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Civ3, Civ4 and Civ5? How do they compare?

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A couple months ago I posted asking for a more modern game than the Masters of Orion I have been playing for 15 years. Someone recommended Civ3. I picked a copy up on ebay for $4 and love it.

How do Civ4 and Civ5 compare? Are they improvements, or just more fancy graphics that I can live without.
Civ3 is about as complicated as I can handle; so if they are more difficult to play, they are not for me.

Civ3 only just plays on W7; I expect Civ5 is better in that regard.
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Civ4 is basically Civ3 perfected. While I haven't gotten around to Civ5 yet and the reviews have been largely positive, it apparently changes up the traditional Civ formula a bit, so I'd say it's a safer bet that you'd like Civ4. Also, I can't talk about Civilzation without mentioning two older games, Civ2 and Alpha Centauri, which are the best reviewed and my personal favorites in the series.
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