In preparation for Civilization IV’s second expansion, Beyond the Sword, we here at are reviewing Civ 4: Warlords. It’s definitely a worthwhile expansion to one of my favorite strategy games and was worthy of a review long ago, but I couldn’t stop playing long enough to review it. So sue me.

Beyond the new civs, leaders, and leader traits, the biggest change to the gaming dynamic is the inclusion of vassals. You can make another civ a vassal, making them your property, essentially, and siphoning off resources to make your empire stronger, while offering protection and support to your vassal state. It’s an interesting dynamic in multiplayer games, in that it’s difficult to persuade another player to accept vassal status, although stomping his/her civ into dust first helps.

New leaders include Winston Churchill, Ramses II, and Joseph Stalin. Some have a problem with Stalin’s inclusion, but I personally have no problem with it – it makes my World War 2 recreations that much easier. Not that I’d want a Hitler leader, but Stalin doesn’t offend me so much.

The new civs include Korea, the Vikings, the Ottoman Empire, and Zululand, which sounds like an amusement park to me. The best inclusion, for me, is the Great Wall wonder. Not only does it look cool, it prevents barbarians from entering your territory – a huge boon early in the game. Warlords is also heavy on the scenarios, some of which are very unique for a Civ game. For example, the Barbarian scenario, you’re one of those rampaging hordes who bother you throughout normal rounds, whose job is raze all cities on the map. In all, it’s a very expansive expansion (is that redundant?).

In all, Civilization IV: Warlords gets my vote. It doesn’t change the graphics or sound (other then the menu video and music , which are changed for the worse), but it adds a ton of new content. If you like Civ, I’d recommend this to you. Alphasim out.