Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings Game Poster Image
Fab expansion to historical sim adds religion to the mix.

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 6 reviews

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about world history and strategy in this informative world simulation game. In addition to content carried over from the original Civ V -- including "Civilopedia" entries detailing historical figures, events, and technologies -- it provides descriptions of new "world wonders," national leaders, and religions. Plus, the introduction of religion provides insight into how popular faiths can shape nations, deepening the game's strategic elements. Civilization V: Gods & Kings serves as a hands-on way for kids to augment their study of world history, specifically the impact of religion.   

Positive Messages

This game both celebrates and casts a critical eye on humanity's historical achievements, events, and personalities. It gives players reason to judiciously examine the world, past and present, analyzing the causes and effects of political, military, religious, philosophical, scientific, and artistic forces.    

Positive Role Models & Representations

The game's only real characters are its real-world historical leaders, from Austria’s Maria Theresa to Attila the Hun. However, they don't have much personality beyond their initial descriptions. They may be depicted as ambitious, righteous, aggressive, intelligent, tyrannical, fair, popular, or despised, but their actions in game are determined by players.

Ease of Play

This is a highly complex game filled with deep strategies that can take hundreds of hours to master. However, frequent in-game prompts make it easy for rookies to work through all of their options each turn. Plus, multiple difficulty levels and customizable parameter settings allow players to set up games that suit their experience and skill.


Tiny units armed with everything from axes and spears to guns and missiles attack and kill each other on the game's large world map. Defeated characters fall down and disappear, and no blood or gore is shown. Weapons of mass destruction can level entire sections of the map, with the implication that thousands or millions of soldiers and civilians have been killed. Much of the game's text -– including descriptions of weapons, eras, and historical characters -- discusses war and battle. The opening cinematic sequence depicts soldiers in combat with swords and shields, but, again, without blood or gore.


Descriptions of the game's historical rulers occasionally reference their sexual nature, but only in vague or mild terms.


The world "hell" appears in dialogue.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Opium is mentioned in the description of an historical era. Players can grow vineyards, with the assumption that they will produce wine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings is an expansion pack to Sid Meier's Civilization V and that a copy of the original game is required in order to play this one. It is a deep, turn-based game of civilization simulation and tactics that, in some ways, also acts as a basic but broad-spanning history lesson concerning the people, events, movements, technologies, and personalities that have shaped our world. There is violence, but its depiction is from far away, and brief references to sexuality and drugs are made only within historical context. Parents should be aware that this game offers a multiplayer mode capable of facilitating communication between strangers.

User Reviews

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Kid, 10 years old January 23, 2015

An Epic Game

Civilization Gods and Kings is an amazing game with great visuals and strategic gameplay. The expansion certainly adds more gameplay elements such as espionag... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old May 8, 2013


Awesome Game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!... Continue reading

What's it about?

As the first major expansion to Sid Meier's Civilization V, SID MEIER'S CIVILIZATION V: GODS & KINGS fundamentally changes the original game by adding a powerful new ingredient: Religion. Players still begin by selecting an historical world leader -- nine new personalities have been added to the original cast, including the Netherlands' William I and Ethiopia's Haile Selassie -- before attempting to rule the world in a variety of ways, from military might to scientific achievement. However, now they must contend with -- or spur on -- the rise of nearly a dozen different real-world religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism, Shinto, Tengrism, Confucianism, and Zoroastrianism. While details of these religions are provided in the "Civilopedia," differences in dogma don’t have much of an effect on the game itself. Each faith is capable of offering similar benefits -- bonuses to culture, happiness, gold collection -- that can give a civilization the edge it needs to grow more quickly than its rivals. This expansion also includes several new scenarios, such as one that leads players through the fall of the Roman Empire and another with a Victorian steampunk theme.

Is it any good?

Fans of Civilization V are all but guaranteed to enjoy the new features that Gods & Kings adds to the experience. Religious elements haven't just been tacked on; they've been integrated into existing features so that the accumulation of the new "faith" commodity is felt almost everywhere, from researching new technologies to diplomatic relations with "Holy" city states. The game may not exploit specific dogma within each religion (a prudent decision), but it successfully simulates the effect that popular faiths can have on a culture and the world at large.

And religion is just the start. The addition of new civilizations, "world wonders," and unit types, as well as three original scenarios and a few key rules tweaks all help make the game feel fresh again, even for those who've already spent hundreds of hours with it. Its $30 tag is pricey for an expansion pack, but this is a case of getting what you pay for.    

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about history. What historical figures and eras interest you most? Do you enjoy learning about history? Do you prefer learning about it through a game like this, or do you want to learn in greater detail and with additional analysis?

  • Families can also discuss religion. Did this game introduce you to any religions with which you were previously unfamiliar? Do you feel as though you now have a better understanding of the role religion has played in shaping world history?

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