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Sid Meier’s Civilization: A New Dawn Preview

Civilization: A New Dawn Preview

Do you want to spend four hours playing Sid Meier’s Civilization, the 2010 version of the much loved computer game? No? Then good news: a separate re-imagining of that computer game is coming to your tabletop, and it looks like a much quicker experience. The name is close, Sid Meier’s Civilization: A New Dawn, but the new seems to mean players.

In a sense, a physical version of the Civilization PC games really ought to take a while to play, as there are infamous time sinks. Sci-fi and Weird author Iain (M) Banks once explained how he had to erase the floppy disk his copy was on because he was addicted to it, and as the game as gone through new electronic editions over the years the amount of time you can spend on it has not reduced.

The 2010 adaptation pushed the time limits of popular board gaming, although it wasn’t a Twilight Imperium whole day challenge, so New Dawn is, err, a new dawn.

Civilization: A New Dawn - Not A War Game

Choose your leader, lead your civilization through a period of expansion, development, conflict and marvel that a game produced in the current climate actually lists Culture ahead of Conquest and Diplomacy on the box cover.

The electronic games have increasingly provided victory conditions that don’t demand you nuke anyone, and A New Dawn tries to combine replay-ability with alternative approaches by making you draw cards at the start of each game to see what you can do to win.

There are three different ‘Agenda’ cards drawn, and you have to complete a task from each. If you just want to march your armies around, it’s looking like Civilization: A New Dawn isn’t the game for you. If you fancy a game where Wonders and achievement can lead the way, this could be the alternative Through The Ages you didn’t know you were looking for. Or at least, a Through The Ages which has a beautiful looking hex map you can expand over. (This comparison has nothing to do with the fact Through The Ages allows you to play Sid Meier as a leader, and he partly costs your nation production, because what else would he do.)

Rich and Tactile

Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) are publishing and as far as the web can tell, Civilization: A New Dawn is supposed to run alongside the 2010 Civilization rather than replace it; as they seem to be totally different experiences. This is great.

In terms of the video game, New Dawn is derived from Civilization VI, but don’t worry because the barbarians have survived the transition. I say don’t worry, I mean be annoyed, because who likes barbarians turning up. The samples people have seen are filled with top notch graphics, something FFG are renowned for and something people like me, who played the original video game decades ago, still regard as a luxury. I should add that there are some questions about how deep this is, with the reports of a prototype at Gen Con saying shorter but still meaty.

You’re looking at two to four players, and let’s be honest if you told me in 1991 I could play Civ with other people I’d have bitten your hand off, but if you told me I could play it in 90 minutes and still get some work done my tutors would have bitten your hand off.

Welcome to the end of 2017, when New Dawn means you can see your family as well as play.