Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World Game Poster Image
Brilliant expansion makes Civ V more edifying than ever.

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Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about history and strategy in this deep, satisfying, and easy-to-learn simulation about the birth and evolution of human civilization. Players will discover the basics about historical leaders including Pedro II of Brazil and Gajah Mada of Indonesia while observing how trade, diplomacy, and various styles of government can affect a nation's prosperity and a people's outlook. Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World lets kids play through history to make social studies exciting and fun.

Positive Messages

Players see how civilizations are born, grow, and evolve. They're encouraged to experiment, trying out various religions, economic policies, governments, military strategies, and ideologies, and in the process learn how these facets of society alter the way people behave and provide nations with various advantages and disadvantages.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nine newly added historical leaders include the likes of Polish king Casimir the III, who introduced criminal and economic policy reforms that greatly benefited his country, and Chief Pocatello, who fought and then made peace with the United States in the 19th century and now has a city named in his honor. 

Ease of Play

This expansion retains the base game's highly accessible interface, helpfully leading players from one step to the next in each turn. The game directs players' attention to important information as needed, ensuring they don't forget any actions before the end of their turns. Even rookies should be able to experience success early on. Veterans will be happy to know that harder difficulty settings are still relentlessly challenging.


Tiny historical military units viewed from high in the sky do battle with swords, bows and arrows, guns, and tanks. There is no gore; soldiers simply fall down and disappear. However, players hear muffled moans and screams. Plus, weapons of mass destruction -- including atomic bombs -- can raze cities. Players don't see the deaths of citizens, but they will see a decrease in numerical population.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The word "opium" is mentioned in one of the game’s Civilopedia entries regarding trade.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World is an expansion to Firaxis' popular turn-based strategy game and that it requires the original Sid Meier's Civilization V to work. Like the base game, it includes mild military combat in which tiny soldiers can be seen fighting from a bird's-eye view. There is no blood or gore. Plus, battles can be almost completely avoided. Most players will spend their time experimenting with different types of government, learning the nuts and bolts of international trade, conducting diplomatic negotiations, managing agriculture and food production, and carrying out other business involved with ruling and evolving civilizations. It can be surprisingly edifying, especially if players take time to peruse the Civilopedia, which contains informative entries describing human achievements ranging from animal husbandry to oil production.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

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Kid, 11 years old March 14, 2014

Well worth whatever you pay!

This expansion pack a lot including new wonders, civilisations and a new victory type: tourism. The new civs include Poland, Brazil and what is in my opinion th... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byyode8 October 18, 2013

Civ V: BNW

Not really worth buying unless it's on sale. You won't notice much difference.

What's it about?

The second expansion for one of the most acclaimed strategy games ever made, SID MEIER'S CIVILIZATION V: BRAVE NEW WORLD packs plenty of new content meant to breathe new life into the core game. It adds nine new civilizations and leaders, including Shaka of the Zulus and Maria I of Portugal; eight new world wonders ranging from the Parthenon to Broadway; and dozens of new units and structures. It also introduces a pair of fresh scenarios that will see players recreating the American Civil War and working to colonize Africa. But the biggest changes come in the addition of several new systems. A World Congress allows civilizations to vote on important global matters such as pollution and trade sanctions. A trade system provides a new way to generate income and move goods around your empire. Powerful new polices and ideologies unlocked in the Industrial Age can alter strategies later in the game. And, perhaps most importantly, a new type of Culture Victory tempts players to focus on generating tourism and influence via great works made by famous writers, artists, and musicians.

Is it any good?

If you've been looking for an excuse to invest a few more hours in Sid Meier's strategy masterpiece, Brave New World is it. The game feels much the same at the start, even with the new civilizations, but things begin to change with the passage of turns. You'll develop and manage trade routes, which add an important new dimension to your civilization's economic growth. And the path to the new Culture Victory requires you to learn how to take advantage of new elements such as archaeological finds and how best to display your civilization's great works of art. Then, as you approach the game's end, your choice of ideology will impact diplomatic relations with other nations in important ways, resulting in game-changing allies and enemies.

It isn't quite the delight that would be a brand new numbered entry in this enduring series, but it's not far off. Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World is $30 well spent. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the evolution of human civilization. Did the game help you to understand how early technologies acted as foundational building blocks for those that came later? Do you think our civilization is generally improving over time?

  • Can you learn from a game like this? Did you come away feeling like you knew more about famous historical leaders, ideologies, and government policies? 

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love strategy and history games

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