Since we last heard word of Civilization's imminent Facebook conquest, it's been a long and anxious 11 months. Civilization Network was originally slated for a June 2010 release, but was delayed until, well, right about now. Now named Civ World, the Firaxis-developed game will launch a closed alpha testing phase on Jan. 12. While anyone can join using Facebook Connect at this website, potential testers will need to sign up in groups of no less than five and no more than 50. (Acceptance messages will be distributed Jan. 10.) This is so the Civ World team can more easily test the game's social features, according to a lengthy post on the Civ World Facebook page written by the mastermind behind Civilization, Sid Meier.
The ubiquitous "Add Me" thread has already begun and is over 200 comments long, so don't worry about any potential lack of friends to play with. Meier has apparently opted for transparency going forward with Civ World, describing the reason for the name change from Civilization Network to Civ World:
Why a name change you say? The name better reflects the main theme of the game; in Civ World you will be joining your friends to form nations, which will compete with other player-nations to rule the world. Civ World's shaping up to be a really fun Facebook game, as well as another addictive Civilization experience.
Find more details on Civ World after the break.