Ever since Sid Meier’s “Civilization VI” was announced in May, I have been ready to conquer the world, and on Oct. 21 I was finally able to do so.
The Sid Meier’s Civilization (Civ) series has been around since 1991, with its roots beginning in the “Civilization” board game, which physics teacher Glenn Mangold lets the freshmen play every year on PSAT day.
In the game, players start as a civilization (such as Egypt, the Iroquois or Japan) and travel from the Stone Age to the Modern Era and even into the future. Along the way players interact with other civilizations through war and diplomacy.
I first played “Civ V” when I got it for Easter one year. Now, almost three years later, I am more than 600 hours into the game and counting. I guess you could call it one of my favorites.
“Civ VI” is also on its way to being one of my most cherished games. In many ways, “Civ V” was much more straightforward. Relations with other rulers were just too simple. The inability to have a casus belli (reason to go to war) made every war you fought a war of aggression with no redemption in the other civilization’s eyes.
To put it briefly, the new game is similar to “Civ V” but a bit more complex and improved in many ways. Workers act differently than they did in V. In V, a worker could build as many farms, roads or forts as the player desired. The only drawback was it took a certain amount of turns until they were completed. Now workers can build a set number of improvements instantly, changing the way players use workers entirely.
Culture in the Civilization series is a number of cultural points you get per turn. Constructing wonders and other buildings give you more culture every turn. Culture in V was awarded when players gained a certain amount of culture points. Once they had enough culture they, could “unlock” a cultural policy of their choice from one of the Policy Trees. These Policy Trees are different cultural ideas from history such as Rationalism (which focuses on science), Honor (which focuses on warfare) and Aesthetics (which focuses on culture).
In “Civ VI,” culture points now move players along the Civics Tree (which is the Technology Tree but with culture). Now, if you do not know what the Technology Tree is, it is basically a “tree” of technologies that lead from one technological advancement to another. If you research “the Wheel,” it unlocks “Horseback Riding” and “the Wheel.” This system is brilliantly historically accurate because it stops people from researching “Lasers” without their civilization knowing about “Writing.”
The Civics Tree acts like technologies where you “research” Civics and it takes a certain number of turns to unlock the specified “civic.” Now players can unlock wonders (like the Great Library and Hagia Sophia), buildings and units (traders and warriors) with culture.
One of the new game’s drawbacks is its levels of difficulty. In “Civ V” Level One “Settler” difficulty programmed the game to give out detriments – such as having to research technologies for longer amounts of time and longer building times – to one’s competitors, effectively crippling them for most of the game. These difficulties were designed for newcomers so they would learn the game and be able to handle better-equipped Artificial Intelligence (AI). In “Civ VI”’s Settler difficulty, the AI opponents were at most one to two technology eras behind me, meaning I would be in the Modern Era while they were in the Industrial Era. Of course, this is probably because I am new to the game and wasn’t maximizing my city’s production.
Nonetheless, “Civ VI” is more difficult, which means that if someone is interested in the Civilization franchise, I would recommend starting with V instead.
But overall this is an incredibly good game that I will be playing long after this review. Like the rest of the Civilization series, “Civ VI”’s replayability is way higher than other games.
But I wouldn’t recommend this game to everyone. A person who loves fast-paced, first-person shooters (FPSs) such as “Destiny,“ narrative-based games such as “Abzu“ or exploration games such as “No Man’s Sky” would consider “Civ VI” a waste of money.
The people who would enjoy “Civ VI” are experienced players of strategy games, those who are veterans of the Civilization series or those who have played any of the Paradox Interactive games.
So if you love history and/or strategy, this is the game for you.
—By Spencer Scott