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Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass – Is it worth it?

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Firaxis Games has released the Maya and Gran Colombia Pack, the first DLC that’s included in Civilization VI‘s New Frontier Pass. The season pass is expected to provide long-time fans with additional content every two months all the way to 2021. But, the question is: Is it worth it? Here are some impressions.

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Note: For more information, check out our Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass guides and features hub.

Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass impressions – Gran Colombia and Simon Bolivar

Gran Colombia is the first civ we’ll tackle in Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass. Led by the liberator Simon Bolivar, you’re poised to conquer the land by way of your additional movement speed (for all units) and free Comandante Generals (unique Great Generals) each time you progress to a new era.

These two uniques already make Gran Colombia playthroughs quite a breeze especially on deity difficulty. I can partially consider them a top-tier civ, though that may change in due course since I still need to play some of the older ones that have been introduced in Civilization VI‘s base game and expansions.

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Rounding out their uniques capabilities are the Llanero (a cavalry replacement which benefits from Comandante General active usage and other Llaneros) and the Hacienda unique improvement. The latter took me a while to develop properly since it required several plantations to maximize boosts. However, I need not have worried since Simon Bolivar and Gran Colombia could easily cruise through most Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass campaigns thanks to rapid expansion and domination-oriented gameplay.

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My experience with the Maya and Lady Six Sky

In sharp contrast to an easier run with Gran Colombia, the Mayans led by Lady Six Sky were more complicated than they should be. This is primarily due to their uniques: the Mayab (ability), the Ix Mutal Ajaw (leader), and the Observatory (district).

The Maya gain no housing from freshwater or coastal sources, and you’ll need farms for that. Additionally, their Observatory district has no innate science yields from the terrain. Instead, you’ll want farms, plantations, or other districts to provide these extra boosts. The biggest issue, though, is the requirement for proper city placement. Non-capital cities within six tiles gain bonus yields, but those beyond that incur significant penalties.

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The double hexagonal geometry (seen above) is the ideal placement of cities for the Mayan Empire in Civilization VI‘s New Frontier Pass. It’s also one of the toughest ones to get perfectly because the following can happen:

  • As you explore, you’ll find that you’re near the coast and thus you’re prevented from expanding towards that direction.
  • City-states or other civs may have popped up, preventing you from settling new cities unless you go to war.
  • Terrain features such as mountains or lakes won’t allow you to plop down new cities.
  • There aren’t enough resources that allow plantations to be built, severely limiting the science output of your Observatory district.
  • There aren’t enough flat grassland or plains tiles for your farms (for housing and Observatory boosts).

While it’s true that you can still manage to complete deity victories even when you don’t have the ideal setup, the whole overreliance on RNG factors can be a severe problem for the Maya. I don’t think there’s ever been a single nation in Civilization VI (or previous games in the franchise) that has caused me to restart as often as the Maya. Thankfully, they civ is still well-suited for turtling and playing “tall.” If the stars align, you can snowball towards a clear scientific victory.

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Apocalypse Mode and the End of the World

Civilization VI’s Maya and Gran Colombia Pack also adds new natural wonders such as the Bermuda Triangle and the Fountain of Youth (no new man-made wonders though). Still, what can make you wonder in awe would be Apocalypse Mode. This game mode cranks up the disaster intensity level to 4 while ensuring that you’ll experience multiple comet strikes, meteor showers, volcanic eruptions, blizzards, and more.

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You could also recruit the Soothsayer unit using faith. The Soothsayer can cause natural disasters to occur (though there are some means to mitigate or even exploit them such as the Great Bath wonder and flood mitigation). Players can even participate in a contest to sacrifice as many friendly units to a volcano, then hunker down when severe climate change brings about the end of the world.

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Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass – Is it worth it?

Apocalypse Mode is an enjoyable romp, at least in short bursts. I’ve personally avoided extending my Civilization VI games beyond what can already constitute a victory and, as a consequence, I’ve rarely dealt with Gathering Storm‘s climate change theme, and I hardly bothered with late-game global destruction. Still, if you’re a fan of extreme conditions and extreme challenges, then the DLC’s Apocalypse Mode might entice you.

As for the two civs in the Maya and Gran Colombia Pack, both are unique and engaging to use in their own right. Gran Colombia is great for aggressive, domination-focused playstyles, and the Maya are best used by defensive-oriented strategists. Still, the DLC can be a bit pricey for just two civs and one game mode, especially if one civ (Maya) can be very hit or miss.

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In its entirety, it’s still too early to tell whether Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass will be worth your while. Remember, we’re expecting these season pass add-ons to be released every two months until next year (you can see the roadmap below). The next DLC set for July will be the Ethiopia Pack which, aside from providing a new playable nation, will also add “alternate personas” for  Teddy Roosevelt and Catherine de Medici.

Some fans might also prefer expansions that have all the content available immediately, such as Rise and Fall or Gathering Storm, as opposed to the New Frontier Pass‘ bimonthly content drops. Likewise, we can never truly tell if these civs and changes will keep everyone entertained for months. It’s possible that they’ll be just like Apocalypse Mode in that they’re only fun in short bursts.

Civ Vi Roadmap

Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass is available on Steam. The Maya and Gran Colombia Pack, already included in the season pass, can also be purchased separately. For more information, check out our guides and features hub.

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Jason Rodriguez
Jason Rodriguez is a guides writer. Most of his work can be found on PC Invasion (around 3,400+ published articles). He's also written for IGN, GameSpot, Polygon, TechRaptor, Gameskinny, and more. He's also one of only five games journalists from the Philippines. Just kidding. There are definitely more around, but he doesn't know anyone. Mabuhay!