Balancing Difficulty with Wonders and the desire to build in general.

Tazer Olox

Sep 6, 2023
Hello, first I'd like to introduce myself. I'm a longtime lurker who finally decided to register. I've been playing Civ since Civ4 vanilla. I usually play King or Emperor to challenge myself. I've had only one Deity win on Civ6 (Science with 8 civs on Standard map and speed playing Germany ending with the Korean cities encircled from land and sea, just one turn away from Conquest). I was attacked midgame by the Khmer and Shaka and that dragged on for quite a while, so the game lasted until the last era.
My dilema has always been what to go for? I'm a real builder at heart but I'm also competitive and I do enjoy a challenge, instead of just mopping up the map midgame on Prince. This has been my most difficult dilema since Wonders and districts both cost tiles now. I hope its not percieved as a stupid question. I've been through everything from the SOD era to aliens, NFP, the 1UPT+walls, I don't use bugs or mods(except sometimes for those that give a better overall summary). I take the game and my civ and map as is and try to make the best of it. How do you guys prefer to balance enjoying building out your cities and tiles with moving up to King and Emperor and having a challenge?
PS: Please excuse any typos.
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With the Barbarian Clans Mode on you can reduce the amount of City States (E.g. 12 Civs, 6-8 CityStates / 6 Civs, 3-4 City States), which clears up the central areas of the map for actual Civs. The barbarian camps that spawn towards the edges of the map tend to grow into City States, so the balance between Civs and City States will still feel appropriate.

Another advantage is that you can rely on these barbarian camps to partially build up your army, since they're cheaper to purchase than if you were to purchase them in your own city, thus releasing production towards building districts and wonders. Though having a decent amount of income is necessary if you which to take this path.
If you want to build up, then the best way is simply to build your cities a little further apart. It may not always be optimal, but if you like to build, then it's the way to go. If you don't cram a city in every square that you can, but space them out a little more, that gives you the space to develop. The other great way if you like to build is to choose a civ that really gets production bonuses. Play as Age of Steam Victoria, for example (or Germany like your above game), and your cities should generally be productive enough to build anything you want.

Pick a civ that either benefits your play style, or pick one that helps you out in something you're weaker at. If you struggle with civs attacking you, pick a civ with a good military bonus, and even if you don't use it on the offensive, it can give you enough security that you can enjoy building your empire however you want.
Yu have to build up and keep expanding throughout the land. If you stay and sit duck on the 2 or 3 cities you start out with and build wonders.. it won't work out. At least that's what happened to me with Egypt on Emperor. There must be a better strategy since that civ 5 strategy just doesn't work anymore.
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