Civ 6 is a civilization building game. Like the other games in this series, you start out with a solitary city and build it into a world-spanning empire that “will stand the test of time” (hopefully). Along the way you’ll meet city-states that cannot win the game but can be a great help or hinderance to your efforts to do so. The Gathering Storm DLC was included in this review and it adds the environment and climate change as elements of gameplay, where you can find ways to either “coexist with the earth or bend it to our cause.” Is it worth the money though?
If you like a game with plenty of depth and plenty of room for different strategies and victory options, this game, including the Gathering Storm DLC, will be worth it to you. If you like a combat focused game you had better stick with something like XCOM 2.
Since this is not really a game that focuses on war too much I decided to resist my warmongering ways and try a more peaceful approach. Rather than focus on war and generally ticking off my neighbors I thought I’d work on a benign approach instead. I focused on enjoyment for my first game with this new Gathering Storm DLC and didn’t really focus on any strategy, I just more-or-less went in the general direction the game took me. My primary goal was to keep my populace happy and learn the game.
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I really like the way this game helps you learn it as you progress. The advisor pops up at almost every major new event and gives you just enough information to answer a basic question, with more help just a mouse-click away. For instance, she will give you the basics of the newly established World Congress, which is another thing the Civilization 6 expansion introduces.
The World Congress meets every 30 turns in a normal game and votes on discussions and resolutions that affect the game world. This international body also conducts emergency sessions to handle such things as a natural disaster. Resolutions include what types of city-states will send 100% of their goods on trade routes or issues that deal with things like urban development. An interesting addition this DLC has that I like.
As the game progresses, you’ll move from one era to the next and you will make a dedication for that era. What you choose is one of the things you should focus on during that era since it will give you “era points.” Not getting enough will result in a Dark Age, while exceeding your target will put you in a Golden Era the next time an era changes. I like the trade route dedication since I had a lot of Merchants available, so I chose that and focused on completing trade routes.
You will also be able to appoint governors to your cities (the Rise and Fall expansion pack added Governors). They can provide a tremendous boost to a city and you can promote them as time goes on. You can appoint up to seven governors; a Castellan, Diplomat, Cardinal, Steward, Surveyor, Educator, and Financier. The city you appoint the governor to should be a good match for his or her specific talents. A better way to improve your cities!
You can monitor the world climate to see how it’s changing due to industrial advancements. The overview pane tells you how much the Co2 levels have risen and who has contributed to the rise, plus you can view forecasts telling you the chance of storms, river flooding and droughts destined to occur in the near future, and how much is due to climate change. You can monitor volcanic activity as well. The bottom portion of the overview pane displays how much polar ice is due to climate changes and how much the sea level has risen because of it.
The third pane, Event History, has a record of all the climate related events that have occurred. It shows what game year and game turn the event, like a withering drought, occurred, the location, and what kind of damage it caused, if any. An interesting addition for a stats buff like me.
Another fascinating aspect about this game is the number of ways you can win. Consulting the World Rankings screen shows you where you stand in the race to obtain a science, culture, domination, religious, or diplomatic victory. So far, my lack of a defined strategy is giving me what I expected, which, not surprisingly, is not very good game rankings. My best standing is in the diplomatic victory, fourth place out of six civilizations. In case no one achieves any of these victories before the game ends there is also a raw score victory.
For such a complex game the user interface is reasonably simple, efficient, and takes up a small amount of screen space. Generally, menus only occupy space in one of the four corners of the screen. It’s only when you click on something, like the Civilopedia, that the UI expands in all its glory and takes up that precious center space of your monitor.
I’d be negligent if I didn’t mention the graphics and soundtrack in this game. The cut scenes and artistry for the game world are superb, exactly what you would expect for a game of this caliber and price range. The soundtrack is great as well, it pulls you into the game and is not a distraction.
The main strength adding to the replay value of the game is the vast number of civilizations you can play in the game. Each civilization has its own strengths and unique units. Under advanced setup you can determine who your AI opponents are, add some if you want, choose the start era, game speed, type of map, map size, and world age, just to name a few of the parameters that can be set. All this gives the game a great replay value.
The Gathering Storm DLC adds to the replayability by introducing climate change and the World Congress. This adds more variability to a game that already has numerous options you can tweak to get a different gaming experience every time you play it.
So, what do I dislike about this game and the Gathering Storm DLC? Not too much really. My biggest complaint is the World Congress, the voting screen is confusing to me. Do I give a thumbs up or down to option A or B, or both? My other complaint is not really a complaint at all, it’s more like a personal preference. I like games with an emphasis on combat like XCOM 2 or Battletech, but when it comes to a more well-rounded type of gameplay it’s hard to beat this game. This game has plenty of depth, plenty of room for different strategies, and is engrossing enough to make time slip by without noticing, even without an emphasis on combat. A very good thing in my opinion.
What Does Gathering Storm Add To Civ 6?
The Gathering Storm DLC adds environment effects like volcanoes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and climate change (among others) that your civilization will need to deal with in order to thrive and even survive. As part of the new world ecosystem there are now resources, like carbon-based coal and oil, that are used by your civilization but they adversely affect the world’s ecosystem and create issues you need to deal with, like melting icecaps causing rising sea levels.
This DLC also adds new technologies and engineering projects. For instance, you can make new land improvements like railroads, tunnels, and dams. Flood barriers can also be built to protect your coastal cities from flooding.
The World Congress is new too. Through this organization you can exert your influence on important city-states and compete in World Games to increase your worldwide prestige. And after earning diplomatic favor through the alliances you create it can be used get promises from other leaders in return.
This DLC adds eight new civilizations and nine new leaders, plus two new scenarios, The Black Death and War Machine, which is a multiplayer scenario. It also adds seven world wonders, 18 new units, and improves the espionage system by adding some new options. The War Machine sounds like the best scenario but it is unfortunately a multiplayer scenario, and since I never play multiplayer I’ll most likely never get the chance to check it out.
The Black Death scenario was added prior to the Corona Virus pandemic, which makes it a little more compelling to play. It focuses on the Black Death that ran rampant in Europe and western Asia in the mid-14th century. It killed millions and destroyed economies, changing the way the world was in a very dramatic way. The challenge is to get your civilization through this dire pandemic alive and well.