E3 06: Civilization IV: Warlords Impressions

We have the latest info on the first expansion pack for last year's hit turn-based strategy game Civilization IV.

LOS ANGELES--Warlords is the first expansion pack to last year's hit turn-based strategy game Civilization IV. As you may have heard, it will introduce a number of new scenarios centered on great warlords from history, such as Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, as well as new content for the core Civilization IV game. We got even more details from Firaxis at E3 '06, and Warlords sounds better than ever.

First up are the new warlords units. Warlords are an offshoot of the new great-general unit, which joins the existing great-people units, such as great artists and great prophets. Basically, if your units are successful in battle, you may generate a great-general unit. The great general can do things such as construct a military academy or turn into a great instructor, meaning that units built at a city where he's an instructor will get free experience. Or, if you attach the great general to a military unit, he becomes a warlord, which is incredibly powerful. Basically, the warlord will instantly give all the units in his stack two free promotion upgrades, and the warlord gains 50 percent more experience than normal. With a warlord, you'll be able to wage war against your enemies like never before.

We saw two of the new scenarios that are in the expansion. The Alexander the Great scenario requires you to conquer the ancient world, and there's new Greek architecture for cities, as well as a scenario-specific technology tree. After all, technologies such as flight wouldn't be available to the ancient Greeks, but there are useful technologies such as being able to heal while on the move, as well as faster movement over terrain. Even cooler is the new Genghis Khan campaign, which turns Civ on its ear. As Genghis Khan, your job isn't to build cities and a civilization but to sack them. The nomadic Mongols get points for razing cities to the ground. They don't research technologies; rather, they seize them from their enemies. And their mobile-camp unit lets them spawn units every turn. If the camp is on the plains, it'll spawn horse units. If the camp is in a forest, it'll spawn a catapult or trebuchet. It makes sense, in a way. The challenge will be that all the other civilizations absolutely fear the Mongols, so you'll have your job cut out for you to defeat everyone in approximately 150 turns. You must move fast to win.

Finally, there's new content for the original game to talk about. There are some new leaders for some of the existing civilizations, such as Shaka for the Zulus and Winston Churchill for the British. Each of the existing civilizations get new buildings, and there are three new wonders, including the Great Wall of China. Build the Great Wall, and you'll get it constructed along your borders, and it's incredibly useful to keep those rampaging barbarians out. Warlords looks great, and it's due out this summer.

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