Thoughts on Rise & Fall

I was gifted a copy of the Civilization VI expansion, Rise & Fall, by my Dad for Christmas. It was released at the beginning of 2018 and I had been keeping my eye on it for some time, aiming to grab it on sale at some point. He did this for me instead, and since I hadn’t played the game in a couple of years I knew I needed a new play through to get acquainted with the new features and mechanics. Besides adding new units and buildings, there were some key features added to the game, along with some new civilizations to command. I chose to go with one of the new civs, Scotland:

Robert the Bruce ended up being my leader, and his Highlanders (that don’t become available until after you’re able to produce firearms) were quite handy in battle. When creating this campaign, I decided that I only wanted to allow either the Domination or Science victories. I have a habit of warmongering a bit in the Civilization series, so I decided that I would aim for the Science victory and only fight with other civs when they attacked me first. I stuck to this throughout the game, and war did indeed come to my doorstep. I chose the realistic Earth tileset, and for civilizations to start in their real world starting locations. As such, I started on a tiny little island with England.

One of the new features was introduced almost immediately, that being Governors. They are a new part of the government that helps you to keep full loyalty in your cities where they are established. They also come with perks that are unique to each governor, and you can use these to your advantage as needed.

It wasn’t long after getting somewhat established and expanding to the east with a new town that London started getting angsty towards me. I’m not sure exactly what I did to them, but in true historical fashion they attempted to subjugate my people. In non-historically accurate terms, I ended up destroying them and claiming London for my own. Take that, ya damn Brits!

It wasn’t long after this that I expanded a bit further into the northeast and soon Poland was denouncing me and attacking as well. I managed to take over a couple of their cities in the process of war, but then we made peace. They would denounce me over an over again for controlling their cities until their inevitable collapse to China.

I managed to make a few wonders during the campaign, but only one was a new addition with the expansion (the Statue of Liberty). That particular wonder provides two new settler units with which I used to colonize the new world.

There was a plethora of new resources on this new continent, and thankfully I had put a bunch of research into upgrading my navy so I was able to support this endeavor, even after Rome advanced into the territory and dropped a surprise war on me, on two fronts. I only fought them off and didn’t take any new territory for myself in the process, mainly because at this point I was just trying to further my scientific goals.

The late game consisted of spy games and creating wonders. Spies are a more interactive feature in this iteration of Civilization than the previous game (where they were originally introduced). You can send them to various cities and then use them for various missions, including stealing research or great works, or to slow down enemies production. Some spies in my cities were consistently creating partisan rebels that I would have to eliminate, but most of the time they would wander off to fight with Rome instead, which was nice. I was nearing completion of my first space port and had researched the necessary Mars components to gain the space victory, but there was only about 40 turns left (of the 500 limit) so I don’t think I would have been able to win anyway. China ended up getting the science victory and my story had come to a close.

It was a bummer, but it was still a fun experience, and I think this expansion truly brought this game up a notch. I’m looking forward to the next expansion that’s coming this year, and I will likely revisit Civilization VI again after that point. One last new feature I would like to point out, is the addition of a history scroll that updates periodically throughout your game, and brings a nice personal touch to the game that has been missing in iterations past. I’ll leave you with a slideshow of my personal journey through this play through.

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Pretty cool. I would highly recommend picking up Rise & Fall particularly if you can get it on sale. Otherwise, perhaps you should wait for the complete edition that is sure to come out sometime after the next expansion releases. Either way, Civilization continues to be an amazing gaming experience.

Codex of Victory

Another gem to come out of left field, Codex of Victory melds several different strategy game elements into a fairly successful formula. A low poly, semi-anime style romp, the campaign boasts 20+ hours of gameplay, of which I’ve experienced a handful of missions, but the core gameplay has made itself known.

Combining three core game modes, there are elements of Real Time Strategy, 4x, and Turn Based Strategy rolled into one game. The majority of your time will be spent on the field of combat, which will be different configuration each time, but will encompass the TBS and RTS portion of the game.

You’ll find yourself on a grid based landscape, where action points (or AP) will be spent to both build units and to perform actions with said units. You’ll capture additional points of interest to gain more AP, and with that AP you’ll decimate the enemy. From there, you’ll spend some time building your base along with upgrading your units between battles.

After sufficiently preparing for the next battle, you’ll jump on the mission screen and fly to the next tactical strike point, completing missions and earning resources to build more stuff along the way.

Clearly the latter two portions of the game cover the 4x strategic requirements by picking up new territories and plotting attacks for various resources. The latter two portions also remind me the most of games like XCOM, but still feel right at home mixed with the other portions of the game. Honestly I’m surprised it works due to the various directions the dev team decided to go in, but it does feel just right. It’s not overly convoluted, not overly focused on graphics or storyline, is easy to pick up and feels appropriately difficult. For fans of really any genre of strategy games, you’ll find something to like here. It’s a $15 price tag on Steam unless you catch a sale (current sale is for $12) and is definitely worth it, should you be looking for something easy to jump into for a cheap price. That’s my two cents, anyway.

My First Ten Hours With Civilization VI

I’ve already mentioned picking up and playing Civilization VI in my last post, but I wanted to share more of my thoughts on the game. Plenty of other people have already done so, and with the game having been out for a month or damn near, most of you probably already know if it’s a game for you or not. But perhaps I can sway a person or two who is sitting on the fence.

So, if you’ve played a Civilization game in the past, it’s likely that you’ll know what to expect already going into this new iteration. It is, in fact a Civilization game, so most of the base mechanics are similar to previous titles. This is still a 4x game. It’s still a long-term strategy endeavor. You still follow a budding civilization from it’s ancient roots into the future, and still have the traditional victory conditions. There are plenty of map types to choose from, plenty of leaders to play as (and different ones per civ, so if it’s a civilization that existed before, you will play as a different leader). Multiplayer is still available as well. In short, what you would expect is present.

People complained about Civilization V not being “done” until its final expansion released. I would agree that vanilla V compared to the game once Brave New World released are two different things. The addition of religion, new buildings and units and tweaks to the balance and AI all made the final product much better than the initial release. But these are the times we live in, and DLC/Expansions/Season Passes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I can say that Civ VI has taken most if not all of the ideas presented over the course of Civ V’s lifespan and included them in the base game. You don’t have to wait for an expansion to have a religion, that’s already built in. Lessons learned from prior games have already been applied.

The UI is different. The graphics and animations have been overhauled to a point where they look great, particularly if you zoom in a bit. There are idle animations all over the map, and the fog of war is more interesting than before. Unit stacking is back so you can manage your armies better and beef them up in ways that weren’t possible in the past. The research tree has been tweaked. Civics are a whole new bag. The perks that come with choosing a government are adaptable and able to be changed over the course of a game. I’ve stuck with the same militaristic government for over 400 turns and only changed individual policies when it was beneficial.

The biggest change is the way city building works. In Civ V, you would build wonders and other buildings and they would sort of be tacked onto your city in a half assed way. Now, you can see the individual buildings more clearly, and wonders and other districts actually take up tiles on the map, rather than just automatically being present on the city tile itself. This means planning your cities takes a bit more effort, and new additional build paths are available. I prefer this to just have 1000’s of farms on the free space, though finding the appropriate amenities and keeping up on housing is pretty difficult until the later stages of the game. I’m not sure how you would keep your people happy if you weren’t expanding, and were say going for a cultural victory. I suppose that would mean trading for optimal resources. Honestly, I prefer to blow shit up.

Combat hasn’t changed much, though it appears that the super death robots are no longer a thing. At least, I can’t find them on the research tree, and haven’t the ability to make them just yet. It seems that finding the necessary resources on the map is more difficult this time around. I never had a shortage of things that I needed in Civ V, but that’s a minor complaint and probably my fault that it was difficult. Really, there isn’t a whole lot new to learn, and Civ vets will pick up on the nuances fairly quickly.

I started my game as America, and using Teddy Roosevelt I have wiped both England and Norway from the map. Currently at war with the Turks, and as I set a domination victory as the only victory, it will probably take another 200 turns to wipe the remaining civs from the map. I probably should learn how to do something other than destroying everyone, but where’s the fun in that?

Here’s some screens of my playthrough thus far:

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Izlain the Hun Part 3

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My time as Izlain the Hun has come to an end, but what a tale it was! My recounting of the details might be a little fuzzy because I played several sessions to finish up the game, and am going to just wrap it up in this last post. As such, the older details are what’s mostly fuzzy. I know after the last time I wrote about my play through, I had destroyed the Mongols, part of the Byzantine Empire and had moved on to attacking Siam. At this point many of the world’s leaders were guarded towards me, and it was basically me and the Shoshone against the world.

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I pushed further south, essentially taking over the rest of the eastern coastline, which included finishing off Siam, and capturing various city-states. Despite my desire to leave the city-states near my territory in tact, it ended up where one by one they made friends with an enemy civilization, and I ended up having to wipe some of them off of the map. The two nearest me were first to go, and later I had to take Ragusa as they were blocking my push southward.

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It was nice to have an additional port city, as my navy was becoming quite formidable at this point. It should also be noted that at this point some of the other civs decided to wage their own wars, and soon a few of the other factions were killed off by the AI. After conquering most of Siam’s territory for instance, Egypt attacked from the other side and took their final city. The Byzantines were conquered similarly, as was Brazil, whom I never saw except for on the political screen. I had to conquer another port-holding city-state myself, and decided to test out my new found nuclear technology on them.

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Nukes were devastating, but you also need ground troops nearby to actually capture cities, so I had sent that particular nuke a little prematurely. Soon I had the entire east coast of the main continent under my control, and had my sights set inland. The Iroquois had begun fighting with the Shoshone who had helped me in conquering the Mongols, but for some reason the Shoshone decided to denounce me after I refused to give them any more charity (I had donated money and furs to them previously, with nothing in return). So I moved in and took down their last remaining cities. That will show them.

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By now I had Giant Death Robots and the best military tech in the game. The Shoshone were no match.

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During the course of my conquest, both the International Games and the International Space Station projects were started, and yours truly provided the most production for each, granting me a bunch of benefits that helped the war effort, and soon my empire was super happy with me despite my warmonger status. Adopting the Autocracy Ideology helped immensely.

After conquering the Shoshone, I pushed into Egyptian territory, and soon met the opposing red front of Austria, who had done most of the conquering for the western end of the continent. At this point there was only Austria, Egypt, The Iroquois and Japan left, and soon Egypt would fall as well.

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While I finished beating up on Egypt, Austria would go on to conquer Japan, who only had a measly four cities left. They had also started a push into Iroquois territory, bordering me to the north at this point. Seeing Austria and my next big target, I let the Iroquois stick around for a little longer. I knew Austria would be the biggest target from here, so I pulled a multi-faceted strike. First, I built up a large navy and sent them around the southern tip of the main continent to attack all of their harbor cities. I sent my air and ground forces inland and attacked from the east and norther sides, culminating in my having them surrounded. From there it was easy pickings to knock out the Iroquois.

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From there, the game was won. Here’s the final stats:

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Izlain the Hun Part 2

I felt pretty stupid.

After my last post about this particular Civilization V playthrough, I continued on for three or four hours just to have my game crash and I believed all that progress to be lost. I had completely mowed over Mongolia, repelled the attacks from two other civs, along with quelling my own unhappy people who were rebelling against me. After the crash, I lost the will to do anything further that day.

It turns out, Civilization V has an autosave feature, and I didn’t notice until way later on. It saves once every ten turns, so I would have only lost a few minutes worth of actions, rather than the hours I had originally thought. Either way, I didn’t realize this until after I had decided to do everything over again about a week later. So basically, I picked up right where the last post left off, once again. Let’s start from there.

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I utilized my budding navy to take out this island city of the Mongols, which seemed like a pretty pointless spot to put a city in the first place, considering the lack of nearby resources. It fell to my ships easily, though I had to bring in an embarked Knight to capture it. As I said, it was a poor location for a city (I later scouted around and found that there was nothing of value to the north either) so it was razed to the ground. From there, I pushed in further with my forces to take down the Mongols, and the Shoshone were pushing in from the opposite side (we had jointly declared war).

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I took the city to the east here, and there were still a couple to go to the southeast. With the help of the Shoshone, we were able to wipe the Mongols from the map. Funny enough, the first time I went through this, I must have either rushed too quickly, or the random seed just made the difference. The first time all the other civs (besides my ally) decided to declare war on me and sent units to attack. This time I didn’t have that happen, and I managed my happiness just right to the point where I didn’t have any rebel uprisings either. Oh well, it was much smoother this way.

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With the great Khan down, it was time to aim my sights at the rest of the world. First though, it was time to do some more researching, get improvements down on all of the tiles I now owned, and build up an even better army. My cannons, knights and musketmen were doing the trick to that point, but I wanted more modern tech, and wanted to build a navy to rival any other civ. Around this time one of the Vienna conferences came around, and I voted to start the World’s Fair. Doing so, and allotting quite a bit of production towards it netted me some groovy rewards:

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As you can see, I completely destroyed everyone in terms of production. It only took utilizing three or four of my cities as well, though they didn’t really have much to produce building-wise anyway. A worthy trade off, considering the huge boost of culture, points towards a golden age and a free social policy. Most of that was put towards increasing my empire’s happiness, which tends to be the hardest stat to maintain.

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Constantinople is the capital of the Byzantine empire, and though they had been a close neighbor for some time, they had only expanded to two cities from what I could tell. At some point, a rival civ took out one of those cities, and I assumed that the capital was all that remained. I looked forward to easily wiping them from the map, but it turned out that they had actually expanded elsewhere. Still, I had captured two civ’s capitals at this point. I did decide to annex this capital, as I needed a forward base of operations as I moved south to conquer Siam. The reason I chose to go south instead of to the east is because of the friendship that I had maintained with the Shoshone, who were bordering my empire there. As long as they stay friendly, I’ll let them be. For now.

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Soon, I was entering the Modern Age, which meant getting “Great War” tech (and beyond), including new foot soldiers, better siege weaponry, and some improvements to my navy. Oh yeah, I also got access to flight, which means bombers and furthermore, aircraft carriers. I soon had a new target to destroy. Siam was in my sights. It didn’t take long to destroy their cities with a combination of artilery fire, bombing runs, and support from my battleships.

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I captured two of their cities, but it appeared that there was still much work to do, as they seemed to be an empire that had expanded quite readily. I owned nearly the entire western coastline at this point though, so it wouldn’t be long before I was an unstoppable force, particularly with Atomic Theory research almost being completed. Before long I’ll have future tech and will be crowned king of the world, or something to that effect.

More to come as I progress.