Focus Your Energies
Previewing the Focus Bar in Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
–Arthur C. Clarke
At the dawn of a new age, the entirety of human society lays before you, full of possibilities limited only by your imagination. From humble beginnings, you have the opportunity to lead your empire through the millennia from a fledging civilization to the premier world power. With multiple paths to victory, the choice is yours to determine how you will lead you people to glory. But whatever path you choose, it will take your utmost focus and attention!
Before you set the course of your empire, we'd like to offer you a closer look at the focus bar mechanic at that shapes your empire in Sid Meier’s Civilization: A New Dawn!
Forge Your Path
Sid Meier’s Civilization: A New Dawn is a turn-based strategy game that allows players to construct the narrative of their empire as they advance from prehistory to the present day. This new standalone game is based on the same universe as the previously released Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game, but both games offer distinct play experiences that can appeal to different players. Fantasy Flight Games is committed to supporting both Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game and Sid Meier’s Civilization: A New Dawn in the future.
To begin their conquest in Civilization: A New Dawn, each player is equipped with control tokens to spread cultural influence, cities to build up industry, caravans to encourage economic growth, a deck of diplomacy cards and a deck of focus cards to advance their empires, a technology dial to mark scientific progress, and finally, a leader card that the player will embody for the duration of the game. These leaders provide players with a special ability that will help them as they face a completely open choice: how will they define their legacy? Will they crush the hearts of their enemies with militaristic might or lead their people to the skies through technological advancement? With the power to reshape the world according to their will, players can reach beyond what history dictates to create a truly unique civilization.
When shaping your empire, your turns and your strategy revolve around your focus row. Each focus row contains five focus cards, one for each of the five aspects of your civilization: culture, science, economy, industry, and military. These focus cards represent your nation's various pursuits and how you will define your empire. In essence, each focus card describes a specific action that you can take each turn, helping you to gain dominance in one or more aspects of the game and expand your influence across ever more difficult terrains as fruitful fields give way to forbidding mountains. As leaders achieve greatness in a given area, they may gain more powerful versions of these focus cards, advancing their empire from simplicity to complexity.
At the start of their turn, a player selects one card in their focus row and resolves its effect. Then, once the card has been resolved, it moves to the first slot and all cards in lower slots shift one space to the right. This process represents the investment of time; a card resolved in the fifth slot has a much greater impact than one resolved in the first slot. After all, no greatness can be achieved without due diligence and effort—good things come to those who wait.
In addition, you will find a terrain bar above your focus cards. Waiting to resolve a focus card not only increases its effect—it allows you to affect different types of terrain on the game board. If you use a lower-ranked focus card, for instance, you may be able to affect the grasslands, but the heights of mountains or burning deserts will be beyond your grasp, whether you're leading caravans to allied cities or staging a military invasion. The longer you wait to resolve a focus card, the more types of terrain your action can impact.
Advance Through the Ages
In Sid Meier’s Civilization: A New Dawn, balance is key. Players must strategize and know when to resolve a card in a lower slot on the focus bar for its immediate effect and when to wait to resolve a card for its maximum effect. For example, a leader who wishes to strengthen their hold on an area of the board may wait to resolve their culture card until it is in the fifth slot, placing the maximum number of control tokens in one fell swoop. Meanwhile, the same player may resolve a military focus card at a lower slot. While this will only allow a player to reinforce a smaller number of the control tokens that they already have, it provides that protection from foreign invasion much more quickly.
As their civilizations advance, players may acquire advanced versions of their focus cards, which have a greater impact on the game. For example, in culture, an Early Empire allows a player to place two control tokens adjacent to friendly cities. But if a leader can advance their culture to Mass Media, they may place three control tokens. Beyond this, the added strength of the mass media card allows a player to then replace a rival control token close to a friendly space with one of their own, or weaken the position of a reinforced enemy control token. In a game where the goal is complete global dominance, such a boon may offer a player the edge they need to surpass their rivals and lead their people to glory.
In order to gain these stronger focus cards, players must use their science focus cards to advance their tech dial. Advancing this tech dial allows them to discover new technologies. Once the tech dial has advanced to or past a space paired with a tech level, the player may gain one new focus card that has a tech level matching the dial.
In this way, focus cards do not have to progress in a strictly linear fashion. If a leader bides their time and advances their tech dial enough, they may make a technological leap, bypassing one tech level entirely in favor of another. For example, if a leader has already achieved Iron Working in their military focus area, they may skip Mass Production entirely and advance directly to Flight, provided their tech dial has reached a IV space. While steadily moving forward may lead to victory in some games, biding your time may prove the best strategy in others. After all, you cannot advance everything, so you'll need to decide which areas of your civilization are worth prioritizing.
Every game and every rivalry presents leaders with new challenges that they must overcome to ensure that their legacy lives on and the future of their people is secure. We will examine the act of building your empire, and how focus factors into strategy, in our next preview!
Shape Your World
Choose the path of your empire. Set a new course for history and lead your civilization to a new dawn!
Pre-order Sid Meier’s Civilization: A New Dawn (CIV01) today at your local retailer or on the Fantasy Flight Games website!