Civilization World, better known as CivWorld, may be the most anticipated Facebook game to date. Originally announced back in October 2009, the game is being helmed by Civilization mastermind Sid Meier. And though it’s still in closed beta Gamezebo recently had the chance to spend the past few days playing CivWorld. Thankfully, it appears that the wait will be well worth it, as our time with the game showed CivWorld to be a deep, but accessible, game with truly social gameplay.
At first blush CivWorld appears to be a fairly standard city-building game similar to CityVille. You build homes and other buildings, and depending on how you place them different things will happen. But, as the name implies, it’s a game about building a civilization, not just a city. And key to this are the various resources you’ll be gathering.
These cover five different aspects of your budding civilization, including culture, food, science, production, and gold. And depending on where you decide to focus your society will develop in different ways. A focus on cultivating food, for example, will allow your population to grow faster, while focusing on science will allow you to develop new technologies like writing or the ability to build a university.
Your citizens regularly produce these resources and you can also collect “harvests” so that you can gather even more of them. And the happier your citizens are the more resources they will produce. Placing farmers next to one another will make them happier and more productive, for example. Just like having scientists live near a library will make them happier. There are so many variations for how you can place homes and buildings, and even the slightest tweak can have a big impact on your resource production.
There’s also a market where you can buy both military units and specific resources, and it works much in the way that a real market does. So if you buy lots of food it will drive the price up, whereas if you sell lots of it the price will go down. Supply and demand. There are also several simple mini-games themed after some of the categories, including a culture one where you have to rearrange a famous painting like a puzzle.
There’s a large focus on social play, but it doesn’t work in the way that Facebook gamers are used to. Like the recently launched Global Warfare, CivWorld lets you play simultaneously with players who don’t have to be on your friends list. There’s a live chat so that you can co-ordinate with other players, and you can join forces with others by forming a civilization. This allows you to pool some resources so that you can build wonders, which unlock special bonuses. You can also choose to invade other civilizations and your chances of victory depends on the overall strength of your entire team.
Clearly there’s a lot going on in CivWorld, and after less than a week with the game we feel like we barely scratched the surface. But at the same time, while it’s a deep game that rewards clever strategty, it’s also surprisingly accessible. If you do get stuck there’s a built-in hint system called the Civilopedia that explains some of the more complex aspects of the game. And we can’t wait to learn them all.
CivWorld is expected to launch on Facebook later this year.