The Civilization series is pretty darned big. Heralding from a time where turn-based strategy games were the popular genre, it’s a series that has acquired a huge loyal fanbase over the years. And each of them know precisely how to crush you in 30 seconds flat. As such, it can seem a little daunting for first time players to approach this massive, awesome world.

Enter Civilization Network which is seemingly built to help new players ease into the world of Civilization. Network will be available sometime this summer, exclusively on the Facebook platform.

Earlier today, Sid Meier posted an update as to the game’s current development status, giving hope to all those waiting patiently for it:

From Sid: It’s been a while since we posted, and I think we have Civilization Network to blame for it! We’ve got a prototype version that we’re playing here at Firaxis almost every day now as we refine how the game plays. I’m pleased to report that the game is lots of fun and we’re all blissfully addicted to this new way to play Civ.

In order to facilitate lots of daily play-testing we play on an accelerated time frame, so we can finish a game in hours. This lets us test balance across the whole epic span of the game, so if something needs fixing I can update the game and have it ready for the next day’s test. This iterative approach to game design has been the Firaxis way of making games since the start of the company and it always leads to good things. We’re working towards launching an open beta as soon as it’s ready and will keep you posted on our progress.

In the mean time, we’ll start introducing you to the team working on Civilization Network and giving you some reports from our gameplay sessions here at Firaxis. Stay tuned for more very soon and thanks for your patience!

For me, that sounds fantastic. As cool as Civilization V sounds, I have to admit that I can’t see myself getting into it. I’m one of those guys that loves the look of strategy games, but tend to find it incredibly demoralising when I head online – only to find that, as decent as I thought I was at the single player mode, the people playing online are far, far superior. With Network, it seems that self-confessed ‘noobs’ like me can finally have an outlet to build up their skills before attempting to get into Civilization V.

In case you don’t have a clue what Civilization Network is, here’s what Sid Meier had to say about the title on the official Facebook page:

Hello Civ Fans!

I wanted to let you know we’ll soon be looking for beta testers to help us develop a unique new way to play Civilization. Ever since we finished Civilization® Revolutionâ„¢ last year, I’ve been looking at ways of expanding the Civ gameplay experience to include solo, competitive and cooperative play to take advantage of the uniqueness of social networks. We’re calling this project Civilization® Networkâ„¢ and the full game will be available next year on Facebook. Civilization Network will allow you to join together with your friends to create the world’s most powerful, richest, smartest, or just plain coolest civilization. You can coordinate your strategy to win great battles, share your technology to jump ahead of your rivals, lobby your family and friends to form your own government and win vital elections, manage and grow your cities to maximize production and happiness, spy on your enemies, and work with your friends to create the great Wonders of the World. The game will offer everything you enjoy in Civ in a fully persistent environment – you can play as much as you like, whenever you like, and it’ll be free to play.

We’ll offer a closed beta of the game soon, so stay tuned for details on how you can sign-up to participate. The full game will launch in 2010.

What do you think of Civilization Network? Are you looking forward to it?

Civilization Network will be released in 2010, with a closed beta available to members of the Facebook group before launch.

Source: Sid Meier’s Civilization Network Facebook Page