Civilization might be the most iconic turn-based strategy out there, allowing you to build, conquer and create the empire you want. It’s a perfect respite from the day-to-day woes of real political landscapes and might be the only way we discover how to truly implement Brexit. Luckily then, 2K announced Sid Meier's Civilization VI, the first addition to the series since 2010, and at this year’s gamescom we got a brief presentation on what to expect from the upcoming ‘be a politician’ simulator.
Germany Will Be Led by a 10th Century King
As we were in Germany, the big news from Firaxis was the introduction of Frederick Barbarossa (no, me neither), the newest leader to take the helm of German civilization. A brief description during our presentation, followed by a swift google reveals that Frederick Barbarossa, or Frederick I was the Holy Roman Emperor from 1155, after being elected King of Germany three years previously. He also spent time as King of Italy, where he received the name ‘Barbarossa’ which translates into Red Beard as, fun fact, he’s a ginger. Of course, as the German leader, Frederick Barbarossa brings with the usual unique U-boat units, but the special ability gifts all German cities with one extra district than their population would allow, an ability, we were told is particularly helpful with the new changes made to city development.
Where previously you could stack all the developments, wonders, temples, markets etc, into city sized tile, you now build different districts around your city, each one taking up a tile of its own. These then respond to the surrounding area, so you’ll want to put your aqueducts next to rivers, education districts by mountains or your military districts near critical points of importance; what this results in is the player putting more thought into where they settle their city, wanting a diverse selection of resources at their disposal. What it also means is that the surrounding civilizations will have the same district diversity, ultimately changing how war unfolds, you’ll want to wipe out their scientific district to stop any military developments first before heading to the capital for glory.
Have You Heard The Word of Our Lord?
Civilization is about the race to conquer the globe, be it through murder, science, money or a combination of the three. For Civ 6 though, Firaxis has introduced another method, the much more peaceful (depending on where you look) act of religious conversion. As your empire expands, you’ll eventually create a religion based on a number of factors, then, through creating religious units such as Apostles or Missionaries, you head into opposing cities to wage theological warfare, explaining why your god can get their god’s arse in a battle of scripture and prayer. If you’re successful, you’ll convert city after city, and like the ‘kill them all’ method, if enough convert to your religion, you’ll be victorious; just be aware, you’ll have roaming missionaries knocking on your doors to try to do exactly the same.
Once again, science research is a huge part of Civilization and depending on what you’ve learnt, your playthrough can change drastically. Now though, you don’t have to simply rely on acquiring scientists to help your development, or finding a supply of resources, now Sid Meier's Civilization VI has placed some of the onus onto the player, everything you do has an effect on your research team, your work puts a boot up their backsides and makes the discovery quicker. Say for instance you place your city on the banks of the sea, you’ll receive a sailing boost, and you’ll be able to complete the research in fewer turns than without a bonus, warranting a ‘Eureka!’ pop-up as your team finally discover they can work faster. It’s a system that Firaxis described as ‘side quest-like’ where exploring the world and doing particular objectives rewards the player with quicker upgrades.
New Art Style
Perhaps the most obvious change coming to Civ 6 is it’s brand new art style. It has been drastically toned down from the highly detailed and technical polish of its predecessor, and while it has warranted a relatively split opinion, it seems to make for a much clearer and cleaner finish, using bright colours in an almost cell shaded style. It also seems to pay dividends further on into the game as your cities get more and more populated by keeping everything colour coded, matching the in-game menu colour codes for a quick and easy to notice way to conquer the globe.
Sid Meier's Civilization VI will release on PC, Mac and Linux on 21st October.