Of course, a player's civilization doesn't exist by itself in the world. In addition to other civilizations, Civilization V introduces City-States. These minor civilizations cannot achieve victory by themselves, but they can offer some impressive rewards to those civilizations that win their favor. This can be accomplished by gifting money, completing requests for aid or exploration, or even eliminating rival City-States. Each City-State maintains a favor rating for the civilization, and at its highest level a City-State will create an alliance, gifting the civilization with resources and units. Of course, more aggressive players can simply wipe out those pesky upstarts and take the cities for their own.
Those aggressive civilizations will need some armies to accomplish their goals, however. Here is where some of the biggest changes have occurred in the Civilization franchise. Players are now much more limited in the number of units they can field at any given time. Not only do units take much longer to train, many of the more powerful units now require much-limited Strategic Resources in order to build. No longer does a single iron deposit or oil field allow players unlimited building of swordsmen and tanks--each Strategic Resource point now only gives a few of these vital resources. Players wanting to field a vast array of units must control multiple Strategic Resource locations, a feat with is difficult at best.
In addition to their limited numbers, units are also limited in where they can be located. Only one military unit can reside in a single hex, cities included. I am quite happy to see this, as my least-favorite aspect of previous Civilization titles were the "Stacks of Death" that wandered the countryside. Now players must think much more tactically in their movement and deployment. Again, Civilization V feels much more like a boardgame to me than previous titles, and I can feel myself moving the pieces around the board to their greatest effect.
Given the limited amount of units available, each is now much more resilient than before. With a large pool of hit points, units can take several rounds of combat before falling. Ranged units also get quite a facelift--all ranged units can now attack up to several hexes away. Now, attacking an enemy city is much more rewarding than before, with my armies displayed across the fields of battle, each positioned carefully for best combat efficiency.
The cities are much more durable this time around, as well. Cities now have a defense rating, depending on size, population, and buildings, and they can hold their own in combat even without a garrisoned unit. Cities can also bombard enemy units, weakening forces before they even reach the walls. Even with these defenses, however, a city cannot withstand a siege for terribly long, and so friendly forces will need to be stationed nearby for quick defense.
For those planning a conquest route, that victory path has also been updated. Now players merely have to ensure that no other civilization is in control of its originally-founded city (while maintaining control of their own). This is not as easy as it sounds, of course, but it makes for a quicker victory type than hunting down each and every last unit on the map.
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