Conclusions on playing Civ5-6 back & forth.

acluewithout

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I’m always a bit bemused with these sorts of threads. I honestly don’t get most people’s gripes about Civ VI at all.

I really, really like Civ VI as is. It’s the most Civ-y Civ there’s ever been. Yes, I really like the mechanics. Yes, even Eurekas. Yes, even Religion. Yes, even Loyalty. And yes I like the graphics too - they’re excellent - although I do flip between the base graphics and Civ V pallet mod from time to time (both are excellent; I really can’t choose).

The core game design of Civ VI and overall presentation is just spot on. I’d probably not really get into Civ 7 if it went in a different direction.

I’m not really going to debate whether particular mechanics are good or not, because I do think a lot of that is just about personal expectations and preferences. But I really don’t feel some of the dislike and disappointment that Loyalty, Religion, Eurekas and a bunch other mechanics get. To me, once I felt like I grokked them, these mechanics all seemed to have heaps of depth, really interesting design choices, and all really pushed the “play the map” and “Giant Board Game” style of gameplay.

For me, the only stuff where I think Civ VI or a hypothetical Civ VII could do better are:

1. Bugs. I haven’t experienced many game breaking bugs. But there are bugs and they need to get squashed.

2. Gameplay snags. There’s a bunch of little gameplay elements that I think just aren’t quite tweaked right. Some of these are frankly changes that were made in the last couple of patches that should be reverted back. None are game changing, but together would make the game a bit tighter.

Stuff like:
> Lumber mills should be a bit more situational / map dependent instead of just “always good” like mines (eg bring back river adjacencies);
> Autocracy / Oligarchy card changes were awful, change them back;
> allow some sort of spying on Allies again;
> Aircraft Carriers should upgrade via tech tree like GDRs not via Promotions;
> a few more future tech units please;
> let Tier 4 governments use T3 exclusive policy cards;
> simplify and tighten up some of the World Congress Resolutions and make some of the resolutions more of a trade off (eg ban “Animal Luxuries” not specifically “Fox Fur”; buff or punish all Civs on continent x or with Government y, not just a specific Civ);
> a bit more challenge around maintenance costs.

3. Late game. My biggest gripe by far is Civ V had a better late game. Civ VI late game content still feels a bit empty (notwithstanding GDRs) and focused on mechanics that let you rush through the end game rather than really enjoy playing your advanced empire and jostling with other advanced players / AI.

Specially:

> Late Game Governors . Civ VI Governors are an awesome mechanic, and are very much like Civ V’s Social Policies just limited to one City at a time. But there’s really no equivalent to Civ V’s Ideological Tenets via Governors. To my mind, there really should be something like more powerful “Advanced” Governors that you unlock later in the game via Civics or Governments, which would then add a bit more variety to Governors and make Governors more critical to the end game. You could theme the Late Game Governors around more modern concerns and concepts, eg a Colonial Governor, or Governors themes around Tradition, Liberty, and Collectivism, and maybe give them more Regional Effects.

> Ideological Pressure. I really like the Loyalty Mechanics, and it has really cool interactions with things like Religion and Tourism. But I really wish late game Loyalty morphed into something more like Civ V ideological pressure, forcing your hand on what government you choose and making cultural power and amenities / happiness more critical to the end game.

On the last point, put another way, Civ VI needed a small mini-expansion or mini-season pass after NFP, just fleshing out the end game a bit more and bringing across a few Civ V game elements but reworked for Civ VI (eg late game governors, ideological pressure, some more future units, but also Reformation Beliefs for Religion, Ambassadors, and National Wonders or Wonders linked to particular Governments / Ideologies). It could be called Brave New World, to sort of harken back to Civ V.

I mean, seriously. Brave New World for Civ VI. That would have been just so awesome.

Anyway. guess you could also sort of add AI as a fourth point, but I’m not super worried about it really. Yeah, better AI would be good. So would some more ways to adjust difficulty - I often think higher difficulties could even have slightly different rule sets to make higher levels more challenging. But ultimately, I just kind of accept the AI will always have limits and that’s more or less fine with me.

Sorry. Just reading this thread and a few others, and needed to get that out of my system.

Sadly, the Leader Pass has made it clear to me Firaxis aren’t going to develop Civ VI any further in terms of core gameplay - Civ VI is really great as it is, but that’s does feel like a huge pity even so.

I also don’t think we’ll get a Civ VII any time soon, and I’m not sure even then it would iterate on Civ VI or instead go in a different direction. I not super hopeful about what we’d get.

But I’m still pretty happy with what we got for Civ VI (even Corporations eventually!), so - yeah - guess it’s all fine. Just wish things ended just a bit differently.
 

Calico Jack

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If we're opening up the can of worms on the art styles, I'd much rather something like VI. Firaxis had the right of it with the level of detail you can observe. I remember booting it up for the first time (after a few hundred hours in V) and marveling at how gorgeous the game was compared to V, which remains quite drab, with leaders that resemble mannequins.

Now, it was the style at the time to make games look 'realistic' - in many such cases, to desaturate the colours, avoid any cartoonish over-exaggeration and choose from a wide assortment of greys and browns to paint your world with. VI came out when the game industry had really begun to buck that trend, hence the backlash from fans unhappy with a 'cartoony' Civ game. I dread to think what they'd think of...well, every Civ that isn't V.

Let's not pretend that Civ is a realistic franchise. It's a board game with historical elements, essentially. I think that was really brought to the forefront with the art direction for VI and I'd love to see it carried on for future installments.
 

nzcamel

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It's a relatively minor thing but it makes a big difference to players like me, but I want the more realistic art style and I want full background art, not partially shadowy darkness behind the leader
I wouldn't mind more detailed leader screens; but at the expense of better AI etc etc? No.Something like that is a low priority as far as I am concerned. And yes, I know they have different budgets, but all in all I'd rather AI got more resources put into it before art.

Overall I'm fine with either 6 style or 5 style art style (smudged painted trees aside); I guess with the leaders a little more realistic ideally. But not on prozac, like most of them were in 5 please! I think it was smart to make districts easy to identify simply from a glance, though that could be done with a less cartoony style... though get it wrong and it won't work 😬
I absolutely am the Gen X bogeyman @Zaarin is speaking of who likes muted colours, and has always associated beige with the ancient/classical world, ergo civilization games. Civ 3's colour scheme was just... perfect!! Took me a while to adjust to 4, though it did improve after the first month where all the report screens were in highlighter colours!
 

Zaarin

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always associated beige with the ancient/classical world, ergo civilization games.
The irony being that those beautiful white marble Grecian temples and sandstone Egyptian hypostyles were, in their prime, painted the most absolute gaudy colors you can imagine. :p

Overall I'm fine with either 6 style or 5 style art style (smudged painted trees aside); I guess with the leaders a little more realistic ideally. But not on prozac, like most of them were in 5 please! I think it was smart to make districts easy to identify simply from a glance, though that could be done with a less cartoony style... though get it wrong and it won't work
This is why I suggested a painterly style--something Romantic, like Draugen and AoE4, or better yet something Pre-Raphaelite. It's not realistic, it's not drab, and it's also not super brightly colored. (And for what it's worth, I also don't love how Civ6 leaders are presented, even if I overall like most of the designs themselves. I get they wanted to highlight the leader, but they could have done that so many different ways without the ugly poorly lit backgrounds.)
 

iammaxhailme

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I overall like civ 6's colorful map style more, but definitely like 5's leader screens more.
 

nzcamel

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The irony being that those beautiful white marble Grecian temples and sandstone Egyptian hypostyles were, in their prime, painted the most absolute gaudy colors you can imagine. :p
Yeah, I am aware that some of what informs the aesetic many of us have of the ancient world is based very much on what remains today!

This is why I suggested a painterly style--something Romantic, like Draugen and AoE4, or better yet something Pre-Raphaelite. It's not realistic, it's not drab, and it's also not super brightly colored. (And for what it's worth, I also don't love how Civ6 leaders are presented, even if I overall like most of the designs themselves. I get they wanted to highlight the leader, but they could have done that so many different ways without the ugly poorly lit backgrounds.)

I'm not familair with those games, but I trust your take.
As to the half black background, I think many things there could be worse!
 

ezzlar

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In theory Civ 6 is a great game with nice features. My only problem with the execution is the AI which is lacking in ability to use all those features. Combat is too complicated, district placement is too complicated, card policies are too complicated, trading is too complicated, voting in congress is too complicated etc. And then I haven´t even mentioned the extra game modes which are next to impossible for proper AI use.

But yeah, otherwise it is a fantastic game (not ironic).
 

KayAU

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I wouldn’t remove the tech tree completely, and from what you descripe, it sounds like even Stellaris has a (hidden) tech tree (I.e. need to research certain techs for others to appear), but I support the idea of a random subset. Old World has this also, and it works ok.
Stellaris is really cool. There is indeed a tree, but it is quite wide, and you draw a set of research alternatives from a large pool whenever you finish a tech. Some rare techs are gated behind multiple requirements, and draw chances are initially low, but modified by circumstance.

I think something like this could work very well for a historical 4x. There would be prerequisites to add a tech to the draw pool, while the probability of actually drawing it could be weighted by your circumstances. Take something basic like Horseback Riding. You would need to encounter horses to unlock it (add it to the draw pool), and the chance of drawing it as a research option could go up with things like having horses within city territory, having encountered mounted barbarians, and so on.
 

nzcamel

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Stellaris is really cool. There is indeed a tree, but it is quite wide, and you draw a set of research alternatives from a large pool whenever you finish a tech. Some rare techs are gated behind multiple requirements, and draw chances are initially low, but modified by circumstance.

I think something like this could work very well for a historical 4x. There would be prerequisites to add a tech to the draw pool, while the probability of actually drawing it could be weighted by your circumstances. Take something basic like Horseback Riding. You would need to encounter horses to unlock it (add it to the draw pool), and the chance of drawing it as a research option could go up with things like having horses within city territory, having encountered mounted barbarians, and so on.
I'm intersted, but I can already hear the cries of RNG from some here ;)
 

aieeegrunt

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Like so many things in this thread, I have no problem with the greater nuance you are pointing out in terms of historical reality, and I'd welcome their implementation in game. But it is a layer of complexity that might be a bit too deep for your casual civ players. I'm all for some "rules" changing at higher levels, and this could be one.

It's very drastic to write off loyalty as terrible though because it isn't implemented in this very nuanced way. The game is better with it than without even in a form that's a bit abstract and hit 'n miss in terms of historical accuracy.

It wouldn’t be difficult to base Loyalty on things like certain techs, policies or civics as opposed to pop blob

We literally already do that for other yields

Just a trend I've observed in sequels to games that existed in the 90s and 00s: older men throw fits about bright colors. See also: AoE4. :p These are particularly amusing to me as both Civ and AoE have always been highly stylized and brightly colored. That being said, I disagree with your assessment. There absolutely is an age divide in aesthetic sensibilities. Millennials overall are going to regard animated aesthetics and brighter colors more favorably than older audiences (we were raised on the Disney Renaissance, after all, and we've also seen the explosion of anime and adult-oriented animation). GenZ seems to really like minimalism, primary colors, and pastels. That doesn't mean there aren't individual exceptions; these are just trends I've noticed.

Personally I've been celebrating the move away from realistic art styles since the mid 2010s; I found it boring and have been enjoying that AAA games have been more prone to embrace various stylizations (some better than others--e.g., I'm not necessarily a fan of the lofi look embodied by games like Paralives). As I said before, I'm hoping for a more painterly style for Civ7; indeed, I'm expecting it as I look at what other video games are doing, such as AoE4. 2D animated leaders in the fashion of Pentiment (best game I've played in years, BTW) or The Banner Saga or stop-motion animated leaders would make my decade, but I know that's a pipe dream that will never, ever happen.

Stylistic graphics tend to age dramatically better than realistic ones

Compare Borderlands 1 to say CoD:Modern Warfare
 

VGhost

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I'm a pretty casual player, so what I most want to see improved is the parts I could never get the hang of. To me the theme of 6 really felt like "too much". Of course life and politics is complex, but this is a game.

- Governors. Why are they all different? Why do I feel like I should probably be shuffling them around fairly frequently to get maximum use? I'd prefer the baseline governors to be identical, and give them all a variety of promotion options (iirc how 5 did it). I think I'd also like to see the number allowed tied more to a % of cities and/or gained with techs more clearly (like trade routes).

- Religion. What does it do? Why can't you do without it? Why can't everybody found a religion if it matters that much? It was ok in 5 where it mattered a little bit, but 6 it seems more important and more baffling to work out.

- Similar problems with spies and archeologists, actually.

- Really not obvious on a casual level how to balance the progress of your civilization. Especially managing housing and amenities, but also the interactions of the civics and government trees. This is probably mostly a UI thing but fixing the UI shouldn't fall to modders.

Other issues:

- Barbarians pop up way too fast. Means the baseline for your minimum army commitment is higher than it needs to be.

- I liked the policy cards but I think there need to be either fewer of them or more slots for them.

- Eurekas need to be more general. I think the best way to implement them is general bonuses towards one of the tech trees. It could also be clearer how the tech trees interact with each other and your overall strategy - it's really hard for me to tell how to improve any of them except the scientific one.

- I prefer the older golden age mechanic where it isn't tied to the tech level, but I like the idea of the dedications. I want to see it go back to triggering based on your performance, and then you'd be able to make a "dedication" (which should also be wider to reflect all victory conditions) in a golden age or take a "penalty" policy (probably could think of a better name) if you fall into a dark age.

- Districts didn't live up to my hopes.. I like some of them (Harbor, maybe Campus), others shouldn't be tied as closely to cities (Holy Site, Encampment). But almost all of them feel like it's cluttering up the map and the production queue. TBH when this element was first announced I was hoping at least some of them would amount to getting additional production queues but limited to specific units/buildings - e.g. if you build an encampment you get a queue for military units only, city center production can either be separate or support a specific district's production.
 

nzcamel

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I'm a pretty casual player, so what I most want to see improved is the parts I could never get the hang of. To me the theme of 6 really felt like "too much". Of course life and politics is complex, but this is a game.
I'm pretty well known for wanting Civ to mostly embrace more complexity; though I also have some reservations in regards to what it is possible to get the AI to understand on the buget Firaxis have for Civ. Of course as much as that is what I want, I do want people who want a simpler version to still be able to enjoy new editions of Civ. I think there is a couple of options for this:

1) Set the vanilla release to a Civ 5 level of complexity, where there is less going on. Those who love that can be content with it, and ignore the expansions that would bring the greater complexity others of us like.

2) Incorporate modes (as introduced by the NFP) into the base game; but for a wider variety of things. For example the various complicated city states of Civ 6 could be a mode that can be turned on or off. If you turn them off you have the simpler versions from Civ 5 where there are several different types, and all the same ones of the same type give you the exact same thing. That's just one example of where the same game can not only have different difficultly levels, but also different complexity levels; which I think is great as it tailors the game to even more different tastes.

The 2nd option takes a bit more effort but is the way I think Firaxis should go, were they to look at giving us these kind of options. In part because someone like me probably wouldn't buy the basegame till it had an expansion added if they use the 1st option.
 

Zaarin

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I'm pretty well known for wanting Civ to mostly embrace more complexity; though I also have some reservations in regards to what it is possible to get the AI to understand on the buget Firaxis have for Civ. Of course as much as that is what I want, I do want people who want a simpler version to still be able to enjoy new editions of Civ. I think there is a couple of options for this:

1) Set the vanilla release to a Civ 5 level of complexity, where there is less going on. Those who love that can be content with it, and ignore the expansions that would bring the greater complexity others of us like.

2) Incorporate modes (as introduced by the NFP) into the base game; but for a wider variety of things. For example the various complicated city states of Civ 6 could be a mode that can be turned on or off. If you turn them off you have the simpler versions from Civ 5 where there are several different types, and all the same ones of the same type give you the exact same thing. That's just one example of where the same game can not only have different difficultly levels, but also different complexity levels; which I think is great as it tailors the game to even more different tastes.

The 2nd option takes a bit more effort but is the way I think Firaxis should go, were they to look at giving us these kind of options. In part because someone like me probably wouldn't buy the basegame till it had an expansion added if they use the 1st option.
My problem is that Civ6's biggest problem is already that its systems don't interact. If systems are optional, they're going to interact even less because Firaxis can't account for all possible combinations of systems you might enable. It creates an incoherent game, IMO. I really hope that NFP's modes were simply the devs testing ideas rather than the idea of modes themselves. I can see how disabling that one feature you don't like could be appealing (coughWorldCongresscough), but once that becomes an option the idea that systems can work together goes out the window and game play becomes even more just filling up discrete buckets. I think the first option works better, but it will create a very lackluster base game.
 

nzcamel

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My problem is that Civ6's biggest problem is already that its systems don't interact. If systems are optional, they're going to interact even less because Firaxis can't account for all possible combinations of systems you might enable. It creates an incoherent game, IMO. I really hope that NFP's modes were simply the devs testing ideas rather than the idea of modes themselves. I can see how disabling that one feature you don't like could be appealing (coughWorldCongresscough), but once that becomes an option the idea that systems can work together goes out the window and game play becomes even more just filling up discrete buckets. I think the first option works better, but it will create a very lackluster base game.

I think as long as the more complicated version is where they're putting the majority of their effort into, for it to be coherent then the second option would work. Realistically any less complex version doesn't need quite as much balancing. I wouldn't advertise what I'm talking about as modes exactly. The pitch would be "the whole game is the game"... but if you're finding that overwhelming, here's a few parts of the game where you can choose a simpler option.

Let's say they ran with simpler options as I describe above for both city states, and also for great people; and you had the CS at the complex level and the GP at the simple level; and there was a CS that could no longer do it's special ability thanks to the GP bring on simple; then that CS would be prevented from ending up in game with that combo.
I can elaborate if that's not making sense!
 

Zaarin

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I think as long as the more complicated version is where they're putting the majority of their effort into, for it to be coherent then the second option would work. Realistically any less complex version doesn't need quite as much balancing. I wouldn't advertise what I'm talking about as modes exactly. The pitch would be "the whole game is the game"... but if you're finding that overwhelming, here's a few parts of the game where you can choose a simpler option.

Let's say they ran with simpler options as I describe above for both city states, and also for great people; and you had the CS at the complex level and the GP at the simple level; and there was a CS that could no longer do it's special ability thanks to the GP bring on simple; then that CS would be prevented from ending up in game with that combo.
I can elaborate if that's not making sense!
That makes sense. So what you're proposing isn't optional features that can be turned on like NFP's modes but that can be turned off for a simpler game; I think that could work and still end up with a coherent game. Maybe I'm not confident that Firaxis could do it, but I could see it being done.
 

aieeegrunt

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I'm a pretty casual player, so what I most want to see improved is the parts I could never get the hang of. To me the theme of 6 really felt like "too much". Of course life and politics is complex, but this is a game.

- Governors. Why are they all different? Why do I feel like I should probably be shuffling them around fairly frequently to get maximum use? I'd prefer the baseline governors to be identical, and give them all a variety of promotion options (iirc how 5 did it). I think I'd also like to see the number allowed tied more to a % of cities and/or gained with techs more clearly (like trade routes).

- Religion. What does it do? Why can't you do without it? Why can't everybody found a religion if it matters that much? It was ok in 5 where it mattered a little bit, but 6 it seems more important and more baffling to work out.

- Similar problems with spies and archeologists, actually.

- Really not obvious on a casual level how to balance the progress of your civilization. Especially managing housing and amenities, but also the interactions of the civics and government trees. This is probably mostly a UI thing but fixing the UI shouldn't fall to modders.

Other issues:

- Barbarians pop up way too fast. Means the baseline for your minimum army commitment is higher than it needs to be.

- I liked the policy cards but I think there need to be either fewer of them or more slots for them.

- Eurekas need to be more general. I think the best way to implement them is general bonuses towards one of the tech trees. It could also be clearer how the tech trees interact with each other and your overall strategy - it's really hard for me to tell how to improve any of them except the scientific one.

- I prefer the older golden age mechanic where it isn't tied to the tech level, but I like the idea of the dedications. I want to see it go back to triggering based on your performance, and then you'd be able to make a "dedication" (which should also be wider to reflect all victory conditions) in a golden age or take a "penalty" policy (probably could think of a better name) if you fall into a dark age.

- Districts didn't live up to my hopes.. I like some of them (Harbor, maybe Campus), others shouldn't be tied as closely to cities (Holy Site, Encampment). But almost all of them feel like it's cluttering up the map and the production queue. TBH when this element was first announced I was hoping at least some of them would amount to getting additional production queues but limited to specific units/buildings - e.g. if you build an encampment you get a queue for military units only, city center production can either be separate or support a specific district's production.

Ya I have almost the same issue list as you and was able to address almost all of them via mods

One of them moves all of the districts that are not location specific (encampments, harbour, aqueducts) back to the city centre and it improved the game to a hilarious degree

I'm pretty well known for wanting Civ to mostly embrace more complexity; though I also have some reservations in regards to what it is possible to get the AI to understand on the buget Firaxis have for Civ. Of course as much as that is what I want, I do want people who want a simpler version to still be able to enjoy new editions of Civ. I think there is a couple of options for this:

1) Set the vanilla release to a Civ 5 level of complexity, where there is less going on. Those who love that can be content with it, and ignore the expansions that would bring the greater complexity others of us like.

2) Incorporate modes (as introduced by the NFP) into the base game; but for a wider variety of things. For example the various complicated city states of Civ 6 could be a mode that can be turned on or off. If you turn them off you have the simpler versions from Civ 5 where there are several different types, and all the same ones of the same type give you the exact same thing. That's just one example of where the same game can not only have different difficultly levels, but also different complexity levels; which I think is great as it tailors the game to even more different tastes.

The 2nd option takes a bit more effort but is the way I think Firaxis should go, were they to look at giving us these kind of options. In part because someone like me probably wouldn't buy the basegame till it had an expansion added if they use the 1st option.

Given that any of the AI mods dramatically improves the performance of the AI, and modders are basically stuck with glorified XML tweaking like its 2003 and we are fiddling with Halo CE on a chipped OG huegbox, Fireaxis has no excuse for how pitiful the AI in this game is

Unless they deliberatly kneecapped it so casuals could beat Diety on their first play.
 

nzcamel

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Ya I have almost the same issue list as you and was able to address almost all of them via mods

One of them moves all of the districts that are not location specific (encampments, harbour, aqueducts) back to the city centre and it improved the game to a hilarious degree



Given that any of the AI mods dramatically improves the performance of the AI, and modders are basically stuck with glorified XML tweaking like its 2003 and we are fiddling with Halo CE on a chipped OG huegbox, Fireaxis has no excuse for how pitiful the AI in this game is

Unless they deliberatly kneecapped it so casuals could beat Diety on their first play.
A couple of those districts you list ARE location specific FTR.

Bygones, absolutely agree more money should go into AI. I've advocated elsewhere that Firaxis take a leaf out of Kickstarter and offer an AI pack with pre orders which would go solely towards funding better AI. Obviously if you're playing above prince this is something that should interest any player.

If Civ6 is done, I don't know why they won't give greater access to modders either.
 
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nzcamel

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If Civ6 is done, I don't know why they won't give greater access to modders either.
Especially if they aren't going to fix the remaining bugs! 😬 😬 😬
 

aieeegrunt

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A couple of those districts you list ARE location specific FTR.

Bygones, absolutely agree more money should go into AI. I've advocated elsewhere that Firaxis take a leaf out of Kickstarter and offer an AI pack with pre orders which would go solely towards funding better AI. Obviously if you're playing above prince this is something that should interest any player.

If Civ6 is done, I don't know why they won't give greater access to modders either.

I listed the ones that are located outside the city centre, sorry I could have made that clearer.

The AI being potatoe is probably a function of laziness, 1 UPT and possibly casual easy mode. Not sure which is predominant.

What I do know is that with Real AI, No Districts ++, and ARS Improved Movement (which also allows limited stacking) plus some other tweaks I know have a Civ6 game that is more challenging at Prince than stock Civ6 is at Diety

And this is where the AI is NOT turbocharged with stupid bonuses remember.
 
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