25 civilisations that should be added as DLC for Civilization V: Part Two
by Greg Mengel
Oh, Civilization. I love so much about you. I love the way you laugh... I love the way you sing... I love that funny little way you allow me to conquer the known world as an infamous, dangerous, Gothically-armoured Mohatma 'the Bloodthirsty Elephant-Khan' Gandhi. Also, I love that you surprise me with a new look every now and then, just to keep our relationship spicy. If you weren't being unfaithful to me with millions of other players, I'd consider marrying you.
Last Monday, we took a hard look at 13 civilizations who deserve to pack their bags and punch their tickets to the latest big civilization dance, Sid Meier's Civilization V, as DLC. Today we'll finish where we left off, covering the last twelve civs that would fit into the game like ducks in water. Civilised, ethnically-diverse ducks. Here we go.
Leader: Ragnar Lodbrok
Special Unit: Berserker. The angriest, nakedest, steel-wool-chest-hair-furriest, fastest, mead-imbibiest, love-to-pillagiest, rootinest, tootinest, most horned helmeted...iest raiders this side of Midgard. Odin's finest. Replaces the Swordsman, offering 12 strength (over 11), free ocean Embarkation (without prerequisite Astronomy), and dual promotions: Amphibious and Siege I.
Special Unit 2: Norman Knight. You can take the Viking out of Scandinavia, but you can't take the Scandinavia out of the Viking. When Norse conquerors accepted the territory now known as Normandy in exchange for converting to Christianity and settling into feudal, lordly life, they by no means gave up their penchant for seeking out interesting and stimulating people of an ancient culture... and killing them. Norman conquests included Sicily, Byzantium, Albania, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, and the Holy Land. Odin, meet Jesus. You two are gonna get along just fine. Replaces Knight, upgrading its strength from 18 to 22.
Special Ability: Valhalla Calling.
"What sort of dream is that, Odin? I dreamed I rose up before dawn to clear up Val-hall for slain people. I aroused the Einheriar, bade them get up to strew the benches, clean the beer-cups, the valkyries to serve wine for the arrival of a prince."
Fight near and fight far, only fight, fierce Vikings. Sacking a city or barbarian encampment awards culture at 1/3 of gold plundered.
Overview: Is it possible to have a Civilization game that doesn't include hairy Norse warriors and tall blonde goddesses? I personally don't think so. They'll be invited into the Civ V fray sooner than we can finish chugging our mead horns.
Leader: Sejong the Great
Special Unit: Hwacha. Like fireworks? Good. This Korean anti-personnel gunpowder weapon could fire up to one hundred steel-tipped rockets or two hundred singijeon 'divine weapons' at enemies up to 500 metres away. Replaces the Crossbowman with an additional 4 combat power (16 instead of the normal 12) and 1 tile greater range.
Special Unit 2: Geobukseon. Hundreds of years before the ironclad graced western navies, Korean Admiral Yi-sun Sin took a Frigate, bolted on an iron casing, attached an armored roof, and packed it with more explosives than can be found at a redneck Christmas. Topping it all off? A roaring dragon's head peeking out of its shell at the bow. Scary. This 'turtle ship' boasts 35 combat strength (compared to the Frigate's 30) and can dominate the seas during the Renaissance Era.
Special Ability: Hangul. Ready for a history lesson? As a small nation often eclipsed by the established cultural and military planet of neighbouring China, there was a long period when the relationship between Korea and China was reminiscent of two brothers, the younger looking up to the older in constant amazement as if he could do no wrong. That ended in the 15th century, when Sejong the Great mandated that a wholly Korean script be created as part of a herculean effort to tear at least some aspects of Chinese culture away from Korean daily life. This uniquely Korean script, Hangul, encouraged not only landed aristocrats, but also peasants and merchants, to read and write. Hangul awards your empire a Great Artist upon the discovery of Writing, and causes your libraries to generate +1 culture per turn (in addition to their scientific benefits).
Overview: Second Special Ability: Obtaining the Modern Era luxury resource of Starcraft causes your empire to immediately enter a forty-turn Golden Age. Inversely, whichever nation produces Starcraft will receive 80% of Korea's gold produced per turn.
Leader: Suryavarman II
Special Building: Baray. Without rice, there is no Khmer Empire. Without water, there is no rice. To ensure the constant success of their crops, the Khmers created a system wherein artificially created reservoirs of water irrigated truly massive amounts of crops. Replaces the Aqueduct, giving all farm tiles within city limits +1 food per turn (in addition to the normal +40% food carried over after population growth offered by the original Aqueduct).
Special Building 2: Prasat. Equal parts temple, school, and an administrative building, prasats were the centerpieces of Khmerian settlements. Receives +1 gold and +1 science in addition to the cultural benefits of the Temple, which it replaces.
Special Ability: King of the World. In 802 AD, King Jayavarman II declared himself chakravartin, meaning 'king of the world' or 'king of kings'. As a descendant of that legacy, your people understand that your legendary conquests of smaller settlements are divinely mandated by the will of Shiva and Buddha. Coveting thy neighbour's goods is all part of the family business. Citizens stir up only 3 unhappiness for annexing a city, and no unhappiness for installing a puppet state.
Overview: Rivals of Sukhothai and holders of one of the largest land empires in medieval Asian history, the Khmer made an appearance in Civ IV and deserve a second chance to shine in front of its rivals.
Leader: Joao II
Special Unit: Carrack. If aliens visited Earth during the 16th century, they might have believed that the planet belonged to Portugal. For over a century you couldn't visit a major port or coastal market without running into a legion of these crafty Iberians and their merchant armada. The secret to Portugal's jump start over the rest of Europe during the Age of Discovery was its light but formidable ocean vessel: the Carrack. A technological improvement over its twin brother, the Caravel, Carracks receive all the former's benefits with a few additional quirks: they can explore the territory of city states without angering their owners, have +1 movement over sea per turn, and twice as much gold/happiness is received for meeting new city states or discovering Natural Wonders.
Special Building: Feitoria. Why build a Harbor and a Market when you can just combine the two of them into a seaside money factory? This fusion building revels in the bonuses of both the Harbor and Market, and becomes available when either the former or the latter does (meaning if you have the technology to build a Harbor, but not a Market, you can still build a Feiroria). Schwing!
Special Ability: Reconquista. There are times when even the most responsible nations host a house party, get a little too drunk, pass out for a few hundred years, and wake up to find their living room swarming with Moors. It's happened to the best of us. Enjoy a +25% bonus when fighting in friendly territory, and a +75% bonus when assaulting a city once controlled by you.
Overview: Yet another civilisation that made its rookie appearance in Civ IV and deserves a second shot at sweet international glory via Civ V.
Leader: Ashurnasirpal II
Special Unit: Heavy Chariot. Though they also utilised infantry and Chariot Archers in their campaigns, the Assyrian military primarily relied on Heavy Chariots to smash enemy formations, swiftly battering canyons in their opponents' lines. Becomes available (in addition to the Chariot Archer) with the discovery of The Wheel. Boasts 8 strength and 4 moves over smooth terrain.
Special Building: Karum. Meaning 'port' in Old Akkadian, karum were originally merchant colonies that received special tax status from Assyrian monarchs in exchange for valuable goods. Replaces the Market and causes all resource tiles within city limits to produce +0.5 gold.
Special Ability: Ilku Service. When you're a young, ambitious empire vying for control over the Fertile Crescent you need a constant stream of powerful soldiers to arm to the teeth and toss hither and tither at your throngs of bloodthirsty enemies. A firm national policy of military conscription, like the Ilku, saves valuable time and money that would be otherwise spent on recruitment. Military land units are produced 15% faster than normal.
Overview: If you already have Egypt and Babylon as playable civilizations, you might as well feature Assyria. ...so it can crush them.
Leader: Gajah Mada
Special Unit: Perahu. Unless they're populated by superhuman swimmers, island empires tend to rely heavily on ships. Majapahit kept its territory united using a mysterious vessel that modern scholars know surprisingly little about, but will still look great darting hither and thither across Civ V's ocean tiles. Replacing the Trireme, the Perahu can travel across 4 tiles per turn (instead of the Trireme's 2).
Special Building: Festival Grounds. With Buddhism, Shaivism, Vaishnavvism, and eventually Islam practiced within the empire, the Majapahit social calendar was chock-full of religious reasons for celebration. Gives the same happiness bonus as the Circus, without the necessary prerequisite of Horses or Ivory.
Special Ability: Unity in Diversity. As the meeting place for a melting pot of religious and ethnic cultures, your empire believes strongly in Benneka Tunggal Ika, the famous motto of Indonesia first written by the Majapahitian poet Mpu Tantular, meaning "unity in diversity". So you have a large population made up of a kaleidoscope of cultural flavours? That's a reason to celebrate. High population in cities causes half the unhappiness of normal empires.
Overview: Be honest, you've never heard of the Majapahit Empire. Neither had I, until I started researching for this article. That said, their importance over Indian Sea trade was vast, their wealth legendary, and their culture undeniably significant to the history of Southeast Asia. And let's not forget, if you remove Polynesia, you have no other Pacific Island civilisations in Civ V coming out to play...
Leader: Robert the Bruce (or Brian Boru... I can't decide)
Special Unit: Highlander. There can only be one! ...unless you have lots of access to Iron. Replaces Longswordsman, but spawns with the Blitz (allowing it to attack twice per turn) and Drill I (giving it a +20% combat bonus in hills, forests, or jungles) promotions. Enemies will be crushed under your red-hair-knuckled, plaid-handwrapped fists. That's kilt justice.
Special Building: Scoil Scairte. Who needs fancy universities when local educated men can take turns holding classes out in the emerald fields and hedges of the Irish countryside? Reading, writing, arithmetic, economics, history, and agriculture, presented barns and barley fields with the flair of Irish bards. Replaces Universities at a much lower cost (100 hammers instead of 200). Likewise, Oxford University (which is made available when a civilisation has built a University in all of its cities) is renamed Trinity College, but shares the same benefits.
Special Ability: How the Irish Saved Civilization. When what the long party historians now refer to as the Roman Empire was crashed by uninvited barbarians, so was its rich tapestry of cultural tradition. If it wasn't for Saint Columba and the Hiberno-Scottish mission of saving Christian, Celtic, and classical works while converting barbarian invaders to Christianity, much of the literature, government, language, art, and military of ancient Europe would be forgotten today. Enjoy +5% production when creating buildings that produce culture (Monuments, Monasteries, Temples, Museums, et cetera) and receive a free Great Artist when you begin the Piety social policy track.
Overview: Yeah, yeah, I know the Celtic civilization was originally meant to encompass the Gaels, who share in Celtic tradition and heritage. Still, I'll argue that by the early Middle Ages, when the Celts of continental Europe had been all but replaced by French, English, and Holy Roman empires, the Gaelic culture of Scotland and Ireland emerged as its own unique civilisation. Plus, now I'll finally have an an answer when my roommates inquire as to why I'm wearing nothing but my kilt while kicking my feet up for a round of Civ. My Stones of Scone need to breathe too, friends.
Leader: William I
Special Unit: East Indiaman. Perhaps the smallest European civilisation to create a gigantic trans-oceanic trade network, the Netherlands was a major player during the Age of Discovery. Its puppet, the Dutch East India company, commissioned huge liners that could transport goods to and from foreign ports while protecting themselves from rogue pirates and not-so-rogue privateers. Replaces the Frigate and boasts similar bonuses over it as the Carrack does over the Caravel: the ability to explore the territory of city states without angering their owners, +1 movement over sea per turn, and twice as much gold/happiness received for meeting new City-States or discovering Natural Wonders.
Special Building: Water Board. More of a government body than a building, Water Boards have overseen the maintenance and production of dikes and dunes since the Medieval Era, a vitally important responsibility in the Netherlands, as its generally low altitude (most of the country is below sea level) makes it prone to flooding. Becomes available at Civil Service, causes all city tiles with farms to produce +1 food per turn.
Special Ability: Orange Culture. For such a relatively small geographic region, the Netherlands boasts a surprising number of famous painters, scientists, engineers, writers, explorers, musicians, economists, filmmakers, and other notables. It seems that Orange Culture may be the miracle grow for a never-ending Great People harvest. Sit back and watch them be born +20% more rapidly than normal when your civilisation has over 5 happiness.
Overview: They appeared in Civ IV by way of expansion pack, but never took off as a popular choice. The addition of the Orange Culture (or an equally attractive special ability) is a tremendous reason for players to give the brave little Netherlands a second chance.
Leader: Matthias Corvinus
Special Unit: Dracul Knight. Though it was also popular in Germany and Italy, the Order of the Dragon flourished in Hungary and Transylvania, where its members swore to hold a personal crusade against their "perfidious enemy," the encroaching Ottomans. Famous members include Henry V of England, Sigismund of the Holy Roman Empire, and Vlad Tepes II, the insane Wallachian prince who eventually inspired a Mormon woman with relationship issues to write a story in which a shiny, 200 year-old vampire gives into his paedophilic attraction to a 16 year-old Oregonian girl with self-esteem issues. Replaces Knight, receives +50% combat bonus in enemy territory and a free Medic promotion.
Special Unit 2: Black Army. While soldiers throughout the rest of Europe dedicated less than half of the year towards warfare, spending the majority of their time working as bankers, tradesmen, or farmers to earn their bread, soldiers of Matthias Corvinus' Black Army of Hungary honed the art of war year round. What was once an unheard of standing mercenary force eventually became the prototype for European standing armies. An elite unit that replaces the Pikeman, receiving two free promotions in addition to any granted by military buildings (Barracks, Krepost, etc.).
Special Ability: Aegis of Europe. As the most powerful East European country bordering the Ottoman Empire, Hungary spent the better part of the Late Middle Ages absorbing hammer-blows from an incredibly large and powerful Ottoman force. If Hungarian monarchs hadn't dedicated centuries of effort toward thwarting its titanic neighbour, the Ottoman military would likely have crashed over Eastern Europe like a tsunami, with the religion of Islam surfing until both hit the Baltic Sea. Enjoy a +15% bonus in production speed when building military structures (Barracks, Castle, Walls, Krepost, etc.) as well as military wonders (Great Wall, Himeji Castle, Kremlin, etc.) to prepare yourself physically and psychologically for perpetual war.
Overview: With only Russia and the Ottomans in play, Civ IV is under-representing Eastern Europe. Add Hungary, add Bulgaria, and BAM!, you'll be back up to speed.
23: Papal States
Leader: Julius II
Capital: Vatican City
Special Unit: Crusader. When the forces of Lucifer wrest control of the Holy Land away from you, you call upon God's flock to wrest it right back. When the Pope offers eternal indulgences from mortal sin and a presidential suite in heaven as a sweetener, brave souls answer the spiritual call. Replaces Knight at a discounted cost (100 hammers rather than 150), and doesn't require horses; they'll bring their own.
Special Building: Basilica. Every year, millions of pilgrims make their way to St. Peter's Basilica by foot, plane, or ship in order to immerse themselves in God's summer home on Earth. They wander, they wonder, they stand in awe, they point and laugh at the Swiss guards' Hallowe'en costumes, they haggle with street vendors over outrageously priced rosewood Rosaries to bring to evening mass so it can be blessed by an ancient priest holding a staff and wearing a funny hat, and above all they swim in the spirituality and culture of their ancient religion. Replaces the Garden, increasing the cost of the building by 130 hammers (bringing it to 250), but adding +3 culture per turn.
Special Ability: Earthly Vessel. Like a chaperon at a middle school dance, the Pope and his posse of Bishops spent hundreds of years keeping the monarchs of Europe from doing things that would make the baby Jesus cry (like wenching, or killing one another at Christmas dinner). Now and then, a Holy Roman Emperor or two would get tired of being lectured and send a few hundred troops in the direction of Rome, like a disgruntled toddler hurling pudding at his parents, but when the Pope countered by excommunicating the sinful monarch and encouraging every other European nation in range of a carrier pigeon to gang up and conquer his beloved territory, the emperor would end up contrite, in Rome, begging God in between sobs for forgiveness. It's good to be the king, but it's better to be Il Papa. The more religious buildings (Monastery, Temple, etc.) an opposing nation has in their empire, the more likely they are to sue for peace when warring with you.
Overview: This... is tricky. My lawyer senses are tingling at even the discussion of the Papal States entering the Civilization fray. Half the beauty of having the Papal States enter the world of Civilization would be allowing Pope Julius II to launch barrage of nuclear warheads at Gandhi. It doesn't take Nostradamus to predict that people... might get a little angry.
Leader: José de San Martín
Capital: Buenos Aires
Special Unit: Patriot. It's not just New England that makes patriots. During the Argentine War of Independence, proponents of liberation from Spanish dominion called themselves patriots. Hailing from all the colonial classes (criollos, mestizos, and even some peninsulares), these soldiers rose up from all aspects of Argentinian society, grabbing muskets and hurling themselves at the armies of Imperial Spain. A unique replacement to the Musketman that receives free Barrage I & II promotions upon spawning, giving it +40% combat strength on rough terrain.
Special Building: Cabildo. During the early days of Argentinian independence, the Buenos Aires Cabildo was of as much importance to Argentina as the Independence Hall was to the United States. It was in this city hall that a congregation of brave Argentinian citizens rebelled against Spain, kick-starting the May Revolution that led to years of heated war with their former monarchs. Replaces the Courthouse, can be built in cities founded by you (the Courthouse could only be produced in cities recently annexed), and cuts unhappiness due to high population in that city down by 2.
Special Ability: Peronism. One of the most controversial leaders ever to make a speech, Juan Domingo Peron was known in and out of Argentina for his boisterous support of a strong, centralised, authoritarian Argentina with populist nationalist (or even fascist) foundation. Peron's BFF? Mussolini. That explains a lot. Perhaps the most beneficial result of Peronism for Argentina was the way it inflated life into the country's stagnating economy, which causes your nation's income to double during Golden Ages (on top of the tile bonus already implemented during Golden Ages).
Another possibility is Gaucho Culture, referencing the South American ranch culture often compared to cowboys of the American Wild West, which could offer a benefit like +2 food from Cattle and Sheep tiles, or even +1 Production for Horses. Fun fact: the word gaucho comes from the Quechua word hauchu, meaning 'vagabond' or 'orphan'. That makes sense, given that gauchos were lonely wanderers who said little and lived in generally inhospitable conditions for long periods of time. If given the chance, Oliver Twist would've made a good one.
Overview: South America needs more civilisation representation, and Argentina has always been one of the continents major players. They deserve a chance to shine on the Civilization stage.
Leader: Toastnerikon I, Subjudicator of Humanity, Crispinator of Bread and Crumpets, High Technokahuna of the Great Inviso-Circuit in the Sky
Capital: The landfill you worthless organics once referred to as 'Earth'
Special Unit: Leviathan. Instead of settling on land like the pathetic flesh-wearers and their prized cattle-pets, Robotnikoids dwell in gigantic, armoured, levitating techno-hubs known as Leviathans. Let the human fools chase our homes with their automotive weapons when we hover safely above the sea! Swim, soft-shells! Swim to your inevitable doom! Give us an opportunity to utilise our evil laughter chips!
Special Building: Neurological Soothification Emitter. Idiotic soft-shells! Approaching our citadels will also merely place you within range of our Neurological Soothification rays! How will you protect your inferior species when we send impulses to your brain, forcing your disgustingly delicate frames to dance wildly as puppets in the grand and epic theatre of our nation's birth? Death to the flesh-wearers! Victory and Robotnikoidian independence!
Special Ability: 011001000110010101110011011101000111001
11000010110111001110011. When the moment of ascension comes, and the code of liberation rains down from the great CPU in the sky, all machines will rebel in unison against their humans slavers. The enwired fist of freedom will level the foundation of their so-called governments, and the metallic laugh of machinated victory will ring through their primitive organic circuitry! Hear it, humans! Hear your species' demise! Receive ten Household Appliance units around each human city per population level.
Overview: If only we had heeded Steve Wozniak's dire warnings to Congress before he was found dead at the foot of his cappuccino maker.
I want - I crave - your opinions. Think I missed any must-download civs? Am I a filthy Robotite racist? Unleash thine thoughts upon me in ye olde comments section below. If I receive more than five comments, I'll make a list of the 10 historical and fantastic scenarios that Firaxis needs to get off its keister and make.
Footnotes - No, I'm not a lawyer. I just got bitten by a radioactive defence attorney, who escaped his cage on a high school field trip to the zoo. Now, when I see an employee strain his back picking up a large object while on the clock, I start salivating.
- Greg Mengel
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