Civilization 6 Review

I want to start off this review by saying I’m not an expert at Civilization 6. In fact, quite the opposite. I haven’t “won” a game yet, and I’m still learning how to play Civ 6 having not played a Civ game since Civ 4. However, I can talk about whether or not I’m having fun or like the game.

Civilization 6 is a turn-based 4x strategy game – “eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate.” (Some people have different X’s, but you get the idea). The goal is to take your civilization from an early civilization up through a thriving world power. To win, you have to achieve one of the conditions centralized around military, culture, religion, science, or score based if no other victory conditions are met.

There’s a lot I could say about “how” one plays Civ, but for that I’ll leave you to read the in-depth guides or the videos. Suffice it to say, the game has subtle complexities that I have come to only learn by experiencing the game myself.

What I like most has to be that no two games of Civ 6 have been alike. I can play a game like Warcraft or Starcraft, and they generally all go the same way — I make the same units, use the same strategies, and generally play the same way on every map. In Civ 6 — albeit a completely different kind of strategy game — I’m rarely going to play the exact same way. The main reason for the diversity and dynamic play has to be the resources and tech tree.

Something I’m still trying to learn to be better at is planning my civilization around what I can access. For example, I thought I’d be super cool and tech fast to munitions only to find out that I had zero niter anywhere near me. Scouting better and actually thinking about requirements for making units would have made this a much easier mistake to avoid.

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Civ 6 brings a lot of new features, but the main one for me so far has been the unstacking of cities into districts. Instead of all upgrades going onto jut your main home tile, you now can place districts within your city’s influence. Placing districts on certain tiles yields better results based on that districts requirements — something I’m still trying to be better at. Districts are continually upgraded throughout the game as you unlock more technology and discover new things.

Adapting to random circumstances has also proven challenging. For example, I started my last game next to FOUR barbarian outposts. For the entire first 100 turns I was living by a thread as I was continually assaulted from all sides and surrounded by barbarians. I couldn’t even make a builder because they were captured instantaneously.

Gandhi using missionaries to convert my civilization

Different world leaders also present some fun. Just when you think you caught a break by being neighbors with the peaceful Gandhi… he suddenly starts converting your people to his religion with dozens upon dozens of missionaries. And while you try and deal with stopping him without starting a holy war, Greece offers to send a peaceful “gift” and “delegation” to your capital — YEAH RIGHT.

Military gameplay has also been different. Units do not stack until much later, and even then stack less than normal. This has required a lot more thought into how I move my units across a map, and managing the units has become a lot more challenging. Military gameplay in general is something I’m also working on — especially when it comes to sieging cities with walls in the mid-late game.

Playing for a military victory feels really, really cumbersome and even a bit annoying. Perhaps it’s mean to mimic the complexities of supporting and maneuvering large forces, but it teeters on being obnoxious at times waiting for units to unintelligently move to open hexes if another becomes inadvertently filled.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer gameplay is pretty neat. Graev and I have a game going right now where we enabled simultaneous turns. The only real downside to multiplayer is that you may end up waiting a while before that player finishes their turn, and you both can start a new turn. I feel like it has almost doubled the length of the game, even with simultaneous turns enabled.

Teaming up together to strategically choke an enemy civilization or manipulate the map’s resources makes things a whole lot of fun… as long as you can trust your real life allies…

Conclusion

Overall, Civ 6 is a lot of fun, but you can’t go into this expecting a super high-velocity city conquering game. Civ 6, like its predecessors before it, is a methodical strategy game. You’ll need to plan ahead, take your time, and realize what type of victory is within your reach — and do it pretty early. On more than one occasion, I’ve realized (1-2 hours into a game) that I really can’t win. While that’s not a fun realization, I still had fun getting to to that loss.

  • I have been playing this via hot seat multiplayer mode with my wife – it is one of her favorite games. We played two full length games so far and each one takes about 2 days on a weekend…playing all day! It is a little tedious at the beginning and I wouldn’t recommend it for more than two people but it works!

    I have gone for a religious win and a military win so far. The science route seems always part of it too and is pretty straightforward. I am kind of curious about the culture victory since the winning condition sounds kind of cool – needing to attract foreign tourists…

  • The general limited stacking ability of combat units has been a significant detractor from my enjoyment of recent Civ iterations.

    I have been frustrated by the concept of having to choose whether I can place a single warrior or an archer unit in a hex the size of which could be appreciated from space.

    …and I don’t buy the argument that the game isn’t meant to be a valid military simulation, as invariably the AI will be attacking you continuously throughout the game; in contrast I have read the board game uses military conflict as a last resort that exacts a significant toll on all nations involved.

    Probably the most frustrating aspect of the lack of full stacking options is that they dropped that mechanic from previous Civ versions, which is a purposeful de-evolution/dumbing down of the game.

    It is my take that if one designing a robust simulation game, one should fully flesh out each aspect they are attempting to simulate lest it feels tacked on as an afterthought.

    So if the designers make the effort to simulate the progression of very specific military units and technologies, it is extremely disappointing to allow a single unit to defending Stalingrad against a single German Panzer unit in the vast adjacent hex, as the unnecessary over-simplification of the military conflict completely breaks immersion of the simulation.

  • After decades wasted, I’m finding it much more financially lucrative to strategorize how to just crush your real world job. It’s kinda the same brain processes really. Or you could just crush this instead.

  • A few bugs here and there needs to be patched, but it seems to be rather successful release on that front. I’ve seen both side of the same arguments : some are saying all base systems are there, no need for a DLC; while other says the exact opposite. I’m leaning toward the former, but it’s not argument I would lose sleep over.

    No coop multiplayer disappoiting, but not a deal breaker. It was fun in Civ5 to pre-set teams, maybe do something like a 2x2x2x2 game for a different spin. I was surprised the game doesn’t support Steam Workshop, it is a step back for a game series that usually been modded quite heavily by the community.

    My personnal experience with the game is okay. Game is fine, but I’m missing a hook somewhere and I can’t find what it is. My urge is to play just one more turn is weaker than usual. Could be related to the fact I’d like to play way too many games at the moment and can barely sit more than one hour in front of my computer on most days.

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