Firaxis' latest bite at the macro-scale building turn-based 4X 'em up cherry has hardly been with us two weeks, yet has already inspired umpteen illustrious tales of mighty empires, astute observations and bittersweet victory conditions here at RPS.
Wot did strategy aficionado Adam think? He loved it, of course, but there's always room for improvement - and when a game is made up of quite so many simultaneously moving parts, mods tend to help make that so. Official support hasn't quite breached the shores of Sid Meier's Civilization 6 [official site], however that's hardly stopped keen modders from getting their hands dirty in the meantime. We'll add to this list down the line, but here's the best Civ 6 mods available right now.
How to install Civilization 6 mods
Most games which don't offer official modding support rely on Nexus Mods to house their tweaks and tinkerings. At the moment, Civ 6's presence on Nexus is pretty nonexistent and much of its mods are instead found on the CivFanatics forum. Installation is pretty straightforward, though.
First, you'll want to create a Mods folder in your Civilization 6 user directory (\Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization VI), before extracting the mods you fancy to subfolders within the main one. As Adam explored previously, Civ 6 also lets you mess around with its XML and Lua scripts manually - which means you can make direct changes to files, should that be something you're interested in. This is done by right clicking on the game via your Steam library, selecting Properties, then Local Files, then Browse Local Files. From there, simply select the file you want to muck around with, but note it's probably worth saving a copy beforehand.
NB - Some of the mods listed here come with their own disclaimers which should be read and understood prior to installation. Details of such can be found on each mod's page.
Right, boring clerical stuff out of the road, let's conquer the world. And what better way to do so than by bolstering your armies with more soldiers dying to, um, die for the cause. The more, the merrier and all that.
Deliverator's Moar Units introduces both Rifleman and Cuirassier units - which lets Musketman units upgrade to Rifleman and Rifleman upgrade to Infantry; and sees Knight units upgrade to Cuirassier and Cuirassier upgrade to Tank, respectively. The mod also adds 12 new Unique Units by way of (deep breath): the American Minutemen, Arabian Camel Archer, Chinese Cho-Ko-Nu, German Hussar, Greek Hetairoi (Companion Cavalry), Spanish Jinete, Roman Equite, Russian Druzhina Cavalry, Norwegian Hirdmen, English Longbowmen and Mughal Sowar for India, and Sumerian Phalanx.
Each of these is treated to its own bonuses and perks - Minuteman units, for example, gain +5 Combat Strength when fighting in or adjacent to their home territory; while the Druzhina Cavalry gain +4 Combat Strength when up against melee units - the full list of which can be located on the mod's page. Creator deliverator notes that the mod is "very alpha and untested" at the moment and therefore is "obviously likely to be a bit unbalanced."
As a means of upping its challenge in harder difficulties, Civ 6's base game adorns its AI with bonuses and extra units. As a result, enemies do become harder to contend with, but, in my experience at least, the scales tip so far that overcoming the odds in the game's earliest stages becomes almost impossible.
Enter RushSecond's Smoother difficulty mod which "smooths the curve of the AI", meaning foes start with the same means as you do, however get better constant bonuses to Culture, Production, Science and Gold. In turn, this allows them to keep up the pace with tech and production and the likes throughout the entirety of the game - offering a greater threat without ever taking the piss.
But what if bigger is better? Those of you familiar with series forerunner Civilization 5 might recall creator Gedemon's Yet (not) Another Earth Maps Pack which introduced planet Earth to the 4X strategy game varying sizes. This 'un does the same by adding an 'Enormous' map size at 128x80; a 'Giant' map size at 180x94; and a 'Ludicrous' map size at 230x115. Sheesh.
Across all sizes, a staggering 50+ civs can be set and while the mod is in its 'alpha 3' state at the moment, Gedemon has put the former setting through 500 turns in autoplay with 32 civs without issue. He or she does lead with the following warning, though:
"The giant map is already way above the size of the huge map, it may or may not load on your PC (and will take some time to do so), the Ludicrous map is the max map size before the game refuse to load, and will take more than 4-5 minutes to load (or crash). I'd suggest to lower the textures size in the video option, the game use almost all the 6GB of VRAM of my GPU."
It's also worth noting that by turn 240, the average turn time was two minutes, while at turn 470 that jumped to four minutes.
Perhaps the most divisive thing about Civilization 6 is its vibrant cartoon-like aesthetic. While Adam feels it's a "treat to look at", a sizeable chunk of players don't share his view - not least modder 12@!n. "I wasn't too smitten with the ultra vibrant colors of Civ VI, and this corrects that," they say. "I modeled it after the Game of Thrones opening sequence."
By virtue of a number of recalibrations, adjustments, enablements and disablements - not least the addition of a togglable heavy depth of field for a tilt-shift effect - PhotoKinetic Westeros is the end result and, hate or love the original look, it's really quite impressive. Shader mods are a funny thing because they're generally applied to games which already look pretty - like The Witcher 3s and GTA 5s of this world. Their outcome, then, is largely open to interpretation and is often boils down to personal preference. This mod is no different, yet there's no arguing it completely transforms the base game to something almost unrecognisable to its source material.
PhotoKinetic Westeros is perhaps the most difficult to install on this list, however step-by-step instructions are duly provided by its creator.
By sukritact and Remgrandt respectively
One for all you history buffs out there who just cannot stand the liberties Firaxis have taken with historical accuracy. "So after having dealt with two fruitless attempts to get Firaxis to do something about historical accuracy in the game. I've finally just decided to make a mod for it," says the creator of Historicity++, a mod from sukritact that amends the "numerous" historical oversights in the game's text he or she has stumbled upon.
"Notable changes include fixing the Kongolese UU to an attested Central African name and correcting 'Sumeria' to 'Sumer' as is more commonly used in most circles," the creator continues. "Also, MALAYSIA IS NOT KNOWN FOR ITS WATS. This mod will be continually updated as errors arise or are discovered."
Civlopedia On Main Menu, on the other hand, does exactly what you might expect: it plops Civ 6's extensive and informative encyclopedia as is into the main menu, where you can then access the game's background history before kicking a ball. Remember to give sukritact a nudge if you spot any discrepancies!
Anno Domini (Civ 6 Version)
By Rob (R8XFT)
A "medieval era total conversion mod" with a revamped tech tree, new buildings, new wonders and 14 different civs.
By vans 163
Designed to reduce the amount of clicks required to manage your empire. Handy.
Lets you build farms on tundra and on tundra hills once you have the civil engineering civic.
Xenoblade Chronicles Civilization
By Mav 12
Adds a civilization based on Xenoblade Chronicles.
Given it's without official modding support, and the fact that it's been out all of two weeks, Civilization 6's modding community is already starting to flourish. The list above is but a gathering of the best available right now, but, as noted at the top of this here list, we'll return further down the line to add the biggest, brightest and best as they become available. Until then, happy civilization sprouting!