Civilization VI: Rise & Fall expansion released

civilization-6-rise-and-fall

The beating of a million drums
The fire of a million guns
The mother of a million sons
Sid Meier’s Civilization®

The looping march through history continues today with the launch of Civilization VI: Rise And Fall, the first full expansion for 2016’s turn-based 4X strategy sequel. Rise And Fall rolls with the ebb and flow of history, with different Great Ages bringing new challenges and bonuses, alliances that grow stronger over time, era goals, ’emergency’ pacts uniting civs against powerful opponents, and more. And obvs it also adds new civilisations, units, wonders, and so on.

Your eight new civs in Rise and Fall are the Cree led by Poundmaker, Georgia led by Tamar, Seondeok’s Korea, Mapuche, Lautaro’s Mongolia, Wilhelmina and the Netherlands, Scotland with Robert the Bruce, and the Zulu led by Shaka, while India picks up a new leader too, Chandragupta. Here, this video explains the rest of everything with the expansion:

A big update has launched alongside the expansion too.

Adding the Cree to Civ has been questioned, with Poundmaker Cree Nation headman Milton Tootoosis saying that it “perpetuates this myth that First Nations had similar values that the colonial culture has, and that is one of conquering other peoples and accessing their land.” Civ does have a narrow vision of human civilisation and, as our Adam wrote in response, it might be interesting to expand that.

Rise And Fall is out now on Steam, priced at £25/€30/$30. Obviously it requires the original Civ VI to play. I don’t want to volunteer him for work for anything, but I’d be surprised if Adam doesn’t have plenty to say about it once he’s had time to give it a good play.

51 Comments

  1. Gothnak says:

    I recently got Civ 6 from the Humble Bundle, it does a great job of not teaching you any of the new mechanics out of the box.

    I messed up Builders (Built them before i could use them).
    I messed up Zones (Still haven’t fully worked them out)
    I messed up Culture (Didn’t know it helped unlock politics)
    I messed up City States (Pumped a load of envoys into one, and someone else invaded and grabbed it)
    I still can’t see how to delete an old unit, or even if it charges me upkeep and whether i need to.
    And Religion, religion!… I created a Holy site in one of my smaller cities and made my own religion of Minoism. At no point did it tell me i can then create Religious units with Faith on a separate mini menu. So i leave it, and then see the city is surrounded by protestants who seem to be doing nothing. I then noticed the tab, create an apostle, who is now a Protestant, so there is no way i can actually use my own blooming religion.

    It’s one of those games so badly taught that you kind of have to admit your first game is complete failure and you have to restart, which generally sucks.

    I do like the new tech tree with boosts and racing to get Great people and the Builders are now better that they make sense. But there seems to be a lot of fluff that isn’t actually needed.

    • Rich says:

      To delete a unit, select it and click “show advanced commands” (or some such) on its command bar. Then click the skull.
      The four specific things you mention are mostly modified mechanics from previous Civ games. If you haven’t played a previous Civ, then I can see how it would be confusing.
      I’ve yet to really figure out faith myself though. I established a pantheon in my first play (on my second now) and didn’t know what to do about it.

      • Zorgulon says:

        Religion is particularly confusing if you’ve come from Civ V. Faith no longer nets you a Great Prophet – you need to generate specific Great Prophet Points via a Holy Site + Shrine, or the right government Policy.

        Add to that the AI’s lust for Stonehenge, and religion in general, and unless you really try for it (or play Arabia), you will often find the last Prophet has been snapped up before you get enough points.

        Fortunately, religion isn’t so strong that you need one for any victory aside, obviously, from the Religious one. In fact I think the benefits of founding a religion in Civ VI often don’t make up for the early investment you could be funnelling elsewhere.

        The Pantheon, however, is a nice free bonus you get in every city. Just pick one that gives you the best output, depending on your focus and the resources you have nearby. If you find you have a lot of faith and no religion, you can spend it on Great People.

        • jman420 says:

          I agree. Though I must admit, I’ve never really seen religion as a legit “path to victory”. But you are correct about the computers lust for religion and using it. Most of my late game scenarios are me fighting off religion spreading and prophets or whatever they are called. I still think the warmonger penalty needs to go away sooner or needs an overhaul. Hopefully that is coming soon.

          • Zorgulon says:

            I find warmongering penalties manageable, provided you play the diplomacy game and try to accrue some positive modifiers, and aren’t y’know actually warmongering.

            I could be wrong but I think the impression that the penalties are unfair comes from the fact that as players we expect the AI to be neutral towards anyone they don’t have specific beef with. But that’s not how the AI is coded, in order to prod them into taking sides. As a result, if you want cordial relations alongside a bit of war, you need to pre-empt your declarations with some friendships and alliances, and decide whose agendas you’re going to satisfy. Simply ignoring the AI will mean that the warmonger hate has little positive to balance it out.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      I think that’s also partially the fault of the UI, which I consider to be far and away the greatest problem of Civ6. (Well, that and AI.) All too often the game doesn’t tell you what the net result of a decision is until you commit to it. The overwhelming feeling I get when playing Civ6 is that I’m not getting the information I need to make any qualified decision. The information either isn’t there or is hidden in some obscure corner of the UI, and it’s very tedious to keep hunting for things that should be in plain sight.

      The best example being, of course, the two pixels tall unit XP bar stuffed in a place where no one would think to look for it, which I really think is symptomatic of the whole thing.

      Unless the expansion addresses this, I honestly don’t think I’ll bother.

      • Gothnak says:

        There’s an XP bar? :s…

        I’ll be honest a large % of the civics and tech upgrades give +1% here or double this small % there and they seem all to be so minor i have no idea which i should go for. Unlocking a new unit is obvious, so i tend to go for them.

  2. Zorgulon says:

    Managed to squeak a couple of hours playing this in before work this morning.

    So far, the new Civs (with lovely new music) seem good, and combining the abilities of Governors, the new Government Buildings, and Golden Ages seem really powerful – I’ve just entered the Medieval Era with a Golden Age and sent a bunch of Settlers, bought cheap with faith, to colonise the world.

    I sympathise with Gothnak, above – the tutorial is pretty insufficient. But my God, once you figure out the systems and how to synergise abilities, this game is pretty satisfying.

    Not got to the stage where the new Loyalty mechanic really affects anything yet, but my impressions are positive so far.

  3. Evan_ says:

    You know if they made the slightest change to the AI, and said in the video that ‘we have improved the AI’ I’d run to buy it.

    Who am I kidding, I’m doing that anyways. But in a grumpy way.

    • Zorgulon says:

      They (claim to) have improved it – see the patch notes for the base game yesterday. It’s not a great leap, but they seem somewhat better at taking cities, and evaluating deals.

      • djtim says:

        I actually had an allied City-State (a cultured one none-the-less) destroy two important enemy cities completely unaided. I then levied its military and was able to finish off the enemy without using any of my own units. I’d used the levy function once or twice in the past, but never had a City-State do any more than just take up space in a war before.

        Though with that said, the AI that had sent the DoW in the first place, was over the other side of the continent and spent the whole war sending just one or two ranged units at a time to get murdered by my city walls. So at least the AI is partially improved.

        I was playing with Korea and wow, so OP in terms of research. Having a lot of fun with their civ abilities and the new game mechanics.

    • Shadow says:

      That’s the one big thing that needs major improvement in Civ. Add some minor tidbits to grease the marketing, but give me an AI-focused expansion and I’d shell out in a heartbeat.

    • BeardyHat says:

      Exactly what I was looking for, as well. I really want to love Civ 6, but the AI is just so brutally stupid, I find the game more frustrating than anything.

      I don’t play on Diety or anything, I just want to sit back and relax with a game of Civ and have a reasonable facsimile of a human being in the NPCs.

  4. SaintAn says:

    Be aware that the Civ VI Steam forum has some extreme moderator abuse and censorship going on.
    I’ve been checking there off and on the past week and been seeing lots of threads locked and moved. I’ve seen legitimate discussion threads that criticize the game get deleted or locked and the mods replying dickishly telling them to leave their comments in a review. But I didn’t know how bad the censorship and abuse of power was until I made a post saying they should not be inflating the xpac price by adding civs when they’re selling civs as DLC now. I got a warning for telling a troll to put thought into his comments if he’s going to post, and I got banned for mentioning the mod abuse after.

    Really messed up that they’re abusing their power to suppress criticism of the game and Steam just lets them. I got a refund and am never touching a game from them again.

  5. zulnam says:

    I might pick it up. I could go fo a “no brains required” 4x to play while watching a movie in the background.

  6. Carra says:

    Giving the game away in the last Humble Bundle was smart. Now everyone has to cough up €25 to get the expansion.

  7. Benkyo says:

    Love the marketing blurb for this expansion, excited by the ideas it talks about, but very dubious about the odds of any of it being pulled off in any meaningful way.

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    Earl-Grey says:

    I wonder if one day we might get a post about a Civilization game without a single comment from some snooty game-AI “aficionado” who just can’t believe how any of the developers at Firaxis manage to even get dressed in the morning without extensive help from their handlers which they require due to their completely crippling mental deficiencies?

    • Someoldguy says:

      The AI in a strategy game is pretty important. Would you not expect comments about gun selection or aiming being good or bad in a FPS, or the quality of the plot and dialogue in a story led game? Those things consistently get referred to in reviews of the product while in many cases the competence of the AI gets glossed over in reviews of big strategy games.

      That is probably because the reviewers don’t have hundreds of hours to familiarise themselves with the game rules and become competent at playing, then test it repeatedly to see if it has flaws. Meanwhile holes in the graphical fluidity of an ARPG, gunplay in a FPS etc can be determined very quickly. So it’s usually left to commentators to report back if there are issues that make the game less fun when you have become competent at it. Knowing whether there are flaws does help some of us reach our purchasing decisions.

      • UncleLou says:

        There is a pretty vocal subset of gamers you find in any strategy game thread though, and if they are to be believed, AI became progressively worse since the days of Pong, and Civ and Total War are basically unplayable.

        Much of it is a mixture of ignorance, unrealistic expectations and rose-tinted glasses, in my experience. And noone can ever, if asked, name a game that came even close to fulfilling their expectations.

        • dontnormally says:

          Graphics, UI, marketing materials, gameplay innovations – all continue to evolve/grow. It is reasonable to expect AI smarts to as well.

          • UncleLou says:

            Of course. I don’t think anyone disagrees with that, certainly not me.

          • Someoldguy says:

            The problem is that the designers usually think of more cool ideas to cram into their play set before they check with the coders that they can get their game to use properly. Then they try to fix it by getting the AI to cheat. It’s helpful if someone points this out before you make the big purchase, because you probably won’t spot it in that first 2 hours.

            I just wish game designers would put more effort into making games with rules their game can follow. That way they’re more likely to refine their ideas and come up with something more elegant, which benefits the players also. It took decades for programmers to get computers competent at playing chess, but they didn’t decide in the meantime to give the AI pawns two hit points each to offset their inability to implement the taking en passant rule. These days strategy games seem to decide all their elements first and only try to cobble together some AI later that they discover can’t cope at all. Then it has to be written so it blatantly ignores half the rule set. When somebody comes along and suggests you’re being snooty for daring to point this out, it descends into farce. Whether the game provides a satisfying challenge should absolutely be a key part of your purchasing decision.

            Apologies if this comes across as a bit of a rant. AI has always lagged behind in most game genres and I’m not trying to say Firaxis are worse than anyone else at it. It just gets frustrating when you get a succession of new games to play that disappoint when you get past the highly polished surface features and high-scoring reviews. It’s an area where pressure needs to be maintained to improve standards.

    • lordcooper says:

      Probably shortly after they put out a game with a reasonably functional AI.

    • punkass says:

      I’m only a few games in, but I don’t find the AI that bad, even before the recent patch.

      Maybe it’s because I don’t play the same uber-aggressive game as some do, using war mostly as a last resort. Of course, making the AI plan battles properly with the 1 unit a tile rule is hard, certainly compared to the stack of doom of old.

      Much simpler to just increase the warmongering penalties to discourage overly aggressive strategies… Hang on, I think I’m seeing a pattern in the common complaints!

      The complaints about the UI are legit, though.

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    Drib says:

    I really wanted to like Civ 6. I can’t point to anything about it specifically that bothers me. The AI is the same as usual for Civ, the bright style is nice honestly, I like the graphics, the gameplay is fine, etc etc.

    But it’s not fun.

    It’s just not fun. I can’t get into it. Everyone I know who has always loved Civ says the same thing. It’s just… not interesting.

    • Bostec says:

      Yep, thats sums it up for me. Played one campaign and have absolutely no desire to play it again. It just isn’t that fun.

    • Someoldguy says:

      Civ IV: over 500 hours played
      Civ V: over 200 hours played
      Civ VI: 72 hours played and unlikely to ever increase again.

      It may well in part be the repetition that makes the game go stale faster. I will probably never again play any one game as much as I played the classics of my teenage years. However I think you are correct. There is something inherently less fun about this iteration, even for those who prefer the one unit per tile approach. I think I’m done with Civ until they try a more sensible army approach.

      • dontnormally says:

        > a more sensible army approach.

        It’s funny you say that because the corps/army mechanic is one of the things I think is pretty slick about VI.

        • Someoldguy says:

          By armies I mean the routine use of combined arms as one entity, not waiting until specific techs are unlocked before being allowed to fuse two identical troops into one unit that still has to stay one tile away from its cavalry support or artillery. One of the things Call to Power did so much better than Civ ever has.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      Because they introduced a swathe of new mechanics that add complexity but very little pay off.

      Districts could have been a good idea but the bonuses they add don’t change the game play or offer any reward to the player. What they do though is add an extra step to a process, a costly barrier.

      Even something as simple as the encampment district having its own production queue and the production it generated went solely to that. That way you aren’t choosing between military and developing your civilization. If you wanted to speed up unit production your could have a project in the city to boost it.

    • Ibed says:

      I agree. UI/introduction was a problem, warmonger-reactions were a problem, AI was a problem, but in the end, the game just wasn’t as fun as IV or V.

    • Dogahn says:

      It would be more fun if it would load faster. I feel like the 10 minutes it takes to get going sets up these expectations of a grand strategy game that civilization vi wasn’t made for. Which I’m inclined to believe after one of the dev talking points was speeding up online play. Civ V has been out long enough that people have modded it into a grand strategy game. Which correlates with another article I read (specifically why/is 6 not as popular as 5?) that notes many people’s claim that the lack of mods for 6 prevents them from leaving 5.

      Mods aside, if i could launch my save game and get to managing my civilization in 5min; I would have more time experiment and actually pay around with 6. As it is, my old tricks do not work in 6 and I don’t have time to develop new ones.

    • spleendamage says:

      I miss the old throne room improvements.

    • Abacus says:

      I felt like there was far too much busy work.

      I’ll be over here playing Amplitude’s 4X games.

  10. oyog says:

    I can wait a couple years until the “Civ VI Complete” collection goes on sale. Until then I’m having a good time learning the Civ V Vox Populi mod.

    • RosalietheDog says:

      Hear hear. I admit I was very tempted by the Humble Monthly, but reading Steam reviews made me reconsider. Vox Populi is great, a new version is out today.

  11. -funkstar- says:

    +1 for the Justice reference. (I had the exact same thought when Civ VI was revealed for last months Humble Monthly.)

  12. Vacuity729 says:

    The looping march through history continues today with the launch of Civilization IV: Rise And Fall,
    Did I miss something? Is Alice a time-traveller? It wouldn’t surprise me! Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure that Civ *IV* isn’t receiving any expansion packs anytime soon in this timeline.

    • Ghostwise says:

      It’s Namor numeration, used by submariners everywhere. Like Roman numeration, but backward.

      • Vacuity729 says:

        I’ve never heard about that system. I probably should have paid more attention in Htam class in submarine school. I’m a bad submarine.
        Anyway, looks like it’s been fixed now. If only strategy game studios could fix their AIs as quickly…

  13. Ivan says:

    I don’t really expect any great answers to this, but if someone were to opine I’d appreciate it.

    As someone who:
    1) Loved Civ 4
    2) Didn’t really like Civ 5 much, but grew to love it with the expansions and Community Balance Patch (which is Vox Populi now, I guess?)
    and
    3) Can’t play Civ 6 for more than 30 minutes at a time without getting bored/annoyed and quitting

    Is there any hope that I will like the iteration of Civ 6 with this expansion? Or any expansion? Alternatively, is there any hope that there’ll be a similar overhaul mod that will make me like it, like how the CBP/VP completely fixed my Civ 5 enjoyment?

    • Kohlrabi says:

      It’s still Civ6. Like the expansions for 4 and 5, this does not shake up the general design of the game, but rather adds some new mechanics to it. So if you dislike the general design, this expansion will not fix anything for you. I personally think the general design is far better than Civ5 (gone is the global happiness threshold mechanic), and the things added by the expansion are nice. I really, really like the loyalty and governor mechanics (which, I realize, has been “stolen” from MoO). But it is still lacking clarity in its UI, it’s a bit tedious to check why your cities are not growing (housing? amenities? lack of food?). There are some good mods which add this clarity, like CQUI, but they probably will take a couple of months to implement the changes due to the expansion.

      But generally I think that, as a strategy game, Civ (or most computer 4x games) just does not offer sufficiently interesting player interactions. That’s why I’m more and more inclined to play board game strategy games. While being simpler mechanically and having less “features”, they are at least designed to offer interesting and meaningful player interaction from the onset, and in more areas than shuffling resources around or going to war.

      • Ivan says:

        Thank you for responding. I guess I will hold off for now. I can’t perfectly articulate why I’m so meh on Civ6, but I guess I was hoping it fundamentally changed some aspect of the ennui I experience when playing it, and it sounds like that isn’t the case.

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    Nauallis says:

    Well, if you made it this far in the comments, congrats. I, for one, think Civ 6 is the best entry in the series thus far. I love that specializing the actual production and output of cities is actually a thing now via districts, instead of simply “setting governors.” I really like how the extra perks of wonders are offset slightly by having to give up city territory, and how wonders have district adjacency and/or terrain requirements, so that not every city can have the option to build every wonder. I think religion is extremely useful as a tool, and I really appreciate how you can maintain your own followers through theological combat without having to actually declare war…. or forcibly convert other civs, again, without military might.

    Multiplayer is great, both for networking and for accessibility – it’s possible to use mods without any fiddling, and I like how teams don’t automatically share research.

    It’s definitely not Civ 5. But c’mon, even Civ 5 is very unlike Civ 4. Expecting to get a new game without different features is absurd. If you want to play Civ 1-5… then play Civ 1-5.

    I think it needs more map scripting options (Heyo, highlands map!), and the AI bloodthirstiness is annoying (game updates have already improved this), but otherwise it’s a really fantastic game. I’m impressed that the base game is so much fun – Civ 4 & 5 didn’t get great until the first and/or second expansions. Civ 3 was a shit game even with expansions. And I miss Civ 2, ah, terrain transformation.

  15. SuddenSight says:

    I managed to spend some time today actually playing the expansion, which was kinda fun.

    I honestly think many of the new mechanics solve some previous issues with the game. The loyalty (and takeover) mechanic discourages you from forward-settling, for example. I’m not sure it will be a big enough issue to cause long-term problems, but I’m only 1/3 of the way through my game so time will tell.

    The golden ages, and associated timeline, is cute. It doesn’t track anything too deep, of course, but it is a nice idea and is reasonably well implemented. It also adds more significance to the age distinctions, as triggering an age also triggers the golden age/dark age mechanic. This is especially relevant for Civ VI, because the tech tree allows for a lot of rushing down long linear paths, so this might add some reasons to research a little wider.

    The governor mechanic is interesting. I feel like some governors seem much stronger than others, but that might just be my poor Civ skills talking.

    I’m not sure it fully solves the issue, and it won’t solve any fundamental complaints anyone has with the game. But this is a worthy expansion that really fleshes out the game, similar to how Civ V’s expansions felt like big improvements.

    Edit; the expansion also includes a moderate UI improvement. I’m not sure if this is included in the base game patch, but the new UI bits should have been there since launch.

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