Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI

The Netherlands is a nation with a long and storied history, but it will steered into Civilization 6 by a ruler of a relatively recent vintage. Queen Wilhelmina ascended to the throne in 1890, when she was just ten years of age, and led the nation through both World Wars before abdicating in 1948—a reign of nearly 58 years. 

Wilhelmina's unique leader ability is Radio Oranje, named for her broadcasts to the Dutch resistance during the Second World War, which confers a loyalty bonus to cities originating trade routes to the Netherlands, and also a culture bonus for trade routes established with foreign cities. The Netherlands' unique ability is "Grote Rivieren," which grants major bonuses to Campuses, Theater Squares, and Industrial Zones when built near a river, and its unique improvement is the Polder, a man-made flood plain separated from the sea by dikes that provides food, production and housing from water tiles. 

On the military side of things (because it always comes to that, doesn't it?) the Netherlands brings to bear De Zeven Provinciën, a powerful, 80-gun ship of the line that helped make the nation a legitimate naval power in the 17th century. (Historical side note: It's also the name of a class of advanced air defense frigates that recently went into service with the Royal Netherlands Navy.) 

The Netherlands will join the Civilization 6 soiree in the Rise and Fall expansion, scheduled for release on February 8, 2018. Here's someone else you'll meet when it gets here, and everything else we know about it so far.   

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI - 2kschug


Imagine knowing at four years old that you’re next in line to lead the Dutch. That’s exactly what happened for Queen Wilhelmina, whose rule of the Netherlands began when she turned 18. Queen Wilhelmina saw the dawn of the 20th century, the economic collapse of the 1930s and led through both World Wars.

Her nearly 58-year reign is often remembered for her role maintaining Dutch neutrality during World War I and inspiring the Dutch resistance during World War II. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom described the young Wilhelmina as pretty, polite, and intelligent, but Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany could attest to her wry wit. During a meeting prior to World War I, the Kaiser commented that his guards were “seven feet tall,” while Queen Wilhelmina’s were “only shoulder high.” She elegantly responded, “Quite true, Your Majesty, your guards are seven feet tall, but when we open our dikes, the water is ten feet deep!” The Netherlands maintained neutrality for the duration of World War I thanks to negotiations with the German Emperor—perhaps he remembered her threat. Despite Dutch neutrality, Wilhelmina supported a strong defense policy throughout the Great War.

The Dutch, well known for their trading, were blockaded by Allied forces by the close of WWI despite their claims of neutrality. Amidst all this, and around the wreckage of the world economy, Wilhelmina’s prudent investments would see her become one of the wealthiest people in the world. At least until Germany invaded the Netherlands on May 10th, 1940.

Queen Wilhelmina declared a “flaming protest” at the attacks on her territory. She fled the Netherlands, taking refuge in England and sending her family to Canada for the war’s duration. Her departure was a calculated rather than cowardly move— if she remained, her people would assume collaboration. Wilhelmina’s departure declared her resistance. Her government-in-exile remained in London until the war’s end, and she encouraged occupied territories to remain strong on Radio Oranje. Spurred on by her words, the Dutch resistance fought on until her return in 1945. 


 
UNIQUE UNIT: DE ZEVEN PROVINCIEN
The Dutch-built De Zeven Provinciën (“The Seven Provinces”)-class ships were not only devastating to enemy ships, but could lay siege to harbor cities. These powerful ships of the line were nearly half the length of a football field (either variety), armed with a minimum of 80 guns spread across two gun decks. They served as the naval backbone of multiple battles in the Anglo-Dutch wars—battles nobody expected a mercantile power to win. Nevertheless, these ships proved the Dutch could hold their own against other (presumably) mightier naval powers.



UNIQUE IMPROVEMENT: POLDER
The Dutch are respected not just for their trade empire, but for their ingenuity as well. Polders are low-lying land tracts encircled by dikes. The only way water enters the area is through manually operated devices. They result in land reclamation efforts, creating flood plains separated from the sea and drainable marshes. While there are obvious benefits like extra land to grow food and increased production, Polders also served a military purpose. As Wilhelmina alluded to Kaiser Wilhelm II, opening the sluice gates at high tide and sealing them at low tide created an inaccessible swamp the German army couldn’t cross during WWI.

UNIQUE CIV ABILITY: GROTE RIVIEREN
Literally translated – “Great Rivers” refers to waterways that have been a natural dividing line across the Netherlands. These rivers formed the boundaries between states and even served as a way to mark the edges of empires. The navigable rivers and canals built around them were the foundation upon which the Dutch built their culture – and massive mercantile fleets. That’s why the Netherlands gain major adjacency bonuses for Campuses, Theater Squares and Industrial Zones if near a river. 

UNIQUE LEADER ABILITY: RADIO ORANJE
 Wilhelmina broadcast a voice of resistance for the Dutch during WW II – “Radio Oranje” – inspiring her people from afar. Since the Dutch are world-renown for their trade routes and merchant ships, put them to good use with Wilhelmina’s ability. After establishing trades routes to and from foreign cities, you’ll gain Culture bonuses.

Wilhelmina is one of the nine new leaders coming with Civilization VI: Rise and Fall when the expansion releases on February 8, 2018.

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korea

Today, Firaxis has been shining a spotlight on Korea, one of the new civs coming to Civilization 6 with the launch of the Rise and Fall expansion, due out in February. Korea s led by Queen Seondeok, who by all accounts was a pretty great ruler, heralding a renaissance in the historical kingdom of Silla. She did have to contend with dumb blokes who were scared of women rulers, however. Take a look at the first look video below.

(more…)

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI

Korea is coming to Civilization 6, led by the formidable Queen Seondeok, the first Queen of Silla, which along with Baekje and Goguryeo made up the Three Kingdoms of Korea. As described by Wikipedia, Queen Seondeok's reign was not without its problems, including wars with with Baekje and Goguryeo and an uprising led by men who believed that women aren't fit to rule. But she reigned for 15 years, during which she put welfare policies into place, invested heavily in education, and is credited with encouraging "a renaissance in thought, literature, and the arts." 

Korea's unique district in Civ 6 is the Seowon, an upgrade to the Campus, which provides a fixed yield of science. That yield is reduced by districts built next to it, but Korea's unique ability, Three Kingdoms, grants bonus science to mines, and bonus food to farms, that are built adjacent to Seowon—an interesting (and worthwhile) tradeoff.   

The Hwacha unique unit is a mobile ballista mounted on a two-wheeled cart that's capable of rapidly launching 100 rocket arrows, or 200 Chongtong bullets, against distant targets. It's "much more powerful than its Renaissance-era counterparts," and enabled a small number of Korean defenders to repel an invading Japanese force of nearly ten times its size in the Battle of Haengju in 1593. 

The in-game queen reflects her real-life counterpart with the Hwarang unique ability, which grants bonuses to science and culture in all cities with an established governor. 

Details about the coming Korean civ are up at civilization.com. Korea will be added to Civilization 6 in the big Rise and Fall expansion that's coming on February 8. Here's everything we know about it so far.   

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI - 2kschug


Long before Seondeok was crowned Queen of Silla (now Korea), legends tell of her being incredibly clever. That insightfulness made her a diplomat to be respected and a strategist to be feared.

With no male successors, Seondeok became the rightful heir after King Jinpyeong’s death in 632. This lead to infighting and some outright rebellions – the notion of having a Queen instead of a King didn’t sit well with some factions.

One revolt leader claimed that a falling star signaled Seondeok wasn’t fit to lead. That it was a sign of the end of her reign. The Queen’s solution: Fly a burning kite high in the night sky to signal that the star is back in its place.   

All the while, she still set about major projects to improve the lives of the Sillan people. Welfare policies were put in place to help the most impoverished citizens. She invested heavily in education, allowing knowledge in the arts and sciences to flourish during her rule. Seondeok commissioned the Cheomseongdae, an astronomical observatory to be built in Silla’s capital. It’s no wonder that Seondeok’s big in-game bonus is for science. And while Buddhism was already the state’s religion, she integrated it further into society, refurbished old temples and broke ground on many new ones.

The Queen did all this during her 15-year reign while also fending off neighboring kingdoms. It was through her ability to balance shrewd diplomacy with threats of force when needed that she even accomplished what some would think impossible: Forging an unlikely alliance with Tang Dynasty China.

Seondeok not only managed to get China to support Silla militarily, she also rejected stepping down for them to rule in her stead. While she didn’t live to see it, Seondeok put pieces in motion to let Silla thrive by pitting neighboring kingdoms against each other…and getting one step closer to a united Korea.



UNIQUE DISTRICT: SEOWON
Replacing the Campus district, the Seowon is home to many academic endeavors. Built into the hills, they functioned as both Confucian shrines and scenic preparatory schools in 16th Century Korea. Seonbi (intellectual aristocracy during the Joseon Dynasty) sympathized with the commoners’ plights and this philosophy found its way into the Seowons – attended largely by aristocratic children. These academies became ideal places to discuss politics and explore new ideas regarding Neo-Confucianism, Korea’s contemporary culture and government.



UNIQUE UNIT: HWACHA
The hwacha is an unassuming two-wheeled cart, but this mobile ballista was deadly in the defense of Korea. A hwacha could launch a hundred rocket arrows against distant targets in seconds. Or, with a changeable module, fire off 200 Chongtong bullets.

Hwachas are considered to have turned the tide of the Imjin War. From 1592 – 1598, hwacha were widely used to aid in repelling Japanese invasions – roughly 50 units deployed in Hanseong (modern day Seoul) and another 80 along the northern borders. The most telling victory came during the Battle of Haengju where Korean soldiers beat back a force ten times its size thanks to 40 hwachas.

UNIQUE CIV ABILITY: THREE KINGDOMS
Korea’s unique ability is called “Three Kingdoms” and to make the most of it, be sure to build mines and farms adjacent to a Seowon. Mines receive bonus science and farms will yield bonus food from this placement.

UNIQUE LEADER ABILITY: HWARANG
Seondeok improved the lives of her subjects through education. Take advantage of that with Hwarang. It grants players a bonus to both science and culture in all cities with an established governor.

Seondeok is one of the nine new leaders coming with Civilization VI: Rise and Fall when the expansion releases in early 2018.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1ZXPdInpfY
SUBSCRIBE ➜ HTTP://2KGAM.ES/CIVILIZATIONYT

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Follow the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #OneMoreTurn, and be sure to follow the Civilization franchise on social media to keep up to date with the latest news and information on Sid Meier’s Civilization VI.

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The tail-end of Steam’s Autumnal sale sees a few old favourites lingering with the usual suspects in the charts this week. The discounts that got them here are all gone now, but it’s only a couple of weeks now before everything goes completely bonkers for the Winter Sale, and you can expect to see all the same names deeply discounted once more. (more…)

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Save 50% on Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI during this week's Midweek Madness*!

Also, the Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI: Rise and Fall expansion is now available to Pre-Purchase!

*Offer ends Thursday at 4PM Pacific Time
Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI

It’s been over a year since the release of Civilization 6 and Firaxis has finally revealed the first expansion, Rise and Fall. The theme, as you might have guessed, is the tendency of civilizations to have some good days and some not so good ones. “Instead of just a march through history, straight progress all game, maybe with a few speed bumps, but always forward,” producer Andrew Frederiksen told me, “[what] we’re trying to capture here is the ups and downs, sort of riding the waves through history that is so paramount when you look back at our own world.”

This excites me. I’ve written more than once about how constant good fortune carrying you to the head of the most powerful and unassailable empire imaginable is… actually pretty boring compared to the stories we latch onto in real history. From the rise and fall of Rome to the ascension and collapse of various imperial dynasties in China, we are compelled by narratives that have dramatic pacing. And to have that, your moments of peril are arguably just as important, if not more so, than your moments of triumph. 

The designers at Firaxis have put together a hefty set of new features to explore these themes, which Fredericksen assured have been integrated with Civ 6’s existing systems “as much as possible,” rather than sitting on top of them as optional extras. We’ll take them one-by-one, because it’s a lot to absorb.

Great Ages

In previous Civ games, which Era you were in (Classical, Medieval, Modern, etc.) was defined by how far you progressed down the tech tree. While that will still exist on a per-civ basis, the game itself will now progress through global Eras, triggered by any civ fulfilling their start conditions. At the dawn of each new Era, every civ is evaluated on how well they did in the previous one and can qualify for a Golden Age, a Dark Age, or neither.

Civs that can endure a Dark Age will be rewarded.

Which type of Age you get is partly based on where you are, relative to the Era, in the tech and civics trees. These contribute to your Era Score, which can also be influenced by Historic Moments. The latter, Frederiksen referred to as “mini-achievements,” not unlike the smaller objectives you can pursue in vanilla Civ 6 to gain enlightenment bonuses on certain civics and technologies. Some examples given were being the first civ to circumnavigate the globe, the first to discover a natural wonder, or the first to found a religion.

Civs in a Golden Age are living the good life. For the entirety of that global Era, they get bonuses to Loyalty (more on that later) in all of their cities. In a Dark Age, things are not so rosy. You’ll instead get penalties to Loyalty across the board. But it’s not purely punitive. Civs that can endure a Dark Age will be rewarded. For one, Dark Ages unlock Dark Policies that can be slotted into your government, which offer a trade-off of some kind. Most will come with a powerful buff to help some aspect of your civilization carry on through the hard times, paired with a debuff that will make things even worse for a different aspect. “We might be deciding to tighten up our borders,” Frederiksen gave as an example. “[We’re] not going do as much with trade or diplomacy or something, but in turn, our internal production—our food, or whatever the case may be—is going to be stronger.”

The grand prize for overcoming a Dark Age, however, is a Heroic Age. These trigger when you emerge from a Dark Age with enough Era Score to qualify for a Golden Age, in spite of everyone and everything. They’re basically a Golden Age on steroids, with even more powerful buffs to spur your civ on to victory. The whole system is based around these risk/reward trade-offs. Frederiksen was clear that Dark Ages aren’t meant to just suck. The gloomier chapters of the story of your civilization need to be as fun to play as the shining ones, and pursuing a strategy of timing a Dark into Heroic transition for a key moment will be viable. They didn’t want to create a system where you “never want a Dark Age.”

Dedications

At the dawn of each new Era, your civilization will get to make a Dedication. Frederiksen described this a player-selected goal of, “This is what we are going to be about as a civilization for the next Era.” If you’re going into a Dark Age or a Normal Age, your Dedication will give you a new way to earn Era Score—which should help prevent a Dark Age spiral where you’re stumbling from one disaster to the next. In a Golden or a Heroic Age, your Dedication grants you an extra buff on top of the Loyalty bonus you’re already getting, such as increased movement or combat ability for units. While these buffs are nice, they don’t contribute to Era Score, making it difficult to chain together Golden Ages.

Loyalty and Free Cities

All cities now have Loyalty ratings.  As Frederiksen put it, these measure “how people feel about you and your leadership.” It’s affected by things like amenities and what type of Age you are in. It can also be bolstered by your own actions and eroded by actions of neighboring civs. It’s almost like a new health bar. When Loyalty reaches zero, the city will secede from your civ and become an independent Free City.

Free cities have militaries and will defend themselves, but will not expand or engage in diplomacy like a full civ. They also don’t have the special interactions available for the city-states in vanilla Civ 6 like missions and suzerainty. The essentially exist as an “up for grabs” morsel to be taken. The most straightforward way to take control of one is military conquest, but nearby civs can also exert Loyalty pressure on them. If your opponents build up a Free City’s Loyalty high enough, it will be peacefully annexed into their civ. This makes 'flipping' cities like in Civ games past possible again, with the caveat that they will exist in a neutral Free City state during the process, giving their original owner a chance to reconquer them or peacefully restore Loyalty.

Loyal cities will reinforce the Loyalty of other cities close to them, meaning Loyalty will be less of a problem near the core of your empire and shakier on the far-flung frontiers. Sprawling empires will thus have to focus more on good governance, or else have armies ready to go on their fringes to retake cities that try to break away. Frederiksen said they will be looking at balancing with civs like England that are encouraged to settle far away to make sure they aren’t disproportionately screwed by this. He also pointed out that a civ in a Golden Age bordering one that is in a Dark Age creates an interesting and potentially explosive dynamic, where the Dark Age civ’s cities will be ready to defect to the Golden Age civ with only a slight nudge.

You’ll also be able to annex vanilla city-states using Loyalty, though you will lose their suzerain bonus as if you had conquered them militarily.

Governors

Emergencies will bring a taste of this to Civ 6, with certain actions being taken by an aggressor civ triggering a sort of common mission to be pursued by their adversaries.

Governors are new characters that exist somewhere between Great People and Leaders. They aren’t physically present on the map, but are assigned to a city somewhat like spies. One of their main jobs is bolstering Loyalty, but each of the seven types of governor (you can only have one of each) also has a theme like military, economy, or religion, and an entire promotion tree that will allow them to grant powerful bonuses to that area of focus in the city where they are assigned.

The resources to level up and recruit governors all come from a common pool, so there will always be a trade-off between having a wider stable of less powerful governors or focusing on a couple to make them as potent as they can be. “One of my favorites is we have this governor that if you get her to the top tier,” Frederiksen says, “and if you have her in a city, you can just straight up buy a district with gold.” Another he called out allowed building units that normally require a strategic resource without that resource, a potential balm to those extremely frustrating games where you put all your eggs in the military basket and somehow never get access to iron.

Alliance changes

Alliances will now be available in a variety of different flavors. A scientific alliance is similar to the old research agreements, where the shared knowledge of two civs can benefit both. An economic alliance is more focused on mutually-beneficial trade. And of course, the old school military alliance, which has you stand back-to-back with another world leader to fight off the forces of everyone who doesn’t like everything being your map color, isn’t going anywhere. They can also level up and give stronger benefits if they remain stable for a long time. Frederiksen confirmed that AI civs will be less likely to break an alliance that has been around a long time and accumulated lots of benefits than one that was just started a few turns ago.

Emergencies

From The Crusades to World War 2, history is full of moments when several great powers unified to take action. Emergencies will bring a taste of this to Civ 6, with certain actions being taken by an aggressor civ triggering a sort of common mission to be pursued by their adversaries. One prominent trigger is the first time any civ uses nuclear weapons, which will serve as a wake-up call to the rest of the world that maybe they need to be paying more attention to this whole “physics” thing. Another example Frederiksen gave was a holy city for an established religion being conquered or converted by a follower of a different religion, in which case any civs following the holy city’s original religion might be invited to take it back.

“It can sound like they’re something to stop the person who’s ahead,” Frederiksen noted. “And it can do that, but it’s not a kind of thing where you hamstring the winner just to make the game longer. It’s very much a flavorful thing that can shift the power dynamic—cause something that’s great to fall, or something that’s not so great to rise.”

Each emergency will have a winner, whether that be the alliance of volunteers fulfilling the victory condition or the civ that triggered the emergency holding them off and making sure that objective stays un-ticked. In either case, the winning side receives a buff for the rest of the game. So while every emergency will have a sort of 'bad guy' that’s getting ganged up on, there will be a reward for choosing to be that guy and standing firm in spite of the odds.

New units 

The team at Firaxis is keeping the new civs and leaders close to their chest at the moment, but they were able to talk about four non-unique units coming to the tech tree for anyone to unlock. Pike and Shot is a new anti-cavalry unit bridging the long, awkward gap between Pikemen and Anti-Tank. Three more units have been added to the late game to cap off lines that previously ended too soon: The Supply Convoy (an upgraded version of the Medic that can increase the movement speed of units it shares a tile with in addition to restoring HP), Spec Ops (a “Navy SEAL-inspired” unit that caps off the line for the humble Scout, gaining the ability to para-drop forward without the use of aircraft), and the Drone (an upgraded version of the Observation Balloon).

New Districts

The most prominent of the new districts being added (and the one we were allowed to hear about) is the Government District. There can be only one of these in your entire civ, and it interacts directly with the updated government system. Based on your current government type, you will be able to build a number of new buildings in your government district, each of which unlocks policy cards.

New civs 

We asked Frederiksen if he could hint at all what part of the world any of the new civs might be coming for, to which he responded: “The Land.” So sorry to disappoint everyone who had their fingers crossed for Atlantis. Still, all of the above is plenty to chew on for now. Civilization VI: Rise and Fall will be out on February 8, 2018.

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI

It’s been over a year since the release of Civilization 6 and Firaxis has finally revealed the first expansion, Rise and Fall. The theme, as you might have guessed, is the tendency of civilizations to have some good days and some not so good ones. “Instead of just a march through history, straight progress all game, maybe with a few speed bumps, but always forward,” producer Andrew Frederiksen told me, “[what] we’re trying to capture here is the ups and downs, sort of riding the waves through history that is so paramount when you look back at our own world.”

This excites me. I’ve written more than once about how constant good fortune carrying you to the head of the most powerful and unassailable empire imaginable is… actually pretty boring compared to the stories we latch onto in real history. From the rise and fall of Rome to the ascension and collapse of various imperial dynasties in China, we are compelled by narratives that have dramatic pacing. And to have that, your moments of peril are arguably just as important, if not more so, than your moments of triumph. 

The designers at Firaxis have put together a hefty set of new features to explore these themes, which Fredericksen assured have been integrated with Civ 6’s existing systems “as much as possible,” rather than sitting on top of them as optional extras. We’ll take them one-by-one, because it’s a lot to absorb.

Great Ages

In previous Civ games, which Era you were in (Classical, Medieval, Modern, etc.) was defined by how far you progressed down the tech tree. While that will still exist on a per-civ basis, the game itself will now progress through global Eras, triggered by any civ fulfilling their start conditions. At the dawn of each new Era, every civ is evaluated on how well they did in the previous one and can qualify for a Golden Age, a Dark Age, or neither.

Civs that can endure a Dark Age will be rewarded.

Which type of Age you get is partly based on where you are, relative to the Era, in the tech and civics trees. These contribute to your Era Score, which can also be influenced by Historic Moments. The latter, Frederiksen referred to as “mini-achievements,” not unlike the smaller objectives you can pursue in vanilla Civ 6 to gain enlightenment bonuses on certain civics and technologies. Some examples given were being the first civ to circumnavigate the globe, the first to discover a natural wonder, or the first to found a religion.

Civs in a Golden Age are living the good life. For the entirety of that global Era, they get bonuses to Loyalty (more on that later) in all of their cities. In a Dark Age, things are not so rosy. You’ll instead get penalties to Loyalty across the board. But it’s not purely punitive. Civs that can endure a Dark Age will be rewarded. For one, Dark Ages unlock Dark Policies that can be slotted into your government, which offer a trade-off of some kind. Most will come with a powerful buff to help some aspect of your civilization carry on through the hard times, paired with a debuff that will make things even worse for a different aspect. “We might be deciding to tighten up our borders,” Frederiksen gave as an example. “[We’re] not going do as much with trade or diplomacy or something, but in turn, our internal production—our food, or whatever the case may be—is going to be stronger.”

The grand prize for overcoming a Dark Age, however, is a Heroic Age. These trigger when you emerge from a Dark Age with enough Era Score to qualify for a Golden Age, in spite of everyone and everything. They’re basically a Golden Age on steroids, with even more powerful buffs to spur your civ on to victory. The whole system is based around these risk/reward trade-offs. Frederiksen was clear that Dark Ages aren’t meant to just suck. The gloomier chapters of the story of your civilization need to be as fun to play as the shining ones, and pursuing a strategy of timing a Dark into Heroic transition for a key moment will be viable. They didn’t want to create a system where you “never want a Dark Age.”

Dedications

At the dawn of each new Era, your civilization will get to make a Dedication. Frederiksen described this a player-selected goal of, “This is what we are going to be about as a civilization for the next Era.” If you’re going into a Dark Age or a Normal Age, your Dedication will give you a new way to earn Era Score—which should help prevent a Dark Age spiral where you’re stumbling from one disaster to the next. In a Golden or a Heroic Age, your Dedication grants you an extra buff on top of the Loyalty bonus you’re already getting, such as increased movement or combat ability for units. While these buffs are nice, they don’t contribute to Era Score, making it difficult to chain together Golden Ages.

Loyalty and Free Cities

All cities now have Loyalty ratings.  As Frederiksen put it, these measure “how people feel about you and your leadership.” It’s affected by things like amenities and what type of Age you are in. It can also be bolstered by your own actions and eroded by actions of neighboring civs. It’s almost like a new health bar. When Loyalty reaches zero, the city will secede from your civ and become an independent Free City.

Free cities have militaries and will defend themselves, but will not expand or engage in diplomacy like a full civ. They also don’t have the special interactions available for the city-states in vanilla Civ 6 like missions and suzerainty. The essentially exist as an “up for grabs” morsel to be taken. The most straightforward way to take control of one is military conquest, but nearby civs can also exert Loyalty pressure on them. If your opponents build up a Free City’s Loyalty high enough, it will be peacefully annexed into their civ. This makes 'flipping' cities like in Civ games past possible again, with the caveat that they will exist in a neutral Free City state during the process, giving their original owner a chance to reconquer them or peacefully restore Loyalty.

Loyal cities will reinforce the Loyalty of other cities close to them, meaning Loyalty will be less of a problem near the core of your empire and shakier on the far-flung frontiers. Sprawling empires will thus have to focus more on good governance, or else have armies ready to go on their fringes to retake cities that try to break away. Frederiksen said they will be looking at balancing with civs like England that are encouraged to settle far away to make sure they aren’t disproportionately screwed by this. He also pointed out that a civ in a Golden Age bordering one that is in a Dark Age creates an interesting and potentially explosive dynamic, where the Dark Age civ’s cities will be ready to defect to the Golden Age civ with only a slight nudge.

You’ll also be able to annex vanilla city-states using Loyalty, though you will lose their suzerain bonus as if you had conquered them militarily.

Governors

Emergencies will bring a taste of this to Civ 6, with certain actions being taken by an aggressor civ triggering a sort of common mission to be pursued by their adversaries.

Governors are new characters that exist somewhere between Great People and Leaders. They aren’t physically present on the map, but are assigned to a city somewhat like spies. One of their main jobs is bolstering Loyalty, but each of the seven types of governor (you can only have one of each) also has a theme like military, economy, or religion, and an entire promotion tree that will allow them to grant powerful bonuses to that area of focus in the city where they are assigned.

The resources to level up and recruit governors all come from a common pool, so there will always be a trade-off between having a wider stable of less powerful governors or focusing on a couple to make them as potent as they can be. “One of my favorites is we have this governor that if you get her to the top tier,” Frederiksen says, “and if you have her in a city, you can just straight up buy a district with gold.” Another he called out allowed building units that normally require a strategic resource without that resource, a potential balm to those extremely frustrating games where you put all your eggs in the military basket and somehow never get access to iron.

Alliance changes

Alliances will now be available in a variety of different flavors. A scientific alliance is similar to the old research agreements, where the shared knowledge of two civs can benefit both. An economic alliance is more focused on mutually-beneficial trade. And of course, the old school military alliance, which has you stand back-to-back with another world leader to fight off the forces of everyone who doesn’t like everything being your map color, isn’t going anywhere. They can also level up and give stronger benefits if they remain stable for a long time. Frederiksen confirmed that AI civs will be less likely to break an alliance that has been around a long time and accumulated lots of benefits than one that was just started a few turns ago.

Emergencies

From The Crusades to World War 2, history is full of moments when several great powers unified to take action. Emergencies will bring a taste of this to Civ 6, with certain actions being taken by an aggressor civ triggering a sort of common mission to be pursued by their adversaries. One prominent trigger is the first time any civ uses nuclear weapons, which will serve as a wake-up call to the rest of the world that maybe they need to be paying more attention to this whole “physics” thing. Another example Frederiksen gave was a holy city for an established religion being conquered or converted by a follower of a different religion, in which case any civs following the holy city’s original religion might be invited to take it back.

“It can sound like they’re something to stop the person who’s ahead,” Frederiksen noted. “And it can do that, but it’s not a kind of thing where you hamstring the winner just to make the game longer. It’s very much a flavorful thing that can shift the power dynamic—cause something that’s great to fall, or something that’s not so great to rise.”

Each emergency will have a winner, whether that be the alliance of volunteers fulfilling the victory condition or the civ that triggered the emergency holding them off and making sure that objective stays un-ticked. In either case, the winning side receives a buff for the rest of the game. So while every emergency will have a sort of 'bad guy' that’s getting ganged up on, there will be a reward for choosing to be that guy and standing firm in spite of the odds.

New units 

The team at Firaxis is keeping the new civs and leaders close to their chest at the moment, but they were able to talk about four non-unique units coming to the tech tree for anyone to unlock. Pike and Shot is a new anti-cavalry unit bridging the long, awkward gap between Pikemen and Anti-Tank. Three more units have been added to the late game to cap off lines that previously ended too soon: The Supply Convoy (an upgraded version of the Medic that can increase the movement speed of units it shares a tile with in addition to restoring HP), Spec Ops (a “Navy SEAL-inspired” unit that caps off the line for the humble Scout, gaining the ability to para-drop forward without the use of aircraft), and the Drone (an upgraded version of the Observation Balloon).

New Districts

The most prominent of the new districts being added (and the one we were allowed to hear about) is the Government District. There can be only one of these in your entire civ, and it interacts directly with the updated government system. Based on your current government type, you will be able to build a number of new buildings in your government district, each of which unlocks policy cards.

New civs 

We asked Frederiksen if he could hint at all what part of the world any of the new civs might be coming for, to which he responded: “The Land.” So sorry to disappoint everyone who had their fingers crossed for Atlantis. Still, all of the above is plenty to chew on for now. Civilization VI: Rise and Fall will be out on February 8, 2018.

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI

Since launch last year, Civilization 6 has drip fed us incremental updates by way of new race DLC, Steam Workshop and mod tools, and a free demo. Now, it's unveiled its Rise and Fall expansion—billed as the "deepest Civilization experience to date".

Due on February 8, 2018, players are tasked with guiding their civ of choice through the ages wherein 'Great Ages' see civilizations entering 'Dark' and 'Golden' periods, depending on your in-game actions. "Rise triumphantly from a Dark Age," says publisher 2K, "and your next Golden Age will be even stronger – a Heroic Age."

A new city loyalty system means cities now have individual loyalty to player leadership, wherein low yields, politics and revolts are a constant threat. Rise and Fall also brings with it nine new leaders, eight civilizations, a number of new units, wonders, districts, buildings—and perhaps you should have a gander at the expansion's announcement trailer:

"With the new Great Ages system in Sid Meier’s Civilization 6: Rise and Fall, players can experience the ebb and flow of building empires amidst the challenges of history, either to lasting greatness or the dust of antiquity," says developer Firaxis' Anton Strenger. "With this expansion’s new features, players will be both challenged and rewarded in ways never seen before in the 26 years of the Civilization franchise."

Civilization 6: Rise and Fall is due February 8, 2018. 

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