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Sid Meier's Civilization VI Review | Sticks and Stones to Nuclear Warfare

Updated: May 27, 2022


 


Development Studio: Firaxis Games

Genre: Turn-Based Strategy, Singleplayer & Multiplayer VS/Co-op, Empire Builder, Historical, War Simulator.

Rating: Complex and Enjoyable: Many hours of enjoyment in a virtual board game fight to create a massive empire.


Build your own empire and expand across the world making history in the process. Civilization VI’s history is your book to write, whether that means being a space-faring or war-mongering nation.


A few of us at The AFK Company have been playing Civ VI for a while and it's great to have a game that brings friends together. We love to backstab, spy on, and demolish each other’s progress all in good fun. Sounds exactly like some of the board games you’ve played, right?


Summary

Civilization VI thrives on its complex cooperative and adversarial systems. Playstyles of all types are encouraged, and the variety of each game leads to massive amounts of replayability. Make sure that you can dedicate multiple hours to the session so that you and a couple of friends can develop an exciting world to compete in. Just remember, this is a game that has a steep learning curve and time commitment for each game session, so take that into account if you are more of a pick-up-and-play type of person.


Story

The story of Civilization VI is based on world history, with any nation spanning from America to Zimbabwe. Each nation has buildings, troops, and leaders that have some connection to their real-life cultures and technologies. The Civilization series is unique because it allows the players to create and experience an alternate historical timeline. Based on the actions of the players, certain advancements can be achieved to reach different national victories. These include being the first to reach long-distance spacefaring capabilities, becoming the dominant culture for all nations, converting most nations to your religion, achieving the most diplomatic victories in the world congress, or wiping out all other nations. Despite the lack of a direct narrative, Civilization VI gives you the feeling that your nation’s growth is part of something larger than itself. When you spend the time and effort to push your civilization towards a domination victory, you really feel like part of a war engine pumping out troops to conquer nations. When you decide to go the more peaceful routes like culture, the emphasis is on being buddy-buddy with as many nations as possible. Despite Civ VI telling a story through character actions instead of narrative events/dialogue, it still provides a meaningful and enjoyable story experience.


Gameplay

Upon loading into Civ 6, you will find yourself in a randomly generated world filled with natural resources. You will want to strategically place your first city as that will be the epicenter of your entire civilization, which is heavily reliant on the surrounding landscape to flourish. Each player has the choice of how they want to advance their civilization, with multiple win conditions such as Science, Culture, Domination, Religion, and Score. This city center and any city built subsequently, has production, happiness, and gold depending on how you work the land. Production dictates how quickly units, buildings, and projects are finished. Similarly, the happiness of a city allows for a city to grow in size, the more food and luxuries, the quicker the city grows. Gold allows for the purchase of buildings and units without needing to wait. Science, culture, and religion are all additional resources produced by cities, with some buildings increasing production, such as a library or temple. With science and culture, they allow for new technologies to be created, units to be unlocked, and government policies to be used. The further down the science/culture tech trees a player is, the more likely they are to win those respective win conditions. Religion works in a slightly different way than the other two resources. It can be produced the same way, through population and buildings, but works closer to gold, where you can purchase units and buildings through faith. There are special units that help spread your religion, making it another point of conflict with other empires if you are trying to win through religious conversion. If it seems like there is a lot to process for this game, it's because there is. Civilization VI is an incredibly complex game that really wants to drive home the concept of empire-building from a logistical standpoint. If you want to become more knowledgeable about the game I would suggest YouTube tutorials or playthroughs. PotatoMcWhiskey on YouTube makes some really entertaining and informative content regarding Civ VI, feel free to go check his videos out.


Graphics

The graphical side of Civilization VI is top-down like most strategic turn-based games. This style allows the player to better comprehend the scale of the world they are building. The best way I can describe the graphics is cartoonish but pronounced. You can easily tell which districts are present in a city at first glance, which units are in an incoming army, and what types of resources are located in an area. The Wonders of the World buildings really shine in their level of detail. The Eiffel Tower has weld sparks coming off of it in its multiple stages of construction, while workers sculpt petra out of a mountain, progressing in detail each turn. In singleplayer, once each of the Wonders is completed, you get an amazing time-lapse of its construction paired with a quote from Sean Bean, adding to the awe in knowing that this building was once created by real civilizations. Going back to the specific requirements of Civilization VI, it can be CPU intensive for lower-end computers. The recommended specs are 8GB of ram and an Intel I5 or higher, which shouldn’t be a problem for most modern-day gaming setups.

Is It Fun?

I would highly recommend playing Civilization VI with friends. Just like you would get everyone together to play a board game, Civ VI can be easily started up and saved when ready to play. Set up a time where everyone has most of the day free and just have at it. You can absolutely play the game by yourself and have a fulfilling time, but I think the gameplay shines when you can make promises and undercut your friends’ empires.


Should You Buy It?

The publishers are constantly putting Civilization VI and its DLCs on sale. If you think you can get a couple of your buddies to jump in and commit some time, I would certainly recommend getting at least the base game. If you want to play a complex game with a steep learning curve/high replayability, I believe Civilization VI can be a great game to play. The combat against the AI in single player is also a great way to start out and simulate a future match.


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