Sid Meier's Civilization® IV

This article was originally published in PC Gamer issue 311. For more quality articles about all things PC gaming, you can subscribe now in the UK and the US.  

Welcome to the history of Civilization, a series that has been keeping us up until silly o'clock in the morning  since the release of Sid Meier's original game in September 1991. Civ turns all of human history into a playground that you can exploit, turn by turn, to bring your chosen nation to glory. It's a fascinating series because it has been interpreted by a new lead designer in each iteration, including Alpha Centauri's Brian Reynolds, Mohawk Games' Soren Johnson, and of course Sid Meier himself. In the following pages we talk to all of them about how the series has evolved from Civilization through to Civilization VI.

Civilization

"We were young, and we had no fear" 

In 1991, MicroProse launched Sid Meier’s Civilization, a game that would define turn-based strategy for over two decades, and give birth to a genre that eventually became known as 4X: eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate. You probably know someone who has been struck down by One More Turn Syndrome, shackled to their PC at 3am. Maybe it’s you. Meier had no idea what he was starting. 

Meier and Bruce Shelley had finished Railroad Tycoon and were looking for another project. They wanted to expand on some of the ideas behind their last game, and Meier had been intrigued by the exploration system found in Empire, the turn-based wargame. It started by giving players a limited view of the world, but that viewpoint gradually unfurled as the world was explored. 

“Railroad Tycoon had this sense of being a large-scale game,” Meier recalls. “But we were bold and wondered what’s a bigger, more epic thing we can do? Well, how about the history of civilisation? We were young, and we had no fear.” 

It was easier to be fearless then. “The expectations in terms of graphics and team size were different in those days. We did the first half of the work on Civ with just Bruce and I, so we could try things with less risk. It was definitely not something we knew was going to work, but it looked like it would be fun to try.”

While other strategy games were offering up cities or companies as playgrounds, Meier did worry that what they were creating was going to be too much. Too daunting. How do you make a game that spans human history? To start with, they said no to hexes, which wouldn’t make it into the series until Civilization V.

“One of the reasons we used squares for mapping was we thought hexes were too geeky. We went with squares to make things accessible.”

Making Civilization turn-based was an accessibility decision, too. Meier considered creating an RTS, but after testing it, he realised that it didn’t give players enough time to get to grips with its myriad systems. “Development is a journey in itself, and it could have easily gone in different directions. There were a number of things we considered that we didn’t end up doing. Real-time is one of them. I think it’s great to look at Age of Empires, for example, because that’s how the game would have probably progressed if we’d continued down that route.”

Despite being a game of conquest, there’s always been a thread of optimism running through the series, and it’s not an accident. It was part of MicroProse’s philosophy. It wasn’t all murder and land-grabbing. “It revolved around what’s the most fun. We were criticised for not including slavery in both Civ and Pirates, for instance, but those were decisions based on what makes a satisfying and pleasant experience for the players.” 

Everyone who’s played Civ knows that Montezuma’s a dick, and for each leader, there are personality traits attributed to them. But while later iterations emphasised that, those AI personalities were basic in the first game. “Players would read more into the game then what was there in some cases,” Meier laughs. 

Some leaders might be more aggressive than others, and they were affected by player interactions, but it wasn’t quite as elaborate as the stories told by players implied. It helps, Meier thinks, that each leader and civilisation was recognisable. Players knew what to expect.

“One of the reasons Civ was successful was it tapped into things you already knew. You can enter into this world which you already know. You might know Napoleon, and Gandhi has a clear personality; these are leaders who you’ve probably heard of and already associate a personality or feeling with.” 

That success wasn’t a given, though, and Meier only realised quite how special Civilization was after seeing other people playing it. “As other people played it in the company, we’d hear, ‘Just one more turn,’ and, ‘I can’t stop playing.’ Whether the world was ready for it or not, we weren’t sure, but as the game launched and we started to get feedback, it gained momentum. We sensed that something unique was happening. 

“Good thing we left room for five more iterations.”

Civilization 2

An empire built on word of mouth. 

Brian Reynolds remembers when Sid Meier gave him a copy of Civilization. “I played until 2am,” he admits. “It combined the city, units and ‘one more turn’ of Empire with the experience of Civilization the board game. Avalon Hill games were the gold standard, and I didn’t realise computer games could do that.” He was hooked. 

He’d been working on adventure games, trying to compete with Sierra, but it wasn’t working out and everyone was worried about their jobs. So he started developing a prototype—a game about discovery and exploration. He showed it to Meier, and a week later he’d been moved to a new department to commence work on what would become known as Colonization. 

Then SimCity 2000 came out. Its predecessor had been one of Civilization’s influences, but SimCity 2000 offered up proof that iterative sequels could work, inspiring MicroProse once again. At the same time, Reynolds was moving across the Atlantic with his wife. “I moved to North Yorkshire with a PC and a mandate to make a new game: Civilization 2000.” The three zeroes would eventually be sliced off.

In a new country, left to his own devices, Reynolds found himself tasked with an intimidating job. “Nobody had ever done a sequel to Civilisation or even another MicroProse game before. How do you make a sequel to a game that covered all of human history?” Luckily, he had a long list of desired features from players, who had taken to Usenet groups to tell MicroProse what they wanted to see. These ideas, coupled with Reynolds’ own, ran the gamut from alliances to handy notifications that your enemy had started work on one of the Wonders of the World. There was the all-new tech tree, as well, which had to be built from the ground up.

“It all started to feel really fresh, but for reasons you couldn’t always put your finger on. They were subtle. But the executives didn’t understand. They just thought it was Civ, but for Windows.” That didn’t mean the fact that it was being designed to run on Windows 95 wasn’t important. “We were perfectly placed with the launch of Windows 95 to be successful. It was probably the first triple-A game that could run on the operating system, and we really leaned into it.” This allowed Reynolds to play around with different screens, making the UI modular, taking advantage of the OS’s strengths. 

The original Civilization made it so that there was more than one way to win the game, but with Civ II, Reynolds wanted to double down on peaceful solutions. So there was the aforementioned alliance system, while peace treaties would force the other civilisation to remove its units from your areas. 

“We did a lot of work on diplomatic AI in Civilization II,” Reynolds stresses. “It actually quadrupled the amount of code we had to write.” These changes to diplomacy also served as the beginning of the national border system that would see use in future Civs, as well as Alpha Centauri, which Reynolds also designed. 

Despite this focus, conquest wasn’t forgotten. Indeed, it was dramatically enhanced, thanks to unit hit points. The result was considerably more tactical when compared to Civilization’s basic combat. It also made the era units were from matter more. Reynolds wanted to get rid of those moments where a phalanx could stand up to a battleship.

“It was a long journey, making it more tactical,” Reynolds recollects. Master of Magic was a source of inspiration, but he still didn’t find the combat to be much fun. “There was talk of Sid working on that side of the game, but it didn’t happen. I’d already coded the idea of hit points, getting ready for what I thought was coming, and Sid was like, ‘Yeah, my prototype isn’t as fun as that,’ so I carried on.” 

In 1993, MicroProse was sold to Spectrum Holobyte. There’d always been issues with the business side of MicroProse not understanding Civilization II. It was more invested in the multiplayer remake of the first game. This wasn’t helped by the fact that multiplayer wasn’t on the cards for the sequel. “I put a good amount of time into multiplayer logic for Civilisation II, but by 1995, there was no way we were going to get it in.” After the acquisition, things seemed to get worse. 

“When they took over, they didn’t have confidence in the game, so they did very little marketing for it. In the end, word of mouth saved it.” The publisher estimated poor sales. By the time Reynolds left the company, it had sold 2.5 million. “It established that Civ was the type of game that could support sequels. Civ III was definitely going to happen.”

Civilization III

The series returns home to its creators. 

With the unexpected success of Civilization II, another sequel was inevitable, though not before some litigation over naming rights and the launch of Activision’s Civilization: Call to Power series. After suits and countersuits, the licence eventually ended up with Hasbro, and by 2001 the company had been acquired by Infogrames. Firaxis, which was founded by Sid Meier, Brian Reynolds and Jeff Briggs in 1996, could finally work on the next game. 

And, once again, the question became: what could possibly be added to such a huge thing? “Sid and I used to joke with each other that after designing Civilization, what else could you do?” Jeff Briggs recollects. “The scope of the game spans all of human history from the agricultural revolution to the present, so we already had everything that any other game could have.” 

Luckily, Briggs had been thinking about a new version of Civilization ever since Civilization II had been released in 1996. A lot of the experimentation had already taken place in his head. It was also around that time that he started thinking in terms of thirds. One third the same, one third new and one third improved. This, he says, helped guide them through the experimentation. 

Civilization has a tradition of having a different lead designer for each entry in the series, but this started out as a coincidence. With the original Civilization, Meier felt he had poured everything into that game, so Brian Reynolds took over. The idea was for him to lead development on Civilization III, as well. “We originally planned for Brian to lead the development and design of Civ III, but he decided to start Big Huge Games instead and left Firaxis before development really got started. So I was left as the default designer—exciting and intimidating. Luckily, I had a list of features that I wanted to integrate into the game already.”

One of those features was civilisations that had unique hooks which went beyond aesthetics. In Colonization, which Briggs worked on with Reynolds, Meier and Doug Kaufman, each faction had a sort of starting ‘power’, and he wanted to tap into that. “I looked at the time in history that each of the civs had achieved some level of dominance and tried to identify units and capabilities that would signify that moment in their history. This meant that a civ would have a slight advantage during their historical prime time and shape the player’s strategy to some extent.” 

Briggs wanted to expand the game to include elements that weren’t 4X concerns. He considered civilisation as not just domination on a military and control basis. Thus, culture was introduced, making border expansion a function of shared cultural experiences. Systems for ‘Great People’ were also designed, along with works of art, music and architecture, but many of them would be dropped before development concluded due to resource and time constraints. What didn’t make it, however, found life in later games.

The constraints did mean that the multiplayer side of things wasn’t ready for launch, unfortunately. If they’d waited, the game would have been delayed by a year. But Briggs doesn’t recall any serious issues or obstacles that impeded development, and with the hiring of eventual Civilization IV designer Soren Johnson, more work could be done. 

He does wish he’d removed the corruption system, however, which created an obstacle when it came to making large empires with cities spread out across great distances. “Corruption and waste had been factors in Civ and in Civ II as well. I wish I had removed it from Civ III altogether. To be honest, I don’t recall it ever coming up during development as a problem. I think we all just accepted it as a part of the system and we were a little afraid to mess with it. Oops.”

While Civilization III proved to be one of the more divisive games among veteran players, it was another success for the series. Briggs thinks that there’s something fundamental about the franchise that keeps people coming back. 

“It is the go-to game for history-of- the-world games. Several others have tried to steal this mantle but they’ve usually tried to ‘improve it’ in ways that go against the simple elegance of Sid’s original turn-based seeding of future events system. Improving graphics, adding new systems, expanding the definition of the game to include more and more elements of human history—all of this has kept it fresh.”

Civilization IV

The next generation of Civilization.

After cutting his teeth on Civilization III, Soren Johnson became the next torchbearer. It was the first in a new generation of Civilizations, built with a new 3D engine, accessible modding and multiplayer. And when it came to deciding what shape it would take, Johnson wasn’t going to give any feature a free pass.

“One thing I had a strong conviction about was that we weren’t going to do anything by default,” Johnson explains. “We weren’t going to adopt anything from the previous games by default. It’s not necessarily the most high-minded concept, but it meant that I was going to start from scratch and re-evaluate everything.” 

He wanted to place the focus on the big picture, not the tiny details, removing things like corruption and introducing religion. From other games came ideas like unit upgrades. Johnson had played Alpha Centauri, and was inspired by the armoury system. The Civilization IV version is simpler, but keeps the essence, the important decisions and different paths. This philosophy is also echoed in how Johnson approached the development of civilisations. 

“I felt like the previous games didn’t offer a lot of interesting choices about how you could develop terrain and manage citizens. In previous games it was pretty sparse, basically mines and farms. I wanted people—I think this has become a theme for the way I make games, and you can see it in Offworld Trading Company—to have a reason to play differently each time they started a new game.”

The map became littered with resources that ranged from cotton to iron, luxury and strategic goods that could be harvested by placing the appropriate building on them. But many of these resources were locked behind era-specific technologies, meaning when and if the player got access was largely up to them.

For all the new features, Civilization IV’s most dramatic changes were broader in scope. “There were a lot of things that were really development and productionstyle innovations or priorities,” Johnson recalls. And that included multiplayer. “It’s no secret that Civ has had a problematic history with multiplayer. One of the defining features of Civ IV is we also built it, initially, as a multiplayer game, not as a singleplayer game. So we knew that every system worked in multiplayer. 

“We were playing multiplayer games during the first two or three months of development,” Johnson continues. “They were rudimentary, but you don’t really need a lot of mechanics to have a fun experience with other people. We actually made a lot of progress just by being able to base it off these play sessions we had every week. It was a revelation.” 

There was a 3D engine to play with as well—a first for the series. It represented a huge graphical leap, but while the upgrade was a welcome one, it was the enhanced legibility that made all the difference when it came to navigating the map. It was easier to understand what you were looking at, be it a city or a piece of terrain, and what was happening there. Accompanying this was a slight change in perspective, too. “

It was actually a big fight between me and the artists for how the grid system would work. The 3D system in Civ IV is like a chessboard. It’s straight ahead. Artists hated that. Even though it was 3D, they still wanted that diagonal board, and I’ve always felt that it makes the distance between tiles confusing. If you move two tiles east to west versus two tiles north to south, you literally move twice as far, so it really obfuscates how close things are on the map.”

The changes to the map weren’t kept in its successor, Civilization V, which made the move to hexes. Johnson’s a bit wistful about that. “We were a bit afraid of hexes at the time.” But many features developed or established in Civilization IV have continued through the last two games. 

“If none of this had happened, Civilization would still be a landmark title. If Civ II had flopped, Civ I would still be important. But I feel like the franchise begins with Civ IV because the blueprint for how to keep iterating sort of starts there. There’s a path that’s been followed by Civ V and Civ VI, in terms of the amount of stuff you add to the game, how you manage things and the expansion format.” 

Halfway through development, the game was dropped by its publisher and sold to Take-Two. Yet Johnson remained confident. “I saw so many things that I thought needed to be improved from Civ III.” That confidence paid off for the team, and Civilization IV went on to become a series favourite. It even managed to be the first game to win a Grammy, thanks to Christopher Tin’s stirring Baba Yetu theme.

Civilization V

Squares are dead! Long live hexes!

A storm was brewing at Firaxis, and it was undeniably hexshaped. Since 1991, the series had used square grids, while more and more 4X and wargames gravitated towards the sexy angles of the hexagon. As a fan of games like Panzer General, new lead designer Jon Shafer decided to introduce Civilization and its many adherents to the joy of hex. 

Development started in early 2007. Shafer was 21, and he wanted to do something different. “Civilization IV was such a good game, so we wanted to put a different spin on things. We acknowledged that it was going to be controversial, not everyone was going to like what we did, but we made a conscious effort to push things in a different direction.” 

What could be more controversial than killing squares? A lot of other things, it turns out. Surprising to Shafer, getting people to be open to it wasn’t all that difficult. He’d had the idea, and remembers suggesting it off the cuff, but never meant it seriously. Then, in a design meeting, someone else threw the idea out there. Sid Meier was there, and his opinion about hexes had changed over the years. He thought it was a good idea. So did the artists. And the engineers. 

It was easier to do since, like Civilization IV, the fifth iteration also used a new engine, built from scratch. It also allowed the art team to elevate the series’ aesthetic. “It broke a lot of boundaries in a lot of ways. It certainly had higher system requirements than some people were accustomed to with Civilization, but overall it was something that worked out in the end.”

In any other Civilization, the hexes might have been the headline attraction, but Schafer wasn’t joking about wanting to make big, potentially controversial changes. Stacks of doom were gone. No more could conquerors cram armies into a single tile. Instead, each unit needed its own tile, pushing things like unit placement and logistics to the forefront. It was one of the biggest changes to combat in the series’ long history. Shafer is unexpectedly ambivalent about it now. 

“The idea was to add more depth to the combat system. Lots of different systems had been tried, and none of them worked very well. But I don’t think the one-unit-per-tile system works very well, either, though it’s probably funny hearing me say that. It was an experiment, and it’s something that’s changed the series. A stack model is probably better, however; it’s more suited to a game of Civilization’s scope.” 

Despite this, the unstacking has continued in Civilization VI, and though he doesn’t think it works as well as it could, Shafer still believes that Civilization V’s combat is more interesting than it was in previous games. It gives more prominence to the map. You want to put archers on hills, hide warriors behind forests and generally pay more attention to the environment. And maps, I have learned, are one of Shafer’s passions. 

“There are very few designers who love maps as much as me. I want to put as much as I can on the map, utilise that map, utilise random maps, procedural generation,” Shafer starts to lose himself in a list of the map’s potential. He wants to use it to steer the game and highlight things that players might want to do, or explore, and in Civilization V, the result is a world that’s full of detail.

“This was something that was heavily emphasised and contributed by the art team. Our art lead, Dorian Newcomb, one of his bullet points on the art was ‘a living world’. That also fed into the design side because he was one of the first members of the team, and he said, ‘These are the pillars that we’re looking at on the art side.’ It made sense, so I thought maybe we could try to do more here.”

In hindsight, Shafer admits that there are some things he would do differently, and he has new ideas about how to bring strategy maps to life more, and what can be done with unit stacking. But he doesn’t dwell, and he certainly doesn’t regret the experiments and changes. 

“The only way I know how to do things is say, ‘What’s the craziest thing we can pull off here?’ Not everybody is going to like that approach. But there are plenty of Civ games, and there will be more in the future I’m sure, so people will have a chance to see many iterations.”

Civilization VI

Letting it all hang out.

As soon as work wrapped up on Civilization V’s final expansion, Brave New World, the design team had already moved onto Civilization VI. And with Ed Beach leading development on both, it’s not surprising that the pair share a lot of similarities, with the latter fleshing ideas introduced in the expansion and Civilization V’s other pieces of DLC. 

Ever since it appeared in the third game, culture has evolved into one of the key pillars of the Civilization series, and for Beach it was a priority in Brave New World, which saw the introduction of the tourism system. It became a priority once again in Civilization VI, culminating in a new progression system that put culture on the same level as science, complete with its own tree, but for civics rather than technology. 

“I’m a huge fan of world travel and spending time in other cultures,” Beach explains. “Every time I go to major European capitals, for example, all those opportunities to see the art that’s been collected, the museums, it’s a really interesting insight into what civilisations value and want to preserve. So I like to think about what that tells me about how civilisations should interact with each other, especially in the late game, when it’s not all about conquest.”  

This culture focus, and particularly the civics tree, greatly expanded how much you could do in the game without cracking skulls and smashing down city walls, but it also continued the philosophy of optimism and positive forward momentum that Meier espoused all the way back in the very first game. And as Beach notes, along with several of his fellow lead designers, you can still trace a lot back to the original Civilization, decades later.

Civilization VI was unusual in that, before development had even started, the team not only had a clear idea of several systems that they wanted to implement, they even knew that they worked. A great deal of the experimentation happened earlier in the process. You can see the origins of the district system, for instance, in 2010 with Civilization V’s Spain and Inca scenario pack, but placing buildings outside of cities was suggested as far back as the beginnings of the core game. 

“The earliest notion of unstacking cities was before the Civ V base game even shipped. We were wondering how the wonders were going to be visualised, and there was a push internally from a team to move them outside cities, making them seem powerful and magnificent. There were a number of people that tried to get Jon Shafer to do it, but I think he made the right call then. We had a lot on our plate already for Civ V, with the tactical combat and moving to one unit per tile.” 

It was an idea that wormed its way into the minds of Beach and his team, however, inspiring the occasional special building like the Incan terrace farms and the Polynesian statues, which needed to be constructed on specific tiles, such as mountains and coastlines, respectively. When Beach started work on Civilization VI, it was the first thing that the team got working. He now considers it the game’s groundbreaking achievement, transforming cities into these sprawling metropolises that expand across the land through specialised districts. 

“I’m a board game designer on the side,” Beach explains, “and there are a lot of board games that I like that are very focused on positional play and using or creating the map as you’re playing through it. That was the big stamp that we put on Civilisation VI, trying to make sure that you take advantage of the map, not just as this place you have to explore early in the game, but by putting your mark on the map, tile by tile. That’s why we unstacked the cities and included adjacency bonuses and districts.”

Unlike the other entries in this history of the series, Civilization VI isn’t finished yet. The game launched in 2016, and new civilisations and systemic changes are still being planned by Beach and his team. Religion, diplomacy and espionage will all be getting a new look before he’s done. 

“There are six of us who are working actively in either game design or AI development, and I remind the team all the time that this is a marathon and not a sprint,” Beach says. “I’ve only run one marathon myself, so I only have a little bit of an idea of what miles 15 or 16 of a marathon are like, but that’s where I feel we are now. We’ve still got quite a way to go.” 

But then Civilization is never really finished. Since the first game appeared way back in 1991, hardly any time has gone by where a new entry wasn’t being developed, or at the very least a prototype or piece of DLC. As familiar as it is, Civilization is always moving forward.

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI - 2kschug
An update for Civilization VI is available now for PC players and coming soon for Mac and Linux. This update is an improvement to start location issues including civilizations and city-states spawning too close together, as well as starting in severely disadvantaged areas. We will continue to monitor community feedback as we support Civilization VI.

*We have received reports that some players are still experiencing start location issues. We appreciate your feedback and are currently investigating this for future updates. If you are experiencing this issue, please contact us at https://support.2k.com/.
Cuphead - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

In a week in which Assassin’s Creed Origins has managed to break the charts to such a degree that it somehow not only appears three> times, but also stopped Feedly from being able to display the rest of the games in the correct order, we also see a few other new entries. But absolutely no new names. (more…)

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI

Two things happened today in the world of Sid Meier's Civilization that you should probably be aware of. First, the Fall 2017 update to Civilization 6 is now live, as is the Khmer and Indonesia Civilization and Scenario Pack, which 2K has recently been teasing. Second (and probably of greater interest), Civilization 3 Complete, which includes the Play the World and Conquest expansions, is free for the next two days on the Humble Store. 

To claim your gratis game, pop over to humblebundle.com, click "Add to Cart" (right below where it says "Free!") and then follow your instincts: Buy more stuff, check out, whatever suits your fancy. You'll be rewarded with a Steam key for your efforts, redeemable directly through the Humble site, and you're off to the civic races. Bear in mind that it's only free until 10 am PT on October 21, so don't dawdle.

Getting back to Civilization 6, the Fall update is free for everyone, while the Khmer and Indonesia Civ Pack goes for $9/£9/€9.  

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Today’s the big day in Civland, or the world as it’s commonly known. The highlight: Civilization VI has launched its big Fall 2017 Update, which chiefly expands religious combat and makes AI opponents a little smarter. Also out today is new DLC for Civ VI adding Indonesia and the Khmer Empire.

Or if you believe that everything old is better and we should shun the new: 1) Civilization III is free for the next two days; 2) But Civ’s whole ‘inevitable march of progress’ sort of thing seems contrary to your ethos? (more…)

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI - Hinkle2K

The Fall 2017 update for Civilization VI is available now for PC players and coming soon for Mac and Linux. Just one of the big changes here: Religion has been overhauled. Religion gets fleshed out with new beliefs, new religious units, two new Pantheons, along with new Founder, Follower, Enhancer, and Worship Beliefs. These beliefs unlock the ability to build two new buildings as well as a new combat unit, the Warrior Monk. Finally, the Religion Lens has been overhauled to improve overall usability and readability. Beyond religion, there’s a number of other changes in store. For more details, see the complete list below:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/645401/Civilization_VI__Khmer_and_Indonesia_Civilization__Scenario_Pack/  
[NEW]
  • Khmer
    • Civ Unique Ability: Grand Barays - Farms provide +2 Food if adjacent to an Aqueduct. +3 Faith and +1 Amenity to each city with an Aqueduct.
    • Jayavarman VII Unique Ability: Monasteries of the King - Holy Sites provide +2 Food and +1 Housing if placed on a river. Holy Sites provide a culture bomb.
    • Domrey: Unlocks with Military Engineering technology. Unique Medieval era siege unit. Can move and shoot in the same turn and exerts zone of control.
    • Prasat: Same yield as Temple. Missionaries purchased in this city receive the Martyr promotion. +1 Relic slot.
  • Indonesia
    • Civ Unique Ability: Great Nusantara - Minor Adjacency for Coastal tiles to Holy Site, Campus, Industrial Zone, and Theater Square. +1 Amenity to each Entertainment Complex adjacent to a coastal tile.
    • Gitarja Unique Ability: Exalted Goddess of the Three Worlds - Naval units can be purchased with Faith. Religious units pay no movement to embark or disembark. +2 Faith to City Centers that are adjacent to Coast.
    • Jong: Replaces Frigate. Unlocks with Mercenaries civic. +1 Movement.  All units in formation inherit movement speed. +5 to combat when in a formation.
    • Kampung: Unique improvement placed on Coastal tiles that are adjacent to a sea resource. +1 Housing. +1 Production. +1 Food for each adjacent Fishing Boat. More Housing, Production, and Tourism as you advance through the game.
  • Angkor Wat Wonder
    • +1 Population in all Current Cities when built. +1 Housing in all cities. Must be built adjacent to an Aqueduct district.
  • Ha Long Bay Natural Wonder
    • Two tile natural wonder that can be found on coastal terrain and provides +3 Food, +1 Production, and +1 Culture. +15 Combat Strength when defending in this tile.
  • ‘Path to Nirvana’ Scenario
    • The lands around the Indian Ocean flourish with many religions and many people. Heaven has chosen you to bring the light to all these lands. Is your faith up to the challenge? Can you convince the people of Southeast Asia to follow your religion? In this 50 turn scenario, compete to have the most followers of your religion, the most faith per turn, and the most foreign cities following your religion.
 

[RELIGION UPDATE]
  • Overhauled “Religion Lens”
  • All religious units move on their own layer (similar to Trade Units and Spies)
  • Switched to unique unit flag backing for religious units
  • Display religion (if applicable) for a unit to be purchased with Faith
  • Added the ‘Condemn Heretic’ unit action to allow military units to eliminate religious units in their tile, similar to pillaging a trade route
  • Added Religion indicators to unit flags
  • Religious units now exert Zone of Control and receive Flank and Support bonuses in religious combat
  • Added two new Pantheons, two new Founder Beliefs, two new Follower Beliefs, two new Enhancer Beliefs, and two new Worship Beliefs (with new buildings)
    • Follower Belief “Warrior Monks” unlocks the new Warrior Monk unit, a medieval land combat unit with its own promotion tree that is purchased with Faith
  • Added the Guru religious support unit, which can heal nearby religious units
  • Improved long-term usefulness of Missionaries by giving their spread religion ability 10% eviction of all other religions
  • Gave nine existing leaders the LOW_RELIGIOUS_PREFERENCE trait so they are unlikely to push hard for a religion, making it easier for players to get one on high difficulties
  • Added Unit Action tooltip to show you how many followers you’ll have in a city after you spread religion there
  • Adding religious pressure to both ends of a trade route:
    • Destination city gets 1 pressure per turn of the origin city's majority religion (if it has one). This is the same amount as if that city was close by.
    • Origin city gets 0.5 pressure per turn of the destination city's majority religion (if it has one)
  • Added 8 new Relics
 

[UI ENHANCEMENTS]
  • Updated Diplomacy screens to improve readability and usability
  • Trade Overview: Available Routes tab will now show all possible routes between two cities regardless if the origin city has a trader located at it
  • New medallion style art for Great People
  • Capital icons now appear on city banners in espionage chooser menu
  • Rest & Repair actions inform you if you can’t heal due to a missing Strategic Resource
  • Changed sort order for gossip so most recent messages are shown first
  • Ensure plot tooltips show up after mousing over 2D icons in same plot
  • Trade route chooser now sorts routes when filtered by a yield
  • Lots of changes to make assorted UI screens more moddable/extensible
 

[AI TUNING]
  • Improved AI’s naval gameplay, including protection and healing of naval units, building a proper navy, and assaulting coastal cities
  • AI will attempt to re-convert its holy cities
  • AI will no longer commit to battles they cannot win
  • Improve AI city and district placement
  • Improved AI’s valuation of great works
  • Improved Scout’s drive to explore Tribal Villages
  • Improved siege attacks
  • Adjusted religious strategies, preventing large hordes of units going to the same, distant city
  • New AI support for Religious Heal and Condemn Heretic actions
  • Improve AI use of Inquisitors
  • Money Grubber agenda is no longer as sensitive to fluctuations in income
 

[MULTIPLAYER]
  • Ongoing stability improvements
 

[BALANCE CHANGES]
  • Removed some of the least useful Gossip messages to improve signal to noise:
    • Buildings constructed if from 2 eras earlier than the constructing player's current era
    • Civic cultivated if from 1 era earlier than developing player's current era
    • Influenced city-state if not tied or higher than all other players
    • Land unit promoted if only to Level 2
    • Naval unit promoted if only to Level 2
    • Policy slotted if unlocked from a Civic that is 2 eras earlier than slotting player's current era
    • Tech researched if from 1 era earlier than researching player's current era
  • Move +1 embark speed from Cartography to Square Rigging
  • Allow friendly or allied spies to escape just before a nuke is detonated on a city they are in. All other spies are still killed.
  • Add Guilds as a prereq for Humanism so you have Theater Square before Museums
  • Change the Civic prereqs between Industrial and Modern so Zoo is required before Stadiums
  • Religious Idols Pantheon belief is now +2 Faith per mine instead of +1
  • Persian Immortal unit now behaves primarily as a melee unit with a ranged attack ability
 

[BUG FIXES]
  • AI will now recruit Great People when they take control of a human's game in MP
  • Fixed an issue where AI would trade invalid items
  • Fixed issues where AI appears to refuse their own deal proposals
  • Corrected an error that made the AI very unlikely to agree to alliances
  • Added missing description text for Broadway (+20% Culture for the city)
  • Fixed Colonial Taxes to be the listed 25% boost
  • Fix player being able to make peace with city states while at war with the suzerain
  • Pillaged districts no longer provide adjacency yields and they drop adjacent Appeal
  • Fixed the Hanging Gardens not granting Appeal
  • Archery tech boost earned by a Slinger on defense
  • Unique districts don’t count twice for Mathematics tech boost
  • Fix Housing from Monarchy to properly be +1 for each level of Wall
  • Culture Bombs can no longer steal National Park tiles
  • Conquering a city with a spaceport under sabotage no longer redirects that mission at yourself
  • Captured spies are immediately returned when a player is defeated
  • Gold costs of delegations is correct at all game speeds
  • Properly compute foreign followers of a religion for beliefs that use this stat. Followers from cities that didn’t have this religion as a majority were not counted previously
  • Embarked combat units can no longer capture enemy embarked civilians
  • Additional bug fixes
 

[MISC]
  • Changed Jakarta City-State to Bandar Brunei
  • Added Motion Blur to leaders
 

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.

         
XCOM® 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jamie Wallace)

xcom-2-speed-mod

Bundle Stars is offering up some rather nice discounts on a big batch of 2K Games’ finest wares this week, with up to 80% off some selected titles from the XCOM, Borderlands, Civilization and Bioshock series, among others.

(more…)

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI

2K Games announced yesterday that Jayavarman VII will lead the Khmer people into Civilization 6 in the game's next update. Today, it unveiled part two of that combo: Dyah Gitarja, also known by her regnal name Tribhuwannottunggadewi Jayawishnuwardhani (which we will not be using for obvious reasons), who led the Majahapit Empire—located in modern-day Indonesia—on a massive campaign of conquest and expansion. 

Indonesia's unique unit in Civ 6 will be the Jong—large sailing ships that function primarily as merchant vessels and transports, but can hold their own in a fight as well. Their cities can be improved with houses on stilts called Kampung, which provide housing, production, and food to adjacent fishing boats, and its unique ability is the "Great Nusantara," which grants bonuses for holy sites, campuses, industrial zones, and theater squares when they're adjacent to coastal tiles. 

Gitarja's leader ability is the very poetic-sounding "Exalted Goddess of the Three Worlds," which grants bonus Faith to coastal cities. It also enables Gitarja to purchase Naval units at a discount using Faith, and eliminates the movement cost of Religious units that are embarking or disembarking from vessels. 

There's still no word on a release date for the Indonesian (and Khmer) civs, but I'd expect them to arrive soon. Based on most previous Civilization and Scenario Packs, you can expect it to cost around $5.

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI - Hinkle2K

Dyah Gitarja went from being a princess locked in a tower to the warrior-queen regent of a 14th Century spice empire, the kingdom of Majapahit (located in modern day Indonesia). It all started with an assassination.

As the Duchess of Kahuripan, she lived a sheltered life. As described in the epic poem 'Nagarakretagama,’ though, Gitarja’s ascent began with the murder of her half-brother, King Jayanagara in 1328. She then came to power by order of her mother the following year. Gitarja wound up ruling with the help of her spouse, Kritavardhana, during a time of chaos and open revolt.

With the help of Gajah Mada, a long-trusted advisor, she began a campaign to quell rebellions and push a massive expansion of the Majapahit Empire. Legend tells us that Gitarja even rode into battle alongside her cousin, Malayapuran king Adityawarman. Ultimately, she is remembered for expanding the boundaries of her empire to include the kingdoms of Pejeng, Dalem, Debahulu and the island of Bali while helping stabilize the kingdom.

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UNIQUE UNIT: JONG

Massive jong ships, the schooner of the Majapahit fleet, dominated the Southeast Asian seas. While primarily a merchant ship and military transport, jongs were built to withstand incoming cannon fire and return the favor with its own ordinance. And, with the addition of a second rudder, a 600-ton jong was fast, yet easy to control.


UNIQUE IMPROVEMENT: KAMPUNG

In the densely-packed islands of Southeast Asia, local rulers needed to house people while also keeping them safe from floods and wildlife. These tightly-clustered communities of houses on stilts – or kampung – were the answer.

In fact, foreign visitors were so impressed by the efficiency of Indonesian and Malay kampungs with their high-population density that they adopted the term in the English ‘compound.’


CIV UNIQUE ABILITY: “GREAT NUSANTARA”

“Nusantara” is a contemporary term for the Indonesian archipelago, but for some time had been credited to Gitarja’s advisor – Gajah Mada. In an oath known as Sumpah Palapa, he vowed not to eat any food containing spices until he had conquered all of Nusantara under the glory of Majapahit. As a coastal civilization, it only makes sense Indonesian Coastal Tiles provide adjacency bonuses for certain districts. Complexes give an extra Amenity if they are adjacent to a non-lake Coastal Tile.

LEADER UNIQUE ABILITY: “EXALTED GODDESS OF THE THREE WORLDS”

The Majapahit kingdom expanded on the strength of its naval might, buoyed by the spice trade and spreading the beliefs of the Buddhist-Hindu kingdom. 

The “Exalted Goddess of the Three Worlds” ability grants bonus Faith to coastal cities. This allows Gitarja to purchase Naval units with Faith at a discount, as well as eliminating movement cost for Religious unit to embark or disembark.

Anyone who purchased the Digital Deluxe Edition of Civilization VI will receive this leader – and the DLC pack – automatically when it goes live.

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.

         
Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI

The 12th century Cambodian king Jayavarman VII "is generally considered by historians the most powerful Khmer monarch of all time," according to the unimpeachable sources at Wikipedia. So with the Khmer people on their way to Civilization 6, as 2K Games announced today, it only makes sense that he'd be the one to lead them. 

"Rising to power during a period of crisis for the Khmer, Jayavarman was a military leader. By 1181, Jayavarman VII had repelled Cham invaders to the north and when hostilities died down, he crowned himself king. But instead of turning outward and seeking to aggressively expand, he focused on his people," 2K wrote. "King Jayavarman VII saw himself as a warrior for his subjects. As a result, his rule was marked by its tolerance and his drive to create a place of safety and paradise for his subjects." 

Which isn't to say that the Khmer don't kick ass, and in fact their unique unit, the Domrey, might be the coolest of them all: It's a war elephant with a ballista mounted on its back, making it basically the 12th century equivalent of self-propelled artillery. On the more homefront-focused side of things, the Khmer unique improvement is the Prasat, a replacement for the temple, which gives the Martyr promotion to missionaries it produces and provides a Relic Great Works slot.   

Jayavarman himself brings the "Monasteries of the King" unique ability to the game, enabling the Khmer to grab adjacent territories when their Holy Sites are completed, while aqueducts will increase food production in adjacent farms and provide a bonus to Faith and an Amenity through the "Grand Barays" unique ability. 

Owners of the Civilization 6 Digital Deluxe Edition will receive the Khmer civ, and the rest of the DLC it comes with, automatically when it goes live. A launch date hasn't been announced, but I would expect it to show up at around the same time as the big Fall Update

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