Some games need room to breathe. There, I’ve said it, and you can probably infer many of my feelings on Civilization: A New Dawn from that one statement alone. Not every game requires streamlining, especially when that game’s goal — or at least that game’s genre’s traditional goal — is to capture the sweep of something epic. Cutting Twilight Imperium from eight hours to five is one thing; pruning it down to sixty minutes would kill everything that makes it special.
Broadly speaking, the same goes for Civilization games. As one of the principal granddads of the 4X genre (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate), Sid Meier’s Civilization carries certain expectations. Foremost among them is the notion that it will capture a hearty slice of the breadth of human history, perhaps all the way from mud huts to rocket ships. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that.
Civilization: A New Dawn certainly accomplishes this, more or less. Emphasis on the less, since A New Dawn is more interested in wrapping up as quickly as possible than providing a satisfying play arc. The result is two-thirds of an utterly excellent game.