Civilization: Beyond Earth is an immensely pleasing simulation of a future human society, struggling to survive on a new planet. It presents the player with a constant stream of challenging and intriguing choices. Packed with big ideas about science and science fiction, it meticulously interlocks dozens of strategic gaming systems that work together at a level that approaches genius.
The citizens in your cities must be kept healthy through specific constructions and the management of unhealthy hexes smothered in miasma. Keeping citizens healthy is extremely challenging, but the penalties feel more on a sliding scale than the binary punishments of the previous game.
From the beginning, it’s clear that the planet you land upon is not exactly pleased to see you. Aliens cannot be exterminated without advanced and numerable military units. Resources cannot be exploited without study. Distances cannot be traversed without significant perils.
Winning, or even surviving, feels more like an act of creativity than merely of conquest.
Instead of the ancient world’s Warrior, now your initial melee unit is called a Soldier. The Archer of old is a Ranger. Trade is carried out by Convoys, not Caravans. Brave New World‘s Archaeologist is now an Explorer, with the same purpose—to dig up artifacts for your colony.
There’s something about Firaxis being liberated from the constraints of historical plausibility that’s freeing. The range of science fiction and nonfiction influences is clear, from Dune to Foundation to Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, and references are dotted everywhere from the menus to Wonders to unit designs. It’s not that this is necessarilybetter than the standard Civilization aesthetic. Rather, it helps make what’s old feel new again.
Each Affinity is pursued through the tech web, and they’re not mutually exclusive. You could pursue Harmony for half the game in order to get the alien mobs off your back, then switch to Purity because you want to destroy said aliens. You’re better off focusing on one Affinity from the start, however, for two reasons. 1) The high-level units and unique units are incredibly powerful. 2) You need to hit level 13 in one of these Affinities in order to unlock three of the win conditions.
the new victories are great. They’re complex, multi-step processes that completely change the way you play the game and feel actually worth pursuing instead of just aiming for the military win. They make it so non-military players actually have something to do at the end of the game instead of just tapping the "Next Turn" button repeatedly. That’s a huge change for Civilization.
You basically need trade in order to bolster your science and production output, and anything you can do to enhance trade is a smart move even if you’re not initially looking to form a trade empire.
you can help out other colonies in return for Favors. [but note that favors owed you sometimes are tossed out the window by the other guy]