has posted a preview of Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword
, the upcoming expansion for the popular turn based strategy title. The expansion will focus on increasing the play value in the late game after the introduction of gunpoweder. A variety of new scenarios, units, leaders, and gameplay improvements will be available for players to enjoy.
One concept in Civilization IV that fell behind from my expectations was espionage. Whereas you could do real damage to the enemy with your spies in the earlier incarnations, the only real use I ever found for spies in Civ IV was to use them to destroy the enemy's production of their space ship. And even this didn't come up that often, since I preferred to finish my enemies off at a much earlier stage – the spies simply appeared too late into the game. Now, with the coming expansion the civilizations can develop their espionage capabilities at an earlier stage, allowing them to gain intelligence, sabotage structures, poison water supplies, cause rebellions, and, as the fellows at Firaxis say: much more.
Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword will include a new feature which is apparently a major fan request. Apparently, many gamers prefer to skip the most exciting part of the game (exploring the world and placing your cities) and go straight into the later stages. Now this will be possible as you can 'buy' components in order to build your empire to your liking and start the game at a later stage.
The expansion will also tweak the victory conditions of the basic game. The United Nations will become available earlier in the form of the Apostolic Palace, allowing for an earlier diplomatic victory. Likewise, there will be new resolutions that you can pass in order to make life more difficult for the other players. In the same vein, the Space Victory will be expanded and this victory condition "will now require more strategic planning and tactical decision making."
There is no official word yet on the possibility of a Mac version. Keep an eye on IMG for more information.
The rest of the preview is available at the link below.