One More Turn…

One More Turn...

Anthony Zito, Staff Writer

The year is 1890. The American Empire is in the final stages of invading the neighboring Republic of Greece, having captured Sparta and driven their knights into a full retreat. Emperor Teddy Roosevelt, having just returned from a ceremony honoring the god of the sea, ascends the steps of the Great Pyramids in Chicago to announce that Albert Einstein has just arrived to teach his citizens about nuclear fission at Oxford University. No, this isn’t an episode of some dystopian alternate history series, this is one of countless scenarios possible in the hit turn-based strategy game Sid Meier’s Civilization 6

Civilization 6 is the latest in a long series of society-building strategy games of the same name. Like its predecessors, Civ 6 allows you to take control of a historical society and manage its development from the dawn of civilization all the way into the near future. Released in 2016 and receiving major expansions in 2018, 2019, along with a series of updates occurring throughout 2020 and early 2021, this game continues to keep itself fresh while gradually distinguishing itself from its predecessors. Its combination of complex strategy, historical flavor, a surprisingly lighthearted aesthetic, and copious customization options is sure to make players go from asking for “one more turn” to “one more game” in no time. 

At the beginning of every game, players must settle a city and begin to explore a randomly generated hex-based world inhabited by potential friends or foes. While expanding their territory, players must balance a startling number of variables: scientific and cultural progress, gold income, diplomatic standing, and religious tenets. Each of the few dozen playable civilizations also has their own special abilities based on unique aspects of their history. For example, America under Teddy Roosevelt wields massive cultural and diplomatic influence, while Russia under Tsar Peter generates huge amounts of faith from its Lavra buildings. 

Unfortunately, depth of gameplay comes at the cost of intuitiveness; this excess of variables and abilities creates an undeniably steep learning curve for new players. However, this same depth also contributes to the game’s incredible replay value. Games can be won in six different ways, encouraging players to play game after game to achieve them all, and with each game taking several hours, Civ 6 is an easy and addictive way to spend free time. The ongoing wave of expansions have only further diversified the gameplay experience by introducing all new “game modes” that add even more mechanics that can be mixed and matched in endless combinations. 

Civilization 6 also stands out for its lighthearted take on the often-rigid historical genre. The historical figures, landscapes, and units are animated in a bubbly, cartoonish fashion which reminds players not to take the game too seriously. Additionally, since any civ can appear on any landmass with any neighbor, choose any government type, and build any of the plethora of historic monuments the game has to offer, hilariously inaccurate scenarios can become a reality, such as Japan and France racing to construct Stonehenge or Ethiopia building the Taj Mahal next to the Sydney Opera House. And to top it all off, in Civilization series tradition, each civ has a gorgeous unique soundtrack inspired by music from their history. 

Unfortunately, Civilization 6 is a game that only reaches its full potential with the help of several premium updates, and this review was written with all of them in mind. Such an expansive experience comes at a cost — at standard price, the game and all of its paid expansions cost over $200! Luckily, the game and its expansions are available in discount bundles and go on sale quite frequently, making the game significantly more affordable for those willing to wait for a deal.

Overall, Civilization 6 is an excellent strategy game with endless customization possibilities and a perfect amount of whimsical flair to balance its historical aspects, so long as one is willing to invest the time and money to experience the game at its full potential. For those willing, Civ 6 is sure to become a free time staple for years to come.