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Civilization VI: ‘A fantastic game’

So, Civilization VI is a fantastic game. Firaxis’ newest foray into their 4X strategy game series feels like any other Civ game with a ton of new features packed inside. This installment removes a lot of the problems other Civilization games suffered from, like unit clutter and an extremely boring mid-game. Besides a horribly broken A.I. (more on that later), Civilization VI is poised to be the best game in the Civilization series and the best game of my year.

The first thing veteran Civ players will notice is just how gorgeous Civilization VI looks and sounds. The graphics are extremely colorful and pleasant to look at, taking on a sort of claymation-cartoon art style. Even the “fog of war” has a unique art style, known locations are “drawn” onto the map in the style of an old cartographers map.


The music of Civilization VI is one of my favorite aspects of the game. Besides the ubiquitous stock music, Civilization VI introduces faction-specific songs that progress over time. For example, America, the first game I played, uses the 1854 parlor song “Hard Times Come Again No More.” In the Ancient Era, the entirety of the song consists of two banjos and, by the information age, evolves into a composure performed by a large orchestra. Civilization VI also runs extremely solidly, something of a surprise in the modern age of day-one patches.

The biggest change in Civilization VI is how cities are managed throughout your empire. Building, Wonders, and unit construction is no longer centered on your one-tile city. Districts are built around the city and receive various bonuses based on where they are placed. Wonders work in the same way, with the added need to meet a laundry list of requirements before you can place them. Having Districts located outside a city opens up the opportunity to increase their yields based on where they are placed, but also opens them up to pillaging by stupid barbarians. Having Wonders require a separate tile with specific requirements ensures that you cannot have one city with a million production spam every Wonder in the game, a common problem in previous Civ games. It’s a simple and clever way to ensure that everyone playing can get a fair share of Wonders.


In Civilization VI, it’s easier to specialize Great Person production and Great People themselves provide a MUCH greater range of services than previous games. In Civilization V, Great Generals could only be used to enhance Unit Damage and build special forts. In Civilization VI, however, Great Generals can be expended to create an advanced military unit, speed up a technology unlock, and even boost your Tourism output. This incentives players to seek out a multitude of Great People, not just one or two specific ones. It’s a good way of creating a bit more competition in the game.

Speaking of technology, Civilization VI introduces a brand new mechanic for gaining technologies and Cultural Civics: Eureka! The Eureka! system is a way to boost your output towards a certain tech or civic. This is done by completing a task related to the tech. Improving a resource of fish, for example, gives a hefty boost towards the sailing technology. While a cool idea, I think it desperately needs some fine tuning. At one point in the game, after a lucky Great Person or two, I was able to get about seven Eureka! boosts over the course of two turns. This threw me very far ahead of the other players in the game by accident. It’s a system that players could abuse since it  greatly increases their chances of winning.

One of the major problems of previous Civilization games is the incredibly boring mid-game. That awful, boring part of any play session where almost everyone is on the same level anxiously standing around trying to gain an edge. Civilization VI doesn’t have this problem, as the power in the world is constantly in flux. Unlike other Civilization games, player performance is readily displayed meaning you always know who’s in first and who’s moving up the ladder to usurp the leader. You’re constantly looking to gain Eureka! bonuses and trying to learn the more complicated concepts present in Civilization VI.


Civilization VI’s other, much bigger problem is with the AI. To put it frankly, the AI is entirely broken. New to Civilization VI, Leaders now have agendas that affect how they perceive your Civilization. Gandhi, for instance, likes players who are at peace for a long time. After another nation declared war on me and started pillaging my lands, Gandhi declared his disgust for me and my warmongering ways, and then declared war on me. While other Leaders don’t share the same agendas as Ghandi, it is just as easy and illogical to gain the ire of the computer. Besides this, the AI in general is not very intelligent. They constantly send deals that are either laughably unfair or incredibly self-damaging.

The AI, however, seems to have been spending some time at the Military Academy, it’s much better in combat than previous Civilization titles. They flank, feint, attack, retreat and actually work to modernize their army whenever possible. This still does not make up for the AI’s incredible weakness with Diplomacy and makes it rare for AI Leaders to gain much ground. While a major problem, I do not consider it a deal-breaking issue. This is a problem that can easily be fixed in a patch.

Despite this admittedly major problem, I’ve rarely had a more enjoyable experience with any strategy game than I’ve had with Civilization VI. The gameplay is solid, intricate, challenging, and extremely enjoyable. It’s a mark of a great game when you find joy out of sitting around just looking at the assets and listening to the music. If you’re looking for a fulfilling way to spend unspeakable hours of your life, there’s no better place to look than at Civilization VI.

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