sorry for fading on the PBEM-multiplayer, it was frustratingly slow. I would suggest if we try to fire up a game, we do it live. Start a game and continue it whenever it's suitable for all.
I picked up BNW when it came out and I like it (although it's rather pricy). The most essential part are the trade routes, which generate vast amounts of money and give a lot of substance to political and strategical geography. The culture and ideology revamps are alright, though I don't fancy the new tourism system that much (imho it's almost impossible to win a Cultural Victory before discovering Internet if playing large enough map). The new world congress is a nice addition, I like it more than the old UN.
I'm right now playing a multiplayer game with my wife's brother, and it's been bloody but entertaining. I'm playing autocratic America and we've had three wars so far (it's 1950s atm). He has managed to get a trade Embargo decision on me in world congress and is currently trying to get Standing Army Tax (extra unit maintenance) through, which I'm afraid might be accepted. It's funny how he can fight against me without units by crippling me through economy
Oh, and what kind of game Civ V is: it's the grand old champion of turn based strategies, so it's hardly anything like Age of Empires. I would maybe compare it to Paradox interactive's super heavy strategy games or the tactical map in Total War series (not the real time battles). First Civ came out in early 90s and I think it was based on an even older board game initially, although it has wandered far off from its roots already.