2K Games announces an expansion for Civilization V that sells you more than just a few new factions. Those are there too, but the notable additions in Gods & Kings are new systems for religion and espionage. Both of these were conspicuously absent in Civilization V. One of them I really missed.
The new religion system will feature upgradeable bonuses as your religion progresses. It looks like yet another tech tree, which is the last thing Civilization V needs. Hopefully, the Civilization IV model of religion as an out-of-control viral effect will remain intact.
Then there’s espionage, which was a terrible addition to Civilization IV for how it felt like it was built by someone who didn’t understand what made Civilization IV great. But since not understanding what made Civilization IV great seems to be a core value of Civlization V, an espionage system probably isn’t going to detract from Civilization V very much.
But what makes me cautiously optimistic about the new espionage is the basic model of placing spies around the map to perform specific tasks. I’ve been playing a lot of Crusader Kings II recently, where your council members are tokens you can put on the board for special effects. For instance, your steward can increase tax income, speed construction, or boost technology in a province. Creative Assembly’s games have used a similar system with agents. These units are dropped around the board, independent of marching armies. There’s a very boardgame feel to this concept: I put this piece here and it has this effect. My hope is that the upcoming espionage system in Civilization V feels similar.
Gods & Kings will be released in “late spring”.