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Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword is the second official expansion pack of the turn-based strategy video game Sid Meier's Civilization IV.[7] The expansion focuses on adding content to the in-game time periods following the invention of gunpowder, and includes more general content such as 11 new scenarios, 10 new civilizations, and 16 new leaders.[8][9]

Features

Overview

  • Corporations: A new gameplay feature, similar to the ‘religion’ one, allows players to create corporations and spread them throughout the world. Each corporation provides benefits in exchange for certain resources.
  • Espionage: Now available much earlier in the game, this expanded feature offers players many new ways to spy on opponents, stir citizen unrest and defend their government’s secrets.
  • Random Events: New random events such as natural disasters, pleas for help, or demands from their citizens will challenge players to overcome obstacles in order for their civilizations to prosper. Random events can also be beneficial, such as scientific breakthroughs or incidents that improve relations with a neighbor.
  • Advanced Starts: When starting the game in any era, this new option allows the player to purchase components for an already-developed nation.
  • Expanded Space Victory: Obtaining a space victory is now more difficult and requires more strategy and decision-making than before.
  • Expanded Diplomatic Victory: It is now possible to achieve diplomatic victories much earlier in the game, and to defy resolutions.
  • New Game Options: Beyond the Sword offers various new game options, like new world-types and the option to play any leader-civilization combination.

Corporations

Corporations become available with discovery of the Corporation technology. Each of the seven available Corporations requires a particular type of Great Person, a particular additional technology, and access to particular resources to build the Corporate Headquarters and found that Corporation; each of the seven Corporations can be founded only once per game. Each Corporation consumes specific resources, and supplies alternate resources or benefits in return. The more instances of resources they consume, the more food, production, commerce, or resources they supply. Corporations can be spread like religions (using the Executive unit as a missionary) to other cities, including foreign cities; any city hosting a Corporation branch must pay a maintenance fee for its services, while the owner of the Corporate Headquarters receives bonus gold for each branch.

Players can block foreign corporations from operating in their cities by adopting the Mercantilism civic, and they can block all corporations, even their own, by adopting the State Property civic.

Currently, the following seven Corporations appear in the game. Unlike Religions, the Corporations are not directly based on real-life corporations, but some of the options are clear references to real companies such as General Mills or Standard Oil:

  • Standard Ethanol Company[10] offers the player, after the use of a Great Scientist to build its headquarters,[11] the possibility to provide oil in exchange for corn, sugar, or rice.
  • Cereal Mills[10][12] provides additional food for a city in the form of cereal, in exchange for corn, rice, or wheat. The player can build its headquarters with a Great Merchant.[11]
  • Creative Constructions[13] provides extra production and culture in exchange for obsolete strategic resources like iron, copper, stone, or marble. A Great Engineer can create a Creative Constructions headquarters.[14]
  • Aluminum, Co.[13] provides Aluminum in exchange for Coal. Its headquarters can be created with a Great Scientist.[14]
  • Civilized Jewelers requires the Mass Media tech [11] and needs a Great Artist to create its headquarters. The corporation consumes gold, silver or gems to generate treasury income and culture.[14]
  • Mining Inc. corporation's headquarters can be built with a Great Engineer.[15] It consumes Coal, Iron, Copper, Gold or Silver and increases a city's production.
  • Sid's Sushi Co. requires the discovering of the Medicine tech[11] and the use of a Great Merchant to build its headquarters. This corporation uses Fish, Crabs, Clam or Rice to provide extra food and culture to cities. This corporation is named for Sid Meier,[14] creator of the Civilization series.

Espionage

Espionage's importance in Civilization IV has been raised to compare with that of scientific research, culture, income from taxes, etc. The new espionage slider allows the player to divert part of their income towards espionage activities against other civilizations. Once the player has reached certain thresholds of espionage investment, the player starts gaining some automatic intelligence benefits over rival civilizations.

The player can also send Spy units into foreign territory to gather further intelligence and to perform various missions of destruction and propaganda. Their role is a bit different, because spies are now invisible to all units, save for other spies.[16] Great Spies are born in cities, like other Great Persons. Great Spies can perform typical functions like serving as a Specialist, starting a Golden Age, or building a unique building. Their special function allows them to infiltrate enemy cities, giving the player significant advantage in espionage against that civilization. Just like other Great Persons, they have unique names, and their appearance changes accordingly to the time period, e.g., a Great Spy in the ancient era shows up as a ninja, just as the Industrial-Age Great Spy appears as a tuxedo-sporting James Bond-style unit, complete with similar thematic music once a mission is performed.[17]

Conversely, espionage has become somewhat of a hindrance in the pursuit of normal diplomatic victories. The act of catching opposing AI controlled spies will devastate your diplomatic relations with those players forcing you into a negative relationship that you cannot recover from. Even a friendly AI could potentially have a hidden -10 points from captured spies that will never allow a diplomatic victory, even through rampant generosity of resources, technology, gold, and all other attempts to negate the immense negative statistic. (This can be tested by saving an in-progress player vs CPU game and continuing it with players in place of the AI.)

Random events

The Beyond the Sword expansion reintroduces Sim City- and Alpha Centauri-style random events from the original Sid Meier's Civilization game, which can cause the game to swing in the player's favor or present another obstacle the player must overcome. There are more than a hundred of these events, including natural disasters, such as earthquakes that can destroy buildings, and diplomatic marriages that might suddenly turn two former rivals into friends. Together these new events give each game a completely unique flavor.[18] In addition, each game offers players the opportunity for rewards through the completion of special events in the form of missions ("quests").[19]

Some examples of Random Events in the game include:

Advanced starts

Advanced Starts are a pre-game setup phase players use to purchase cities, improvements, buildings, technologies, and units. It works in both single-player and multi-player. The player decides what to purchase and where to place it. When everyone is done, the game starts with players controlling relatively balanced, advanced empires with a working infrastructure. This mechanism is ideal for those who want to jump right in and experience a balanced game in a further era, without having to start it from the stone age.

Expanded Space Victory

To acquire a Space Victory, the game now requires the player's spaceship to reach Alpha Centauri, rather than simply launch. It is now also possible to build spaceships that fly faster than those of other civilizations, so that a player can achieve Space Victory, even if they finished building a spaceship after a competitor.

Expanded Diplomatic Victory

The new Apostolic Palace wonder allows the player to win an early diplomatic victory, centuries before the United Nations is due to make its appearance. The wonder is tied to the state religion of the player who built it. Depending on the influence of the Palace's religion on their civilization, players get votes to cast on decrees like holy wars, trade embargoes, or peace enforcement. It is later rebuffed by Communism and made obsolete by Mass Media. At this point, the more modern United Nations takes over many of its functions.[22]

New game options

The expansion offers various new world-types and game options. The player will have the option to play as any leader-civilization combination, therefore allowing "what-if" possibilities. Also, a new feature is the option to only trade away player researched technologies. Finally players can choose the religions founded by specific technologies, so that the same religions will not be dominant in every game.[23]

New content

New content includes:

Thus, this is how the Civilization IV final roster looks:
Civilization Unique Unit Unique Building (added in Warlords) Leader/s Capital
American Navy SEAL Mall Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt Washington
Arabian Camel Archer Madrassa Saladin Mecca
Aztec Jaguar Sacrificial Altar Montezuma Tenochtitlan
Babylonian Bowman Garden Hammurabi Babylon
Byzantine Cataphract Hippodrome Justinian Constantinople
Carthaginian Numidian Mercenary Cothon Hannibal Carthage
Celts Gallic Swordsman Dun Brennus, Boudica Bibracte
Chinese Cho-Ko-Nu Pavilion Qin Shi Huang, Mao Zedong, Taizong (in the Chinese version) Beijing
Dutch East Indiaman Dike Willem van Oranje Amsterdam
Egyptian War Chariot Obelisk Hatshepsut, Ramesses II Thebes
English Redcoat Stock Exchange Elizabeth, Victoria, Churchill London
Ethiopian Oromo Warrior Stele Zara Yaqob Aksum
French Musketeer Salon Louis XIV, Napoleon, De Gaulle Paris
Germans Panzer Assembly Plant Frederick, Bismarck Berlin
Greek Phalanx Odeon Alexander, Pericles Athens
Holy Roman Landsknecht Rathaus Charlemagne Aachen
Incan Quechua Terrace Huayna Capac Cuzco
Indians Fast Worker Mausoleum Asoka, Gandhi Delhi
Japanese Samurai Shale Plant Tokugawa Kyoto
Khmer Ballista Elephant Baray Suryavarman II Yasodharapura
Korean Hwacha Seowon Wang Kon Seoul
Malinese Skirmisher Mint Mansa Musa Timbuktu
Mayan Holkan Ball Court Pacal II Mutal
Mongolian Keshik Ger Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan Karakorum
Native American Dog Soldier Totem Pole Sitting Bull Cahokia
Ottoman Janissary Hammam Mehmed II, Suleiman Istanbul
Persians Immortal Apothecary Cyrus II, Darius I Persepolis
Portuguese Carrack Feitoria Joao II Lisbon
Roman Praetorian Forum Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar Rome
Russian Cossack Research Institute Peter, Catherine, Stalin Moscow
Spanish Conquistador Citadel Isabella Madrid
Sumerian Vulture Ziggurat Gilgamesh Uruk
Viking Berserker Trading Post Ragnar Nidaros
Zulu Impi Ikhanda Shaka Ulundi

General changes

  • Improvements in AI (Artificial Intelligence) for harder games across all difficulty levels. The AI player will attempt more ways to win than before. It is also better at warfare (particularly naval operations) and economic management.[24]
  • Early-game units now have different regional art styles and motifs.
  • On-map ocean trade routes that enhance the importance of the navy[25]
  • Colonies can split off from their motherland to form new civilizations[26]
  • The foreign advisory screen has been overhauled.[24]
  • Beyond the Sword includes some material from the previous Warlords expansion pack, specifically the core game features, but not the Warlords scenarios.[24]

New scenarios

The expansion delivered 11 new scenarios. Some were developed by the fan community,[9] and were critically well received.[27] The following scenarios are included.[19][28][29][30][31]

Afterworld

This single player scenario was designed by Firaxis' Tim McCracken featuring a Science fiction/Horror/Role Playing Game theme where a team of "Gravebringers" are sent to a world inhabited by human robots to retrieve research. In this squad based tactical scenario the player must fight against zombies and the undead. This scenario is also unusual in that it does not contain many aspects of Civilization IV like leaders, cities or technologies.[19][32]

Broken Star

Russia is divided, and a civil war is coming. To unite the Motherland the player may purchase military units from the U.S. or promotion upgrades from the Chinese Black Market; conscript the Russian people or bribe enemy forces; or even deploy the ultimate in doomsday weaponry, the nuclear bomb.[19]

Charlemagne's Wars

This scenario is based on the wars fought by Frankish king and later emperor Charlemagne in Europe during the late eighth and early ninth centuries. The scenario introduces a bevy of Medieval units such as the Mounted infantry and Supply Train. Players gain favor from Rome by spreading Christianity and destroying Islam. When a player gains enough favor he/she may be rewarded with the powerful Papal Pikeman [33]

CIV Defense

In CIV Defense, Civilization IV becomes a single player tower defense in which players start with a small amount of cash to buy an advanced start and to get a single city going before the game starts. The player is confronted with 20 waves of enemies who try to capture their cities. Between each wave of attacks, the player receives gold for each city that survives, using it to acquire new units, cities and technologies.[31]

Crossroads of the World!

A late medieval age scenario where the player carves out a fortune from the riches of fourteenth-century Africa, Arabia, and Persia. Victory is achieved by trading, betraying, and battling one's way towards control of the Crossroads of the World.[19]

Fall from Heaven: Age of Ice

A plot-heavy fantasy scenario set in the world of Erebus, home of the popular Fall from Heaven public mod[34] and made in cooperation with Firaxis staff and members of the mod team.

The scenario begins 350 years into the Age of Ice. Mulcarn, the God of Winter, reigns and the world is little more than a frozen wasteland ravaged by blizzards. Mankind has lost the knowledge gained during the previous age and has broken into small tribes fighting for survival. The player controls Kylorin, an ageless hero, who needs to recover the pieces of the legendary sword "The Godslayer", and defeat Mulcarn with it.

Final Frontier

The Final Frontier space scenario adapts Sid Meier's Civilization IV into space with a brand new tech tree, units and terrain. The sides are different extrasolar colonies that have now lost contact with Earth. Over the course of the scenario, clues about what happened to humanity's home planet are revealed. The focus is not on building cities, but colonizing entire star systems.[35]

Gods of Old

Gods of Old is the standard game, based on principles of Sumerian religion. Each of the seven Ancient Sumerian gods in the game has a special ability and can unleash calamities such as earthquakes and floods.[9]

Next War

A futuristic sci-fi scenario with clone armies and mechanized units set in the 2050s C.E.. This scenario is available as an expansion on the Epic game as well as being a standalone scenario.

The World is divided into four huge empires: The Pan-Asiatic People Co-Operative-led by The Glorious Leader (Qin Shi Huang) (China, Japan, Siam and East Russia), America Inc.-led by Mr. Big (George Washington) (North America, Britain, New Zealand and Australia), The Great Southern Empire-led by The Lady (Hatshepsut) (Africa, Middle East and South America) and Europa-led by His Excellency (Alexander the Great) (Europe, Algeria, Turkey and West Russia). You can also build Biological Bombs to destroy other empires and Nuclear bombs to do even more damage.[19][36]

Rhye's and Fall of Civilization

Nearly all standard civilizations available in Beyond the Sword are made available to play in their proper geographic and historical locations. Features such as dynamic historical city names, unique historical victories, and the new stability system enhance both the historical feel and the game play. Scripting of the AI encourages the world to develop in a similar path to real history, yet with an element of unpredictability to keep the game fresh.[19]

World War II: Road to War

Play as the Allies or Axis in the European Theater starting in either 1936 or 1939 or the Pacific Theater starting in 1936 of the Second World War. Some of the countries playable are Germany (Vice Chancellor Von Papen), Japan (Admiral Yamamoto), The United States (President Roosevelt), France (De Gaulle), Great Britain (Churchill), and the USSR (Stalin).[19][37]

Modding

In general, with the exception of Final Frontier, the "external mods" (official mods originally made by users, instead of by Firaxis) had the best reception: "Rounding out BtS is a selection of mods and scenarios. Some are the best of the mod scene, others Firaxis designs. Sadly for Firaxis, it's the already existing mods that shine - the excellent fantasy-set Fall from Heaven, the intriguing, history-following Rhye's and Fall of Civilizations, and WWII: The Road to War.[38]

For example, Rhye's and Fall of Civilization was called "one of the most exciting and robust mods you'll ever see for any game" in Yahoo! Games review,[39] and "a fresh new coat of paint to the core Civilization gameplay" in the Gamespot one.[40] French magazine Cyberstratège reckoned it the best of the scenarios released in Beyond the Sword, assigning the best mark (9 of out 10) among them.[41] Whereas the standard, epic game takes historical civilizations from different eras and locations on the planet and starts them each in 4000 BC on a random map, Rhye's and Fall of Civilization puts the civilizations into their proper time and place in human history. The mod is also notable for the addition of features meant to enhance the historical feel of the game such as a stability system (civs truly can rise and fall), plagues, historical place names, and scripted AI behavior that mirrors real Earth history. An added victory condition, the Historical Victory is also added. This victory requires the player to meet certain conditions that are unique to each civilization, for example the Americans must not allow European cities in North America by a 1900 and Arabia must spread Islam to 40% of the world in order to win.[42]

Another notable Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword mod Fall From Heaven II was created by the fan-team who were involved in developing the scenario Age of Ice. It is set in a dark fantasy world directly after the scenario, at the end of an ice age and the rebirth of civilization. FfH rebalances the game to emphasize warfare with small, enduring groups instead of human waves; adds a magic system with caster units and "mana" resources; and changes religions and civilizations from being mostly interchangeable to "wholly different experiences."[43]

A full-length review in Pelit magazine awarded FfH 92% describing the mod as "a clump of clichés at first sight" that turns out to be "the finest fantasy strategy since Master of Magic and the best times of Warlords." The reviewer further complimented a strong backstory ("for a mod") and an extensive manual and Civilopedia. He criticized technical problems with online multi-player, problems that are largely beyond a mod's capacity to fix, some problems with sound and high system requirements.[43]

Sid Meier's Civilization II and Sid Meier's Civilization III both included popular World War II scenarios and Sid Meier's Civilization IV is no exception; the Beyond the Sword expansion introduces a fan-created mod, The Road to War. The Road to War offers three variants - Pacific 1936, Europe 1936, and Europe 1939 - as well as a host of different scenario-specific units. [44]

Development

Reception

Hyper's Dirk Watch commends the game for being "addictive and its brilliant diplomatic additions".[45]

References

  1. 04:32 PM (2008-04-04). Civilization IV Fanatics' Center: Civ4 Beyond the Sword Info Center. Civfanatics.com. Retrieved on 2009-12-14.
  2. Civilization 4: Beyond the Sword (Add-On): Games. Amazon.de. Retrieved on 2009-12-14.
  3. 04:32 PM (2008-04-04). Civilization IV Fanatics' Center: Civ4 Beyond the Sword Info Center. Civfanatics.com. Retrieved on 2009-12-14.
  4. Civilization 4: Beyond the Sword (Add-On): Games. Amazon.de. Retrieved on 2009-12-14.
  5. 04:32 PM (2008-04-04). Civilization IV Fanatics' Center: Civ4 Beyond the Sword Info Center. Civfanatics.com. Retrieved on 2009-12-14.
  6. Civilization 4: Beyond the Sword (Add-On): Games. Amazon.de. Retrieved on 2009-12-14.
  7. Boyes, Emma (2006-07-24). Civilization IV expands - PC News at GameSpot. Gamespot.com. Retrieved on 2009-12-14.
  8. Firaxis Games: Games: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword. Firaxis.com (2009-07-23). Retrieved on 2009-12-14.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword. 2kgames.com. Retrieved on 2009-12-14.
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  27. Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword Review. CVG.. “Rounding out BtS is a selection of mods and scenarios. Some are the best of the mod scene, others Firaxis designs. Sadly for Firaxis, it's the already existing mods that shine - the excellent fantasy-set Fall from Heaven, the intriguing, history-following Rhye's and Fall of Civilization, and WWII: The Road to War.”
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  36. [1][dead link]
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