A new, major expansion pack for Sid Meier’s Civilization V, a 2010 turn-based strategy game, has just launched. Called Gods and Kings, it adds some new facets to the game which have been seen in previous versions, including robust religions and espionage features. It also adds nine new playable civilizations, a bunch of luxury and strategic resources, and almost 30 new units. Is it good? Yes, it’s awesome. But that’s beside the point, at least for me.

First off, it’s important to know that I can’t in good conscience call myself a gamer. The list of games which have piqued my interest is incredibly, sadly limited. I have dabbled in the Mario Brothers games since childhood, and had a brief but intense love affair with Animal Crossing, but really, only three franchises have enthralled me to obsession: The Sims, Fable, and of course, Civilization. Also, I’m really pretty bad at video games, even the ones I love and play for hours on end.

I started playing Civilization at number II, sometime in the year 2000, so I was literally “late to the game” — it was about six years old by the time I picked up on it through a friend. Like I said, I’m not a huge gamer, and the last time I’d done any PC gaming it had involved multiple bouts of dysentery and the loss of several wagon wheels, so Civ II didn’t come easily to me. The game seemed overly complex and involved, its barrier to entry higher than I was prepared to climb, but early on, one thing snagged at my attention: the fact that it was a turn-based game. This fascinated me, and I remember that after my first near all-nighter with the game, I lay in bed falling asleep, plotting out turns for the morning.