So I’ve been thinking about this.
I like many, most, maybe even all of the individual mechanics of Civ VI. Districts, the most visible, are a cool way to branch city specialization, and they feel cool to use.
But I’m not convinced they’re right for the game.
City placement has worked really well as a problem to solve since Civ III, where you’re trying to balance hammers/food/commerce and snag resources and use land efficiently and sometimes create defensible military and cultural borders. That’s 3 variables to solve for, and it works great.
Adding districts, adjacency bonuses, and (ugh) Wonder tile requirements adds another axis to the problem, and a lot of it isn’t visible or at least presented to the player on the screen (main map, maybe with resource/output overlays) when you’re solving that problem. Plus the impact of the decision is delayed for up to hours and hours of gameplay, when you find out a thousand years later that you don’t have a good spot for an industrial zone or whatever.
God forbid you ever want to build a National Park.
Fundamentally, you’re over-complicating a problem that was already at a good (possibly ideal) complexity state in favor of adding a mechanic that’s cool in a vacuum, but ends up not really adding much other than forcing certain cities to develop along certain lines (if you’re trying to play optimally) and weighting the map RNG more heavily in determining the game’s development and outcome.
Oh for god’s sake, I forgot about the totally opaque scaling of district costs that still doesn’t make any damn sense to me. I guess it’s to punish wide empires? But in a way that literally isn’t presented to the player until you realize that the harbor you’re trying to build in Liverpool is going to take 30 turns to build for some damn reason. Yeah, nice work there.