A first look at Korea and its leader in Civilization 6’s DLC


Today, Firaxis has been shining a spotlight on Korea, one of the new civs coming to Civilization 6 with the launch of the Rise and Fall expansion, due out in February. Korea’s led by Queen Seondeok, who by all accounts was a pretty great ruler, heralding a renaissance in the historical kingdom of Silla. She did have to contend with dumb blokes who were scared of women rulers, however. Take a look at the ‘first look’ video below.

Seondeok was a shrewd diplomat, and as well as supporting the arts and sciences she promoted education and social welfare. We could probably do with some of that in 2017. This is reflected in her immortal Civilization 6 counterpart. Korea gets a special district, for instance, replacing the campus with the Seowan, an academy that explores politics, culture and philosophy.

When science needs to make room for war, Korea’s borders can be defended with the civ’s unique unit: the hwacha. It’s a colourful, almost cute cart, but appearances can be deceiving. The hwacha is also a devastating weapon, capable of firing 100 arrow rockets, or 200 bullets with a modification.

Both Korea and Seondeok get unique abilities, too. For the civ, there’s the Three Kingdom ability. Essentially, it takes advantage of the Seowan by allowing you to build mines and farms adjacent to it for a bonus to science and food – life’s two most important things. Seondeok’s ability is called Hwarang, and it grants bonuses to science and culture in every city that has a governor.

Despite the big changes that Civ 6 brought with it, I found I stopped playing pretty quickly. It’s probably the least I’ve played any Civilization, even though I think that, on a mechanical level, it’s the strongest the series has ever been. After more than two decades, I think I’m maybe just a little burned out and waiting for the series to do something dramatically different. I’m not sure if Rise and Fall will be that, but it’s certainly starting to sound intriguing, with its loyalty system and its dark and golden ages concept. How about you?

Civilization 6: Rise and Fall it due out on February 8.


  1. basilisk says:

    I finally got around to trying Civ6 the other day and while I do like the mechanical changes, it’s not going to be my favourite entry mainly because of its god-awful UI. It wastes so much screen estate on pointless frivolities while not showing things that actually matter. Like where your districts are at a glance on a city screen or what will be the net result of building a district on a specific tile after all the complicated adjacency bonuses are calculated. The trade route screen is ridiculous, the Great People screen is ridiculous, the artworks screen is ridiculous, there is no (usable) unit list, you can’t sort your cities by output… It’s a shame, really, because I feel the game is mechanically strong, just a bit of a chore to play because there’s so much UI-wrestling involved.

    Unless the DLC changes that, I don’t think I’m going to bother with it, sadly.

    • zhivik says:

      There are mods that deal with some of these issues, particularly the unit list and the trade route screens. Personally, I’ve never had an issue with recognising which district is where, they are pretty distinct. I’d say a bigger turn-off is the terrible AI (which has improved lately), but I see why this wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

      • basilisk says:

        Haven’t tried the mods yet, but I’ve seen they exist.

        But really, would it be so hard to just show the districts in their colour on the city screen? They each have a distinctive colour assigned to them anyway; why do I have to recognise them by the shape of buildings? At least when I’m trying to build a new district and want to see the adjacency bonuses, which the game stubbornly refuses to show in any convenient way even though the whole unpacking cities idea is supposed to be Civ6’s killer feature.

        • Zorgulon says:

          Huh? Civ VI’s UI failures are myriad, but I don’t think adjacency bonuses is one of them. It quite clearly tells you the net bonus on each tile when you go to place the district.

          • basilisk says:

            Yes, but it doesn’t tell me how the bonus is calculated and how much comes from which tiles. You basically have to remember the formula; the UI tells you these two tiles have a net gain of +2, but not if it this +2 comes from mountain + city centre or city centre + campus or whatever. It’s just +2, take it or leave it. And once the district is built, this information becomes completely unavailable, unless I’ve missed it. Which is entirely possible in this mess of an UI.

          • noom says:


            If you hover the mouse cursor over the +2 it tells you where the modifiers are coming from. I’d agree generally that the adjacency modifiers can be confusing though; it could do with indicating how your new constructions affect the modifiers for existing neighbouring districts for example.

            My personal UI bugbear is that I would love to know what differences policies are going to make to particular yields without having to commit to them. It can be almost impossible to judge which policies are going to be most effective sometimes.

            Finally, as there’s a lot of people decrying the lack of a unit list, you can bring one up by selecting a unit and clicking its name in the lower right. It’s a bit limited but the functionality is there. I did have to google that to find out though, which isn’t exactly a hallmark of good UI design.

          • basilisk says:

            Noom, thanks. I did not notice that, actually. But yes, I’d also love to know if placing a new district on a tile increases the adjacency bonus on another tile.

            And yes, I found the unit list while I was confusedly looking for what must be the least conspicuous unit XP bar ever, but it’s nearly useless. For one, it’s tiny.

  2. Chris says:

    Great puff piece!

  3. Grizzly says:

    The rise and fall expansion sounds very interesting, but the only Civ game I have played is edition 5, and I simply didn’t find the Civ premise all that interesting. In no small part because it both tries to draw from history and yet simply takes bits of “humans are awesome” out of history and rips them from their context. I’ve also understood that there was a pollution mechanic in the previous games that is no longer present in Civ V. As such, Civ V has a theme of the glorious march of humanity unto progress and it seems to treat the constant warfare and dicking people over that happens as an equally glorious part of that progress.

    I far more enjoy the story driven 4x games like Alpha Centauri and Endless Legend over the naive and anachronistic setup that Civilization V offered, and rise and fall expansion or not Civ VI seems to do the same thing.

    • fearandloathing says:

      “In no small part because it both tries to draw from history and yet simply takes bits of “humans are awesome” out of history and rips them from their context”

      Totally agree. I don’t ask for strategy games to become activist, but man, suckiness of humanity also provides lots of interesting mechanics. Wanna make conquest snowballs or turtling harder? Add in some refugees. Got troubles in making the end-game more interesting? Grab some symptoms of global warming.

      • RuySan says:

        Civ1 and 2 had global warming. I don’t know if they took it out to not offend some americans who think it’s an hoax or if players found it to be an unfair mechanic.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      But now you have a bunch of pudgy women in charge, it makes colonialism ok again.

    • TheOx129 says:

      I feel like I’ve read more than a handful of thinkpieces about how Civilization is essentially Whig History: The Game, with all of the faults that entails. Personally, I’ve always felt a particular dislike for the portrayal of stateless peoples as little more than roaming hostile barbarians, particularly as it turns what could be an interesting set of mechanics (raids, trade, tribute, migration, sedentarization, etc.) into little more than an early-game obstacle to expansion.

  4. klops says:

    I’m grumpy towards CivVI, but even if I loved it, I still wouldn’t warm up to these new leaders and factions. There’s already enough of these and they don’t really change the way you can play the game. Or is there someone who’s played with all the civilizations and wants more experiences with new ones?

    Changes in the mechanics, proper DLCs, yes please. New faction, who cares (well, many I assume)

    • n0m0n says:

      I agree. I loved civ 2 as a kid, played countless hours on civ 3 on my laptop while riding a the bus back home from college, many happy multiplayer hotseat sessions of civ 4 where we swapped between playing the game and cooking at the restaurant I was working during my mid twenties.

      Civ 5 has been lots of fun too, but before civ 6 came out I had discovered Paradox style grand strategy games and so many other great 4x recently released that the tried and frankly tired board gamey civ formula started getting dull.

      I mostly think this is to do with the developers adding new features and increasing complexity without creating an AI that can understand the interactions of these complexities. I feel like the only way the AI can win is by numbers cheating and it totally removes any resemblance of a simulated civilization.

      Instead of adding more “stuff to do before clicking end turn” I wish they would work on the tactical and strategic layer of simulation. I actually disagree that making the UI more informative would make the game better. I think you almost receive too much information and it ends up feeling a little bit too obvious what the optimal move is. Kind of like how you could automate every single unit, assign a governor to every single city and assign bind research by policy in Alpha Centauri (otherwise a great game). It made every turn a lot shorter and faster, but I want every turn to feel longer and more meaningful rather than have a game last 200+ turns, when really the first 50-100 turns is where a lot of the game will be decided.

      In short: I want more meaningful decisions on every turn. I don’t want a game where I sit through a hundred turns ust waiting for the AI to move and the victory screen to pop up. Firaxis sadly seems to focus instead on adding complexity to a game that is already too complex for its own AI to play well.

  5. Rindan says:

    I just can’t get excited for Civ. Civ games are just so lifeless and flavorless these days. It honestly feels more like a board game than any real effort to explore some themes around the nature of humanity. Everything is just a subtle +1 this or +3% that. You stack enough of these little bonuses up and that is your economy. There is no “feeling” of ever leading a brutal authoritarian state, or a grand empire, or righteous democracy. It doesn’t feel like there is any ideological split in the world that spawns conflict. You never feel like you are leading a tribal band, city state, or kingdom. You never feel face a strange and outlandish future and decide on the final vision of your civilization. It doesn’t feel like there is any sort of journey of ushering along these people to a final destination, whatever it might be. All religions and governments are the, except for different random bonuses. You pick stuff because of the pluses and minuses next to them, not because they make any sort of sense.

    It fucking sucks.

    It feels like a board game with no soul. I can’t believe that Alpha Centauri is still hasn’t been beaten in terms of a Civilization like game with a little bit of soul. Even the mechanics and UI of Alpha Centauri are still shockingly better in some ways. It’s crazy that a theoretical Alpha Centauri with a new coat of paint and a little modernization would easily knock the piss out of the latest Civilization games.

    • Murdock says:

      Totally agree. We need some new and flesh competitors to rush Firaxis to make good decisions.
      Tell me other 4x games you liked? Seems like you are a real fan of the genre.