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.

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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State of the Game: Fall Edition

sotg

Been a while since I did a round up. It’s also been a while since I’ve talked video games around here. Yeah, Football season means I make my By the Numbers posts, but I know very little people who are all that interested in those. I keep doing em to chronicle my view points of the games and circumstances. Helps me to remember details as well. It’s been my blog for almost 12 years now, so why should I stop writing shit that nobody cares about? Indeed, I shall carry on with the frivolity.

The big changes this time around are that I’ve been spending most of my free time with my girlfriend, or playing Magic with my buddy. I suppose the girlfriend part isn’t much of a surprise because I’ve mentioned that a time or two.

I guess the part about playing Magic isn’t that surprising either, since I’ve made a few posts on the subject already. I have also done more playtesting as evidenced above, where I have made some additional tweaks to my White/Black deck, and have a package (that was supposed to arrive today but didn’t) coming with some finishing touches for a Black/Blue Zombie deck that I think is going to be a ton of fun to play. The other night when I took the above photo, my friend and I played a few rounds with some of his very ancient decks and that was a blast from the past. A bunch of cards I hadn’t seen since my high school days were present. Really makes me miss the cards I used to have, but I’m hoping to get a chunk of that collection back when I go visit family over Thanksgiving. Apparently one of my friends whom I used to play with says he has some of my cards in a box in his garage, and said I could come pick them up, and I intend to do just that. Plus it will be a nice excuse to see him as well. So rest assured, The War Report will be an ongoing series. I have more playtest reports, more deckbuilding to do, and in a few short months the latter portion of the Kaladesh block will release so there will be more theorycrafting to do. I can’t wait.

Moving on, back to the video game front. I cancelled my subscription to World of Warcraft. Yeah, it’s silly that I bought the game in the first place. The hype train for Legion took off, I jumped on board and thought I’d give it a go, and after some disappointment with my inability to just jump right in with a level 100 boosted character, I rolled some alts and started leveling. I was subbed for 3 months and managed to get one character to 40, along with getting my artifact weapons on the boosted toon. These MMOs just don’t grab me like they used to, despite my repeated attempts. Shit, I still need to play Destiny… I’ve had that for months. So I’m basically back in a holding pattern waiting for Crowfall and trying to work on some of this backlog that is ever-present and always haunting me. These are the fickle waves that I go through, and well, sorry not sorry.

I’m still playing SMITE almost daily. I have nearly 30 Gods mastered. I’ve chosen Loki to be the God I take to Mastery level 10. I’ve been experimenting with the other game modes as well. For a time, my friend and I would only play Arena and Joust. I started playing Assault regularly enough to get the trophy for 25 matches played. The Odyssey quests drove me to play a few rounds of Clash and I’ve grown to love it. I also played in a rare group of 4, where my friend had another friend who had another friend and we played some Siege, which is a 4v4 game mode. That was a blast, and makes me wish I knew more folks who played the game on PS4. If you do, I’m Built4Sin82… send me a friend request and a message!

I didn’t pick up Civilization VI on its release date, but I was paid the following week and then picked it up. The first day I played some multiplayer with a friend (and a friend of his) and that was fun but I wasn’t able to play for very long. I ended up starting my own game, playing as America and going for a (typical) domination victory. So far I’ve gone near 500 turns and have wiped a couple of Civs off of the map but there’s still a long road ahead. I laugh as the enemy civs strive for more culture or convert my cities to their religions over and over again, when none of those efforts count for anything. Ha! Then I systematically destroy them and their ancient military technology! I have a ton of screens and more that I want to share I just haven’t had a spare moment to start a write up. That will be here eventually.

Lastly, I was gifted a copy of Shadow Warrior 2 for my birthday last week, and though I haven’t played much yet, I can report that it is very much a direct sequel to the original remake. Does that make sense? So the original was by 3D Realms, creators of Duke Nukem. It came out during that era and played pretty much the same. The remake came out a couple of years ago, and I shared a bunch of my experience via the blog. In October, the sequel to the remake came out. This is the game I’m speaking of. Is that more clear? Anyway, the game looks great, runs smooth (and defaults to ultra if you have a decent rig) and plays similarly to the last one. There are some UI changes that are interesting, and a loot system of sorts where instead of just getting upgrades to your basic weapons, you find new versions of the weapons. For instance, I picked up a sweet sort-of lightsaber that also shoots energy beams within my first hour of play. It’s pretty awesome. And of course, there’s the signature Lo Wang shit talking throughout. This game speaks to me. If you like story based shooters, you’ll probably enjoy it.

That’s all I have for now. Happy gaming, where ever you find yourself.