Civilization VI is a fantastic game and has become my favorite of the Civilization games. I love how they’ve taken the tried-and-true gameplay of previous versions and improved upon it. The extra strategy while building up your city with districts is new and challenging. The Builders are a new take on the Worker that, while frustrating at times, is better in my opinion. Having multiple leaders for the same civilization gives more depth to the game as well. So, what could be added in Civilization VI: Rise and Fall besides additional leaders and civilizations? As it turns out, a lot. In the official announcement, lead designer Anton Strenger mentioned that the goal for Rise and Fall was to introduce dynamic empires. After reading through their plans, I think they may have accomplished it. Let’s break down the new features one by one.
Golden Ages and Dark Ages
Throughout history, civilizations have prospered one era and been in big trouble the next. It looks like Strenger’s team wants to introduce a similar idea into their expansion. In the game we already have a Classical Era, Medieval Era, Modern Era, etc. to help break up our technology and civics trees. Rise and Fall will introduce “game eras” that are not connected to tech or civics, but rather our advancements and other adjustments behind-the-scenes. When a new game era dawns, the game will look at your “Era Score” from the previous era to determine if you get a Golden Age, a Dark Age, or neither.
A Golden Age will provide you with “huge bonuses to Loyalty and other game systems.” Basically, you will prosper very well. The downside is that future Golden Ages will be more difficult to obtain. On the other hand, a Dark Age is designed to weaken you. Loyalty in your cities (something we’ll talk about later) plummets and you won’t be in as good of a situation as your opponents. One bright side of a Dark Age is that you will have access to unique Dark Age policies in an attempt to keep you afloat. A Dark Age will also boost your chances of having a Golden Age in the future though and you’ll have the chance to get a Heroic Age. The Heroic Age looks to be a more powerful Golden Age which is great for you as it will give you an even bigger advantage during the next era.
If you remember “Culture Flips” from previous Civilization games, Loyalty won’t be entirely foreign to you. At its core, Loyalty is a way for Civilizations to lose control of their cities without the use of an opposing military. When a city has low loyalty, it runs the risk of rebelling against you and becoming a Free City that is easier for your enemies to pick up. This can change your strategy when it comes to border towns considerably since your city can potentially be swayed by your neighbors to leave you and join them directly. Golden Ages and Dark Ages will also affect this as cities that see a neighboring Civilization in a Golden Age are more likely to waver.
Governors appear to be similar to Great People, with the aim to help your cities in various ways. You will be able to earn up to seven Governors, each with a unique set of skills via promotions. The trick will be that you will have to choose between getting multiple Governors or promoting just a couple. Strenger talks about how each Governor will be better suited for different scenarios including:
Improvements to Alliances
The current system of Alliances boils down to not being a nuisance for the other party. The new system aims to add tangible incentives to actively help allies and each Alliance will have a different type: Research, Military, Economic, Cultural or Religious. Each type of Alliance will have different benefits, plus as you stay in an Alliance it levels up to give you better bonuses. Here’s an example Strenger has provided for us:
Emergency Situations trigger when a player gains a large advantage such as using a nuclear weapon or converting a Holy City to a different religion. Once triggered, the game will determine which of the other players join in the Emergency against the target. Once chosen, a player has the opportunity to accept the call or pass. If you accept, you and the others that accept will be given objectives specific to the emergency. If you are able to complete the objective, you gain a permanent benefit. If not, the targeted player gains a benefit.
As you play a game in Rise and Fall, you can earn mini-achievements called Historic Moments. These are things like founding a religion, training your unique unit, circumnavigating the world, and many more. When you achieve a Historic Moment you’ll be given a bonus (an even bigger bonus is granted to the first player to achieve it) and it helps create a story for your game. These Historic Moments are one of the ways to increase your Era Score to get that Golden Age or Heroic Age, and it helps serve as a reminder of what you’ve done during your game. If you’re able to peel away from your game after “one more turn” then this can help remind you of where you were headed.
This has a lot of potential for helping people remember their greatest games and I hope you can look back after the game and follow the story created by each of your games. It would be fantastic if a video was created at the end of the game that showed the highlights from these Historic Moments for you to share with all of your friends.
New Leaders and Civilizations
This is one of my favorite parts of this game: Civilizations. I love having a wide variety of options available and was sad when I switched to Civilization VI and had fewer options than Civilization V: Brave New World. However, with DLC they’ve been working hard to give us more great Civilizations to play as and with Rise and Fall we’ll get eight new Civilizations and nine new Leaders. We don’t know all of the new ones quite yet, but we’ll keep you updated. Here’s what we do know.
Korea – Queen Seondeok:
I was surprised to see this one, but mostly because Seoul is a city-state already. Korea will have the Seowon as a unique district that replaces the Campus. It looks like just as in previous versions of Civilization, Korea will be all about the technology. Korea’s ability gives you science from Mines and bonus food from farms when adjacent to a Seowon. The Hwacha is a strong unique ranged unit. Hwara is Queen Seondeok’s ability and gives you science and culture in cities with governors.
Netherlands – Queen Wilhelmina:
Grote Rivieren is the ability for the Dutch, and it will have you building next to water whenever possible. Campuses, Theater Squares, and Industrial Zones will gain adjacency bonuses from rivers, and when you build a Harbor, you gain additional tiles to help expand your borders. The Polder unique improvement provides food and production on water tiles that are on the coast. This can help save some of your precious land tiles (remember you want to be by water which reduces the number of those you have) for your districts and resources. With the unique De Zeven Provincien unit, you’ll be able to control the high seas and get an advantage against defensive districts. Wilhelmina’s Radio Oranje ability strengthen Loyalty in her own cities through trade routes and gives her Culture when trading externally.
Mongolia – Genghis Khan:
Genghis Khan is known for being vicious on the battlefield. His ability is Mongol Horde and it increases the strength of your cavalry units while also providing a chance to capture any cavalry units you defeat. This provides the potential for building a giant cavalry army mid-war. Mongolia’s Ortoo ability creates a trading outpost as soon as you begin a trade route with another nation. This increases your diplomatic visibility with the nation which can be a big benefit in negotiations as well as on the battlefield. That’s right, Mongolia gains combat strength against opponents for each level of diplomatic visibility they have with that nation. Mongolia replaces the Stable with the Ordu. Any cavalry units trained with an Ordu gets extra movement to create very mobile fighting force. The ranged cavalry Keshi is Mongolia’s unique unit and it can share its movement speed with any unit in formation.
Cree – Poundmaker:
With the Nihithaw ability, the Cree are great early-game. They can get their first Trader after researching Pottery, and when a Trader moves into an unclaimed tile within 3 spaces of a Cree city, they claim it for the Cree. Talk about fast expansion! The Mekewap improvement has the ability to provide Production, Housing, Gold (when next to a Luxury Resource), and Food (when next to a Bonus Resource). That’s a pretty powerful improvement that will further help the Cree nation grow, especially early and mid-game. With the Okihtcitaw unique unit, the Cree are better at early-game exploration as this unit replaces the scout, is stronger, and comes with a free promotion. Not to mention Poundmaker’s Favorable Terms ability that gives shared visibility from alliances, plus getting Food when trading with external cities that have camps and pastures. Sure, this gives that city additional gold based on the number of camps and pastures, but that’s still a pretty good deal.
India – Chandgragupta:
India is already a playable Civilization and none of their abilities have changed. However, Chandgragupta provides the Arthashastra ability which allows him to declare a “War of Territorial Expansion” after you get the Military Training civic. This unique type of war provides your troops with faster movement and more strength during the first few turns. While Ghandi tends to be more of a peaceful leader, Chandgragupta gives you a way to really utilize those War Elephants to attack.
The other four Civilizations are sure to be announced before the release of Rise and Fall on Fabruary 8, 2018, so check back to find out what they are and what they will be able to do. What part of the expansion are you most excited about?