Strategy fanatics have lost hundreds of hours of their lives to Sid Meier's beguiling creations over the years, and they should prepare to lose hundreds more. Civilization V is yet another glistening example of turn-based bliss that will keep you up long past your bedtime. It exercises its power over your mind using many of the tricks the series has long been known for: varied ways of accomplishing your goal of world domination, the thrill of expanding a paltry city into a bustling empire, and the suspense of venturing into unknown territory. The latest Civilization game takes those basics and layers onto them new features that make moment-to-moment gameplay feel more dynamic than in the past. Most noticeably, the square grids of previous Civilization games have been jettisoned in favor of hexagons that nicely accommodate the other most consequential transformations: Military units can no longer be stacked, and ranged units can fire from multiple tiles away. The tactical combat that rises from these modifications is a lot of fun and makes warfare a lot more exciting than in Civ games of yore. AI quirks and a few other minor issues become apparent the more you play, but these are wholly forgivable foibles in an attractive and sophisticated game that constantly begs you to remain at your keyboard for just one more turn. First, here is a quick primer for newcomers. Civilization V, like previous games in the series, is about leading a nation through the eras of history, starting with a single city and expanding across the map. At the outset of any given game, you select a leader (in this case, one of 18, or 19 if you purchased the special edition from Steam), each of whom possesses a particular benefit that disposes his or her civilization to a particular style of play. Americans get a range of sight bonus; the Siamese get diplomatic bonuses with miniature nations new to the series called city-states; the English get naval perks; and so forth. From here, you collect resources; make deals with other civilizations; manage your economy; and go to war and attack the cities of your enemies when the time is right. There are four main ways to win a typically lengthy game of Civilization V. You could dominate through military means and defeat every civilization's capital city. You could be the first to gun through the technology tree and build the parts necessary for a spaceship that whisks you away to Alpha Centauri. You could ally with nations and city-states across the globe and win a diplomatic victory via a vote at the United Nations. Or you might become the cultural envy of the world by developing a large number of government policies and researching a mysterious undertaking known as the Utopia Project. There is also a fifth victory condition: possess the highest score when the turn limit has been reached.