Tile improvements now take only a single turn to build. However, workers come with only a certain number of “charges” (three, in my demo). Each improvement costs one charge, and once the Worker runs out it disappears.
As a habitual abuser of the “automate workers” button in previous Civilization games, this meant for that the first time I had to sit and micro-manage my workers. It’s a bit more tedious in that regard (at least for me) than previous Civ games.
On the other hand, the finite number of improvements to be made per Worker meant it felt almost like directing an army or an explorer. It’s not like previous Civs where you’d eventually have a cloud of workers all toiling away.
I’m curious how it holds up for the full game. One obvious consequence is, as I said, that war feels more punishing. In previous Civilization games, destroying tile improvements just meant Workers (who were most likely idle anyway) would start repairing in their downtime. Here, if the enemy destroys six tile improvements? Well that’s two more Workers you’ll need to construct, wasting valuable turns when your city should be doing something more useful. It could be devastating, especially in the early game.
By far my favorite new feature in Civ VI is “Active Research” though—I say, as someone who mostly pursues Science victories.
Active Research means your actions in the game directly benefit your tech tree. An early example: Because I founded my Chinese civilization on the shore, I received an immediate bonus to research on Sailing. Had I then researched it, it would’ve taken a fraction of the time compared to if I’d started from scratch. You’ll also get research bonuses by interacting with the locals, by exploring, or by constructing certain buildings.
It’s both a great way to make the early game more interesting and a great way to add some complexity to leap-frogging your way up the tech tree.
Those are the biggest changes, and at least in this early stage I think they’re all pretty strong. As for the rest, it’s hit or miss.
The map is gorgeous—and by that I mean the uncovered or “fog of war” sections, which here are rendered like a hand-drawn map from the Age of Exploration. Gorgeous.
The rest of the visuals...I don’t know. I don’t hate it, and it admittedly looks better in motion than it does in screenshots. But the exaggerated colors and soft edges land this somewhere between the stylized look of Civ IV and the cartoonish look of Civilization Revolution. It’s a huge shift after Civ V’s clean art deco look, and I’m still not entirely fond of this new direction.
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