Civ VI, BE & Other News

videoBehind the Scenes With Sean Bean - International Version (With Subtitles)
Posted by: BUncle, December 07, 2016, 03:27:22 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 30
xxRe: Forums Down, and Other Thrilling Things...
Posted by: BUncle, December 06, 2016, 08:01:14 PM
Replies: 463

Board: Recreation Commons
Views: 13923

buster (no relation) has taken CGN down...

Quote has reached the end of the line and has been moved to offline storage.

Should anyone have an interest in the databases or other materials from the site contact:

It was up yesterday...
clipInternal Player Structure
Posted by: scient, December 06, 2016, 08:17:15 AM
Replies: 1

Board: Bug/Patch Discussion
Views: 111

I have completed my analysis of how the game parses and stores the faction related files internally. This Player structure is created from the faction text files found in the game folder (default or custom). This structure is used as the basis for the active game structure for each faction which I haven't completed yet. I tried to do a few updates to the wiki however I don't really have time to do a more through job.

I've noticed two bugs that I don't believe yitzi or kyrub have addressed. However, I could be wrong. I haven't kept up with the latest patches and do analysis on an unmodified version of the game.

  • TECH, #: Free # of player selected tech at start seems to be broken. This would only affect custom factions.
  • Social Priority Effect: Completely broken and never set. This affects the AI for all factions, including default ones.
  • Social Opposition Effect: Also broken, but not used by default factions.

While the free number of TECH value is correctly set, I've never actually received the tech at the start of the game. Perhaps I am doing something wrong, however this might be another neglected feature like COMMFREQ rule since none of the default factions use it. The default factions only grant single specific tech which is handled slightly differently. I didn't trace further to track down this potential bug since it is outside the scope of the parsing of the Player structure. If anyone can confirm this is broken or works, please let me know!

As for the social priority effect, I can 100% confirm this is broken. For example, inside gaians.txt you have the following line: Economics, Green, PLANET. The category (Economics) and model (Green) are correctly set inside the Player struct. However, no matter what the effect is (in this case PLANET) the code sets it to -1 (nil). The opposition effect is always nil in the default factions, so that would only affect custom factions. Now, if you set the custom game rule "randomize faction leader social agendas" then a non-nil value is randomly set in this field. The effect priority field is actively used in a couple functions when I did a cursory test: communicate(), social_ai(). I imagine this could cause the AI not to strive towards the effect goals they were meant to as well as incorrect reactions to factions with similar/opposing views. However, perhaps it has no real effect at all.

To bug fixers:
This happens in the read_faction() function at offset 0x586DF7 in the SMACX binary and offset 0x59DCDE inside the SMAC binary. If you look at the two loops above it, you'll see how the category and model are parsed and set (strcmp > increment > repeat). This could be expanded to properly parse the effect values.

Some undocumented things I've noticed:
  • There are 304 unused padding bytes in the Player struct that could be used to add features.
  • Noun gender can be "Neutral". Unsure if this has any difference compared to male/female.
  • Adjective names for the faction must be separated by a colon. Default faction files do not adhere to this having portions after the 1st comma ignored completely. I didn't look into what happens when colons are properly used.
  • Interlude variables: Assistant and Scientist name, Assistant City.
  • SHARETECH/TECHSHARE override one another. Contrary to the documentation, the TECHSHARE parameter is not ignored but writes to the same internal variable as SHARETECH. However, unlike SHARETECH a flag is set for TECHSHARE that must handle its spying caveat.
  • Maximum of 8 faction bonuses. Only the first 8 are parsed, any after that are ignored.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer them or try to explain further.
videoJust One More Turn - Civilization 6
Posted by: BUncle, November 27, 2016, 08:16:08 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 53
videoCracked: Why Civ VI Brings Out The Worst In Humanity - Escort Mission
Posted by: BUncle, November 09, 2016, 03:09:33 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 121

I totally stole this link from nzcamel at WPC.
some articleCivilization VI tries to make the best of Civilization V
Posted by: Unorthodox, November 03, 2016, 05:04:00 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 98

I just spent thousands of years of accumulated faith to claim Edgar Allen Poe, one of the earliest great writers in Civilization VI. He’ll write The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart, which are considered great works. They add tourism and culture to a civilization. But great works need to be housed in a “slot”. Basically, a civilization has an inventory for these things. Thousands of years ago, I found The Grass Cutting Sword in a remote village. It’s been sitting in my palace ever since, generating tourism and faith. Because of my close relationship with the city-state of Kandy, I was supposed to get free relics for discovering natural wonders. But, alas, without a place to slot them, they were wasted. Yosemite, Mount Kilimanjaro, and the Great Barrier Reef flashed before my scouts’ eyes and no relics were forthcoming.

To increase great works inventory space, a civilization needs museums, temples, and certain Wonders of the World. Lucky for me, I’ve got the Great Library of Rome, which has room for two writings. It’s been empty for thousands of years. It’s been waiting for Edgar Allen Poe. Now he’s here. At last, it gets two books!

After the jump, or does it?

This great works system is an example of everything right and everything wrong in Civilization VI. What a nifty concept, kind of like rock n’ roll as a Wonder of the World, but more specific. Great works tap into the trope of doo-dads of unimaginable power, a favorite fantasy for boys of all ages and sexes. One True Rings, Elfstones of Shannara, Stormbringers, Grass Cutting Swords now on as epic a scale as possible, short of going full blown sci-fi.

And what wonderful flavor. When I found it, I got a fancy picture of of my Grass Cutting Sword. When Poe wrote The Raven, narrator Sean “Ned Stark” Bean reads a bit in his grave Yorkshire drawl. “While I nodded, nearly napping” I love this. I love that these cultural details have found their way into my epic strategy game, with the gameplay heft they deserve. Come to the merchant republic of Rome to see the Grass Cutting Sword in our palace, and to read The Tell-Tale Heart and The Raven in our Great Library! Or, put another way, +6 faith, +8 culture, and +24 tourism!


But a funny thing happened on the way to the Great Library. In Civilization VI, missionaries and apostles run around and spread religion. If you played Civilization V, you know what a mess it is. They’re like lawyers in Call to Power. Remember Call to Power? Of course you don’t. No one does. For good reason. It was an uninspired Civilization clone without much insight into designing a game about thousands of years of human history. Hey, someone said at some point in its development, wouldn’t it be cool if we had lawyers who could walk up to a city and suck out money? For some reason, no one said no. So it got lawyer units who could walk up to a city and suck up money. You moved them around on the map just as you’d move tanks, archers, and knights. That’s how missionaries and apostles work in Civilization VI, where only one can stand on a tile at a time, and they’re mutually exclusive with any of my units.

My army can’t move because they’re besieged by a shambling horde of Buddhist missionaries from Japan. They run around clogging up tiles and whacking religion into cities according to some inscrutable under-the-hood theological algebra in which +200 points of Buddhism fly up out of some city whose name I forget because I didn’t get to name it. Civilization VI doesn’t trust me with one of the little touches that has made Civilizations great since 1991. What kind of Civilization forces me to begin with a city not called Chickville?

So here’s my Edgar Allen Poe unit trying to get out of Rome, where he was born, to reach the Great Library, where he can put The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart on the shelves. Except there’s a Buddhist missionary from Japan parked on the Great Library. Poe can’t get in. He can’t share The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart with the rest of the world. He has to wait until the AI for Japan shuffles that Buddhist missionary to another tile without shuffling another Buddhist missionary back onto the tile. Is this working as intended? Is Firaxis making a statement about how religion, formerly the wellspring of the arts, often suppresses the arts in the modern world? In which case, they’re also making the same statement about builders, settlers, and generals, all of whom would similarly stop Poe from publishing his stories.


One-unit-per-tile rule was considered a selling point in Civilization V. Hey, someone said at some point in its development, wouldn’t it be cool if we had fewer units that can’t be stacked and that therefore drape a fussy tactical layer over our grand strategy game? For some reason, no one said no. No one pointed out how much additional work it would take to develop an AI that could actually play that design. No one considered the ridiculous traffic jams and chokepoints and tactical puzzles involving the simple act of getting a swordsman next to the thing it wants to attack. No one realized how baldly it would highlight wretched AI. No one anticipated all the cheese tactics based on clogging up the map and exploiting transparently bad AI. No one appreciated how much it would undermine the design.

One unit per tile continues to be an unmitigated disaster in Civilization VI. Which is particularly galling, since Civilization VI makes significant strides in other parts of the design. You can see here some of the same insight that went into making XCOM and XCOM 2. This doesn’t feel like a game design turned over to an intern at Firaxis. It feels like a game design where sometimes someone said “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if…?” and sometimes someone else said “no”.

For instance, if you liked playing Civilization V as a forgiving city builder (cities builder?) in which you also pointlessly shuffle dudes around a map — which is to say, if you liked playing Civilization V — then you’ll probably be delighted at how much energy Firaxis has put into the cities building. You no longer grow cities by pouring buildings into a bucket and managing a gaggle of workers to terraform hexes. An intricate system brings the map alive in new ways. Never before has a river mattered so much in a Civilization game. Never before has it been such a big deal that these hills are next to this resource, that those grasslands are all adjacent, that this mountain range cradles a hex on three sides. Because all this is new, playing Civilization VI for the first time can be bewildering. What’s the deal with districts? Wait, what happened to my library? I just researched workshops, so why can’t I build one yet? Why can’t I build the Pyramids?

But playing Civilization VI for the second time is a gratifying exercise in reading the language of its maps. It’s the strategy game equivalent of poetry. Geography matters because it is literally the foundation for your civilization. This concept informs nearly every resource, and nearly every resource has been smartly reorganized to adapt to it. Whereas Civilization V imagined a bunch of tech trees with their mouths open like a cacophony of baby birds waiting to be fed, Civilization VI imagines an elegant but complex clockwork economy. Resources like science, culture, great people points, housing, influence, tourism, amenities, and faith drive the economy, and each is distinct for how you earn it, how you spend it, and what you can buy with it. It reworks familiar concepts like happiness, roads, wonders of the world, builders, the tech tree, and growth. It introduces new concepts like districts, fresh water, inspiration, great works, and government as a deck-building card game. The AI, of course, is as helpless with these systems as it is with combat. It’s awfully dismaying to advance to the later ages and see how poorly the other civilizations have handled what Firaxis has created. But if you ignore the inability of the AI to play the game, Civilization VI shines as a cities builder.


Then it whiffs on fundamental systems like espionage, religion, diplomacy, and war. Religion in particular is an obtuse, undocumented, under-the-hood mess. Oh, it’s also one of the main gameplay pillars. Oops. Diplomacy is still a casualty of the bad AI. To Firaxis’ credit, they’ve made diplomacy more transparent. They’ve also borrowed some concepts from Paradox’s games, which are at the leading edge of modeling diplomacy as a gameplay system. This would have been a great idea if Civilization VI’s diplomacy AI wasn’t so sputteringly incoherent. It will declare war on you from across the world, do nothing about it, and then ten turns later sue for peace, complete with monetary reparations. Uh, okay, Spain. Thanks? It will refuse absurdly advantageous deals. It will promise not to do something and then do it. You will promise not to do something and then it will decide you did it. These issues aren’t new. They’re just newly transparent.

And of course warfare, arguably the single most significant pillar of gameplay for how it’s constantly waiting in the wings and the single weakest gameplay mechanic for how the AI is incapable of playing it, can be summed up in four words: one, unit, per, and tile. Can you hear that splorching sound? It’s the suck of the tarry legacy of Civilization V.


Like Civilization V, it’s shy about putting too much information on the screen, but not the least bit shy about excessive graphics clutter. Unlike Civilization V, there’s scads of information available, even if it requires a bit of digging. This game comes tantalizing close to a very good interface. But then it whiffs when it comes to some of the basics. Why are there two sets of graphics, each with their own readability issues? Here is the screenshot from the top of this review, but in 2D:


Why does neither of set of graphics make clear important bits of information? What if I want to find a specific resource? What if I’m looking for, say, iron or oil? Or hunting down those insufferably hard-to-find dig sites? Why can’t I turn off all the unit clutter? Is there no better way to organize the “gossip” (i.e. valuable intel) I’m getting from my diplomatic access? How long was I supposed to play before realizing that clicking on a unit’s name brings up a menu of all my units, an interface convention that exists nowhere else in the game? Why can’t I more easily toggle yield and resource icons? Can I get a district filter? Are these jiggly lines really a helpful way to display a grid?


Why are there so few hotkeys? Why is the city list actually two lists hidden behind a tiny button, both stridently inflexible? These are strange oversights for a game that gives me thorough tooltips, not to mention this lovely column of data:


I’m not convinced the new achievement-oriented gameplay works on any level other than psychological. Who doesn’t like a message popping up that says, “Gratz, you get half off your archery research for scoring a kill with your slinger”? But what does this do to the design? Random missions from city-states are one thing, and they encourage you to do things you might not otherwise do. Vilnius wants me to send them a trade route, which will get me in good enough to unlock their unique ability. I was going to send a more profitable trade route to France, but that Vilnius special ability is too good to pass up. City-states are many things. Random quest vendors is one of them.

But the fixed achievements for each technology carry too much weight. Accomplishing an achievement pays for half of a technology. That’s huge. It forces a weirdly rigid framework into what should be a sandbox. Playing well means using these boosts as a checklist. Anyone who doesn’t navigate the achievements pays double to advance. For instance, if you build three archers, you get machinery tech at half price. Don’t ask why. You just do. Many achievements make sense. An observatory built next to a mountain gives you half off astronomy. Some don’t. Privateers teach you electricity, shooting someone with a musket leads to frigates, and sewers let women vote. Those are all things in Civilization VI. So before you research machinery, you should really build a third archer even if you’re never going to use it. Spending 50 production to get 150 tech is a no-brainer hard-coded into Civilization VI.

There’s a better way to do this sort of thing. Consider one of the additions to diplomacy. Each civilization’s leader has a specific predilection laid bare and consistent from game to game. The Vikings like large navies, the Russians respect science and culture, and the Romans are friendlier to civilizations that sprawl across lots of territory. But they’ve also got a randomly rolled hidden agenda. Gandhi might be devout, cultured, or nuke-happy. It’s up to you to discover this.

So why aren’t the tech boosts similarly randomized and hidden until you accomplish them? The history of science isn’t waiting to discover gunpowder because you haven’t built an armory yet. Yet that discount drives the gameplay. The script tells too much of the story. If Firaxis wants this idea of a eureka moment, as they call it, shouldn’t it be a surprise? You build an armory and — surprise! — gunpowder is half price. In another game, you build an armory and gunpowder is still the same price because the hidden requirement is killing an enemy civilization’s unit, building two universities, researching siege tactics, or being a monarchy. I’m no longer playing a game about timing when I build my armory, plus a hundred other things for the other techs. I’m playing a game with genuinely surprising eurekas.


Okay, it’s not my place to second guess game design. As you know, you go to Civilization with the game you have, not the game you might want or wish to have at a later time. But it is my place to note that when I go to Civilization, I’m looking for more than just a laid back single-player cities builder with the AI frittering idly in the margins. I cut my teeth on Sid Meier’s grand strategy without a brain-dead tactical layer drizzled over the top. I admire a lot of what Firaxis is doing to move on from the mess of Civilization V. They’re headed in the right direction, even if they are dragging a lot of baggage.

2/5 rating.

xxYitzi's Unofficial SMAX patch 3.5b
Posted by: Yitzi, November 01, 2016, 05:13:02 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 253

Yitzi's Unofficial SMAX patch 3.5b;sa=view;down=347

Fixed a few bugs in version 3.5.  Requires the text files from version 3.5.
some articleSid Meier's Civilization VI Review: Stands the Test of Time
Posted by: BUncle, October 28, 2016, 01:12:50 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 108
Sid Meier's Civilization VI Review
Stands the Test of Time
Cheat Code Central
by Sean Engemann

System: PC
Dev: Firaxis Games
Pub: 2K Games
Release: October 21, 2016
Players: 1-12 Players
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Drug Reference, Language, Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes

Sid Meier's Civilization series made famous the phrase, "one more turn," and for good reason. From the moment a random new world presents itself, it is engulfed in uncharted "fog" that just begs to be blown away by the winds of discovery. The possibility of fertile terrain, special resources, rewarding ruins, and encounters with foreign powers keeps you pushing that "End Turn" button to refresh the movement points for your scouts and early martial units. Hours into a match, when the entire map has been charted and you are in strong pursuit of expanding your borders and grasping the last precious unclaimed resources, "one more turn" has evolved from a few seconds of land discovery to several minutes of careful military calculations and building choices to keep your citizens satisfied and inch you closer to victory. In Civilization games, the real world vanishes and your focused eyes belie the muscular aches throughout the rest of your body after hours of gameplay. If this syndrome gives you pause, then I suggest steering well clear of Sid Meier's Civilization VI, as its level of addictiveness surpasses all before it. This entry brings thoughtful improvements and engaging new gameplay features that grant more freedom and flexibility to shape your empire from 4000 B.C. all the way through the Information Era.

The succulent menu screen lets you decide on the size of your entree, its complexity, and the type of cuisine you prefer, be it Greek, French, Chinese, or good old American, among many other worldly dishes. Each civilization provides unique perks, buildings, and military units authentic to their historical profile. Some focus on early age aggression, while others have a penchant for erecting world wonders. Some excel at exploring the oceans, and some are better at spreading faith. Whether your play style leans more towards a cultural, scientific, religious, or domination victory, there are several civilization options at your disposal. Or you could randomize everything and let chance decide your course.

More Special Features...

Settling your first city and expanding your empire in previous Civilization games was a comparably easy affair when placed next to the system in place in Civilization VI, in part due to the new district system. Instead of simply cramming buildings into the City Center, other tiles within your borders can be home to many different districts such as Harbors, Encampments, Holy Sites, and others, some exclusive to specific civilizations. Districts, along with World Wonders, occupy an entire hex on the grid-based map, gaining bonuses based on adjacent tiles, and sometimes requiring specific terrain to build. This system places an extreme emphasis on resource management, much more than any previous Civ game. It also requires a great deal of forethought, which will likely frustrate players when they unlock a new district or Wonder only to discover the ideal space is no longer vacant. This feature, paired with each civilization’s unique bonuses, requires a couple of full playthroughs in order to comfortably plot a game plan.

Plenty of gameplay staples have been tweaked and improved. The tech tree, for instance, has removed a fair bit of clutter by shifting some of its advancements into a separate civics tree. Along with its own buildings, units, and new forms of government, each civics development rewards you with perk cards that can be swapped in and out of military, economic, diplomatic, and wildcard slots, granting increased flexibility to provide succor as the situation in the game changes.

Speaking of goals, Civilization VI offers plenty of side quest incentives to pursue that provide boons to achieving the victory condition you are striving for. Some techs and civics have specific objectives that when completed prompt a “Eureka!” or “Inspiration!” moment, respectively, cutting that particular research time in half. Neutrally aligned city-states also dish out quests, adding envoys and improving their standing with whichever civilization completes it. Opposing leaders also have their own agendas, which fluctuate from game to game, affecting their strategic course of action and offering hints on how to keep an amicable relationship with them or goad them into war.
some articleTuned to perfection over 25 years, 'Civilization VI' may be the game of 2016
Posted by: BUncle, October 26, 2016, 08:31:53 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 115
Civilization VI review
Tuned to perfection over 25 years, 'Civilization VI' may be the game of 2016
Digital Trends
By Will Fulton   Posted on  10.21.16   (updated on 10.22.16)

By all rights, Civilization shouldn’t work after 25 years and six main editions. Fitting all human history into a single, epic game, while also satisfying the needs of longtime fans without becoming too complex for newcomers … is a tall order. Former lead designers Soren Johnson (IV) and Jon Shafer (V) went so far as to suggest that no strategy game designer in their right mind should attempt anything nearing its scope (just look at what happened to Spore when it tried to be everything to everyone).

Yet here we are, decades after the launch of the original Civilization, and Civ VI is arguably the best entry in the esteemed franchise yet. That’s a testament to developer Firaxis and the steady-handed stewardship of series creator Sid Meier, who has lent his name and counsel to every subsequent entry as other lead designers added their stamp. One clue to the special sauce that has kept Civ thriving while countless other franchises have risen and fallen within its lifespan is the “rule of 33 percent” to which Meier and other Firaxis designers have alluded over the years.

Civ’s rule of 33 percent: The basic principle, which emerged organically after the first few games and has been more deliberately applied since, is that in any new entry roughly 33 percent of the previous game will carry over unscathed, 33 percent will be adapted, and 33 percent will be brand new. This rubric elegantly describes Civ VI, which directly lifts a lot of what worked best in V, makes a bevy of clever tweaks and introduces a few exceptional ideas of its own. This is evolution, not revolution, but that’s where the series thrives.

If it ain’t broke…

At first blush, Civilization VI will look familiar to anyone that has played V. It is still an epic, turn-based strategy game that remixes the world’s great nations, leaders and wonders into a fresh, alternative history. It’s an impossibly elaborate digital board game mixing exploration, culture, economics and warfare into the ultimate historical 4X experience (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate).

Players found cities that sprawl across a hexagonal map, enhancing them with buildings and exploiting the terrain to generate food, science, production, gold, faith, and culture. These disparate resources all feed into the interlocking systems, allowing civilizations to compete over the sweep of history in military conquest, religion, trade, diplomacy, espionage, and great works of culture. The game’s overall contours and many of its core systems carry over from V intact. Even the general positioning of the UI is largely unchanged.

Civ VI actually launches with nearly all of the core features that V did after five years of expansion. While V was enjoyable at launch in 2010, it only really came into its own after its two major expansions, Gods and Kings and Brave New World, which added systems like trade routes, religion, espionage, and archaeology, in addition to revamping culture. Ed Beach, who directed those two expansions, is now lead of VI. After honing V for years, this second pass at it shaves off the fat and integrates everything he learned into a more robust core. Civ V is one of the best strategy games of all time, so VI wisely keeps and scrubs baby while refreshing the bathwater.

Brave new world

Perhaps the most obvious and far-reaching new addition in Civ VI is the unstacking of cities to spread their buildings and wonders out across the hexes of the world, instead of being crammed into a single tile. Apart from a few city center essentials like the monument or sewers, most buildings require that you first build specialized districts that take up a hex, such as a Theater District for cultural buildings and an Encampment for training troops. Most of these receive thematically-appropriate adjacency bonuses for being next to features such as mountains, rivers, wonders, or other districts.

Wonders also now need a place on the map, with particular requirements for each. This keeps the puzzle of laying out your cities far more engaging over the whole game. Population limits how many districts a given city can have, so they must necessarily specialize, and getting the most out of them requires much more planning and responding to the particulars of the map.

The second most apparent change is that cultural progression has been expanded into a whole research tree, mirroring the series-standard tech tree. In addition to unlocking units, buildings, wonders, and abilities like the science tree, this largely provides access to new policy cards, which let you continually tweak your civilization’s priorities over the course of the whole game. After the initial shared Chiefdom, there are three tiers of three government types that are unlocked on the culture tree, each providing successively more slots for some combination of military, economic, diplomatic, and wildcard policies.

In addition to just generally making the humanistic elements of civilization feel more robust and providing an alternative mode of progression to science, this offers more interesting decisions throughout the whole game, particularly in later stretches that grew stagnant in previous versions. For instance, during a war you can choose policies that increase production of units and enhance pillaging, but once peace is made you can change course to instead focus on restoring happiness to your war-weary populace and improving trade routes. As a dynamic replacement for the static culture unlocks of V, this creates more opportunities to actively steer your civ for the entire game, and a greater ability to pivot as history goes on.

Both the culture and science trees are also enhanced with a new system of boosts that completes a whopping 50 percent of a given research for doing something related to it in the game, such as founding a coastal city boosting your understanding of sailing. Like the addition of districts, this serves to make the specific layout of the map and what you do on it much more important. It’s not the flashiest change, but this added feedback between how you play and what your civilization is good at is really quite elegant, providing opportunities for both more responsive/adaptive play, and the new efficiencies to be exploited by more hardcore min-maxers.

The devil is in the details

The middle 33 percent are elements that are carried over to the new game, but with some degree of rejiggering. These encompass a range of subtler changes that cleverly punch up areas of the previous game that functioned, but felt a little flat.

City-states, which used to only have mechanical identities as part of a general class (such as cultural or militant), now also have an additional, unique effect that is granted to the suzerain (the player who holds the most influence over them). These can be powerful under the right circumstances — like Jerusalem exerting spiritual pressure as a second holy city for their suzerain’s religion — so competition for their affections can be much more important than simply buying them off for World Congress votes.

Similarly, Great People also offer unique bonuses that remain consistent to that person between games. All players can now go to a screen that shows one Great Person of each type available, along with every player’s progress toward recruiting them with accumulated points. The race for points can be short-circuited if you really want a particular person with a hefty expenditure of gold or faith, depending on how close you are.

Religion and espionage were two post-launch additions to Civ V that start in VI with roughly the same complexity. Religion operates basically the same as before, but now the means by which it spreads is more dynamic, with religious units engaging directly in theological combat. There is also now a religious victory. Espionage adopts the solid system from the sci-fi spin-off Civilization: Beyond Earth’s expansion. Districts mesh particularly well with espionage, providing opportunities for targeted sabotage and counterintelligence.

Combat also largely carries over from the last game. The map’s newfound importance and the addition of districts make the more tactical direction of V’s switch to one unit per tile more relevant than ever. Later tech allows like units to be combined into larger corps, splitting the difference with IV’s “stacks of doom,” along with new support units. In general the progressions for individual unit veterancy and as upgrade classes (such as melee or light cavalry) have also been made clearer and more interesting. The addition of Cassus Belli also means that wars cannot be declared as arbitrarily without incurring heavy diplomatic penalties.

Necessary compromises

Creating a new core Civ game does mean that some features from expansions in the last game do get lost. For example, Civ VI has fewer available leaders (20 at launch for VI — a little less than half of V’s final count) and maps.

The tech boosts are great in principle, but many of them make less sense in practice. Building six farms to boost Feudalism is perfectly flavorful, but owning three Privateers to help master Electricity feels arbitrary.

One bugbear of the player community for V that unfortunately has not seen any major improvement is the AI of computer-controlled opponents. In order to ratchet up the challenge beyond the middle difficulty level, AI civs basically cheat, with numerical bonuses over the player, instead of acting any smarter. Programming AI for a game this complicated is obviously daunting, and this was the case in Civ V as well, so it isn’t a step backwards, but it’s certainly an area that many players were hoping to see addressed.

Still, even if the computer players are not any smarter, Civ VI provides much more information about why they are behaving the ways they do. Every civ has a fixed, historical agenda that dictates how they play, such as Trajan wanting an expansive empire and not respecting players without much land. They also have a second, randomized agenda, which you can learn over time with greater diplomatic access. Our favorite that we’ve seen was Victoria as a “Darwinist,” which meant she believed in global progress through constant struggle. Talking to leaders, you are provided with an itemized breakdown of what is currently influencing their opinion of you, shaped by these agendas.

While the AI players may not be noticeably smarter, their behavior and intentions are easier to understand.

Bells and whistles

Although the game lacks any pre-made, single-player scenarios at launch, it makes up for this with the addition of new multiplayer scenarios, designed to be playable in a single sitting. In addition to the standard suite of internet, local network, and hotseat games of any configuration, there are three special scenarios limited to 50 turns: an Ancient Era race for culture, exploration, wonders, and pillaging (with points awarded to having the most of each category), a Medieval/Renaissance religion competition, and an Atomic Era game of Cold War nuclear chicken (if nukes are launched, you want to have fired the most; if none are launched you want to have the most tanks; anyone who controls three city-states immediately wins).

Similarly with XCOM 2 earlier this year, Firaxis wants to make sure that Civ VI is the most modder-friendly entry in the franchise. If this bears out once the developer SDK and map editor have been released, all of the additions to this version (such as districts, policies, and the swappable leaders with unique abilities separate from those of their civilization) will serve as excellent hooks for the community to add new content. Mods will also finally be available in multiplayer as well, so look forward to conquering Westeros in the inevitable Game of Thrones scenario with your friends.

It also bears mentioning that the presentation is fantastic. The visuals are bright and appealing, the character models are all charmingly stylized and full of personality, and Sean Bean’s warm, Yorkshire brogue reading all of the tech quotes is a welcome companion throughout your journey. Subtle touches like the music reflecting both your culture and those that you have encountered, with arrangements that become more modern as the game goes on, take an excellent core game and give it that additional polish to really make it special.

Our take

Civilization VI is a triumph of design and gameplay. It takes the best of what worked in its predecessors and making smart additions that seamlessly interlock with and enhance all areas of the game. Civilization V is still one of the best strategy games of all time, but we have trouble imagining going back at this point. At launch, VI is already an addicting delight to play, but it is most exciting as a platform. The team condensed everything from V down into an excellent refresh of the core game, leaving exciting possibilities for wholly new and exciting ways to play through mods and official expansions to tempt us from the horizon. It’s a journey we’re eager to take.

Is there a better alternative?

The complete Civilization V can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of VI, and comes with relative mountains of content. Many fans still hold IV as the series’ peak. We think VI is qualitatively better, but those are great alternatives.

How long will it last?

The previous few series entries were actively developed for about five years following their initial releases. Given that post-launch content ecosystems are more important than ever for gaming, we expect this to continue evolving for years. It stands to be seen how generously the new content will be priced.

Should I buy it?

Yes. If you’re a series newcomer mostly concerned with value, Civilization V is an amazing and generous game that will entertain you for thousands of hours. If you’re a veteran looking to fall in love again, or a newcomer interested in being involved with the new game’s evolution, then we absolutely recommend you get in on the ground floor with Civilization VI. We love this game.
some article'Civilization 6' Is So Good I'm Terrified Of It
Posted by: BUncle, October 25, 2016, 09:46:52 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 138
'Civilization 6' Is So Good I'm Terrified Of It
Dave Thier, Contributor  Oct 24, 2016

Image: 2K Games

It was with no small sense of apprehension that I watched the little download bar for Civilization 6 complete. It has been a long time since I lost myself in a Civilization game, and I’ve lost myself in nearly every one of them: 2,3 and 4, specifically. I skipped 5, however, and I knew I was going to be coming back to a very different game. Hexes, for one thing. More complex combat systems. I rarely played those other games with anything but a military bent because other strategies never seemed quite worth it, but I knew they had been significantly fleshed out in the meantime. And it was true: when I sat down to review this game, I found something recognizable but very different, something with everything I loved about the older games with a whole lot more mixed in. When I came to at the end of the weekend, it was clear that this was an incredible game, and I’m not sure I can keep playing it.

For my first game, I went with what I knew: an all powerful Rome, conquering the world with my legions. Mostly, it went like I expected, except with the much-improved district system giving my mega cities more life than they had had before, in addition to complicating my sieges in the best way. We’re a long way from the stack of doom, and it gives war the drama it was always lacking when it was just 20 units or so smacking into each other. The feeling you get when your siege units come into place and their feeble little crossbowmen try their best to keep you at bay: priceless.

(I know this is a change that started with Civilization 5, but again, I largely missed that one)

And yet the whole time I noticed something odd: there were these missionaries spreading themselves throughout my land, converting my cities to Protestantism. I realized that America was as close to their religious victory as I was to my domination victory, and this is the essence of what’s new for me: a game fought on several fronts, like a game of chess where every piece has another identity etched on its bottom that could also be used to checkmate. My bombers made short work of that threat, but the lesson was clear. And so for my second game I tried a religious victory with Saladin — a regular player in Civilization, but one I’ve never experimented with before. And it’s a totally different game: I’ve got four strong cities and I’m waging this whole shadow war with Scythia, our dueling apostles totally separated from the catapults and horsemen that the rest of the civilizations are playing with. Those catapults are still a threat, of course, and so I’m hoping an alliance with Gorgo of Greece can help to augment my own meager defenses from any civilization that decides it would like to take Cairo. Gorgo isn’t having it.

This is all separate from a cultural victory, which any other civilization might be working on but I won’t quite know about until I have some spies. There’s archaeology in this game! I haven’t even touched that one, and I’ve played for a dozen or more hours. That’s the overall impression of this game: simple and deep at the same time, something that’s fun and vexing at every moment but feels like it could be a life’s work to master. It’s Civilization, in all its obsessive glory. The “return to game” button on the menu says “one more turn.” Bastards.
xxAARabian Nights - A Prince Civ6 AAR
Posted by: Nikolai, October 25, 2016, 01:18:44 PM
Replies: 15

Board: Civ 6
Views: 123

Repost of my AAR on WPC, Poly and PDS forums:

So my first post release game without my wife has just started!

Settings are as follows:

Playing as Arabia, I get these bonuses:

I will probably go for a science win for this one.:C5Trade:

The starting position is as follows:

First build, slinger.
First tech, animal husbandry.
some articlePC Gamer: Civilization 6 review
Posted by: BUncle, October 23, 2016, 07:20:18 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 165
Civilization 6 review
PC Gamer
By T.J. Hafer 3 days ago

Need to know

What is it? Turn-based strategy spanning all of human history.
Reviewed on: Windows 10 64-bit, Core i7-4770K, 16GB RAM, GeForce GTX 770
Price: $60/£50
Release date: October 20
Publisher: 2K
Developer: Firaxis
Multiplayer: Up to 12 Online, Local Network, and Hot Seat
Link: Official site

Civilization 6 is the ultimate digital board game. More than ever in the series, the board—the world—is the soul of every opportunity and challenge. As usual for Civ, I build empires, compete for a set of victory conditions, and fend off warmongering leaders like that scoundrel Peter the Great. But I’m also playing for, with, and against the board. Forests and deserts and resource-rich tundras each influence the flow of my civilization, granting us boons and burdening us with lasting weaknesses. Bands of barbarians put my farms in crisis, but also open up opportunities to speed the development of my military techs. The glorious, challenging dynamics that emerge from Civ 6’s redesigned maps left me with no question that the storied series has crowned a new king.

While Civ 6 is probably the most transformative step forward for the series, its changes shouldn’t trip up longtime players too much. There’s definitely a learning curve to overcome, but much of what you need to be to be victorious isn’t necessary when you start exploring. You still settle cities, develop tiles, train military units, wage turn-based warfare, and conduct diplomacy. It mirrored my memories of past Civs closely enough that hints from the in-game adviser were all I needed to course-correct when something I hadn’t seen before came my way.

But there are so many of these new features that it could feel overwhelming at times. The depth and variety of systems resembles a Civ game that’s already had two or three expansions added on top—from the new Districts that perform specific tasks and spread my cities out into an often messy but somehow pleasing sprawl, to a whole separate 'tech' tree for civic and cultural progress that ties into a sort of collectible card game for mixing policy bonuses to build a unique government. The feature richness averts the common problem with strategy games on day one where I feel I’m being sold a platform on which a great game will eventually be built. But I also worry that Firaxis may have sailed a bit beyond the calm waters of accessibility for more casual strategy fans, and any expansions that add major features or new systems could heighten the barrier to newcomers.

Hexistential realities

What binds everything together, though, is the map. I have reservations about the art style—I preferred the pseudo-realism of Civ 5, and some of the Civ 6 military units in particular look goofy enough to have fallen out of a freemium mobile game. But the map itself, and its cities, iron mines, and festival squares, is more alive than ever. I was delighted, for example, to discover that I really never needed to pull up an overlay to see which tiles were being worked, because the models and animations do that job for me at a glance.

Unworked fields lie barren, and I could tell how many citizen slots in my commercial district were taken up by the level of bustle occupying its streets. It’s a pretty brilliant way of keeping you engrossed and focused on what matters. The tech trees and the leader interaction screen are the only parts of the UI that hide my soaring cities from my view. The latter of the two involves fully animated, 3D representations of everyone from Montezuma to that jerk Peter the Great who thinks his mustache and his science bonus from tundra tiles are so cool, even though they’re not and I’ve had bombers in range of his second largest city since the Atomic Age, ready to wipe that stupid grin off his face. They’re all very well voice-acted, with the return of native language dialogue from Civ 5.

Spending a lot of time staring at hills, valleys, and potential pyramid locations isn’t just enjoyable and informative, however. It’s critical to getting the most out of the game. Terrain and tile types have always been a factor in Civ, but they’re at the heart of nearly everything in Civ 6. With districts and wonders each taking up a whole tile, and being the most powerful tools I had to catapult myself toward victory, city planning became a huge focus of my every move. When I unlocked the ability to build a Holy Site, I had to ask myself if I wanted to nestle it in the middle of all those forested hills to gain bonus faith from the adjacent, natural splendor. If I did, I’d miss out on the chance to clear out all the trees later on, plop down an industrial district surrounded with mines, and enjoy a huge boost to my production.

If you build it… (it might be wrong)

There was never a time that I felt I could fill every tile around me with the most obviously ‘correct’ district or improvement and call it a day. The need for foresight is unending. There are always sacrifices to make, like when I fell behind in culture because my only eligible tile for a theater square was the one I’d been saving to build a rocket launch site to clench a science victory. It’s a fantastic, richly realized way of forcing difficult decisions at every bend in the river and making sure no two cities you build will ever look or feel the same. It feels like a revelation for someone who’s been playing 4X games since before I could see over a car dashboard. The constant planning and trade-offs seem like how this series was always supposed to work, and they inject a layer of variety that made the pull of “Just one more turn…” even stronger than ever.

There’s a level of trial and error in this that caused me some legitimate frustration in my first few races to the space age. When everything is fresh and new, you might not realize that you’re plopping down a university campus in a place you should have waited to build a neighborhood several centuries later. One late game civic (the cultural equivalent of a tech) unlocks the ability to build National Parks, granting a massive boost to culture—but unless you’ve been planning where it’s going to go from 4000 BC, chances are you’ve already destroyed all of the pristine nature required to set one up.

I longed for some kind of city planning utility, where I could mock up where everything was going to go once I’d unlocked all the districts and improvements, especially considering some of them get adjacency bonuses for being next to each other as opposed to specific terrain features. If you like to play efficiently, just be aware that you’re going to be slapping yourself that you dumped out such a haphazard monument to mediocrity until you have a few campaigns under your belt and understand where to leave or create an ideal space for something important—and have the patience to do so.

Worlds of inspiration

The other way the map has become a much more important part of Civ 6 is in how it ties into the tech and civics tree. Every technology and civic has an associated mini objective that will trigger a “Eureka” moment and pay off half the cost immediately. Founding a city next to an ocean tile sped up my progress toward Sailing. Building three industrial districts with factories jumped me ahead in my quest to embrace communism (Viva la Economic Policy Slots!) These are often tied to having room for specific districts, access to specific resources, or contact with other civilizations. Where I spawned on each map had a significant effect on which techs I could get quickly, and thus which ones I tended to go for first. It also really helps alleviate the feeling of spending several turns waiting for a building or a unit to finish, since I could always be pursuing a Eureka objective for a tech I had my eye on.

It’s not all a reinvented wheel, though. The Civ staples of war and diplomacy have returned recognizable, but honed to the sharpest edge we’ve ever seen on them. I particularly enjoyed the way AI leaders are now given agendas (one public, and one that must be uncovered through espionage, building a positive relationship, or observing context) that overtly tell you what they like and don’t like, and make it theoretically possible to stay on everyone’s good side through the whole game if you’re willing to jump through a lot of hoops. Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, for instance, wants to kill all city states and hates anyone who so much as lets them borrow a cup of sugar. If you’re going for a very pacifist run, you can let that agenda guide your gameplay (ignoring city-states and the benefits courting them can provide), and chances are you won’t have pretzel-scented warriors knocking down your door.

In the event that hostilities do break out, Civ 6 has split the difference between 5’s one unit per tile and 4’s Clash of the Doomstacks to reach a happy middle. Support units like medics and Great Generals can attach to and occupy the same tile as a regular combat unit like a pikeman. In the mid and late game, you also gain the ability to combine two combat units into a Corps, and later you can add a third to make an Army, which is are more powerful versions of that unit that only take up a single tile. This adds some new layers and tactics to a model of warfare that could get predictable and repetitive in Civ 5.

Civ's score breathes life into all these conflicts and conferences. Christopher Tin’s new main theme, 'Sogno di Volare,' is just as sweeping, catchy, and beautiful as 'Baba Yetu.' I predict it will join his previous Civ effort in the pantheon of the greatest pieces of music written for a videogame, though I suspect it won’t spawn as many memes—if only because it’s more difficult to imitate its soaring, Italian cathedral choir chorus without sounding like an asthmatic screech owl. The real magic happens past the menu screen, however, where each and every civ has a main theme that grows more complex and epic as you progress through the ages. England, for example, begins with a simple, inspirational, and somewhat haunting flute rendition of the medieval folk ballad Scarborough Fair. By the Modern Age, it has exploded into an orchestral and choral celebration of all things English that made me want to sail a ship of the line made of crumpets through the walls of a Spanish fort and unleash the redcoats to toss scalding tea into the faces of their enemies.

When I looked down upon everything I’d built as my Mars colonists blasted off to barely snatch victory away from Peter and his doubtlessly mustachioed cronies, every tile struck me with a sense of history. The sprawl of the Dehli-Calcutta metroplex reflected moments from the windows of its skyscrapers. There was the little tentacle I’d made by purchasing tiles to get access to coal. There was the 3000-year old farmland I’d had to bulldoze to place an industrial-era wonder. And just beside where our first settler had spawned, at the foot of the soaring peaks that had protected us from marauding armies for generations, was the new growth forest I’d planted on the site of a former lumber mill to have enough uninterrupted nature for a National Park. For each valley and steppe and oasis, I could tell you why I’d developed it the way I did much more meaningfully than “Because hills are a good place for mines.” As the board shaped my empire, and I shaped it, the history of my civilization and my decisions accumulated and followed me right up to the threshold of the stars. And that, more than anything, is why I’ll never need another Civ game in my life besides this one.

The Verdict

Civilization 6

Sight, sound, and systems harmonize to make Civilization 6 the liveliest, most engrossing, most rewarding, most challenging 4X in any corner of the earth.
videoCivilization VI: Devs Play Multiplayer
Posted by: BUncle, October 22, 2016, 03:22:15 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 136
xxRe: The Reviews are in...
Posted by: Unorthodox, October 21, 2016, 01:53:20 PM
Replies: 4

Board: Civ 6
Views: 302

Gamecrate: 9/10
Telegraph:  100/100
reviewThe Reviews are in...
Posted by: Unorthodox, October 20, 2016, 06:23:26 PM
Replies: 4

Board: Civ 6
Views: 302

PC Gamer:  93/100
PCGN:  9/10
xxStrategy article on Civ6 by your truly published!
Posted by: Nikolai, October 20, 2016, 05:13:17 PM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 177

So now the embargo is over, and as such the first of two strategy articles from yours truly on Civilization VI has been published on the Norwegian gaming site (Gaming so to speak)! :)

The article is in Norwegian, and can be found here.:)

If you for some reason cannot read proper Norwegian, I present you Google Translate's version of the article, found here.;)

Hope you'll enjoy the articles, and learn from them! I'll post when the second article is published.:)
videoCiv 6 Official Soundtrack
Posted by: BUncle, October 20, 2016, 04:08:25 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 135
videoCivilization VI Theme Live | Cadogan Hall 2016
Posted by: BUncle, October 20, 2016, 04:00:31 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 106
videoVideo interview with Sid Meier
Posted by: Nikolai, October 19, 2016, 07:42:43 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1158

Eurogamer has a video interview with Sid himself on the topic of 25 years of Civilization! :)

Courtesy of WePlayCiv.
xxMultiplayer stream Oct 20th on Twitch!
Posted by: Nikolai, October 19, 2016, 05:33:59 PM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 142

This just in; Oct 20th, 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET / 8PM CET it's tome for a MULTIPLAYER stream on Twitch!

Courtesy of WePlayCiv.
tmaPCGN interview: Sarah Darney
Posted by: Unorthodox, October 18, 2016, 10:07:38 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 120

How to achieve Civ 6's new religious victory, the Firaxis way
By  Robert Zak

The only thing more challenging than developing a sequel to a flawed game is developing a sequel to a brilliant one. Cast an eye over the ageing Civilization V today and it’s by no means evident where the cracks are that need plastering over, or where there are empty pockets bereft of gameplay, waiting to be filled.

Preparing to conquer the world? You’ll need our Civ VI guide, then…

Civilization VI associate producer Sarah Darney and her team have nonetheless had to find a way to better the best 4X game around, and on October 21 the fruits of their labour will be available to all. We spoke to Sarah in the run-up to Civ VI’s release about fixing series-long niggles, rebalancing legacy mechanics to accommodate new ones, and more.

PCGN: In Civ V multiplayer there were quite a few issues when it came to de-syncing and weird AI behavior. Have Firaxis been aware of that when designing the multiplayer for Civ VI?

Sarah Darney: Yeah, we’re testing the game and we want to make sure it’s the best experience that we can create. So we’ve got these things that we know were an issue in the past and these are things that we can keep an eye out for and test against and ensure that they are no longer an issue. There are always going to be weird things that happen because programming, but we’ve done a ton of work with the AI over the last couple of weeks.

Era-specific music returns from Civ IV. Will every nation have its own music or will it regionalized like it was in Civ V?

Every civilization has its own soundscape music. So as you’re playing you’re going to be kind of creating the soundtrack of the game. If you’re in the Ancient Era, for example playing as Kongo, you’re going to have ancient Kongo-ish music that’s happening in the background. As you meet other civilizations you’ll start to get their ancient music as well, and as you move forward those tracks will modernize too.

Religious victories return in Civ VI, which means players are going to spend a lot of time experimenting with religious strategy after release. Does hitting a religious victory tend to take as long as say, a culture victory? Can it happen before the Modern Era, for example?

It depends on the player and how aggressive they are, and how they’re playing the game. I think religious is one of the ones that you can do a bit earlier, but also if you’re in a quite challenging game and the AI is going very strong on religion, then you’re going to have that pushback. The religious combat system can be quite a game changer there, so if you do have them in there they’re going to slow you down. It can be earlier. I think in a lot of my games, I think the religious victory is my earliest one.

Does religion diminish at all?

There are certain technologies that once they’re unlocked they change the way that culture pressure happens. So it doesn’t diminish, it just evolves. It doesn’t counter the [effects of religion and culture]. I wish I could remember exactly what it is, but I believe there is a civic that changes the amount of tourism that you get to your holy sites. And writing, once you research that, helps you spread your religion more, so it just keeps evolving over the game. As you move through the tech tree and the civics tree everything’s changing quite actively and there are these little milestones that can occur.

What’s the go-to leader and race for trying your first religious victory?

For me I like Tomyris. She’s got a great military side to her so she can be quite strong if you need that aspect of things, but the Kurgans are great because they generate you faith. Having that, and having her horse arches, which will help you explore and see where everyone else is and see who you need to spread your religion to. I think that at least for my playstyle, she’s my number one religious player.

What should players do differently in the first 100 turns of the early game to set themselves up for grabbing that religious victory?

You need to start generating faith so you can start getting your missionaries out. Once you start seeing other people spreading their religion, switch to apostles - they’re going to be very important - but just make sure you have enough faith to keep up with how the AI is playing the religious game. Having these different cities in different locations, and each one having a holy site, that’s where your religious units are going to spawn. As you’re pushing your religion out, just having those different hubs that are closer to other religious hubs, that’s very important as well. I find that when when I play a religious game I tend to go a little more wide than I would when I’m playing a science game.

In Civ V if you took on another civ’s religion, that could never become your religion. Does that still apply?

Once you wipe out a civilization that founded a religion, that religion still exists. It does exist on the map, but that religion is not going to win the religious victory. If I create a religion and that is my religion, I need to spread that to everyone else. If people keep spreading to you and your religion is lost, you may still be able to get a religious victory if it is spread back by an AI player to your holy city.

So you’ve been pushed out of your holy city, they’ve religiously taken over your holy city, but they’ve taken over militarily as well, it’s not even your city anymore. Does that then reinvigorate the religion?

As long as there is an apostle or missionary of a given religion, that religion has hope of coming back, even if it has been pushed out of the game.
video6 Official How-To Videos
Posted by: BUncle, October 18, 2016, 07:17:42 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civ 6
Views: 153

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videoCivilization VI Launch Trailer
Posted by: BUncle, October 18, 2016, 01:04:59 AM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 165

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videoDevs Play as Gorgo - Civilization VI
Posted by: BUncle, October 14, 2016, 01:02:05 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 126

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videoChristopher Tin interview
Posted by: Unorthodox, October 13, 2016, 01:56:14 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civ 6
Views: 162

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Posted by: BUncle, October 12, 2016, 04:41:57 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 267

The sale's over now, but the regular $5.99 price is still pocket change for one of the most finely crafted games ever made and years -yes, literally years- of entertainment.
videoFirst Look: Greece (Gorgo) - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, October 12, 2016, 03:04:25 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 123

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attentionRealms Beyond Civ6 Potluck Adventure: Come Join Us!
Posted by: BRickAstley, October 10, 2016, 02:48:59 AM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 188

Hello to everyone here at AlphaCenturai2! I'm BRickAstley, one of the admins and game organizers over at Realms Beyond. I have scheduled an introductory Potluck Adventure beginning the day after release to try out the new game together, and would like to invite anyone interested to come participate!

This game is a Potluck Adventure, which means I will be rolling an 8-player map with the above Civilizations, and saving start files for each Civ. All players signed up will then be emailed a random start to play out, no scoring conditions, just have an adventure and report back on how it went. There will be multiple people playing through each start, so you will have a multitude of other reports with the same start to compare and contrast with.

If you are interested, click the link below, and post in that thread to get your name on that list to receive your start as soon as I get it running after release. Then play your game, take screenshots or video if you like, and report your results to everyone. And read some of the many other reports we will be sure to get.

Feel free to ask me any questions you might have. :)

Click this link and post here to sign up!
videoFirst Look: Russia - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, October 05, 2016, 03:03:50 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 136

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xxWePlayCiv Pre Release Democracy Game
Posted by: E_T, October 02, 2016, 08:23:35 PM
Replies: 5

Board: Civ 6
Views: 302

At WePlayCiv, we have been eagerly anticipating, discussing and compiling information about the soon to be released Civilization 6. One of our members, Donald23, has a copy of the Press Pre-Release version of Civilization 6. He has already posted a few videos on both his website and on YouTube.

Donald has agreed to do a Democracy Game in conjunction with his pre-release version. He will be the turn player and we will suggest, debate and vote on what actions should be made. If you need more information or would you like to join us then come and have a look at our Pre-Release Demo Game Sign up Sheet.

We've also got loads of other Civ6 related goodies. Examples of these range from The Civilization VI Compendium, pointing to various information threads, to discussions of how people rank the different Leaders/Civilizations based on their individual trait: Your Civ6 Leader League.

Or just stop by, check out our other forum areas, or sit back and relax in our OT forum. Hope to see you soon!
xx- Civ 6's music evolves alongside your cities, and it's one of its best features
Posted by: Nikolai, September 30, 2016, 10:17:16 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civ 6
Views: 240

Courtesy of WePlayCiv:

PCGamer has dove into the musical part of Sid Meier's Civilization VI, and is full of praise. Saying, "Even without Baba Yetu, it's the best soundtrack in the series.", they have made the soundtrack available on Soundcloud and YouTube:

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xxRe: Civ VI video Megathread (9/29)
Posted by: Unorthodox, September 29, 2016, 06:05:44 PM
Replies: 45

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1255

FR China 3

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xxRe: Civ VI video Megathread (9/29)
Posted by: Unorthodox, September 29, 2016, 06:05:14 PM
Replies: 45

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1255

FR China 2 (no playlist yet)

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xxRe: Civ VI video Megathread (9/29)
Posted by: Unorthodox, September 29, 2016, 06:03:29 PM
Replies: 45

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1255

FR Rome playlist.

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xxRe: Civ VI video Megathread (9/29)
Posted by: Unorthodox, September 29, 2016, 06:02:28 PM
Replies: 45

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1255

Filthy Robot Rome playlist

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xxRe: Civ VI video Megathread (9/29)
Posted by: Unorthodox, September 29, 2016, 06:00:50 PM
Replies: 45

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1255

Filthy Robot Greece 2

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xxRe: Civ VI video Megathread (9/29)
Posted by: Unorthodox, September 29, 2016, 06:00:03 PM
Replies: 45

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1255

Norway 3 (Deutsche Sprechen)

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xxRe: Civ VI video Megathread (9/29)
Posted by: Unorthodox, September 29, 2016, 05:58:48 PM
Replies: 45

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1255


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xxRe: Civ VI video Megathread (9/29)
Posted by: Unorthodox, September 29, 2016, 05:57:41 PM
Replies: 45

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1255

Quill 18 Rome 3

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This year marks the 25th anniversary of Sid Meier’s Civilization. It’s an important milestone for a series that has shaped the strategy genre in countless ways over the last quarter-century. The release of Civilization VI is the next big step, and after 2014’s good-but-not-outstanding Civilization: Beyond Earth, which felt more like a spinoff than a sequel, expectations are high.

The good news is that in the 15 hours and several hundred turns I've poured into a pre-release version of the game—which features all of the structural and mechanical features from the retail release, half of the game’s 20 distinct civilisations, a comprehensive list of different map types, three map sizes, and two game speeds—Civ VI is already very good indeed. It might even be the most in-depth Civilization game to date.

Sure is purdy

Of course, the most recognisable change is the art style. While Civ VI retains the functional hex-grid structure introduced by Civ V, developer Firaxis has dropped the more realistic look, redesigning everything with brighter colours and cartoonish characters more similar to those in Civilization Revolution. The results are absolutely gorgeous, and while I’m sure the visuals will divide opinion, I’d argue Firaxis has picked the better-looking of the two aesthetic approaches. The game has a real sense of flair, and screenshots really haven’t done it justice—it looks beautiful in motion.

From snow-capped mountain ranges and sand dunes, to coastal oceans lapping against the shore and rivers that glint in the morning sun, Civ VI captures nature and makes it look breathtaking. Cities look amazing too, each of them recreated with different architectural components depending on the civilisation you play as, while there’s even a day/night cycle, which brings cities to life with twinkling lights and campfires. There were times I would just sit back and relax, looking at the individual buildings and units, zooming in up close to admire the intricacy and detail that Firaxis has poured into every single aspect of the game.

The visual design riffs off the Age of Discovery—the period of overseas exploration between the 1500 and 1800s that helped globalise the Earth. There's a real focus on cartographic imagery which influences everything on screen, with lovely flourishes like astrolabes that adorn the game’s newly refined overlay. Firaxis has even used the fog of war to further sell the period aesthetic, resulting in an ink-and-paper crosshatch effect to depict unobserved areas, and arty drawings of sea monsters and compasses to represent portions of the map you’ve not yet ventured towards. The map organically ebbs and flows like a living thing as you move around it, and seeing new stuff—whether it’s a natural wonder or a brand new civilisation—is a compelling reason to continue scouting around the world.

My first city, surrounded by a few farms and a mine.

Enlarge / My first city, surrounded by a few farms and a mine.

Even as a relatively experienced Civilization player, Civ VI already feels like it’s the deepest game in the franchise. Developed by the team behind Civilization V’s two expansions—Gods & Kings and Brave New World—Civ VI contains all of the religious and cultural features from those expansions at launch. It sets the stage for a fuller experience from day one, and the most impressive thing is that the game remains understandable and relatively accessible to newcomers. Everything is easy to grasp thanks to a better-designed user interface and a well-voiced tutorial advisor who guides you through the game’s countless different concepts and functions.

Setting up my first campaign, I did what any Civ player does when faced with a new game in the series: read. Even with only 10 of the final 20 leaders available, I still spent the best part of half an hour scrolling through the details of each one to uncover their differences, and which playstyle I liked the sound of. Much like Civilization games gone by, each leader has their own different traits, with unique buildings and special units available to them, which define them in unique ways.

From a purely presentational perspective, the leaders themselves are far more expressive this time around, with wonderfully animated leader screens that convey their personalities as humorous caricatures. I particularly loved the way Philip II of Spain is a pompous git who's precious about his religion, while Tomyris of the Scythian Empire (that’s Central Asia to you and I) is a hard-as-nails badass who hates civilisations that backstab others. Then there’s Germany’s Frederick Barbarossa (pictured below). That stern look and bushy beard aren’t just for fashion—he’s a tough leader and you don’t want to get on the wrong side of him.

Frederick Barbarossa of Germany. We got off to a bad start, but we got there in the end.

Enlarge / Frederick Barbarossa of Germany. We got off to a bad start, but we got there in the end.

After re-reading everything several times I opted for Hojo Tokimune, Shikken (or regent of the shogunate) of Japan in the 13th Century. More than anything, I liked the look of his unique samurai unit for melee combat, as well as his unique Meiji Restoration bonus, which grants extra adjacency bonuses for all my districts (more on which later). Having explored my surroundings a little, I decided to establish my first city on a river, a little way inland. Access to fresh water is vital, so setting up cities on a river or on the coast is advised. From there, I expanded out.

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Build, build, build

One of the best changes to the early game is that workers have now been swapped out for builders, which greatly increase the pace at which you can erect buildings like farms, mines, and camps on your hex tiles. Rather than having to wait five or 10 turns for a single worker to finish building some farmland, the builder unit is now an expendable resource that you can use to instantaneously build an improvement on a tile, eating up one of the unit’s three charges in the process. This greatly increased the value I placed in my builder units, and also kept me on my toes as they can easily be overtaken by pillaging bandits.

Barbarians are much more active, and also much smarter. They spawn randomly beneath the fog of war, and then send out scouts to explore the map. Should their scouts find you, they actually return to their base of operations to report back before sending barbarian warriors to hassle you. Because of that, guarding your builder and settler units with a scout or warrior is vital for protection. I spent around ten turns feeling bitter when a surprise ambush of barbarians pillaged one of my most precious trade routes to nearby Madrid. I’d taken my eye off the ball and fallen into complacency around Turn 60, and I paid the price for it.

The map looks gorgeous, with its bright colours and crosshatch fog of war.

Enlarge / The map looks gorgeous, with its bright colours and crosshatch fog of war.

As well as unique buildings and units, Civ VI also adds two agendas for each leader which shape how they play. The first is a historic diplomatic agenda, which is based upon the leader’s personality during their real-world time in rule. It essentially outlines how they like to play Civ. For example, Japan’s is Bushido, which means that they like leaders with strong military stats, as well as high faith and culture outputs. England’s, on the other hand, is called Sun Never Sets—Queen Victoria likes civilisations from her own continent, but doesn’t like those on continents where England doesn’t have a city. These historic agendas are designed in a way that makes repeat play as interesting as possible, adding new levels of diplomatic consideration as you see how individual civilisations will interact with one another.

The second agenda is randomised and remains hidden until you reach a certain affinity with each leader. It takes a bit of time to get to grips with this system, because the diplomacy screen is stuffed full of information, but these hidden traits and philosophies throw unique scenarios into the mix. A leader may not like civilisations that ally with the game’s AI city-states, for example, or they might dislike those that follow a religion different to their own. It’s a clever system that adds unexpected situations to deal with, while also giving tangible context for the AI’s actions. It’s a great way of removing the confusion from previous games, in which the AI often acted rashly to the point of frustration.

As my capital of Kyoto expanded, I quickly started to comprehend Civ VI’s biggest mechanical change—the unstacking of cities. Now, rather than exist in a single tile, Civ VI depicts your cities in all their glory and spreads them across a wider area using what it calls districts. These specialised improvements are placed on tiles of your choosing around the city centre, and with 12 in total, each one varies in function and effect. The campus grants you science points, while the holy site amasses faith. The commercial hub is used for economics, while the theatre district progresses cultural ratings. Most impactful is the harbour, which completely revolutionises play. It means you no longer have to build a city directly on the coast to have access to the ocean, because a harbour district can be placed there instead to build naval units.

Civilization VI got an extended demo at this year's E3, complete with narration by Sean Bean.

Districts are simple to understand and look fantastic once cities start to expand, and each has several improvement layers to build upon as you progress. The campus can be upgraded to feature a library, a university, a research lab, and more, and it becomes a strategic choice to decide which kind of district you want to have. Each district also each grants different adjacency bonuses, as well as buffs and penalties depending on what kind of tile they’ve been built on. If you want to do well in science, for example, you need to utilise mountain tiles to your advantage. I really enjoyed experimenting with the different districts and their placements, and it also gave me cosmetic decisions to make in terms of how the city was laid out. It’s almost as if there’s a SimCity-style mini-game buried within Civ.

With the completion of each district you gain an amenity, which is Civ VI’s way of measuring a city’s happiness. Managing contentment is much easier this time around, because a city’s happiness is now handled on a local level rather than on a global one, meaning that individual cities have their own specific happiness rating rather than your civilisation having one overall score. It makes things far simpler to manage, and there’s now more time to play with the game’s more interesting ideas. It also means that you can build cities as tactical outposts, without worrying about them becoming unhappy and it tarnishing your entire population in the process.

Behold: Two tech trees

In terms of progression through the game’s historical ages, Civ VI makes one huge change: the game’s tech tree has been—cue audience gasp—split in two, dividing up the scientific and cultural progression of a civilisation so that they’re in some way independent from one another. One tree is for pure science, while the other—the new civics tree—tracks your cultural progression, which also represents governmental and political policies.

A quick look at the early civics tree—you can see the "Eureka!" boosts beneath some of them.

Enlarge / A quick look at the early civics tree—you can see the "Eureka!" boosts beneath some of them.

The civics tree seems to fix Civ V’s limited approach to game victory scenarios, and now allows you to focus on culture as a meaningful way to progress. Now, rather than gain access to the drama and poetry improvements that would in the past have been a scientific project, you have to research them separately. It makes a lot of sense, and cultural wonders—the Colosseum, or the Oracle—are tied to this tree as well. It also directly influences the types of governments you find. Governments take on the form of different templates—from chiefdom in the beginning, all the way on to ideologies like democracy in the late stages—each of which have a certain number of slots that you fill with policy cards in order to modify them, of which there are four types: militaristic, economic, diplomatic, and wild.

You unlock more card slots as you create more complex governments, and each has a direct impact on your how you play. One might increase productivity in all cities, while another gives you a 50 percent increase in strength against fighting barbarians. These cards can be switched at any time, allowing you to utilise their effects in quick bursts, or over a longer period if you’re playing the long game. There are benefits for staying with a particular type of government for extended turns, however, and penalties for switching government too many times. The game even throws your civilisation into anarchy for a few turns if you switch governments too often. It’s a much better way of fitting a government to a scenario, even if it took me a fair while to realise I was still under the reign of a chiefdom government a few decades into a later era.

New to both trees is the excellent Eureka! system, which essentially gives you small quest objectives to complete in order to boost the research of every technological advancement. I made it a priority to discover the ocean in my first game, and when I did so I suddenly boosted my sailing research, halving the turns it would normally take to complete. The same goes for every single research project in Civ VI. Kill a barbarian and you research weaponry faster; discover another civilisation and you spend half the time researching writing; find a Pantheon and you research the mysticism civic faster.

From chiefdom all the way to ordered governmental structure.

Enlarge / From chiefdom all the way to ordered governmental structure.

Everything makes sense, because everything is directly influenced by what your civilisation is doing in the world. More importantly, it opens up new ways to play, encouraging you to throw away tired and tested methods and try something new. I love this change—it might even be my favourite in the game.

During the early portion of the campaign, I got to grips with all of these different functions. The game’s districts, the tech tree, the intricacies of the civics tree, and discovering more and more about the complex gossips and agendas system that operates the diplomacy mechanic. Traders have also been subtly revamped so that they create roads automatically when they travel to other cities to establish trade routes. It’s a small change, but a welcome one.

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It's not a cult, it's a religion

Reaching the mid-game, it soon became clear that I wasn’t going to beat my closest neighbour, the Kongolese, when it came to culture or science—they simply had too much of a scientific lead. I decided to try and gain a religious foothold, opting to build the holy site district to eventually erect a Pantheon, which would then be used to found a religion that I could spread across the map. Religion is much more in-depth this time.

As you amass faith points through the holy site district and other buffs, you can buy religious units in order to spread your chosen religion—either a historical faith, or one of your creation—across the world map. It might seem a little bit complex at first, but ultimately it’s a simple game of using missionaries and apostles to spread your own religion’s influence, while using inquisitors to subdue the heretical influence of others.

This greatly improved my religious standing, quickly spreading my “Gamesjournalism” religion across the world, though the sacred consumption of Doritos was sadly not a tenet that I could choose from the lengthy list of beliefs that can be used to define a religion. It was only Catholicism that stood in my way as I used my religious units to great effect.

I also put time into building some of the game’s wonders, which are absolutely brilliant. They’re treated much like districts and have specific prerequisites before they can be built (the Pyramids must be built on a desert tile, for example). Then, after the however many turns they take to build, you get a momentous wonder video that depicts the construction from start to finish, and it’s rendered in-game so you see it constructed with your empire surrounding it. It’s absolutely fantastic and gives you a further sense of ownership over the civilisation you’ve worked so hard to put together.

The game has many lenses, which show information on the map. This is the religious lens, and the white hexes represent the sacred faith of Gamesjournalism.

Enlarge / The game has many lenses, which show information on the map. This is the religious lens, and the white hexes represent the sacred faith of Gamesjournalism.

Hitting the modern era, I began to reach the later stages of the campaign. It was here the AI threw up a couple of questionable quirks that demonstrated that the game wasn’t completely finished; leaders kept insisting I move my military units away from their borders, threatening to take action if I didn’t—but I didn’t have any military units on the map at that time. The same went for the few occasions when leaders contacted me to say I had broken promises to them, even though I wasn't able to see what those promises had been. Still, I found huge enjoyment in spreading Gamesjournalism across the world and experimenting with the refined espionage system.

Instead of pursuing the campaign towards completion, I started again, this time playing as Trajan of Rome. I decided I wanted to pursue a more scientific angle now that I had a better understanding of the two different profession trees, and how the game rewarded bonuses for districts based on their placement. It was immediately clear that, due to the random generation of the map, my experience was going to be wildly different this time around. I was landlocked, so had no real access to the ocean, but I had a nearby mountain range that would prove perfect for my campus and the ensuing scientific improvements. More than anything, I was excited.

Further Reading
The tabletop games we’ve been playing this summer
That’s my main takeaway from my time with Civ VI so far—despite playing over a dozen hours already, I can’t wait to see more. I’ve still not had time to play around with the rules of war or see what happens to diplomacy when you get into conflict with other leaders. There are new formal types of war, as well as theological wars that I’ve not even touched. I also want to see how the other civilisations interact with one another—especially the more unique civilisations like Brazil—and how those particular leaders inform the way you muck around with the game’s new and improved systems. There’s still so much that Civ VI has to reveal.

For now, this is a supremely strong strategy experience that already looks in far better shape than its predecessor was at launch. The improved user interface is a real triumph considering the number of different concepts packed into every facet of the campaign, and it expertly balances depth with a logical set of world rules that make playing so much more enjoyable.

Bring on October 21.

Sam White is a writer, journalist, and regular contributor to the likes of The Guardian, The Telegraph, and GQ. He passionately believes he has claim to at least one duchy—a claim by disputed by genealogists everywhere. Find him on Twitter at @samwrite.

This post originated on Ars Technica UK

Lots of screens at site, couldn't tell if any were new. 
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Marbozir Greece part I

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Rome Deutsche Sprechen 

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Day 2

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some articlePCGN: What we want from Civ VI expansions/DLC
Posted by: Unorthodox, September 29, 2016, 02:43:40 PM
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Civilization 6 expansions

-The release of a new Civilization game always feels like a special occasion. It's like a solar eclipse on the PC world - rare and dazzling, it causes us to put the rest of our lives on standby while we gawp at it. The series has been with us since gaming’s own ancient era, and with Civilization VI not a month away, many of us are already wiping our schedules clear for its launch.

Read more: here's everything we know about Civilization VI.

Historically, Civ DLC has been crucial to unleashing each game’s potential, as the devs chuck in new features to plug the pacing or mechanical gaps that inevitably arise with a game attempting to chart pretty much everything that’s ever happened. For better or worse, a Civ game only becomes 'complete' after a couple of meaty expansion packs, and based on our several hours of imperialist fun with a preview build of Civ VI, here's a bunch of things that I’d like to see added after release.

Near future era

Civ has had a pretty unstable relationship with taking things interstellar or orbital. After the magnum opus (or Great Work?) that was Alpha Centauri, we've had the maligned Call to Power spin-offs dabble with space colonisation, while Beyond Earth didn't introduce enough interesting mechanics to really exploit its space setting.

It's time for Civ to reclaim that frontier with a worthy expansion that takes us out to orbit. Say what you will about Call to Power II, but its use of an extra 'space' layer of map over the old one was interesting, allowing you to attack earth-based units from orbit, set up space colonies and mine asteroids. This era could also bring back wackier future technologies and new hazards to contend with like global warming.

Naturally all this cosmic malarkey should be optional, as the concept of Gandhi raining nukes from his Death Star may be a tad unpalatable for some.

Migration Mechanics

Immigration - bit of a buzzword these days, innit? And despite what the Daily Mail say, it's always going to play a big part in shaping nations, seeing as it’s been occurring ever since the first stick-huts were washed away by a landslide, forcing the tribesfolk to go crash round their neighbouring village’s fire.

The series has dabbled in this area before. In Civ IV, border cities would have mixed-nationality populations, and if the neighbouring civ had a stronger culture then they could take over the city. But this never ran very deep. The fact of peoples from poorer civs migrating to wealthier civs - or refugees fleeing wars - should be ever-present with all the accompanying issues it brings - economics, happiness, culture-clashing, integration policies, and so on.

The notion of 'people moving around' has defined the world as much as war and Wonders, so it's time Sid or Ed or whoever’s actually in charge to accommodate it.


The Civ series is well aware of this concept, having released two standalone Colonization games but never elaborated on any of their mechanics in the main series. It's a controversial topic, but again it shouldn't be ignored in a game that purports to broadly capture the ups and downs of human history.

Settling uncharted shores should present you with new challenges and mechanics, making it more of an event rather than just another piece of land to turn your colour. You should work to come to agreements with other colonising nations about splitting the land, have colonial wars with them that don't affect the home front, as well as have the option to work with the indigenous people of the land (or just destroy them).

Perhaps this could be integrated with Barbarians. Those savages have been nothing but a thorn in the side of fledgling empires in all Civ games to this point. That’s fine, but let’s vary them up a bit. We could still have brutes who want nothing but to pillage our lands, but also introduce 'indigenous people' who you can trade with, integrate into your society and recruit special units from.

Break-up of nations and empires

The Civilization series could just as easily be known as 'Imperialism' based on how the late-game pans out. Sure, in Civ V they tried making small, tall empires viable, but this was rarely as effective as making the blob of your empire spread like a virus across as much of the globe as possible.

Civ’s empire-centric leanings fail to reflect the world post-WW2. As the game goes on and people in far corners of your empire start getting big ideas about autonomy, it should get tougher to hold onto foreign lands. Wars of independence and civil wars - like in Civ II - could make a return here, with the possibility of spawning new nations, particularly late on, preventing games from going stagnant.

Such a system could be used to the advantage of the nation getting broken up, too. You could grant your distant and culturally detached cities independence peacefully, for example, turning them into a city-state that's permanently your ally unless someone pulls off a coup.

Political Unions

Unions - whether voluntary or forced - have shaped human history. From imperial unions such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, ideological, autocratic unions like the USSR, federal ones like the United States, or... whatever the EU is, they’ve all changed the world dramatically.

In an inverse way to my previous point, this would make the mid-late game more volatile, as suddenly nations could hyper-expand through joining together, potentially forcing you to have a completely different relationship with them. If you entered a union, there would of course be trade-offs, as you'd need to run key decisions by your fellow union leaders and would effectively be splitting power, but such a setup could be a great way for smaller nations to get some economic and tech boosts as they cosy up to bigger nations, or for medium nations to unite into a formidable superpower.

(What you see in the picture is not a political union, just PCGN’s Phil dealing with some macemen in the Dark Ages - clearly wishing he was in a union with someone like Big Teddy Roosevelt so he could fend them off.)

Global Councils

Most of the features that we saw in the 'complete' version of Civ V made it over into Civ VI, with the one notable exception being the World Congress. While a nice idea, it never worked previously due to the awful AI, and I don't think I could deal with another game in which some halfwit rival Civ decides to impose a global ban on sugar just 'because'.

Despite that, the idea of a system where all nations (who choose to opt in) can have a say in global matters in the later game is a good one. As in Civ V, it should let you make sweeping suggestions like a global ideology or global religion, but sanctions should only be imposed with good reason.

Something like the World Congress or UN could be expanded to various crises as well, like nuclear attacks and wars. So perhaps an emergency session could be called to embargo a bullish nation preying on its neighbours, or have everyone chip in to send economic aid or even ‘peacekeeping’ (yeah, right) troops into warzones.

More interesting economics

Firaxis doesn't go on about this, but many of the ideas in Civ VI can be traced back to the Civ V Community Balance Patch, which overhauls much of the main game (I highly recommend you squeeze in a couple of games on it before Civ VI!). One of the more intriguing additions is the idea of monopolies, so if your nation has the lion's share of a certain resource within its borders, that resource offers bigger benefits, increasing its value.

Essentially, that old economic chestnut of supply and demand actually becomes a thing, as other nations are willing to offer more for your resources that can't be obtained elsewhere. Something like this should appear in Civ VI down the line in a future expansion, so that the value of luxury resources fluctuates with their availability. Also, let’s chuck loans in there. Big nasty loans in which you can set the interest rates on and exploit/assist developing nations that need a bit of a leg up in the world, like the benevolent leader you’ll no doubt be.

Those are our thoughts so far. What would you pay good money for in an expansion, if anything? Let us know in the comments below.
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Schedule of videos from Quill, including a live stream. 

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Board: Civ 6
Views: 223

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xxSystem requirements released!
Posted by: Nikolai, September 23, 2016, 03:12:52 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 170

Courtesy of WePlayCiv:
xxFiraxis live stream 9/22: City Growth and Combat using Kongo and Rome.
Posted by: Unorthodox, September 21, 2016, 09:21:00 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 172

videoFirst Look: Rome
Posted by: BUncle, September 21, 2016, 03:04:10 PM
Replies: 3

Board: Civ 6
Views: 340


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videoFirst Look: Greece - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, September 14, 2016, 03:05:19 PM
Replies: 4

Board: Civ 6
Views: 424

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videoPC Gamer Interview on Kongo.
Posted by: Unorthodox, September 13, 2016, 04:37:40 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 209

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videoStonehenge (Wonder Movies) - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, September 08, 2016, 03:15:01 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 208

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videoDevs show off Religion
Posted by: Unorthodox, September 08, 2016, 03:00:43 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 173

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Posted by: BUncle, September 07, 2016, 04:51:09 PM
Replies: 4

Board: Civ 6
Views: 475

Quote from: Nikolai on September 07, 2016, 04:40:39 PM
His unique ability is the Thunderbolt of the North, which means all his naval units can perform coastal raids.


Quote from: Nikolai on September 07, 2016, 04:40:39 PM
His unique unit is the Longship, which can heal in neutral territory.


Quote from: Nikolai on September 07, 2016, 04:40:39 PM
Norway's unique unit is the Berseker, which gets a bonus to attack, a malus to defence and it uses less movement points to pillage.


Quote from: Nikolai on September 07, 2016, 04:40:39 PM
Norway's unique building is the Stave Church, which gets all the benefits of a temple, but also gets an adjacency bonus from woods.


Quote from: Nikolai on September 07, 2016, 04:40:39 PM
Furthermore, Norway's units pay no cost to embark or disembark, and once Norway has researched shipbuilding all her units may go into ocean tiles.



Posted by: BUncle, September 07, 2016, 03:11:26 PM
Replies: 4

Board: Civ 6
Views: 475

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xxFirst Look: Kongo - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, September 04, 2016, 03:34:21 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 202

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videoPetra (Wonder Movies) - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, September 01, 2016, 03:12:58 PM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 251

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videoFirst Look: India
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 30, 2016, 03:03:23 PM
Replies: 12

Board: Civ 6
Views: 344

! No longer available (Embedding disabled, limit reached)
Posted by: Nikolai, August 24, 2016, 06:22:02 PM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 298

Courtesy of WePlayCiv:

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Civilization franchise, Firaxis Games today announced a limited 25th Anniversary Edition of Sid Meier's Civilization VI.
Containing these items, the package seems to only be available for American customers as of now:

Full Civilization VI Game and all Bonus Digital Content found in the Digital Deluxe Edition*

•   Aztec Civilization Pack Pre-Order Bonus*

•   Civilization Through the Years 100-Page Hardcover Art Book

•   Exclusive 25th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Set with Display Case

Bonus Digital Content includes the 25th Anniversary Digital Soundtrack and access to four post-launch DLC packs that will add new maps, scenarios, civilizations and leaders for a bundled discount. Individual DLC may be sold separately. If you purchase the 25th Anniversary Edition or the Digital Deluxe Edition, do not also purchase these standalone packs, as you will be charged for them.

xxRe: First Look: Spain
Posted by: BUncle, August 23, 2016, 03:50:58 PM
Replies: 6

Board: Civ 6
Views: 461

Civilization VI: Philip II Leads Spain

For 48 years, Philip II was king of the massive Spanish Empire, and the most powerful ruler in Europe during the 16th century. He championed the Catholic faith, utilizing the Spanish Inquisition and leading several religious conflicts.

In staunch defense of Catholicism, Philip organized a “Holy League” against the Ottoman Empire, halting their dominance across the Mediterranean at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. He later opposed Protestantism in England, and attempted to invade the country several times using his fleet of ships, the world-famous Spanish Armada.
Philip directly intervened during the French Wars of Religion between 1585 & 1595, financing the Catholic League and ultimately causing Catholicism to be the foremost religion in France.

Phillip II’s reign ushered in a golden era for Spain. Despite constant religious warfare, Spain’s culture flourished. Music, art, and literature boomed under Philip, culminating with the creation of the majestic El Escorial monastery and palace in 1595.

 Unique Unit: Conquistador Conquistadors were Spanish warriors and explorers who traveled outside of European lands, colonizing territory and establishing new trade routes. These Spanish adventurers conquered the Inca, Maya, and Aztec civilizations during the Age of Discovery.

 Unique Improvement: Mission Spanish Missions were constructed in the New World as an attempt to convert indigenous peoples to Christianity. These religious outposts established the Spanish in the region and simultaneously expanded the reach of Christianity and the Spanish way of life.

  Join 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.
videoYogscast V2 #5
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 23, 2016, 03:42:18 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civ 6
Views: 247

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videoFirst Look: Spain
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 23, 2016, 03:02:48 PM
Replies: 6

Board: Civ 6
Views: 461

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videoDeclaring War and Doing Battle in Civilization 6
Posted by: BUncle, August 22, 2016, 09:31:15 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civ 6
Views: 276

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Declaring War and Doing Battle in Civilization 6
Firaxis Senior Gameplay Designer Anton Strenger joined us to take out a city-state... and anger Japan a bit.
videoYogscast V2 #4
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 22, 2016, 08:43:29 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 227

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videoYogscast V2 #3
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 22, 2016, 02:35:29 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 217

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xxYogscast V2 #2 - Crowding Teddy
Posted by: E_T, August 21, 2016, 02:03:02 AM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 255

Some more play with the French...

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videoBurnie and Gus Conquer the World (in Civilization VI) - The Patch #167
Posted by: E_T, August 20, 2016, 07:24:46 AM
Replies: 3

Board: Civ 6
Views: 282

The Patch Aug 3rd gameplay discussion roundtable...  very good...

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videoPCGN Interview with Sarah Darney and Brian Busatti
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 20, 2016, 12:02:51 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 206

Civilization VI will finally allow the passive aggressive players among us to triumph over our peers through the most pious of pursuits: religion. Rather than have to resort to building an army as well as a strong economic and theist backbone, you can now simply whine to others about how your god is the right one until they give in! We sent our dearest Matt to Germany to find out more, something he was very obliging to do though he did leave lots of post-it notes around the office before he left.

Here's here's everything we know about Civilization VI - release date, combat, research, the works.

"To win a religious victory you're going to need to get over half of the major civilisations following your religion," says producer Sarah Darney. "So you do this through spreading your religion, through missionaries and apostles and defending your own territory through inquisitors."

The theist path to victory then sounds a lot like it functions as a similar model as warfare itself, with its own specific types of unit for various situations regarding hostile religious takeovers. Darney went on to discuss more of the units themselves and their unique applications.

"Apostles are such a cool unit," she says, "missionaries are great for when you're just starting out and you're just beginning to spread to people, but once other people already have religions and you need to get out there and defend your beliefs, the apostles can engage in theological combat."

Expect to see monks throwing books and scrolls at each other when Civ makes it to our screens this October 21. If you want more of the skinny on Gamescom, we've got literally tens of videos on the YouTube channel so head on over and take a look. Maybe even smash that subscribe if you like what you see.

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videoYogscast V2 #1 - Some French Farms
Posted by: E_T, August 19, 2016, 07:08:25 PM
Replies: 6

Board: Civ 6
Views: 346

Well, they replaced one person with someone with more than two brain cells...

Interesting that the Firaxis/2K people had to uninstall and then reinstall during and after lunch, so that no one could make any copies, while at lunch...

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videoOxford University (Wonder Movies) - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, August 19, 2016, 03:38:20 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civ 6
Views: 281

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videoIGN gamescom gameplay and interview
Posted by: E_T, August 19, 2016, 12:49:06 AM
Replies: 3

Board: Civ 6
Views: 283

More looks at Germany playing

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xxRun down from tonight's live stream! (and civ list accidentally revealed!)
Posted by: Nikolai, August 18, 2016, 10:01:50 PM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 233

Courtesy of WePlayCiv:

Reddit has a run down of the stream from tonight:
(the BIG news of course is the accidental civ list reveal!)

No raging barbarians bc barbarians are already dialed up.
Mount Everest confirmed (y'all were right!), bonus to missionaries and apostles (movement bonus through hilly terrain. Must visit it and get "enlightened" by it)
Visual difference of lakes and oceans still ingame.
Reminder: landmass and continent are different things.
You can see the tips of the other continents in the lens here: main continent purple, little bits of red.
You are able to find out about other Civs through gossip alone.
You are able to find out about wars through gossip.
Illustrations of sea monsters on the map.
Through discussion, you can ask for Civs to stop spying, stop converting your people, stop settling near
Germany is ALL ABOUT DISTRICTS, since unique districts don't count towards pop limit
City-state borders are now quite different looking from major civ borders
Bg music is faint but sounds very percussive, just drums.
"Your delegate, Rupert, found that Pokrovka is facing a siege"
Siege is a brand new concept: if you can surround all six boxes around a city, it will not heal.
Thus, cities on the coast have a bit of an advantage! Enemies will have to block ocean tiles as well to do a successful siege.
Cliffs do not prevent harbors. They do prevent embarkation, until the unit gets a special promotion.
Production menu: dropdown menus for district buildings, and advisor icons.
Encampments cannot be placed adjacent to your city center.
"Your delegate, Rupert, learned that Scythia used a Saka Horse Archer to clear a barbarian outpost." Very granular gossip!
I really like the policy system. They are very dynamically switching from settler bonus policy to builder bonus policy and can really optimize their build schedule.
In the early industrial era, the Logistics policy gives +1 movement to any unit (not only military) that starts their turn in friendly territory.
Reminder: Wildcard Policies can take ANY policy, not only purple Great Person policies!
"Your delegate, Ernst, learned that America has progressed from the Ancient era to the Classical Era."
It does sound like delegates have regionalized names depending on your Civ? Good flavor.
"Your delegate Ernst, learned that America has switched governments to Autocracy."
Differing government diplo malus is smaller in earlygame but may be huge in lategame (Fascism vs Democracy, etc)
Units can max out on exp from barbarians. They must attack other units in order to continue leveling up.
The production menu looks so nice :')
@Cologne: Hey look, its "kuh-lahn" Typical Ed Beach massively mispronouncing foreign names.
FYI correct pronunciation is "kerln"
Official confirmation! Dashed borders signify all sorts of open borders, whether it is because they have not researched Early Empire, or because you have negotiated it.
Civilopedia: tells you how to "roleplay"
German agenda reveal! Iron Crown: Likes civilizations that do not associate with city states. Dislikes Suzerains of city states.
Twitch chat is wiLD RIP Ed Beach
Devs are stone cold
im done i cant top this reveal
There's a unit promotion tree this time to visualize your promotions
You can rename your units in a fun little widget.

This is the revealed civ list:
videoYogscast #4
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 18, 2016, 08:56:35 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civ 6
Views: 210

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Because E_T loves them.   ;)
xxRe: Donald23 at Gamescom!
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 18, 2016, 02:44:23 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civ 6
Views: 286

I just had the chance to play Civilization VI on the show floor of GamesCom. While being a limited build I saw a few new things that I haven't seen mentioned before.

But first let me mention the limits to the build:
•60 turns maximum or half an hour playtime
•Only Chinese are payable
•Only Prince difficulty
•Only quick speed
•Only tiny map

Another thing was they showed an advanced start button, but wasn't working on this build.

New stuff

The first thing I noticed was that they now started showing recommended improvements for tiles. While still rudimentary (it showed great wall at nearly every border tile and pasture without me having the tech for it), it is good to see these back.

Another thing (and I'm bummed I wasn't allowed to take pictures) is that unit promotions now are shown in a proper tree. You can see what lies ahead and what the requirements are. I saw this on a scout. That had three levels of promotions. First two levels each had two promotions, third level had one. So that makes it to 5 possible promotions for the scout unit.

Lastly the dashed borders are indeed an indication on open borders or not. It makes that immediately visible on the map, which is handy.

That's it for now.

videoYogscast first look #3
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 17, 2016, 06:07:41 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civ 6
Views: 233

Link if embed don't work:

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xxDonald23 at Gamescom!
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 17, 2016, 01:53:10 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civ 6
Views: 286

So I just had the opportunity to sit in on the presentation from Pete Murray from Firaxis Games. Of course it was about the upcoming Civilization VI. He showed us the newly announced civ, Germany led by Frederick Barbarossa.

Besides showing off the new Hansa district, I was then shown about the new religion system.
 First off you have to gain faith to find a pantheon. Then later on, the player goes on to get enough great prophet points to get great prophet. Interesting detail that Pete mentioned, is that you use those points only to get a great prophet. And the great prophets are the only way to find a religion. To actually do so, you will have to move it to your Holy Site first.

This is it for the first part. More to come later on!
videoFirst Look: Germany - International Version (With Subtitles) - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, August 17, 2016, 01:03:22 PM
Replies: 7

Board: Civ 6
Views: 373

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steamDiplomacy Gets a Major Upgrade in Civilization VI
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 16, 2016, 07:07:59 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 209


In Civilization VI, every choice you make has an effect on the world, whether it’s choosing where to unstack your cities or how you’ll manage the myriad agendas of global politics. Today, we focus on the latter, as we discuss the Diplomacy system with Civilization VI’s lead designer, Ed Beach.

“Diplomacy in Civilization VI has more layers and evolution to it than ever before,” Beach tells us. Players will need to actively peel back these layers, should they wish to achieve great things through the political landscape – and it’s all possible. Diplomacy need not be a transparent affair, thanks to the wealth of information provided by the game’s “Gossip” system.

You’ll just have to work for it.

“All those notices that used to just come up as automatic notifications on the right edge of your screen of a Civilization V game have to be unearthed through gossip,” Beach elaborates. Most of the big beat knowledge, like wars being waged or religions being founded, is fairly easy to find out, but as you progress in Civilization VI, and unlock Spies, you can uncover much more detailed information. “Stuff like armies being built, Civs getting close to victories, activities of other players’ spies, envoys being sent to sway City-States, late game tourist attractions being created and much more. It’s a really fun system and goes along with Civilization VI’s mantra that the more active you are out in the world the better you will be able to play the game.”

Contextual situations, historical agendas, hidden agendas and the numerous other layers operating all within Civilization VI’s Diplomacy system create almost limitless variety for players, which is something Beach says the developers actively strived for during development.

“With a different combination of leaders - and their agendas - in your game each time you play, you’ll have new interactions being generated with every playthrough. Just in the small game we used for our first demos, there was a lot going on. Cleopatra would see someone who had a small military and denounce them for being weak. That would cause a war – but since Cleopatra started on Teddy Roosevelt’s continent (and his agenda is to keep peace on the continent) those two powers were often brought into the fray against each other. Now add in two or three times as many leaders, give them each random hidden agendas as well as their historical ones and you can see how things can get wild in a hurry.” When you consider the larger maps, with many more civs and City-States all vying for their slice of the pie, things are bound to get even wilder!

War plays into the Civilization VI Diplomacy system as well, offering some very interesting parameters for players to operate within. “First of all you get NO warmonger diplomatic penalty at all for making war in the Ancient Era. The penalty phases in and starts to get significant around the Renaissance, but that’s when the new Casus Belli system comes fully into play.” Casus Belli, a Latin expression, means “an act or situation provoking or justifying war.”


YouTube™ Video: CIVILIZATION VI - First Look: Scythia

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Get a first look at the Scythian civilization and its leader, Tomyris. SUBSCRIBE for First Looks at other civilizations, leaders, features and tips from the developers of Civilization VI:...

Beach goes on to say that there are six different “just” reasons for war that are covered by the Casus Belli system. “If you are eligible for one of those you can declare war and get a huge reduction in your warmongering penalty with the other civs in the game.” Some even reduce that penalty to zero, like the Reconquest Casus Belli, which is to retake a city lost in a prior war.
Of course, difficulty level also factors into Diplomacy. Upon meeting a new civ, you’ll be subjected to a “First Impressions” diplomatic modifier, which stays in play for the first couple dozen turns after you meet a civ and scales up or down based on the difficulty. Additionally, difficulty affects many of the leader agendas. “They often look at how you are doing in one area of the game compared to the other players. So if you are top in technology, a leader with the Technophile agenda is friendly to you. But if you are lagging they might get hostile. And since it’s a lot harder to be leading the AI on high difficulties, you can see that satisfying all their agendas is also more difficult.”

But in order to cater to their agendas, you must know their agendas, which brings us back to diplomatic visibility and how crucial it is in Civilization VI. Information is power, and Beach has a great tip for this: “I always try to send a diplomatic delegation to all the other leaders to get my visibility boosted. It costs a small increment of gold but is always worth it.” Or you can play as France, whose spies always keep you informed.

Beach’s last suggestion? Try to play Civilization VI like you’re roleplaying your leader’s historical agenda. “For instance, Queen Victoria of England has an agenda to get a city on every continent in Civilization VI. I’m currently playing a game and making that my exact goal. We even put in several achievements for following an agenda along these lines. This sort of role-playing can really be a lot of fun.”
videoYogscast first look #2
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 16, 2016, 05:32:30 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 176

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some articleReview: Innovative ‘No Man’s Sky’ soars and bores
Posted by: BUncle, August 16, 2016, 02:51:07 AM
Replies: 4

Board: Other Games
Views: 401

Review: Innovative ‘No Man’s Sky’ soars and bores
Ben Silverman  Games Editor  August 15, 2016

No Man’s Sky (Sony/Hello Games)

“It’s complicated.”

For the past week, that’s been my boilerplate response to friends asking if No Man’s Sky, the highly anticipated space exploration game from Sony and indie developer Hello Games, is worth playing.

Because trying to sum up the biggest video game ever created in a simple “yes” or “no” just doesn’t feel right. Or doable, really.

Part of the trouble is separating expectation from reality. Since its stunning debut at the VGX Awards in 2013, No Man’s Sky has been at or near the top of every PS4 gamer’s wish list. On-stage showings at Sony’s lavish E3 press conferences and breathless articles about the game’s insane scope only fueled the fires. This is, undoubtedly, the most hyped game of 2016.

But despite numerous interviews, previews, and features written about No Man’s Sky, no one outside of Hello Games really had any idea what, exactly, you did in this video game. In a world where movie trailers routinely reveal showstopping scenes and the internet spoils every Game of Thrones episode literally as it’s happening, the enigma of No Man’s Sky has served it well.

So what, then, is No Man’s Sky? In a nutshell, it’s an impossibly huge, procedurally-generated universe crammed with planets to explore, life forms to discover, resources to mine, ships to fly and mysteries to uncover. It’s a spectacular technical achievement; a game design milestone that occasionally serves up sci-fi moments worthy of an Isaac Asimov novel.

But it’s also a bit of a snooze, a painstakingly slow-paced affair whose ambitious vision is often grounded by mundane, repetitive gameplay. No Man’s Sky is that weird, artsy friend in high school who could recite lyrics to David Bowie deep cuts, but couldn’t pass basic English. It’s ahead of its time, but behind the curve.

In other words, it’s complicated. I’ll explain.

(Sony/Hello Games)

Space oddity

You begin No Man’s Sky on a planet — one of 18 quintillion in the game’s unthinkably vast sprawl.  This audacious number (that’s an 18 with 18 zeroes) was achieved through a very fancy version of procedural generation: None of those planets or lifeforms found therein were built by hand so much as algorithmically slapped together.

They all exist in the same shared universe, but No Man’s Sky is not a multiplayer game. The chances of finding another player are infinitesimal, and even if you somehow do, it’s unclear if you’ll actually be able to play together. So consider your starting planet, and every star system you explore during your playthrough, a unique snowflake.

Your first task is to repair your small spaceship by mining resources using a little gun-like multi-tool. Plutonium, carbon, iron, maybe a little zinc – you scavenge these goodies until you’ve fixed your ship, then off you go to explore the vastness of space.

(Sony/Hello Games)

Life on Mars

Initially, it’s enthralling. Your only real goal – if you want to call it that – is to get to the center of the universe. A path highlights your route on a galactic map, but you can also just roam about at will or eventually follow a slightly different narrative path (and perhaps more.) The game does a marvelous job concealing its secrets; you’ll never really guess where this is all going, which is a refreshing change in a medium often guilty of telegraphing itself.

No Man’s Sky’s technical wizardry isn’t just found in its backend math, it’s thrust in your face the first time you take off and enter your starting planet’s orbit. You don’t see a load screen. Zoom to another planet (this can take a while), descend through its clouds, skim its surface, land on a crater, get out and walk around, and still, no loading. It really, truly feels like one giant, connected chunk of space.

It’s also a Technicolor paradise. No Man’s Sky trades the grays and browns of most space games for rich pinks and purples, bright oranges and neon blue. Each planet is its own work of art, boasting flora and fauna of all shapes and sizes that somehow make geometric sense. A killer soundtrack by math rockers 65daysofstatic, also algorithmically generated, makes sure the musical mood matches the visuals. Blasting through space, the sun peeking out behind a massive planet literally hours away as a fleet of starships warp in from who-knows-where: it’s all incredibly cool and stylish.

And boy, the first few hours are really a rush. At each stop, you truly feel like an intergalactic Magellan. The first time you see a bipedal lizard with a worm’s head and winged arms is a thrill. You’re rewarded cash for discoveries by uploading photos of lifeforms, waypoints, planets and star systems to a shared server. You can rename these as well; I imagine there are plenty of wormy lizards named Atticus and a wealth of planets named after Kanye West tracks in the galactic database.

(Ben Silverman)

The man who sold the world

Cataloguing stuff, however, is harder than it sounds thanks to No Man’s Sky’s overreliance on resource management.

Hanging out on a planet sucks up resources. That mining tool? Needs resources. Your life-support system? Resources. Taking off in your ship? Resources. Grenades? Faster shots? Better stuff? Resources, resources, resources.  Be you an aspiring zoologist, trader or space pirate, you’re mostly gonna be mining.

Just about everything on a planet can be sucked up into your mining tool vacuum, and while that often just means gathering up the necessary plutonium and iron needed to regularly launch and repair your ship, you can find more exotic materials if you root around a little. The first time I discovered a mountain of gold felt like what I assume it really feels like discovering a mountain of gold. I actually yelped.

You can store resources on both your exosuit and your ship, but a ridiculously stingy inventory system requires near constant trips to the local shop to offload goodies. You can upgrade your inventory (it’s extremely important to do this), but for a game about collecting stuff, it never makes it easy. And make no mistake: this ground-based loop of mining, trading, upgrading, and mining again is the real beating heart of No Man’s Sky.

But like much of the experience, it shows its age far too quickly.

(Ben Silverman)

Sense of doubt

That’s because the very thing that makes the game so special – its procedural generation — turns out to be its Achilles heel. No Man’s Sky is algorithmically challenged.

By about the fifth or sixth hour, the repetition becomes unavoidable. That first little shelter you found on your home planet? You’ve seen its twin about a half-dozen times. That thrilling mountain of gold? Not so thrilling when you find four more. Those wild creatures? Other than the few credits you get for discovering them, they don’t do much, and over time they begin to look like Frankensteinian monsters stitched together from bits of code. A leg here, a head there – you’ve seen these parts before.

The planets themselves begin to blend together. Purple or orange, pink or neon blue: it doesn’t matter, really, because you’ll barely remember any of them. Plus you’ll never return to them since there are roughly 17.999 quintillion more waiting for you.

The re-use of assets isn’t uncommon in a video game, but because nothing is hammered in by hand, you’re left to deal with a system that shows its limitations rather quickly. Planet number 13 looks a lot like 9; the damaged machinery that gave you that cool blueprint on planet 4 is here again on planet 7 with a slightly different blueprint. The Gek trader at the planet’s observatory looks just like the one on the space station, which itself looks exactly like every other space station in the game. And that creepy narrative bit lending context to that derelict outpost? It’s identical to the narrative bit from a derelict outpost three star systems ago.

Equally troubling is the repetitive nature of the gameplay itself. You find a planet, you mine for a while, you take off to sell stuff, you find another planet, and back at it you go. There are no formal missions, no special sidetracks. To officially answer the question: What do you do in No Man’s Sky? A lot of the same thing, over and over again.

Periodically you will take part in randomized outer-space dogfights, but these are pretty dull thanks to a paucity of weapons and the irritating, fiddly nature of managing your shields. You have to enter your inventory, hover over your shield icon, select it, select an “oxide” to replenish it, and then back out of the menu, all in real-time while you are being shot at. It’s just stupid.  On-planet firefights with ubiquitous Sentinel robots or occasionally aggressive beasts also lack nuance and, since you can simply run to where you died and gather up all the stuff your corpse left behind, are ultimately inconsequential.

Most games relieve monotony with scripted set pieces, boss fights or climactic gameplay sections that yield big rewards. No Man’s Sky offers none of this, instead taking the hands-off approach of a sandbox game like Minecraft but without the creative part of the formula. You don’t build a thing here; instead, you just grind forward, hoping that somehow a big moment will find you. Except it rarely does, and over time, the thrill of discovery is quickly washed away by the mendacity of manual labor.

(Sony/Hello Games)

An occasional dream

And yet, you will find yourself playing a lot of No Man’s Sky. Despite its flaws, it’s seriously addictive. Collectors with a whiff of OCD will be in heaven, and the urge to buy bigger and cooler starships works as an enticing carrot. The mystery propels it, too: the overarching journey to the center of the universe (or, in my case, a quasi-religious quest to find the source of a powerful race) makes for a genuinely fascinating game. It doesn’t explain itself. As dull as it gets, you’ll feel compelled to fire up No Man’s Sky and inch closer to whatever secrets it’s hiding.

It seems fitting that the best part of a game ostensibly about size and scope is found in its small, less significant moments; serenely gliding over a bright green field of lumbering, omnivorous Whatsits, a mound of valuable emril shining in the distance, twin moons looming over the scene invitingly. No doubt about it: No Man’s Sky will, occasionally, take your breath away.

And if you can compartmentalize it, if you can be okay that it isn’t everything you hoped it was and perhaps view it as the quirky indie game it initially set out to be, No Man’s Sky snaps into focus as a ridiculous, daring experiment in technological design. It really does some cool stuff, and I applaud Hello Games for having the wherewithal to see it through.

But we buy video games to play them, not simply marvel at what they can do. Its technological advancements and sheer scope may indeed be incredible, but No Man’s Sky’s repetitive world and gameplay are decidedly less than stellar.

Pros: So, so big; outstanding visuals and music; addictive loop; secretive and mysterious

Cons: Abundant procedural generation problems; repeats assets quickly and constantly; inventory management a pain; repetitive gameplay
videoYogscast first look.
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 15, 2016, 05:26:07 PM
Replies: 7

Board: Civ 6
Views: 270

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hotShall we do a Single Player VI Demo Game?
Posted by: BUncle, August 14, 2016, 11:58:39 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 216

Quote from: E_T;303773
Demo games have been a factor in the creation of this site/community.  I had originally gotten involved in the old CivIII SPDG at Apolyton and had even had gotten heavily involved in the government (All hail the Great Banana)... :)  Many of the people reading this know me of old... and I them...

Multi-Player brought about the next level of DG, with forging of many bonds, as well as creating a great amount of strife that caused the fracturing and reconsolidation of many to here (after a while over at MZO) and other places.  Team DG's were the thing, as playing a human was much better that the, many times, stupid AI.  But due to the length of time and secretiveness required in a Team DG, as well as having to deal with rules that would attempt to avoid any possible cheats/exploits, killed or soured many Team DG's.

Newer Civ versions was the driving force behind the introduction of new blood to the community as a whole.  But the bedrock of that community as a whole was centered around that core of old hands from that original SPDG.  As time progresses, that rock has been renewed and added to.

With Civ6 now looking like what a lot of people had wanted in Civ5 as well as staying with the hex format for terrain, It would seem that we are likely to see a very good resurgance in players or just people whom just want to semi-lurk.  And an open SPDG would be a great way to get things hopping again, I think...

And the nice thing about A SPDG is that you don't have to have the game to join in and you don't have to keep people out from seeing what you are planning to do...   (anyone remember Case Pink??).

As for any possible MPDG's, let's let the game playout for a few months before we get into that   OR   run it like we did with A Call to Arms, were the thhreads were open and we were doing it for fun...  and the lurkers...

I'm BU, and I endorse this message.  It's good content and should prove a lot of fun - possibilities for MP, depending on what's doable after release and a couple patches, are also getting kicked around in that thread.  Check it out...
some article150 Turns of Combat, Espionage, and Failed Diplomacy - Civilization 6
Posted by: BUncle, August 14, 2016, 07:46:26 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 187
Civilization 6: 150 Turns of Combat, Espionage, and Failed Diplomacy
Hostile negotiations.
by Mike Mahardy on August 3, 2016


The barbarians emerged from the fog to the North, riding toward Paris, three lines deep on foot and horseback. They were healthy and determined, moving downhill at a measured pace. I aligned my spearmen around the capital city, but these soldiers were weak, drained from months of fighting and diminished food supplies. They were hanging by a thread, with no end in sight.

I could have avoided this if I had just ignored Zanzibar.

At any given period in my French empire's timespan, from its meager beginnings as a primitive settlement, to a flourishing nation in 1780 AD, I had to consider my people's scientific aspirations, cultural impact, military strategy, diplomatic stance, public reputation, geographic location, health standards, and economic stature in the global marketplace. In Civilization VI, there's more weight to each turn than those of its predecessors, and there's less waiting as empires unfurl through history.

The first thing that struck me during my recent 150-turn demo was Civ VI's new art style--it's bolder, more vibrant than the entries that came before it. Soldiers take on a more cartoon-ish hue. Cities display more detail in their structures. The fog of war covers the land behind my scouts, crawling back over the plains in the form of stylized parchment, straight from an ancient library covered in dust. It's as if developer Firaxis molded the colorful palette of Civilization Revolution with the grounded reality of Civ V.

Spectacle soon took a back seat when I glimpsed the first barbarian unit in the mountains outside of Paris. "Where there are barbarians, there's usually a nearby camp," I thought. As the stoic leader Catherine de Medici, I began training a soldier unit in my capital city, and sent my scout North, up the mountain range, to find the hostile tribe's home. In only two more turns, I found it. Two turns later, I destroyed it and pillaged it for gold.

Thinking the barbarians disposed of, I turned my attention to internal matters: growing food, fostering culture, creating a defensive military force, and establishing a sustainable economy. For 100 years (five turns), my civilization flourished, and I was ready to establish a new city, to the Northeast, where the river ran out into the ocean. That small patch of land would become Bordeaux, a region famous for its wine in the real world, but known for its military might on this virtual Earth of mine.

Civ VI's new district system became evident as soon as I decided to make Bordeaux a military stronghold. By building an Encampment district to the Southeast of the city center, I not only created a second line of defense against attackers, but also a place to build barracks and train soldiers. In previous Civs, this would all be done on one tile, where my city first sprang up. Now, by "unstacking the cities," as Firaxis is saying, there's more nuance to metropolis creation. Bordeaux expanded, my population grew, and all in all, my people were happy.

This was thanks in large part to Civ Vi's active research system. It functions like a list of side quests tied to individual branches of the technology tree. Although I wanted to research the wheel, which would open up more modern machines down the road, my research rate at the time was only good enough to complete the project in eight turns. However, because I made three farms in the interim, I boosted progress on the wheel. It created an alternative to simply waiting. As time continued, I checked the tech tree often, discerning whether I could boost any other projects through tangential side quests.

But then the barbarians came. Not the foot soldiers from before, but cavalry this time, and many of them. They must have come from a different camp, I thought. They were riding toward Paris fast.

By unstacking cities, Civilization VI adds more nuance to metropolis creation.

As Catherine de Medici, an Italian noblewoman who became queen of France through familial ties in the late 16th century, I had a finger on the pulse of the diplomatic scene--the Flying Squadron, her unique ability, places women in the courts and forums of other empires, feeding her information as other leaders make crucial decisions. Based on the info from my contacts, Hojo Tokimune of Japan and Teddy Roosevelt of America were both creating numerous settler units, implying swift expansion across the Eastern part of our shared continent. Knowing this, and knowing how quickly real estate can disappear on crowded landmasses, I set about removing the barbarian obstacle.

The fight lasted for 80 years. As my people grew tired of strife, my food supplies plummeted, my trade routes dissolved, and international relations weakened. Qin Shi Huang and his Chinese Empire craved Wonders, and were envious of The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, draped as they were over the banks of the river outside of Paris. Roosevelt threatened me with American troops on the plains outside Bordeaux.

My fight with the Northern tribes had distracted me. Leaders in Civ VI have historical agendas, which dictate AI behavior based on actual real-world events--but they also have hidden agendas. These require more intuition and intelligence to discern. As it turns out during the recent playthrough, I had neither.

I hadn't paid attention to the intel my spies afforded me. Tokimune had been pursuing favorable relationships with Zanzibar, a nearby city state, and grew envious of my good standing with the entity. If I had just backed off a little bit, decreased trade relations with the city, maybe stayed neutral instead of maintaining the alliance, I could have avoided a two-front conflict. But Tokimune, with his hidden agenda geared toward city state relations, declared war before I could prepare. His troops were crawling across Paris in only two turns, weakened as it was from the previous fight.

Despite my failure, that playthrough taught me a lot. There's more to consider in Civ VI. There's more potential for conflict at every turn. The active-research side quests, nuanced diplomacy system, and unstacked cities all add major factors to the decision-making tempo of the long-running strategy franchise.

Being a leader might require more of me this time around.
some articleFiraxis Didn't Plan It, But Civ6 is Shaping Up to Be a Great Educational Tool
Posted by: BUncle, August 14, 2016, 02:41:45 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 209
Firaxis Didn't Plan It, But Civilization VI is Shaping Up to Be a Great Educational Tool
Paste Magazine
By Leif Johnson  |  August 3, 2016  |  1:00pm

If you haven’t heard, someone’s reworking Sid Meier’s Civilization V as a teaching tool for schools. The great wonder is that it took so long. Even a decade ago, when I was just one more factoid about 17th century Dutch economics away from being overwhelmed by my graduate studies in history, I found the series’ abstract take on the rise of nations a welcome beacon of intuitive simplicity. For millions of others, it’s proven that the “maps and chaps” approach to history doesn’t have to be a snooze. This educational focus was very much on my mind as I headed to New York last week to play the most recent build of the upcoming Civilization VI (due out in October), and I’d convinced myself that developer Firaxis was working more educational elements into its core game than it had before.

If they are, it’s apparently inadvertent. When I spoke to Sarah Darney, the associate producer for Civilization VI, she seemed surprised by the topic and quickly reminded me that GlassLab, a third-party company, is responsible for the translation. But neither is she averse to the idea that players might be learning some new things while charting a course for world domination as they scrounge for resources and upgrade their civilization’s technologies as they have for five other games.

“The whole franchise lends itself to teaching people while they have fun,” Darney said, drawing particular attention to the in-game “Civilopedia” that details the real-world histories behind the landmarks and personalities encountered in the game. “There’s so much rich history that you can learn.”

But it’s not really the rote memorization of dates and names that I have in mind. Oregon Trail, after all, didn’t beat its players over the head with staid facts about particular mountain passes and trailblazers, but most of its players nevertheless walked away with a good idea of the hardships faced along the way to the West Coast. When their oxen died, they learned the importance of conserving resources.

The Civ series is a little like that, and Civilization VI particularly so. The newest game allows players to build their cities’ districts over multiples tiles on the gridded map rather than a single one as in Civ V, and figuring out which districts to place by which imparts some basic knowledge of city planning through gameplay alone. Knowledge of how to interact with the surrounding world thus becomes more important. Cities thrive near fresh water sources; away from them, they wither. The sprawl of cities encourages the use of natural barriers like mountains to keep invaders away from prized districts. In a masterful stroke, the preview event itself subtly hammered home these lessons. Held in an atrium overlooking Central Park and Broadway, a mere look out the window encouraged contemplation of how Gotham’s residential and commercial districts interacted with each other.

Civ VI, in many ways, is a Civ for our time. Ours is an age when important news from other countries drops more frequently than rolled newspapers on porches in ages past, and thus never before has it been so important for students to grasp the logic behind international cooperation and struggle. A good chunk of the game remains much the same as it always has, but it’s the remaining 33 percent (in Darney’s words) that already seems to make it more effective as a learning tool than its predecessor. Here, for instance, is a greater focus on a “Civics” tree as a condition to victory, which ultimately leads to less material concepts that we’re all familiar with in the modern age (and which I’m not allowed to talk about right now).

And then there are the leaders. Civ has a reputation for playing fast and loose with history at times, most notably in the case of Gandhi, whose in-game incarnation tends to relish the thought of nuking uncooperative neighbors. Civ VI maintains some of that volatility with hidden agendas for its civilization leaders that change from match to match, but it also gives those leaders permanent agendas that more closely align with those of their real-life counterparts. Consider Theodore Roosevelt, whose famous “Big Stick” policy comes to life in his tendency to leave neighbors alone as long as they leave him alone, but bully them if they start trouble. Or take the ancient Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang, who grows jealous of any civilization who dare to build wonders more glorious than his own.

“We really wanted to find big characters, people that had personalities that stand out,” Darney said, “but also lent themselves to a certain type of gameplay.”

It’s even fun to watch them, particularly when figures like France’s Catherine de’ Medici, the United Kingdom’s Queen Victoria, or Egypt’s Cleopatra show up in the diplomacy interactions and chitchat with vividly colored, stylized models and lively animations. It’s an approach that’s especially effective for teaching players about leaders like Brazil’s Pedro II “the magnanimous,” who doesn’t enjoy the same level of fame as some of the other available civilization leaders like Montezuma.

“I was never that kid in school who opened up my history textbook and got excited about learning all the dates,” said Darney. “Once you put a story to it and you create something this interesting and interactive, I think you retain the information better. It’s fun.”

Yet that liveliness of style has also been a point of contention in the community. Compared to Civilization V, Civilization VI has a more “cartoony” look, which prompted some negative comparisons to free-to-play mobile games like Clash of Clans when the first screenshots appeared. But its strengths become more obvious in motion. There’s a timeless beauty to the style, and the animations for the little skirmishes that unfold across the maps have never been more fun to watch. According to Brian Busatti, the art director for Civilization VI, the art style actually grew out of that drive for richer detail.

“We wanted to create a style where you can see from farther zoomed out,” Busatti said. “You can still tell what the districts are. You can still tell what your units are. You can see a lot of the action going on, like the animations are a little bit bolder than they’ve been in the past, and it just allows combat to be cooler and faster.”

I could also see how such an art style might work well in schools, but Busatti denies there was any drive to appeal to a younger audience. Busatti also denies that the style will allow Civ VI to run on weaker PCs than Civilization V—the kind you might find, say, in a typical public school—as the inclusion of better combat animations and sprawling cities actually roughly evens things out.

It’s almost as if Firaxis created a great educational game for schools in spite of themselves. It’s so effective, in fact, that I find it a shame that Firaxis didn’t ask GlassLab to wait until this release and model its classroom version on it. Civilization V, released in 2010, is undeniably a great game, but the additions in Civilization VI help it communicate the elements of strategy and the motives that drive leaders more adeptly than previous releases, all while somehow remaining fun. That, I believe, is a balance that’s too often missing from today’s entertainment.

Perhaps civilization would be better off if we heed its lesson well.
xx Interview with Civilization VI Game Designer Anton Strenger
Posted by: Nikolai, August 12, 2016, 11:02:03 AM
Replies: 4

Board: Civ 6
Views: 260

Courtesy of WePlayCiv: has done an interview with game designer Anton Strenger of upcoming Sid Meier's Civilization VI.

In part 1 of the indepth interview, they talk about victory strategies, research and the interesting decisions they hope players will make.

In the second part, they go into details about the military gameplay, diplomacy and modding. About modding, Strenger promises great flexibility, and says:

[...] what if different leaders or different civilizations had unique cards that were just for them. That's not something that we've done, but it's something that a lot of the fans and people we've talked to have come up with independently. And we would love to see a mod that does that, and I think our modding system is going to be flexible enough to allow that really easily.

[...] in terms of the implementation and what we're supporting, we're going quite deep.

We rewrote what we call the game core, which is the part of the code that is basically responsible for all the game logic. And as part of doing that we built in modding from the ground up in a way that we haven't done before.We have this very flexible data-driven system that allows us to, like, almost everything in the game from the civilization unique bonuses to the policy cards to the government effects to the Great People to the city-state bonuses, they're all driven by this common system that will eventually be totally exposed to modders. And they can, if there's a city-state that raises this number by this amount for every city, a modder could very easily go in and take that same sort of nugget of an effect and put it on a Wonder that only applies to one city, and change the number and dial it up or down or whatever they want. So it's gonna be very flexible, and I'm excited to see what people come up with.
gamesCiv4 pitboss organizing
Posted by: BUncle, August 10, 2016, 09:21:17 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Other Games
Views: 199
-Tell Rob that BU sent you, please...
xxRe: August 3rd Note from Uno
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 09, 2016, 06:21:43 PM
Replies: 11

Board: Civ 6
Views: 325


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xxFirst look: Scythia
Posted by: Nikolai, August 09, 2016, 03:37:51 PM
Replies: 19

Board: Civ 6
Views: 463

Courtesy of WePlayCiv:

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xxBig Ben (Wonder Movies) - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, August 06, 2016, 02:25:39 PM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 428

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tmaTSA Interview: Dennis Shirk
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 04, 2016, 02:54:00 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 307
Interview: Dennis Shirk On Civilization VI And Finding New Ways To Play
The many roads to victory.
The Sixth Axis
Stefan L, 1 day ago,

It’s almost time for fans of the Civilization series to give themselves over to a fresh addiction, as Civilization VI heads toward release in October of this year. It brings with it a lot of interesting changes, from unpacking cities so that they sprawl across the land to splitting the research tree in two, with one now devoted to technological research and the other to cultural advancement.

With a few hours of play under our belts, we spoke to Dennis Shirk, Lead Producer of Civ VI and a long time veteran of Firaxis, about some of the decisions and changes that have gone into the game.

TSA:  Six games in – well more than six games, really – is it difficult to keep coming up with new ways to change the game?

Dennis Shirk: Well that’s what’s nice with what Sid Meier did with Civilization, because you’ve got the whole expanse of time to work with and you got an enormous amount of material. Each base game brings a lead designer, which most likely came from the community, that has amazing ideas that have been sitting in their head for a long time.

This happened with Soren Johnson, then with Jon Shafer, and now with Ed Beach. Ed started prototyping some of his ideas when he did the two expansions [for Civ V], and then he got the chance to go all in on Civilization VI. The nice thing is there doesn’t seem to be any end to cool things or zany history that you can plug into to make interesting mechanics.

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TSA: Do you think it was nice to have Beyond Earth as a bit of a palette cleanser between Civ V and VI?

Dennis: Yeah, that always helps. It was interesting when we had the scheduled area, and we were like, “What do we put in there? What do we do?” That’s when Dave [McDonough] and Will [Miller] were like, “Oh, we should go to space…”

It’s funny. You look at all the different thoughts that were going round, where we could build a third Civ V expansion, except have it be the eighth era, after the space ship launches, and eventually it just formed itself into what you saw with Beyond Earth. There’s a lot of fun to be had, and that really demonstrated the kind of things that you can really go off into left field and play with, if you want.

There’s something to be said, though, for straight up historical play. I’m more of a historical player than anything else, because you’ve got that grounding in reality that pulls you in a little more than if you’re talking about pure fiction.

TSA: Are you the kind of player that might get a custom map of the real world?

Dennis: That can be fun, but I like more the alternate history type thing. I like being grounded in reality, but then watching things going really wrong or in a different direction.

I love watching the Battle Royale, the game that’s been running for months and months and months, where the AI just keep on playing. It’s been very amusing to watch.

TSA: Yeah, that’s a really nice to see things like that cropping up in the community. Wasn’t it with Civ II that there was the first endless war a few years ago?

Dennis: Yeah! Endless war. Desolation…

TSA: That was just a cool and crazy story to read. Aside from the lovely new graphics, what’s the biggest new difference between Civ V and VI?

Dennis: I think it’s unstacking the cities and the way you have to play the map now. It’s an additional person in the game that you’re playing with or playing against, because it completely changes the way that you’re looking around for where you’re going to put your next city, it changes how you specialise, and changes the way that combat works.

Even when you’re in combat, while the old chestnut is there that you only need to take a city centre to take the entire city, there’s a lot more options there. It’s about whether you defend your districts as well, or if you want to go and burn somebody’s campus to the ground just to deny them science, destroy their spaceport, eliminate all their production possibilities without actually taking the city. Before, unless you took the city, it was very hard to really hurt a player, so on offence it gives you all kinds of possibilities for what you want to do.

TSA: Do you think it’s giving offensive players new styles of play, to come in, burn things down and then come back around in 50 years time for another round?

Dennis: Yeah! Before in Civ V, it was interesting to pillage. It was a little satisfying to get a little health, get gold from it, but now it actually means something significant. If a player chooses not to defend his campus, you first torch the university, then the library goes next, then the district base goes next, and their Science is just plummeting. They have to come out and do something, they can’t just stand behind their walls and let you do it. Technically, they could, but they can’t repair it while you’re occupying it, they can’t do anything about it, so it changes the way that combat works quite a bit.

TSA: Is that one of the things that you consider, that there’s a particular style of play that you want to encourage or discourage? And in this case, the very defensive play style?

Dennis: Turtling, yeah.

Ed was really banging the drum, where he wants to put everything onto the map, and he approached that with UI, with gameplay, with everything. Any excuse that we have to pull gameplay out of the UI system and into the map, he wanted the chance to do that. That meant for combat, the way that cities are laid out… The city management panel still needs some work, because it’s a little crushed in there, but he did want you to have to leave the map and go somewhere else to play.

That was really his mantra, and I think that reflects in everything.

TSA: You’re encouraging people and giving positive reinforcement with the boosts for the research and civic trees, and it’s a nice thing to have, but it feels a little bit odd that there’s never any downside or tradeoff.

Dennis: It’s not about a downside or an upside, it’s about how quickly you get it done. I’d say that Ed never has the intention of putting you on the rails, so we went through a lot of iterations where the boosts were worth more, they were worth less, but we didn’t want players to think that they only had to research down the tracks where boosts existed. It just means that some things are going to be easier than others.

We didn’t want it to be a humongous game changing event, just a little bit of extra flavour, because if you’re playing a military game and you clear out that first Barbarian camp, you get that boost to bronze working. You think, “Oh, that’s pretty cool,” and then you get the next boost to the next bit of military tech, and suddenly you military game becomes easier.

By itself, each individual boost may not seem like that big a deal between full research and not, but as a whole, it can add up significantly.

TSA: With the military playstyle, it always feels like that’s the kind of default style in 4X games, to burn everything and take it by force. How are you encouraging other playstyles, like the cultural victory in this game?

Dennis: I’d say that domination is the first thing that players learn…

TSA: I think it’s the first thing that toddlers learn! [laughs]

Dennis: Yes! Domination’s the easiest one, so we don’t necessarily discourage it, it’s more along the lines of how a player want to challenge themselves.

So they go up the tree, and the next easiest one (not counting score) is probably the science victory, because there’s a very clear set of deliverables, cultural victory is hardest, and then there’s another new victory in the game that we’ll be talking about later on.

It’s nice, but it’s all about the challenge. What we are doing, if you’re playing a domination game, is that if you’re going up against a culture player now, it’s not going to be the same as before, where you just roll over them. So if you commit yourself to domination, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to win this time.

It did in Civilization V. If you were committed to a domination victory, you had a very high chance of succeeding, except against another domination player, so we tried to temper that. So it may seem easy at first to try for that, but it doesn’t mean you’re always going to end up winning with that kind of approach.

TSA: And you said in the presentation about the civics tree and the policy bonuses you get from that, which I thought sound like they’re giving you a bit of a home field advantage?

Dennis: It is! It’s home field advantage, and there’s various other policies you can put in too. So it can even be in the form of faster production of certain areas of the military units. That’s not necessarily that great for offence, because offence with weaker units never helps, but when you get a couple of defences in place…

Everyone that’s coming into your civilisation is just amazed by your culture, which I take as the kind of Rome effect. Rome was strong militarily, but they were also unbelievably impressive to anyone who sees their civilisation, their government, their senate, everything about them was enlightened and amazing during that time period. They did eventually get rolled. They didn’t change policies…

So that can still happen, but we’re trying to offset that.

TSA: Finally, with the historical figures that you’ve picked as leaders, how do you go about choosing each representative? Does that roll over into how you then design some parts of the game as well?

Dennis: The majority of them are chosen for gameplay aspects. So Ed would go into it and he’d choose – this is how he did the Civ V expansion as well. He’s got a certain percentage of categories that he wants the leaders to fall into in terms of play styles to make sure you’ve got a balanced approach, there’s some leaders that, as much as we try not to include, we keep coming back to because they’re so iconic, like Ghandi.

But there’s other ones, and Catherine de Medici is the perfect example, she’s not the iconic French leader that you’d expect, but she brought something really distinct, unique and real to the game that we wouldn’t have had before.

So it’s that kind of mining that Ed’s been doing to try and find these personalities that fit really well with the kind of gameplay systems.
xxRe: Civilization 6 Screenshots
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 04, 2016, 02:37:59 PM
Replies: 66

Board: Civ 6
Views: 2325

Full Civics tree:

MASSIVELY embiggens.

xxRe: Civilization 6 Screenshots
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 04, 2016, 02:36:04 PM
Replies: 66

Board: Civ 6
Views: 2325

Full tech tree:

MASSIVELY embiggens

tmaGamespot Interview with Anton Strenger (senior gameplay designer)
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 04, 2016, 02:32:49 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 256
How Civilization 6 Aims to Leave Its Own Legacy
A game for the ages.
by Mike Mahardy on August 4, 2016

For 25 years, the Civilization franchise has set the bar for 4X turn-based strategy games. It charted the courses of thousands of virtual civilizations. It established the mantra of "one more turn" as players feverishly learned the intricate systems of establishing, growing, and steering their own sprawling empires.

With the upcoming release of Civilization VI, developer Firaxis faces a daunting task: maintaining the overall skeleton of the series, while also replacing a few bones here and there. In other words: maintain the loyal player base, but evolve the series for newcomers as well, shaping something altogether new and challenging for both camps.
Senior gameplay designer Anton Strenger is no stranger to the Civ series--he worked on Gods and Kings and Brave New World, the Civ V expansions widely acknowledged to have improved the game tenfold. Now, with his first numbered entry in the Civilization franchise on the horizon, we sit down to talk with the series veteran.

GameSpot: The team that created the lauded expansions to Civilization V, Gods and Kings and Brave New World, is making Civilization VI. How did development on those expansions influence what you're doing now?

Senior gameplay designer Anton Strenger: In Civilization V, we noticed though that players started to fall into certain patterns, especially more experienced players. I think a lot of them had certain routines that they fell into, like "I'm always going to try to build the Great Library wonder, or I'm going to try to research this technology path every single time."

So, starting very early on from Civilization VI, we thought about ways to mix things up and have players think on their feet more. And a large part of that were these two big design pillars of unstacking the cities and of active research. With unstacking the cities [onto different tiles], you can't just build your science buildings in any city you want--you have to find a nice district for them to go into, and the bonuses you're getting from that really depend on the terrain around you.

GS: You're trying to make the game different every time we play. Is that the main goal with Civ VI?

Definitely. Unstacked cities and active research are a huge part of that. Depending on what's around you on the map from the very start, you're going to have different things encouraging you to go in different directions than you might be used to. There will be shiny things that we're going to dangle off to the side. So players can try something that's new to them, and there's not going to be a golden formula every time.

GS: You said earlier that every Civ is potentially someone's first Civ game. Tutorials are the obvious answer, I guess, but how are you making sure that all this information isn't overwhelming? How do you make such a deep franchise accessible?

It's a challenge, but it's also one we take very seriously. Tutorials are definitely one of our answers, but I'd say we take a layered approach in several different ways in the way we teach the game. Once you're in the game, you also have advisors come up and tell you about certain things that happen in relation to what's going on in your empire.

Players can try something that's new to them--there's not going to be a golden formula every time.
-- Firaxis senior designer Anton Strenger

So you might make your first trade route or finish your first Civic and an advisor will come up and say, "This is what's new now. This is something that's a new part of the game."

We consider this when we're designing the systems themselves. As you play more games, you can peel back the layers and dig into them and find out exactly what's going on and exactly how you want to be tactical about different situations.

GS: The map itself seems like much more of a character this time around.

That's actually not far off from a phrase we use internally which is, "The map is the star." It's the thing that's on-screen the most of the time, so we want to make it fun. We want to give it character. We want to have it be different every time. Not only the map, but the cities that you make on it, and where you choose to place that science district, where you choose to place that Wonder. It's going to form a very memorable configuration. I still think back on games I played six months ago and I remember, "Oh yeah, there was this city where I had it on this weird peninsula and I built the pyramids across the way."

GS: The game itself just seems to have much more style than its predecessors--between the artwork, the distinct cities, the leaders, and their individual behaviors.

That's been one of our big goals, too, with the agendas and how all those work, and the gossip and the diplomatic visibility that you increase over time. We want to have a rich cross section of history.

But I'd say with VI, we were particularly interested in choosing characters from history that had this colorful and vibrant personality, and these cool and historical traits that we would latch onto and give gameplay for. Like Teddy with his big stick, Pedro with his Great People, and Emperor Chin with his almost monomaniacal "I-must-build-the-best-Wonders-ever" attitude.

GS: How do you balance making each playthrough different with the fact that these leaders are a little more predictable?

That's where hidden agendas come in. Every leader has their historical agenda, and that's the same every time, but they also have one hidden agenda that's going to be different every game. You investigate those through careful observation, or by getting diplomatic visibility, or by sending trade routes and delegations and spies later on in the game. So in addition to being the Wonder-obsessed person Emperor Chin is, in this game, he might have this city-state agenda where he wants to become friends with city-states and he dislikes people that are competing with him.

GS: So that's another example of a ripple effect.

Yeah. One of our Q.A. testers who works at the studio with us, he loves building Wonders. He's a big cultural player and always piles up all the Wonders. But if he starts next to Emperor Chin of China, he might think twice about it It's like, "Well, I could do this, but I'm risking him being very angry at me and potentially ahead going to war with me. Or maybe I look for a different direction instead. Maybe I go on a path that I haven't really been on before."

GS: My last question is kind of loaded. But what do you think Civ VI will mean within the context of such a storied franchise? Looking back, what will its legacy be in hindsight?

I've got two answers. The first one is the more direct answer. I really think it's the unstacking the cities. I've seen how much it ripples across all the different game systems. If you think about the transition from Civilization IV to V, part of it was moving maps from tiles to hexes, and that was pretty significant. But perhaps even more significant was the unstacking of units. So no longer having these single-tile armies of doom that are walking around. It made combat about tactics and placement, much more so than it was about raw production.

The second answer is more aspirational and it'll remain to be seen, but I'd like to think that Civilization VI is where we open the doors to new players more than ever before. I learned Alpha Centauri over my friend's shoulder when I was in middle school, and it was like a rite of passage. He had to explain it to me, and there were a lot of systems to penetrate. I feel like every time we do Civilization, we get better at teaching new players. But it's a challenge. It's a very deep game. There's a lot going on. It's very fun for a lot of people once they get to that point where they're seeing the "one more turn" feeling, and they understand how things are fitting together. We've been trying really hard in VI to bring that to the forefront and to get player to see that more transparently than ever before. I'd like to think that this is where our audience grows.
tmaPCGN Interview: Dennis Shirk (Senior Producer)
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 04, 2016, 02:26:53 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 245
Civ 6 senior producer on new early game tactics, modding, and why you should leave Civ 5 behind
By Phil Iwaniuk

Civilization VI's problem is that it's following arguably the best and most complete game the series has ever seen. There isn't much about Civilization V in its final, expansion-bolstered form that makes you long for a new game when you play it. And yet a new game cometh, just the same. A new game with new ideas and different mechanics, which forces you to change your approach to the time-honoured game.

But are Firaxis making changes in the right place? Are they improving on weaker elements, or throwing out the bits of Civ V that worked perfectly well in the first place? After a lengthy Civ VI hands-on session, I found a quiet corner with senior producer Dennis Shirk and asked him about the many changes Firaxis are ringing in.

PCGamesN: The first thing I noticed is that workers aren't automated. Is that true regardless of options and setup?

Dennis Shirk: We wanted builders to build things instantly, so automating them didn't really make sense anymore. And because the tile placement game is the way it is, I wanted there to be purposeful things that you want to build, so if you let them automate they might build over things that you might want for a district or a wonder later. And then the wonder has to destroy whatever you just made. Also they only get three charges, so you can build three things and then the builders expire, and you have to build more later. So we wanted it to be a more purposeful series of events. When I first started playing way back in the prototyping of Civ 6 I was one of those people who automated my workers. It's something I felt I didn't need to pay attention to. Now I couldn't imagine having that in this system because every build is important. When you have something that you need to do or need to improve, every decision is important because they expire when they go away.

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PCGN: That changes the early game a lot, because people have these strategies they've developed since Civ 2, like getting two Settlers done in the minimum amount of time and always building on the first tile. What have you found to be the new early game strategy, now that it seems it's not as much about building on the first tile anymore?

Correct, it's about playing the map, which is really what we were going for. So depending on where you start - and how often you hit restart to get the map you want - it will determine how you play, because the Barbarian AI has changed a lot in this one. It's a lot more aggressive. It's not raging, but they are now smart enough to send out Scouts that report back to camp. So if you don't kill those Scouts, depending on the type of camp, they'll either send a mounted raiding party, land raiding party or naval raiding party and burn all your stuff down. So generally, building in early game is not a good idea because it's hard to protect and hard to keep your improvements from being burned down. So you usually want to build a couple of military units early on, a Scout or maybe two scouts and then push back the fog a little back to make sure there are no camps - if camps are there you need to address them immediately because they'll generate scouts to see who's out there. That's what I do before I settle in and do my builds, get the amenities up, things like that.

PCGN: I think that explains the situation I got into, where I was just running my first Settler away from a mounted Barbarian unit.

Barbarians are very different. If you see them, kill them immediately - he's either seen your city borders or he'll spot your unit. And if he spots your unit, especially with a civilian like the settler, they're going to try and set someone after it.

PCGN: I was always a bit unclear on how Barbarians worked in Civ V - is this is a completely different system?

[Barbarians in] Civ V were more of a generic, ‘This is how you learn combat’ [experience]. They weren't hard to kill, they were a nuisance. We wanted to make them the next player on the map, so until you meet another civ you're playing against something. It's not just the stress that a Barbarian might be sitting out there, it's also the stress of having to defend your borders early. You can't just run out and have fun - well, you can on the lower difficulty but we want there to be an early game stress. So you might end up on a map, like a guy we had yesterday [at a press event], who had three camps around him, and almost all his first 40 turns were [spent] beating back the Barbarians. When he got that done it was awesome and really satisfying because he controlled all the space. Sometimes you might get one, or no camps, because they're elsewhere. We want avoid the thing where it's always the same start, and it's always played the same way.

PCGN: When I met Pedro II, he demonstrated this objective he has to encourage great people towards his civilization through a little cutscene that I presumably triggered by not doing something within in a certain amount of turns. Why is it important for each Civ to vocalise their objectives, and how did you decide which personality to attribute to certain leaders?

The civilizations in Civ 5 were in a little more of a lump. They had weightings and scores based on the things they wanted to do. So if you spawned next to Genghis Khan he would want to take everything over, but he didn't have an agenda or things that were driving him. Similar with Montezuma, players just knew they would invade often. You also knew that Gandhi would eventually use nukes because he was made to do that.

So one of the big changes we wanted to put in was that every civilization would have a historical agenda, meaning they played a certain way, and we wanted to vocalise that. So when you meet them, in their introduction line you get a sense of the kind of Civ they are. When they give you warning or kudos, we want to indicate [whether] they like you because of their agenda, and that affects the relationship. If you click on a portrait we have a lot more information on there now, [like] where your relationship is sitting, the different values that are attributed to each of the things that affect your relationship. There's a lot more information, and one of the things that a lot of people asked for in Civ V is that they didn't have a lot of information in the diplomacy screen.

That's one of the things that agendas allow us to do, give them that personality. But it's not just that personality because if that was the case, then they would play that way every time. So we also have random agendas from a collection of different ones. You can't see that until you get your diplomatic visibility higher, so you might have negative modifiers for some unknown reason. You might meet them and they don't like you and you're not sure [why], you might see minus ten for unknown reason. So maybe you send a trade route or open an embassy or send spies and suddenly you'll see, ‘Oh they're cultured, and you're playing a military game and that's why they don't like you so you go and find someone who's more military like Cleopatra. It makes for a more interesting game in gauging these AI personalities.

Teddy Roosevelt for example has a historic agenda, he likes peace on his continent, doesn't like anybody causing trouble. So if I'm playing a culture game, which I usually do - it's my favourite victory to get - I want his continent. Fine, but Qin of China wants all the wonders, so if you build more wonders than him he's going to try and take them from you. So if I'm playing a culture game and want wonders, I might goad him into a war: I keep building wonders and eventually he might declare a war on me, which causes Teddy to declare war on him because he's a troublemaker. I maybe go and take one of his cities with those wonders back and now I've used that system and [their] personalities to my benefit.

PCGN:So it avoids that situation in Civ V where if you play in a combative way with Japan there would be this infinite loop of people denouncing you. Because one leader does, everyone else does too. If everyone has these different objectives, presumably some will want to be your friend if others denounce you?

Sure, there are now plenty of players who appreciate aggressive military. But the denouncements can still happen. There are two types of war, there's surprise war and eventually if you keep playing you'll see formal war, which is [when] someone gives you a reason to go to war with them [and] you have a ‘formal war’ option which gives much less of a warmonger penalty. If you declare a surprise war on somebody people will still think you're a warmonger and you might get denounced for that, unless they're a military civ.

PCGN: I was one click away from wiping out a Brazilian settler very early on, but I thought better of it.

It scales in the game, so early on warmongering doesn't matter nearly as much or last as long in the game because it's a harsh environment.

PCGN: The team have already teased the potential for modding with this new engine. Can you talk about that in any more detail?

We are going to be talking in more detail about modding further down the road. We haven't announced when we're releasing our tools, it'll probably be soon after release. A lot of the tools will be similar to what we had in Civ V. [Even] if you're a highly skilled modder, it was extremely difficult to work on leaders, and our elite units in the game, so we're paying special focus to that. We are bringing mods to multiplayer as well. As usual, a big emphasis on modding.

PCGN: Do you think there might end up being a situation where you're catering for a big player base in Civ VI and also a player base who is sticking to Civ V, because maybe they've bought all the expansions? Will the team feel the need to maintain both of those games in tandem?

We're sneaky this time around. Unlike with Civ V’s base game, we brought out all the new systems from Civ V Brave New World with us. I think the only exception is war and congress. Whether it’s the great works system, religion, espionage, all those things have been tuned for Civ VI so they play differently, but we wanted to give Civilization V players the best reason to put up on the shelf and try something new. Because all the new systems in VI is definitely a far cry from where we were on Civ V's base game. When we released the base game we were worried about the change to one unit per-tile, it's a huge change and we didn't want to overwhelm everybody with lots and lots of systems. The fans didn't necessarily appreciate that when they came off Civ IV which had a lot of content.
some articleStevivor: Inclusivity and Colour Blindness
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 04, 2016, 02:18:59 PM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 279
Inclusivity & Civilization VI: More female representation, colour blind friendly assets
An epic historical game opens its arms to more players.
Steve Wright4 Aug 2016

Civilization VI is looking to increase its (already fairly impressive) inclusivity in this iteration of the franchise.

“It’s cool for me to be a part of [Civilization VI’s development team] because I’m colour blind,” Associate Producer Sarah Darney told Stevivor recently in Sydney.

“I’m a colour blind gamer, and it’s good to have that representation on the team. All of the artists are so receptive of it. As we were doing the terrain, I had those guys come into my office every day, asking, “hey, can you see this?’

“It’s cool that we’re thinking about these things and that we have people who can help.”

Firaxis decided against toggles for different types of colour blindness — Darney is red-green colour blind herself — in favour of smart design.

“Because there is such a broad spectrum of color vision, it’s very challenging to plan for each one,” she said. “That said, whenever we use color language, it is almost always paired with shape language to keep everything easily distinguished at a glance. Additionally, the time of day system could provide an opportunity for users to find terrain settings that pair well with their particular vision.”

Moves toward further accessibility and inclusive don’t end there.

“As an industry, we’re moving towards making games more inclusive of different races and genders,” Darney said, quite pleased. “Civilization’s always been a game that did that, but it’s cool to be part of a group choosing to have more female representation as well.”

Said representation applies to both Firaxis and Civilization VI itself; at the time of writing, three of the game’s eight named leaders are female.

Emphasis mine, because it's something I've struggled with in the past.
tmaGameplanet: Sarah Darney (Producer) Interview
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 04, 2016, 02:14:16 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 278
Producer Sarah Darney on Firaxis' vision for Civilization VI
Matt chats with Civilization VI producer Sarah Darney.
Matt Maguire  4 August 2016, 1:11 pm

Q: So, 25 years! What is behind the appeal and longevity of Civilization?

Sarah Darney: Oh man. There is so much to the series, and so many options in how you play it. I think it has a broad appeal to different playstyles and different gamers – I think that's a big part of it. There's a bit of a universal appeal.

Q: What in your opinion are the pillars of Civilization - the non-negotiables?

Sarah Darney: The four X's – explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate!

Q: What were the things you as a studio weren’t happy with about Civ V?

Sarah Darney: So, when we're developing a title – especially something like the Civilization series that has that long history to it – we have the 30/30/30 rule at Firaxis: 30 percent of the last game that we love that's not changing (this is the foundation we build off of); 30 percent we liked that, that was good, let's mix it up, let's try something new; and then 30 percent brand new. It allows us to create a game that is familiar to people that know it and love it, but still add new things and continue that forward march.

Q: Broadly speaking, what changes have you made to the formula? What's in that 30-60 percent?

Sarah Darney: Unstacking the cities is a big important change for Civilization VI. This means we took all those buildings that used to live in the city centre, and they are now in districts surrounding your city. Because Civilization is such a layered game, this affects so much. The map is hugely important. City planning is very important. And it extends out to tech tree and everything.

Q: I understand the AI has seen an overhaul too.

Sarah Darney: A lot of balancing and testing goes into the AI because you want that genuine experience against something that's making intelligent decisions. But a big thing that I love about Civilization VI is that when we were choosing our leaders for example, when we looked at history we were trying to find big personalities, big characters that could lend themselves to specific playstyles. So that really helped us… Cleopatra for example, she likes a big army. Having that historical agenda, it creates a bit of a predictable character, and you understand them and they can make choices based on that. But we've also added hidden agendas to all the leaders, which mixes things up.

Q: How do you choose leaders for each civilization?

Sarah Darney: It's fun to look at history, and I love a good story. Getting out and seeing these characters in history and understanding them as who they were as a person… we can take that unique cool tangible thing about them and turn that into how they play the game. So that was a big part of the process – just looking for these larger-than-life characters. [As for the civilizations in the game], we're still rolling them out. It's really fun for us to see fan speculation about who is in and who's out [laughs].

Q: One criticism of Civ V is that it took several expansion packs to build in what should have been in the core game. Do you think that’s a fair assessment? How does Civ VI address this?

Sarah Darney: So Civilization VI has almost all the features of Civilization V. We've created a very big experience, and I think that people are going to be very happy with the amount of options they have and how big the landscape is.

Q: The art style has seen a fairly dramatic change. What was behind that?

Sarah Darney: Every art decision that we made was made to support gameplay. First of all we have the big leader personalities, so creating stylised leaders allows us to really show who they are and what drives them. but yes the map… I'm a colourblind player, so the map is so much easier to read for me, I'm not relying on tooltips. And just being able to tell what's happening in the game world at a glance is very valuable. Also the fog of war map style we've created is just stunning and beautiful.

Q: Will there be mod support?

Sarah Darney: We are supporting mods, and we will be talking more about that later.

Q: Can you talk about the new social policies?

Sarah Darney: Sure! The way it works is: the civics tree is a culture-driven tree where you can choose these different items through time. Think of the tech tree, but it is culture. So that unlocks governments and policies. Policies may be slotted into your governments, and there are four different types of policies: economic, military, diplomatic, and the wildcard. You can really create the kind of custom government for you. It's great because it allows you to react to the game environment as things are changing. In times of peace you might want to be a little more economically-minded – maybe you need more gold. In times of war you can put that aside and slot in more military policies. It's a great way to customise your experience.

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Q: 'Producer' is a title with many meanings. What does a producer do at Firaxis?

Sarah Darney: It is a very varied role. There is the product manager side: we're making sure everyone on the team is talking together, speaking the same language, and that we're all moving towards the same end goal. But it's also filling in the gaps, making sure we can help out any way we can, even if that means ordering pizza for lunch.

Q: Sid Meier still works at Firaxis. Do you ever pull on his vast wealth of Civ knowledge?

Sarah Darney: Yeah Sid's door is always open, we can always go in and pitch ideas and talk to him. he is a very valuable resource at the company and we love him. It's the 25th anniversary of the Civilization franchise so we've got big shoes to fill, and a lot of people love the series. I think we've created an experience that the fans are going to love. It's very cool, and there's so much to play with.
previewTom's Guide: First-Timer tries Civ VI.
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 04, 2016, 02:08:54 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 288,news-23101.html
A First-Timer Tackles Civilization VI
Tom's Guide
by Marshall Honorof Aug 3, 2016, 2:50 PM

Credit: Civilization VI

NEW YORK — In September, Sid Meier's iconic Civilization series will celebrate a quarter-century of recreating world history from scratch. As such, it's high time for a new entry in the series. Civilization VI will launch for PC on Oct. 21, no doubt keeping armies of armchair historians busy for hundreds of thousands of man-hours to come. Civilization has been such a mainstay in the PC gaming world that it's hard to believe any serious gamer has never experienced it.

This is the part where I raise my hand sheepishly.

Aside from an hour or so with Civilization: Beyond Earth a few E3s ago, the series is totally alien to me. I couldn't honestly tell you why. I like world history; I like strategy games; I like victory conditions that don't involve combat. But as any Civ fan can tell you, each game is big. I can handle running through a series of missions, but controlling humanity from the Stone Age up through the space race? That's a lot of responsibility for one gamer.

Civilization VI’s developer, Firaxis, invited me to try out the game for myself at a press event in NYC. I was allowed to play through the first 150 turns of a game with a relatively small map and somewhat relaxed diplomatic conditions. Did I do well? It's hard to tell; my civilization was still standing at the end of my session, so that's a start. If you've never played a Civilization game before, perhaps your experience will turn out like mine. And if you're a seasoned veteran, you can point out everywhere I went wrong. Here's what happened when I tried to shape the future of humanity.

Cult of Personality

The first thing I had to do was choose a race and, by extension, a person to lead it. (The choices are fixed; you can't mix and match leaders and their civilizations.) Sarah Darney, the game's project art director, recommended that Catherine de' Medici of France might be a good choice for players of a diplomatic bent, since her special ability lets players hear gossip from neighboring civilizations. Other leaders, like Teddy Roosevelt from the United States or Pedro II of Brazil, have strengths that might better orient them toward combat or research.

Credit: Civilization VI

Darney also drew attention to some other features that distinguish Civilization VI from its predecessors. Rather than having cities as all-encompassing structures, players can now customize individual districts to direct their energies toward specializations like military encampments or artistic achievements. She was also quick to highlight "active research," which gives players bonuses on the technologies they research if they complete in-game objectives. You may get a little extra boost from researching farming techniques, for example, if you go out and irrigate some land.

Players can also customize their systems of government with four different policies as their societies evolve. As you research new technologies, you'll receive cards that can affect your military, economic and diplomatic skills, such as generating more gold per occupied territory, or churning out military units faster. Early on, I didn't find that the cards had significant effects, but they definitely seemed like the kind of benefit that could add up significantly over time.

Dawn of a New Age

When civilization dawned on my French companions, there wasn't much to see: one small band of settlers and another group of clubmen. I admit, between the game's plentiful menus and plethora of options, I was a bit overwhelmed. Darney helped me take the first few tentative steps on the road to the future. Settlers can found cities; military units can explore the map and do battle with barbarians in the nearby countryside. Soon, I had founded Paris and wiped out a group of disorganized attackers.

(Luckily for other newbies, the full game will have more in the way of tutorial content.)

If you remember your world history textbooks from high school, you'll know what I had to do next. Paris needed to start researching the basics. A small stone quarry paved the way for mining iron. Learning how to make pottery was the first step toward a system of irrigation. I had to study mathematics, writing, animal husbandry, and everything else a fledgling civilization needs to survive.

Credit: Civilization VI

I learned right away that Civilization VI is not a game that can be rushed. This turn-based strategy title takes place on a series of hexagonal grids, and you can theoretically do one thing per grid. Annexing new territory costs gold, but each new territory generates a trickle of gold as well. Churn out builders, and you can construct farms and mines to make the most of your annexations. Scouts can find new territory and contact nearby civilizations. Military units fight, while settlers can found new cities and carts can establish trade routes.

What's tricky about the game, however, is that every new unit you recruit, every technology you research, and every fortification you assemble takes time, measured in a number of turns. Churning out settlers may only take two turns; building a district to celebrate music and art could take nine. You have to be patient and plan ahead, but you also have to adapt to circumstances as they arise. If you spot a barbarian tribe advancing, you may have to put your construction plans on hold — but will you make some swordsmen now, or research how to train mounted cavalry first? Civilization VI offers you a lot of choices, and there's very rarely one clear or "right" way to advance.

France Takes Shape

When I first sat down, I approached Civilization VI with something akin to mild panic; there was so much to do, and absolutely no way to know if I was doing it right. As the turns wore on, however, I started to find my groove. Playing off de' Medici's strengths, I decided to take France in a diplomatic and artistic direction, emphasizing my accomplishments in math, music and philosophy. In order to avoid other civilizations declaring war on my relatively defenseless burg, I sought them out and forged trade alliances early on, increasing my wealth and making them less likely to attack a source of wealth.

Credit: Civilization VI

I was pleased to find that Civilization VI offers a wide variety of victory conditions; you don’t need to conquer your enemies or build the mightiest city in order to win. You could also aim for a scientific or diplomatic victory, which rewards you for researching certain technologies or achieving stability with your citizens and neighboring territories.  There are tons of different ways to play, and the game takes a fairly agnostic approach as to which one it prefers.

When the demo ended, I was well on my way to a thriving, peaceful France, although I was by no means there yet. The Industrial and Modern ages still stretched out before me, and I noticed that many of my allied civilizations were advancing faster than I could. Obviously, there are still a lot of things about the game I have to master — or acquire basic proficiency with — before I can shape world history as I see fit.

Try to Take Over the World

Did I like Civilization VI? I think so. The game is colorful and logical, and appeals to my inner history buff (even if nothing that happens is particularly true-to-life). However, it also advances at a fairly slow pace and feels overwhelming for a newcomer. Since there are so many different things to pursue and so many different ways to win, Civilization VI can feel overwhelming at times.

On the other hand, I think it will be exactly what Civilization fans want. It's a bigger, more detailed game than Civilization V, with a lot of the same hallmark gameplay that's made the series so popular over the last 25 years. The game will come out on Oct. 21, and we'll take a deeper dive then in order to learn how an entire game plays out.

And in the meantime, I should probably install Civilization V on my computer. History is long, and I've got a lot of catching up to do.
tmaCapsule Computers interview with Sarah Darney (Producer)
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 04, 2016, 02:04:37 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 257

Civilization VI Interview with Sarah Darney 
Where we unstack cities and load up on gossip in the new Civ
Capsule Computers
Mateja Simovic August 4, 2016

The Civilization series is a long lived and much love strategy game series with its newest installment, Civilization 6, being developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K. At a recent preview event at the 2K offices in Sydney, Tom Alderton and I were able to sit down and have a chat with associate producer on the game: Sarah Darney.

Mateja: A bunch of new features have been revealed for this new installment in the Civilization series but what, in your opinion, has been the biggest change to the game design and how have you guys balanced it with the rest of the gameplay?

I would say unstacking the cities was definitely our big new feature for Civilization 6. Just taking what used to live in the city centre and spreading it out in the districts on the map. It really makes the map way more important with the adjacency bonuses and requirements for the districts as well. Every decision really means so much and it really makes you think. In terms of balancing that we’re playing the game a lot in the studio… we’re all big Civ fans and we’ve got a great QA department. Just playing it a lot and making sure everything feels right.

Mateja: Last game, you guys unstacked units from each other which forced players to think more tactically in terms of unit positioning on the map as well as preventing players from simply piling entire armies onto one square. How has unstacking the cities this installment affected other aspects of the gameplay?

It’s very cool when you’re engaged in a battle with someone because you can see that, for example, this is a very ‘science-heavy’ city and I’m gonna destroy that. You can pillage districts and the buildings in them as well. So it’s a huge impact on how, even if you can’t necessarily take someone’s city, then you can slow them down which can be pretty useful.

In a game like Civilisation, there are so many systems which work together and there’s a lot of interconnecting tendrils. Unstacking the cities really spreads out to everything.

Tom: In Civ 5 you’d try to make your cities as specialised as possible with each city producing as much of one resource as possible. In Civilization 6, has the city decentralisation helped to increase or decrease the need for city specialisation? Is specialisation still the goal or can cities be more generalised?

You can definitely play both ways. It’s cool as you’re exploring the map with your scouts you’ll see this great mountain range next to some woods and you’ll think “That is where my holy site is going”. You can see all the jungles and mountains and think “okay, campus” and build a science producing city.

As I’m playing, I think of the map as this other character.

Mateja: Speaking of characters, it looks like the diplomacy gameplay has undergone a huge revamp. Could you tell us a bit more about that?

Well, every leader has an agenda. You saw in your game that Cleopatra did not care for you because your army was too small. So when we were looking at the leaders that we wanted to use Civilisation 6, we were looking for these big dynamic characters that we could really use for the gameplay. In addition to that we also have the hidden agendas which really mix things up a little. So it won’t be the same every time you play but there is that familiarity with the characters.

Mateja: So each of these personas will have a public agenda which is open from the start, which is based on the historical persona themselves.

Yes, the historic agenda.

Mateja: And then they’ll also have a second one which is hidden unless you work to figure it out. Can you tell us a bit more about the hidden agendas?

Sure, the hidden agendas really make building the relationships with the other Civs important. Like the gossip system, which lets you learn little tidbits of information, where if you become allied with someone you learn much more than through espionage.

Mateja: International politics is starting to sound scarily like high school. Could you tell us more about the gossip system?

Sure. So with trade routes, for example, you might see a pop-up saying that your trader “Bob” has learned that Cleopatra has gone to war with someone else. It creates these little tidbits of relationships where even small things like trade and delegations let you uncover things about the world through the gossip system.

Tom: I noticed during my playthrough that those pop-ups don’t seem to be so strongly tied to the use of spies as much.

You can get more information through spies, yes, but there’s more ways to learn than just espionage to learn about your neighbours.

Tom: Have there been any other improvements to the AI in terms of its difficulty? I noticed in the harder difficulties on Civ 5 that they just get bonuses and cheat but they’re not actually better. Has that been reworked this time around?

Yeah, we’re very focused on giving players the best experience possible so giving the AI more intelligent behaviours will help with that. I think you had a moment, in your playthrough, where Teddy Roosevelt was retreating his wounded units. So things like that are good to see the computer do that because it makes it tougher but more fun. The barbarian AI is very fun too so I’m not sure how much you played with that before you were attacked by all your neighbours.

Tom: I noticed that the barbarians weren’t as aggressive with the pillaging as they used to be but were a lot more aggressive with attacking my units.

Mateja: Maybe it’s because they’ve accepted the word of our lord and saviour, Sid Meier, into their hearts?

Tom: Too busy playing Civ to pillage my districts?

Mateja: Exactly.

Tom: Speaking of which, I’ve noticed that religion makes an appearance into this installment as well, but is there also a holdover from the ‘tourism’ mechanic of last game?

Yup, so cultural victories are still a thing and tourism is still a very important element and which great people play a big part in it… but that’s all I’ll say.

Mateja: Tourists… the barbarians of the modern age.

Tom: There was one civilization that was missing in Civ 5 that got added in by modders, which was awesome, but… is Australia gonna make it in to Civ 6.

(Laughs) Unfortunately I can only talk about the civilizations we’ve revealed so far… but I can confirm that we’ll be supporting modding. Unfortunately I can’t get too much into that either.

Mateja: That’s good to hear and we’ll look forward to hearing more about that too. Finally, is there anything in particular that you’re proud of or would like to highlight in the new installment?

This is the 25th anniversary of the Civilization series and it has so many fans and so it’s super exciting being a part of that. I love this game and I love the way the way the systems are coming together and I think the fans will too. I think we’re living up to the legacy.

Mateja: I hope you do and we look forward to seeing more of the game in the coming months.
xxRe: 8/3 Video Megathread.
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 04, 2016, 02:00:50 PM
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Board: Civ 6
Views: 1444

Arekkz Gaming play:

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xxRe: 8/3 Video Megathread.
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 04, 2016, 03:11:08 AM
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Board: Civ 6
Views: 1444

Devs play as Brazil:

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xxRe: 8/3 Video Megathread.
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 04:31:33 PM
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Board: Civ 6
Views: 1444

PC Gamer 100 turns.

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previewGamereactor preview
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 04:08:43 PM
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Board: Civ 6
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150 Turns of Civilization VI
The greatest hits package looks to merge the best of previous games.
Text: Sam Bishop  Published the 3rd of Aug 2016

Civilization as a series has been around for 25 years now and it's a pillar of the 4X genre, truly embracing the philosophy of eXploring, eXpanding, eXploiting and eXterminating. The series has evolved steadily over time, allowing the player to create and control their own growing empire in increasingly refined ways, but the differences between IV and V in particular were huge and led to a community split. The divide was due mainly to diminished content and changes to the interface. Relatively drastic changes annoyed some, although others praised Civilization V for the changes. What, then, lies in store for us in Civilization VI?

With the sixth instalment Firaxis is looking to merge the best of both games, creating a greatest hits package of sorts. This isn't to say that the game is only recycling old ideas - in fact, there is plenty that is new in here - but that Firaxis and 2K listened to the fans and their thoughts on the previous two games. When Gamereactor spoke to Lead Producer Dennis Shirk about the game at a preview event in London, he said that "more content" was the focus above all else, especially considering the complaints about Civilization V's lack thereof at launch. "There was so much content in Civilization IV, Brave New World, Beyond the Sword, [and] because all of that didn't exist when we released Civilization V, fans were a little upset about that." More options and more choices were a must for VI from the outset, and Ed Beach, the Lead Designer for the game, wanted to pull most elements from Brave New World forward. Because of this, Shirk assures fans that they will not look at VI and think that there isn't much there.

From the outset we saw what Shirk was talking about. The options given to the player from the beginning are numerous but never overwhelming, the inability to stack units helping once again to reduce confusion about who is where, for example. The interface is user-friendly and from fighting barbarians at the beginning (their camps need to be destroyed to stop them coming back again) to the trading and diplomacy as you civilization develops, nothing felt too complex, although it did certainly feel different. We could definitely tell that this was a new game and there were some clear changes that were made to increase the choices that the player has available to them.

The civics tree is one way that players can be given more options. "As many ways to play is great, more choices is great", Shirk said, adding that "the civics tree is another big change. We basically split the tech tree in two and the reason Ed [Beach] did this is because he wanted a way for the builder or the cultural player to compete with the science players".

There had been an issue with cultural players being at the mercy of the military or technological powers of others in previous games, and the civics tree allows people to be "enlightened", driving players through this new avenue just as science does with the technology tree. Instead of hardware and technology, instead these players use governments and policies to their advantage, unlocking better options for their government as they progress. This all means that cultural players are less likely to get "steamrolled", as Shirk called it, by technological players, allowing for more choices in how to play.

Governments and policies also give more freedom to tailor your civilisation as you play, by mixing and matching policies regularly, placing diplomatic, military, economic and wild cards in your government, all of which give specific advantages. The further you go into the civics tree, the more powerful policies you will get and players have the option of changing that up when they please, whether that is in reaction to a war or to try and change their civilization's focus. This feature should help add some flexibility to the game as well.

One of the most notable new features is based around urban districts in what Shirk referred to "unstacking the city." Just like units couldn't be stacked in Civilization V, neither can the city in Civilization VI, forcing players to put specialised districts in tactical locations. Ed Beach took the idea of forcing players to spread their armies by removing the ability to stack units and applied that to cities, with districts being suitable for different purposes, such as the campus for science or the theatre for culture. Most districts hold three buildings and there's unique districts too. This is all done in an effort to take the game out in the landscape and stop people focusing solely on the city centre. These districts also have certain benefits and adjacency bonuses, meaning that they have to be created and placed tactically for maximum effect, adding yet another layer to the expanding aspect of the game.

The systems regarding diplomacy are also modified from previous instalments. Like Civilization V, city states still appear in the game, but there are now more options regarding what to do with them. Envoys are key to interactions with city states now and are earned either by discovering them or by doing their quests, one example being to create a crossbowman. These quests aren't exactly narrative-based, however, but merely objectives to aim for if you want to get in a city state's good books. The city states have individual bonuses, such as increased gold or culture, when envoys are sent there, and the benefits increase when more envoys are sent. There are also rewards earned by being the ally with the most envoys at that city state, so players are encouraged even more to interact with them, especially since they provide resources for their own civilisation.

That isn't the only way diplomacy was highlighted by Shirk at the preview event, however, as the interactions with other leaders was another key area of discussion. The focus of this element is to reveal to the player what makes each leader tick. Civilization V had rather one-dimensional characters, Genghis Khan for example being a very aggressive leader and not much else, so in Civilization VI the team tried something that was historically tied in. Theodore Roosevelt, for example, has an agenda which means he favours peace on his continent and he reacts badly to warmongers.

A system called diplomatic visibility plays a key role in interacting with other leaders as well, as gossip is heard about leaders and what they are doing, allowing for more in-depth relationships with your neighbours and their rulers. Secrets agendas also come into this and are assigned when they start the game, but the player has to discover what they are. Trade routes and spies therefore have to be utilised to gather gossip about the leaders and their civilizations in order to discover their secret agenda and what they're after, meaning that it becomes a much richer experience in terms of single-player as well.

Warfare and combat are improved in Civilization VI too. They have taken what Shirk calls "the rock, scissors, paper aspect" and made it a bit more obvious. "So spearman have always been good against mounted, but now warriors are good against spearman and obviously cavalry's really good against warriors and not so much against spearman. But all of those benefits have been elevated just a little bit more". Now units have clear and distinct advantages over others as well as weaknesses, and this was done because of the feeling that this was absent in Civilization V, the units being very similar to each other a lot of the time. Although this change isn't huge and sometimes not very obvious, it stil forces the player to think tactically about how they want to approach each neighbourly interaction.

While playing the demo we noticed that there were a lot of boosts coming up on screen and this was part of a passive system that can operate with or without your conscious participation in it. It works in both the technology and civics tree and reacts to how the player approaches the campaign. The game is meant to be based on environmental factors as well, so if a player establishes a city in the middle of the map it would take a long time to research sailing, for example, but the first time you found a city on the ocean you suddenly get a boost to sailing. The system should reward people's styles of play, whatever they may be, as well as giving boosts based on other factors.

We also discussed the new-look art of the game which is a visual style that reminds the player of its central exploration driven theme. The team wanted the look of Civilization VI to reflect this and that's where visual style emerged from. In regards to undiscovered space, the clouds of Civilization V are replaced with an antique-style map with almost burned edges on it, merging that feeling of antiquity with the modern and sleek style they're aiming for. Shirk also told us that it was to make the game come to life a bit more as the clouds were claustrophobic before, and we'd have to agree - it looks superb.

In fact, it wasn't just the new visual style we were impressed with. In the 150 turns allocated to us we found the game to be extremely enjoyable and the new systems were fun to play around with. We played as Qin Shi Huang of China, focussing on construction and culture, and the new districts system fitted easily into our goal. We used districts to our cultural advantage and the civics tree also helped a lot to build an empire that was culturally superior to others. In interacting with other leaders like Theodore Roosevelt we also tested out the diplomatic visibility which worked well too, although we wonder how much real impact that will have on the relationship between leaders.

Civilization VI isn't so much about looking at what the series does in a different way, but in the best way, taking and moulding what worked in previous games while also improving the formula at the same time. By unstacking the cities, introducing districts, improving the combat and, above all else, giving players more content and choices, this should be well received both by those in the Civilization IV camp and those in team Civilization V. The demo we played was only 150 turns and so we didn't get the chance to see the later industrial and modern era, but we were still very impressed with what we saw and it looks like a very promising game. We will have to wait until October 21 to truly see what this game has in store.
xxRe: 8/3 Video Megathread.
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 04:04:38 PM
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Board: Civ 6
Views: 1444

FilthyRobot best new feature of Civ VI

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previewUS Gamer preview: Civilization VI Makes Me Hungry For That 151st Turn
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 04:02:08 PM
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Board: Civ 6
Views: 215

Civilization VI Makes Me Hungry For That 151st Turn
Mike sits down with Sid Meier's Civilization VI for 150 turns.
US Gamer
By Mike Williams  08/03/2016

I'm not sure the Japan I've created at the end of my 150 turns would've withstood the test of time, but I'm proud of it. I'm playing Civilization VI, which is still every bit the game that Firaxis has shepherded for all these years since MicroProse released the first title in 1991. It's evolution of that core title, strongly resembling the endpoint of Civilization V, but with a few tweaks and change.

Even after 150 turns, I still wanted one more. 

For my latest Civilization VI demo, I'm given a choice of any of the civilizations that have already been announced: Teddy Roosevelt of the United States, Victoria of England, Cleopatra of Egypt, Qin Shi Huang of China, Hojo Tokimune of Japan, Catherine De Medici of France, Montezuma of the Aztecs, and the newly-announced Pedro II of Brazil. Every leader is fully animated, sporting exaggerated features while still retaining facets of their real-life looks. (Unfortunately, the means your chosen leader will retain the same look, regardless of era. History may change, but Montezuma does not.) 

I chose Japan as my civilization and jumped right in. Immediately, you'll find there's a new look to the game's fog of war: instead of a thick white cloud, it closely resembles an ancient map spread out on a table. Within of your sphere of influence, everything is bright and clear. It's surprising how much detail Firaxis has put into each and every building.

Tiny flags wave on amphitheatres, donkeys drag carts of ore out of mines, your traders stamp paths in the dirt. Within your cities, adding improvements leads to tangible visual changes within your city centers and districts: given enough knowledge of the game, I believe you could tell what type of city you have merely at a glance, rather than opening up a menu screen. We've gotten to the point where graphically, the cities look like tiny models.

Outside of your direct influence, it's a blank map. Even once you've seen a region, discovered tile features like mountains, rivers, and cities are shaded in that same, weathered tan. Visually, it's a treat, while still providing you with the information you need.

Kicking off the game, you still begin in the middle of nowhere with only a Settler and Warrior to your name. This time around the choice of where you'll place your cities is far more important. In the past, having your city next to certain tiles provided bonuses to things like Science, Food, or Production, but each city remained within a single tile regardless of how large it grew.

Living At the Center of the World

In Civilization VI, Firaxis has changed cities drastically by unstacking and expanding them. Many city improvements are dropped in tiles outside of the city center, so as your city grows it expands physically. In the past, this was just a colored area of influence. That's still here in Civilization VI, but many times you'll be building new structures directly within the area you control.

This new expansive city-building system is joined by the district system. Within a city, you can build districts that are focused in different directions, like an Encampment for military power, a Theatre District to build Culture, or a Industrial Zone to improve that city's production. Each district receives strong bonuses from the adjacent tiles: a Science-boosting Campus district is improved if it's next to a mountain or rainforest and the money-making Commercial Hub gets much better next to a harbor or river. Even the Wonders themselves require certain terrain to even be built. I couldn't construct the Pyramids because I wasn't near any deserts and the Colossus needed to be built on the Coast, so I had to settle for the Colosseum and Great Library.

This means you'll spend far more time thinking about where each city is located. If you want a city to really be a great financial boon to your empire, you should probably have water nearby. If you're looking to be a captain of industry, your Industrial Zone district needs to be near a Mine or Quarry. And that's before you realize that your cities will inevitably expand outward. Late in my demo, my starting cities of Kyoto and Tokyo were touching because I hadn't built them far enough away. I've learned my lesson for next time.  

Civil Defense

The expanded cities mean you'll also have to think a bit more about defense. Enemy units can pillage specific parts of your city, making them useless until you can repair them. I had a persistent problem with barbarian hordes because my military wasn't up to snuff. My food production was down and I couldn't figure out why until I looked at my city and realized that barbarians had pillaged and burned one of my Farms. A more savvy opponent could've directly targeted an Industrial district, preventing my city from building a defense quickly. The option is there now.

My military failure was largely down to my technology choices. Until late in the game, I persisted in choosing technologies that would improve my cities, like Mathematics, Engineering, Construction, and Education, neglecting the early Iron-Working tech that would've allowed me to build the Samurai, Japan's unique unit. Once I finally unlocked it, my pair of Samurai were able to make short work of the barbarian hordes.

I survived without any military technology because of the new Civics Tree and Government systems. The Civics Tree is the place for all of the old Civilization technologies that dealt primarily with Culture, Religion, and Government. These civics include things like Recorded History, Drama and Poetry, and Theology, which are researched in tandem with the classic Tech Tree. Learning new Civics not only unlocks city improvements, it also unlocks Policies.  

Policies are cards that slot into different government types. Each government has a certain number of policy slots in the categories of Military, Economic, and Diplomatic, with an additional Wildcard slot for powerful policies or any policy from one of the other categories. Some may have more military slots, while others may be focused on economic slots; part of picking the right one for you is determining which policies you use more often.  

You can see which Policy cards you'll unlock alongside any city improvements.

The best part of Policies is they can be switched in and out whenever you unlock a new Civic. My policies allowed me to firm up places where I was deficient. Since I was low on the military side, I could slot in policies that lowered the production cost of melee units, or increased my Warriors' strength against barbarians. Essentially, my government covered up my weaknesses for a short period of time, until I could research Iron-Working like a good warlord should. 

Small Change, Small Wonder

Civilization VI also features a number of small changes to the overall gameplay. Workers are no longer persistent units, instead having three charges. Each time they perform an action, they use up a charge and once the charges are gone, the unit disappears. This alleviates an old issue, wherein you'd have a huge compliment of workers doing nothing, but it means that your city workflow needs to include Workers in-between building improvements.  

Another change is with road building. In previous Civilizations, roads were an improvement you could have your workers build and using a road increased the travel distance of your units. In Civilization VI, you can't build roads, at least not until a later era. Instead, roads form naturally between cities when you establish Trade Routes. As your trader moves along on their journey, a road will be formed on their path. This means that trade routes become even more important than they were before, providing not only money and resources, but also improving transit in your empire.  

In my last preview, I felt that the Eureka system, which gives players bonuses to Tech and Civic research for completing certain in-game tasks, was pretty strong. This time around, I didn't run into as many Eureka moments, so the game's overall pace didn't feel as fast. I'm unsure if that's just a perception based on the strategy and choices I made this time around, or an actual tweak in the system by Firaxis, but when we spoke last, Civilization VI lead producer Dennis Shirk did tell me that there would be a lot of "knob-turning" to do.

So 150 turns, 4 cities, 2 eras, and 2 wonders later, I'm still down with what Civilization VI is doing. If you've been playing Civilization for the past few years, you may have to adapt a bit, but the game itself still feels like Civilization should. The changes they've made to the game are for the better and I can't wait to get my hands on the game again. 

150 turns simply isn't enough time for me to fully crush my enemies.

I think it's mostly stock screens, might be one or two new. 
previewPC World Preview
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:57:29 PM
Replies: 3

Board: Civ 6
Views: 293
150 turns with Civilization VI: Active Research and civics tweaks change the game
Or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Active Research"
Hayden Dingman | Games reporter | Aug 3, 2016 7:00 AM

When last we visited with Civilization VI, it was to play through turns 1 through 60, a.k.a. the veeeery early stages. That was a scant two months ago (not even), but last week Firaxis continued the drip-feed of information by granting us access to turns 1 through 150.

Now let me marvel over Active Research for a bit.

On the shoulders of giants

I already talked a bit about Active Research after my first Civilization VI demo, but 150 turns gives me a much better idea of how the system works. So far, I love it.

First, the basics: Active Research is a new-for-Civ-VI system whereby you receive tech tree bonuses for completing certain in-game actions. Last time around I used the early-game example of founding a city on the coast, which gives you a permanent bonus to research on Sailing. Makes sense, right? You live on the shore, so your people have a natural affinity towards navigating the seas.

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Looking at the tech tree, it seems that every development on both the Tech Tree and the new Civics Tree (“researched” with Culture—more later) has a method by which you could boost your progression. Kill an enemy with slings and you’ll soon find yourself using bows instead. Improve two sea resources and you’ll come closer to Celestial Navigation. Earn a Great Scientist and your civilization will take a step towards Education.

Chaining technologies together is a particular joy. For instance, early research on Pottery allowed me to harvest my previously-undeveloped Wheat resource. Building a farm on Wheat then boosted my research in Irrigation, and on it goes.Another example: Building an Iron Mine brings you closer to—surprise!— Iron Working.

Civilization has always been a game about the progression of humanity from nomadic tribes through to the modern era, but never has the idea been so tightly encapsulated as in Civ VI. The technologies are (mostly) the same, but seeing this cause-and-effect removes one more layer of abstraction and creates a narrative from Science. There’s a logic to humanity’s development here. Do this, and that follows.

Active Research also seems like smart design though, from what I’ve played. Namely, it pushes me to try things I might not otherwise—both by chance and on purpose.

For instance, Theology is boosted by discovering a Natural Wonder. It may take you most of a game to discover one, and thus you might put off researching this technology until later than competing factions because it’ll waste more turns. Or, if you have a Natural Wonder nearby, you might beeline for Theology in order to get an early advantage. That’s what I mean when I say “by chance.” It’s random. It changes every game.

But there are also actions I found when scouring the tech tree that I might’ve delayed or never accomplished, were it not for Active Research. Killing three Barbarians, for instance, will get you a head-start on building a more militarized government. Another tech, Feudalism, is boosted when you build three adjacent farms. Normally that might only happen by chance. Here, it’s almost a necessity.

Now, whether the system holds up in the end-game? I’ve no idea. And whether players—as always seems to happen—discover the most beneficial route down the tech tree and repeat it every game again? Well, maybe.

All I can say is after my Civ VI demo, I came home raring to play some more, booted up Civilization V, and then quit after fifty or so turns. It’s still a fantastic game, and I’ve no doubt some people will continue to prefer it, but the early game is so tedious by comparison. You’re not making many decisions at all, let alone important decisions. Active Research makes Civ VI feel much more...well, active.

Balanced scales

Back to the Civics Tree. This is arguably an even bigger change to Civilization VI than Active Research. Firaxis lifted a bunch of technologies out of the monolithic Tech Tree and split them into their own research pot, funded by accumulated Culture.

The list covers everything from Drama and Poetry to early government forms, Guilds, and Military Training, and they’re researched parallel to your faction’s technological advancements. Thus you could technically have a civilization that’s technologically in the Renaissance but culturally still in the Ancient Era.

But more realistically, the Civics Tree helps balance the relative weights of Science and Culture a bit. In previous Civs, Culture was a powerful tool that was nevertheless pretty boring and passive. You let it build and build, but rarely did the game ask you to do anything meaningful with those systems.

In Civilization VI, it’s much harder to just dump Culture and go all-in on Science—especially because, thanks again to Active Research, the two trees cross-pollinate quite a bit. Technologies boost advances in Civics and vice versa. For instance, Feudalism (a civic) will give you a head start on Stirrups (a technology), which allow you to recruit Knights.

And as an added bonus, there seems to be a greater total of developments to research now, split across the two trees.

150 more turns

I actually played about 250 turns during my four hours at Firaxis—150 as Japan, then another 100 or so as Brazil’s Pedro II. A few final thoughts follow.

First, the differences between factions are interesting as ever. Japan is slow to grow, but stackable bonuses for building adjacent districts (remember, cities now take up more than one tile!) are powerful later in the game. Playing as Brazil, on the other hand, I found myself loathe to build tile improvements because I actually received bonuses for undeveloped rainforest tiles. This caused me to isolate my districts on tiles surrounded by trees.

Firaxis also claims Diplomacy is more interesting. It’s sort of true. Leaders now have goals that are more complex than an aggressiveness rating, like desire for specific luxury resources or (in the case of England’s Queen Victoria) a fondness for rulers who started the game on the same continent.

It’s still Civilization diplomacy though. I don’t think it compares favorably to Endless Legend, let alone something like Crusader Kings. Which is to say: It’s very artificial and board game-y, though the flavor text is better this time around.

And as for the military side of Civilization VI? It’s identical in broad strokes to Civilization V. One-unit-per-tile, hexes, et cetera. I killed a few barbarians, but didn’t get into a massive war yet.

We’ll just have to see how things go when we get our hands on the full game in October.
The latter three pics embiggen a lot...
xxRe: 8/3 Video Megathread.
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:55:33 PM
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Board: Civ 6
Views: 1444

New Ed Beach Interview:

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xxRe: 8/3 Video Megathread.
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:54:33 PM
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Board: Civ 6
Views: 1444

Marbozir let's play Brazil. 

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xxRe: 8/3 Video Megathread.
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:53:00 PM
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Views: 1444

BA Start Gaming: Let's Play America.  part I

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Part 2

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xxRe: 8/3 Video Megathread.
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:50:00 PM
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Board: Civ 6
Views: 1444

Quill18 let's play.  (part 1)

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Part 2

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Pt. 4

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some articleMercury News Hands on
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:48:07 PM
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Board: Civ 6
Views: 222

Civilization VI: Hands on with the first 100 turns
Mercury News
Posted on August 3, 2016 by Gieson Cacho

Radical changes have marked each major installment of the Sid Meier’s Civilization series. The sequel to the original introduced the isometric perspective and a revamp of tiles. Civilization IV upgraded the series with a richer visual world. With the latest chapter in the series, Firaxis unstacks the cities and splits the tech tree and that makes Civilization VI a massively different experience.

I didn’t know how big the change was until I started on the first 100 turns with the Aztecs. Led by Montezuma, this civilization is a preorder bonus and has a host of distinct abilities, units and structures. With Legend of the Five Suns ability, the Aztecs can use a builder’s charge to complete 20 percent of a district’s original cost. Gifts of Tlatonani boosts the power of luxury resources giving players more credit for amenities. In addition, military units receive a +1 to combat strength for each different luxury resource. The Eagle Warriors are stronger than the normal starting soldier units. Lastly, the Tlachtli is a unique building that bestows faith and amenity credits.

Districts are important to building new type of structures for your city.

 THE PERFECT WARRIOR FOR THE EARLY GAME: Montezuma was the perfect choice for this demo session because most of it was spent in the Civilization VI early game. The Eagle Warrior is a powerful attacker that’s stronger than the initial warrior unit and it has the bonus of converting enemy units of rival civilizations into builders. Attacking the Aztecs early on is a dicey proposition because those builders help Montezuma develop resources on his tiles.

That’s precisely what happened after meeting my Civilization VI rivals. I shared a continent alongside Japan’s Hojo Tokimune, England’s Queen Victoria and Brazil’s Pedro II. The last leader proved to be the most truculent of the three, but that’s because I pissed him off. Every leader has a historical agenda and a hidden agenda, and with the Brazilian, his imperative is grabbing all the Great People. If players make one, it’ll annoy him. Take two of them and suddenly it’s all out war.

Great People work differently in Civilization VI. According to senior gameplay designer Anton Strenger, there are a finite number of them and they are geared toward the era. “We wanted to make each one unique” and related to their place in history, he said. They’re almost like Wonders in a way but about half as powerful. For example, the philosophy behind Great Scientist is that they produce tech boost, but specifically, a great person like Alan Turing will focus that boost on computers.

The Great Wall has a more meaningful appearance with the unstacked cities.

 GREAT PEOPLE ARE ALMOST LIKE WONDERS: I stumbled onto a few Great People early on in my play through. As I explored the map, which has a fancy visual upgrade to the fog of war, I discovered that I was next to a mountain range. These tiles are great for science campuses and religious district. I put my first district, focused on religion, between two mountains to maximize the boost near the capital. Later on, I built Stonehenge, which is a religious Wonder and also had the requirement of being constructed next to a quarry.

That’s how I managed to get a prophet early and found a religion. Now, each civilization gets one prophet and that’s followed up by three religious units: inquisitors, apostles and missionaries that spread religion. The move angered Pedro II. I continued building and created a campus district (Science) around my second city. In the meantime, I managed to build a third settler and set up another city next to a rain forest natural wonder. From the way my civilization was evolving, it looked as though religion would be the base for the spreading influence and amassing culture.

That offered a huge boost in civics tree. Yup, you heard that right. Firaxis decided to split the development tree in Civilization VI into a tech tree fueled by science and civics tree powered by culture. Now, players have to worry about both if they want to get certain units. For example, the Japanese samurai needs certain metal works advancement but it’s also only obtainable through the civics tree.

Putting cities next to the coast has an intrinsic value that makes getting seafaring technology faster.

 HOW GOVERNMENT WORKS: In addition to units, this department determines the government and the policies a nation has. Players should choose the government that complements their civilization. For example, a nation focused on conquest may benefit from oligarchy and its military boost. On the other hand, a republic eschews strong armies in favor of building strength domestically.

Civilization VI represents government through a military, economic, diplomatic and a wildcard policies. These are essentially bonuses that steer a nation toward a goal. It’s represented by cards that players can switch in and out. Once it’s set, a policy can’t be changed for a few turns unless players reach another civic level. There are ways to short circuit the process, including paying gold to change the policy on the fly. Players should also have second thoughts before changing governments all willy-nilly. Civilizations who stick with a government for a long time have legacy bonuses, which have big ramifications in the late game.

But let’s get back to Pedro II who was casually moving his units near my borders. After I got a Great Scienstist, I angered him enough that he was going to surprise attack me. It didn’t help that he could move freely in and out of my borders. Surprisingly, in the early game, before players send envoys and discover certain technologies in the civics tree, rival civilizations can move in and out of your territory because the concept of empires and nations hasn’t been discovered yet. That changes with the development of Early Empires.

The fog of war is new and improved using a new map look.

 I DESTROYED PEDRO II: He ended up attacking me and it was a bloodbath for him. His chariots and sling tossers couldn’t stand next to my battled-hardened Eagle Warriors. For the past few turns, my army had been hunting Barbarians, which have an upgrads of their own. They now act almost like rival civilizations with scouts and other units. If the scouts come across a city, they’ll return back to a village and call forth a raiding party. I had to quickly eliminate those annoying threats before they got out of control.

Now those forces were meeting an army from another civilization and they were murdering them. The great part about Eagle Warriors is that the defeated units turn into Builders who have three charges to improve the land around my cities. Suffice to say, I both weakened Pedro II and helped improve the land around my cities.

Despite my improvements, I fell behind a new measurement called amenities. It’s a stat that every city has and it’s focused on housing and support for a population. If players don’t build enough structures, it creates a deficit and cities grow slower. This makes building out more important than ever, but the big learning curve for Civilization VI will be when to exactly expand the cities.

It becomes a big strategic conundrum because districts take a long time to build and players have to place them in areas that will maximize their benefit. Campuses should be near mountains and rain forests. Theater districts get a boost if they are built near wonders. The districts are also the only way to build other structures that came easily in the past like temples or barracks. My Aztec cities slowed down because I didn’t focus enough time on making districts and instead built an army or expanded to other areas trying to lock down resources.

Trade was a big help with caravans helping to build roads and create support between my cities, but it just wasn’t enough. Perhaps if I played into the midgame, I could have righted my civilization. I guess I’ll have to wait to conquer Pedro II. That poor fool is going to be dominated when Civilization VI comes out Oct. 21 on PC.

Stock photos...
some articleGamespot 150 turns
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:44:15 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 232

Civilization 6: 150 Turns of Combat, Espionage, and Failed Diplomacy
Hostile negotiations.
by Mike Mahardy on August 3, 2016

The barbarians emerged from the fog to the North, riding toward Paris, three lines deep on foot and horseback. They were healthy and determined, moving downhill at a measured pace. I aligned my spearmen around the capital city, but these soldiers were weak, drained from months of fighting and diminished food supplies. They were hanging by a thread, with no end in sight.

I could have avoided this if I had just ignored Zanzibar.

At any given period in my French empire's timespan, from its meager beginnings as a primitive settlement, to a flourishing nation in 1780 AD, I had to consider my people's scientific aspirations, cultural impact, military strategy, diplomatic stance, public reputation, geographic location, health standards, and economic stature in the global marketplace. In Civilization VI, there's more weight to each turn than those of its predecessors, and there's less waiting as empires unfurl through history.

The first thing that struck me during my recent 150-turn demo was Civ VI's new art style--it's bolder, more vibrant than the entries that came before it. Soldiers take on a more cartoon-ish hue. Cities display more detail in their structures. The fog of war covers the land behind my scouts, crawling back over the plains in the form of stylized parchment, straight from an ancient library covered in dust. It's as if developer Firaxis molded the colorful palette of Civilization Revolution with the grounded reality of Civ V.

Spectacle soon took a back seat when I glimpsed the first barbarian unit in the mountains outside of Paris. "Where there are barbarians, there's usually a nearby camp," I thought. As the stoic leader Catherine de Medici, I began training a soldier unit in my capital city, and sent my scout North, up the mountain range, to find the hostile tribe's home. In only two more turns, I found it. Two turns later, I destroyed it and pillaged it for gold.

Thinking the barbarians disposed of, I turned my attention to internal matters: growing food, fostering culture, creating a defensive military force, and establishing a sustainable economy. For 100 years (five turns), my civilization flourished, and I was ready to establish a new city, to the Northeast, where the river ran out into the ocean. That small patch of land would become Bordeaux, a region famous for its wine in the real world, but known for its military might on this virtual Earth of mine.

Civ VI's new district system became evident as soon as I decided to make Bordeaux a military stronghold. By building an Encampment district to the Southeast of the city center, I not only created a second line of defense against attackers, but also a place to build barracks and train soldiers. In previous Civs, this would all be done on one tile, where my city first sprang up. Now, by "unstacking the cities," as Firaxis is saying, there's more nuance to metropolis creation. Bordeaux expanded, my population grew, and all in all, my people were happy.

This was thanks in large part to Civ Vi's active research system. It functions like a list of side quests tied to individual branches of the technology tree. Although I wanted to research the wheel, which would open up more modern machines down the road, my research rate at the time was only good enough to complete the project in eight turns. However, because I made three farms in the interim, I boosted progress on the wheel. It created an alternative to simply waiting. As time continued, I checked the tech tree often, discerning whether I could boost any other projects through tangential side quests.

But then the barbarians came. Not the foot soldiers from before, but cavalry this time, and many of them. They must have come from a different camp, I thought. They were riding toward Paris fast.

By unstacking cities, Civilization VI adds more nuance to metropolis creation.

As Catherine de Medici, an Italian noblewoman who became queen of France through familial ties in the late 16th century, I had a finger on the pulse of the diplomatic scene--the Flying Squadron, her unique ability, places women in the courts and forums of other empires, feeding her information as other leaders make crucial decisions. Based on the info from my contacts, Hojo Tokimune of Japan and Teddy Roosevelt of America were both creating numerous settler units, implying swift expansion across the Eastern part of our shared continent. Knowing this, and knowing how quickly real estate can disappear on crowded landmasses, I set about removing the barbarian obstacle.

The fight lasted for 80 years. As my people grew tired of strife, my food supplies plummeted, my trade routes dissolved, and international relations weakened. Qin Shi Huang and his Chinese Empire craved Wonders, and were envious of The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, draped as they were over the banks of the river outside of Paris. Roosevelt threatened me with American troops on the plains outside Bordeaux.

My fight with the Northern tribes had distracted me. Leaders in Civ VI have historical agendas, which dictate AI behavior based on actual real-world events--but they also have hidden agendas. These require more intuition and intelligence to discern. As it turns out during the recent playthrough, I had neither.

I hadn't paid attention to the intel my spies afforded me. Tokimune had been pursuing favorable relationships with Zanzibar, a nearby city state, and grew envious of my good standing with the entity. If I had just backed off a little bit, decreased trade relations with the city, maybe stayed neutral instead of maintaining the alliance, I could have avoided a two-front conflict. But Tokimune, with his hidden agenda geared toward city state relations, declared war before I could prepare. His troops were crawling across Paris in only two turns, weakened as it was from the previous fight.

Despite my failure, that playthrough taught me a lot. There's more to consider in Civ VI. There's more potential for conflict at every turn. The active-research side quests, nuanced diplomacy system, and unstacked cities all add major factors to the decision-making tempo of the long-running strategy franchise.

Being a leader might require more of me this time around.

New screenies at link, will catch up later. 
xxRe: Huge gameplay, worldwide video and review drop on Aug 3rd
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:40:34 PM
Replies: 34

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1444

PCGN 150 turns as Japan:

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Associated article for those of us more read oriented.
xxRe: Huge gameplay, worldwide video and review drop on Aug 3rd
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:39:31 PM
Replies: 34

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1444

PCGN Let's Play

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previewIGN Preview
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:25:37 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 196
Hidden Agendas and Improved AI in Civilization 6
Our extended hands-on reveals rewarding new systems paired with a focus on creating more believable AI.
By Joab Gilroy   3 Aug 2016

The intention was for Gandhi to be peaceful to a fault. That the famous Indian leader would be near impossible to anger, to reflect his famous passive resistance philosophy. In Civilization, hostility was handled on a ten point scale, and to reflect Gandhi's pacifism his hostility would hover at around one or two on the scale.

The problem for Civilization players was, however, that if they caused global hostility to reduce all at once, Gandhi's hostility would drop below the lowest measure on the scale. And because the game didn't handle negative integers, Gandhi's hostility rating wrapped around to the other end of the scale - and it didn't land on back on 10. It wrapped around and made its way to 255, and Nuclear Gandhi was born.

This is obviously an extreme - and unintended - example, but when a warmongering Gandhi lands on your doorstep, you’re very much reminded that you’re playing against a computer, and something has gone comically awry. The Civilization series has always had trouble creating AI that’s comparable to playing against a human. Overseeing complex civic, technological and military concerns is tough, and adding in state relationship management into the mix complicates things further.

Civilization VI is tackling its AI head-on, refining and building on the series' systems to make for more believable opponents who can make more nuanced decisions. And to ensure the game doesn’t become impenetrable for the player, the team has a neat solution – delegation.

An Exercise in Feudality

City states were added to Civilization V to give the diplomatic victory condition a shot in the arm. Neutral mini-civilizations, they required players to complete basic quests to earn approval, which in turn would result in the city states inevitably voting for you as the world leader. It was a good place to start, but Civilization VI has bigger plans.

The quests are still present - kill barbarians invading your land, acquire sugar as a resource - but you no longer jockey for favour with city states using an obscured measuring system. Now you compete for city state influence with other Civilizations using envoys. Envoys are earned by completing city state quests and through civic-related goals within your Civilization, and you get bonuses depending on how many you assign to each of your diminutive neighbours. Having one envoy with each city state is wise, because you get basic bonuses no matter what. Nan Madol in Micronesia, for example, might give you +2 culture in your capital just for establishing contact.

Bows, arrows and catapults... all you need, right?

The real bonuses begin when you establish at least three envoys and maintain more envoys than any other civilization. Becoming the suzerain - or feudal overlord - of a city state gives you huge bonuses, turning the city state into a vassal that you can call on for military might while still operating autonomously. And their bonuses are typically historically significant - to use Nan Madol as an example again, the famous coral city of Micronesia could give you +2 culture for every district adjacent to a coast tile, which is a huge boon if you started near a body of water.

“Becoming the suzerain - or feudal overlord - of a city state gives you huge bonuses, turning the city state into a vassal that you can call on for military might while still operating autonomously."

The suzerain system is sort of genius, because it feeds into the diplomatic playstyle so heavily. In Civilization V city states were useful for small bonuses from quests, but their focus was on spreading the world leader vote. Conflict around city states typically only arose towards the end of the game. Thanks to suzerain bonuses, conflict with other Civilizations can spring up in a moment. Imagine those pesky Egyptians take away your suzerain status with Kabul, where you were earning double military XP in battles you initiated. If the bonus was critical to your ongoing strategy - say you were waging a military campaign against a reluctant enemy and you were using Unit promotions to mitigate healing downtime - taking back suzerain status from Egypt becomes a high priority objective.

The diplomatic scene in Civilization VI is much richer as a result of this delegation. While Civilizations still manage their diplomacy based on their relationships with their opponents relative to their end game goals, the bonuses involved with establishing strong ties to city states disperses the pressure. And it can also give you handy information about a civilization's goals. If they fight tooth and nail to hold onto suzerain status with the scientific city state of Geneva, they might be working towards a research-based goal (and you can disrupt their efforts by declaring war on them, which negates Geneva's suzerain bonus).

Hidden Agendas

Diplomacy is more than just city state interactions, of course. As mentioned in an earlier preview hidden objectives play a massive role in driving the AI.

"We've got these big characters, these leaders with big personality types, and they're playing the game in distinct ways," Sarah Darney, Associate Producer at Firaxis, tells me. "Their historical agenda dictates how they navigate the game field. It gives them a familiarity when they play. 'That's Catherine [de Medici, French Leader], so I know I need to look out for spies.' With the hidden agendas that mixes things up. It adds another level, which means you want to be friends with everyone, or at least learn something about them through espionage."

A little light espionage.

I can confirm the secondary hidden objective hinted at by Lead Designer Ed Beach is not being implemented - Civ VI AI will have just the one hidden objective that players can reveal by building a strong relationship with them. The hidden objectives make diplomatic interactions a dynamic guessing game. In my hands-on, Cleopatra of Egypt was doing her best to make every nearby city state a thing of the past. She'd pause occasionally to remind me that my civilization, lead by Pedro II of Brazil, was weak. It seemed like her hidden objective was to make as many enemies as possible.

Meanwhile Theodore Roosevelt had a different hidden objective. If I had to guess, it would be to establish and develop the city of Baltimore and then to trade it to the glorious Civilization of Brazil for a book you can now get for free on Kindle. Because towards the end of my play session, the 26th President of the United States did exactly that, trading Sun Tzu's The Art of War for the place dubbed "The City That Reads" without a shred of irony.

It was probably a bug, to be fair. Civilization has a storied history of amusing bugs, after all, and we were playing pre-release, very much unfinished game code. It's about increasing priorities for the AI. From its humble beginnings in the first Civilization, where AI operated on a 10 point anger scale, Civilization VI has your opponents making decisions against a handful of systems for diplomacy alone.

Civically Minded

Outside of diplomacy, the AI is more complex. Decoupling the civic research tree from technological research makes things significantly easier for humans to manage, because there's no longer a need to choose between researching better government over military might.

"You no longer need to delay researching the next step in your cultural victory scheme in favour of 'keeping up with the joneses' who are researching advanced military technology."

As a player, you no longer need to delay researching the next step in your cultural victory scheme in favour of 'keeping up with the joneses' who are researching advanced military technology.

Initially the civic system is tough to understand. While your civilization is in its infancy, your options are limited. You can implement just two policies to direct your government, and the policies at hand are limited as well.

Eventually you get to broaden your government into something with a wide range of policies. Military, economic, diplomatic and wildcard policies allow you to structure a system which works for your playstyle using the policy cards system. Picking a form of government with many military card slots will give you powerful options when it comes to warfare, but your production and trade options might be limited.

Do your civic duty!

As the Brazilian empire I had a cultural advantage. The street carnival district increases happiness in Brazilian cities by increasing amenities without being tied directly to local resources. It replaces your entertainment district with a super-powered, Brazilian-themed one. With happiness no longer a global element, I was able to boost my cultural building blocks and pursue civic rewards.

While these changes - once properly understood - make things easier on humans, the AI has an even greater hill to climb. In Civilization V there were certain correct technology paths to take which simplified the priority handling of the AI. With a split tech and civics tree, governmental policy cards and city-independent happiness, the idea of an optimal path can change on a turn-to-turn basis, which means the AI needs to take more into account to keep up.

Warriors Come Out And Play

Turning to the military side of the game, the AI here has significantly improved in Civilization VI. Even the barbarians are more complex. Instead of simply roaming around the continent looking for civilizations to harass, barbarians now send out scouting units. They'll look at a few different civilizations, then head back to their encampment - and if they make it the barbarian AI will send a war party after the weakest looking opponent.

Barbarians stole settlers from me twice during my playthrough. Only one of those times was due to my own bone-headed idiocy. You can assign a military unit to your vulnerable units, and I placed a sling-thrower with my settler, determined not to send a settler out for easy capture a second time. Once I was out-of-range of safety, the barbarian AI ambushed my group with three warrior units and snatched away my settler, forcing me to once again chase after the extremely valuable city-building unit.

Comin' atcha like Cleopatra.

City states wage wars between one another and with civilizations, and I watched as the warmongering Cleopatra of Egypt encircled Nan Madol and barraged it with endless waves of warriors, horsemen and chariots. As the suzerain of La Venta, she was able to draw on their military resources to help defeat the Micronesian neutral - and when I sent enough envoys to La Venta to become suzerain myself, she declared war on me. Because districts spread out from your city, border management in Civilization VI is much more important. With my capital closest to her own borders, she marched in and began destroying improvements I'd made in my city. I'd placed my military district in a terrible place (it was my first game, go easy) and so when I purchased new units they were in a strategically awful position, which gave Cleopatra ample opportunity to wreak havoc throughout my capital before I could push her out.

The AI was tactical, too. Ranged units attacked from behind melee units, forcing me to take damage before making my way to her more vulnerable targets. The cost the city of Baltimore was putting on my civilization made it difficult for me to use gold to replace units, which gave her ample opportunity to ruin a trade-route France had set up, destroying the road as I attempted to force her out of my land.

With help from La Venta and Nan Madol, I would have eventually pushed her back, and because she'd spent so much of the early game committing resources to her war with Nan Madol I probably could have beaten her. But even on the low difficulty setting we were playing the preview code on, she made her way to my doorstep. And this is where we see the strength of the AI shine through - at this point Cleopatra had overextended, and it would cost her dearly. After all, believable AI needs to be capable of making mistakes for players to exploit.

AI in 4X games is always a juggling act. As the turn count increases, more items are thrown to the juggler, and the AI struggles to keep everything up in the air. In Civilization VI, the game is throwing everything it can at the AI, and from my 150 turn session with the game, it seems to be handling it.

Mixture of new and old screenies and videos at link, will try to find later.  [Good luck with the videos - non-YouTube versions.]

xxRe: Huge gameplay, worldwide video and review drop on Aug 3rd
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:22:39 PM
Replies: 34

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1444


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xxRe: Huge gameplay, worldwide video and review drop on Aug 3rd
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:21:50 PM
Replies: 34

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1444

Lesser article with little new, I'll put it in here rather than highlight it with it's own thread.

Civilization 6,  the next game in the landmark strategy series, is coming out on Oct. 21. The game builds on Civ V and  features a whole slew of new systems, from Districts to Builders to an entirely revamped Civics system. We here at iDigitalTimes had the opportunity to sit down with a playable build of the game’s first 150 turns. Playing as  Japan’s Hojo Tokimune, we learned a huge amount about Firaxis’s largest effort yet, a game that welds the best of Civ V with the best of Civ IV while adding a lot of stuff that’s entirely new.  We’ve already talked about Civics and the tech tree. Next up: City States and Districts.




Districts in 'Civilization 6'

Firaxis Games

The  much-ballyhooed Districts, the “unstacking of cities,” are presented as the signature feature of Civilization 6, the feature that truly sets it apart from its predecessors. Through Districts, cities are no longer monolithic; you can’t just build everything in the city center. To build science, commercial or military buildings, you need to spend the time and production to construct dedicated Districts around a city. Then, you can build the related improvements in these Districts, each of which takes up a full tile in the city’s radius.

Truth be told, the District system doesn’t matter that much in the early game, since the first round of improvements can be built in the city center. By the time you’re in the Classical Age, though, you’ll need to start slowly specializing your cities—and those Districts help you get bonuses toward techs and Civics, among other things. The effects of Districts toward specialization will be profound, but they all have a cost—the loss of a tile that could otherwise be productive. Of course, each District grants its own bonuses based on placement. Districts are clearly going to be a cornerstone of the strategy of Civ 6. Determining a District’s placement, and how you specialize your cities—or if you try to make one amazing metropolis that has it all—will take up a good deal of your strategic thought in the game.


City States

The way City States are handled is one of the most obvious and largest departures from Civ V—and the new approach in Civ 6 is a tremendous and refreshing improvement. Here’s the key: Under the new system, influence with City States doesn’t decay. It can only be supplanted by other civilizations. Civilizations curry favor with City States through sending Envoys, which can be earned in a variety of ways—primarily through Civics and by fulfilling City State quests. These envoys earn a player influence, which bring a variety of bonuses—some military, some cultural, among others. The player with the most influence will become the Suzerain of the City State. The City State will then be a true ally, lending a bonus unique to that City State and fighting alongside its master. Best of all, suzerain status can change freely—even mid-war.

Civ 6  has a lot of other cool things going for it, even just on a first playthrough. Trade routes, military, diplomacy, even the map itself all feel dramatically improved and refined since Civ V. The new game comes out on Oct. 21, and  I am genuinely, truly excited. It feels like a new Civ game and an old one at the same time, in the best possible way.

previewRPS Preview
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:17:56 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 231
Civilization VI: Four Hours Of Wars And Wonders
By Adam Smith on August 3rd, 2016 at 3:00 pm.

Last month I spent four hours playing Civilization VI on a very hot day in central London. I came away wishing I could play for another four hundred hours, and also wishing that I had an ice cream. Mint and choc chip preferably.

Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what Civ VI is doing and how its many systems create a brilliant competitive race through history while also producing some weird tensions around the idea of what a civilization actually is in the context of the game. Are cultures defined by the choices they make, by their surroundings, their neighbours, by determination or by chance? Whatever the answer might be, one thing is sure: Cleopatra hates me.

I’d already spent a brief measure of time playing with the latest in the venerable Civilization franchise when I arrived for the hands-on session. This time, rather than being planted on a purpose-built map with no choice in the setup of the game, I was able to choose from several civs and the world was randomly generated, in either pangaea or continental form. I chose France, hoping that their diplomatic specialisation would allow me to explore that aspect of the game, and to ensure I’d have neighbours aplenty in the early stages, I chose a pangaea. No pesky seafaring required to make friends and enemies that way. We’d be able to gossip and poke one another with sticks right over our garden fences.

Gossip and sticks are important tools in Civilization VI. The sticks are nothing new and combat as a whole is one of the least changed areas of the game, having been completely overhauled for Civ V and now simply refined. Those refinements come in the form of a new support class of unit. As with civilian units, such as settlers or workers, artillery-type weaponry can be escorted by a tougher combat unit rather than left to wander, alone and vulnerable.

There are other methods to evade the one unit per hex restriction as well, including the creation of three-unit stacks. The units must be of the same type, encouraging use alongside other units as is correct for the tactical combat system. They represent a dense block of troops or vehicles rather than a multi-faceted body, and are called ‘corps’. Rather than simply rolling off the factory line, they have tricky (and possibly non-renewable) build requirements, emphasising their specialist nature.

But the sticks and stones of war are informed, more than ever, by gossip, rumour and diplomatic awareness. Diplomacy is often one of the weaker points in any 4x game, partly due to the gap between what we expect from a human opponent and what we get from the AI, and partly because treaties and agreements tend to be used to make things happen rather than to explain why things are or might be happening. Civ VI takes significant steps toward making diplomacy work as background noise before it becomes centre-stage action.

Much of that, in the early game at least, is thanks to the gossip system, and that’s where the French excel. Led by Catherine de’ Medici, they’re able to take advantage of her courtiers in the form of The Flying Squadron. As soon as you make contact with another civ they go to work, quietly gathering information and boosting your level of knowledge about goings-on in the world. Every civ can learn about its opponents by opening trade routes or embassies, but France gains one extra level of access immediately thanks to the Squadron and their entertainments. When you’re having a ball, it’s easy to forget that the walls have ears.

In practical terms, during my playthrough, this meant that I tended to know when my neighbours were considering hostilities. I found myself next to a belligerent Egypt, but I wasn’t the focus of Cleo’s ire. Not this time. In this version of crisis on infinite Earths, she had a problem with my closer neighbours, the Americans.

The continent wasn’t big enough for the both of them.

Thanks to the gossip system (and gossip is always fact, not false rumour), I knew war was coming before the first shots were fired (or, in this case, before the first swords were unsheathed; the year was 500AD). Before meeting with another civ’s leader for discussions, you can check recent gossip about the state of their nation. Egypt, the screen told me, was strongly considering military action against America. Thanks to the tendrils of the squadron, even my primitive intelligence system had picked up on some of the advances made by both nations as well as their attitudes toward one another.

Egypt was the stronger, by some distance. And so I picked my side…

Now, all of this information could be gathered in other ways: the placement of cities and border tensions are good indicators of future fisticuffs, and those league tables that every Civ game flashes up from time to time give a good indicator as to where everyone stands in relation to their opponents. What Civ VI has done is create new channels through which information can flow, and that not only opens up opportunities to develop those channels, shaping your nation in new ways, it also makes the world and the numbers that make it up seem more dynamic.

In many ways, Civ hasn’t changed a great deal over the years. It’s still a game in which history is a more like a race involving several competitors rather than a strategic simulation, and it’s still a numbers game. Everything from terrain to tech has specific numbers attached, and whether they define the bonus a city can gain from a tile or the strength of a unit, they’re the fabric of the game.

What may be more important than the sweeping changes to cities and a civ’s relationship with its geographical surroundings is the way in which Ed Beach and his team at Firaxis are using all of those numbers to build a greater sense of character. Civilizations feel like distinct and somewhat predictable entities now. Sure, you won’t understand them completely when you first meet them but when I saw the stormclouds of war gathering, I had a pretty good idea what the Egyptians and the Americans were fighting about, and it wasn’t just territory.

More than ever, there’s a sense of each civilization being personality-driven and not just in the sense that Ghandi will always be a prick. The historical traits, which are always attached to a specific leader, are more complex than ‘aggressive’ or ‘expansionist’. They have wrinkles in their working, recognising various kinds of superiority and inferiority, and understanding geographical relationships better than ever before. One leader might feel a paternal protective instinct to weaker civs on his own continent, while another might want to cleanse that same home territory of anyone who causes trouble, or seems likely to.

Randomised hidden traits supplement the historical ones. These complicate things and, again, you can receive confirmation of each through diplomacy/espionage, or figure out what they might be through guesswork and observation. Four hours with Civ VI was plenty of time to confirm that the AI is superbly active, making plans and behaving in a believable and competitive fashion. The Egyptians picked off smaller cities and then surrounded Washington, laying siege. They would have wiped out the Americans entirely if the session hadn’t come to an end.

While all of that was happening, I was racing down the tech tree. Tech trees, sorry. Civic and cultural advances now live on one tree while the more science-y stuff has its own home. As well as being an expansion of the civics in Civ V, which allow you to customise governments in a much more in-depth fashion this time around, this splitting of research is a further tool to allow varied paths through history. Now, it’s possible to create a convincing culturally advanced civ that hasn’t bothered to figure out how to make muskets. Opera houses without explosives.

Just as cities are more specialised this time around, defined to an extent by their surroundings as well as your needs and wishes, civilizations diverge from the single starting point. Everything still runs on a linear path, from one era to the next, and to one of several victory conditions, but every player in the game (whether AI or otherwise) much more obviously plots their own route down that path. Religion has been fleshed out enough to be a significant goal in and of itself, rather than a sideshow, and the strict division of culture and science makes concentrating on either feel like a much more important decision.

When Firaxis announced that Civ VI would contain all of the elements present in the fully expanded Civ V, I expected some of them to be stripped back. That doesn’t appear to be the case. If anything, every feature has been not only fleshed out but in some cases completely rethought so that it seems entirely new. City states are much more like mini-civs now rather than time-consuming attention-grabbing distractions. Governments and civics form a core system, almost like a tiny collectible card game, that allow you to make nation-wide changes mid-game, some of which provide the same kind of bonuses and abilities previously associated with individual civs.

It’s impossible to say how Civ VI will hold up over the years I’m likely to be playing it, or even how the modern eras will function. I haven’t even begun to explore espionage and some of the seemingly smaller rule changes, such as the finite pool of shared great people (they exist in the world and you race to attract them to your civ before someone else does the same), will have an enormous impact on long-term strategies. Those who feared a streamlined game – perhaps believing Civ V had begun a trend in that direction in its vanilla release or perhaps misreading the intent of the bright and exaggerated graphics – need not worry. This is a game that is exploring and expanding on almost every feature that the series has covered in the past.

If anything, it’ll be too dense rather than too light, and here’s where I express a few concerns. There’s a slight tension, even in the early stages of a playthrough, between the game’s desire to present players with all kinds of tools with which to fashion the character and strengths of their civilization, and the pre-existing templates for those civilizations. The Egyptians who have caused such trouble in both of my campaigns to date will always prey on those with a military technology, but they’ll also be defined by the geography of their homeland and whatever secondary trait is randomly selected for them.

Civilization VI appears to be the entry in the series that most wants to revel in the character of its leaders and their civilizations, but also the entry that most delights in forcing reactive playstyles. What you begin as, and what you want to become, might change in the movement from one era to the next, and from the plains to the deserts.

In one iteration of Civ VI, I reckon, there may have been a game where no participant in a playthrough came with preconceptions. You’re defined by what you do across time rather than by your name or the qualities of your leader. Those ahistorical traits, such as The Flying Squadron, are often borrowed from a specific time and place that may never exist in the particular world that comes to pass in any given campaign. With the vast toolset that now exists to create a civilization through the process of playing the game – you can populate it with works of art, wonders, customised governments, diverse cities, tourist destinations, cultural ideas – it seems almost regressive to have the choice of a civilization be the first important step in any given playthrough.

That’s not to say I’m not fascinated by the apparent contradictions, as well as the weird strategies and builds that people will discover given these bases to build from. A little tension in the design of a game can be a very good thing. It’s certainly exciting to see a game in such a venerable series tackling structural issues with such confidence and I’m willing to admit that my idea of dynamic civs without the baggage of any pre-existing historical character or imperative might be one change too many at this point.

Given how much Civ VI is changing, fundamental strategies are going to have to be rethought, and despite their cartoonish on-screen representatives, the civilisations themselves are more dynamic than ever. Here’s to four hundred more hours of wars and wonders.

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is due for release on October 21st, 2016.

New screenies at link, will try to grab them later. 
xxRe: Huge gameplay, worldwide video and review drop on Aug 3rd
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:14:38 PM
Replies: 34

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1444


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xxRe: Huge gameplay, worldwide video and review drop on Aug 3rd
Posted by: Unorthodox, August 03, 2016, 03:13:25 PM
Replies: 34

Board: Civ 6
Views: 1444

It begins. 


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videoFirst Look: Brazil
Posted by: BUncle, August 02, 2016, 03:49:22 PM
Replies: 14

Board: Civ 6
Views: 420

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videoFirst Look: France
Posted by: BUncle, July 26, 2016, 03:14:32 PM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 319

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videoFirst Look: Aztecs
Posted by: Unorthodox, July 21, 2016, 03:07:02 PM
Replies: 7

Board: Civ 6
Views: 421

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videoFirst Look: China
Posted by: Unorthodox, July 19, 2016, 09:53:53 PM
Replies: 5

Board: Civ 6
Views: 334

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xxVideo: How do Cities Work in Civ 6?
Posted by: E_T, July 19, 2016, 04:39:02 AM
Replies: 8

Board: Civ 6
Views: 400

In the newest video, by GamerZakh, we see some very interesting things about "How do Cities Work in Civ 6?"

The video covers 10 main points about how cities are done in the upcoming game.

1. Unstacked - as previously shown...but does point out how it will possibly impact combat concerns.

2. Tile Usage - fewer tile improvements in game, but adds the Districts and Wonders outside the city, amount of tiles still balanced.  Plus, empires are not as limited to smaller number of cities as in CiV.

3. Buildings - apparently 3 or 4 buildings per tile with some buildings (Granary, Monument, Ancient Walls, etc) still in the city center, but only a few.  Now you build things like Temple in your Religous District; or Library and Academy in your Campus District and Barracks and Stable in the Military Encampment District.  The City Center is a sort of district, but is not population size dependent.

4. District Types - 12 types (as far as currently known)
   a - Campus : for science stuff
   b - Commercial Hub : for Market, Bank and money stuff

   c - Military Encampment : for barracks, stables, etc and once setup, your new MilUnits appear here.  Walls get build here as well as city center at same time.  Also acts sort of like the old forts from Civ3, in that can also fire on enemies (anyone remember Zone of Control??).  This can be used stratigically for things like choke points, blocking terrain, providing for a Killing field, etc.

   d - Entertainment : related to amenities for happiness.  Circus seen in shots, but not as much info for now...
   e - Holy Site : for religous things, like Temples.
   f - Industrial Zone : Production things like Factories and that UB for Japan
   g - Theater Square : Culture (and likely happiness).

   h - Harbor : likely the most significant change in the game over the whole series...YOU DO NOT NEED TO BUILD A CITY ON A COAST TO BUILD SHIPS AND OTHER WATER RELATED THINGS!!!  Wow!  Naval units are built here as well as sea trade, food and such buildings and things.

   i - Aqueduct, Airport and Spaceport are still to have any specifics as to them, but have seen some screenies with some.

That is only 11, but the City Center supposedly counts, but I am going to say that it is your +1 district (zeroth district...).  CiVI Wikia does have a listing for Trade Quarter, so I am going to say that is the 12th one.

5. Colour Codes - At a glance for the seeing of the different things in cities by different coloration...  making more ledgeable from other areas. 

Blue : Science,
Red : Military,
White : Religion,
Purple : Culture,
Yellow : Commerce,
Green : Growth
Orange : Industry

This makes it much easier to recognize what a city is and does, so if you set up a trade route to a City that has a lot of blue for science, you get a bonus to your research from that trade route....  Or target for conquest....

NOTE: remains to be seen how decernable or not this will be for people whom have various forms of color blindness ...

6. Adjacency Bonuses - Bonus to districts next to things, like certain terrains (mountains), tile type (rainforest and possibly forrest), other Districts and Wonders.  Bonuses are minor, but are accumuative when adjacent.  This gives additional bonuses and makes placement to be very much map and terrain dependant (remember how you could only do a very few thiings with endless fields of grass or those huge forrest starts).  You don't have to restart several times before you get a fair to good start, just change up how you play due to all of these new things...

7. Population - Limits number of districts per city population, One district per 3 pop....  which thus ties into your Housing....

So, size 6 allows for Two Districts in that city...  no telling what happens to that size 6, 2 district city if it loses population for whatever reason (like starvation or other things).

8. Housing - Soft limits your pop growth limit.

But buildings also give you more housing room, so building a Barracks or Granary, for example, will give you more housing at the same time.  New housing also allows faster growth to help fill that space.  As the game gets into the later eras, you can build neighborhoods that will give you more housing for that city.  Some terrain also effects your housing, like fresh water (rivers, lakes and Aqueducts) and other things.

9. Happiness - Goes back to like was in CIV, more local than empirewide, like in CiV.  Luxes, Amenities and Civic Policies all have an effect on this.  Terrain tile Appeal system that makes living in the nearby city appealing.  Rivers, Cliffs, Forrest, coasts and other things.  Natural Wonders are mentioned (guessing things like Great Barrier Reef, White Cliffs of Dover, Fjords, Everglades, ...).  So chopping it all down, filling it all in and mining or farming it all is not as appealing as having a great Swamp or forrest or whatever else that makes a city built on whatever grouping of terrain to be someplace that your people will want to live there...  And don't forget the appeal of your Great and National Wonders....

10. Modernization - Things now can change over time.  Can replace farms and other things as you go through the game (without taking a hit).  Your farming (and other) techs, over time, will allow for a greater yield per tile.  So you can give up a bunch of farm tiles to newer districts or revieled resources like coal and oil.  From Farms to Suburbs...

[CONJECTURE] Plus, older resources, like Stone Quarries for one, can be repurposed as you have need for something else in that tile...  And that old resource no longer has any real use.

So, your game will be different everytime, removing a LOT of the limited paths to victory gameplay that has been the bane of previous versions..... 

Additional things that change over time are things like:
-Diplomacy going from very Wild West to very Formal
-Gossip through trade routes evolving into more advanced Esionage/Spy system

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videoFirst Look: The Art of Civ VI
Posted by: Unorthodox, July 15, 2016, 02:17:13 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 251

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videoFirst Look: Development Team
Posted by: Unorthodox, July 12, 2016, 09:39:03 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 262

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xxThe composer of the Civilization 4 theme returns for Civilization 6
Posted by: Nikolai, July 12, 2016, 12:20:55 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 220

Courtesy of WePlayCiv:

Eurogamer earlier today revealed that the Grammy winning composer Christopher Tin, of Civilization IV fame, is to return to the franchise in the upcoming Civilization VI.

Tin, who is the only composer to receive a Grammy award for a video game soundtrack, will make the theme song for the upcoming Civilization game, just as he did for the fourth game in the series. His next theme will be titled "Sogno di Volare", or "The Dream of Flight", and will according to Eurogamer "debut at a performance next week at the Cadogan Hall in London".

Says Tin, "I wanted to write a piece that captured the essence of exploration, both the physical exploration of seeking new lands, but also the mental exploration of expanding the frontiers of science and philosophy."
xxJapan: Video leaked!
Posted by: Nikolai, July 08, 2016, 01:24:38 PM
Replies: 6

Board: Civ 6
Views: 406

Courtesy of WePlayCiv:

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videoFirst Look: Egypt
Posted by: Unorthodox, July 06, 2016, 03:20:45 PM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 367

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some articleCiv6 features radical changes that actually make sense
Posted by: BUncle, July 06, 2016, 02:37:16 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 332
Civilization 6 features radical changes that actually make sense
The Daily Dot
Dennis Scimeca —  2016-06-24 11:14 p.m.

The changes for Civilization 6 are exciting.

How do you please the demanding players of the Civilization series who want new content but don’t want the game’s successful formula changed too much?

This is the question that rolled through my head as I arrived for my demo of Civilization 6 at E3. I immediately noticed the striking aesthetic changes. Civ 6 looks more cartoonish than Civ 5 with much higher color saturation.

The individual figures that represent units like Settlers, Workers, and military forces are larger and more detailed, which makes them more interesting if you’re playing Civ 6 in a close-up camera view.

I had expected the graphics to be different from Civ 5. I did not, however, expect the huge overhaul to the way cities are built and the way civilizations evolve socially in Civ 6.

The changes are significant but they all make perfect sense, and I just wanted to take the game home once I’d wrapped my head around how Firaxis Games has evolved Civ’s design and once I'd grasped all the possibilities.

2K Games

Past Civilization games take place on hex maps, and cities usually occupy a single hex. Any new buildings or Wonders of the World you add to those cities also exist within that same hex. As the city grows in size and your level of technology improves, the graphics will change—huts become brick buildings become skyscrapers—and the number and size of the buildings will change. But that’s it.

In Civilization 6, the hex where you found a city will still have buildings with changing graphics and sizes as the city grows larger and your technology grows more sophisticated, but many of the buildings that used to exist within the city will now occupy their own hexes.

Barracks are one of the earliest buildings you may add to a city. They now occupy their own hex, rather than existing within the city itself. Let’s say you want your civilization to add the Great Pyramids wonder. That also will take up its own hex. As your city grows, it will therefore actually grow on the map, occupying more and more space.

You will still build improvements to hexes like roads, farms, and quarries, but you will also build city sectors that occupy an entire hex and are dedicated to a specific purpose. Certain buildings that used to exist within the city now will have to be built in their own hex and will also have to be built within a specific type of hex—a sector—that's been adapted specifically to support that type of building.

A workshop, for instance, requires an Industrial sector. Banks require a Financial sector. A library requires an Academic sector.

These are radical changes to the basic Civilization formula, but they didn’t feel out of place. The result of this design evolution is that city placement will become its own strategic game within the larger game.

You’ll have to think more carefully than ever about where you build your cities—to make sure that future expansion will eventually grant your city access to all the types of hexes required to build all the kinds of sectors you need to support all your future improvements.

2K Games

Technology research in Civilization is organized into a Tech tree that is like a flowchart. One technology unlocks other technologies. Some technologies require multiple, precursor technologies to be researched. And all the technologies are organized into a branching structure that allows players to plan their research well ahead into future turns.

Some of the recurring technologies in the Civilization design aren’t really technologies per se, like Chivalry or Theology. They’re clearly different from proper technologies like Metal Casting, Steel, or Physics.

Firaxis, therefore, decided that in Civilization 6, advancements like Chivalry or Theology will no longer exist on the Tech tree, but on their own research tree called Civics.

This means you will now have two different research trees in play at all times. This is another radical change that still makes sense. After all, societies could focus more on social development than on technological development.

I asked some Firaxis developers whether separating research into Tech and Civics trees would mean being able to double the speed at which your civilization develops. After all, if I can research Theology and Physics at the same time, instead of having them both on the same tree and needing to research them one after the other, wouldn’t that mean I get twice the advancements in the same amount of time?

According to the developers, this would be very difficult, because Tech and Civics research draw from different resources. You would need to develop both types of resources simultaneously and at the same rate, which would be tough to balance with all the other goals you need to build your civilization.

Civ 6 will give you research bonuses to help you on your way. When you make discoveries in the world, you can gain partial research in specific advancements. If you discover a new ocean, for example, you may gain progress toward the Sailing technology—even if you’re nowhere near being able to research Sailing on your Tech tree.

When you finally do work your way through technology research to make Sailing available, you’ll already have made some progress toward completing the research, on account of having discovered that ocean.

Working in parallel to the new Civics tree is an overhaul to the way governments work in Civ 6. Each type of government can support a certain number of Policies that offer bonuses to your civilization. Policies are organized by type, for instance Military, Economic, and Diplomatic policies.

The more advanced your government, the more total slots for Policies your government has. The nature of your government also decides what types of Policies you may use. A Democracy may have more Diplomatic policies than Military policies for example, while a Communist government may have more Military policies than a Democracy.

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I left the 2K Games booth more excited for Civilization 6 than I was for almost every other game at the Expo. All of the changes Firaxis has made are strikingly different from my previous experiences playing Civ, and they also make perfect sense.

Civ 6 is going to be both familiar and feel like an entirely new game, which is entirely what you want from the next game in the series if you're a Civ fan.

Civilization 6 will be released Oct. 21 for PC.
xxRe: Ed Beach explains how Incans in Civ 5 prototyped Civ 6 districts
Posted by: Unorthodox, July 05, 2016, 01:32:00 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civ 6
Views: 294

Found a youtube copy of the interview. 

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videoThe Eiffel Tower (Wonder Movies) - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, July 04, 2016, 09:35:07 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 311

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some articleFlashback: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
Posted by: BUncle, July 04, 2016, 04:13:54 PM
Replies: 5

Board: The Theory of Everything
Views: 522

To peruse in the original Swedish -presumably with better grammar than the following Google Translate English-

Flashback: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
24. June 2016 15:03 by F. Nikolai Wilborn

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri delivered a lot of fun when it came out in the late 90s.

Play Sid Meier takes in often seems to turn into gold. He had a series of successful imitator behind in the eighties when he changed focus and made the classic Pirates! in 1987, a game in which ravaged Caribbean that - just - a pirate. In 1991 came the classic Civilization, where you were set to create a civilization could "pass the test of" to translate the slogan of the time. The game was a huge success, and in 1996 came the sequel, Civilization II, which was made with Colonization veteran Brian Reynolds as chief designer.

The start of Firaxis

The old CDs with the game and the expansion is still in the collection. I use dog his version nowadays.

That same year left Sid Meier multi Microprose - the company Meier in his time had been co-founded, and which had the rights to the Civilization name. Emergence Erne founded the company Firaxis, as the observant reader knows creating new chapters in Civilization series today. But in 1996 had not Firaxis acquired these rights, and had to look around for other opportunities.

Having first released Sid Meier's Gettysburg, a real time strategy game set in the American Civil War, turned Meier and company to Civilization again. They could not make a new Civilization in name but game mechanics, there is no copyright on. In Civilization series is one of the possible ways to win the game, to be the first to send a manned space rocket to the solar system Alpha Centauri. This end was the foundation for the next game from the company, and chief designer was, as in the case Civilization II, Brian Reynolds.

In the new game was player manager for one of up to seven factions upon arrival into the solar system Alpha Centauri. The aim was to give humanity a fresh start in the habitable planet Chiron - the game mainly called simply "Planet". As shown in the intro sequence below, start colonization of Alpha Centauri as a result of the crisis and a major opportunity for final destruction on Earth. UN throws colonists, but the road goes wrong and the survivors split into several groups with different agendas and philosophies.
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If you do not know the strategy genre 4X, like Alpha Centauri belongs, the concept is as follows: You start with a single base, and must explore the area around you (Explorer), expand your territory (Expander), take advantage of opportunities that present themselves (Exploit) and eradicate the resistance (exterminate). Hence the four Xene. You will consequently make both kriging and research, as well as colonization and diplomacy.

A game with atomosfære

Pity the hitting this chick.

The various personalities who heads factions on Chiron is superbly made. Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (the fans generally use the acronym SMAC) oozes quality in history dissemination. The leaders are very different and fail in a way that few games - especially almost 20 years old game - to convey an atmosphere and an involvement of the player in the game's universe. You really hate sister Miriam - the Christian-fundamentalist, arrogant and aggressive leader of the religious faction - when you play against her. The capitalist Morgan is inconsiderate towards nature and pursue profit above all else, and if you do not share his values ​​in the way you play, he arrogantly tell you how pathetic you are. Brother Lal, who heads the faction that seeks to unite Chiron under the original UN mandate may seem naive and trustworthy, but you should not get on his bad side. And so it goes. The AI ​​in the game is not always top notch, but because of the good story makes you often do not.

But where history really shines, the events that take place during the game. You are not be alone on Chiron. The planet inhabited by a type of flora and fauna that are deeply interdependent. Mushrooms and moss is fatal to humans, and large worms and worms can take over the brains of humans and destroy it if you do not protect themselves. Along the way, events such as first contact and the effects of technological progress and interaction with nature cause pop-up windows with information about the planet mankind has taken over. Eventually one realizes that the planet itself is alive, and try to make contact. Gradually fed the player with information, and you realize that you move toward it that will either mean the end of life on Chiron as it is now - or humanity step into a new step in evolution ladder, where human and planet consciousness merges into one large, higher consciousness.

When certain events happen, like here when the first match against the local enemy fauna has taken place, the game's rich history of sight.

Alternatively one could win by hijacking control of the world economy, gather all under one joint leader, or good old-fashioned world conquest. Personally I went mostly for the story-driven victory by reaching a higher level of consciousness, not least because of the well-written story (which was never old), but also because I am a so-called "builder" who enjoy puzzle for myself and build Empire mine with the least possible war.

Innovations and choices

One of the many improvements Alpha Centauri came with in relation to "predecessor" Civilization II, were boundaries around your civilization. As your towns grew, and pressure on neighbors - or were pushed himself - went limits dynamic and forth. This gave a stronger sense of control a sovereign kingdom, not just a series of isolated towns. In later Civilization games would be developed further into a rich system based around culture, but in Alpha Centauri was only in a rudimentary form, which nevertheless was a major step forward for the genre.

Another improvement over previous games in the Civilization series, was the far more detailed presentation of the nation's form of government. In the preceding Civilization games could the player explore government forms such as democracy, monarchy and republic, but in Alpha Centauri was government forms divided into several sections which could be selected independently. Political could many during the game unlock democracy, police and fundamentalism (guess what our friend Sister Miriam preferred), while economic standing choice between free markets (which capitalist Morning liked best), planned economy and green economy. Yes, for a game from 1999 is quite present needs, one might say!

About neighbor liked you enough, he might like to offer technology-commerce.

Choices stopped still not there. All factions could choose from three different approaches to the world - philosophies if you want. One could choose between power, money and knowledge, and all these gave obviously different advantages and disadvantages for society. Late in the game could also adapt government shape of future society, and choose from a cybernetic society, a welfare society or good old-fashioned mind control in 1984 style. What you as a player selected in these four sections gave you not only a unique form of government, with features that gave the pros and cons you could customize playing style and game situation, but also bonuses and Malus in relations with the other factions on the planet. If you chose the wrong form of government in relation to the neighbor's ideals, it could well be they knocked on the door with a peacekeeping force or two. Optionally could your choices lead to neighbor applauded you and invited the Alliance and other cooperation.

diplomatic facilities

Diplomacy in Alpha Centauri was also something special. Never before or since in a 4X games have I felt so engaged in negotiations with the data opponents. They oozed life and personality in a way no other games of this kind had - before or since. You hated to attend the Sister Miriam, you froze on the back of cynicism and cold heat to Chairman Yang and you enjoyed the small naive setting to Brother Lal (not to mention the knowledge that he almost always was weak militarily and so not a major threat) . Opportunities in diplomacy were numerous.

First meeting with another faction leader.

One could sell map data and exchange technologies and into various forms of alliances. If one were financially crippled, one could borrow money from the other factions at an annual repayment, with interest, of course. Or if one were contrary owner of a full money sack, one could loaning money the same way. This gave bonuses to the neighbor, but it was never a good idea to lend money to a faction who were going to be conquered, so it was important to follow the geopolitical situation.

When all factions were met, there was obtained access to some kind of UN. Where one could vote on various resolutions, and these could have far-reaching consequences. Would you melt the poles and thus raising sea levels and changing climate? You could - if you won a majority in the UN. Number of votes each faction had depended on its relative strength in the world, so you have to be either very strong or have strong friends to get this through. The resolution did not receive majority were still not lost; Some managers could well lubricated with a donation, and thus voice so you would. This was however fast costly, so it was not something you did every day. Some factions were also so ideologically engaged in a case that it did not help whatever you offered.

The choices one can make before the start of a new campaign. Notice the option to turn the blind exploration.

Technology system in the Alpha Centauri were at one point quite different from what one knew of Civilization series. In Civilization, the player chooses which technology will be explored next time. This could be done if one wanted it to Alpha Centauri too, if you chose it in the settings, but the standard was that exploration was not under the direct influence from the player's side. Man chose one or more areas of focus, out of four available, and then there was obtained a partial random technology after a few rounds of play. How many rounds depended on various factors, the polity was the most important.

When a new technology was explored, did you hear and the ability to read a quote, which was also spoken by a voice actor. The quotes were often associated one of the leaders of the various factions, and consequently fictitious, but there were also historical quotes. This is, as players of later Civilization games know, a feature that has been maintained in later Civilization games. There was also up information about what benefits technology gave, as new forms of governance, which technologies it led to, and build parts for the game's military and civilian units.

Device Builder and superweapon

One of the game's many technologies , this introduces including nerve gas to warfare purposes.

Device Builder also represented a major change from previous and later games Sid Meier 4X series. While many other 4X games have opportunities to create their own devices and adapt them so they will have none of Sid Meier's Civilization games had this feature. This had, however, Alpha Centauri. And there was one, among the fans, cherished function. Therefore, it is quite strange that it has not been seen since the Firaxis its 4X games. In unit builder could customize all of the game devices in great detail. The more one unit received foisted on, the more it cost to build, but if you wanted a terraformer device with weapons and offensive opportunities (hint: it's not something you really want to), so could you design it. Personally I let the computer take care of this part of the game, but many fans were thus very happy to function.

Device builder in all its glory.

The devices you built was at first quite well known; land units, either infantry or tank-like vehicles, ships and later flight. But you could also eventually tame the local fauna at Chiron, and take advantage of their psychological terror features. There were also among this fauna three types of units; land-based clusters of worms, sea-based clusters of ground and air-based ones. The latest, called "Locusts of Chiron," was very powerful and I conquered the entire planet easy as just that with only a few units of these.

But the most powerful device of them all, was the nuclear weapons to be able to access. "Planetbusters" had enormous effects on the planet. Not only razed the entire cities to the ground, but it evened also the terrain of the game, with the ability to create deep sea where the mountains stood before. Unlike Civilization games both before and after had Alpha Centauri namely height differences in the terrain and not mountains and hills that separate terrain types. This terrain could thrown in raised and lowered by means of terraforming. And global warming or cooling could add countries and entire towns under water (and when they stopped to exist) or add sea mustache (whereupon seaborne cities were onshore). These weapons were thus enormously powerful, but they were costly to use. You were guaranteed to end up at war with all other factions after a short time, so you should be ready to resist and conquer the entire planet if you chose to use these weapons. Moreover, you risked if not looked after, losing valuable own cities to global warming.

Random events and achievements

I wonder what this thing can give information?

Alpha Centauri had also random events. Occasionally got such Alpha Centauri (the star) sunspots, and it might be unable to communicate with other factions because of the atmospheric disturbances that they created. Satellites would also fall and be destroyed, while energy production, which accounted for the economy, rose noticeably. When you explored the planet did you often parts of the destroyed colony ship you arrived Chiron on, and these could provide various rewards or problems. Occasionally uncovered opening of such wreckage dangerous fauna attacks, but you could also find terraforming equipment improved lands around sharply. If you were really lucky, you found an alien object, and if you managed to get this to a city with proper infrastructure, could connect it up and give valuable technologies.

Look how clever I am, Dad,

In our modern Steam- and console-days are trophies and achievements usual, but at the end of the 90s, this was far less cost. Alpha Centauri was in fact a sort of achievement system, but it was attached to each campaign and not all re-airings as a whole. Every time a major event took place, such as the first technological breakthroughs on the planet, or the first conquest by a hostile city, you got a picture as shown above right. Also if it was only the first time for you, and not for factions as a whole, did you know, but with information about who was first in parentheses. This was a neat little feature that gave a sense of doing great things for humanity on the new planet.


It's been just under 20 years, but Alpha Centauri adhere very well. I play it still once or twice a year. When I fired up the game in connection with this article, I was simply sitting. The famous "one game" as Sid Meier game is so famous for, is definitely true! It is really a pity that no game has got a proper sequel. Unfortunately rights shared between several companies, so there is little opportunity for it at present. Firaxis tried his hand at a similar konspet with Civilization: Beyond Earth, but this game did not reach up to the knees to Alpha Centauri. Beyond Earth lacked everything that made Alpha Centauri to something special and appeared unfortunately soulless in comparison.

I advise all supporters of 4X strategy to try out the Alpha Centauri, if you have not played it before. And if you have played it, you revisited also strerkt recommended. The game can be purchased along with the expansion Alien Crossfire at for 5.99 US dollars, slightly less than one fifty patch with the current exchange rate. You will not regret.

Picture Use: All photos are taken in person from GOG edition of the game, or are taken from's product page for the game, except for the image of the CDs, which are taken with cameras from its own collection.

-It's true you know; when I play regular Civ, I really miss the story and puttering around in the Device Builder...
video10 Biggest Changes in Civ 6!
Posted by: BUncle, July 03, 2016, 05:38:29 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civ 6
Views: 398

Link shamelessly stolen from Ming at Apolyton.

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some articleSix Reasons Why The New Firaxis Game Was One Of E3’s Most Underappreciated Gems
Posted by: BUncle, July 02, 2016, 08:27:05 PM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 337

Six Reasons Why The New Firaxis Game Was One Of E3’s Most Underappreciated Gems -Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

by  Ben Reeves on June 17, 2016 at 01:05 PM

In Civilization VI, you’ll get to build a civilization and nurture it from the stone age to the space age. For Civ fans this is nothing new, but the sixth entry in Firaxis’ 4X strategy masterpiece has some great improvements. Let me count the ways.

1) The Art Is Rad
Civ VI’s fog of war system slowly reveals the world as you explore it. This is pretty normal, but what is new is that after you’ve discovered an area and leave the world takes on an old world map-like aesthetic. The studio hasn’t really shown this off in any of the images of the game for some reason, but it looks really cool.

2) Confidence Builders

Workers are now called builders, and while they only have a limited number of uses they are great for cultivating your city. I used builders to create farms on tiles with wheat and then turned a tile with rocks into a mine. These benefits happen instantly and give you an added boost to your cities production.

3) Green Light These Districts
You can now customize your city by carving it up into districts that give your city additional benefits. Districts are a bit of an investment since they take up land that could otherwise be used to produce food or something else. However, they also boost your people’s faith, your scientific studies, or help train your soldiers for war.

4) You’re Playing With Governmental Legos
Civ fans are very familiar with the technology tree, which allows you to research new technologies and slowly opens up the ability to build new building and better military units. However, now you’ll also have access to a civics tree, which allows you to research new governmental policies. You can mix and match policies to create the government you want. For example, you can research economic policies that give you a boost to trade and then mix that with a policy that helps keep your army strong by giving your ranged units an attack boost.

5) Boost Your Learning
Speaking of the technology tree, it’s easier than ever to power through the tree towards a specific goal. Not only does having a strong scientific focus help you research new technology, but you can get boosts that help you research specific technologies more quickly. Killing a few barbarians might give you a boost to researching arrows – cutting the time to develop that technology in half. Each technology has an associated task that will allow you to research that technology more quickly.

6) It’s Still Fun To Meet and Greet
Meeting other nations is inevitable in Civ. However, you now have more diplomacy options than ever. When you first encounter a new civilization, for example, you can invite them to visit your capital, uncovering the map around your home city for them, which generates good will. As you get to know other nation’s leaders you’ll learn how to appease them, because each civilization has hidden agendas and behaviors. For example, the United States won’t like you if you’re needlessly aggressive against other countries, but Egypt might not respect you if you have a small army.

It’s always been easy to lose several hours to a game of Civilization, and Civilization VI’s improvements look to make building your nation easier than ever. I’m excited for the game to release on October 21, so I can nurture my empire through the ages and eventually build a spaceship to the stars.
videoThe Great Library (Wonder Movies) - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, July 01, 2016, 04:08:15 PM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 323

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videoFirst Look: Builders
Posted by: Unorthodox, June 30, 2016, 03:21:57 PM
Replies: 4

Board: Civ 6
Views: 335

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videoThe Pyramids (Wonder Movies) - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, June 29, 2016, 03:34:17 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 264

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some articleCivilization VI offers more choice and less confusion
Posted by: BUncle, June 29, 2016, 01:50:53 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 305
Civilization VI offers more choice and less confusion
The Verge
By Rich McCormick   on June 17, 2016 03:19 pm

Chinese civilization is founded on crabs. Not actual Chinese civilization, but my take on China, an alternate history I explored over 60 turns of upcoming strategy game Civilization VI. The next entry in the legendary series is similar to its predecessors in that it puts players at the beginning of human civilization and tasks them with guiding their society to world domination, but Civ VI simplifies and streamlines many of the more complex elements, making its complicated world easier to read.

I was surrounded by crabs and deer

That's how I ended up with the crabs. My first city, Xi'an, lay on the coast and was surrounded by resources, each denoted with a picture. There was a rock, showing that I could build a quarry in the relevant hexagonal tile; a stag, indicating that once I'd learned basic animal husbandry I'd be able to get access to venison; and — just out to sea — a cartoon crab. By moving a worker unit out to the area, I was able to start my own crab netting operation, helping to feed and grow my populace with delicious crustacean treats.

In previous Civilization games, it was often easiest to set your builders to automatically build farms, fisheries, and other improvements around your cities, but the early version of Civ VI I played at E3 removed that option. Art director Brian Busatti says this was a conscious decision. Firaxis wants players to think more about how they expand their cities, what they specialize in, and where they can leave space for wonders — real-world marvels like the pyramids of Giza or the Eiffel Tower — or for new "districts."

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Districts are Civ VI's big new feature, designed to move the machinery of societal development —” theaters, universities, factories — out from the cities. "In Civ IV we had these blobs of cities," Busatti says. "If you had a temple in there, you had to really search for it. It was a cool visual aspect, but it didn't promote gameplay." Districts allow players to turn one city into a cultural haven, filling it with galleries and theaters, while another becomes an industrial center, packed with factories and facilities.

Districts are the big new idea of 'Civilization VI'

"You have to make more decisions on how to expand your cities," Busatti says. He describes an example: players who placed a farm near their capital city early on in their civilization's development would be able to replace it with a shiny science district later on, their advanced society no longer requiring such basic sources of food production. Like cities themselves, there are distinct benefits for putting districts in certain tiles, adjacent rainforests and mountains conferring research bonuses.

These decentralized districts also make your civilization easier to understand from a distance: industrial areas belch smoke and temples stand with tall pillars, Civ VI's colorful art style making them distinct. "We wanted to give a slightly more playful look to it," Busatti says of the changes from the more realistic Civilization V and the sci-fi Civilization: Beyond Earth. "We even took stuff from Civilization: Revolution" — the 2008 entry in the series designed for consoles — "but we didn't want to go that heavily stylized." The result is a world of bright colors and floppy-eared dogs, semi-realistic soldiers, and facsimiles of real-world buildings. "It has to be inviting — you're playing this game for 40 hours," Busatti says. "We had to make sure it wasn't drab, and that it was a lively world."

After 25 years, there are already millions of hardcore Civ players around the world, inculcated on its mechanics and complexities and waiting expectantly for the next version —  Firaxis arguably doesn't need to work too hard to draw in new players. But Busatti's work seems to have paid off. I only got 60 turns into a game crab-based Chinese civilization, but I made more active choices than I had over decades of previous Civilizations, and its bright and breezy world made Civ VI feel less daunting and more welcoming than before.
clipRe: Civilization 6 Screenshots
Posted by: BUncle, June 28, 2016, 11:57:57 PM
Replies: 66

Board: Civ 6
Views: 2325

This is an animated .gif.  I do not know why it won't animate for me unless the reduced-size attachment works; it wouldn't in the album.

When I had the same problem with the big Roosevelt .gif, it worked fine cropped as a 150x avatar...
videoEngland (Victoria!) - First Look: CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, June 28, 2016, 06:20:13 PM
Replies: 4

Board: Civ 6
Views: 358

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Quote from: Sid Meier's Civilization - Published on Jun 28, 2016
Get a first look at the English civilization and its leader, Victoria. SUBSCRIBE for First Looks at other civilizations, leaders, features and tips from the developers of Civilization VI:
some articleWhy "Civilization V" Will Be Taught in High Schools
Posted by: BUncle, June 26, 2016, 12:05:47 AM
Replies: 1

Board: Other Games
Views: 377
Why "Civilization V" Will Be Taught in High Schools
​The best way to learn about historical figures is to destroy their armies.
Popular Mechanics
By David Grossman  Jun 24, 2016

For the legions of kids who ignored their homework for hours while playing Civilization games, this news might come as a surprise: Civ 5 soon could become your homework.

It's called CivilizationEDU. Publisher Take-Two and developer Firaxis have partnered with a company called GlassLab to create the variation on the classic turn-based strategy game, which will be available for North American high schools. GlassLab has experience in converting strategic games into educational tools, having already done so with SimCityEDU. GlassLab will add an analytics engine to Civ, allowing teachers to track students' progress through an online dashboard.

"For the past 25 years, we've found that one of the fun secrets of Civilization is learning while you play," said Sid Meier, the famed founder of Firaxis and creator of Civilization. With last year's successful Kickstarter funding of a remake of The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis and Minecraft: Education Edition currently in beta, it's looking like educational gaming is moving to a place of prioritization it hasn't seen its heyday in the 1990's.
some articleCBS/Paramount Issue Guidelines for Star Trek Fan Films Because Axanar Ruined It
Posted by: BUncle, June 25, 2016, 01:54:13 PM
Replies: 1705

Board: Recreation Commons
Views: 58092

CBS/Paramount Issue Guidelines for Star Trek Fan Films Because Axanar Ruined It for Everyone
The Mary Sue
by Teresa Jusino | 5:49 pm, June 24th, 2016

There have been Star Trek fan films for decades without any trouble. So, why is CBS/Paramount suddenly issuing really strict guidelines for fan films now? Because one entitled fan effort ruined it for everyone. That effort is called Axanar.

First things first, fan art of all kinds is awesome. Regardless of its quality, stuff like fan fiction, cosplay, geek music (‘sup Chameleon Circuit!), and fan films are amazing, because they allow fans to express their deep love of a story or character while also exercising their creativity muscles. Win-win. You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand that, as a fan, the property that you’re using to create new art does not belong to you. Which is generally fine, unless you’re trying to profit from it in some way. Otherwise, most studios don’t care about, and even encourage fan art, because it’s basically free marketing.

The crowdfunded Star Trek feature-length fan film Axanar started life as a short called Prelude to Axanar, which looks freaking incredible and managed to wrangle a top-notch cast including folks like Richard Hatch, Gary Graham, and BSG’s . They then used that short to raise money for a feature-length Axanar film. So far, so good. You’re allowed to raise money for the thing you’re creating, as long as you’re not profiting from it financially in any way. The team behind Axanar seemed to understand this during their second crowdfund at IndieGoGo:

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You may have heard about CBS/Paramount subsequently suing the Axanar team, led by Executive Producer Alec Peters, over the film. As fans, you may have started to feel righteous outrage over it. However, there are some things to think about. According to Chris Murray at The Ego Factor, “rather than, “hey bud. Sorry about that. My bad,” Peters countersued CBS trying to allege that among other things, they didn’t own the copyright to Vulcan ears. This lawsuit by the way, was also paid for using funds from the original crowdsourcing.”

What’s more, “Fans who had paid for a new Star Trek film, were instead paying for a new studio, Peters wages (some $30-40k per annum if I recall, but don’t quote me), and the frivolous lawsuit he winged at CBS to divert attention from the fact that he’d [allegedly] broken the law.”

Here’s the thing, paying oneself as part of a production is standard. If you’re working on a film or show, you should be paid for your work, and that’s built into the budget. Getting a producer fee, a director fee, or a crew/actor fee is totally within the realm of appropriate. But a yearly salary? For a fan film that you’re supposedly doing “on the side” while you live the rest of your life because you’re not an actual employee of Star Trek, CBS, or Paramount so clearly you must have another job?

You may notice in the IndieGoGo video above, when talking about the sound stage that they built for Axanar, that Peters says they’ve “been retrofitting this facility so that it can be a soundstage that we use for years to come.” Years to come? That’s not Axanar, then. So, this crowdfunded money is also supporting future projects? Which ones? Will you be making money on those? Are you using a slick Star Trek film as a lure to get people to fund your production company? Why didn’t you just, I don’t know, crowdfund your production company? People totally do that and are, you know, honest about it! Meanwhile, their crowdfunding campaigns claim to be “all about transparency.”

Instead, the Axanar team has relied on a teesny-weensy fans vs the Big Bad Corporation narrative to deflect from the fact that they may have, I don’t know, [messed up - or loved very much] up, and they’ve managed to convince J.J. Abrams and Justin Lin of that narrative, too. Though honestly, I’m sure that Abrams and Lin are more interested in heading-off possible fan resentment of the franchise with Star Trek Beyond on the horizon than they are in protecting a questionable fan effort.

But this isn’t a case of “David and Goliath,” it’s a case of “Goliath and Goliath,” except one of the Goliaths is pissed off that they can’t get paid. Peters and Co. have yet to address the specifics of why a lawsuit was brought against them in the first place, and have made no move to explain their use of the crowdfunded money in detail except where it concerns “the production.” Another reason I’m not crying for them, Argentina? They’re making this film with not only professional, established actors, but professional, established crew, many of whom have experience working on Star Trek. If you want me to buy that you’re this widdle-biddy fan effort, perhaps I shouldn’t be seeing the fact that you apparently have access to a certain level of talent in Hollywood somehow. At a certain point, that’s not showing off “fan creativity,” that’s a fan hiring professionals to create the illusion of creativity. I’m sure the script Peters wrote is great, but a script alone does not a “fan film” make, and if you’re using ringers to make your film…what’s the cut-off for an actual fan effort?

Now, the lawsuit may indeed be coming to an end, but in order to teach the Anaxar team a lesson, as well as to remind fans that just because they love a thing doesn’t mean they’re entitled to use it however they want if they didn’t make it, CBS/Paramount released a series of guidelines for Star Trek fan films intended to, according to their official release, “support this innovation and encourage celebrations of this beloved cultural phenomenon” while also protecting Star Trek as an intellectual property. They are:

The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.

The title of the fan production or any parts cannot include the name Star Trek. However, the title must contain a subtitle with the phrase: “A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION” in plain typeface. The fan production cannot use the term “official” in either its title or subtitle or in any marketing, promotions or social media for the fan production.

The content in the fan production must be original, not reproductions, recreations or clips from any Star Trek production. If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing.

If the fan production uses commercially-available Star Trek uniforms, accessories, toys and props, these items must be official merchandise and not bootleg items or imitations of such commercially available products.

The fan production must be a real “fan” production, i.e., creators, actors and all other participants must be amateurs, cannot be compensated for their services, and cannot be currently or previously employed on any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Pictures’ licensees.

The fan production must be non-commercial:
•CBS and Paramount Pictures do not object to limited fundraising for the creation of a fan production, whether 1 or 2 segments and consistent with these guidelines, so long as the total amount does not exceed $50,000, including all platform fees, and when the $50,000 goal is reached, all fundraising must cease.
•The fan production must only be exhibited or distributed on a no-charge basis and/or shared via streaming services without generating revenue.
•The fan production cannot be distributed in a physical format such as DVD or Blu-ray.
•The fan production cannot be used to derive advertising revenue including, but not limited to, through for example, the use of pre or post-roll advertising, click-through advertising banners, that is associated with the fan production.
•No unlicensed Star Trek-related or fan production-related merchandise or services can be offered for sale or given away as premiums, perks or rewards or in connection with the fan production fundraising.
•The fan production cannot derive revenue by selling or licensing fan-created production sets, props or costumes.

The fan production must be family friendly and suitable for public presentation. Videos must not include profanity, nudity, obscenity, pornography, depictions of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or any harmful or illegal activity, or any material that is offensive, fraudulent, defamatory, libelous, disparaging, sexually explicit, threatening, hateful, or any other inappropriate content. The content of the fan production cannot violate any individual’s right of privacy.

The fan production must display the following disclaimer in the on-screen credits of the fan productions and on any marketing material including the fan production website or page hosting the fan production:

“Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”

Creators of fan productions must not seek to register their works, nor any elements of the works, under copyright or trademark law.

Fan productions cannot create or imply any association or endorsement by CBS or Paramount Pictures.

Simple, easy-to-understand fan guidelines like this are long overdue, and it won’t be long before other studios follow suit, I’m sure. Of all the guidelines here, the one that hurts the most is that no professionals can be involved. While I raise the point above that, if you’re using a significant number of professionals in your production it ceases to be a “fan” effort, there’s also something to be said for the fact that professionals can also be fans, and it can be cool for someone like Gary Graham or Richard Hatch to play in an independent sandbox every now and again. To deny them that opportunity seems cruel. Perhaps they should rethink this to something like “no more than three roles/positions can be taken up by a professional,” or something.

The time limit is also a bummer. Then again, if you can only raise $50,000 to make the project (which isn’t exactly chump change), that’s about as far as that amount will take you if you don’t want it to look like total garbage. And this also doesn’t stop people from creating different Star Trek fan fictions. It just means that one story can’t be longer than half an hour. So stories have to be more self-contained? So what? Anthology series are all the rage these days anyway!

All the other guidelines, I get, despite Team Axanar calling them “draconian.” No, you can’t make your own merch to sell. That’s profiting off someone else’s property, even if the merch you’re selling has an originally designed logo on it. No, you can’t make your own version of a thing that’s already commercially available. These things make sense, because Star Trek, and everything associated with it, belongs to someone (in this case, a company of someones). You don’t show something how much you “love” it by stealing from it. That’s like showing your neighbors you love them by robbing their house and selling the stuff they bought at the mall on your lawn in a garage sale. Then getting mad at your neighbor for pressing charges, because that’s how you show love.

I’m a fan, and I’m a creator. And as a fan who wants to someday create something worthy of fan love, I understand that these guidelines are important. And as a future creator who’s also a fan, I understand that true fan creativity has nothing to do with “screen accuracy” or being able to use a logo. The best creativity comes from finding the workarounds and coming up with less expensive alternatives, not throwing money at the screen and demanding the use of certain things.

To draw a parallel to another major franchise, the reason why Star Wars was so good was that George Lucas, as a relatively new filmmaker, was constantly being told no. He had a smaller budget than he would’ve liked. He had to come up with alternatives. And it started a decades-old franchise!

Most fans understand this. Most fans don’t have access to Hollywood genre heavyweights. Most fans don’t raise over $1M, having the luxury of having “extra money” to funnel into future production dreams. Most fans are capable of being creative anyway.

(via The Daily Dot, images via CBS/Paramount and the Anaxar website)
some articleCity management, mayhem & Sid Meier's wisdom: Making Civilization VI - Gamasutra
Posted by: BUncle, June 25, 2016, 12:25:19 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 294
City management, mayhem and Sid Meier's wisdom: Making Civilization VI
June 21, 2016 | By Alex Wawro 

The world probably doesn't need another Civilization game. They're still playing the last one.

Sid Meier's Civilization V shipped in 2010, and to this day it still regularly appears in the top ten games on Steam in terms of player count, falling beneath heavyweights like Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: GO but above recent, highly popular releases like Fallout 4. 

Six years on, Firaxis is preparing to ship Civilization VI, with Civ V expansion designer Ed Beach in the lead design chair. From a game developer's perspective, it's intriguing to look at how the venerable strategy game's design continues to evolve -- especially since it's building on a foundation laid 25 years ago by the original Civ.

At E3 this year Civ team producer Dennis Shirk noted that while there are still a lot of people playing Civ V, the changes made to that game's design by its lead designer (Jon Schafer, now president at Conifer Games) during the course of production wound up revealing yet more fundamental Civ design problems the team wants to fix -- starting with cities.
"A designer can get wrapped up in his own head about how awesome his design is, but if he puts it out there and nobody gets it, then that's a failure."

"Unstacking the cities is kind of the cornerstone of the whole thing," said Shirk. "After Jon Schafer had gone to one unit per tile [with Civ V], it exposed another part of the game that wasn't very interesting, which is that everything gets built in the city center. As long as you've unlocked it in the tech tree, you're building it and it's just going in the same place. That's all it is: a spot to dump all your buildings, and all your Wonders, and so on."

With Civ VI, says Shirk, "Ed wanted to change all that. He wanted the game to be about the landscape. He wanted the map to be just as important as anything else in the game." So he designed a Civ game that asks players to actually lay out "districts" in the tiles around their cities  ("it's the first thing he prototyped in the game"), and gives them bonuses based on the landscape.

Mountains can be inspirational, for example, so the religion-focused district (the "Holy Site") where you build shrines and temples gets a bonus if it's placed near a mountain. Researching technologies like sailing gets easier if a player's civilization is near the ocean. Managing cities gets more complex, and -- Firaxis hopes -- more interesting.

But that also raises an interesting design question: is it possible to simulation human civilization with too much complexity, to the point where it isn't "fun" anymore?

Shirk suggests developers facing such concerns "follow Civ's most basic design guideline, 'Never have it be complicated until the player is ready for it to be complicated.'" So for a Civilization game, that means starting players out in every new game with just two units: a settler and a warrior. That means the player only has to make one decision: move a unit or found a city.

"The trick, I think, especially to a game like Civilization, and it's a place we've stumbled in the past, is pacing," says Shirk. "I'm sure you remember way back in Civilization V, the very base game, the last third of the game wasn't very interesting. It felt like a very empty space, just hitting 'Next Turn' a lot. So it's that kind of pacing that's always the biggest challenge."

You've got to have a little mayhem

To fix the pacing problem and spice up the base game a bit, Beach did something with the Civ V expansions that fellow strategy game designers may appreciate: he added a little mayhem.

"There's an AI system in the game, it's actually been in there since the expansions when we first introduced's called a 'Mayhem Level,'" says Shirk. "It's actually a super interesting mechanic that Ed came up with. If the game is not achieving a certain level of mayhem, which means something in the world is going on that's causing some problems," then the game AI starts acting up and making moves to make things interesting.

"You don't want huge long times of prosperity," adds Shirk. It makes for a boring strategy game, and it doesn't challenge players to learn the game's systems.

"You have to turn some knobs and make sure the mayhem stays at this certain level. You don't want anything way up here. You don't want anything way down here. So it's a really interesting way of making sure that there's always something that's going to pull the player away from what they're doing or what they're focused on all the time."

Here again, we return to an interesting central design goal for the Civ team: to shake players out of their routines and keep them from playing on autopilot. And that begs another intriguing question: how do you know how far is too far when you're revising your game's design -- especially when your game is the next big Civ?

"Every designer coming in, they have to walk that fine line," says Shirk. "'Will I upset the apple cart this time around?'"

Sid Meier's 33/33/33 rule of sequel design

Even if you aren't working on a Civ game, you may get something out of the advice Shirk says is common wisdom at Firaxis: Sid Meier's 33/33/33 rule of sequel design.

"You want 33 percent of what's already there, existing, 33 percent improved, and 33 percent brand-new in terms of mechanics," he says. "That's something he's spread throughout all the franchises at the company. You saw that with XCOM 2, you saw that with [Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth expansion] Rising Tide when that came out. We try to keep that in all the games we make."

That matches up well with what Mafia III lead Haden Blackman told Gamasutra last week about the value of limits, especially for game developers. Box yourself in with a set of reasonable constraints -- the 33/33/33 rule, for instance -- and you may have an easier time focusing your efforts on the things that will help your game shine.

But Shirk cautions that it's also important not to get too attached to your own ideas about a game's design, and to solicit community feedback early on.

"A designer can get wrapped up in his own head about how awesome his design is, but if he puts it out there and nobody gets it, then that's a failure," says Shirk. "I'm sure you've heard of Frankenstein, and that's been a staple of Civilization, especially throughout many of the last versions of the game. If we didn't have that core group of fans, just constantly giving us feedback as Ed is bouncing ideas back and forth really trying to find that great balance, I don't think Civ would be as good as it is right now."

[Frankenstein, incidentally, is the name of a long-running community of external beta testers who help put Firaxis games through their paces.]

Of course, many developers are good about seeking outside feedback on their games early on -- that's why Steam's Early Access service was born. It's already given rise to at least one notable strategy game, too: Firaxis expat Soren Johnson (who served as lead designer on Civilization IV) learned some notable lessons in launching his own strategy game, Offworld Trading Company, on Early Access last year.

Shirk speaks well of Early Access, especially for developers who are trying to bring game ideas that are novel or untested to life, but says that making a game available for play (and purchase) before it's done would probably never gel with Firaxis' development process -- especially on a Civ game.

"I worry that when you have such a large team, and you have such large expectations...if you had something like Civilization VI come out on  Early Access, and have it not be ready for prime time, I think the backlash could potentially be great," says Shirk. "I think if you're coming out with a brand new concept, a brand new game, especially Soren with Offworld Trading Company, I think the options for Early Access are a lot more powerful because there are no pre-set expectations going in with what the game is or how it should work."

The weight of expectations is also pushing Firaxis to ship Civilization VI with a number of established Civ systems, the sorts of mechanics (like religion) that have previously been added to Civ games post-release through expansion packs.

"Jon Schafer worried if we brought everything forward, for example, from Beyond the Sword then it would be a little overwhelming. So he had to take a lot of things out. He left religion out of the base game, that kind of thing. Ed didn't want to go down that path this time," says Shirk. "Fans already have this very high expectation of what Civilization means. They have things that are really comfortable for them, that they really love doing. He wanted to make sure to bring as much of that forward as possible."

That means Civilization 6 devs have to teach those myriad mechanics to new players, too, because every Civ is someone's first. It's interesting to note that Firaxis aims to do so by falling back on an old-fashioned, extra-large tutorial here, one that gives new players a guided tour through the game's various systems and mechanics. It's optional, of course, and is meant to augment the tooltips, automated advisors and other teaching tools that are woven into Civ games.

"This is probably the biggest base version of the game that we've ever shipped before," Shirk says, and while he acknowledges that "we do have some crunch time" he's keen to point out that it's kept to a minimum because of what he describes as one of Firaxis' chief virtues: managing staff time well. 

"We're starting to be an older studio. Our baby credits are going up and up and up each year because we've got a lot of senior artists, senior designers, senior engineers that have been with Firaxis for a while," says Shirk. "So if we don't have that great home life and work balance, the games are going to be crappy because everyone's going to be miserable. That's one thing at our studio that I wish every other studio would be able to do. You've heard scary stories from other studios about how that's not necessarily the case. It goes a long way. It sounds stupid, but a studio that actually puts family first is a happy studio that makes great games."
video E3 2016 Walkthrough Dev Commentary w/ Ed Beach & Anton Strenger -CIVILIZATION 6
Posted by: BUncle, June 25, 2016, 12:06:30 AM
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Board: Civ 6
Views: 244

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videoCIVILIZATION VI - E3 2016 Walkthrough
Posted by: BUncle, June 23, 2016, 06:28:26 PM
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Board: Civ 6
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Hey, kids!  It's Sean Bean!

-And he doesn't get killed!
videoEurogamer interview with Ed Beach
Posted by: Unorthodox, June 23, 2016, 02:14:59 PM
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Board: Civ 6
Views: 254

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Unable to watch, anyone with a synopsis would be appreciated. 
tmaGamespot interview with Dennis Shirk - Senior Producer
Posted by: Unorthodox, June 23, 2016, 02:11:30 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 256

But because Civilization is such a dense experience, we decided to sit down with senior producer Dennis Shirk to speak in greater depth about the new city building mechanics, political agenda system, and cultural advancement rewards.

GameSpot: Let’s start with the big change: cities that extend to multiple tiles. Why the decision to unstack cities, and how will this impact the game?

Shirk: What I'd wanted to do is change up the way the landscape basically affects your game. In Civ 5, you settled cities based on the resources that were in the area, but you didn't care necessarily about much else. Everything is built in the city center: buildings, wonders--everything goes there. It's not a very interesting decision, you just build it. That's the only choice you have: to build it, not to build it. By unstacking the cities, what [we’re] able to do is make you think about where you're putting down your settlement.

If you want a city to be a science city, you know you're going to build a campus district. Campuses get adjacency bonuses, for example, from mountains and jungle. So if you find that perfect spot and you put down your city that has a lot of mountains and jungle, you're going like, “I'm specializing this city to be science-generating.” That's also where you're going to build your library and your research lab or your university. And that's across the board for all the districts--they all have strengths and weaknesses based on where your city's located.

They also take up a tile. So every tile they're taking up, you're not going to be building a farm there or a mine. So you have to balance this out. You can't build all the districts there, you can't build all the wonders, because you've got to be able to keep your people fed. You still have to do those basic things to keep your civilization moving. So as you're putting down cities and districts in different places, you have to specialize. Do you want more culture out of a city? Do you want more production? So you have to play the map. And that's the coolest thing, figuring out this puzzle of the map.

Fresh water is a lot more important now than it was before. You can't just plop a city down in the middle of the desert and expect to do well with it because it will never grow. It doesn't have enough fresh water access. There are some new concepts. There are two things that you need to do to have a city thrive: You need its people to be happy--so they have to have enough amenities coming in, like luxury resources--and you need the housing. It's just a concept called housing, but it's basically your population cap. So if you don't have fresh water access out of the gate, you're going to be trapped at one population because you have to have water.

So are maps still procedurally generated?


Did that present any design problems? Because, in theory, you could end up with a map that's terribly inhospitable and makes the game either unplayable or just un-fun.

Oh, definitely. After we put the system in the game, the first time we fired up an archipelago map, we're like, “Nope, not going to work.” [Laughs] We had to make changes and adjustments to that. We found that players were restarting a lot if they weren't getting that perfect mix of mountains right away, because mountains are really powerful now for stuff like that. So we've had to re-tune the way the map generates and staggers stuff out.

But the district system [has] gone through many iterations, and it got to that sweet spot. We've made it so that, for example, not having mountains when you first come in can be offset by the amount of rivers that you have. We always have these balances in place now, where having the different challenges of different starting locations makes the game much more interesting. So you're not always going to have that same strategy when you come back in.I think that would be death for a game like Civilization, where it allows you to play the exact same way every time and you get to get away with it. That's not very interesting.

So you want to force dynamism on players, in a way; make them react.

Right, because you're not going to come back and play it anymore if you don't have those kinds of things. Something that [lead designer] Ed Beach had developed back on the Brave New World expansion when he was doing a lot of the AI work was a mayhem level. This is something that happens in the background; it's how they tune the game. You want this constant level of mayhem, kind of like the real world, where you never have quite this perfect world going on.

So if you're playing your perfect build or strategy, heading towards that culture victory, something will most likely happen somewhere that may take your attention off it for a little bit. Whether your ally is at war with somebody else and you have to make the decisions if you're going to help them or not, or it's happening directly to you. There's going to be something going on all the time.

How do you decide what’s an appropriate level of mayhem?

We obviously do a lot of watching what human players do, because you want the AI player to be as challenging to play as if you're playing against a human. We've also got many systems at the office that's literally just playing itself all day long, and then the AI guys are just reading the logs and watching. We never really had that on Civ 5. We'd always have to execute games manually. And this way it's just constantly running, constantly collecting data all the time.

That is slightly terrifying. It sounds like Skynet.

No, it's not quite teaching itself, it's strictly data that's being fed to another guy. That would be a little scary if we were like, “Okay, he's going to play, and you run an algorithm so that it gets better every single time, and learns from itself.” Yeah, Civilization is the start of Skynet, and then it all goes south. [Laughs]

Exactly! It’s interesting to hear that you guys design mayhem into the game. It almost begs philosophical questions about the nature of mankind. If you're making a game that is literally called Civilization and you feel there’s an inherent necessity for chaos and conflict, I don't know what that says about humanity. I'm guessing it wasn't intended as a commentary.

No, not at all. They're not even injecting mayhem. It's about controlling what the AI decides they want to do. So you have the knobs that you turn, and the mayhem level that they watch is just based on how the AI decides to play, how crazy they get, and making sure that's tuned to that perfect spot. You want that little bit of mayhem because it makes for interesting gameplay. In terms of real life, you don't want that at all. But real life may not be the most interesting game to play all the time.

What about players simply who want to perfect their own little corner of the world? Can they treat Civ 6 like a world building game and not so much like a conquest game?

They can. Well, first off, aside from what you can do in-game, there's always going to be that world of modding: people that design specific scenarios, specific ways to play. But just as in Civ 5, if you want to play a builder game, you don't invite Montezuma and Genghis [Khan] to the party. You go into “advanced setup,” you make sure that you're setting the civs that are really going to all be builders. You choose all the builders in the game, and then just have a build-a-thon, and go from there. But if you want the party, you go random and see where they land.

So the idea of distinct AI personalities returns? Like, different Civilizations have pre-programmed behavior sets that will correlate with historical precedents?

Even more so now. Like in Civilization 5, Montezuma always played a very specific way. He'd probably be just rampaging and invading. But we have very specific historic agendas now, which allow the way you interact with the civs to be much more interesting. Like Theodore Roosevelt's is, when he's on his own continent, as long as other civs that are on his continent are not causing trouble, he's probably going to be friendly towards them. But if they're causing trouble--they're going to wars or starting wars--he's probably going to be their enemy.

So you can actually have some fun with this, because you might have Emperor Chin nearby, and he's causing you problems. You're trying to play that builder culture game. He's not necessarily going to let you do that because his historic agenda is that he's a wonder builder. He wants to have the most glorious civilization and as many wonders as possible. And if other civilizations are beating him in that wonder race, that's a problem for him. He might get jealous enough to go ahead and start stealing wonders from you, in terms of taking cities.

So maybe you do a little bit of baiting, and you start playing with this information, and you draw him into a war with you, because then Teddy Roosevelt will most likely come to your aid. And now you've basically got this formal war that nobody is going to be angry at you about--because you didn't start it--and in the end, you've come out on top. So there's a lot of things that you can play around with these agendas now that make the game so much more interesting.

Are civilization's historical agendas going to be apparent to players, or is it something they're just going to have to figure out over time?

No, the historic agendas are the one thing that they can see when they come in. It's discovering all the rest of how [leaders are] playing they have to figure out.

How do you actually pick which leaders represent each civilization?

This time around was based around what we thought the personality would do for the game because certain leaders are going to fill certain gaps. We want X number of leaders that act this way, some that act this way, some that act this way, so you can have that balance going into the game. So it's not just about if they were a great leader, it's what they do.Whenever we have a leader that we think would bring a really interesting historic agenda to the table, like Teddy Roosevelt with his Big Stick policy, that's usually how we choose them. Of course there's going to be a balance. Some are Civ stalwarts. Some places really expect certain things to be in the game. We also always want a percentage that have never appeared in the game before, so we try to keep a percentage of those as well.

So obviously players can set their own political agendas as well, but it seems like that system has changed slightly. Can you describe the new system a little more deeply, and explain how it will impact the actual gameplay?

Well, we split the trees now. Before you only had the tech tree, so culture players or builders were at the mercy of people who were driving hard science because they'd always have more advanced units and eventually could steamroll you if they wanted to. So I really wanted a way for the cultural player to compete in the world. So we have a culture tree and we have a tech tree. But the thing is, the culture tree is where all of your policies live: the ability to unlock new governments, the ability to unlock more cards, these policy cards.

For example, you have militaristic cards, economic cards, you've got wild card slots, things like that. Now those are only unlockable in the civics tree, so if you're playing a hard culture game and you go deep into that tree, you could unlock some really advanced governments and a plethora of cards to choose from because you're the shining beacon of cultural awesomeness in the world. Whereas if you're playing a hard science game, you don't necessarily get to go as deep, you've got a more primitive government. You're not as enlightened, you're just strictly on the tech, you want more advanced units.

So as a result, if somebody is threatening you--one of those science players--they may have infantry and you've only got riflemen because you're not as far technologically. But because you've got all these great military policies plugged in, your riflemen are about half as much to produce and they've got all these benefits and their 50-percent stronger in certain areas because you've got that flexibility of government, and now you can stand toe-to-toe with these more advanced civilizations.

Will this affect diplomacy at all? Can you talk about anything that's been added, or any layers of depth or new mechanics that have been added to the diplomacy system?

We're not talking too much about diplomacy, but what I can say is, [leaders] also have random agendas, and they're hidden. An example would be, maybe [a leader] loves industry. That could be the second agenda that he has. You can't see it because you don't have exposure to the information. So if you're this weak-kneed culture civilization, his opinion will start going down; you don't know why.

So maybe to expose some of that information, you establish a trade route. And now that unlocks a little bit of visibility. You start getting rumors and gossip coming back. Still don't know what that hidden agenda is. The next thing you do is you send a delegation. He likes that, that's great, you get a modifier from sending the delegation. Plus the delegation starts sending you information. Now you realize, oh, he's an industry lover, that's why he didn't necessarily like me, that's why that negative modifier is there. So now you can kind of adjust to that as well.

And then of course you can keep going up the information chain to spies eventually, things like that. But [with] a lot of that information trading, you can become a merchant of information if you want, depending on the certain civ that you're playing--because you've got these different levels of visibility based on your engagement, you've got these different things that you're trying to discover.

Do you judge your coworkers based on which Civilizations they tend to prefer?

Silently, yeah. We don't say it verbally, but we always do.

Stock screens and videos at the link. 

some article43 Real-Life Female Leaders We’d Love to See Included in Civilization VI
Posted by: BUncle, June 23, 2016, 03:14:39 AM
Replies: 5

Board: Civ 6
Views: 378

43 Real-Life Female Leaders We’d Love to See Included in Civilization VI
Deal with it. Historically.
The Mary Sue
by Dan Wohl | 3:22 pm, June 15th, 2016

(image via Firaxis Games)

If you’re a fan of history-inspired video games, you got some exciting news last month with the announcement of Civilization VI. The series, the first edition of which came out way back in 1991, is a perpetual remake of the same absurdly addictive turn-based strategy game, in which you chart the course of a civilization from the stone age to the space age. You compete against human or computer players with units, buildings, technologies and policies drawn from history (though certainly not necessarily matching up with how history really unfolded).

Each civilization has a historical leader which, truth be told, doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to the gameplay. Like much in the game, they are mostly there to add to the general historical milieu. But since we all know how important representation is, I’ve thought a lot about the choices the gamemakers have made for these leaders. Civ V, the largest Civ game to date, featured 43 total civilizations including all expansions, and a single leader choice for each. Nine, or just over ⅕, of the leaders were female. Not as bad as it could have been perhaps, but far from equal, and still lopsided enough to convey the message that men overall had a much bigger role to play in the story of human civilization.

As everyone reading this knows, that’s not true; it’s a perception enabled by a combination of patriarchal systems that consistently put men in power, and sexism within the recording and study of history itself. While it sometimes takes a bit more effort to uncover their stories, women have contributed to every civilization in the world, and history-inspired pop culture like the Civ series can have a huge role in making that clearer.

That’s why I’d like to propose that Civ VI have options for leaders of both genders for every single playable civilization. There is actually precedent for this; 1996’s Civ II had this feature, although they at times resorted to including female leaders that were clearly mythological or fictional, a choice that I had no problem with but, in my research for this piece, found to be unnecessary. Here’s a list of historical female leaders from each of the 43 civilizations featured in Civ V that I would love to see in Civ VI. (Ones that actually did appear in Civ V are marked with an asterisk.)

American: Eleanor Roosevelt. Called the “First Lady of the World” for her instrumental role in the formation of the UN, in another American era she would have been a great president herself. Some wanted her to run in 1948, but she declined and gave the electorate’s sexism as one reason why.

Arabian: Sitt al-Mulk. Sitt’s brother, Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim, who was known for abusing his harem, suddenly died in 1021, leaving Sitt to inherit the throne. She may or may not have been responsible for his death, but either way she was the only known female ruler of any of the early Islamic caliphates.

Assyrian: Shammuramat. Named after the legendary Assyrian queen Semiramis (or, possibly, the inspiration for her), Shammuramat led the Assyrian Empire in the 7th or 6th centuries BCE. She was one of the first known female rulers in history.

Austrian: Maria Theresa*. Ruling over the Habsburg Dominions of the Holy Roman Empire for 40 years, Maria Theresa introduced major educational and financial reforms, led Austria in two major wars, and harshly persecuted Jews and Protestants. She also managed to find time to have 16 children, including Marie Antoinette.

Aztec: Isabel de Moctezuma. As her father’s only surviving heir who fought for indigenous power long after the conquistadores took over, the “last Mexica princess” is a bit of a Cleopatra figure. After serving as Hernan Cortes’ mistress and becoming a widow five times over, Isabel (who was born Tecuichpoch Ixcaxochitzin before her forced conversion to Catholicism) married a sympathetic Spaniard, Juan Cano. The two repeatedly sued to reclaim her family’s land, with the intent of leaving it to her daughters, as was the Aztec custom (in contrast to the male-based inheritance of Spanish law).

Babylonian: Addagoppe. A priestess who greatly expanded worship of the lunar deity Sin, Addagoppe may have ruled Babylon in place of her son Nabonidus when he moved to another city. While it’s unclear if that’s true (she would have been 96 at the time), she was clearly powerful, as she was buried with the honors of a queen.

Brazilian: Anita Garibaldi. During the early days of the Brazilian Empire, Garibaldi was a perpetual revolutionary, fighting for republican secessionists across South America. She died in Ravenna before seeing her husband and political partner Giuseppe achieve their later goal of unifying Italy.

(image via Firaxis Games)

Byzantine: Theodora*. Theodora had an unbelievable life (and afterlife) arc: from actress and prostitute, to empress, to saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church. She drew on her experience to protect the most vulnerable women of Constantinople, passing anti-rape legislation and creating a sanctuary house for sex workers to live in, knowing a safe life for them was otherwise impossible at the time.

Carthaginian: Dido*. The story goes that, after her brother killed her husband in Tyre, she escaped to North Africa to found her own empire and plot her revenge. While it’s not 100 percent clear if this vaguely Daenerys-like queen was real, her legacy was venerated by Carthaginians throughout the pivotal Punic Wars with Greece and Rome.

Celtic: Boudicca*. When Boudicca’s husband died and left partial sovereignty over the Iceni tribe to their daughters, the patriarchal Romans didn’t accept it. Boudicca’s response? She burned London to the ground and, to hear Roman historians tell it, her revolution came within a hair’s breadth of convincing Nero to abandon Britain altogether.

Chinese: Wu Zetian*. As de facto empress for about 35 years (while her ineffective nephew ruled) and an official one for 15, Wu was China’s only female monarch in more than 4,000 years. She led several wars in Korea, increased meritocratic policies for choosing civil officials, and declared her reign to be a one-woman dynasty.

Danish: Margrethe I. Not to be confused with the current Queen Margrethe of Denmark, this Margrethe lived after the Viking Age brought about by the Danes (as seen in Civ V), but was a pivotal figure nonetheless. Her strategic marriages created the Kalmar Union, which united Scandinavia for more than a century in the Middle Ages.

Dutch: Wilhelmina. The longest reigning Dutch monarch was a World War II heroine who led her kingdom’s government-in-exile during the war. She dismissed a prime minister who advocated negotiating a peace with Hitler and inspired the Dutch Resistance with late-night radio broadcasts throughout the war.

English: Elizabeth I.* Good Queen Bess presided over a golden age of culture, religious reform and discovery (from the European perspective, that is). And you can also toss in one of the most famous military victories in English history – the defeat of the fearsome Spanish Armada in 1588 – for good measure.

Egyptian: Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut was one of the most successful pharaohs, ruling near the peak of ancient Egyptian power and leaving an architectural legacy rivaled by few others. Many of her successors engaged in attempts to literally erase her name from historical texts for reasons that are unknown, though her gender having something to do with it seems a depressingly good bet.

(image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Ethiopian: Makeda. While the historical evidence for Makeda (otherwise known as the biblical Queen of Sheba) being Ethiopian is unclear, there’s no question that she occupies a crucial position in the nation’s founding myth. She’s credited with creating the dynasty from which even modern Ethiopian rulers like Haile Selassie claimed descent.

French: Joan of Arc. How an illiterate teenager claiming she was on a divine mission convinced her king to put her in charge of the French army during the Siege of Orleans will always be a mystery. But after the battle was won and became the turning point of the Hundred Years War, Joan’s status as one of the most incredible women in history was secured.

German: Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Considered her husband King Frederick William III’s “best minister” by Napoleon, Louise was deeply involved in the politics of her time. Her doomed though impassioned plea to Napoleon for mercy on the Prussian kingdom entrenched her image as an ideal German for centuries.

Greek: Aspasia. As Pericles’ partner, Aspasia was probably the most influential woman during the Athenian Golden Age. She was renowned for her wisdom and rhetorical skill, associated with all the greatest thinkers of the day, and is referenced in the works of philosophers like Plato and Xenophon.

Hunnic: Kreka. The Huns are probably the Civilization civ about whom the least is known; they left no written records, their language is a mystery, and they generally did not actually build cities or even buildings. Proper names recorded in Roman accounts are among the few bits of information we have, so we’ll go with Attila’s wife.

Incan: Mama Ocllo. The Incan monarchy comprised both the Sapa Inca (king), who held legal authority over men and honored the sun god, and the Coya (queen), who held legal authority over women and honored the moon goddess. Mama Ocllo was one of the first Coyas and legendarily established the Incan Empire with then-Sapa Inca Pacachuti, who was either her husband, brother or son (or some combination of the three).

Indian: Indira Gandhi. A a prime minister who moved India forward militarily and economically and accumulated near-unlimited power during the infamous “Emergency” period, Gandhi (who was not related to Mohandas Gandhi) is a complex figure. Some remember her as a brutal dictator, while others celebrate her as the Indian leader who was most effective at connecting emotionally to the poor.

Indonesian: Kartini. While living in seclusion until marriage as was the Javanese custom for women of her time, Kartini spent her time reading feminist magazines and writing letters imagining an Indonesia with both greater women’s rights and independence from the Netherlands. She went on to found several schools for girls and is celebrated today with an annual national holiday.

(image via Wikimedia Commons)

Iroquois: Molly Brant. Iroquois society traditionally afforded great respect and power to clan mothers, and while it’s unclear if Brant (formerly known by her Mohawk names Konwatsi’tsiaienni and Degonwadonti) ever held that title, she was nevertheless one of the most influential Native Americans during the American Revolution. While she’s been criticized for allying with the British, she was dedicated to preserving her culture and felt strongly that an independent America posed a greater threat to her people.

Japanese: Suiko. Since the Meiji Restoration, Japan’s emperorship has been restricted to males without exception—meaning they’ve stepped backward compared to the 1st millennium, when eight empresses reigned. The longest ruling was Suiko, who formally recognized Buddhism as the state religion and instituted some meritocratic, rather than purely hereditary, concepts of titles and ranks.

Korean: Seondeok. During Korea’s Three Kingdoms era, Seondeok’s diplomatic skill produced foreign alliances that put Silla in position to ultimately conquer the other two kingdoms shortly after her death. Seondeok was also known for numerically interesting building projects: she completed a Buddhist pagoda with nine levels representing each of Silla’s traditional enemies, and an observatory (recognized as the first of its kind in the region) made with 27 rows of stones, in honor of her position as Silla’s 27th ruler.

Mayan: Wak Chanil Ajaw. Wak Chanil Ajaw, or “Lady Six Sky,” ruled the polity of Naranjo for decades. Like many Mayan leaders, she’s known mostly from images on monumental stelae; she commissioned several showing her costumed as the Mayan moon goddess and as a warrior-queen, trampling a captured enemy.

Moroccan: Sayyida al-Hurra. Born to an aristocratic Muslim family expelled from Europe by Spain’s Catholic monarchs, Sayyida’s revenge was to become the pirate queen of the Mediterranean. She ruled Tetouan in northern Morocco, and so impressed the Sultan of Morocco that he married her. Shockingly, he traveled to her to show that Sayyida would retain her title, as she did until her stepson overthrew her in 1542.

Mongolian: Mandukhai Khatun. Although her means of acquiring and maintaining power may have been a bit untoward (she adopted Genghis Khan’s only living descendent as a boy and, when he grew up, proceeded to marry him), Mandukhai did plenty to earn her title of “the Wise.” She led the Chingisids in battle while pregnant with twins, reunited the Mongols, and established the dynasty from which most later Mongol nobility descended.

Ottoman: Roxelana. Roxelana was one concubine in a harem of hundreds to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent before she impressed him so much as to become his wife, violating a 200 year-old tradition barring an Ottoman sultan from marrying a consort. She used her newfound power to position her son as his heir, build soup kitchens all across the empire’s vast territory, and help solidify the Ottoman-Polish alliance thanks to her eastern European heritage.

Persian: Artemisia I. As the queen of the city of Halicarnassus, then a component of the Persian Empire, no one would have expected Artemisia to accompany, let alone lead, her military into battle. But she was too brilliant of a tactician not to; her heroic actions at the Battles of Artemisium and Salamis earned her the highest praise from both Xerxes and the historian Herodotus.

Polish: Jadwiga. Jadwiga’s marriage to Grand Duke Jogaila of Lithuania was a huge sacrifice on her part; she was already engaged to someone she loved, and only agreed to marry the much older Jogaila when she sensed a divine message that it would be for Poland’s benefit. That ended up being true, as the Polish-Lithuanian union endured for centuries, and Jadwiga’s establishment of schools, hospitals and universities made her one of the most beloved Polish rulers.

Polynesian: Liliuokalani. The last ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Liliuokalani was overthrown by American industrialists when she attempted to restore the monarchy’s power that had been forcibly stripped during her predecessor’s reign. A believer in peaceful resistance and a gifted songwriter, she spent the rest of her life writing songs and books celebrating her country and lamenting its loss of independence.

(image public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Portuguese: Maria I*. Known alternately as “the Pious” and “the Mad,” Maria certainly seemed to be both, as Jesus was a key subject of most of her delirious raving episodes. Despite this, she’s revered in both Portugal (for being steadfastly opposed to the Napoleonic threat, and building some of the country’s most spectacular architecture) and Brazil (where she transferred her government after a Napoleon-sponsored Spanish invasion).

Roman: Livia Drusilla. Livia was the first woman to be deified as part of Rome’s imperial cult, and was seen by the public as the model Roman wife during her marriage to Augustus. But behind the scenes she was a cunning and ruthless politician, ensuring the ascension of her son Tiberius by any means necessary, including (most likely) masterminding several assassinations.

Russian: Catherine II*. Few leaders in history have embodied the term “enlightened despot” more accurately than Catherine, who seized power after organizing a coup against her husband and proceeded to preside over a Russian golden age. She greatly expanded her borders through wars and kept an iron grip on the serfdom system, but was also a major patron of artists and scientists, a pioneer in the establishment of female education, and on top of all that, the owner of an incredible collection of erotic furniture.

Shoshone: Sacagawea. Sacagawea’s presence on the Corps of Discovery Expedition was crucial, from interpreting, to guiding, to at one point quickly leaping out of a boat to save all of Lewis and Clark’s journals, on the river now named for her. Depending on which story you believe, she died at either age 24 or 94—but either way, she became a symbol of the worth of women and a hero for the American women’s suffrage movement.

(image public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Siamese: Suriyothai. Suriyothai was a queen consort during the Ayutthaya period who would fight alongside her husband, King Maha Chakkraphat, in battle riding a war elephant—as did their daughter, Boromdhilok. She achieved enduring fame as a martyr when she saved the king’s life by sacrificing her own (and Boromdhilok’s), charging in front of his elephant just as a Burmese commander was about to strike.

Songhai: Amina. The Songhai do not have a lot of recorded history upon which to draw, as their glorious reign in West Africa lasted only a bit more than 100 years. Amina, while not Songhai herself, was an Muslim queen who ruled Zazzau, one of the Hausa city-states that arose after the Songhai Empire’s collapse. She personally led an army of thousands and established her territory as a hub for trade.

Spanish: Isabella I*. The extremely pious Isabella’s co-reign in Castille with her husband Ferdinand V had enormous implications for the world on both sides of the Atlantic. In the very same year they completed the Reconquista, eliminating the last Islamic kingdom in western Europe, and sponsored Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas.

Swedish: Christina. One of the most educated women of her time, Christina knew eight languages, collected books and artwork voraciously, and read so constantly that she barely had time to sleep, let alone do anything about her wild hair, which became her trademark. She was unabashedly genderqueer, alternately going through phases of wearing men’s clothes and women’s clothes considered far too revealing for someone of her stature, and publicly flaunted her relationship with her companion and “bed-fellow,” Ebba Sparre.

Venetian: Felicia Cornaro. As Dogaressa of Venice in the 11th century, Felicia convinced her husband, Doge Vital I Michiel, to concern himself with foreign affairs as the insular, finance-focused Venetians rarely did. It was her sympathy to the plight of Christian refugees from Palestine within their city that ultimately led to Venice raising an army to participate in the First Crusade.

Zulu: Nandi. After having a son out of wedlock, Nandi was exiled from her home and left to raise her son on her own; that son, Shaka, went on to found the Zulu Kingdom. Nandi held the title “queen of queens” and was a key advisor during Shaka’s reign. Upon her death, he was so distraught that he ordered a number of his attendants to be killed as part of a mourning ritual.
videoFirst Look: Unstacking Cities - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, June 20, 2016, 07:10:25 PM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 442

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videoFirst Look: America - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, June 20, 2016, 06:48:51 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 347

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reviewCivilization VI Lets You Rule In Style
Posted by: BUncle, June 18, 2016, 01:35:16 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 223,news-22854.html#prclt-zy17dYAg
Civilization VI Lets You Rule In Style
tom's guide
by Marshall Honorof Jun 16, 2016, 10:58 AM

LOS ANGELES – Civilization has now covered the same subject material six times, but in its defense, the entire history of the world requires nothing less. The latest installment in Sid Meier’s classic series, Civilization VI, is an evolutionary rather than revolutionary step in the franchise’s history, focusing on small, subtle improvements, especially in city design.

Everything from the franchise’s cartoony graphics to its delightful anachronisms returns in style here, and tells a story not only of how civilizations rise, but how they stand the test of time.

I met with 2K, which will be publishing Civilization VI, at E3 2016 to experience a hands-off demo of the title. If you’ve played a Civilization game before, you can probably already guess how it went. A representative from Firaxis, the game’s developer, began by controlling a humble Chinese village. While it’s possible to start as early as the Stone Age, this demo began with a society that already understood agriculture and animal husbandry. Still, the town had little to call its own, save for a small city center, a rice paddy and a rock quarry.

The game, like previous installments, is a turn-based strategy title that takes place on hexagonal grids. As you expand your reach to encompass more and more hexagons, your resources, technologies and achievements will increase accordingly.

After a short time, for example, the demo’s small Chinese town had developed granaries and water wheels, and was equipped to send settlers to found a new village. The settlers chose a spot by the sea, and suddenly, the ocean was a new exploitable resource. The representative also developed a trade route that linked the two societies.

One town turned inward to spiritual enlightenment, and here, we learned about the new Districts mechanic. Rather than just build a city and be done with it, Civilization VI lets players customize individual parts of their city. By constructing a religious district, the first city became more culturally advanced, and constructed a Wonder to seal the deal. (The Wonder was a pyramid, which the Chinese never built in real-life, but Civilization has mixed and matched cultural anachronisms on purpose for years, and it’s not going to stop anytime soon.)

We also got a look at how diplomacy in the game worked. To the east of China sat the United States of America (again, Civilization is not exactly the real world), and President Theodore Roosevelt was only too happy to trade some cotton for China’s excess stone. This helped foster a friendly relationship between the two countries.

On the other hand, some societies were not so understanding. The second town had to deal with barbarian raiders, and built up a military encampment district as a result. The raiders were no match for advanced Chinese pikemen, and the barbarian territory soon became Chinese.

Egypt, under the leadership of pharaoh Cleopatra, proved to be a different story. Giza’s forces crushed a huge portion of the now-industrializing first city before the second city responded with a new advancement: riflemen and tanks. After conquering Giza, China had the option of either sparing the city and annexing it, or razing it to the ground. The representative chose the former, although an educated guess suggests that such an action would cause problems for the Chinese in the future.

With its focus on choices, consequences and a mix of historical realism and anachronism, Civilization VI looks to continue the trend that made the first five games such enduring classics. Expect to see it on Oct. 21 for the PC.
videoCiv 6 E3 demo
Posted by: Unorthodox, June 15, 2016, 01:16:12 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 270

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Judging by the screens coming out of this video, looks like a lot of new information to be gleaned. 
featuresCivilization VI forum theme - your input wanted
Posted by: BUncle, June 14, 2016, 08:42:29 PM
Replies: 18

Board: Civ 6
Views: 635

-So I decided we could use a nice Civ 6 theme.

What would that look like?  Something with Atlas is obvious -and I may or may not use him as a background image- but I saw a forum do really poorly with a lot of peach and yellow.  Looking at the screenshots that are out so far, you see green, green and more green, with some blue and gray details on the map.  -Hmm.  Maybe.

Uno suggested something I'd been thinking - interface elements.  The Next Turn Button and the game readouts and so forth.  I'd noticed some pretty bits there, so I loaded up all the screenies with interface showing and started cutting neat bits out:

-Not too bright gold/brass trim/scrollwork everywhere, a good bit of dark wood, a lot of rich dark teal and flat blacks for background.  Subdued neon green and purple and light blue -and of course black and white- for lettering.

Yeah; there's plenty to work with, there.

So first, tart up the Atlas variation of the new AC2 logo with some brass border...  (These all enlarge somewhat clicked on)

I like the last one, best, but am open to input.

Spacey suggested something with more Civ for a 6 theme logo - I'm sorta married to the thematic unity with the main logo, but in ancient days it was night half the time and the sun rose every morning:

And then I tried, much as I hated to reduce the fungused Earth that was so much work, a different crop of that image, with more Atlas and most of the landscape at his feet left in:

I don't think the coppering of the letters quite works -it didn't want to look quite right as brass/gold, either- but I feel like this is otherwise what to go with.

-Now, I can make a copy of the default theme and commence fiddling...  I'd like to involve everyone in the creation, with all the ideas I can pull, and reactions when I start posting results.  Just remember that art can't be a complete democracy without becoming mediocre at best, and I can't please everyone - but I'm certainly interested in trying...
xxRe: Civilization 6 Screenshots
Posted by: BUncle, June 08, 2016, 07:38:08 AM
Replies: 66

Board: Civ 6
Views: 2325

some articleCivilization VI: Envoys and City-States
Posted by: BUncle, June 02, 2016, 11:13:21 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civ 6
Views: 532

Civilization VI: Envoys and City-States
Date: Jun 1, 2016
Posted By: David Hinkle

In this blog post, we outline the changes to City-States in Civilization VI and introduce the new Envoy system, which allows players to send emissaries off to increase your influence with City-States and receive valuable bonuses. Read on!

What are City-States?

City-States, introduced in Civilization V, are singular cities that act independent of the player and rival leaders in Civilization VI. They have their own political relationships, can engage in war, and provide players a means of diplomacy outside of dealing with the major civilizations.

In Civilization VI, City-States are much more streamlined over their Civilization V counterparts, and feature updated quests that become visible after a player sends an Envoy there. Completing a City-State’s quests earn additional Envoys there, which help you enact more influence and earn greater rewards as you continue to strengthen your relationship that particular City-State.

What are Envoys?

Envoys are a type of emissary that players can send to City-States for the purpose of furthering their agenda in Civilization VI. Envoys earn resources over time and, the more Envoys you send to a particular City-State, the greater the influence you have over that City-State. With enough influence, you can become Suzerain of that City-State, which yields unique bonuses and guarantees allegiance during times of peace and war. Suzerains can even pay gold to levy the City-State’s military units for a limited time.

Players can even send an Envoy to a City-State they are at war with, potentially changing the City-State’s allegiance in the middle of the conflict. Declaring war on a City-State removes all Envoys the player has there; otherwise, Envoys stay on a City-State permanently.

There are certain conditions and actions that may allow Envoys to be removed from a City-State, and we’ll be explaining these situations as we get closer to the launch of Civilization VI.

Join 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.
reviewBE/RT overview & SMACX comparison
Posted by: Harpalus, May 06, 2016, 05:57:54 AM
Replies: 8

Board: Civilization Beyond Earth General Discussions
Views: 1264

Quote from: Mart on November 26, 2015, 02:25:03 PM
So anyone from forum members played that expansion already?
What is experience? Better than SMACX? Worse? About the same?

I really wanted to like this game. I ignored Civ 3, 4, and I mostly ignored Civ 5, but purchased Beyond Earth on release day. The lack of voiced quotes for the faction leaders really hurts the personalities of the leaders, but to be fair there's more written as backstory than you realize: it's just out of the way. The Rising Tide and BE factions are all more realistic than Alpha Centauri's factions in my opinion, they just lack personality.

The "lore" has a better starting point than Alpha Centauri, for what little that's worth. (For example,  ;aki; has borg implants COMPLETELY out of sync with her tech level when the game starts. ;deidre; is conveniently environmentalist, by which I meant that she would seem strange, weak, and out of place without the whole "alive planet" thing, which she couldn't have anticipated). It's all the movies, quotes, and philosophy that makes Alpha Centauri's story and characters special. A real opportunity was missed in Beyond Earth. A perfect example is Rising Tide's "Al Falah" faction: the only faction that wasn't cryogenically frozen, so they have no idea what Earth was like. It was an interesting narrative, completely ruined by what I can only assume is misplaced humour (they think Vulpix, the Pokemon, was a mythical animal on Earth along with the llama). You aren't even told any of this by the game: just "here's the arabic faction". Hell, you can't even see the name or image of the leader you're selecting, just the bland faction icon. I had to delve into the game's help files and website to find out Al Falah's backstory.

They had a well thought out cast of characters and backstory, but didn't think narrative was necessary. There's a whole discussion of the backstory and lore of Beyond Earth on Youtube from a convention panel, and almost none of it comes out in the game.  I prefer the stylistic change of the setting, personally: ordinary, "realistic" factions that turn radical as the game progresses, rather than starting that way. Rising Tide added new hybrid affinities, but then didn't bother giving them unique victory conditions or even unique city graphics, both of which would have helped the narrative of the game.

Mechanically, BE is fine. Rising Tide helps: it definitely improved aquatic cities, but it gutted some of personality the leaders had: diplomacy. It's mostly gone, replaced by a separate trading minigame where you're buying abilities for diplomatic capital, conveniently sidestepping the need to actually -talk- to other leaders anymore, much of the time. They do have randomly generated "personalities", where they'll send twitter-style messages at you for various things, which is something.

 If you like Civ 5 and science fiction, BE and Rising Tide are worth a shot. I don't miss anything that BE culled from Civ 5. Rising Tide had some good ideas but can't save the game without more patches and bug fixes. I appreciate that I seem to be on more of a level playing field compared to the AI: Alpha Centauri is full of mechanics that seemingly only benefit the player. BE's orbital layer is much better than the satellite spreadsheet of SMAC/X.

If it was better supported by the developer I'd continue to play it alongside Alpha Centauri, but the game is just too buggy for me. There's been a handful of patches, but they still haven't addressed core balance issues. The game can't even install mods correctly: there's a known bug that prevents many mods from installing, unless you install it, uninstall it, and then install it again: a process you need to go through every time you start up your game. They added functionality that you have to buy and play another game to unlock. Imagine if AC refused to let you play as  ;ulrik; until you also bought Sid Meier's Pirates!, beat it, got the achievements added to a separate online account, and then and only then would you be allowed to play as  ;ulrik; (assuming you were logged in and had internet connectivity). Does anybody believe this company can make a good SMAC2?

Poor show by the developers. The expansion tried to help, but BE was an average game to begin with and there's a mountain of balance issues and bugs. If you already like BE you'll probably like Rising Tide, but do know that they did gut most of the game's diplomacy in favour of a faceless trading game.
Posted by: BUncle, April 15, 2016, 11:29:09 PM
Replies: 1487

Board: Recreation Commons
Views: 37363

...Pretty distracted the last two days, because kittens...

Ev'rybody feel free to post their kat pichures...

Quote from: BUncle on August 04, 2016, 08:34:50 PM
  In cats -and the poise needed to be non-threatening to them- is a kind of serenity.  I not only have to be quiet -within as well as without, as much as I can manage- but let a lot go, and that's good practice for everything in my life.
fiction2106 A.D.
Posted by: BUncle, March 23, 2016, 06:15:25 PM
Replies: 3

Board: Planet Tales
Views: 636

A forum roundtable story that amounted to something through the magic of editing, submitted for your approval.  -Note that forum language restrictions are somewhat loosened for stories in here.

Copyright 2009 by the authors.

The discussion thread is here.  Please comment - it's all the pay I get...

By eastsidebagel, Buster’s Uncle,
lemonhead, hs1611 and z4ckdabeast


Book One:
Hero of the Future


Chapter One
Jack's Crime

The thing David wanted everyone to understand about him is that he was loud for a reason. Teenage angst and anxiety about his social life at High School took the best from him, and all that was left was an obnoxious emo kid who listened to Green Day all day long, the volume on his iPod turned to max.

"David", his mother called him from the kitchen downstairs, "I've served dinner. Come down, hun."

But David couldn't hear her because of the ear plugs and so he didn't notice her loving care for his well-being and he continued to indulge his self-pity.

He knew cranking up the volume on the music so loud wasn't good for his crappy hearing, but, like any teen in the 'tude stage of his life, he didn't care.

David's mother, enraged after minutes of fruitlessly calling her son to sit down at the dinner table, entered his room, pulled out the ear plugs from his ears and said ferociously: "That's it mister, no more pocket money for you this month!". David was utterly shocked by this prospect. He needed money for the movies, concerts and such things. This could mean only one thing: he must get a job.

At the next day, David told his friends at school about this and they too were truly surprised. After all, David's mother was generally known as the most tolerant and indifferent mother around; normally she didn't give a crap about the eccentric behavior of her son and therefore, this sudden cut in David's monthly budget came most surprising. David's peers, Charles and Ramon, both emo kids of the finest kind, suspected that this sudden mind change of his mother must have something to do with a new, unknown lover in her life.

Being punk kids, they didn't phrase it that delicately.

So David was forced to look for a job; his first choice was to apply at the nearby McDonald's, where his father had worked for nearly thirty years until his retirement. David's haircut, pierced nose and obvious bad attitude were going to be a problem in getting hired anywhere, but at McDonald's he had an in.

He was a legacy.

The next day, David entered the office of the manager of the local McDonald's and sat down before the desk of Mr. Ricardelli. Sam Ricardelli was a war veteran of Vietnam, with no tolerance for self-indulgent, worthless slackers like David.

Nevertheless, Dave got the job he was looking for after a very embarrassing, very awkward job interview, and the next thing he knew he was occupied as the new fry cook.

David had no idea why he wasn't manning the drive-thru window or something instead, as he couldn't cook. Still, the pay was better, so he was quite happy when he received his first pay check a month later. Just some three-hundred bucks more and he could be able to afford one ticket to the next Green Day-concert, which happened to be held next week in his hometown, Columbus, OH.

David was very happy with the current circumstances of his life, so he even stopped cutting himself; which kind of alienated him a bit from the other emo kids he had befriended so far at his school. Non-conformists cliques always wanted everyone to non-conform together.

One day, on his way to home to his ignorant, middle-class mother a black car pulled over to the sidewalk David was walking on; he stopped, curious. A black, mirrored window of the car cracked opened and a mysterious, smoky, low, female voice called from inside: "David, why don't you have a seat? We have a very interesting offer for you."

David was paralyzed, and as though forced to move by a puppeteer, slowly opened the door and entered the car. There was a soundless buzzing- a shapely brunette, wearing an oddly-styled gray woman’s business suit, was in the back seat lying on her back, eyes closed; she said with a husky voice: "David, there is a service I want you to perform for me"

"But who are you, I even don't know why you picked me out of all people for your task!", he said in a distressed voice, almost crying, for now his sound little suburban world seemed to get more coming-to-an-end by the minute.

The woman sat up, grabbed David with both hands on his face, and looked deeply into his eyes. She said in a crystal-clear voice, as cold and emotionless as a diamond, "Dave, I'm your wife… from the freakin' future!"

"What..? What do you mean, from the future? How is that possible? My wife? When did we meet? Who are you??" - shouted David while trying to back out of the car.

Unfortunately the door on his side was already closed and the car was speeding down the street.

The woman looked out the window for a moment, collecting her thoughts before turning again to look at David and saying, "Never mind that now. That's a long story and our time is short. You'll just have to trust me and I'll explain everything later.

“You see our nephew, Jack Hawksmoor, is in trouble and he needs your help.

”I’m Melinda, by the way.”

The black limousine rushed down the deserted road, ignored red traffic lights and was heading straight to the airport. Dave, the wuss, was silently weeping on the whole drive. Melinda, a hot brunette, sighed at the view. In a dark, vibrant voice, she began to tell her story; "You see, Dave, the son of my brother will be the first man on Mars. His journey will mark the beginning of the colonization of the red planet, but in my time, all settlers are presumably dead, killed by a Martian killer virus, which our nephew accidentally unleashed. Since I'm from your future, my ability to interfere in this timeline is very limited. I can't do