The scenario is a contest between five ancient civilizations to have the highest score when the nine available wonders are built. The wonders in the scenario are the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria; plus two additional wonders, the Oracle of Delphi and the Library of Alexandria.
The wonders are not unlocked by technologies, but rather by earning the right to build them through the accumulation of various points, such as Total Gross Income, Total Accumulated Culture, Total Accumulated Great General Points, and Number of Technologies. The exception to this is the Oracle, which is available from the start. Bringing a Great Person within 2 hexes of the city that built the Oracle will allow you to see the wonder progress of your rivals for five turns. Doing this will not expend the Great Person, but will make them unable to consult the Oracle again, so if you have built the Oracle, it is advisable to have every Great Person you acquire consult the Oracle before you expend them.
The pace of research and policy acquisition is slowed so players can "immerse [themselves] in this distant age." Cities cannot be razed, so wonders cannot be destroyed. For every wonder owned by a civ, they gain 500 victory points, but building a wonder grants the civ that built it 1,000 victory points. This means, if you build a wonder and prevent it from being taken over, you will get 1,500 victory points for it. Therefore, it is recommended that you should try to aggressively build the wonders, instead of trying to conquer them. However, you can still win by conquering all four enemy capitals before all nine wonders are built, even if you don't have the highest score.
The placement of cities is also particularly important; firstly, two of the wonders requiring a coastal city (the default map is "Inland Sea" and fairly small – so if the edge of the map is sighted, send scouts in the opposite direction!). A second notable change is that enemy cities cannot be razed once conquered – forward settling becomes particularly problematic due to large unhappiness penalties and poor AI placement. According with the slow advancement of technology, Greece has the easiest time due to City-State luxuries, and two helpful unique units. The horse-less War Chariot of Egypt continues to be powerful; the Sumerians have the Babylon bonus and some situational unique items.
You can play as one of five civilizations in the scenario, three of which are already present in the game (Egypt, Persia, and Greece), while the other two are unique to the scenario (Sumer and the Hittites). Some of the city lists have been changed in this scenario to better reflect their locations on the scenario's Historical map. The Egyptian ability has been changed so as to not give them an unfair advantage when building wonders in the scenario, and their unique building has also been changed for unknown reasons.
- Leader: Gilgamesh, a reused Harun al-Rashid
- Unique Ability: Land of Two Rivers (Receive free Great Scientist when you discover Writing. All units pay just 1 movement to enter any tile adjacent to a river.)
- Unique Unit(s): Phalanx (replaces Spearman)
- Unique Building: Ziggurat (replaces Temple)
- Capital: Ur
- The Hittites
There are thirteen City-States in the scenario. They are:
- Byblos (Cultured and Grey)
- Cyrene (Maritime)
- Elam (Cultured and Blue)
- Enkomi (Maritime and Cyan)
- Knossos (Maritime and Green)
- Nakhchivan (Militaristic and Light Green)
- Seuthopolis (Militaristic and Lavender)
- Sharuhen (Militaristic and Yellow)
- Stobi (Militaristic and Light Green)
- Troy (Militaristic and White)
- Tyre (Militaristic and Green)
- Ugarit (Cultured and Tan)
- Washukanni (Militaristic and Light Orange)
In the Historical map, the city-states are located as close to their historical locations as possible.
The scenario also uses four renamed Natural Wonders: Cappadocia (a reused Grand Mesa), Mount Ararat (a reused Mt. Fuji), Mount Olympus (a reused Rock of Gibraltar), and Mount Thera (a reused Krakatoa). They appear in their historic location in the Historical map. The randomized map uses some of the original Natural Wonders as well.
The new wonders added in this DLC are as follows:
They can be built in both the scenario and in standard games.