The Ultimate Civilization VI DLC Guide

By T.J. Hafer 26 Apr 2018 0

The Civilization series has never reached Paradox-levels of DLC's, but even Civilization VI now has enough variety and options now for people to consider We’ve already had one major expansion, Rise and Fall, which added a host of new features and takes the historical 4X game in completely new directions. There has also been a trickle of smaller DLCs since launch adding many new civs and standalone scenarios. Which ones are worth grabbing? We’ve broken it down for you below.

Vikings Scenario Pack - $5 (Steam)

VIKINGS

What’s in it?

  • A 100-turn scenario set at the height of the Viking Age, allowing you to play as Denmark, Norway, or Sweden on a map that spans from Newfoundland to Constantinople

  • Three new natural wonders from around the North Sea: Eyjafjallajökull, Lysefjord, and the Giant’s Causeway

  • Six new city-states that can spawn in any game, including two that unlock new tile improvements for their suzerain (the Monastery from Armagh and the Alcázar from Granada)

Is it worth it?

This is the only piece of DLC so far that doesn’t include a new civilization, but it also contains one of the best scenarios. At five bucks, I think you’ll get your money’s worth even if you only play through it once. The map is huge, there are many paths to victory, and each of the three viking kings you can play as offer the potential for a different experience. The new city-states are nice if you happen to run into them when you’re pursuing a certain victory type. Monasteries from Armagh are one of the most powerful improvements in Civ 6 if you’re aiming for a religious victory.

Poland Civilization & Scenario Pack - $5 (Steam)

POLAND

What’s in it?

  • Adds Poland under Jadwiga as a playable civ. She can steal tiles by building forts and encampments, auto-converts cities she steals tiles from to her religion, and can build the best mid-game cavalry unit of any civ.

  • A 60-turn scenario set in the 1300s and 1400s focused on defending Poland from many outside invaders.

Is it worth it?

How big of a fan of Winged Hussars are you? Poland can be a very strong religious civ - but the main feature that makes them interesting is their signature cavalry unit, which can be used to slip behind enemy lines and create extremely devastating hammer and anvil charges. Outside of that, they’re fairly vanilla. The Jadwiga’s Legacy scenario is essentially a horde mode in which you’ll be defending your capital and some allied city-states from wave after wave of barbarians. I didn’t have a very good experience with it my first time through because it’s never explained to you that the only activites worth your time are cranking out fortifications and military units. When the Golden Horde wiped out both of my expansion cities and all their cultural and science buildings, I wondered why I even had the option to build them in the first place. It’s an interesting way to use Civ 6’s mechanics to create an entirely different type of game, but the lack of clarity on what my objectives were was vexing, and overall it just doesn’t compare favorably to some of the more nuanced scenarios.

Australia Civilization & Scenario Pack - $5 (Steam)

AUSTRALIA

What’s in it?

  • Adds Australia under John Curtin as a playable civ. They’re well-suited to settling coastal and arid areas, can build a modern era infantry unit with bonuses to fighting on coastal tiles and in foreign territory, and become more productive immediately after having war declared on them.

  • A 60-turn scenario, Outback Tycoon, focused on the British settlement of the Australian continent and turning harsh land into a profitable, modern nation over the course of the 1800s and early 1900s.

  • One new natural wonder, Uluru.

Is it worth it?

Australia is a very powerful civ (considered among the very best in competitive multiplayer), with the ability to prosper even in the most abysmal, Mad Max-esque start positions. They have a luxury few other civs enjoy due to their production boost at the start of a defensive war, in that they can to some extent avoid building up a defense army until they absolutely need to.

The pack is probably worth grabbing just for that. Which is good, because the Outback Tycoon scenario is quite disappointing. I love it in concept. It reminds me quite a bit of the very good Scramble for Africa scenario in Civ 5, with the Australian interior being randomly generated to increase replayability. The problem is that it’s far too short. Just when I was really starting to enjoy developing my crown colony and removing the fog of war from the sprawling outback, the 10 Turns Remaining notification popped up and I was left really wishing there were an Epic or Marathon version available. With more time to play around, explore, and industrialize, it might have been one of the best scenarios of the bunch. As-is, it’s more of a letdown than anything else.

Persia and Macedon Civilization & Scenario Pack - $9 (Steam)

ALEXANDER

What’s in it?

  • Adds Macedon under Alexander the Great as a playable civ. He gets not one, but two unique units in the Ancient Era that completely change how you fight wars, allowing for the sort of sweeping conquests he accomplished historically. On top of this, his passive abilities reward him for accomplishing such conquests.

  • Adds Persia under Cyrus as a playable civ. They gain bonuses to declaring surprise wars (and also don’t get as much of a warmonger penalty for doing so), and the Immortal unique unit, which can function as both a ranged and a melee fighter.

  • A timed scenario (between 37 and 60 turns depending on difficulty), The Conquests of Alexander, which challenges you to replicate the Macedonian wunderkind’s historical campaigns before the clock runs out.

  • Two new wonders: The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and Apandana

Is it worth it?

The duo of Macedon and Persia is probably the best value for your money in terms of new civs. Macedon can feel kind of one-note, as their bonuses are fairly wasted if you don’t go for all-out conquest early and often. But it’s incredibly satisfying to march across the map with Hypaspists and Hetairoi, led by a great general, obliterating any opposition short of gunpowder units. Persian Immortals are ideally suited for taking cities early on, and prevent you from having to build two different types of infantry as they also fulfill the role of archers. Their other bonuses also make them great at becoming an inward-looking, cultural or religious powerhouse using only domestic trade routes, limiting the risk of losing traders on long, dangerous international caravans.

The scenario fell a bit flat for me in its pacing. It’s a lot of fun early on, but the last few cities you have to conquer to win are so far-flung that it’s possible to realize you’ve screwed yourself with 20+ turns left to go simply because your units can’t get to where you need them before the clock runs out. I rarely faced any challenging combat decisions when the army actually arrived, but was defeated solely by logistical sluggishness - which doesn’t present the tense, rewarding gameplay it was probably intended to.

Nubia Civilization & Scenario Pack - $5 (Steam)

NUBIA

What’s in it?

  • Adds Nubia under Amanitore as a playable civ. They get a really good early game archer and bonuses to building and leveling up ranged units, which is extremely powerful right up through the midgame, and a unique tile improvement that allows them to quickly establish very productive cities.

  • A 125-turn scenario, Gifts of the Nile, tracing the history of the Nile Valley from the 2100s BC (shortly after the fall of the Old Kingdom) all the way up through the era of the Roman conquest of Egypt.

  • One new wonder, Jebel Barkal.

Is it worth it?

If you love archers, Nubia is probably going to be one of your favorite civs. They don’t quite make my shortlist, but the way Nubian pyramids streamline and supercharge your city planning definitely takes a lot of the guesswork out of making a new settlement healthy and productive.

Gifts of the Nile is absolutely worth it, though. I’d probably be willing to pay twice as much as the DLC currently costs just to access the scenario. Along with the Vikings scenario, it represents the pinnacle of scenario design currently available in Civ 6, and even compares favorably to some of the great ones from Civ 5. Exploring the Nile Valley, developing along its banks, and fighting off waves of invasions including Assyrians, Sea Peoples, Macedonians, and eventually even Romans gives a great sense of progression through the tumultuous history of the region and a huge variety of challenges to face.

Both Egypt and Nubia are playable, with the primary conflict being which of them will rise to dominance. There are tons of events for each which can grant you historical Great Generals and other benefits based on historical milestones. The one thing holding it back was a bug that made the religious victory impossible, as one of the buildings required for it never unlocked for me. On the bright side, that left me with the option of conquering everything - which probably ended up being more fun than building seven Temples to Amun would have been. I can see myself coming back to this meaty scenario many times, and I can hardly talk it up enough. It makes this DLC unmissable even if you never play Nubia in a normal game.

Khmer and Indonesia Civilization & Scenario Pack - $9 (Steam)

KHMER 

What’s in it?

  • Adds Khmer under Jayavarman VII as a playable civ. Their ability makes Aqueducts (which I normally almost never build) actually pretty strong, and they get a scary, elephant-mounted artillery unit that can move and fire in the same turn.

  • Adds Indonesia under Gitarja as a playable civ. They get huge bonuses for building near coast or lake tiles and are great at spreading their religion to other landmasses.

  • A 50-turn scenario, Path to Nirvana, in which the many faiths of East Asia compete for dominance beginning in 750 AD, not long after the introduction of Islam.

  • A new map for regular campaigns modeling all of East Asia, including true start locations for all civs native to the region.

  • One new wonder, Angkor Wat, and one new natural wonder, Ha Long Bay.

Is it worth it?

I’m not crazy about Khmer or Indonesia, mechanically. The Khmer bonuses from Aqueducts will definitely change up your normal city-planning routine, and the Domrey opens up a lot of options for early conquest. Meanwhile Indonesia can spread their religion the same way vikings spread pillage and warfare, which can be rewarding on certain map types. They’re both decent - just not necessarily that special or exciting.

The scenario focuses almost entirely on theological combat, as you can’t build normal military or naval units. It’s an alright idea, but unfortunately didn’t wow me since I happen to think theological combat in Civ 6 is still not very good. 50 turns also makes it one of the shortest scenarios, and I tended to universally prefer the longer ones on this list as they felt much more like complete, historically-rich experiences.

Rise and Fall Expansion -$29.99 (Steam) (Review)

RiseFall

What's in it?

  • Loyalty system can cause cities to rebel and become Free Cities or even defect to other civs
  • Governors can now be assigned to cities to boost their loyalty, give them unique benefits, and open up new playstyles
  • Golden Ages and Dark Ages model the ups and downs in your civilization's history
  • Emergencies pit multiple leaders against a common, aggressive threat
  • Eight new civs including the Dutch, Scottich, Mapuche, Zulu, Cree, Georgian, Korean, and Mongolian.
  • A new, more militaristic leader for India: Chandragupta.

Is it worth it?

It's not going to make you fall in love with Civ 6 if you were still on the fence, most likely. The Emergencies system is a bit underwhelming at the moment, and Great Ages aren't as impactful as they should be. But Governors offer a great, new layer to city management with lots of strategic possibilities. And a number of the new civs have quickly become favorites of mine - particularly the Mapuche, Cree, Dutch, and Mongolians. You'll definitely get your money's worth just on new civs and leaders, comparing the price to some of the smaller DLCs. Marcello wrote our official review for the expansion, and he had a few more concerns than I did but ultimately similar conclusions.

Gathering Storm Expansion

This is the second major content expansion for Civilization VI. It is due out on February 14th, 2019. We will update this guide with a new entry once our review has gone live.

THE BREAKDOWN

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Best Value for New Civs:

  1. Rise and Fall
  2. Persia and Macedon
  3. Australia
  4. Nubia
  5. Poland

Best Value for Scenarios:

  1. Nubia
  2. Vikings
  3. Australia
  4. Persia and Macedon
  5. Khmer and Indonesia
  6. Poland

Best Overall Value:

  1. Rise and Fall
  2. Nubia
  3. Australia
  4. Persia and Macedon
  5. Vikings
  6. Khmer and Indonesia

We'll update this guide with future DLC as it gets released. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about Civilization VI, check out our Civ VI Codex!

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