A Preview of Sid Meier's Civilization: Wisdom and Warfare Expansion
|Civilization | Published 03 July 2013|
“God has given such brave soldiers to this Crown that, if they do not frighten our neighbours, at least they prevent us from being frightened by them.”
– Elizabeth I
Recently, we announced Wisdom and Warfare, an expansion for Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game. The Wisdom and Warfare expansion features new unit cards which make combat more tactical than ever, while the addition of Social Policies helps to shape the direction of your growing civilization and refine your government. Six brand new civilizations, new map tiles, and more will help your civilization become greater than you ever imagined.
In today’s preview, guest writer El-ad David Amir discusses the Warfare elements of the new expansion, focusing on the new Navy tech, as well as the new combat system. Let’s hear form El-ad:
A strong military leader knows that victory comes from a combination of strength and flexibility. Wisdom and Warfare introduces changes that make combat in Civilization more varied and exciting. It gives players new options to complement their chosen strategy by either strengthening their defense or allowing a more vicious offense.
Two if by Sea
Wisdom and Warfare features the new Navy tech, which offers two versatile additions to its civilization’s arsenal. It enables production of the Shipyard, a new limited building that serves as an alternative to the Barracks; gone are the days when a few civilizations would hog all combat bonus buildings. At five production, the Shipyard is one of the cheapest buildings in the market, guaranteeing that even the most remote coastal city will be able to afford it. The additional production provided by the Shipyard is a valuable advantage and plays well with the new building program city action. Furthermore, Navy grants its civilization an amazing mobility boost, as distant armies are immediately transported to the front lines. A surprised opponent could be facing a stack of two or three armies where none stood before. Together, these abilities mark Navy as an intimidating research choice throughout the game.
The Royal Navy has been the pinnacle of English warfare for more than four hundred years and so it is only appropriate that Navy is the English starting tech. Navy complements the English well, providing them with the strength and maneuverability that made them an empire. The English are natural traders and their army figures double as scouts by sending trade, production, culture, and resources back to their cities; as they lay siege to an enemy, they add insult to injury by sending blockaded squares back home! Furthermore, by combining their ability to move over water with an early movement bonus (such as Horseback Riding or the new Natural Religion social policy), the English can quickly set up a network of armies and accumulate a large number of icons. This advantage gives them a daunting map presence and great flexibility in their choice of strategy, making them a force to be reckoned with.
Bolster Your Army
A great civilization is only as powerful as its army, and what is an army if not its troops? Wisdom and Warfare includes replacement unit cards that dramatically alter the scope of combat. As in the base game, units have a Strength value: the amount of wounds the unit deals. In addition, units now also have a Health value: the amount of wounds a unit can take before dying. This subtle addition has tremendous implications.
First and foremost, players are no longer at the mercy of the deck. Low Strength units are balanced by having higher Health — they deal less damage but take more punishment. This allows skilled generals to “lock” a front by causing a situation where neither unit kills the other. Playing to survive combat (without outright winning) becomes a viable strategy, allowing your units to live in order to fight another day. Finally, battle-related technologies, such as Mathematics and Animal Husbandry, attain a greater role as dealing and healing wounds have much more influence on the fate of combat. The new system maintains the elegance of the base game while adding Health as a new tactical element to consider.
The Japanese, led by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, exploit the new combat system well. Japanese Infantry have a strength bonus, making them much more apt at slaying the opposition. A high Health Spearman, for example, could survive the blow of an Archer while still dispatching his opponent, while a high Strength Pikeman becomes a paragon at slaying Cavalry. The Japanese begin the game with Chivalry, upgrading their Cavalry and improving their initial military further. Chivalry also gives them Feudalism as a starting government, with its ability to harvest a resource for free at the start of each turn. Iron is a tempting choice as its role in battle-oriented technologies will solidify the Japanese aggressive position. However, their last ability, a trade discount on research, might lead to another choice; since the Japanese are likely to research every turn, they might want to diversify their resources in preparation for an Education-fueled tech victory. Either way, the Japanese are a diverse civilization that can triumph through many different paths.
War has always been a central part of civilization games and Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game is no exception. Wisdom and Warfare has an extensive arsenal for an aggressive general. Fortunately, a defensive leader would also be able to wield these weapons. The Logistics tech, for example, unlocks all second tier units, providing a shortcut to significantly increasing the prowess of its civilization’s army. Such a sweeping upgrade could serve as a decisive defensive move. Since attaining it now requires just a single tech, it leaves the option to dedicate future research to peaceful pursuits such as Printing Press. Many of the military-oriented mechanics in the expansion could be utilized by civilizations aiming for a bloodless victory.
Whether by land, by sea, or by air, Wisdom and Warfare offers many tools for cultures to clash. However, conflict is only one possible route to glory. In the next preview article, we will discuss noble Social Policies and their role in furthering the good of mankind (but furthering your civilization the most, of course).
Thanks El-ad! Keep an eye out for more information and upcoming previews of Wisdom and Warfare, the newest expansion for Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game!
Designed by Kevin Wilson, Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game is inspired by the legendary computer game series created by Sid Meier. 2-4 players take on the roles of famous leaders in charge of historical civilizations, each with his or her own abilities. Players explore a module game board, build cities and buildings, fight battles, research powerful technology, and attract great people by advancing their culture. Choose your path to glory!