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Civilization V is free on Steam right now

Get ready for Civilization: Beyond Earth by playing its predecessor. 


Dennis Scimeca


Posted on Oct 21, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 9:00 am CDT

Civilization: Beyond Earth comes out on Friday, and now you can get ready with some free play time on Civilization V.

Steam is letting you play Civilization V free until Thursday. The beloved Civilization franchise has been running since 1991. “Just one more turn” is the mantra of the series, as players guide civilizations through the bronze age to the jets and rocketships of the modern world. The simulation is very deep, as players control the social, economic, diplomatic, and military policies of their civilization.

Civilization V, released in 2010, made significant changes to the game’s basic formula. No longer could players create a “stack of death,” or multiple units occupying the same hex to create a devastatingly powerful unit. The map was also broken into hexes versus the traditional squares, which introduced new tactical elements to combat.

City states—independent powers with their own territory—were introduced to the game, for added diplomatic and economic interactions. Cities were able to defend themselves with ranged attacks, rather than requiring military garrisons to provide protection. When conquered, cities could be turned into puppet states, rather than the victor being forced to occupy the city and take over its maintenance and growth.

Social policies replaced government types, and a Domination victory required control of enemy capitals, not the occupation of all a rival civilization’s cities. The sum total of Civilization V’s changes to the franchise formula were met with critical praise, and Civilization: Beyond Earth incorporates many of the same systems.

If you’re not caught up with how Civilization games currently work, and the science-fiction flavor of Beyond Earth appeals to you more than the real world-ish themes of a normal Civilization game, taking advantage of the current free-to-play offer for Civ V on Steam might not be a bad idea.

Image courtesy of 2K Games

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*First Published: Oct 21, 2014, 2:59 pm CDT