[Civ6] Rise and Fall 1st Impressions

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Generic splash screen, becuz I didn’t take any screenshots in-game.

I’ve only played a few hours, as Warframe was calling me back to it, but I played a little way in as Wilhelmina of the Dutch.  I picked the “True Start Europe” map which put me right next to France, and fairly near Poland, though at least I didn’t have Germany “right there” so I wasn’t too hemmed in.

As it was, I rush-built a bunch of warriors and took out Paris in the Ancient era so I avoided any warmonger penalties, then started worrying about settling my cities.  Oddly enough, the TSL map isn’t really ideal for the Dutch to be able to build their polders near Amsterdam — you actually need to settle up into Denmark and then you can “polderize” the North Sea pretty well, though.  For production you have to head southeast into the forested hills of Germany, and Philip of Spain is pretty well trapped behind the Pyrenees, though he can take out the Lisbon city-state for an additional city, and if you’re not careful (like I wasn’t) he can sneak a settler up into southern France as well, though he eventually just starts colonizing North Africa.  England and Scotland both were pretty well stuck in the UK, and the last 2 civs I got on my seed were Alexander of Macedon and Jadwiga of Poland.  Jadwiga’s spread out a lot as she had a lot of space to her east, and tbh, I’ve still not uncovered the map far enough to be sure of Alex’s holdings.  I’m allied with him, but that doesn’t give shared visibility anymore, so … whatever.  I’ve got some caravels in the Med, so I should be able to see at least some of it soon.

The governors seem kinda fun.  Toss “The Steward” in your primary production city as he bonuses that up nicely, and so far for all the rest I’ve sent them to the fringes to keep the loyalty points up, but otherwise haven’t really worried about their bonuses much.  The loyalty system seems designed to keep empires from forward-settling too badly, becuz if you settle far from your borders then they lose loyalty and can flip (without combat) to the civ that they’re closer to.

I don’t really like the Era Score mechanic they’ve added.  It seems pretty opaque — you don’t know what you need to do in order to gain more score, and sometimes things seem a bit random, like I threw down a mid-game city between Amsterdam and Paris (so I could grab a dye resource that was just out of reach of either) and that got me 4 points — 3 for “boldy settling” near London, and then 1 more since it was close to the Cliffs of Dover natural wonder.  Or sometimes you get a point or 2 for a certain tech or cultural discovery, but nothing indicates beforehand that this would happen.  It also seems designed to have you either “always be normal ages, else see-saw from golden to dark, then back again” which is just annoying.

And there’s still no way to disable that most loathsome espionage feature that I have always despised and always turned off in every prior Civ game that I’ve played becuz I hate it so much.

My beloved CQUI makes the game crash on launch right now too until it gets updated.  The default UI has some improvements, but CQUI is still vastly superior to it.  I especially miss my “overlap” lens that CQUI provides.  Much easier to use that to see the best spots for the “ranged districts” or wonders than to have to manually count out from each city.

Overall impression — meh.  The era score mechanic is too opaque to be engaging, and seems more designed to limit forward advancement “too fast” than it is to actually reward you for doing well.  In short, the game now feels like it’s “you will play it how the developers have decreed” rather than as “a series of interesting choices.”

I actually have a touch of buyer’s remorse for the purchase.  I don’t think that’s a good thing.  I don’t intend to play it again until the CQUI is available for it again either.  Too many of its amazing features aren’t in the default.

Happy gaming out there!

Posted on February 12, 2018, in Civilization 5 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I haven’t picked this up yet, but I’ve been keeping my eye out for reviews for it. Sounds like something I’m going to wait to get on sale, if at all. Not that I have a ton of time for Civ right now, anyhow! Thanks for the review!

    • the review in Rock Paper Shotgun that was linked from the Civ6 page in Steam had largely the same impressions that I did of the Dark vs Golden Age mechanics. Quoting that review: “Everything from the tech boosts that work like mini buffs and achievements to the focus on using the unique qualities of your chosen nation encourages a “correct” way of playing. There is so much feedback and positive reinforcement for ‘good’ choices that without even realizing it, I’m sometimes locked into a specific way of playing that’s defined more by the map and the city states around me than it is by my own choices.”

      **

      I actually did go back and try it out some more, 1st as Korea (holy overpowered civ, Batman! I completed both the tech and civic trees before turn 325 in a 750-turn “epic” game.) and was able to figure out a bit more. With Korea I was able to be “normal age” in Classical, then Golden for the rest of the game, but I think that was largely due to how fast their science and culture developed due to their insanely overpowered special campus districts.

      I then did another game, this time as Indonesia and… it was slower on the science, but I had Nan Madol in my orbit, and since Indonesia gets bonuses for putting everything on the coasts and Nan Madol gives culture for the coastal tiles… I actually completed the civic tree before the tech tree, in spite of every city having a campus and never building any theater squares. In this game I see-sawed from dark to heroic, back to dark, then to heroic, then stayed golden to the end.

      This came about because in Dark and Normal ages your eurekas will boost your era score, but in golden/heroic ages, the boost amounts are a bit bigger but there’s no era score increase from them, so it is VERY much designed to make you seesaw back and forth. I really don’t like that, but since the only “penalty” to being in a dark age is the 0.5 loyalty generation, if you haven’t overextended yourself it’s not that big a deal.

      That was also the game where I found out that if you go to war you’d best just blitzkrieg the opponent, since the loyalty system makes the cities you take revert within about 5 turns due to the loyalty pressure of the enemy’s remaining nearby cities. You just have to take them all simultaneously, or at least in rapid succession if you want to hold on to them. though taking that Nubian city with the Statue of Liberty was nice, since it makes all cities within 6 tiles have 100% loyalty at all times, so taking that one suddenly relieved the pressure from 4 other cities….

      But yeah, overall it’s really just more of the same, with the added “you will play how we tell you in order to get your golden ages” tossed in the mix.

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