Civ VI: Rise and Fall’s new features explained


I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down. That’s what I’ll be singing when I play Civilization VI‘s upcoming Rise and Fall expansion. There are loads of new features but the unifying theme is, as the title suggests, success, failure and recovery. That means dark ages that come with hardships but also bring about the possibility of a renaissance into a heroic age. All of that, and much more, is explained in the brand new video below.

Rise and Fall should introduce more fluctuations in the flow of the game. Eras will be more distinct, so that the mightiest empire of the classical period might not be quite so dangerous by the time feudalism rolls around. The video explains it all quite clearly, but for those who have not or cannot watch, the sequence looks a little like this. At the start of each era, you choose a dedication, setting goals for your civ, and then your discoveries, decisions and achievements receive a score. As an era ends, your progress is judged and you might end up in a Golden Age if you’re particularly successful, and kept to your Dedication, or fall into a Dark Age if you’re at the other extreme.

Dark Ages are troublesome but they’re also the gateways to Heroic Ages, which I’m guessing are like that moment when you survive a really bad hangover and peel back the curtains for the first time in hours and then strut to the local shop determined to buy nothing but health and goodness in your quest to never be that person ever again.

The other major addition, as far as I’m concerned, is Loyalty. Again, there are more details in the video, but essentially it raises the possibility of people defecting from your civ and becoming free cities.

There’s loads of other stuff, including a nifty historical timeline that gives you a neat summary of the good times and the bad, and Emergencies. These sound great. They’re triggered when one civ does a bad thing, like annexing a city state or dropping a nuke, and they allow other civs to form a temporary alliance to deal with the problem.

While you chew over all of that, you can see the new civs and leaders that’ll be introduced in Rise and Fall below. I haven’t included the Cree Nation because I’ve written about them here.


  1. zulnam says:

    Meh. Civ 6 felt weak as hell and the dumb AI (which at this point is a hallmark of the series and also something NO GAMING WEBSITE SEEMS TO NOTICE) meant there was little to no challenge except on very high difficulties when the AI cheated.

    Too often have I given firaxis my money for sub-par 4X games. No more!

    • Ghostwise says:

      Wait. Your thesis is that no gaming website has ever noticed the weaknesses of Civ’s AI ?

      Are you, perchance, the President of the United States of America ?

      • spunkmeyer says:

        He has a point. Every new iteration of Civ always receives high marks from review sites, with little to no mention on the state of the AI.

        • JHVDH says:

          I would like to know what 4X or even just strategy game has decent AI? The AI in the Endless series has been pretty poor in my experience. One of the chief complaints of every Paradox game (after their DLC policy) is about the AI. Warcraft and Starcraft have always been poor to my memory.

          Unless I’m mistaken the only games where AI is seen as good are Chess and Go, which is only because major corporations spent billions to build supercomputers to solve them.

          • fearandloathing says:

            Can’t see your point here, even if there is not a strategy game with a good AI, should all new titles get away with having barely functional AIs? Especially when you consider that Civ series benefit from commanding huge budgets, and could’ve made advances in this area. Also check the Community Patch/Vox Populi mod for Civ5, its AI is infinite times better than Civ6’s.

            While RPS review did point to shortcomings of AI (iirc), still reviewers have a part in the games getting away with half-baked AIs. You never see any big titles getting bashed for bad AI, they score 9/10 easily, so why spend more on that?

            Returning to the expansion, all seems good, except governors.
            It adds an unnecessary layer of management, which I doubt the AI will be able to use correctly. I wish the devs would focus more on maintaining a consistent level of abstraction, rather than adding whatever that seems to provide more options.

            *Barring Hearts of Iron series, PDX games have passable AIs, much better in comparison to TW or Civ, they are at least designed with an AI in mind (though Stellaris seems to drift away from that).

          • zulnam says:

            No, not like Civ 6. Case in point:

            My last game, before I got sick of it, I was playing on King. Found myself spawned in the middle of a continent with 3 other civs at various distances around me. Basically, I was surrounded.

            Little time passes and, while still in the ancient age, 3 of them declare a joint war on me. At this point all I had was two towns and a warrior unit. Not to steal a headline from Vogue or anything, but what happened next will blow your mind.

            The 3 civs started massing armies on my borders (while i still had fuck-all but was building archers desperately) and THEN… pulled back, only attacking with ONE UNIT AT A TIME.
            Fifteen turns later one had settled for peace and I was already winning the war with 2 archers and a warrior.

            So please don’t talk shit about any other game’s AI. If you consider them to be the bedrock of bad AI, then Civ AI is the inner world underneath that bedrock that you’ve read about in Jules Verne’s books.

    • FranticPonE says:

      Civ 4 was great, Civ 5 was fine eventually.

      Civ 6 sucks, and anyone that disagrees can look at the active users on Steam and notice the 5 consistently has more players than 6. I don’t think the expansion is going to fix any of the fundamental problems either. The specific requirements and bonuses for districts and wonders don’t make for interesting choices, they make for only a single path of valid choices or you get to be sub-optimal. Combined with the continually bad AI, worse interface, and ugly art style I’m just hoping for a Civ 7 sooner rather than later. Bring back Soren Johnson please, I doubt he’s doing much right now.

      • draglikepull says:

        Soren runs his own studio now (Mohawk Games). They made Offworld Trading Company, which is a lot of fun.

        • Lord of Beer says:

          Soren has a team of 7 and made millions of dollars with Offworld trading Company. Its more likely he will make his own version of Civilization than go back to Firaxis.

      • Nevard says:

        I would maybe say it’s worth noting that IV also had more concurrent players than V until it had several expansions, and the numbers for V and VI on steam aren’t that far apart lately.

        IV had better AI though, chiefly because it’s much easier for AI to deal with the very basic tactic of “stack all of your units in one tile and move them around”, which is no longer possible in the world of one unit per tile.

    • Mezelf says:

      So do you want chess AI? because that’s what they tried during development of Civ 4. Apparently, people didn’t want “smart AI” as much as they said they did.
      Imagine having to play Starcraft against the best Starcraft player of all time. There would be no difficulty levels, no roleplaying, no relaxing play… There would be only the meta.
      That’s what playing Civ with smart AI would be like.

  2. Jonesy26 says:

    Expansion looks great. Can’t wait to play!

    • Nauallis says:

      Oh hey, an optimist! It’s nice to see you, please don’t leave.

      • Jonesy26 says:

        I won’t go anywhere. Most of these comments are always full of the negative and hateful types. Does not matter what is being spoken about.

    • McGuit says:

      Really looking forward to it.
      Can’t wait.

  3. Zorgulon says:

    I’m looking forward to this expansion, I think it injects a lot of features that will make a lot of aspects of the game more compelling, particularly the golden/dark age mechanic.

    Also a healthy injection of new and interesting civs to play is always welcome – there’s a glimpse of an unannounced South-American-looking leader around the 03:20 mark.

    • N'Al says:

      I hope you don’t mean this guy?

      link to

      • Nevard says:

        No, that’s an announced leader.
        There’s also a portrait that does not resemble any we have seen, around the 3:20 mark, right next to Poundmaker’s.
        People are speculating that it represents the Mapuche civilisation.

        • Nauallis says:

          The third from the right on the top diplomacy portraits?

        • N'Al says:

          Not just not unannounced, not South American either! ;-)

          I see what you mean now, though. Good spot.

  4. nottorp says:

    Did they do something about the religion mechanics, or will we go through these ages while fighting the boring flood of missionaries?

  5. otakucore says:

    I hope they made it easy to mod-in new/different governors. It seems odd that they have names instead of titles or governor-types, and it seems multiple instances of each governor can exist in the same game? I’ve preordered, so I’ll find out soon, but I have a lot of questions about how this is going to work and anticipate modding it.

  6. Krainios says:

    On Deity difficulty it is impossible to loose,
    this game is garbage except for strategic patzers,
    the point is not that the AI is stupid, the point is
    that the AI is stupid AND makes the game unchallenging,
    in Civ 4 or 5, the AI is bad but it is hard to win on
    high difficulties, not in Civ 6.
    I completely agree with previous comments : shame on big
    gaming sites, they have lost all credibility with me as long
    as strategy games are concerned.
    And Fireaxis has fallen to the level of Stardock :
    a sub par strategy game maker.

  7. Vasily R says:

    I bought Civ 6 when it first released after being really excited for it. I played 2 campaigns and haven’t played it since. Not sure what it was, but it just didn’t click for me. I might just be disappointed with the continued lack of depth in the Civ games when compared to other strategy games.

  8. SaintAn says:

    I’m upset there’s no Boudicca & Celts…

    • Nevard says:

      They still have 3 left to reveal before launch, so you can keep your fingers crossed.

  9. Colt42 says:

    So you need to choose some goal five times a game, and for the following section of play-time your beholden to it? Or your punished?

    The game already has cards/districts to give a long-term and macro shape to your civilization, ages don’t seem to bring much to the game.

    I think these attempts to structure the game through some menu/bonuses are exactly what kills the experience, and has left CiV 6 so dry.

    The variety offered is so arbitrary and so don’t excite the imagination.