When Civilization V first came out in 2010, it was pretty terrible. For a game that was meant to simulate the rise and fall of the world’s greatest civilisations, it left a whole lot of stuff out. For instance, there was no religion, no real simulation of or reference to imperialism, and no espionage.
The biggest problem, however, was Infinite City Sprawl, or ICS. Because the major penalties that came with each new city could be so easily overcome or ignored, the best tactic was to just keep building cities until the map was full. Dozens of shitty, generic, low population cities dotted every piece of land in every game.
The previous expansion introduced religion and espionage, but in doing so provided even more incentive to spam cities. However, this problem has largely been solved in the latest expansion, Brave New World. In addition to the previous penalties, each city now also provides a flat penalty to your research. It seems like a fairly arbitrary mechanic, but nonetheless it succeeds in nerfing ICS and incentivising the player to build fewer, better-developed cities.
Another new feature is archaeology, which provides some reference to the imperial era. You can send archaeologists to dig up ancient ruins and send any treasures found to your empire, where they provide a bonus to your culture and tourism. If you took artefacts from another civilisation’s territory they may order you to stop stealing their cultural heritage. At this point you can either apologise or, like the British Museum with the Elgin Marbles, tell them to suck it up.
Too often expansions only serve to squeeze any last dregs of revenue from a game. Brave New World doesn’t just adorn Civilization V with shiny baubles, it also fixes someunderlying problems in order to rebalance the game.