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Civilization 6 UK release date and news: 7 things to know about the upcoming strategy game

Thomas McMullan
3 Oct 2016
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Ahead of Civilization 6’s release, we look at some of the changes it brings to the long-running strategy series

Civilization 6 is around the corner. The latest iteration in the long-running strategy series is due in October, and promises some big changes to the history-spanning, resource-squabbling, Ghandi-nuking powerhouse that is Sid Meier’s vision of human development.

If you’ve ever played a Civilization game before, you’ll be familiar with the addictive swing between peace and war, playing out across hundreds of years until you’ve conquered the globe. If you’ve never played a Civilization game before, you should – they’re a lot of fun and a great way to think about the overarching drives behind world history. 

From a new approach to cities to a revamped AI system, Civilization 6 makes some core changes to the series’ formula. Here’s a rundown of six main points.

When is Civilization 6 coming out and how much will it cost?

Civilization 6 is coming to Windows, Mac and Linux on 21 October. You can pre-order the game now on Steam, with the standard edition costing £49.99. The Digital Deluxe edition will set you back £69.99. If you pre-order the game, you’ll get access to the Aztec civilization 90 days before it’s made available for free to everyone else.

You can also grab a PC steam code on Amazon for slightly the cheaper price of £39.99.

  

What do critics make of Civilization 6 so far? 

Full reviews of Civilization 6 are yet to land, but various sites have had extensive hands-on time with the game. What do they make of the newest entry in the strategy series?

Adam Smith writes for Rock Paper Shotgun that Civ 6 brings the series back to its best: “Almost every addition and change that has been made works to the player’s benefit,” he claims. 

“The splitting of tech into two separate trees means you’ll be making decisions much more often, and the cards that unlock and are used to build and alter your government are always there to play with. City States, the minor nations introduced in Civ V, require much less attention than previously. This is a game that respects your time, not just happy to have you take one more turn but eager to make that turn as meaningful and memorable as possible.”

Writing for Ars Technica, Sam White calls Civilization 6 the most in-depth Civ to date: “This is a supremely strong strategy experience that already looks in far better shape than its predecessor was at launch,” he says. “The improved user interface is a real triumph considering the number of different concepts packed into every facet of the campaign, and it expertly balances depth with a logical set of world rules that make playing so much more enjoyable.

PC Gamer is slightly less effusive in its write-up, praising the “varied, interesting, comprehensible, and discoverable” agendas of AI leaders, but felt less strongly about the introduction of a religious victory condition and “somewhat hilarious theological combat”.

Which leaders and civilization are in Civilization 6?

Civilization 6’s developer Firaxis is drip-feeding information on the game’s leaders, unveiling one per week in the lead-up to the game’s release. You can read a full rundown of all the leader’s so far announced on our sister-site Alphr, but here are a few highlights of civs that pull in different directions.

The expansionist: Rome

Rome in Civ 6 is led by Trajan, an emperor who was responsible for the largest expansion of Roman military forces in the civilization’s history. It makes sense, then, for Firaxis to emphasise domination and expansion. From roads to Legions, check out Rome’s bonuses.

The religious: Spain

Spain in Civ 6 has big boosts to both religion and life at sea. If you’re looking to spread faith across the world, or crush those with an opposing religion with Inquisitors, Spain’s yer man.

The trader: Egypt

Egypt in Civilization tends to be a great wonder builder. That still looks to be the case in Civ 6, but leader Cleopatra also brings bonuses to trading, with external trade giving more gold, as well as additional food for the other civ.

The culture lover: Greece

Greece, led by Pericles, looks to be a great choice if you plan on capitalising on culture points. The heart of this comes from the unique building – the Acropolis –which replaces the standard theatre. Greece also has a ‘Plato’s Republic’ ability, which gives the civ an extra wild card slot for social policies.

How do districts work in Civilization 6?

Up to now, cities in Civilization have taken only one tile, regardless of how many buildings and wonders you pack in. This is getting an update in Civ 6, with cities split across multiple tiles into districts. Having gone hands-on with the game, we found that this introduces a new layer of strategy – deciding which districts go where, and which tiles to dedicate to farming. Throw in the fact that certain districts get bonuses for being positioned next to certain things, and you have a city planning mini game.

This also changes the way you think about defending your cities from attackers – no longer can you entrench into one city tile and fling out some arrows. Sieges and capturing other cities should involve even more strategic thinking.

Can you stack units in Civilization 6?

Before Civilization 5 came along, you could stack a heap of units on a single tile. This made warfare a game of numbers instead of strategy, and getting rid of it was one of Civ 5’s best contributions to the series.

In Civ 6, Firaxis has made some concessions to stacking. You still can’t pile troops up on one tile, but you can stack civilian units on the same tiles as military troops. This should make it much easier to escort settlers across the wilderness, for example. More interestingly, you can also place support units such as siege towers and anti-tank guns on the same tiles as soldiers. This should make battles a slightly more concise affair, instead of sprawling over nearby hills and valleys.

Are there quests in Civilization 6?

Gameplay in Civ 6 remains emergent – meaning most of the peaks and troughs in your play through come from the situations you find yourself in, not thanks to some directed story. There are however a long list of mini-objectives in Civ 6, closely tied to the game’s research tree.

Each technology in Civ 6 will have an associated objective – such as building a certain wonder or fighting a certain number of enemies. Complete an objective and you’ll get a big boost to research for that technology. This means that, instead of passively waiting for science to accumulate and unlock, say, bronze working, you can proactively do something to get it quicker. It also means that it’ll be easier to develop in a certain direction if you’re already leaning towards that style of play.

Is the AI different in Civilization 6?

You spend a lot of time dealing with AI leaders in Civilization, and while Civilization 5 had some big characters, there were times when all leaders felt like copy-and-paste bundles of aggression and late-game backstabbing. To help make leaders feel more distinctive this time around, Firaxis is giving each AI a set of hidden agendas. Part of this will be based on the leaders’ historical traits, but part will be randomly assigned at the beginning of the game.

You can tease out an understanding of how rival leaders think by talking to them and studying their actions, but you can also send spies to reveals aspects about their strategy. Everyone loves a little light espionage.

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