The first major expansion for Civilization VI, entitled Rise and Fall, has been announced, and will launch on February 8, 2018. The expansion will add a number of new features, as well as eight new civilizations represented by nine new leaders. Additionally, some current leaders and civs might be getting reworks–both major and minor–to help with game balance.
Ages are the first major update in Rise and Fall, functioning similarly to the golden eras of Civilization V. But be warned, not all ages are golden–some of them are dark. Having a golden age give you some huge bonuses, which differ depending on what kind of golden age it is. And like Civ V‘s golden eras, each one you trigger will make it harder to get the next one. Dark ages, meanwhile, are the exact opposite. Dark ages make you weak and cost you loyalty (more on that in a bit), but the trade-off is that you can earn future golden ages more easily after you get one.
Ages are also tied in with the new history mechanic. In addition to being able to look back upon your civilization’s history throughout the game, performing a historical first (like circumnavigating the globe) will give you points towards your next golden age. Just as the eureka moments for technologies makes you go out and do stuff instead of just turtling in your own lands, ages and history looks like it will going out and doing world firsts, to help get to that next, powerful golden age.
LOYALTY AND ALLIANCES
“Loyalty” is a new mechanic in Rise and Fall that will keep your cities, well, your cities. If a city isn’t loyal to you, it risks becoming a Free City, which I sure Austria would love (/endeu4joke). Cities radiate loyalty to other nearby cities, meaning that ones near the edge of your border, or near an enemy’s cities, will be harder to keep loyal. If they flip? They’re going to sit there, without the might of an empire behind them, ripe for the picking. It can be very dangerous to have a dark age while your neighbour has a golden age, an unloyal city might flip straight to them!
As for keeping your friends happy, and not just your own citizens, alliances have been improved considerably. My biggest problem with Civilization VI is that, well, alliances suck. Everyone hates you, and you hate everyone. Unlike Civilization V, where keeping allies was basically a necessity for those all-important research agreements, you can really go full boar on conquering everyone and still come out on top. You may as well, the finicky agenda system makes the AI almost impossible to befriend, anyway. Rise and Fall adds five different kinds of alliances: military, economic, science, cultural, and religious. Each offers specific bonuses, and get stronger as the alliance grows. A level 1 science alliance will give you bonus science from trade routes, while a level 2 alliance will add regular tech boosts. A level 3 bonus science when researching the same technology in tandem, or if one civ has finished a tech that the other has. It sounds like a great idea to make alliances actually matter–if the AI gets sorted out.
Unlike the governors of previous titles, which were just the city AI, governors in Rise and Fall offer much more tangible benefits. First off, they help your cities stay loyal, which is very helpful if your enemies are trying to take your land in a more…diplomatic fashion. You’ll get governors by earning “governor titles” throughout the game, which you can use hire and upgrade governors. Only seven can be recruited all game, and the limited number of governor points means you can go tall with a few really strong governors, or wide with a whole swath of weaker ones. Each governor is different, and will give you bonuses depending on your personality. Although they do a number of things, one may be better at getting you trade route money, while another makes your city harder to siege in a defensive war. Governors can be kept in a single city, or shuffled around as the situation may warrant.
The last major update in Rise and Fall is emergencies, which can help pull back a player that’s getting a bit too big. Holy city converted? Emergency. Gandhi on a nuke spree? Emergency. When an emergency is declared, certain players will be able to join together against a target, if they so choose. They’ll be given an objective, which if completed in a certain amount of time, gives them a permanent bonus. If they’re unable to complete the objective, however, the bonus goes to the target. The same target that is too far ahead already. The system works as a bit of a rubber band, but if not careful, it can backfire completely.
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