Civilization VI


Before I jumped back in, I watched Quill18’s 6-part video series explaining some of the stuff with Civ6 for “Beginners” (which, even though I’ve been playing Civ since the very week the first one came out, was still useful).

I came away thinking that this game is absolutely the platypus that dionisus describes. It’s like this game built by committees, with all these bolted on parts that never come together. And all the while, you’ve got some invisible hand in the background in a vaguely worded design document saying “make it a little more like EU4.”

That I guess is the biggest issue for me with Civ6. It wants to have complexity that its scope and mechanics aren’t meant for. EU4 is ground-up built to support the absurd level of detail it aims for. Civ6 isn’t anywhere near as detailed, but it makes all these swerves into complexity that simply do not work. This is a game that desperately needs to get back into its lane.


@robc04: Civ VI resources give +1 to a yield. In Civ IV they give +1 unimproved and then another +1 or +2 when improved.

When you consider that supporting a farmer costs approximately 2 food and 1 gold in Civ IV, a 6 food grassland wheat farm is much more than twice as good as the 3 food you’d get from the same tile without wheat. Resources are super powerful in the early game.


@dionisus1122 / @triggercut: Could you give some examples of gameplay systems that you feel are bolted on and don’t fit the core experience? (N.B. That is gameplay as opposed to AI behaviour.)

The obvious one to me is the implementation of religious combat. Religion itself is a really nice strategic mechanic: a big (and continuing) investment that gives access to a number of useful powers. Religious spread works quite well (albeit the UI is dreadful). But the religious combat mechanic (and hence the religious victory condition) is pretty horrible. And worse, if it’s going poorly you can just flip the table by declaring war and instantly destroying religious units with military ones.

Some of the diplomatic options fit that as well, but in isolation from the insanity of the AI they’re either fine (e.g. friendship) or irrelevant (e.g. casus belli, research pacts).


Everything about districts is the worst. Just embarrassingly bad design on all fronts.


So, It has been a couple years now, so forgive me if my memory is a little imprecise… a lot this is going to be based on feelings I remember from the time.

The city districts were not fun. I was excited when I first heard about it during the previews, but I found them to be a frustrating puzzle. It was difficult to plan the city itself, and the bonuses and the numbers that drove those bonuses seemed hidden away somewhere, so I was playing somewhat of a guessing game. In the end, the specialization of the cities didn’t make me feel any sense of attachment to them, and the specializations themselves felt trivial over the course of the game.

Diplomacy was an absolute mess. Allies going to enemies overnight. Non-sensical wars being declared. Ridiculous demands. None of these things are new for Civ per se, but it was like they were turned up to 11, and it all felt very gamey. Maybe that was just me being spoiled from EU4 where the numbers are so apparent.

Eureka moments sounded like this great, organic function when I heard the previews… something to help you focus on different paths in the tech tree based upon your environment. In practice I felt like it did the opposite and almost put every game on the same tech rails.

Religion is the worst offender, and you’ve noted the part that drives me bananas - religious combat. It feels meaningless, and the carpet bombing of religious units was a complete and utter turn off for me. I struggle to understand how something so obvious has never been fix (unless it has?). It was a bit of a problem in Civ5 as well, but Civ6 just makes it front and center of your busywork.

But overall, for me it was a feeling of a game where i was pushing buttons and pulling levers, but didn’t feel any particular interest in what was happening. Civ5, for all its warts, had that for me. Maybe it is the cartoony art design of 6 (do not like), or the flippant quotes on the tech screens - or perhaps it was the direction to go in more of a boardgamey direction rather than simulation…but for me, as a guy whose played 25 years of Civ games, it just didn’t work.


As y’all have mentioned, religion remains a mess. The way various elements feed into a single “amenities” rating sounds like an interesting idea, but ends up as more noisy busy stuff going on in implementation. Districts are awful, the attempt to make the game a city-builder light just feels like a poor direction and even worse implementation. Another thing I hate is the way the City State mechanic has evolved. When it was introduced in Civ 5, I was wary. What it is now is just awfulness. Maybe my least-favorite thing about the game now.

City States and emissaries and all the related crap about them represent a fundamental misunderstanding of what makes Civ fun. “Oh look, a really nice spot for a city. Genghis Khan, Victoria, Teddy Roosevelt and I are going to race to get it.” Nope! instead of that competition, instead it’s sending emissaries, trying to be suzerain and get the benefits. And…having a trade partner. It feels like the designers heard the Star Wars theme, saw the expository text crawl up the screen, and while sitting there in Phantom Menace thought “This is the best Star Wars ever. Let’s do that to Civ.”


What’s the Civ 6 equivalent of the best Jedi fight in the franchise though? At least TPM had that going for it.

I like the day/night cycle in Civ 6.

Oh! One more thing. The 2D map is almost, almost good enough to play on without ever touching the 3D map. Almost. It’s a bit stripped down, but in many ways I actually prefer it better. But sadly, no day/night cycle on the 2D map.

Of course to get that 2D map, you have to play Civ VI. Eh…


The Civ V community mod gets city states right. Gotta build a unit and send it to the CS to generate influence, rather than just dumping money. Oh and they have to be in trade or trade route range iirc. Actually results in natural spheres of influence. It’s great.


I was trying this out again about a week ago, and and this part of your post says everything about how I feel about Civ 6. I had no idea how I was doing, especially regarding tech. As others have posted, it also feels like a mish mash off systems - they really need to let someone with some unified vision just create their idea of Civ, for better or worse, from the ground floor. If you can’t make stuff like religion and espionage not a mess, just throw it it in the bin wholesale.

I hate to say stuff like this about the game, because I know a lot of the people who worked on it are great at design. It did not grab me two years ago, and it doesn’t grab me now. I really prefer Civ 5, warts and all.


What I take from this discussion, and from my own 100+ hours playing this hotseat with my partner who pretty much echoes @Nesrie’s and her sister experience, is that perhaps Firaxis would be for the better releasing “Civilization 4 Remastered” editions at regular intervals, as Microsoft did with Rise of Nations and tries to do with Age of Empires, and start from scratch new lines of games (strategy or otherwise).

I can’t help the feeling that the worst thing of Civ 6 (and Civ 5) is that the push for it to be perceived as a “new” thing is what utterly breaks the balance between the basic gameplay elements that Sid Meier put together 25 years ago.


For those of you who like 5, why do you like it better than 4? I’ve been playing quite a bit of 4 over the last couple months, so interested in the difference.


Honestly, I don’t play Civ games for a real challenge. I play them kind of as a world leader light RPG, and 5’s approach fits this semi-casual approach much better. In addition, the AI’s shortcomings (improved but not gone with all the mods) aren’t so acutely felt because it’s competent enough for my needs.


I am almost secretly praying that Thea 2 and Anno 1800 will release before she has the urge to ask me to play this game again. Since her SO proclaimed Thea his relationship killer, i have the highest hopes for that one.


Y’all are going to make me want to try Civ V with some sort of community ai patch or mod.


The AI mods are great. Civ5’s engine on the other hand… that thing is a ghastly pig. Won’t be too much of an issue if you’re sticking solely with singleplayer, which I presume to be the case.


Sadly there’s a vocal group in the community that equates more features with a better game. Firaxis seemed to find it very difficult to drop any headline feature at all between Civ V and Civ VI, even as they changed the design. Not all of those features fit well.

By comparison, I’m extremely impressed with current developments in Stellaris. Without even having to move to a sequel they have the vision to drop some gameplay systems that didn’t work well and replace them wholesale.


I’m willing to play a certain amount of slick-stupid Civ games instead of smart ones so long as the next turn button doesn’t make me wait forever. But Civ V and doubly so Civ VI cause excruciating waits because the stupid game insists on jiggling all the AI units around every turn even when they have no strategic place to go, and because the combination of bad pathing with no stacks means that the code wastes zillions of useless cycles every turn on just finding a place for all the units to fit. I can’t imagine how anyone has ever played Civ VI on a large map.


I just got my butt kicked in Civ IV on Prince, which I used to beat pretty much every time and usually played on King. I was never great at Civ IV, but I didn’t suck.

I tend to delay building a military and sometimes push my luck too far. Everyone decides they want to kill you if you’re too weak.


Preaching to the choir. 1200 AD and I have one warrior in a border city…should be ok, more culture!!!


I’m playing Civ IV, but this really pertains to any Civ game.

If you get to the point where you know you’re not going to win, but you still have a decent empire do you:

  • quit
  • make a suicide move to try and make something happen and maybe get lucky.
  • act in the best interest of your empire and just try to survive / just thrive the best you can until you lose.
  • something else?

I tend to just make a move that will probably result in my death to make an attempt to win - but mostly just force the loss.