What I’m Playing – Civilization VI: Rise and Fall

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With the release of the expansion Rise and Fall, I thought that it was the perfect time to head back and play Civilization VI. As a person who has played countless hours of Civilization V, which became a classic several years after its release due to two fantastic expansions, Civ 6 had a lot to live up too.

And it did. Civ 6 was a much more complete and complex game than its predecessor. Principally, the new district system completely opened up cities as they expanded beyond a single tile, but there were also other features such as a new civic tree, a religious victory condition and a reworked diplomacy system. Therefore, in a game so fully realised, new DLC with civilizations and leaders like Amanitore of Nubia, seemed like the only thing they can add to the game, so it was interesting to see how the Rise and Fall expansion could, well expand on it.

In a game so fully realised, DLC with new civilizations and leaders seemed like the only thing they could add to the game

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to play, but some exciting new features and interesting mechanics add a lot more to the game. There are eight new civilizations and nine new leaders, including the old-time favourite, Shaka of the Zulu -so beware of the Impi-pocalypse- as well as the likes of Robert the Bruce of Scotland and Seondeok of Korea.

However, one of my favourites is Tamar of Georgia, who has religious and defensive bonuses, but also benefits from the fantastic new Great Age feature. In past games, golden ages seemed like an afterthought, however in Civ 6 they have been expanded on significantly. There are now four distinct Ages (Normal, Golden, Dark and Heroic), each with its own gameplay effects that come from choosing a dedication at the end of each era.

These ages depend on your era score which comes from your progress and achievements in the game, such as building a wonder. A golden age, allows you to select a dedication with better bonuses, while a dark age has negative effects but also gives you access to powerful policy cards which come with massive benefits and costs. Finally, a heroic age, which is achieved by moving from a dark age to a golden age, allows you to choose three dedications.

All ages also influence the loyalty of your cities, which is a new mechanic added to the game. This new feature adds more complexity to the game as you try keep control of your city, and make sure they don’t declare independence or flip to a rival civilization. However, it does allow you to do the same to other civilizations, and therefore brings an ebb and flow to the game that doesn’t revolve around military power.

One of my favourites is Tamar of Georgia who has religious and defensive bonuses

Another new feature is the governor system, with seven characters who have different specialisations that can be used to customise your city. For example, Pingala, ‘the Educator’, can be used to boost the science and culture generated from a city. While small features, such as emergencies- temporary pacts between smaller civilizations to check-and-balance powerful empires- and a reworked alliance system, make the political side of the game lot more dynamic- even for isolationist players like myself.

Needless to say, Civ 6 is full to the brim with features which I need to still get my head around. It will be fascinating to see where Firaxis will go next with what appears to be a fully finished game, but in the meantime, I’m about to go nuke Gandhi before he can nuke me.

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