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Having studied Civilization IV extensively (many of our publications involve research done with Civilization IV), we will discuss some of Civilization V’s many changes and the associated trade-offs in terms of player engagement and motivation.

Civilization V has made many improvements to game operations, such as hexagonal tiles and movement, and the inability to stack units. Visual feedback is much better as a result, and player summary screens allow players to make better-informed strategy decisions based upon well-organized, real-time feedback.

During games of Civilization IV, domination (winning) typically came towards the limit of turns: a pre-set number of turns until a time-victory occurred for the most-advanced civilization. A military victory sometimes occurred, and diplomatic victories were sometimes possible (usually after heavy military conquest). While the systems have changed for Civilization V, military victories seems much easier, and were easily achieved in less than half of the 500 turn limit. Social and diplomatic victories seemed less likely, since military victory is so much simpler with immediate results. This may be a player trait, but our research in Civilization IV suggests otherwise.


The long-awaited release of Civilization V by Firaxis and 2K Games has many improvements, from beautiful new graphics to redesigned gameplay. Many features in Civilization IV have been streamlined or eliminated, in favor of a simplified playing experience that will attract new players to the game.

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