Rule the world better with these ‘Civilization VI’ beginner tips-off

Image: 2K Game

Strategy games can be imposing brutes, with layered systems and complex progression. Firaxis newly released Civilization VI breaks down hurdles thanks to an approach that makes intricacy welcoming instead of daunting.

Long-time fans will feel at home promptly, despite some major changes. Those who have always toyed with the idea of experimenting with the long-running strategy franchise will find a fantastic introduction in this installment. But in case you need a helping hand, weve got you covered with a define of tips to guide you through your first game.

1. Understand the four victory conditions

In every new Civilization game, Firaxis tweaks the ways youll conquer the world. There are four core victory conditions in Civilization VI : dominance, science, culture, and religion. There is also a quiet fifth option based on rating that only kicks in if you reach the year 2050( 500 turns) without a victor.

Domination victory relies on military might. Once you control every other nations capital as well as your own, the game is yours.

Image: Firaxis Games

A science win requires you to research a number of late-game technologies, launching a satellite into space, set a man on the moon, and establish a colony on Mars. Each of these requires special construction projects, with the final step demanding three components that can only be built in cities with a spaceport.

Cultural victories rely on building tourism cache and welcoming foreign tourists. This is generated with open border pacts, archaeological discoveries, great works of art, holy sites, unique wonders and national parks. The longer video games goes on, the harder this is to accomplish since you need to have more visitors than all of the domestic tourists combined in each of the other civs.

Finally, Civilization VI adds a religious victory for the first time. Your path to victory is through the use of holy sites and religious agents like apostles, missionaries, and inquisitors. You need to convert at least half of every other civilizations cities to your religion, in order to score this kind of win. Founding a religion in Civilization VI is great fun, because you can call it anything you want.

2. Pick a leader that suits your play style

Once you understand the different ways to win, its important to choose one of the 20 leaders that fits your play style.

If youre new to the Civilization series, wed recommend a science victory to start with. Culture is tricky, religion will likely send you to war, and domination is harder than it voices, because big armies need robust infrastructure.

For that reason, you might consider Russia. Peter I( sometimes known as Peter the Great) is a science and culture leech. Trade routes( more on them subsequently) can bring in additional science from any culture that is more advanced than Russia. Just be careful that Peters rapid land grabs dont create the ire of your neighbors.

Other good options for science victories are Arabia and Saladin( blending faith and technology) and Sumeria and Gilgamesh( whose ziggurats make additional science along rivers ).

Science victories allow you to secure your borders with a modest military while concentrates on technologies and district improvements that serve your end game. This is also a great route to experiment with the diplomacy system, as stimulating friends with other leaders will help keep you safe. Utilizing negotiations, you can trade for technologies youd rather not waste turnings researching yourself.

Youll also want to make sure that your relationships with other civilizations give you access to crucial commodities you cant harvest on your own. If you need petroleum or steel, but them isnt available within your borders, youll have to trade for them with other leaders.

A science victory lets you get your feet wet. Next time out, you can be the bully on the block, preach the gospel to the rest of the world or welcome the worlds tourists with open arms.

3. Prefer your first city place carefully( but dont dawdle)

Each Civilization game starts you off with a settler and a soldier. Youll want to be near water when you put down roots, whether thats a river or an ocean( definitely the latter if your leader and civ focus on sail, like Norway and Harald Hadrada or Victoria and England ).

Dont take too long to find the perfect place to determine your empire. Get it done in the first two turns unless youre dropped into a miserable wasteland.

Settling near water is important for any civ to promote population growth. Each new citizen allows you to work one additional tile in your borders. You can choose to micromanage the tiles on which your city focuses or let video games deal with that( we recommend leaving that alone until you get comfy ).

Its important to have a healthy food supply nearby that you can cultivate into farms with builder divisions afterward. The best way to determine this is to turn the yield overlay on( and leave it on ).

The minimap on the lower left features four icons, opt the one second from the left and enable all three checkmarks( you might afterward wish to turn off resource icons and grid lines, but the yield icons remain helpful ).

Corn represents food, gears represent production and music notes represent culture. For now, focus on food and production, which helps you complete building assignments faster.

4. Know when to send settlers out into the wild

Eventually, youre going to need more cities. Your population will make a point at which growth stagnates.

Before you hit that phase, build a settler and send them out to found a new home. Its time to start deeming expansion when you hit four or five population, but dont interrupt your build queue if your current project is almost done.

Be sure to attach a military escort to your vulnerable settlers. You dont want barbarians or an enemy civilization to capture or kill it. When looking for a good spot, try to nab valuable resources, and resolve against rivers, mounds or mountains.

5. Diversify your cities

You dont want carbon copy cities. Each new metropolis should have a role to play in your growing empire.

You can prioritize culture and trade in one and production in another. Your coastal cities can pump out naval divisions, while a well-fortified, centrally located city can be used to develop up military and dispatch them to other areas of your territory.

As you play more, youll get a natural feel for how to specialize cities. To start with, just know that some cities dont need certain districts. If youre producing gold, theres no need to focus on production-boosting improvements, for instance.

Dont take the cookie cutter approach. Trying to do everything in every city is the quickest way to waste time and money. Its a distraction from seeking your victory.

6. Dont ignore your armed forces

Even if you are the most passive leader the world has ever known, you cant dismis military forces. Eventually, youre going to find yourself in a situation that requires a sword or gun, and it might be through no direct defect of your own.

Sometimes the AI will resolve close to you and get huffy about your naturally expanding borders. Other times, youll send an emissary to a city-state and describe the ire of a leader on the outs with that settlement. You dont always know how leaders will react to your moves, and sometimes, theyll surprise you with a statement of war.

You dont need to biggest, baddest military to force your attacker to sue for peace. You just require enough units to patrol the borders, rattle their sabers, and scare off anyone who thinks you might be a pushover.

If you do run into a situation like this and navigate it well, you might find your coffers full with your opponents gold as they try to extricate from a losing conflict.

7. City-states can be valuable allies

Early on, the first non-barbarians you are likely to encounter are AI-driven city-states. You can be the neighborhood bully and take them by force. Or, if you are looking for a peaceful relationship, you can build trade routes, send emissaries, and encouraging a relationship.

Every envoy you send contributes to city-state specific bonuses. This helps you target which are most important to your victory condition.

More importantly, if youve got the most influence, you can temporarily command the city-states military forces. If you find yourself in a bind, this can be a good way to discourage enemies from stepping over your border.

8. Make the most of trade routes

Trade routes are your friends. This bears repeating. Trade roads. Are. Your. Friends.

In previous Civilization games, players had to tediously task workers to build roads. It wasnt enjoyable, and it didnt always run quite right. In Civ VI , roads between cities are automatically constructed along trade routes.

These speed movement, disproving terrain penalties and, in the case of war, get vital military units to their destination before its too late. Trade routes also deliver food, gold, production and culture, giving you a lifeline between your people and allies, or simply moving your domestic goods around the map more easily.

Especially if youre going for a culture victory, youre going to want to send your caravans to as many cities as possible.

9. Make friends, because youll definitely construct enemies

Unless you set out to rule the world with an iron fist, opportunities are youre expending the early game laying the foundation for a game thats more a race than a boxing match. You might be able to go the whole game without a war, but its unlikely. Youre going to piss someone off, and have to rapidly put yourself on a war footing as a result.

Your goal at that point is to build the situation untenable for your attacker as fast as possible. The best route to do that? Make friends.

Spend some time in the diplomacy menu. Try to negotiate open perimeters with leaders that arent predisposed to warmongering, strike trade agreements, and raise your rapport to the friendship level.

Once youve done that, any AI that proclaims war on you is going to find themselves with a fight on two fronts. If you do end up in a scrap at that point, opportunities are your combined might will give you a track to end the conflict in relatively short order.

10. You dont require every technology

Earlier, we recommended that you specialize your cities. Now, in our final tip, were indicating you apply that same doctrine to your entire empire.

Technologies take time to research. Every time you choose a tech that doesnt unlock a building, district, or unit that serves the victory youre pursuing, youre burning valuable turns( sometimes 40 or 50 of them ). Once you learn how to play, you can choose your next tech from a listing that appears on the left side of the screen.

When you are getting your Civ leg, open the tech tree every time. Get a feel for what your alternatives are and what they, in turn, make available for research. Its not only ok to plan out your next three or four options, but advisable. In fact, if you have a target in intellect, you can select it on the tree and the game will research the prerequisites in order without interruption.

Later on, you might find that you need an earlier tech to reach one you need. This is a perfect hour for diplomacy.

In addition to divisions, great works of art, gold and resources, you can petition that other leaders impart their wisdom. Sometimes, this is the fastest route to convert your gold surplus into science. Theres no disgrace in paying for it.

Civilization VI is out today, October 21, for PC.

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