Civilization VI


Thanks for that write up Strato.

I think my problem with getting a domination victory is that I usually delay getting any type of military for quite a long time, so I start off behind and then really need to crank out units. But, I also keep going down the science victory path as a ‘back up’. I never fully commit to the military side of things. I was close in my last game as Genghis, and took out 2 Civs fairly fast. The next was even pretty close with their capital on the coast right next to me but I just never pulled the trigger. Then the thought of needing to travel by sea and fight to the middle of the continent just made by go science victory.

I was afraid anything put standard speeds would screw up the Age system. Still, it way be worth trying for the reasons you mention.


Oh, man, I loved that script! Next best thing to actually playing Imperialism 2!



I was having a really good time with this game until the end-game hit. The problems that stopped me from playing at launch still seem present, though the religion spam isn’t nearly as bad as it was then. The biggest problems are two fold.

1 - The AI, which was keeping up pretty well in the early game, fell behind in every category to me and I’m not doing much more than “guessing” every time I build something in a city. I have no real plan, I just go “well, maybe a … theater district then?” and plop one down. Still winning handily in every category except religion (which I initially ignored and as such never got to found one) though.

2 - This is related to one but is also my biggest pet peeve with games like this, but this is extra egregious. Diplomacy. My level of immersion and fun is directly related to the players in the game, and it started early when I (up thread) complained that two long time friends had just decided to not be friends for no reason (hell, I’d even liberated and returned on of their cities) and now, playing as I am I find because Sumeria attacked me THREE times (and the third time I conqured him) I guess I’m a Warmonger so Persia was suddenly angry with me. Ooookay… should I just let Sumeria attack and not fight back then? WTF? That “you are a warmonger” nonesense bugged me at launch and it still drives me crazy.

But then just a little bit ago while I’m at peace with everyone (even Khan) they just declare war at me for no reason - they don’t even have an army that can come close to facing mine (see point 1, above; I have tanks and choppers and missile rockets and they have catapults and knights, for crying out loud).

Just look at these numbers, there is no good reason being presented to me the player to explain why civs I have been friends and allies with in the past would suddenly just declare war.

I don’t mind the $25 I spent on the expansion, it scratched a turn-based strategy itch and got me back into a game I generally enjoy, but this game is straight up fucking broken in my opinion, at least the deeper into a game you get.


Have had those seemingly random declarations of war against me too. It is one of the low points of the game.


That is the kind of stuff that keeps me from enjoying Civ. The AI just makes no sense on so many levels and its easy to beat once you get past the early game. That is like the only place you will lose. Once you get several cities established and defended, you have won the game. It doesn’t matter if you are still in the stone age, you have already won and its just a matter of time.

It makes matters even worse when the decisions the AI makes are incomprehensibly bad.


The AI should at least ask itself if it has the means, motive, and opportunity to wage a war.

Do I have a large enough military to conquer the opponent’s cities and adequately defend my territory?

Do I have a reason to do go to war (cut them down to size, I don’t have room to expand via settler anymore, my personality dictates it for other reasons, etc)?

Can I reach them with my military? Are they in a weakened state being in another war so now is my chance?

It’s the lack of motive that drives my crazy the most. Why would you declare war on me when there’s dozens of empty available city locations in between us and our relations are non-negative? Instead of throwing cannon fodder at my cities for my archers to level up on, they could have just been built a couple settlers, some workers, and had oodles of defenders.

These are solvable problems, its just basic weights the AI should measure.


I recommend the CQUI mod (once they’ve fixed it). It really helps to make the diplomatic relationships clearer - not that they make much sense even then.

The big takeaway I got from it is how much the warmonger penalty affects everything. Despite that they’ve already toned it down from the original vanilla release.

In particular, you get a relationship penalty with every civ you’ve met not only when you declare war, but also every single time you conquer a city. This makes it so that as soon as you start on the warpath, there’s pretty much no coming back ever. Everyone else will hate you almost no matter what you do from now on, or have done in the past.

It seems that multiplayer is by far the best way to go with this game… shame they haven’t added good multiplayer support. Check out for an AAR of a really good multiplayer game.


Yeah, that’s almost certainly true. We’ve said here and I’ve heard it elsewhere but I don’t think Firaxis has any desire/concern to make the AI “good” or engaging. It just needs to be present for most of the gamers that play Civ, I guess.

I always have so much fun in the first 2-3 hours of a new game, which is why it’s such a shame about the late (or even mid) game. I probably won’t bother finishing my Netherlands game either, between quitting in irritation/frustration last night and now Stellaris out in an hour. A shame, but like I said I don’t actually regret the $25 investment since I got about 8 hours of decent fun out of it, and hey, maybe someday they will make the AI a little more engaging and I can enjoy a full game? Anything is possible*.

*Likely with mods.


[quote=“Scott_Lufkin, post:3180, topic:78555”]
I always have so much fun in the first 2-3 hours of a new game
[/quote] I agree. I don’t think it would be hyperbole to say that the early stages of this game, with the Rise and Fall expansion, provides the best gaming experience I have every had.

And luckily for me, I have an extremely low drive to completion. If I like a movie or a book or a sporting match, and then I lose interest, I feel zero compunction about walking away. And that’s how it is for me with this game. I’ve had several incredibly good games, but I finished only the first one, and that was to check out the theory that the late game is much better now. Once I get to the point where it doesn’t matter what I build in this city, where I send my trader… I hit escape, go to the main menu, and decide which civ to play as next. On these terms, I am finding the game more addictive than crack cocaine.

[quote=“Scott_Lufkin, post:3175, topic:78555”]
Just look at these numbers, there is no good reason being presented to me the player to explain why civs I have been friends and allies with in the past would suddenly just declare war.
[/quote] I know what you mean, and I have certainly scratched my head at some AI decisions. But anyone who knows history knows that real life is loaded with crazy decisions.

In real life, a lot of stuff happens because of religion or political system or internal politics or alliance blocs or “we are strong enough to do it” – and so often, one of those, for whatever reason, trumps everything else including the rest of the list. “You did us a huge favor a hundred years ago” counts a lot, except when it doesn’t.

I think that one of Civ’s big mistakes is presenting that diplomacy screen with all the factors quantified, because quantification encourages the notion that it can all be toted up in some exact way. This probably goes too far in other aspects of the game as well, but at least in those areas it isn’t false advertising, next turn’s technological progress really will be the sum total of those beakers. But with diplomacy, not so much. I suspect that “allied with enemy” counts a ton more than -3… which has some claims to realism.

Actually, my biggest complaint with Civ diplomacy is not that it leads to irrational AI civs, but rather that it continues a gaming fiction that diplomacy is mostly about horse trading, when, in truth, it is mostly about communication. You want me to promise not to settle near you, but you aren’t saying what “near you” means? You want me to commit to addressing an emergency by taking “certain cities” from the Aztecs, but you aren’t going to tell me until after I have committed which cities those are? Although my neighbor can tell me that it matters to him that I get units away from his border, but I cannot tell him that it matters that he get his units away from mine?

Real life diplomacy is first and foremost about communication, such that each nation knows the others’ core interests, and thus avoid inadvertent disaster. Civ makes sure that such communication cannot happen, and I believe that is because, behind the curtain, the goal is to prevent real life diplomacy, because in truth they are instigating trouble, because that is what is entertaining.

Of course, the other thing, the elephant in the room, is that a game where “you” and these other leaders remain in place for thousands of years, through entirely different government types and philosophical eras… this makes realistic international relations impossible. Not to mention that some big international events are remembered for centuries while others are forgotten in a decade.


I can totally understand this, and agree with it, but for the fact that I really like the idea of Spys, and stuff like having carriers, and tanks and jets and rangers and the cool late game stuff. It sucks I never really see that because of how boring/nonsensical the game gets after the Classic Era.


Your larger point about diplomacy is probably true. But I also want Civ to be like a board game, but played with people. I think of them more like players that also selected a “leader” and as such I expect them to have the same “voice” the entire game, same as I do. I don’t really want a history simulator, I suppose if I did I could play EU4. Which, I’ve tried, and it’s neat but not what I would call “fun”.


I expect this is because the overall game is designed to “engage” the player. If nothing much is happening for a couple of turns in a row and the system registers that you haven’t been forced to make any major decisions, it might well decide to start a random war. A stated design principle of recent Civ games is to require players to make significant decisions every turn if possible. But of course forcing the player to deal with a vapid, meaningless war is worse than no decision at all.


I disagree strongly with this viewpoint, because I want Civ to be a strategy game rather than a historical simulation. Accurate information is critical to formulating a good strategy.

And we’ve already seen what happens when you don’t provide the diplomatic numbers with an AI of this quality - in the original release of Civ V. The diplomacy there came across as essentially random.

Instead we have a system where the AI makes poor decisions and weighs certain past actions massively too heavily in its relationships. It does have a fair degree of randomness in its decision-making process too. But at least you know why it likes or dislikes you, and what you can do to improve your relationship.

You could start the game in a later era. No idea how well that works.


It’s a decent idea, but I really don’t like starting in the middle of a game in-progress, that’s always bugged me for some reason. I love starting from scratch and building my own empire.


That’s exactly how I approach it. I’ve finished one game since R&F released, and I’m in various stages of completion in many others. I’m having an absolute blast.

I find it interesting far past the Classical Era. I have a Deity game right now in which I’m far behind heading into the Medieval Era. I can’t beat Deity as early as the Classical Era, even if I warmonger, and as long as I’m behind, I’m interested. My one finished R&F game, as Scotland, was interesting and competitive well into the Modern Era. My biggest war was my infantry and tanks vs their infantry and tanks. After that I pulled ahead in every category except religion, and it became much less interesting.

If the concern is that Deity is too much of a bum-rush at game start, one can download Smoother Difficulty to give the AI fewer bonuses at game start and more bonuses as the game goes along. Or just build tons 'o archers at game start, ride out the initial rush, and go from there; that’s what I’ve been doing.

I hear you on this. In the real world, diplomatic relations aren’t on a 2D numberline from -20 to +20; they’re 3D chess. Civ tries to add that third dimension by giving the leaders personalities and agendas, but you still sometimes get seemingly random declarations of war, particularly “formal joint war.” I’m guessing they’re going to patch the overly-frequent “formal joint wars” soon, as that’s one of the most common complaints about R&F.

That said, apart from that, I find the diplomacy much improved in R&F – once you get to the Medieval Era and beyond. You can’t get Alliances until all parties have the Civil Service civic, a medieval-era civic. I find Alliances really make diplomacy more enjoyable and reliable. For the most part, once I’m allies with someone, I’m allies with them the whole game if I want. Of course, I’m free to backstab that ally once our current 30-turn alliance treaty expires, but players seem to get furious if AIs do the same thing against us. :)


In that case, yeah, the game would be very frustrating for you. I’ve had hundreds of hours of intense fun with this game, but very, very little of it involved any of the late game stuff.


I don’t really consider military/domination victory as a switch that is as simple as turning on and pursuing when I start a game. It is more a conditioning that has happened over many games of Civ, beginning at Civ II. In fact, Civ II ingrained in me a number of bad habits that I had to overcome thanks to the bonuses I relied on from playing on the easieist difficulties. Civ IV is when I started to truly challenge myself. Like many I believe, I started off as a builder, rarely declaring war and just shooting for space race. Then I moved onto the higher difficulty levels of Civ IV where a warmonger on the border wouldn’t waste any time declaring war when they saw weakness in military strength. Over time, that need to develop a military for defence adapts and changes to developing a balanced military for a nation. Not much point defending if the AI will go ahead and raze those valuable cottage improvements that take time to grow and develop. If an expansionist AI hems me in early and chokes my capacity to progress scientifically, then suddenly those standing units have a reason to mobilise in order to maintain my competitiveness. Get on a good enough roll, (eg: aggressive leaders in Civ IV) and domination is a pathway that has presented itself as a natural progression with the game. City raiding swordsmen become city raiding macemen -> muskets and rifles, and by that stage, those promotions are no longer available to gunpowder units, so upgrading is the only way. And they become awfully good at conquering cities.

My current Civ VI game as France, I hadn’t even thought about domination victory, yet I’d conquered a relatively large American nation by the dawn of the Renaissance era. I started the game thinking I wanted to be small and tall and make good use of France’s culture plus get busy with spies, an often overlooked part of my games.

My first war came within the first 20 turns. An Aztec settler hacking his way through the dense jungles came face to face with my wandering warrior. Pleasantries were exchanged, then I declared war to capture the settler. Better in my hands than his. The settler wasn’t completely unescorted! There was an eagle warrior one tile behind. All I had to do was defend the initial attack then I’d be fine and I had a second city up quickly. We peaced out amicably and life went on. Even allies now oddly enough.

My second war was when Teddy chose to attack and capture a neighbouring city state (Toronto). That presented me with an emergency - valuable gold. It was easily within reach so I figured why not. I already had a number of archers built and so I started my attempts to reclaim Toronto. Here begins the sad tale of a sad AI. Teddy had me concerned when he rolled in catapults. I was going to lose one of my cities! A catapult, an archer and a warrior all met outside the city of Lyon to change its allegiance while my troops to the south slowly whittled down the city defences of Toronto. I was able to defeat the warrior thanks to a small contingent I had to the north that was initially travelling south (an archer and a warrior) before I called them back.

In the time it took for the rest of my army to return and push back the paltry American army my archer stood at full health in a city that had for consecutive turns been reduced to zero health. There wasn’t a unit that could actually take the city. The archer killed the opposing archer and was steadily damaging the catapult. My army returned in time to defeat a chariot and another catapult, and from there, I believe the American army was spent.

I returned to Toronto, liberated it for ~3000 gold and used that money to upgrade to crossbowmen. My army of 3 catapults, 6 crossbows, 1 spearman and 2 swordsmen then went through and removed America from the map. I scored myself a couple of free wonders, 6 cities and following my extended peace, shifted to the tech leader and culture leader in the game. I lost zero units.

I could easily continue my conquest but it takes too long to move and fight. Plus I’d rather keep my warmonger penalty low so I don’t get the diplomacy screen every few turns from a leader denouncing me. Back to my original point. My belief is that warmongering just happens. As another example, my game as Alex in Civ VI, it encouraged me to build an army thanks to their unique encampment building and I had a greedy Montezuma forward settling, so why not push out and capture some cities. Except it was all too easy in that instance and I chose to keep going.


I agree that warmongering is sometimes an opportunity to present itself, but I think it takes an concerted effort to get the domination victory (at least on a standard sized map or larger). On smaller maps it is easier for a more organic path to domination to occur.

In my last game, as the Mongols, I started off thinking maybe I’d try for domination. Who better to spread a wave of death across the landscape! So I did go out looking to start wars with my neighbors, who I took over.

Once I realized I’d have to fight from the coast and work inland for 2 of the other civs my desire to get domination drained away. I probably could have done it, razing cities on my way so I wouldn’t need to hold them - but the path of least resistance at that point was to go for the science win. I was ahead in that area so there was little risk in getting beat. I just kept an eye on the religion and culture leaders to make sure they didn’t get close, which they didn’t.


The individual war declarations make sense, it’s the joint ones that are kinda weird. It’s more like a real game where people gang up to steal your clay, either because you’re in the lead or because you make an easy target.

Also, I started using Shuffle map option and it gave back a lot of fun.


Me too. Probably 3/4 of the games I played ended up being on that.

See I liked the spaciousness of Civ IV. The obsession of something happening on every tile takes away from the feeling of vast expanses. That’s another reason I still prefer the way Age of Wonders 1 was presented vs. all the others.