With Civilization IV Gathering Storm out for about a month now, the question whether Civilization: A New Dawn would maybe soon-ish (or, at all, really) get an expansion returned for me. Uncertain as that may be, my mind began wandering and I came up with a few ideas for a similar expansion for the board game, which I would like to share with you.
Now first things first, I have to admit, I’m useless when it come to putting together pretty images and the likes, so it’s going to be text only, sorry, but I’m useless like that.
Secondly, I’m lacking the time, resources and man-power to give these things a thorough testing, so in the end this is all just theory-crafting and mad science in a way.
With these two things in mind, I’m going to give you an overview of what I think could be contained in such an expansion if I were to design it, before going into detail and offering up any additional thoughts concerning the single items along the way. This is going to be quite a bit of text.
I could see an expansion like this being sold in the same box with about the same price tag as the base game. It would contain 1 new global mechanic for all games, 1 optional mechanic and, most of all, more stuff.
1 New global mechanic – Rising sea levels
1 arctic board
40-70 single space ice/water tokens
1 global warming marker
1 random/optional mechanic – volcanoes
2 new tiles
5th player materials (1 capitol, 7 cities, 3 caravans, tech dial, diplomacy cards, focus cards, focus bar, 31 control tokes / whilst black or white come to mind for color, a muted purple would also fit into the existing roster imo, although I do not know how that would impact colorblind players)
8 new Civs
12 new wonders (1 per era per type)
1 new resource (Aluminum)
1 new tech level (Future Tech)
4 (?) new victory conditions
8 natural wonders (on 4 tiles)
4 new city states (on 2 tiles, 1 per type)
4 general tiles
1 spawn point tiles
All in all not as much plastic as in the base game, but a lot of card board
At the heart of Civ IV’s Gathering Storm lies climate change as a new mechanic. Something that should be reproduceable for the board game as well, with simplifications, of course.
Rising Sea Levels
At the heart of my idea lies a side board, holding the ludicrous amount of single tile tokens, neatly staked with their ice-side up, representing the ice in the arctic. Around the little board goes a track for the global warming marker. Every time a player resolves a card, depending on which era it came from, the global warming marker advances a few spaces. If it manages to make its way around the board once (12 spaces for one lap seems reasonable), every participating player takes on ice-tile and places it on the game board, first flooding grassland tiles next to the border of the map.
With this, space on the map will start to dwindle faster and faster, forcing people towards each other before eventually being able to work against the rising sea levels.
Essentially this mechanic would expand a player’s turn by one step after resolving his or her focus card to advance global warming. The amount of spaces the marker travels depends on the era the focus card came from. (Era I – 0 / Era II – 1 / Era III – 2 / Era IV – 3 / Era V – 0) Whilst it would seem natural that different techs advance global warming differently, it feels too fiddly to have to refer to some sort of list and I wouldn’t reprint all focus cards just for a single stat. This in turn keeps it fairly simple and predictable how quickly waters will rise.
People begin placing water tiles first on grasslands on the edge of the map, filling adjacent grassland in until there is none left, after that the water starts flooding hills, woods and desert alike. Any control token and none-capitol city of players on tiles being flooded are taken off the board. City-states, capitols and natural wonders cannot be flooded.
This mechanic would need at least 40, more like 60 or 70 to properly work and transition from annoyance to an actual problem the players have to deal with as you have something between 90 and 150 spaces across all tiles to work with, depending on player count and the amount of water already present on the board. The amount of ice in the arctic should be adjusted to the player count.
The fiddly-ness of all of this shouldn’t be that much of an issues as it should hardly make a difference if you place a little circle onto a space or a full-on hexagon (given that they should be just slightly smaller than a single space to prevent mass tidal waves caused by a single nudge).
As a whole rising sea levels would be a fairly useful tool in the early to midgame as only grasslands connected to the board edge or water that in turn connects to the board edge fills up, granting you some easily matured cities. But as soon as the water has filled up said grasslands and starts flooding hills, forests and deserts, players should start panicking, with a first few cities being destroyed by floods caused by devious other players. This should force them up mountains or along the tech tree towards the future era tech.
As a second little new mechanic I offer you volcanoes. 2 tiles, 4 different volcanoes. These tiles are very rich in resources, compelling you to settle on them. Each space on the tile has a little dice symbol as well, showing a number. And when the event dial reaches the empty space you roll to see if and how the volcano erupts. An eruption removes any barbarians, cities, control tokens or caravans from the space. Some volcanoes will have some numbers on their own space, meaning they won’t erupt if those numbers are rolled.
Mt. Vesuvius (doesn’t erupt on 4,5,6)
Pihaga (doesn’t erupt on 3,4,5,6)
Thera (doesn’t erupt on 4,5,6)
Tech Level V
Playing off of the new mechanics comes the addition of a new tech level, giving the players access to future tech, offering stronger versions of the respective tech, adding a couple of new features to deal with the, by then, risen sea levels.
After you have maxed out your tech dial for the first time, maxing it out again at 24 grants you access to your first Era V technology. And on every subsequent maxing of your tech dial you can gain another.
Place 3 control tokens on spaces matching this slot’s terrain or lower, or water, that are adjacent to friendly cities or your control tokens on water spaces.
Build 1 world wonder. Your production equals this slots number +1.
Or, build 1 city on a legal space of this slot’s terrain or lower within 5 spaces of a friendly space. You can count through water.
Then, if you built a city, you can immediately build a wonder in that city. Your production equals this slots number -2
Reinforce a number of your control tokens up to double this slots number.
Or, perform up to 3 attacks within 6 spaces of a friendly space. Your combat value equals this slots number +4. You can count through water, barbarians and city states.
Reinforced control tokens, control tokens and cities you defeat are immediately removed from the board. They do not get replaced by your own. (Wonders stay on the board.)
Global Warming Mitigation
Advance your tech dial a number of spaces equal to this slots number +1.
Then, you may remove up to 1 empty Water space added to the board by global warming.
Move each of your caravans up to 8 spaces. They can move into spaces matching this slot’s terrain or lower, as well as water.
Your caravans can not be destroyed by barbarians and multiple of them can enter the same city or city-state during a single turn.
All level V techs have the same trade token options as the eras before them.
I tried to keep these relatively simple whilst true to their in-game identity, as it feels like most of the more defining aspect in A New Dawn come from wonders or city states and I wanted to keep it that way.
Germany – Frederick Barbarossa
When attacking a barbarian or city-state, increase your combat value by 2.
(Pot – FT – As – Ma – EE)
Maori – Kupe
You can count through water and your caravans can move through water.
(As – Pot – FF – Ma – EE)
Indonesia – Gitarja
You can place control tokens on water spaces. They count as terrain difficulty 3 and can only be destroyed by opponents, not replaced.
(Ma – Pot – EE – As – FT)
Mali – Mansa Musa
After setup, gain 2 random resources.
(Pot – As – EE – FT – Ma)
China – Qin Shi Huang
When defending, increase the terrain difficulty of the attacked space by 1.
(FT – Ma – As – Pot – EE)
Ottoman – Suleiman
Your caravans can move an additional 2 spaces each.
(As – FT – Pot – EE – Ma)
England – Victoria
You can build cities 3 spaces further away than normal.
(Pot – As – Ma – EE – FT)
Greece – Gorgo
After you reset your military focus card, if you won at least 1 attack, you may place a control token on an empty space next to a friendly space.
(FT – As – EE – Ma – Pot)
As with the base game, wonders usually change some rule of the game or allow you to slowly snowball into one direction of your choice.
Once per turn, after you have place one or more control tokens, you may immediately fortify one of them.
9 – Marble/Oil
Whenever a rival player has resolved their culture focus card, you may advance your tech dial by 1.
10 – Marble/Mercury
When placing control tokens, you may place them up to 3 spaces away from your cities.
11 – Marble/Aluminum
Statue of Zeus
When you defeat a barbarian, you may immediately build a city on the barbarian’s space.
8 – Oil/Marble
Casa the Contratacion
When attacking or defending increase your combat value by 4 if you control no diplomacy cards of any other player.
10 – Oil/Diamond
Statue of Liberty
You do not lose diplomacy cards for attacking players.
12 – Oil/Aluminum
Choose a rival player. Place one of their control tokens onto this card. Every time you or the chosen player resolve their science focus card, each of you advance their tech dial by 1.
7 – Mercury/Aluminum
University of Sankore
At the start of your turn you may advance or retreat the global warming track by 2.
10 – Mercury/Marble
Amundsen Scott Research Station
When you build this wonder, choose a card in your focus row. Replace it with the level-V card of the same type.
12 – Mercury/Aluminum
The Great Bath
The city this wonder is built in cannot be destroyed by rising sea levels.
Each time a water tile is placed adjacent to one of your cities, gain a trade token.
8 – Diamond/Marble
You may build 2 wonders per city.
11 – Diamond/Aluminum
Place up to 5 water tokens in a straight line, connecting 2 existing water spaces on the board, removing barbarians, caravans and control tokens as needed. You cannot place these water tiles on cities, city-states or natural wonders.
Then gain 2 trade tokens for each water tile put down by this wonder.
11 – Diamond/Aluminum
Short and sweet, as with the base game the resources they give don’t really have anything to do with the natural wonder. It’s more about looking good on the tile.
Sahara el Beyda - Marble
Lake Retba - Mercury
Eye of the Sahara - Diamond
Dead Sea - Oil
Tsingy de Bemaraha - Aluminum
Zhang ye Danxia - Aluminum
Mato Tipila - Aluminum
Piopiotahi - Aluminum
When the trade icon on the event dial gets resolved, gain 1 additional trade token per city-state card you have.
At the start of your turn you may exchange one of your resources for a different type.
When you are resolving your military focus card, you may attack an additional time and/or reinforce an additional control token.
If a barbarian would enter one of your spaces by crossing water, treat the water space as if it were ocean.
Now these were the one thing I really had trouble with. Most of them feel either random, or much more lengthy than the ones in the base game. This might not be a bad thing, but they do stand out in their own way in any case.
Have 1 wonder of every type.
Have at least 12 trade tokens on your focus cards.
Remove at least 4 water tiles caused by global warming.
Have 2 level-V techs or more
Take control of a volcano’s crater.
Destroy an opponents city due to global warming.
Kill 3 barbarians in 1 turn.
Take 2 barbarian encampments in 1 turn.
A different approach to more victory conditions would be giving out highly specific hidden victory conditions at random to the players. To have them build, for example, specific wonders (like the Colosseum and the Estadio de Maracanã) and then have them reveal it once it has been achieved. This would lead to some unfortunate scenarios however, when somebody else takes one or even both wonders, denying you that possible point, as well as the fact that game length gets less predictable. Alternatively you could split them in major and minor victory conditions, requiring players to achieve two minor and at least one major one. Hrm...
Anyway, I’m not sure about these.
I very much deliberately stayed away from most of the religious wonders or civs because I could envision faith making its way into the game in some form or another, adding a new focus card type as well as a new type of wonders and city states. Something more Rise and Fall-like could also find its way into the board game or even just a big box of cardboard with tiles over tiles, maybe even adding different terrain, jungle, savanna, tundra or others.
Aside from that, I hope at least one person got a kick out reading all that. Feedback is very welcome, again sadly none of this has been tried out in an actual game so it is all hypothetical. I tried to make it ‘balanced’ but its probably all over the place.
Thanks for having a look.