, through his GMR magic and advice, convinced me to buy the expansion. I hadn't had a chance to play it, but I have some GMR games now en queue where I will be playing it.
Last night I played a single player campaign, without having much of a clue what the changes were -- you guys this game has been flipped upside down. Everything is different, yet the same. My general strategy of reactionary politics, war, and aggressiveness which I believed to be the most efficient way to play the game will no longer work. Thanks to the United Nations and trade routes, I can no longer just go to war with someone if I feel they are getting too close to a victory condition, or just because I want the wonders one of their cities holds. I just can't. Meanwhile cultural victories, at least in my campaign last night, seemed incredibly easy to pull off if the other players aren't paying attention.
So here is a small wrap up of the changes I noticed playing last night. Please feel free to correct me or add to this.
** tldr; civ 5 is different now, below is how **
Create more tourism influence in a Civ than they create culture per turn, and you will have them in your influence. Do that to all Civs, and you win a cultural victory.
You no longer build a cultural building to win.
Acquire great artists, writers, and musicians.
Use them to create "works" like famous paintings or symphonies. You display these works in certain buildings (like wonders, museums, broadway, etc).
Certain buildings provide bonuses if you display combinations of art. Example: In the Hermitage display 3 pieces of art, each from different eras, and each from different civilizations.
The bonus, called a theme bonus, gives you extra culture and tourism points.
If your tourism points add up and surpass the culture points of another civ, they become under your influence.
Get all Civs under your cultural influence, and you win.
You can also get art by excavating Archeological sites, which like ruins, appear randomly once you have universities and you can train the archeologist unit.
The archeologist unit can go in other civs borders and excavate their sites. This is easy if you reveal the sites first, and they don't know where they are.
You can't buy the archeologist with gold (learned that the hard way last night). You have to produce it.
Excavated art is from a random civ and older era, your civ included in the pool of randoms.
Trade art (or works) with other civs. This way you can create the bonus combinations in your buildings and get more culture + tourism points.
Finally, send great musicians in to other civs you have open borders with to get a massive tourism boost on them. That's how I won last night. Late in the game, nobody should have open borders with another civ that is on the verge of cultural victory.
** tldr; As one civ gets close to a cultural victory, close your borders and increase your cultural output to reduce their influence. Don't trade art with them, adopt policies with the UN that will hurt their culture. Excavate all your archeological sites. **
You now establish land or sea trade routes from any city you own to any other city with cargo units. These are not the same trade routes that you get from roads, harbors, etc. These trade routes make it so you exchange gold, religion, and possibly other things like science or culture depending on your policies and the policies of the other player. Everyone tends to win with trade routes, but you have to be weary of religious influence. Also, if you establish 5 trade routes with another civ that you don't like, and you declare war on them, you are going to lose a lot of gold per turn.
Certain wonders now give bonuses to trade routes, as well as religious and cultural policies.
World Congress / UN
Holy smokes the complication gets worse.
I don't fully understand this yet, but as civs advance in eras and starting when the first civ to discover all other players does so, a world congress is made. You can then vote on things like making certain luxury resources illegal, which would hurt happiness and trade routes with targeted civs. You can construct a worlds fair, which will jack up a cultural victory for the right person. There are all kinds of initiatives to vote on -- setting a world ideology or religion, messing with trade systems, etc. It's a mess of complication. Each civ gets a certain number of votes, and voting is done every 10 or 15 turns on new leaders of the congress and new policies. Your vote number depends on how many allied city states you have.
I can no longer run around killing everyone to win. Civ 5 BNW is srs geopolitical bzns.