Civ 4 VS Civ 6

Totally random..yes..and terraces and odeons can survive/convert
I thought the Python files defining what the buildings are and what they do also state the chances for them to be razed during conquest and that in unmodded CivIV, standard non-world-wonder culture-producing buildings (libraries, theaters, etc.) and military buildings (barracks, etc.) had 100% chance of being razed and all others had a 50% chance of being razed.
Civ 6 was free to play this weekend so I thought I'd give it a shot. I had low expectations going in, but the game turned out to be worse than I thought.

Like many here, I started with Civ 1 and played all the major versions, with Civ 4 being the pinnacle, a game which captivated me for years. Then Civ 5 came out. I felt totally disgusted by what they had done to the Civ franchise, whose games had offered me so many great gaming experiences from childhood on. So it could only get better from here, right? Well, I guess Civ 6 isn't any worse than Civ 5. Some of its mechanics seem slightly more thought-out than those of its predecessor. But that's about all I can say that is positive, and it is hardly a compliment.

My bewilderment about this game started right off the bat, when after the remarkably underwhelming intro I got to the main menu, which was reminiscent of a science fiction game rather than a civ game. I clicked on the "Play now " button, thinking about which leader and what kind of map I wanted to play. But the game would have nothing of that, instead a random game just started without giving me any choices. So, back to the main menu, where I reckoned they wanted me to hit the "Create game" button instead. Which was followed by the next surprise. I get that they wanted to create some new nation and leader choices. Scythia may be debatable. But Kongo? As the only African civ? No civs from the Americas? And while some civs have their traditional leaders, like Ghandi, Cleopatra or Victoria, giving Rome Trajan, Greece Gorgo and France Catherine de Medici struck me as rather curious.

Anyway, I picked Rome and started a game. I could go into the vast amount of poorly implemented or simply bizarre design decisions, which often left me completely dumbfounded why anyone in their right mind would think were good ideas. But most of the issues have been discussed here already, be it the cartoonish graphics, the absolutely appalling UI, which either hides relevant information behind numerous clicks in various submenues or omits it in the first place, the "fill the buckets"-feel to the game instead of managing an empire, or the abysmal diplomacy, which perhaps was the single most mind-boggling feature.

Each civ I met would contact me every few turns and, for no apparent reason, either denounce me, pay me a compliment (sometimes only a few turns after they had denounced me), then denounce me again, or say something completely irrelevant. Without me ever knowing the reasons or the consequences of these actions.
Then in one turn two civs, who were already in a war against each other, both declared war on me. Again for no apparent reason - I had always been nice, wasn't close to their borders, had a decent military... of course it didn't really matter, in fact a few rounds after sighting no enemy troops I declared war against another civ (Greece), conquered them, and only about 30 rounds after their DOW one of the former civs sent a total of three troops my way (which of course were easily slaughtered). I then prepared for the counter attack, but the frustration of 1UPT was too much for me. I could not bring up any desire to move all my units across the map like in a zigzag puzzle every turn until I had reached my enemy. Especially since I knew I would beat them anyway. So why should I go through all the hassle?

Which brings me to the crucial point: Even if some game mechanics were well designed and well implemented, it all doesn't matter. Some players have lauded the district system. I find it needlessly restrictive, but in the end it doesn't matter what you choose, since you will win anyway. I also dislike the concept of city states. They seem slightly more sophisticated than in Civ 5, but again, even if it was a great concept that offered an intriguing amount of interesting options, they wouldn't matter. What you build, the order of your research, your social policies... none of your choices matter in this game. Because the AI is so bad that regardless of your choices you will win anyway.

The main reason for this is of course the combat system, which, like Civ 5, adopts 1UPT. Not only is the scale of this system completely unsuitable for a grand strategy game and makes moving your armies an unbearable chore. The AI is absolutely hopeless at using it. In the above mentioned war, Greece had already entered the Middle Age era, a few turns before I entered the classical era. Which is strange enough, especially considering it was 1200 BC or so. But despite their tech lead they put up no resistance at all. I don't think I lost a single unit.

Note that this was my very first game, I have no clue about advanced strategies or intricacies of combat. I played on emperor by the way, so I guess I'd have to move up to immortal or deity, which seems strange for a noob to have to do, but even so, this would not change the quality of the AI.

To make things worse, while I cannot fully judge it myself, I have read that the AI apparently cannot play the economic game either. At best the AI may pose an early threat due to its bonuses. But since it doesn't understand any of the game's mechanics in the slightest, it will eventually get outclassed by the player as long as his choices don't completely defy common sense.

For this reason, any further discussion about the mechanics and the features of Civ 6 is, in my humble opinion, totally futile. I happen to largely dislike the features in Civ 6, but that is not the point. All the features could, on their own, be as awesome and complex and immersive as one could possibly imagine. And still this game would suck. Because none of the features, no matter how complex they might be in theory, none of the decisions we make matter, when the AI cannot play the game. When we realize that we will beat the AI regardless of the choices we make - and we realize that very early - all our choices become meaningless and the game loses all its appeal.

This problem is obviously not redeemable by patches or DLC. IMO retracting the 1UPT nonsense is an absolutely necessary (yet by far not the only) step that must be taken to once again achieve a civ game deserving of its name. But given the development that the franchise has taken, my hopes for improvement in an eventual Civ 7 remain very small.
It sounds like the developers no longer care about single player (or else they'd develop an AI that was at least capable of challenging the human player) and only care about multi-player. Might Civ VI be a decent MP game? (Just asking; I don't play MP.) Of course, that would be a huge departure from Civ I-IV as those were primarily SP games.
It sounds like the developers no longer care about single player (or else they'd develop an AI that was at least capable of challenging the human player) and only care about multi-player. Might Civ VI be a decent MP game? (Just asking; I don't play MP.) Of course, that would be a huge departure from Civ I-IV as those were primarily SP games.
That would be odd, since the vast majority of players don't play multiplayer.

I think the real answer is that the developers *can't* make a better AI, because it's too challenging. And they don't need to, because most players enjoy crushing a helpless AI without needing to think too hard.
I am a longtime Civ4 player (my old username on this site from the Civ4-era was Molybdeus) and decided to try Civ6 this week. I mostly agree with the original poster.

Civ4 is a great strategic game and a bad to mediocre game tactically. To improve the tactics of combat, Civ5 decided to create a pigeon-rat (Simpsons reference - sewing a pigeon and a rat together to get an animal too heavy to fly and too bulky to crawl through tight spaces) by forcing a marriage of 1upt and Civ's map-based economic system. I LOVE 1upt in tactical games like the old Avalon Hill board games, but it flat out doesn't work with the economy system of the old Civilization games. The developers have done a valiant job trying to get the two to work together in Civ6, but I still don't think it actually works.

My wish for CIv7 is that they go with the mini-map option. You have a stack of units, and you can optionally resolve battles of stacks with a tactical battle map featuring 1upt. People who love 1upt and tactical battles would get what they want, and people who want a strategic game with competent AI would get what they want.
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I got Civ6 from the Epic games freebie offer, and still haven't gotten myself to play. Should I ? I don't think so. Civ 5 was a letdown, and everything I've read about Civ 6 says maybe some things are a little better, maybe some aren't, but the bottom line is 1 UPT is a deal breaker for me in Civ right now. I'm sort of boycotting all new releases until they bring back a Civ game with some form of stacks. Doesn't have to be SoD's, just bring back some form of stacks that can get the AI back in the game and remove the 1 UPT tedium for players at the same time. I don't have any confidence that's ever going to happen because there are too many players of the franchise now who think 1 UPT is Civ. As long as all these people keep loving the ease of these iterations, and keep buying the post release content, its probably not going to happen =(. It may have to be Civ 4 4ever, maybe with some rare, even more nostalgic journeys back into 1 or 2.
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My first post for over 10 years. Loved Civ 4, but got put off the series by Civ 5. I've recently tried Civ 6 again. After 1,000's of hours of Civ 4, I really *want* to move on to the newer games. But they just aren't as good, don't have that "one more turn" about them. Agree with most of the points regarding Civ 6 that others have mentioned. My first game of Civ 6 was a couple of years ago, on "normal" level. I got a win without knowing what I was doing. Uninstalled as it was not enjoyable and seemed just "click button to win".

Recently installed it again, but given up again without even finishing. 1UPT is just tedious. I struggle to see why Stack of Doom is such a problem to the majority of gamers who seem to think 1UPT is fine. Fair enough, churning out so many units in Civ 4 was a bit tedious. But it just needed balancing so you had fewer, but stronger units, perhaps. Something like Age of Wonders where you can have 6 units on a tile would be fine.

To me it looks like both Civ 5 and 6 seem to have a design ideal of "change for changes sake". Like 1UPT, ideas that are popular in other games, so get bolted on to Civ, whether appropriate or not. These changes while different, add no real strategy to the game.

In my opinion, Districts fall in to this. It's a change that really adds nothing, but it's a change and seems to work, so many people are OK with it. The thing is, that Districts shrinks the map even more than 1 UPT. In the past, when people wondered how big a tile was, I think estimates were around 20 to 30 miles. So even though very abstract, your empire felt believable. Major cities were say, 100 miles apart, sprawling across a large empire. That felt right to me in 1 - 4 and even 5 didn't change it much.

But the districts mean that the entertainment or academy centre could now be 60 miles from the city centre! Clearly not right, so tiles must be much smaller, 5 miles across, maybe. To have buildings in tiles spreading out from the city, means that the map is now smaller, and 1UPT also makes a bit more sense.

However, in the game I gave up, I had around 10 cities across my land, I realised that far from being my "sprawling empire" like in the old days, it was about as big as Wales! And the entire map - Standard size - about as big as Europe, perhaps. Yet annoyingly, thanks to 1UPT, it still takes units 50 years to travel the couple of hundred miles across it. So yes, I think districts are badly thought out, and detract from what the game is (or used to be?) about. The add nothing of interest, other than busy work (which is broadly true of all the new features). And make the map feel much smaller.

If they were going to use the concept of districts in a mini-tile laying board game like way (I'm guessing that was the aim), they should have retained 1 tile per city, but a separate map for each city to lay out the districts on. Like 1UPT, the scale of the game does not suit this low level tactical design. Unless the scale is a lot smaller than we thought.

Finally, City States. What are they good for? In terms of "Interesting decisions", I just can't see what the purpose of them is. What they represent. OK, they are slightly better than in Civ 5, but still, they are just some kind of easily exploitable goody rewarder. Like tribal huts but worse as they wont go away. Yet the one thing they can do is build military units. I saw a city states building at least 12 military and thanks to 1UPT, they would be cluttering up the city states little piece of land, all swapping positions in surreal musical chairs every turn. And this is "working as designed"? This is supposed to add to the game? How? It's just innane.

City states should be a type of civilization, not something completely different, shoe horned into the game because..? Well, I can only assume somebody read a history book and it mentioned City States so they thought people would think it made Civ more real, maybe?

In earlier Civs, wasn't "City States" a form of government? My memory is vague, but I think thats' how it should be. Several nations (e.g .Italy, Germany) broadly started as collections of city states, before unifying. There should only be Civilizations, I hated the City States in Civ 5 and always switched them off. But in Civ 6, they are more tightly integrated, so much so that 1UPT and City States are close to being the core of the game now. So you can't really switch them of as several civs bonuses seem to depend on them.

Well, after 10+ years away, it's good to get that off my chest! I don't think there is any hope for the series now. That Civ 4 was the peak. So I'm now off for a game of BTS :lol:
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My first post for over 10 years.
Welcome back! :)

If you think that Civ 4 was "the peak", then I'd suggest that you check out some of the mods which continue to be actively developed for the game to this day. You may already know about the BUG mod, which improves the UI tremendously. There are also mods which make minimal changes, but which seek to fix aspects of the game which needed further development or balancing. For example, there are mods which improve the easily-tricked AI from vanilla BtS: among these is Better BAT AI. Other mods like K-mod include the former changes, but additionally make modest balance changes and repair some poorly-implemented mechanics in the base game, like Global Warming. K-mod's spiritual successor is effectively Advanced Civ, which has quite active development with lots of community input. Of course, there are many mods which make much more radical changes to the flavor of Civ4 such as Rhye's and Fall, Realism Invictus, Caveman 2 Cosmos, etc. There still is a lot going on with this game, so you'll have a lot to do! :)
Civ 4 doesn't even need mods to last for a dozen years or more. :) Well.. except BUG. Accidentally loaded up the game without it the other day and wow the original UI is horrible!

I played Civ 6 for a couple of months after release and haven't touched it since. It was quite a broken mess back then, hope they have fixed most of the bugs and exploits by now. But even when trying hard to avoid exploiting bugs (which wasn't always possible) the game was just way too easy. Civ 4 deity was widely considered unbeatable for years, while Civ 6 deity was a walk in the park from game one. 1 upt is of course one big reason for this. Warfare felt completely pointless and so did diplomacy. AI leaders were denouncing me left and right, but that didn't matter at all. Just ignore them and do my thing.

While Civ 6 felt like quite a failure as a strategy game, I think it might sit better with those players who are looking for more of a Sim-Civ experience. If all you want to do is build a beautiful empire and watch your cities grow and citizens be happy, then having your neighbor march a stack of 78 units over your border is probably not what you want to see. I believe these kinds of players are still by far the largest potential market, so I doubt the series will ever go back in a direction that would make it more challenging with proper external threats to your empire.
Well, after 10+ years away, it's good to get that off my chest! I don't think there is any hope for the series now. That Civ 4 was the peak. So I'm now off for a game of BTS :lol:

Month and a half late I am, but don't forget to add any of the MODs cited above for future playing. I very much recomend BAT 4.1, which has many excellent other mods included within..(and doesn't change a bit in the gameplay)
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I have all the Civ4 and Civ 5 expansions and also some Civ 6 expansions. But believe me Civ 5 is very buggy and Civ 6 doesn't even compare to Civ 4 BTS.
I know Civ 6 has it's upsides but I also believe Civilization 4 was the peak of the game series. The main reason I think that is because Civ 4 is so user friendly and there are over infinity mods to choose from, new ones appear almost all the time, and it's so easy to create your own.
Civ6 can be better just because it was born later, with higher hardware requirement.
Considering the gap of environment, I think Civ4 is real masterpiece.
An update after almost a year of Civ 6 game time. I reread my initial thoughts and read through some of the responses and was surprised at how much of it still holds, though some things I changed my mind about:


The diplomacy screens CAN be animated but it is a feature you need to turn on in settings. Super annoying.

You can also turn on a feature that shows relative strength in military, science, culture, etc between you and the other civs. For the life of me I can't understand why the default setting is not to have these features turned on with the option to turn them off.

There is also a function to search on the map which is actually a great feature. It lets you see any resource, district, building or unit anywhere on the map and scroll through them all. Great feature that I somehow overlooked when I wrote out my initial review.

New Thoughts

Civ 6 is way easier than Civ 4. I'm currently playing on Immortal difficulty (the second highest) on Civ 6 and winning pretty consistently and feel like I could have a fair win percentage on Deity (the highest). In Civ 4 I was only able to win on Emperor difficulty (the third highest) sporadically. This seems to be the majority view as well. Civ 6 seems to be less about WHETHER you can win and more about HOW you can win and the fun is in developing and trying new strategies that synergize with each Civ's unique bonuses.

Civ 6 is way harder than Civ 4. I know, I know....I just said the opposite, but here's what I mean. Civ 4 had general strategies and techniques that would work in almost any situation, allowing you to succeed against most map rolls. Civ 6 seems to be far more dependent on getting favorable results from RNG (good map, good city states, mix and proximity of natural wonders, etc), particularly in the early game. In Civ 4 almost every start could be made workable. In Civ 6 the AI has such a huge early advantage in terms of units and bonuses that a bad start can make the rest of the game nearly unwinnable. Spawn with lots of flat plains and nearby neighbors? Probably a re-roll. I'm sure that most of these maps could be restarted and played successfully by playing to very specific strategies but for me this is an annoying aspect of the game.

Civ 4 balanced victory conditions better. Civ 4 seemed to be very balanced between being able to wing peacefully or aggressively. Civ 6 seems to favor peaceful victories pretty heavily. The difficulty of moving large armies, the vastly overpowered defensive capabilities, plus the need to balance so many different factors (science, culture, faith, gold) make domination victories much more difficult than in Civ 4. Aggressive strategies are still very possible, but the peaceful options seem much easier to me.

Things that haven't changed

The UI is still hot garbage. Finding needed info is still difficult, though some extra time in game has helped me find it faster and easier. Diplomacy is still garbage when compared to Civ 4 (why does one AI care if I'm at war with their hated enemy? Why does an AI with whom I'm allied against another AI hate me for warring with the same AI that they are?), though after taking some time to understand the mechanics of it, it's slightly less rubbish than I previously thought. The map is still a little tough to read, though less so with some experience.

Final conclusions

I still stand by my initial conclusion: for longtime Civ 4 players with an open mind, Civ 6 is a decent addition to the series. Civ 4 is still the best in my mind though.
Like many here, I started with Civ 1 and played all the major versions, with Civ 4 being the pinnacle, a game which captivated me for years. Then Civ 5 came out. I felt totally disgusted by what they had done to the Civ franchise, whose games had offered me so many great gaming experiences from childhood on.

What you build, the order of your research, your social policies... none of your choices matter in this game. Because the AI is so bad that regardless of your choices you will win anyway.

The main reason for this is of course the combat system, which, like Civ 5, adopts 1UPT.

'I felt totally disgusted' - I felt the same! Even cheated! I'd bought a Civilization game and got something unrecognisable. It all felt like playing on rails and, as you say, nothing you do actually matters, and, even if it does, it doesn't feel like it matters while you play.
I find Civ 6 just boring, I dont like the district idea (feel like a Tycoon game for me) neither those city states, I find them so dull, just asking stupids things to do as if they see the future, asking you to get something from several technologies ahead, and the last zombie thing... wow, next thing is the arcade mode I guess? And the AI as we all know is just pathetic and the other really BIG problem is that Firaxis took the worst path: Why you should buy us a DLC if you let the people around mod the game? Well, forget about modding it and buy a lot of dlcs from us!
For me VI is the worst one, is better V (no districts and can be modded), but of course the best one is still IV, only thing I miss from V & VI is the damn hexagons... anyone could some day mod IV and add the hexagons and you have the definitive edition.
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I play Civ 4 on prince, and it is a challenge (yah i'm a baddie, I know). I play Civ 5 on emperor, and it is less of a challenge. I play Civ 6 on emperor, and it is a joke.

What more can you say?
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