Civilization V Wonder: The Terracotta Army

I love playing Civ V, but I really only love the original. To be fair, I haven’t actually played Brave New Worlds (BNW), but I’ve heard plenty about it. And I have tried the Gods & Kings (G&K) expansion. Honestly, I wish I could cherry-pick what I liked about the G&K expansion and what I have heard about the BNW expansion and leave the parts I didn’t like behind. The Terracotta Army would be one of my cherries, especially the benefit update from BNW.

The Terracotta Army isn’t in the original release but was introduced in the G&K expansion with a decent Culture bonus of +6. However, as the game continues the bonus becomes less valuable and is not as amazing as I think a wonder bonus should be. The tweak for BNW is what I really wish was the normal version: automatic unit of each kind currently possessed! Awesome. You are just going along doing ok but probably troubled a bit by rowdy neighbors and then bam! 4-6 units maybe more if you play it right. Game-changer.

While walking around the real life Terracotta Army I was a bit taken aback by the scale of it all. The whole thing was constructed under imperial edict of the first emperor of China Qin Shi Huang (who for some reason is not the playable leader in the game, I mean come on the guy founded the empire) and comprises over 6,000 warriors in formation each with a unique face. I can imagine an army lining up like picture day in grade school but for a master sculptor. The detail on the soldiers is impressive. It’s as if someone went around and froze a whole army in clay. Grunts, horsemen, captains, and generals, no one was left out. This place definitely preserved the military culture of its era. Oddly though, instead of the emperor putting this majestic scene on display he had it buried so it could stand vanguard for his eventual tomb which is nearby but not excavated yet. Even further, he left no mention of the warriors in court documents. The place was lost to history until some farmer was digging a well and broke through about ten feet away from the front of a row of soldiers.

Today, you can visit the site and see some of the statues. There are three pits that have been excavated.  When you go to visit I suggest visiting them in reverse order: 3 then 2 then 1. One is the biggest and three the smallest. This way each room is better than the last. Also get ready for some intense crowds and pushing. China is a very populous country that doesn’t believe in lines, and since this is one of the biggest attractions in the country you will probably be a little squished by the time you leave. Even with the pushing and shoving, though, the warriors were an impressive site. It’s one thing to read about these 6,000 individual statues, but seeing them in person really drove home the amount of effort that must have gone into building this enormous tomb. Qin’s dynasty may not have lasted long, but the site of the Terracotta Warriors is at the very least a cultural bonus for China today.

Getting There: There are plenty of tours you can book from Xi’an to the Terracotta Warriors, but if you want to save some money we’d recommend taking the bus. It leaves from east side of the Xi’an Railway Station. There is a parking lot full of busses. Bus number 5 goes to the Terracotta Warriors, and it is clearly marked on the side of the bus. It costs about 8 Yuan per person and takes about 80 minutes to get to the site.

Cost: The entrance fee to the park is 120 Yuan per person. There are some student lines that charge 60 Yuan per person. We didn’t stand in those lines (because we aren’t students), but some fellow travelers who are students told us that they don’t check student IDs at all so it may be worth a shot if you’re short on cash.

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