will allow populations to grow, while a focus on science will aid in the development of new technologies.

In addition to harvesting resources and developing their city, players are encouraged to play mini-games, which reward them with bonus points in a given field. Players have a limited number of moves they can execute in each mini-game, which increases based on the amount of resources being produced. Winning in the Technology Maze for instance, leads to the discovery of new technologies faster than by relying exclusively on scientists. The greater the number of productive scientists a player has in their city, the faster they earn moves towards playing this mini-game.

Considering that CivWorld is completely free-to-play, one has to wonder: how does creator Sid Meier and developer Firaxis expect to turn a profit? CivWorld will offer a premium currency called “CivBucks” which players can purchase and spend in-game on both vanity items and gameplay items. Vanity items can be purchased whenever a player desires, but the purchase and use of gameplay items is more restricted, for the sake of gameplay balance. CivBucks have a variety of gameplay uses, such as allowing players to harvest production even when they have reached their harvest limit, or earn more moves in CivWorld‘s many mini-games. Players can also buy more resources for themselves with CivBucks. It is important to note, however, that it is not at all required to invest in CivBucks to play and enjoy the game: rather, the currency is designed to give the players who buy them a slight edge.

There is clearly a lot to Civilization World. Scheduled for launch later this year, fans can check out the official CivWorld Facebook page to help tide themselves over and make friends (and form potential alliances) in the meantime.

 

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