If you've got a hankering for global domination, but don't particularly fancy leaving the house today, then here's a little thing that might appeal: Sid Meier's Civilization 6 is currently free to play on Steam.

Should you be a 4X fan that hasn't, for whatever reason, given Firaxis' 2016 instalment of the long-running series a go, you've got from now until 6pm on Thursday, February 14th, in the UK to change that. A quick word of warning to new players though: whatever you do, don't pick Queen Victoria as your first leader unless you want to be driven almost completely insensible by the endless repetitions of Scarborough Fair. I barely made it out alive.

Of course, as canny sorts will have realised, this current freebie event isn't just a case of publisher 2K suddenly finding itself in an altruistic mood. Rather, it's all perfectly timed to prime players for the release of Civilization 6's latest expansion, Gathering Storm, which arrives at precisely the same moment the free-play event ends.

2K is also celebrating the imminent launch of Gathering Storm (which expands the base game with weather perils, new global warming mechanics, new leaders, overhauled diplomacy, and more) with a host of discounts across pretty much the entire Civilization series, ranging from the much-loved Civilization 5, to the considerably less loved space-themed Beyond Earth. There are even discounts on Civilization 6 - the bog-standard edition of the base game is 75% off at 12.49 - if you're sufficiently taken once your zero-money test drive has ended.

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Matt Wales

Matt Wales

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Matt Wales is a freelance writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.