Civilization V's new religious discourse
A Civilization V expansion that includes religion. Thank God!
With the aptly titled Gods & Kings expansion recently announced for Civilization V, my need to develop a kingdom and conquer all others will soon be reignited. Why the lull? Civ 5 by itself is pretty boring.
I hate to say it, but this is what I found while playing the game for over two hundred hours. I could attempt some of the Steam achievements that were there (the single city challenge with Gandhi was actually a fun challenge) but most of these were quantitative achievements; do this thing 100 times or build that thing 50 times.
I looked back at why I played Civ 4 for hundreds and hundreds of hours. It was religion.
I loved it. Being able to rush Buddhism so I could create a grand global religion that spread through my neighbors and ultimately my enemies territory was a delight. So that delight was piqued again with the announcement that this most updated version of Civilization was getting religion added in. But these are not only going to be some stock denominations. We're getting the ability to customize the religions, rename them, and have different bonuses for each type.
Finally, my dream of creating a Taoist regime that spans South America and the Pacific can be a reality! An Islamic trade state in the Mediterranean! An oppressive 'Dougism' junta that harasses its neighbors in Europe! Oh happy days!
But what does any of this mean? Sure they added religion in, but to what end? Let's start with where Firaxis left off…
Every Belief Is Equal
Civilization 4 was the first Civ game to include religion in any respectable manner. We got seven distinct religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Taoism) that were founded with the discovery of some specific technology. However, each religion was bonus agnostic. They were all the same except for their icons. The best option, if you wanted to play the religion game, was to rush Buddhism or Hinduism since they were the earliest techs to research. If you missed those, you just waited for each tech to come and hopefully be the first to research it.
Besides that, spreading your religion with missionaries was fun and provided great economic bonuses if you focused on religious civics and improvements.
You Gotta Have Faith
Civilization V's Gods and Kings will now contain eleven religions. Eleven! Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, Tengriism, and Zoroastrianism. Count 'em. You may even need to look some of them up, but trust me, the more the merrier.
Faith will be introduced as a new resource, similar to how science and culture work already. From the few screenshots released, it appears that one is able to customize each religion to a degree previously unseen. There are beliefs that are unlockable and different properties for each, such as Church Property for Christianity, where civs get +2 gold for each city that follows that religion. Bonus Beliefs are available to certain civs as well. If the Byzantines were to pick up Christianity, they would receive a bonus.
From a peaceful Taoist empire to an aggressive Zoroastrian trade federation, the odds are stacked in our favor to make a new and better Civ V experience.
Great, there goes all my free time.