What’s The Story With Civilization VI: An eXposition

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Recently our patron saint and literal lord of the flies, Nate, wrote an article envisioning the next expansion for Civilization VI (Civ6). No, not Gathering Storm. That one’s already set. The next next one that we all hope will arrive in February, 2020.

In Nate’s article, he talked all about adding a sci-fi aspect to Civ6, which I think is hilarious since I brought that up over a year ago on the podcast, and he called me crazy. Who’s crazy now, huh? HUH!? Anyway, I’m on board with a speculative spin to my beloved Civ6. But what if it went in a different direction? What if we got…

Bum Bum BUM!!!

Civilization VI: Epic!

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Picture this, but more epic.

This expansion would be all about adding more narrative moments to the game of Civ. One of the problems that Civ6 suffers from right now is that game is very static. After the initial land rush, once the borders bump against one another, the map – and thus the game – loses a lot of momentum. It’s very easy (strategically recommended, in fact) to just turtle up. The game’s own mechanics encourage this behavior with constant culture pressure and maluses for players who declare war. You’re meant to more or less sit back and just roll toward victory.

This click-fest isn’t at all fun. The tough decisions have mostly been made, and now it’s simply a matter of going through the same old motions. Epic would change all of that by forcing players out of their comfort zones while also providing unique story moments throughout every game.

The first addition that Epic would bring is quests. I know what you’re saying: “Hey Dummy, this is Civ not Endless Legend.” But hear me out. History is actually full of ‘quest-like’ moments where a nation began a great undertaking for reasons that were religious, political, or just inexplicable. The Rapa Nui construction of the giant heads on Easter Island, the European Crusades against the Arab nations, and the 1960s Space Race are all examples of “quests” that have happened in history.

Now, you might point out that a lot of these aspects already exist, in game. Even quests, in a sense, exist – when City States ask for certain actions in exchange for their friendship. However, what I’m proposing is far more involved.

Imagine, for example, that you’re coasting along in the midgame when you get an announcement that France has declared a Crusade against the Aztecs. They want to levy 10 of your units in the war. If you join, you have the chance for huge rewards: cities, finances, science, etc. A massive boon. But, of course, joining the Crusade will be a massive toll on your economy (to build the units) all to burn them in some other civ’s cause.

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Catherine wants war! (Actual war not shown)

However, if you decline the quest, France (and her allies) will turn on you. They may even decide to Crusade against you next. Crusades could also have a religious component (as they did in real life). You could be excommunicated, losing all religious bonuses, for not joining in the quest!

Notice that these are all mechanics that exist in some form in the game already, it just takes a little organization or adjustment to have them work together in a slightly different way for a far greater in-game payoff. I’m not changing what Civ6 is, fundamentally, just taking greater advantage of the features that already exist.

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“Hmmm… That does sound like a good idea.” – Genghis Khan, himself

A space race or building a monument would work slightly differently, but you can see how it could be applied. All of these are situations where you are forced to make a massive investment into something you might not want to do, but also feel forced to participate in. It consequently disrupts your precious plans and makes you compensate – sort of like a real life leader. This also leads to what makes a game work, making interesting decisions. Not picking between multiple mediocre options, but rather being forced to choose the least worst option.

In a similar way, Epic would also introduce random events to Civ6. I know that Gathering Storm will have weather events, but Epic would build and expand on this. Imagine, you’re dominating the game in the late 1700’s and suddenly, you get an announcement: your best production city has been struck with bubonic plague!

Now you’ve got serious problems. You can quarantine the city, which decreases the disease from spreading, but also removes all of the bonuses you get from the city, essentially severing it from your empire. Trade routes shrivel up as cities try to protect themselves from the pandemic. Your civ now has to make a large investment in cleaning cities and health research to stop the disease.

It doesn’t have to be just diseases either. Volcanic eruptions, financial panics, a large migration of immigrants – there are all kinds of random events that add new challenges to empire management. These events would be more than binary yes/no choices, but would chain multiple decision points and challenges together as you’re forced to overcome the event.

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How much cooler would it be if you had to recruit Eiffel in order to build this?

Finally, Epic would rework the great people feature in Civ6. Right now, they feel like strange, random bonuses that happen to have names. Instead, the famous people would work more like Heroes/Governors in the Endless series. Want your city to be a science powerhouse, maybe invite Albert Einstein to take up residency. Of course, when he dies, you’ll lose the bonuses but then maybe Elon Musk is available.

Basically, Epic would turn famous people into characters in the story of your game. Having Joan of Arc join your empire would be an exciting moment that turns the tide of your campaign, not just a random adjacency bonus.

Altogether, Epic would transform Civ6 into something far more interesting, giving boosts to the currently ho-hum mid and late games, and make the throughline of a game feel far more dynamic. Instead of saying, “I captured a few cities and then clicked to a science victory” you would have exciting stories like “I was halfway to a science victory when suddenly my lab city fell victim to smallpox, but at the last minute I recruited Jonas Salk to run the city, clear it of plague, and complete my space race quest to win the game!”

It would add exciting decision points, interesting narratives, and make the entire experience feel truly… Epic!

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A beard like that can only be called EPIC.

What do you think? Would you want to add Epic to your Civilization experience? What features would you want to see in a Civ expansion? Let us know in the comments, and look out for the next feature in our Civ Expansion Exposition series!

19 thoughts on “What’s The Story With Civilization VI: An eXposition

  1. I agree in that civ VI have lost the conquest part of the game. It is tedious and not very fun. There is no tactical mini game like in Age of Wonders just shooting down stuff with your archers. I have only taken out max one civ in all my hundreds of hours of game-play. Usually I get bored after capturing that first neighboring city go on clicking more stuff in the building ques. Next expansion should focus on the combat system adding armies and tactical combat much like in the test of times games but better. Maybe with generated terrain from the strategic map. It should take more than a 1-3 minutes for a grand battle to play out. Crusades and similar stuff can be a part of it. (Side not why do people take Crusades as an example before the 500 years of arabs conquest that led to them which is much more like a regular Civ conquest.)

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  2. Every time I play Civ 4, there’s always that Epic feel. Even more so at higher difficulties where each decision has Epic consequences.

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  3. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but that part of the game does get repatative. Love your ideas and flexibility to allievate these numb moments. I always play random maps and leaders to keep things fresh. There’s also a decent break between games to get the urge back to play. I think a better more dynamic AI and tying it to difficulty of the game versus just handicaps would work in well with your suggestions. Although penalities of war have gotten better, but still a lot of room for improvement. Can’t have Epic without fixing some of these issues that have been around a while.

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  4. God, not Elon Musk.

    He is just an egomaniacal money guy who doesn’t do anything for his tech companies. He didn’t even start Tesla, he is just the current CEO.

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    1. I’m not sure if you’re serious? Is eXplorminate run by Elon Musk? In which case I demand a raise!!! Or am I Elon Musk? In which case… Wtf am I doing here. I have electric cars to make, rocket ships to vandalize, Mars to colonize and LA to sink…

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  5. Pretty interesting ideas there. Civ really does need some spicing up because at the moment it gets a bit dull just clicking your way to victory in late game.

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  6. I really like your idea. Random events like that would be awesome. Also i would like to see better score victory. I dont like to force only 1 thing, like science or culture. I like my empire good all around. Problem is with score victory is that more city you have bigger is your score. It needs tweaks imo.

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  7. Why are you hyping a product made by developers who profited from baking spyware into their games? Your fellow Gamers had their digital fingerprint copied and sold two 3rd parties and it’s still out there being sold to advertisers. Do the victims deserve any consideration at all?

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  8. Redshell/Civ6 collects your system settings, update level of your OS(including malware defenses), and setting regarding devices like Webcams and Mic, and possibly all your contact info from your windows registration then sells that info to whomever is willing to pay for it. Its a mpa of how to invade your privacy and who has the weakest defenses. What part of this doesnt scare you/piss you off enough to stop supporting the developer?

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    1. I live in the US. My government does this for fun. Every other day a new breach exposes all of my info. Two summers ago, a credit agency exposed all of my info. I had to deal with ID theft and all of my bank accounts getting emptied. I had to work with local law enforcement, the FBI, FTC, FDIC and a few others to get my money back. True Story… Red shell selling my info is so low on my priority list, I don’t even think about it.

      Oh yea, Google has access to all my info and what do they do with it? Facebook knows everything about me, and I don’t have an account. Also, they know everything about you and everyone else.

      Wake up buddy, you are the product!

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