Home of the Civ V Unofficial Patch, G&K Enhanced, and Vanilla Enhanced Mod

Civ 6 First Impressions

I watched the trailer for Civ 6 a long while back, but avoided reading anything about the game after that so I can form unbiased first-hand impressions. These are my thoughts.


This has lots of features for a vanilla release of a new Civ game. I see most major parts of Civ 5 in here. In contrast, vanilla Civ 3-4-5 each felt like two steps forward, one step back — especially compared to all the innovations of Alpha Centauri.

  • I’m reminded once again of the fantastic art and sound team at Firaxis. The art style is beautiful, and characters have a lot of visual personality. I actually enjoy listening to the music in their games, while most other developers have minimal, often repetitive soundtracks.
  • The overall look and feel of the game is very classy. I like the map theme for the art.
  • Specific AI agendas. This was something I liked in Stellaris. It makes them feel more lifelike than the old preferences system.
  • I like how easy it is to swap out policies. It allows the player to experiment and learn what policies work best for the current situation.
  • I like the little improvements here and there, such as completed techs stating they “just finished” instead of “0 turns remaining.”
  • Traders form roads, like how roads appeared historically.
  • Land value is now a thing. It makes sense people don’t want to live in a swamp.
  • Boosts make research more complex than simply queuing up 10 items. It encourages you to adapt to the circumstances of your enviornment.
  • Individual workers and improvements feel more important now, since they’re less common.
  • Wonder-building animations returned! Woohoo! I loved that in Civ 4.
  • Landlocked cities can build ships from a Harbor on the coast.


  • Sean Bean ironically can’t die because he’s the immortal narrator.
  • Moving onto a tile now requires the full movement cost for units. This is a dramatic change for the Civ series. We can’t spend our last 0.5 move points to enter a 3-cost forested hill, for example. Rivers feel particularly difficult to cross now compared to the past.
  • Cities appear to automatically provide a bridge over adjacent rivers.
  • Every new Civ game has a new approach to great people. It’ll be interesting to see how this one affects things.
  • Splitting physical and social techs is a fascinating idea. I’m unsure what ramifications this will have.
  • I think they move the minimap around the screen with each new version of civ.
  • I was surprised when my friendly neighbor China declared war and defeated me in my first game on King difficulty. This never happened in a past Civ game. I clearly need to change my opening strategy to deal with the higher AI aggressiveness.


There’s numerous problems with the interface. In particular, tooltips are sparse or non-existent, making detailed information frustratingly difficult to find. This really stands out after playing Stellaris, which has a great interface and plentiful tooltips.

  • It took me half an hour to figure out the red tent icon on my capital means it grows slower and produces less yields. I never got a tutorial popup about amenities, the “low amenities” notification did not appear on the right, and neither the on-map city bar nor bottom-right city panel has a tooltip explaining the concept.
  • The dark, irregularly textured background of the Civilopedia makes lengthy articles difficult to read. It may look pretty, but there’s a reason most text in the world is high-contrast black-on-white or vice versa.
  • I can’t find ingame information about the chance for missionaries or apostles to fail to spread religion.
  • Can’t figure out how to form an alliance with friends after getting Civil Service. I looked all over the Diplomacy window, including deal options, and could not find an alliance button. I also tried giving my friends absurdly nice gifts, but it didn’t increase their opinion of me further or unlock an alliance. (Update: it appears my friend was at war, which blocked the alliance without announcing this fact anywhere.)
  • No hotkey information on tooltips. Several commands are missing a hotkey entirely, like “heal until fortified” or “toggle yield display.”
  • If I’m looking at the Civics Tree and press T to switch to the Tech Tree, it still shows Civics, with Techs hidden behind it.

4 responses

  1. Toby

    – No “Guard”- Order for military units.

    – An alliance seems to be the next step after the friendship declaration, but without any obligations for both. Perhaps just a tool to raise the warmonger penalty for formal war declarations.

    – Two AI`s declared a suprise war on me at turn 60 and crushed me within six rounds.
    I never made this Experience in Civ V. ( Was playing as German on marathon)

    October 26, 2016 at 2:41 am

  2. hertolo

    Good to hear from you! You still got a keen eye. I haven’t been able to play much. I haven’t even finished the first game yet since well there is less time now. Still, I do need to lose a few comments though as well. First, civ6 is remarkably ‘finished’ for a vanilla civ game, but the problems are numerous and just point to them not having enough time and money to polish it. I would name 4 points:

    The problems show themselves mostly in the 1) User Interface: non-sortable trade lists, no building queue, not clear which tile is the next at border expansion, few tooltips and lots of game systems non-explained (try to make sense of the culture victory or how to create national parks with the information in the game itself). There’s even already mods for this….

    Some 2) Balancement is necessary, but this is obvious. F.e. there’s few reasons to be coastal, but easy solutions (a building like the water mill for rivers + adjacency bonuses farther over water + harbors don’t increase district limit in coastal cities + buildings improve water*). Religion is another example, as it’s hard to defend against such a victory attempt. Faith would maybe need other valves, f.e. buying tiles in cities or stationary defense sinks.

    What’s the bigger problem for me though with Religion is 3) the micromanagement. The Flood Waves of missionaries make my game lag, hinder movement and feel unrealistic. Doubling the strengths and costs of those units would be a big improvement. Another micromanagement hell is diplomacy (and has been for all civ games) where it is mostly linked to UI. Looking for the best deal to sell resource X should be easy and the reasons behind the stance of the AI against you needs to be understandable. Constant pop-ups to remind you of x and a pile of rumors about barb-camps & built granaries need to be addressed.

    Lastly, 4) diversification. Districts seem fresh and all, but somehow the reduce choice. Cities still have similar builds and once you decided for a district, you will build the buildings inside them. And those are quite similar to each other, all adding more of the same yield, but better than the building before. Buildings should have a different impact and there should be more choices in the slots (like stable against barracks). There could also be more distinct policy cards or whatever. Also Ancient vs Medieval vs Renaissance Walls is well … meh from a historian’s perspective. And Railroads!

    I also miss deserts being considered as harsh terrain 😉 Just feels wrong.

    October 26, 2016 at 2:54 pm

  3. Kaldir

    I agree with all points you make. Another item for the ‘bad’ list is the lack of information from diplomacy trades: Which resources do I trade with whom? Or even, which luxury resources do I have already, including the ones from other civs and city states? How long till the trade expires? Which promises did I make (not settle near, not convert, etc.) and how long till they expire?

    And the flood of missionaries is something that needs to be patched away.

    October 31, 2016 at 11:51 am

  4. WaterGirl

    And what’s even worse than all that, Civ 6 is using that ugly cheap free to play browser game art style. There’s no way I can look at that for the 8 hours it takes to play even one Civ match without getting a headache.

    April 6, 2017 at 4:47 pm

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