That’s the article the bit of text I quoted came from. Sulla produces some excellent reports and dissections of Civ and other games; almost invariably accurate and incisive. His excellent preview walkthrough of Civ IV is what drew me into playing the game seriously.
Sulla actually was quite positive toward Civ VI - with the exception of the AI. Civ V has perverse rules regarding expansion that Civ VI lacks, but has a (marginally) better AI.
He ultimately seems to have abandoned Civ VI singleplayer because of that AI.
That is from before the two expansions were released though, so while the base game started out favouring wide empires Firaxis over the course of the game’s lifespan eventually swung the balance the other way. Once the Brave New World expansion rolled around you’ll see that even Sulla says that the pattern of three to four cities is the dominant strategy in their Brave New World review.
So by the end of Civilization V’s lifespan, which I’m going to have the freshest memory due to recency and playing the most, Civilization V does indeed favour Tall empires over Wide empires. A lot of Firaxis’ thoughts for Civilization VI were in reflection to the state of Civilization V post-Brave New World.
I think Tall or Wide will always be mathematically superior to min/maxers, I just want both strategies to A) be viable and B) offer different approaches to the game. If Wide is better, that’s fine. I just want a decent shot at beating the game going Tall (or vice versa).
It’s strange reading some of Sulla’s reviews where i both agree with everything he has written in laborious detail, but get the feeling he misses the point at the same time, because he likes Civ VI and i felt that Civ VI was even worse trash than Civ V’s many combined problems, and that he seems so right about Civ Vs but so forgiving of Civ VI, like the game breaking free resource rush you get for finding city states first and the completely, utterly useless, dead ended rabbit hole that is Faith, that it makes me question if he really has the big picture… or what, exactly, that big picture really is.
There’s more to a strategy game than some devil’s dance between super deep hardcore min/maxing aspie edgelord and noobles pushing pieces around the game board grunting of pleasure as they stuff their pieholes with cheetos and press Next Turn. Call it the “Third Way of Understanding Strategy Games” maybe. I’m not 100% sure i can exactly define it, but i know it when i see it.
It’s a common problem I’ve noticed among people who tend to obsess over every tiny number in a particular system. They sometimes overlook how all the systems interact with each other as a whole, or the conclusions are only true when looked from one narrow playstyle.
Agree completely. I think that problems kick in, though, for those who play primarily multiplayer.
In truth, ANY strategy can compete successfully in single player, as long as you make some plan for dealing with an early attack. Certainly, both tall and wide are entirely viable.
But the crap AI pushes a lot of people (not me) into multiplayer, and some of them become a bit over the top about balancing everything – which is, in itself, not a recipe for good gameplay. (I have always felt that everything from civs to governors would be more fun, if somewhat less attention were paid to balance.)
Very true! It’s why I don’t tend to play strategy games competitively in MP, because ironically it tends to eliminate 90% of potential strategies one can take.
There is, of course.
But I think some very basic things alter players’ reactions to a game in a very deep way. One is that a game like Civ is an extremely different subjective experience the first time or two you play through it, as opposed to the 20th or 100th time.
It is also different depending on whether you are driven to use a game wrecking exploit or not… Whether you are happy playing until it gets boring, and then starting over – or whether you just have to see that victory screen… Whether you have to know the AI opponents are playing by the same rules as you or whether you can ignore AI cheats… and so on.
I have not read Sulla’s reviews, but it sounds like my heart is in the same place as his. I could fill a page listing obvious grievous faults with Civ VI, yet, at the end of the day, I know I have gotten more enjoyment out of the game in the past couple years than all other games combined. On the other hand, I got very little enjoyment out of Civ V. However, my objective analysis of the two games would not clearly support that.
Perhaps because the first few games of Civ VI were so bad to me that i never bothered to really learn the systems, but unlike Civ V or any other Civ game for that matter(I liked Civ III’s perhaps the best despite having obvious flaws) i don’t really “get” Civ VIs convoluted and opaque underlying systems very well. I’m not sure about amenities; i’m not sure about housing; i’m not sure about happiness. I mean settle near rivers because i get +2 housing or something… sure. Wonders often seem under-powered if not actually superseded by many regular buildings.
Yet Tomara gets two for the price of one, so i just run around and whomp everything and none of that stuff matters. Or i make a bunch of roads with Rome and whomp everything, and none of that stuff matters. I’m bothered Civ VI has a bunch of layers to its onion that i don’t seem to even have to understand to play “well”, and then it underestimates or overestimates the value of many of its systems relative to the scope of the game (or so it appears to me). Like, it seems like a good 1/2 of districts will never, ever be built if you min/max the game, for example.
Of course i also think God King in Civ V is by far the best economic Pantheon you can get in almost all cases! #fightme.
Agreed. While I played a lot of multiplayer it was often with friends, usually I wasn’t overly concerned with min-maxing the game through the roof. I just had a general strategy in mind and then broadly went along with it rather than getting bogged down in the minutiae. So I just want a Civilization game to broadly provide some meaningful strategic\tactical choices and a challenge that hits that “enjoyable” spot.
Funnily enough, my preferred Brave New World playstyle just happened to coincidentally fall in line with what the “top 1%” considered optimal rather than being deliberately min-maxed.
You might want to spend some time with The Dominion series. I think they are on 5 now. By far the best way to play is to play multiplayer and the reason is that you will see some fantastic variation in strategy.
There is no happiness. Replaced by amenities. If you fall below the amount you need, all your cities get increasing penalties to yields…which never seemed severe enough to me to bother fixing (beyond just keeping a lookout for luxury resources you didn’t have yet). I guess MAYBE if you get a really huge empire you could build one single centrally located entertainment district or Colosseum wonder?
Housing is simple. It’s a semi-hard cap to population. If your city is only one away from the housing cap, you get a minor growth penalty (-25% I think?). Hit the housing cap and you get a major penalty (-50%). Exceed it and it virtually halts growing (-75%?). You increase housing if you want it to keep growing.
Campus, industrial, and trade districts are obviously useful. Faith remains a dumb sinkhole (unless you decide early on to go for a religious victory). At the very most, one in ten cities will have an entertainment district. Theater districts never seemed worth it to me. Their only value was letting you climb the civics tree faster. Great artists were by far the weakest great people. The idea was that tourism for a culture victory would be driven by great artist works, but the numbers don’t back that up. You can totally ignore tourism up until the Radio tech because seaside resorts are by far the biggest tourism generators, not to mention that all the big tourism boosters don’t come until the modern age anyway.
I’ve yet to see the AI win a single victory. Even the space race one which you’d think would be very straight forward, but it just seems to stall out once it hits the 3 ship parts requirement.
I consider Civilization VI to be the worst game of the series. Whatever happened to the fun that Sid Meier emphasized should be in the games with his name in the title?
Kinda hope for Civ VII they just do Civ IV with updated graphics, interface, and hexes plus something that feels like real learning AI for diplomacy.
I just want Imperialism 3.
Or Alpha Centauri with updated Civ features like resources and borders (no, not Beyond Earth).
Hexes but not one unit per hex. AI will finally have a chance.
“Gathering Storm”? Is this a working title? Is it a joke?