The long-running Civilization series will be back with another entry on 21 October. Firaxis are at the development helm again, and the lead designer on Civilization VI is Ed Beach. He was the lead on the Civ V expansions Gods & Kings and Brave New World.
Last updated: 19 October.
You know how Civilization works, right? If not, here we go. It’s a turn-based strategy game in which you control one of Earth’s great nations, and guide your empire to lasting greatness through the stone age to space exploration. Research, diplomacy, warfare, and cultural expansion are all key factors in cementing your civilisation as the most glorious the world has ever known. If you’re still a bit unclear, good news, Civilization VI is claiming to have a brand new set of tutorials for those unfamiliar with the series.
There will be 20 different playable civilisations in Civilization VI, some of which are confirmed as being entirely new to the series. Here’s a list of the confirmed Civs to date, with extra details and preview trailers where available.
America: Leader – Teddy Roosevelt. Leader ability gives bonus tourism from national parks. Unique unit – P-51 Mustang.
Arabia: Leader – Saladin. Leader ability makes worship buildings cheaper to construct, and gives them bonuses to faith, science and culture. Unique unit – Mamluks.
Aztecs: Leader – Montezuma I. Leader ability enables individual luxuries to boost military power, and luxuries give amenities to extra cities. Unique unit – Eagle Warrior. These guys are a pre-order bonus Civ, but will be free to everybody 90 days after release.
Brazil: Leader – Pedro II. Leader ability reimburses some points spent on recruiting Great People. Unique unit – Minas Geraes.
China: Leader – Qin Shi Huang. Leader ability enables Builders to rush Wonders in the early (Ancient and Classical) eras. Unique unit – Crouching Tiger Cannon.
Egypt: Leader – Cleopatra. Leader ability boosts food at trade routes’ point of origin, and gold on outgoing routes. Unique unit – Maryannu War Chariot.
England: Leader – Victoria. Unique unit – England gets two, the Redcoats (who perform better on foreign soil) and the Sea Dog naval unit.
France: Leader – Catherine de Medici. Leader ability gives additional diplomatic information about every encountered Civ. Unique unit – Garde Impériale.
Germany: Leader – Fredrick Barbarossa. Leader ability gives an extra military policy slot, and gives military units a bonus when fighting City State units. Unique unit – U-Boat.
Greece: Leader – Pericles or Gorgo. Pericles’ Leader ability gives bonus culture for every city state Greece has ‘Suzerain’ control over. Gorgo’s gives bonus culture for every enemy unit destroyed in battle. Unique unit: Hoplites.
India: Leader – Ghandi. Leader ability gives Faith boosts for every Civ that has founded a religion and is at peace; also gives happiness penalties to any Civ attacking Ghandi. Unique unit – Varu (war elephants).
Japan: Leader – Hojo Tokimune. Leader ability makes naval units stronger in shallow waters, and land units stronger on coast-lines. Unique unit – Samurai.
Kongo: Leader – Mvemba a Nzinga. Leader ability gives free Apostle every time a Theatre District or M’banza (Kongo’s unique neighbourhood replacement) is built; he can use the Founder belief of any religion established in a majority of Kongo’s cities, but cannot build Holy Sites. Unique unit – Ngao Mbeba (Shieldbearers).
Norway: Leader – Harald Hardrada. Leader ability gives all of Norway’s naval units the ability to perform coastal raids. Unique unit – Berserker.
Rome: Leader – Trajan. Leader ability enables all Roman cities to start with a free building in their city center (most likely a monument). Unique unit – The Legion.
Russia: Leader – Peter the Great. Leader ability allows Science and Culture bonuses from trade routes with more advanced civs. Unique unit – The Cossack.
Spain: Leader – Philip II. Leader ability gives military units a bonus against forces from a different religious faith, and gives Inquisitor units an additional “remove heresy” function. Unique unit – Conquistador.
Scythia: Leader – Tomyris. Leader ability gives military units a bonus against wounded foes, and enables them to heal a little after each attack. Unique unit – Saka Horse Archer.
A couple of other Civs are still to be trailed in this manner.
Beach says they’ve tried to pick “fun and flavourful” leaders for each of the nations. Each AI leader will have a specific diplomatic agenda, based roughly on their actions in history. Cleopatra, for example, likes to ally with strong leaders. She attempts to prevent Egypt being conquered by powerful neighbours by befriending them first.
Cities and Districts
The hex grid is still in place for Civilization VI, and a new approach dubbed ‘unstacking the cities’ will force players to use the space around their urban areas for specific pursuits. There are twelve different ‘Districts’ that can be built outside cities, but there won’t be space for all of them around every one; so you’ll need to specialise. Each District type fulfills a different role, and can support up to three relevant buildings.
Those twelve Districts are: Aqueduct (for Growth), Airport (Tourism), Campus (for Science), City Center, Commercial Hub (Wealth/Gold), Encampment (Military), Entertainment Complex (Happiness), Harbour (Naval/Trade), Holy Site (Religion), Industrial Zone (Production), Theater Square (Culture), Spaceport (required for Science victory).
Thought needs to go into placement of districts, because when built in specific places they will confer bonuses. Religious sites, for example, appreciate seeing majestic mountains near them. And some buildings within Districts, like Pyramids, require specific tiles (in that instance, desert). It’s also necessary to keep in mind that districts are now rather vulnerable to attack because they’re external to your city’s core. Likewise, that’s worth keeping in mind for your own raids; pillaging a Campus, for instance, can earn you some research points.
Players can construct one District for every 3 Population a given city has. Districts and improvements provide additional housing, which in turn raise the Population cap. As the eras progress, farmland will gradually be replaced with suburban style “neighbourhoods”.
Workers have been replaced by Builders in Civilization VI. Builders construct projects immediately, but only have (by default) three ‘charges’ before they disappear.
Combat and City States
While cities are spreading out, units can actually be stacked a little more. Support units “like anti-tank support with infantry, or a warrior with settlers” can be embedded, and units of similar type can be combined (or stacked) to form a ‘Corps’ unit. The Corps stacks are available from around mid-game onwards. It’s possible in Civilization VI to organise units into formations allowing them to move across the map in unison (rather than moving them all one at a time). Civilian units (and escorts) can also be placed in formations.
It’s possible for Bomber units to destroy Districts and improvements. Other air combat is said to have been “redone” for Civilization VI, but specifics have not been released to date.
Those ever-present Barbarians now come in three environmental-influenced types: Naval, Mounted and Melee. Barbarians now send out scouts in order to locate targets.
City States (unaffiliated with any particular nation) return in Civilization VI, but will be “more streamlined”. Sending an envoy to a City State can trigger a related quest, and the more envoys you send, the greater influence you can exert over said City-State. Become friendly enough, and they may aid you in war. Or at least allow you to hire some of their troops in exchange for gold.
Civics and Government
Civilization VI replaces Social Policies with a Civics tree. Advancing along this tree will provide Civs with cards for the new ‘card deck’ style government page. On this page, the Civics cards (reflecting different military, economic, diplomatic, and ‘wildcard’ government policies) can be inserted into open slots.
Different government types (and sometimes bonuses from your Civ or Leader) will produce a different deck layout, opening or closing slots accordingly. Following the Civics tree unlocks these different types of government.
Confirmed government types to date (along with details where known) are: Autocracy (bonus to Melee unit strength), Chiefdom, Classical Republic (bonus to Amenities and Great People generation), Communism, Democracy, Fascism, Merchant Republic, Monarchy, Oligarchy (bonus to Capital yields and Wonder Production), Theocracy.
You can’t really have a Civilization game without Wonders, so it’s no shock that Civ VI will be including these most impressive of construction feats. Here are the Wonders confirmed so far, beginning with a few that also have trailers. Some of the buffs/bonuses etc are based on pre-release information, so may be subject to change.
The Oracle (+1 Culture, +1 Faith, +1 to Great Person points (all types) per turn. 25% less faith to earn patronage of a Great Person)
The Pyramids (+2 Culture, a free Builder, and all other Builders get an additional ‘charge’)
The Great Library (+2 Science, +1 Great Person (Scientist) point per turn, opens two Great Works of Writing slots)
The Eiffel Tower (All cities gain +2 Appeal)
Oxford University (Unknown effects at this time, maybe you get to recruit Inspector Morse)
Big Ben (+6 Gold, +3 Great Person (Merchant) points per turn, opens an additional economic policy slot, doubles your current treasury)
Petra (+2 Food, +2 Gold, and +1 Production on Desert tiles for related city)
Stonehenge (+2 Faith and a Great Prophet for free)
The Colossus (+1 Gold, +1 Great Person (Admiral) points per turn, grants an additional trade route and Trader)
The Great Lighthouse (+3 Gold, +1 Great Person (Admiral) points per turn, +1 movement for Naval units)
Terracotta Army (+2 Great Person (General) points per turn, all units gain an additional promotion upon completion, Civ with this Wonder can send Archeologist units into foreign territory without Open Borders agreement)
Hanging Gardens (+15% growth in cities)
Colosseum (+1 Culture, +1 Amenity for all cities)
Mahabodhi Temple (+4 Faith, +1 Great Person (Prophet) points per turn)
Huey Teocalli (+1 Amenity for each adjacent lake tile, +1 Food and +1 Production for every lake tile in your empire)
Venetian Arsenal (+2 Great Person (Engineer) points per turn, each time you train a Naval unit you get a second one free)
Chichen Itza (+2 Culture and +1 Production for every rainforest tile in the city)
Forbidden City (+5 Culture, one additional Wildcard policy slot)
Hagia Sophia (+4 Faith, +2 Great Person (Prophet) points per turn, Missionary and Apostle units get one additional ‘charge’)
Alhambra (+2 Amenities, +1 Great Person (General) points per turn, opens an additional military policy slot)
Mont St. Michel (+2 Faith, opens two relic slots, all Apostle units gain ‘Martyr’ ability)
In the early game of Civilization VI, all roads are built and established through your network of trade routes. New roads can be added once military engineers are researched and produced.
Civilization VI has a full day/night cycle, which can be left to its own devices, or customised to remain on your favourite time of day (sunrise, sunset, evening and so on). Once you reach the modern era, cities will display lights during night time.
Beach has specifically said that Civ V didn’t give enough love to those players who like to use a ‘true Earth’ map in the game. He’s stated there are plans to address this in VI, but has left the specifics vague for the time being.
New multiplayer modes will be coming to Civilization VI alongside the traditional, long-form competitive play. Details are a little scant at present, but apparently the game will let you “cooperate and compete with your friends in a wide variety of situations all designed to be easily completed in a single session.”
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As well as the standard game, Civilization VI also has a Digital Deluxe Edition featuring “the full base game, the 25th Anniversary Digital Soundtrack, and access to four post-launch DLC packs that will add new maps, scenarios, civilizations and leaders for a bundled discount.”