Civilization VI

I’ve been playing since CivNet way back when. Civ6 has by far been the worst iteration of the series for me. I really liked Civ5, put thousands of hours into it. Didn’t mind the brain-dead AI with 1UPT… but Civ6 just feels soulless to me. Just a series of design decisions that are supposed to make the game interesting, but don’t feel cohesive or fun. Districts, for example, I find to be extremely tedious - having to predict bonuses 100+ turns in advance. Missionary spam, AI that settle every tiny spot on the map… just hated it.

Just isn’t good to me. Maybe the whole formula has gone stale for me.

That’s probably my biggest complaint about it. Having my 300BC ruler deciding where to place an industrial district so that in the Industrial Age, 1000 years later, the coal plant I build there will overlap with that of a nearby city completely breaks immersion for me.

Reading this, I realize that although I agree with you that planning 1000 years out is ridiculous, it doesn’t bother me. I actually like the district system. And I ask myself why I don’t mind the absurdity and realize – I do not take this game or any of the similar games seriously as historical recreation.

Back when I was playing the original Civ, I expected and experienced immersion, to the point that I would go around thinking “grasslands” or “plains” traveling as I hiked or drove through real life locations. It was part of the magical glow of the game. And as much as I loved the gaming experience, I muttered over the failures of the tech tree, how particular advances did not really rely on their “pre-requisites.” And on the idea that luxuries were always the keys to a happy populace.

But that kind of immersion is long gone for me, but in all similar games. I think my breaking point was the idea that various civs start with and always possess innate traits. This is a terrible series of fallacies, not only that from prehistory there was an English people, but that something in their stock determined that they would be great seafarers and industrialists, and that they needed to find some coastal spots for cities. As opposed to the truth, that their location and other twists of history pushed them into these directions.

In the original Civ, Russia might have always been aggressive, but it got no concrete advantage or disadvantage, nor did your own civ. However, as the series and the entire genre matured, it became the convention to pretend otherwise. So no one raises an eyebrow at the idea that it’s sure lucky that the real life Kongolese found the jungle and the Scythians found the plains, because they never could have survived if it had been the other way around.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. After all, ancient people did not know the future value of various resources. And much the same kinds of objections can be made to other gaming genres and entertainment genres. (Police and detective shows are packed with ridiculous conventions.) But for me, this made true historical immersion increasingly impossible, and I long ago quit looking for it. It’s always just a set of fun (or not so fun) toys to play around with, and from where I sit, it appears some players are looking for tile puzzles to ponder and others are looking for battles to fight.

But my point is that your post reminds me that my acceptance of Civ 6 as good light fun is really just my acceptance of how far the entire genre has fallen from my original hopes for it. From what I am hearing, Victoria 3 is trying to backpedal in a neighboring genre. We’ll see how that goes over.

This is the thing that I think killed VI entirely for me. What an incredibly un-fun mechanic. For me it’s not the immersion-breaking thing – I have always leaned toward the spreadsheet/optimization side of things in Civ, so whatever – but needing to know specific behaviors about specific improvements later in the game is just awful gameplay. The Coal Plant thing is a great example, or literally everything about Neighborhoods, or whatever the dumbass tourism thing is.

Civ has always been about spinning plates and guns-or-butter prioritization, but in VI it becomes nothing but plate-spinning and counting hexes to make sure you don’t plant a landmine you’re destined to step on in 150 turns. No thanks.

Which is all a shame, because there’s a lot of really great work in individual pieces of Civ VI. The art is absolutely fabulous. The UI is gorgeous (my goodness, it’s just A+ fantastic). Probably some other things that I’m not thinking of because I wrote the game off years ago, heh.

It’s funny how we all have different things that just kill games for us. I don’t share the AI complaint about V, f’rex, so I’ve enjoyed the hell out of my thousands of hours there. Others in this thread don’t mind the district thing in VI, so they are able to have a ton of fun with it.

Some of you are wrong, of course, but what can you do? :D

This is why I think it works best in turn-a-day multiplayer. There’s plenty of time to devote to thinking about what you’re going to do every turn, and no next turn to go straight on to if you finish quickly.

In a regular single-player game, I can’t bring myself to consider it anything like that deeply, especially as it doesn’t really matter that much as I’ll have left the AI in the dust well before factories and coal plants are a possibility.

Do you have multiple games going at once in that scenario? You raise a really good point, but I feel like I would lose interest quickly.

Just the one, but I had a forum to report my thoughts and strategies to, which made me think even more about what I was doing and why.

Yes to the plate spinning and ridiculous 1000+ year advanced district planning requirements.

The more I look back on it, the more that all the appeal of Civ 6 was just an illusion. The whole appeal was just the “ding, gratz” dopamine dose for a “bell ring” achievement bonus. Eureka achievement? Ding. District adjacency bonus? Ding. A complete museum artifact set? Ding.

Thinking about it, I don’t think I can name one single positive about Civ 6 that wasn’t one of those cheap thrill ding rewards. Really, that’s all the game is. Take those out, and you have a game that’s nothing but frustration and disconnected mechanics that don’t add up to anything at best and outright fail at worst. If you took the great person slingshot mechanic out of Civ 4, you’d still have a great and rewarding strategy game. Take the equivalents out of Civ 6, and you have nothing but a headache inducing version of Empire Deluxe.

I have only played through one full game of Civ 6 so far, but I really do not like the district and great person mechanics. They seem like adding complexity for complexity’s sake and don’t really add much to the enjoyment of the game. I also don’t care much for many of the expansions mechanics (like governors).

I’m curious, what are good alternatives to Civ nowadays? I know there have been a bunch of new 4X games coming out in the last few years, but haven’t had the chance to look very closely at them.

I’m not sure I understand you here. It’s fairly normal for games to reward progress by telling you you’ve made progress. Is the problem then that the bonuses are large enough that you need to make sure to chase them if you want to play well, thus driving your strategy rather than allowing you to choose your own strategic goals in a more freeform manner?
If so, I certainly agree with this assessment, when contrasted against Civ IV. There I guess most of the big moments were new techs unlocking new things, but I never felt railroaded into a particular route through the tech tree. Instead the situation in the game determined the best strategy to take out of many viable ones.

Old World is probably your best bet from what I’ve seen. For all that it has its flaws, it has the longest Chick parabola of any 4x game I’ve tried in a while.

Can you elaborate a bit on what you don’t like about the great person mechanics?

I agree with the general complaints in this thread on the districts. As much as I like some of the city building moving out onto the map(and seemingly every 4X designer has decided this is a good idea) the adjacency bonuses are too complex and ideal placement is based on bonuses unlocked further down the tech tree that the UI doesn’t clue you in on. Humankind falls into this a fair amount too with how dependent on various bonuses their districts are, but you’re a lot less locked in to your choices in that one. My hope for Civ 7 would be that they keep something like districts but completely rethink bonuses for them.

I’m also with you on the governors, but that also feels like something that could be good but just isn’t in its current form.

I think the attitude towards districts depends on how much of an optimizer you are. I don’t min/max my way through Civ VI and so the fact that my district placement winds up being suboptimal because haven’t done the thousand turn lookahead doesn’t bother me. With that, it gets hard to play at higher difficulty levels but being stuck at emporer doesn’t bother me.

There’s a lot of systems in Civ VI and their interaction can end up proving huge advantages (or exploits idepending on how you view it). For example, if you decide to enable heroes and legends mode, getting Sindbad generates a ton cash, and if you’ve managed to build the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and grab the Great Engineer Shah Jahan, you can basically instabuild two wonders with cash.

I’m the same way. While I’m playing the game this whole district optimization thing doesn’t bother me at all. But when I consider it from a game design perspective it’s just bad design. The capacity to min/max this stuff exists, but it’s based on knowing what’s coming further down the tech tree. So either you have to memorize that or go hunting for the information and then do some work to count tiles and make sure you’re hitting it right.

Is there anyone from Firaxis on this forum? I have an issue with phantom MP play-by-cloud games still being registered on their servers that’s preventing me from hosting new MP PBC games. I haven’t found a way to contact Firaxis to help resolve this issue. I figured the games would eventually time out, but they haven’t.

I made 2K aware of the bug that’s causing these phantom games and they said they forwarded the bug to the dev team (but it still exists). I’m more than happy to work 1-on-1 with a Firaxis employee to resolve this.

Yeah, we’ve seen a lot of weird MP stuff the last few months as well…to the point that we’ve almost totally abandoned it.

Finally picked this up during a sale (minus the last DLC, which didn’t seem to be rated too well anyway), and I’m curious about city spacing and districts - should I be prioritizing standard tile upgrades like mines, farms, etc, or go for districts asap, and second, since you can now buy tiles, how far apart roughly should my cities be?

The last dlc provided a bunch of alternate ways to look at the game. I found it to be of value, but then civ6 is one of my goto comfort games.

You don’t want to improve tiles that you’re not working. Improving tiles that you are working ramps you up just that much faster.

I don’t think you have to choose between districts and tile improvements. You need both.

I settle cities as tight as the map allows me too. More cities is (almost always) a good thing.

Frankly, I would settle the cities more tightly than the map allows if I could, but I can’t so I don’t.

I find city spacing to be very situational. Sometimes I look and see plenty of tiles for distric finets and resource gathering, so placing a city the minimum 4 tiles away is. Other times, one or both cities will be squished for food gathering, etc. unless I place them 6-6 tiles apart. And then there are those times I choose the location largely based on blocking competitors from an area of the map.

btw, the ability to buy tiles is of limited value. Great if you see a great tile that will really help the city, but you’re going to blow through your gold really fast if do this indiscriminately. Cost scales up with time.

Seems funny to me to be starting this game all these years later. It’s my favorite game and like a blanket from my childhood at this point. Lucky for me a mod I installed stopped Steam from counting hours of game time.

On that note, do subscribe to the “Civ 5 environment skin” as it gives the game a more mature look with better landscapes.

The basic advice above is good. To me the main point is try not to fall into the min/maxing perfect play trap, where you restart 67 times because you don’t like the starting location, rip your hair out thinking of future district adjacency etc. It’s not worth it, the game’s not hard in general, and ‘perfect play’ along with ‘tactics use tactics!!’ will lead to frustrations.

Focus on food to get your cities above 3-4 population, then focus more on production and whatever seems appropriate (harbour, university, etc). Spacing wouldn’t worry about. Plains hills make good City spots.

Thanks for the heads-up about the Environment Skin: Sid Meier’s Civilization V. I did not know it existed and I believe it will improve my Civ6 gaming experience.

Here is a video about the skin: