Civilization VI isn't a sequel to V; but instead to Civilization IV

salty mud

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Full disclaimer: I know Civ VI is a direct sequel to V. However, this thought popped into my head recently and it's made me re-evaluate the way I look at Civ VI. I was always an avid Civ IV player, playing it semi-regularly since it came out in 2005. I tried V, gave it a good old try, but just couldn't manage it. It took the Vox Populi mod to make it even playable for me, and even then, it's the same game underneath the fancy bells and whistles. Global happiness is still sort of present in VP. City States are annoying to deal with, with their influence ticker mechanics and blandness. A major complaint is that the map just isn't as important. Cities will seem to grow and prosper no matter where you put them. What good is an empire building game where you don't even have to plan out your empire?

I've seen it mentioned a few times that Civilization IV players react more favourably to Civilization VI, whereas Civ V players are generally turned off. As a Civ IV player, I think I fit into this category, and I can see a few reasons why:

1. City management is more indepth. At least, on the surface, with the continuing debate regarding the effectiveness of amenities. Cities in Civ IV had health and happiness requirements. Fail to meet these and city won't grow and won't work. Civ VI has housing and amenities. Without enough housing, your growth is crippled and without amenities, your tile yields are negatively affected. Compare this to Civ V with its simple, keep-global-happiness-above-0-at-all-times mechanic. Civ VI is clearly influenced by Civ IV in this area.

2. Playing the map is more important. In Civ IV, city management was key and city specialisation was crucial on higher difficulties. You needed a production city, a floodplain cottage city, a GP farm and so on, and you had to scout and fight for these locations. In Civ V, cities are just generic places on the map. The best place to plop a city was next to a new resource and that was more or less the depth. No matter where I placed a city, I always seemed to get similar growth and production rates. Civ VI's districts demand specialisation. A mountain city is excellent for science. A city with plenty of hills can benefit enormously from mines and an industrial zone. Coastal cities seem to have a use at last.

3. I see Civ VI's policy cards as a follow-on from Civ VI's civics. Civ V players complain that policy cards don't carry enough meaning as they can be easily changed, whereas Civ VI players complain social policies are too rigid and not representive of "real" government. Civ IV was, in fairness, fairly shallow in this area. There were five categories, each with five choices that could be changed around whenever the player wanted, and some options were clearly better than others. Some players never even left slavery once it was discovered. I feel Civ VI's return to a more flexible style of government is again emulating Civ IV.

4. Return to a slightly "cartoony" style. Seems people have short memories, but Civilization IV could easily be described as cartoony. Leaderheads were almost caricatures, soldiers held way oversized weaponry and the map, pre-blue marble, was bright and bloomy. Civilization VI again emulates this, but probably takes it an extra step further, I will admit. That said, I like the style, and seem to be in the minority in that I adore the handdrawn map style FOW.

5. Era by era music :thumbsup: Desperately missing from Civ V, and the soundtrack all around is a huge improvement with memorable jingles and more upbeat music to Civ V's more muted, serious soundtrack. Again, like Civ IV.

Perhaps I've missed a few reasons. What are your thoughts? Civ VI obviously inherits a lot of feautres from Civ V such as city states, trade routes, 1UPT and so on, but I feel a lot of core design goes back to Civ IV. I'm interested to hear your thoughts.
 

xaiviax

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As a huge Civ IV fan, I agree and feel 6 is much closer than 5. I still miss my highly specialized cities, and the graphical differences of worked tiles vs not worked.
 

salty mud

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A further argument I could suggest is the return to wide play. A common complaint leveled at Civ V is that tall play is always the best option. In 99% of games, the best strategy is to plop four cities down, go Tradition, and click end turn until you win. Civ VI flipped this; wide play is now the superior option. Both sides argue their case that the other game "ruined" their favourite style of play, but I don't quite understand the argument. Tall or wide has never really been a choice in Civ. In VI, you go wide. In V, you go tall. Many people seem to forget that also in Civ IV, you had to go wide. City placement mattered, but more often than not, it was better to have an extra city in your empire than not in Civ IV. I would therefore argue this is another way Civ VI emulates IV.
 

suedenim

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I do think Civ VI is more of a spiritual successor to Civ IV than it is to V.

I agree with most of the points made by a player named Sulla in his analysis of Civ V, particularly this one:

4) Too Many Penalties:
...
When players are confronted by decisions, it's better to let them pick between different good options, rather than forcing them to choose the lesser of two evils.
...
Penalties in an empire building game are generally something to be avoided. You want to reward players for doing well, not punish them for failing. There's a reason why the Civilization games have Golden Ages and not "Dark Ages" in them - the latter would not be fun for most players.

As an aside, it's interesting that Civ VI does, of course, have Dark Ages, but the consensus seems to be that on balance they actually are fun, because the Heroic Age that may follow is a much bigger positive than the Dark Age was a negative.

Civ5's design suffers from way too many of these penalties, in which the player is actually hurt for doing something good. The classic example of this is road maintenance, something new to Civ5 with no previous precedent in the series.... Civ5's decision to penalize players for building roads is simply baffling, especially since roads are still mandatory to connect cities for trade routes. The game might as well be laughing at you: "Haha, you need this road to connect your cities, but it's gonna cost you!"
...
Expansion is also rife with further penalties....This is simply the wrong way to go about Civ5's design, creating all of these penalties for expansion (which are really silly to begin with - why are you penalizing players for expanding in an empire building game?)
...
I can keep going. There are too many penalties associated with capturing cities. Annexing cities carries way too many penalties, in the form of a giant unhappiness penalty and mandatory construction of an expensive courthouse improvement. Puppeting cities isn't much better. I'm not sure who thought it would be fun to turn all of the player military conquests over to AI governors, but with annexing cities so painful, that's become the norm in Civ5 gameplay. The only other option is razing the city, which is equally unappealing because it means no benefit from going to war in the first place. These are all painful, unfun options to choose between.

Sorry for the long quotes, but for me, Civ VI very much went back on this design decision. For the most part, it feels like you have a lot of interesting decisions between "good" options.

But while avoiding the worst mistakes of Civ V, Civ VI does a nice job of integrating the good stuff, like having a one-unit-per-tile system that works. I don't think I ever want to go back to stack-of-doom style play.
 

Vandlys

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As a huge Civ IV fan, I agree and feel 6 is much closer than 5. I still miss my highly specialized cities, and the graphical differences of worked tiles vs not worked.

You mean graphical differences in IV? Because in VI they are present in all improvements. Cows locked in their pastures when worked, vs an open gate and them roaming freely when not worked, mine carts driving back and forth, fires being lit, etc. etc.
 

_hero_

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So it's like Star Trek where the even numbered ones are good films? ;)

Odd-numbered is when they introduce big philosophical changes and even-numbered is where they fine-tune the ideas.

Civ I introduced the game.
Civ II was basically the same game but with everything improved/expanded upon and better balanced.
Civ III introduced UUs and leader traits and concepts like dedicated worker units and alternate victory conditions besides conquest and space.
Civ IV made the leader traits for more interesting, the victory conditions more balanced, give workers far more functionality and added features.
Civ V introduced 1UPT, truly unique game-changing civ traits, city-states, and changed the way city borders/tiles worked.
Civ VI largely kept most of Civ Vs changes and improved upon them while cleaning up many of the poor design decisions that made many people not like V.

Perhaps I've missed a few reasons. What are your thoughts? Civ VI obviously inherits a lot of feautres from Civ V such as city states, trade routes, 1UPT and so on, but I feel a lot of core design goes back to Civ IV. I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

The way I would put it is Civ VI "looks" more like V but it "feels" more like IV. When I say "looks" I don't mean graphically so much as how the world tends to be painted with fewer, more spread out cities and units all over the place vs the larger number of cities that were closer together in IV and the stacks of units.
 
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Leucarum

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I'm definitely someone who played 4 to death but just found 5 impenetrable.

I think there's a lot of truth in the post @suedenim shared and it was definitely worth a read.
 

Lily_Lancer

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It is neither 4 or 5, just 6. And in fact I think the system worse than 4 or 5, the insane CS bonuses, the very weak AIs, the crazy yields from chopping and pillaging, the low cost of mid-late game tech/civics...(and more trade bugs)
 
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hhhhhh

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It is neither 4 or 5, just 6. And in fact I think the system worse than 4 or 5, the insane CS bonuses, the very weak AIs, the crazy yields from chopping and pillaging, the low cost of mid-late game tech/civics...

I've never seen Civ VI's problem summarized so well in one sentence.

The last point (the low cost of mid-late game tech/civics) is actually new to me, somehow I didn't realize this although it should have been obvious to me. Rocketry costs 1480 science right now, but maybe 4000 is a better cost. That's 170% more than what it is now. I was so used to hear people say at one point you should do 1 turn per tech and the key to speed run is achieve that early.

But if the cost is adjusted to make it harder, will the late game be more boring?
 
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acluewithout

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Civ 6 is very clearly Civ 5.5. Civ 6 is basically almost all of the mechanics from Civ 5, just done better. Even Social Policies are in the game - it’s just they’ve been implemented via Governors.

Indeed, I think Civ 6’s biggest problems are where it’s left out mechanics that were in Civ 5. Everything from big stuff like Ideology and Ideological Pressure down to little things like sending Spies as Ambassadors or Reformation Beliefs.

But yes, there is also a Civ 4 influence. Governments and Gov Policies are explicitly based on early versions where you could swap in or out of governments to adapt to your situation (Ed said that in an interview I think). Disasters are also inspired by disasters in earlier versions too.

If Civ 6 had another proper expansion, I think it would be best, indeed definitive, version on Civ. As it is, it’s a really great iteration of the franchise, heavily based on Civ 5, but perhaps falling short of greatness.
 

Archon_Wing

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So it's like Star Trek where the even numbered ones are good films? ;)

Well, I dunno about that. Nemesis (10) was pretty awful, 8 (First Contact) was good and I loved it as a kid but then I realized how shoddy the writing was. It was more winning by default since all the other TNG movies were crap.

l and as much as I don't like 5 it's nowhere as bad as Final Frontier. Also 3 wasn't bad, I mean Captain Kirk fights Klingon Doc Brown.

Though Civ IV had Leonard Nimoy sooo maybe.
 

acluewithout

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I was hoping is was more like Daniel Craig James Bond, were odd numbers are good.

So, Vanilla / Casino Royal good
RnF / Quantum of Solace rubbish
GS / Skyfall good
NFP / Spectre rubbish
Next expansion / No time to die...?
 
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