With October 21st Fast Approaching, What Can We Expect To Change In The Upcoming Civilization 6?

Each Civilization game has been developed to break the mould from its predecessors. Civilization III introduced the culture system into the franchise, with Civilization IV allowing mod support for the first time. In Civilization V, we saw that military units were unstacked, and this completely changed the way combat unfolded over the turns of the game.

In the run-up to the release date, there have been numerous gameplay videos showing us what we can expect to see. Two developers of Civilization VI have recently provided us with a extensive insight into the game with an in-depth playthrough, playing as Pedro II of Brazil (nothing to do with the Olympics of course). If you have a free hour and a half to spare, you can check out the video below.

However for the sake of time, here are five changes that make this entry into the franchise stand out from its ancestors, and will hopefully help you get prepared for October 21st.

Unstacked Cities

Unlike previous editions of Civilization, Civilization VI introduces unstacking cities. This means that your cities are not assigned to just a single tile. You are now able to expand your cities out into thriving metropolises.

When settlers establish a new city, a small cluster of buildings will appear to mark the site of the new settlement. As in previous Civilization titles, cities will develop as the population grows. However, as the game progresses and borders expand, free tiles within your civilization will be able to be made into ‘districts’. For example, universities will be consigned to a campus district, whereas military barracks will be built upon encampment districts, and so forth. This will require a lot more strategic thought than in previous games when creating new settlements, as you will want to ensure that these districts benefit you in later turns. Specific areas of the map will increase the output and effectiveness of these districts, e.g. building a campus district adjacent to mountains will add a science bonus, or perhaps building an encampment district on a choke point to protect the city. When the opportunity arises to attack enemy cities, it would be wise to destroy enemy campuses first if that civilization has discovered a more advanced technology than yourself and your allies. This new mechanic of unstacking cities definitely has a large effect on how other mechanics work in the game.

Active Research

Time to take to the high seas…

In previous Civilization games, to increase research output you had to have access to luxury resources, great scientists or different beliefs in your faith, and so on. The difference with Civilization VI is that you can now be much more proactive in terms of achieving what specific technologies you want.

The new research mechanic basically operates like side quests. For example, if you’re battling a barbarian army and destroy three units, you’ll receive a boost to your bronze-working research. This new addition to the game allows you to boost the techs that suit your preferred playstyle.

Consumable Builders

Builders will now retire after working the city

In the late game period of previous Civilization titles, it was unavoidable to have a swarm of workers on auto-build running around aimlessly between each one of your cities. In this installment, we see the introduction of the ‘builder’ unit, replacing the old ‘worker’ unit. At the start of the game, this new unit will only be able to perform three actions before being consumed. The number of actions these builders can perform can be increased later on in the game, depending on which civics and policies you decide to choose for your civilization. When a builder unit steps onto a tile, it will automatically improve it that turn. For example, a wheat tile will automatically be processed into a farm, or a stone tile will become a quarry. This means that you do not have to have your builder work on the land for a certain number of turns, unlike the old worker units. In addition to this, you can use your builder to clear a forest, marsh or jungle to make way for a district tile to enhance the city. All this work will also contribute to the active research of new technologies.

Combined Arms

Create your army and send them to battle together

Currently in Civilization, battles quickly became stalemate affairs due to everyone’s units cancelling each other out. A good example of this would be the following: archers shoot down attacking spearmen; spearmen stop cavalry in their tracks; cavalry units simply trample warriors in quick and easy victories. This however is not the case in Civilization VI.

In Civilization games of the past, you had to move a military unit yourself alongside vulnerable settlers to protect them from enemies. However, you can now assign a combat squad to the settlers, removing the tedium of moving both units, and lending the defenseless settlers some reassuring protection from enemies. In the late game, this functions at its best when you can link up heavy artillery units to infantry units, and face the potential danger of invasion together, as opposed to having your units spread out across the plains which was the case in games of Civilization past.

This new mechanic, which can be seen working during a first look of the England civilization, shows that, compared to the old fighting styles, they have completely changed the way the player must think before acting out a battle.

Civilization Agendas

In single player mode, you will be playing with a certain number of AI controlled civilizations. To ensure Firaxis’ goal with Civilization VI to differentiate each playthrough from the next, they have brought into the game two new agenda mechanics.

One mechanic is that every civilization will have a historical agenda, which is split into two parts. One is tailored based on what the civilization performed during their entire history, while the other is tailored based on what happened to the civilization during their ruler’s reign. For example, Teddy Roosevelt will bully other empires and use brute force when necessary, Qin Shi Huang will build as many wonders as possible, and Pedro II and his Brazilian civilization will gravitate toward rainforests, and the benefits found therein. Below the Aztecs be seen with their leader Montezuma, as they are primarily set out for a large conquest across the world.

Hidden agendas however will change for each civilization depending on the turns during the game. This will require the player to look out and pay close attention as to what the AI players are up to. It will definitely forge friendships between countries to potentially take down others who are out for total domination from the start.

With these new agenda mechanics, it will ensure that the player will have a memorable game encountering historical figures of the past and watching their histories play out before their eyes, whilst allowing the developers goal of differentiating the game every time you play for tons of replayabilty.