Civilization V E3 Preview

2K Games provided a demo of Civilization V at E3 2010, and highlighted a few of the changes in store for the newest iteration of the storied strategy franchise. The first big change is that the maps are now hex-based instead of grids. This was done to open up the movement options and remove some ambiguity in the terrain; for example, making it obvious as to whether or not the water between two spaces is traversable.

A bigger change in store for the game is that units will no longer be stackable. Gone are the days of the "stack of doom", and combat in Civilization V will require a greater emphasis on tactics than in the past. Unit placement will be critical to success in attack and defense, as shown during the demo by the way an infantry unit on high ground behind a river was nearly able to survive three straight attacks by superior units, doing a lot of damage before finally succumbing to the assault. An artillery unit on open ground flanked by a cavalry attack did not fare nearly as well, crumbling under the assault while doing little damage in return.

New to Civilization V will be city states one city nations that you can cultivate alliances with. Each of these city states will provide a boost to your civ in some way if you're on good terms with them. Not only that, city states have a vote in the UN, so it's to your advantage to put a few extra votes into your back pocket for when you need them. In the demo, the opening of trade with one particular city state lead to a cultural boost to the player civ. Speaking of culture, in Civilization V you'll be able to extend your borders by buying new hexes outright rather than relying on culture alone to expand your domain.

The game itself looks really good, with animated and colorful 3D landscapes, and impressive animated avatars representing the world leaders you encounter during your civilization's reign. Look for Civilization V to hit stores in September.