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Civilization VI: Hands on with the first 100 turnsMercury NewsPosted on August 3, 2016 by Gieson CachoRadical 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.
Uno could probably make you deader...
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