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Epic in every sense
The base game of Civilization 4 is another in Sid Meier's long-running and hugely enjoyable series of strategy games that combine detail, tactical depth and sheer entertainment in one massive package. Beyond the Sword is another excellent add-on pack that deserves to be in the collection of any fan, alongside Warlords and Colonization. The essential gameplay remains the same, being a turn-based strategy sim where you must guide your fledgling civilization from its earliest days eking out a miserable existence to its true destiny as a world-spanning force to be reckoned with. This pack adds a huge amount of new features which should keep even old hands thoroughly satisfied. You now have a staggering number of new random events to keep you on your toes, from floods to political marriages to earthquakes, while there are ten new civilizations to play as, including Babylon and the Mayans and which present their own unique challenges. Other areas have seen expansions, such as the espionage side of things, which is now deeper and more complex, while there are 11 new scenarios, new leaders, including Abraham Lincoln and Boudica, new units, new wonders and a whole raft of other additions. Beyond the Sword really is an almost perfect example of what to offer in an expansion pack. There's simply so much content here that it's going to take some time to see it all, but it's worth the time spent on the time as it is so rewarding and meaningful. The original was already a classic but this makes it a true must play for any strategy fan.