SG Report: Civilization VI: Rise & Fall Expansion

By Joe Robinson 29 Nov 2017 0

Back in April, we looked at how far Civilization VI had come along since launch and the challenges it faced. Since then, it’s had a few extra updates as well, and yesterday Firaxis announced the game’s first official expansion – Rise & Fall.

Want more content on Civilization VI? Check out our Codex Hub.

Due out in February 8th, 2018, Rise & Fall will focus on the ever-shifting nature of a civilisation’s fortunes, specially the ebb & flow between success and decline. The headline feature connected to this will change how Eras work, as well as new ‘Golden Age’ & ‘Dark Age’ mechanics.

Golden Ages have always been a staple of Civilization, but now Civ VI is getting a counter-weight – the Dark Age. These two opposing states will exist in balance – having a Golden Age is great, but will make getting successive Golden Ages that much harder; on the other hand, surviving the vulnerabilities of a Dark Age will make getting Golden Ages in the future easier. Further to this, Dark Ages allow for special policies and actions that could lead to a more powerful state called the Heroic Age.

All this will be tied to a new Era system. Before, they were player specific and solely dependant on what progress someone had made in their technological advancements. Now there’s a ‘Global Era’ that’s triggered by a Civ meeting certain criteria, and your performance in the previous one will determine whether you enter the next Era in a Golden or Dark Age, or remain the same.

Everyone Has a Price

Also coming in the new update is a new Loyalty system that can cause cities to change hands without military intervention. Taking inspiration to the ‘Culture Flip’ mechanic of past Civ games, Loyalty is affected by Golden & Dark Ages, and low loyalty can cause cities to rebel and become Free Cities.

Civ6a

One way of ensuring loyalty is to send Governors – these are a new mechanic coming in the new expansion. Up to seven Governors can be recruited during the course of a game, and sending these people into cities will allow the player to take an active role in specialising the settlements. Governors have their own unique set of powerful bonuses that you can unlock through promoting them, and they can move between cities at will:

As for the Governors themselves, they have unique personalities – even before you start choosing which ones to upgrade. Some thrive in taking an already established city to the next level, building Wonders and powering up trade routes. Others are more suited to new cities that are constructing their first districts and claiming their first bits of land. One can be a saviour during a city siege, and can make or break a city’s defence against a powerful attacking army. Though normally Governors can only work in your own cities, there is one that can be assigned to city-states, affecting the Envoys you have there. That said, none of the Governors are easily distilled into a single function.

Alliances & Emergencies

Alliances have been re-worked to be more focused, allowing for powerful specific agreements – Research, Economic, Cultural… each specific type of alliance has a specific purpose, and you can only have one of each type active at any one time. You can change the nature of your alliance with a specific Civ, though, and the longer that alliance is in place the more powerful it becomes.

Another new mechanic are "‘Emergencies": special crises events that trigger when someone “gets a significant lead or advantage in an area.”

 

This can mean several things, but essentially the system is meant to be a check-and-balance on players who develop a strong lead. Firaxis are keen not to make this a situation of dragging successful players back down into the mud, but they do want it to add an extra challenge.

When an emergency is triggered, the game decides which other Civs can join in against the target, offers those civs a choice. Joining can give permanent benefits, but only if specific objectives are completed in time.

Legacy

Firaxis really seem to be trying to capture that narrative element that Paradox has managed to perfect in their own games. Adding more twist and turns along the road of your civilization is a step in the right direction, provided they’re balanced in a way not to put people off continuing a save. Ultimately though, even Paradox have a hard time convincing their player base it’s ok to lose sometimes, so we’ll see how this pans out.

Civ6b 

Along with a host of other new changes, tweaks, Civs & Units, the final headline feature for Rise & Fall will be the Historic Moments:

Historic Moments are represented two ways. First, they increase your Era Score, helping you achieve a Golden Age. Second, they are added to your Timeline, which is a place in the UI that displays all your accomplishments in a game. This Timeline has tons of custom illustrations for each different moment, and is a very cool representation of your empire’s history during your unique game. On a more practical note, it is also a useful way to remind yourself of what you have been up to if you return to a saved game after a few days away. Ultimately, the Timeline is a way to illustrate your story.

What do you guys think? Excited for this new expansion? Even Civilization V didn’t really get good until Gods & Kings was released, so there’s still hope for Civ VI yet. Rise & Fall is due out on February 8th, 2018.

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