The Community of "Building" games VS. "Strategy" games


Millenary King
Aug 8, 2003
I must admit it, I'm not a huge fan of strategy games, because I'm probably too impatient. I would totally say that I prefer action games, as long as they are not too hard. I'm more among the audience of console games in fact. But old computers had cool action games too, like Doom and the other FPS's, and a whole bunch of RTS's. Not to forget "Hack'n slash's" like Titan Quest that I learned to love. (especially due to its ambiance, I'm not a huge fan of dark fantasy like Diablo or Grim Dawn) I love RPG's too, in general.

My point is that I happen to like Building games too, like Sim City on the Super Nintendo, and I must say the unique music of this version did the job perfectly. And I have the feeling that Civ, at start, was more a building than strategy game. I don't know it's maybe just me who focused less on difficulty but at first when discovering Civ1 I really was in the mood to discover the game little by little, like a total noob (people would say) and... I don't remember exactly but I started a game, built a worker, improved the land, watched my city grow, yields growing, etc. and that was satisfaction. I know it sounds silly, but at first I didn't even know that there was other civs on the map ! When I encountered Gandhi for the first time, that looked surprisingly aggressive, I started to feel worried. But as I was playing on... I don't know... Settler maybe I didn't have more trouble with him, eventhough I carefully avoided his zone.

Finally, Civ2 (never finished a game of 1) was far easier than the following Civs, when it comes to strategy and winning the hardest difficulty level. I've never been too comfortable with the strategy to adopt to beat the highest difficulty level since Civ3. I think I beat Civ3 in Deity only once (started on a arm of land between oceans, had billions artillery hitting enemy capitals, very dull), same with 5 (Korea, 5 cities, 2 military units - the total opposite : hard to adapt !), and maybe a little more with 6. 4 I was annoyed by cities gold cost and therefore went bankrupt when expanding too fast. I don't even know if I beat Civ4 in Deity, but that would surprise me. However, I have fond memories of its multiplayer, that was playing basically like an action game, with lots of adrenaline, and I wasn't too terrible at it.

The irony in all that, is that I asked Firaxis to make the game more challenging after winning every game of Civ2. The thing is, I remember that it was *us* players who began crippled, when I'm not sure the AI got strenghtened. I had an idea lately to give more challenge for the player to develop in higher difficulty levels rather than giving AI billions advantages. (except the 3 former settlers, I don't even know what kind of advantages the AI has in Deity) Now, that would emphasis the building aspect of the game, I think. Optimize, min-maxing, etc. Rather than HAVING LUCK, because let's face it, you win a Deity game in Civ6 by having luck, or not having bad luck. "The experience may differ from a user to the other" they say. You bet.

Lately I tried multiple games of Civ6, all quitted before 1 AD. Why ?
- I repelled an early attack, but couldn't counter-attack due to inferior units and mountains in the way. (two the narrowest possible - 1 tile - shock points) I managed to kill some of his tough units but I lost some myself, and my amenities felt at -1 ! To top it all, I was going to have a dark age ! But man I have only 3 cities, where the heck will I put the other ones ? Shock points, amenities, dark age. Quit.
- I was settling up my second city when I suddenly realised that China had 5 cities at least already ! How am supposed to... ? Quit.
- I toned down the difficulty for Emperor. All those games with Seondok. I built I don't know, 5 cities ? But I don't know, I was BORED. Seowon + library built in capital, then I lost interest for building, since other cities are still developping their crappy infrastructure. (Monuments -one city took 50+ turns to build it most probably, granaries, walls for some, water mills, etc. builders, builders, builders... takes eeeeeeeons) Then I was only getting normal ages and for some reason that contributed to exasperate me. Not to mention that nothing was happening. (I was "protected" -if not hindered- by two city-States - most desactivable features are double-edged in that game, and I don't like it) Quit.

So what's my problem dude ? Watching at Marbozir, I would have quitted a lot of his games, but he kept to believe naively that he could win and find pleasure in it. At some points I got bored the same way I was in my games, but kept watching him because the guy is funny and I have nothing else to do anyway. (and I can always quit & resume)

Analysing a bit my journey, I could say I should desactivate city-States but on Emperor. That way, I could develop better, while fearing less my neighbours, and trading with them. (the ones I'm not at war with) But I fear this would still feel boring. Because era score, because bad production cities, because mountains (normal instead of young like in the first example), because desert, because toundra, because ice, because water, because rainforest, because eurekas and inspirations, simply bad city location, not enough luxuries (like in most of my games...) Bah.

Maybe I should have stopped playing once i beat the game in Deity once, like with Civ3 and Civ5. Civ5 it's not totally true, I re-installed it, because of this youtuber playing it, that just gave me the wish. But i'm not fond of those games, I should know it, I'm fond of inventing a new Civ. I'm fond of early eras and early musics (especially Civ3's). But I'm not fond of lying speeches. "From the first stirring of life, to the great beasts of the stone age" great beast where where where ? (ok it's supposed to give perspective but why bother when all that fades away when the game starts ? Is this truly a "civilization" game ?) "From this early craddle of civilization" Which early craddle of civilizations ? You mean those 6 civs that are equally spread out on the entire map like... America from 4000 BCE ? "You have seen empires rise and fall" Whaaaat ? No I didn't. THIS IS A GAME. Wayyyy too gamey. And it doesn't work for me.

So this OP turned out from Strategy VS. Building to Gamey VS. Simulation ? Both can be intrically linked, respectively, I think. Well I mean, whatever. Nowadays we are at a points where some pros ask for challenge even in building games, otherwise they rate it bad. However that can be done, and they get it ! I suppose we are all different. But maybe I would feel less lonely if I could find someone who feels like I do.
Personally I don't know why you would get a dark age after fending off an invasion but that's just a stupid design choice. The game ought to calculate number of enemies killed and add that to your points but I guess the developers never thought that as being important.
(edit: or it might, I forget, it's been so long...)

Ages are a big reason why I don't play 6 anymore compared to 5. What some consider a new game "feature" is more of a hindrance for me...
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This reads like you are over Civ and blame it on the 100 little annoyances that crop up when playing one of those games.

Trying to be helpful I have found slow MP games more fun (Pbem, Pitboss). For some reason I'm much less impatient investing half or even a full hour into each turn than playing SP at a quick pace. Partly perhaps because the level of gameplay is much more satisfying.
Thx for reading ! Appreciated.
Personally I don't know why you would get a dark age after fending off an invasion but that's just a stupid design choice. The game ought to calculate number of enemies killed and add that to your points but I guess the developers never thought that as being important.
(edit: or it might, I forget, it's been so long...)
No I don't think that enemies killed count for era score. (or that would be a news to me) I know wiping out a barbarian camp x tiles from your cities grants you 3 points, some units construction too, like your first galley ? Settling near dangerous spots or near natural wonders, and more generally I find we get more era points when conquering enemy cities for some reason. I realize I'm very ignorant about that question, but that may have been the goal to make them less "predictable" and more or less hidden, for the result been not too much exploitable by players. (I happened to have several golden ages in a single game, but anyway the dedications are not that good, except for Monumentality which is awesome, but only if you have lots of faith which I don't take the time to get in most of my games (unless I decide it before starting the game or fall on a NW very early)) The exact way I would have designed it, a mix of randomness and determinism, BUT anyway, those Loyalty hits are above annoyance and sometimes game breakers... Maybe era points shouldn't affect your loyalty, this seems so cheesy...

(Anyway, if golden ages are in the game, it is to explain why some civs get an edge over all their neighbours in a period of time, like Alexander the Great during his conquests, Gengis Kahn, Napoleon, Europe during "age of colonization" etc. so it's mainly military focused (and already covered by unique units), but I guess we could invent less military focus like they did with GS, like commercial (italian c-S's during the renaissance ?) or even science with the "more era points from eurekas" but hey this is totally broken, why giving me a dedication for the next era in golden ages, what about the current one ? These types of bonuses should only be available on Dark and maybe normal ages. (are they in golden age also ? I didn't pay attention, but that would be silly) If anything, there should be no uniques and golden ages should give a choice of unique(s) to pick up, most probably instant like the 6 Foreign Legions of Civ5, or buildings that would appear in your cities, maybe even only if they would disappear when your golden age ends. (and maybe make eras shorter))
Ages are a big reason why I don't play 6 anymore compared to 5. What some consider a new game "feature" is more of a hindrance for me...
Yeah... I feel your pain heh.

Also, Natural disasters are also a pain, I always set them at 0. Seeing your districts pillaged, your population lowered, and your units damaged or killed randomly is too much for me to bear. (just when and where i'm at war obviously...)
This reads like you are over Civ and blame it on the 100 little annoyances that crop up when playing one of those games.

Trying to be helpful I have found slow MP games more fun (Pbem, Pitboss). For some reason I'm much less impatient investing half or even a full hour into each turn than playing SP at a quick pace. Partly perhaps because the level of gameplay is much more satisfying.
Now that you are saying this... I realize that my obsession about beating Deity is not just jealousy or envy, or at the best case emulation, it is also, in my rigorous step for gaming, a step to be able to compete online. As most players feel Civ6 Deity is easy, and indeed that seems like so for them, because most are really good, that's the final step in my head to engage fully in multiplayer. So, realizing I'm still backwarded - that enrages myself. I have to say that I'm not helped by simultaneous turns, where most players hit shift + enter (is that it ?) to have the first move... feels so cheesy... because I wanted this hand myself so hard lol. (happened to do the shift + enter trick one time myself even) Man, in times of war that's just HELL. So I envision that a PBEM or Pitboss game could suit me, thx for the suggestion. But there's still this last thing : when you are falling back slowly in science... 1st in tech because lots of eurekas or whatnot, then catched up, then second, three techs behind, etc... and then you see the time coming when your opponent will declare war on you and beat you, because you can clearly see that he has more science output than you and anyway is still ahead, so... except by settling new cities massively and build campuses in them ASAP, it feels impossible to recover, like a slow kind of cheesy, insidious, sell. (happenging mostly when we are only 2 remaining human players though) How do you do in such circumtances ? Do you surrender ? Try harder ? (Re-)Think ? Or never give up ?
I play Civ4 Pitboss not Civ6 so my experience is not 100% applicable.

It is customary to concede if the game is not winnable anymore. One of the advantages of MP is that you don't have to play on to an actual victory. There will be a concession long before an actual victory screen can be obtained. How hard you try to reverse a looming defeat depends on what resources are still available in the situation but also the personality of the player. Investing a lot of planning into some scheme that is most likely to fail is psychologically difficult. So people are more likely to give up in a desperate situation. Some diehards will only do so after they have exhausted every chance at a reversal they could find or create.
Yeah in Civ4 multiplayer when you lost you SOD you're pretty much game over. But still, I've seen some people abandonning in various iterations when they had still a chance IMO.

As to Civ6 however, when you start being backwarded it's the beginning of the end. I guess games are messed up when people quit, too. One of the two players remaining can start to conquer AIs, often put on Prince by default. I dislike when they conquer Prince city-States also. Also, ranged units are too powerful. You can basically settle a city under the nose of Rome and repel its Legions with 3 archers and some swords, in the wait for men-at-arms. Nope, the meta game is not that easy to catch up in Civ6, especially as an isolated player. (not counting all uniques, hmm smells cheese over here) Best thing I can do for now is watching some high-level multiplayer on Youtube. But one thing calls out to me : those games are often played aggressively, however every player is good. Why bother with wars when you know they will be long, painful and with possibly no outcome ? I see nothing out of place in building your army, but declaring war that I don't understand. However, there is some cases, in team pangaea map for example, where a player is isolated from its mates. Commentators say he is doomed, and that's understandable, and the game plays only on if the team that will lose a player has an opportunity to eliminate another one of the other team. There is meta like this, I summed it up but it's a bit more complicated, I didn't get it all yet. I guess there is no good, approximately equitable maps for MP in 6 either. (appart from snow flakes and the like)

No now I'm feeling the best multiplayer is in Civ4. I'm not surprised you continue playing it. Much exciting. Have a good day and good games with your mates !
This reads like you are over Civ and blame it on the 100 little annoyances that crop up when playing one of those games.
As to this... I will tell you the truth : since Civ2 when I won so easily in Deity, I always wanted multiplayer. As for many of the games of the 90's, this was kind of a Graal to me.

I was 1) In the mood to improve the single player 2) At the same time in the interest to play an hypothetical multiplayer.

It was two different separated shifts that I pursued personnally for the franchise. Kind of two separate ways, options to enjoy it even more, as I enjoyed the simplicity of it, the concrete way you had units to move, the clear representation of the map, etc. it was Mario Bros but with History.

And I'm still attached to it, as you can see I'm still on those forums. So I wouldn"t say that "I'm over with Civ", because this Mario Bros in History still has a great attraction, grape on me. Its competitors are not nearly approching this concept.

Problem is that since Civ3, the game in Deity is so annoying or hard to me. I can beat it, but I must be mistaken in the mood to do so most of the time. For example, I wish I can counter-attack if an AI declares an early surprise war to me, but that's not always possible, and even if I succeed, the loyalty pressure becomes a huge problem. That's not satisfying to me.

I didn't anticipated the frustration not being able to beat it on Deity every time, and therefore not even being able to win or enjoy a multiplayer game anymore. Civ4 was the pinnacle of multiplayer, because it had a lot of players you could invite in the general lobby, that weren't all top 20 players, far from it. Despite its disadvantages, like being impossible to moderate, the general lobby was one of the great things of previous Civs. It created social link too. (nobody in my friends or family plays video games) Now I have the feeling that only players not encountering enough challenge in single player, with some exceptions (but the gap is rather annoying for various reasons), are in the multiplayer game. They have the possibility I dreamed of earlier, except I'm not the aim anymore, because I feel Civ6 is based on luck above all and is too much complicated.

It's a soft way to say that I'm incapable to fulfil my different goals at once. A settler to steal from my neighbour ? Heck yeah, I can't pass on that. But on the other hand, I have little army and my neighbour has plenty, so it will attack and take one of my cities. No problem, I will retake it. And I did ! Now the problem, my problem is that I want to take this forward-settled city of its near my capital, but my men-at-arms with a ram don't do enough damage. So I quitted. I put good will to my games but there's always something that disatisfies me. And it's hard to unite all frustrations under one banner, I mean except by listing a description of each of my games and say where I quitted, I can't come up with a general conclusion where I could say : "Civ6 is too much this, or not enough that". (except by the vague "too gamey"/"too strategical" in my OP)

That time, it was in the end the problem of Deity AI forward-settling me early. With all its bonuses, it can do it no problem, units first, then walls second. It just feels your expansion is totally robbered. Now, with loyalty pressure it's the other way around : I feel like I can't settle enough, I feel too hindered, especially when an enemy crappy city will make one of my cities lose loyalty. It feels really absurd how long ranged those high loyalty penalties are. So we are at a point where the Deity AI forward-settled you like 4-5 tiles from your capital, to the point you can't settle any city 10 tiles from ANY of its cities. Talk about balance.

That makes loyalty double-edged to a point it's even not preferable to the base game. Still, forward-settling I don't live it very well. Both systems are bad IMO. I won't go in-details as how could we change them, it's not the point.

It comes out that one of my main problem here - that I can think of right now - is the way expansion is hindered.
In terms of actual practical advice from the situations you've discussed:
  • If your cities are taking 50+ turns to build a monument, you should probably aim to have good yields in the first ring; the difference between a city founded on a tile that has 2 production and can work a 2 food/2 prod and one that is working a 1 production tile for the city centre and the best tile in the first ring is pretty monumental in terms of time taken to get up-to-scratch. It's easy to look at the 2- or 3-distance tiles and plan out a lovely city on that basis, but with Deity relying so heavily on the challenge being at the start, I'd take particular care with placing a city to get at least one really nice first-ring tile to work.
  • Your capital city should produce enough loyalty that you can still found cities around it even if the Deity AI is pretty close, but their starting with 2 additional settlers can definitely constrain expansion. When I first played at these difficulties, I struggled with this because I kept trying to have spread-out cities; it feels good to 'claim' a lot of land and feel like you're less boxed in. However, sometimes it can be pretty much required to build cities ~4 tiles away from each other for loyalty optimisation if you've got a deity AI that spawned right on your doorstep.
    • Related to that, I wouldn't quit a game just because a Deity AI has 5 cities to your two; they start very strong, but the entirety of the challenge of Deity is starting from much further back than the AI and catching up. If those 5 cities are making it impossible for you to expand that's different, but just seeing that they're far ahead isn't worth quitting - they always start far ahead, the challenge is how quickly you can catch up
  • Early-game war is a lose-lose situation unless you can capture cities; production invested in units doesn't give you material advantage otherwise. Obviously it sounds like you're not wanting to fight but being forced into the situation - given that, I have two key bits of advice.
    • One is that it's possible to avoid early-game war in Deity more consistently than one would think - if you discover them, they'll always accept a delegation on the first turn which bumps you up a bit, and if you check relation and see there are significant penalties outside of the Deity one to their opinion, you can often give them a gift - open borders and maybe some gold, for example - to boost their relationship up. There are some AI that you'll always struggle with keeping the peace, but it's much more doable than it seems overall. There are cut-offs for military strength where they will seek to take advantage of you - you can often cheese this a little bit by having a good amount of warriors when you're in the classical/medieval age that took limited production to make, but their military strength rating boosting effect is sufficient to prevent a DOW.
    • The second is that if they do declare war on you, the combat AI is pretty exploitable - for example, you mentioned an inability to attack the enemy after defeating their troops because of the limited mountain passes available to travel to their empire. If you hold at one of those passes, just using human-level understanding of the tactical combat will likely let you get away with a much, much smaller amount of units. It's not as bad as Civ V, but abusing the deficiencies in the tactical AI until they're willing to make peace while trying to produce as few units as you need to is often going to be a more strategically beneficial route than trying to counter-attack if you've not set yourself up for that. As you say, it's pretty difficult to keep loyalty in check on a counter-attack unless you've built up a proper rush that lets you take multiple cities in quick succession.
    • Just as a note, I tend not to do too much expansionist war because I just don't enjoy it, so I imagine some Deity players may disagree with the above and encourage consistently using a rush to conquer a nearby civ; I'm sure it's an effective strat, I just have no experience with it.
All that being said, if your primary goal is to play multiplayer, I do not think learning to beat Deity AI is necessarily the best way to go about it. Lots of strategies at the Deity level are based off of the advantages a Deity AI gets - both things like selling your luxes for huge sums of gpt that you then use to fuel expansion, and the ways you learn to avoid engaging them competitively at the areas they get boosts at until you've got much further in the game/specifically planned for it. In multiplayer, no-one is starting with 3 settlers at turn 1, or getting large chunks of gold from nowhere, so these strategies aren't the most effective, necessarily. That's not to say that a player who consistently beats deity (which is possible - there's always going to be luck involved, but people can get consistent with getting past that luck) won't do well in multiplayer - but if you have no interest in Deity for its own sake, you'd likely do better by just playing multiplayer and learning the best strats for it there. My Civ6 multiplayer experience is all with people I know - I can't imagine playing a game that takes as long as civ does with complete randoms; I know you said no-one you know IRL plays games, but I'd imagine that finding a discord/reddit/somewhere else community about Civ6 multiplayer is going to lead you to be able to match with people with a similar amount of experience more easily. I am not surprised to hear the people playing civ6 randomly from the lobby are a very strange sort :p :)

My final comment is just that it sounds like you're burning out on 4x games because of the way you're approaching them - if they're not bringing joy, I'd encourage either playing something else for a while, or finding a new approach that is less demanding of victory at the highest difficulties :)
Having a city with 4 production and 4 food at start is kinda hard. You likely have instead a city of 3 production and 4 food, which might forbid it to have much more than 2 food tiles in the future, which is not so great.

An AI having 5 cities when I didn't even plant my second is quite discouraging you know... I blame the game to seem too discouraging even if it's supposed to be Deity. Now I'm trying a Deity game with Rome, I have 5-6 cities spread out but at turn ~150 I still didn't have cached up in science, the Greeks are like 14 techs ahead of me and I'm third last. I have to say that my campuses have not so great spaces.

As to multiplayer <> Deity, aside exploits that I never use because I keep forgeting them (used the 1 lux trade in only one of my games, if that's what you're referring to), I think that the science race, that I'm particularly obsessed with, is helping a lot from a mode to the other. So I still play Deity and multiplayer alternatively.

I don't think I'm burning out with Civ (the only 4X I'm playing because its apparent simplicity is attractive IMO, it's like Super Mario Bros in History), I just get kind of hooked by youtubers that play and beat deity and I want to do the same. As I said I won Civ3 and Civ5 Deity only once and felt I was never touching them again. Call it emulation or whatever but meanwhile, in the wait for Civ7, I do with what is still there. (reinstalled Civ5 and Civ4 too)

As I'm at it, I will comment my last game of Civ6 vanilla Deity with Rome : as said, I was 14 techs backward from Greece on turn 148, this seemed desperate to me but as I have nothing else to do anyway so I decided to give it another shot to see if I could catch up anyway. 68 turns passed, but while i was 1 tech away the fourth last in tech on turn 148, I ended up to fall down to 3 techs away, and a number of AIs had 300+ science while I was still at 150~. I even checked the science victory, two AIs had the first step basically completed when I was researching Flight, and one of them (Greece) had all the required techs to have for a science victory. Is this normal ? I don't feel so. I quitted obviously. See, during all the course of the game I have a feeling I can't catch up, from 1-2 cities vs 5, to turn 216 where an AI have all the required techs to win when I didn't even research Rocketry. I don't have an easy "catch up" in my games. They feel as impossible from the beginning to until I quit, or nearly every ones. I had not a single mountain in my zone despite setting the world age to "new". I couldn't grow up my capital above size 11 because I could only have one farm triangle, the other tiles were 2 food only. I guess it's simply bad luck. A carthesian spirit like mine can't go and play such disadvantageous games. As I said, I already won, but it was mostly with science civs like Korea. (never tried Hammurabi, I don't like it anyway, in my last game I had no eureka before quitting) and for sure policies like double adjacency bonuses helped greatly.

On another note yesterday I was playing a multiplayer FFA, one guy took Brazil and spawned in the middle of jungle, he had a tenth of cities all with campuses of 8-10 adjacency, not counting commercial hubs I have no clue how he found the time to build them. When seeing this most people leave, except me and another guy who was saying they were idiots to give up. But frankly, when I saw the man reaching 300 science when I wasn't even at 100 (or was I ?) eventhough it was two techs ahead only I felt this was no useful to continue. Luck and probably a well-made head. As to AI, it's luck + tons of bonuses. I can't come up with another conclusion. (however I have to admit i feel difficulties to organize myself early, especially with city center buildings and builders that take eons to build)

So this OP turned out from Strategy VS. Building to Gamey VS. Simulation ? Both can be intrically linked, respectively, I think. Well I mean, whatever.
I play Sid games to build something I can build on my own, without needing 30 phone calls and 100 emails for it to happen. Anything competitive (I used to play America's Army, World of Warcraft and several other games at that level) directly conflicts with the rest of my life, because I need to be on top of my game (pun intended) for that level of commitment.
Pro streamers can have "best of both worlds", as it's their profession – they can play builder games in a competitive fashion. I sometimes watch (when time allows) for entertainment and educational value. I do get to be a better builder by learning tips & tricks from these guys.

I know this is probably a generalization, but builder games tend to attract more accomplished (as in accomplished in real life) players. Sim City 4 comes to mind, where hundreds of RL architects contributed to the Simtropolis community by creating models of their designs as addons for the game.

To be honest, the market for games is huge and if you want to build a competitive game, you need a team to do it. The Civ6 team simply doesn't have the will or skill to do it. Starcraft 2 for me is the golden benchmark, and Civ6 is so far down that list it's almost touching the bottom.
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The parallel between Strategy/Gamey with competitiveness is interesting (aside of multiplayer) : in single player Civ, we can see competitiveness with other AI players, the first thing coming in mind is the wonder rush. (that can be built only once per game among every competitor) Also the yield competition in science, culture, tourism, even faith for religious victory obviously.

For my nowaday tastes, I think other players take too much space, just like in a multiplayer game. There's a feeling of insecurity, urgency that I don't like too much. I talked about "Building", but I could have talk about "Sandbox" instead, that's the building part of sandbox that I meant here. Just like my very first experience with Civ1. While beating the Deity AI everytime in Civ2, I thought I was done with the game, and I wanted more. "Maybe by making the AI better ?" said I to myself. "Or to make the system less obvious" ? (farms everywhere, growth, growth, growth) (or in fact, just add multiplayer) Now the AI is not better, alas, it just has a ton of overwhelming bonuses. On top of that, the system is less obvious (to me). (talk about over-reacting) That may have enchanted my myself from Civ2 times, but actually that's not so good. I talk by a player perspective rather than a designer one. And even the designer part of me I'm not sure it wanted more strategy, although I for sure wanted some times a mindblowing game. Civ6 is my mindblowing game, except I don't play anymore for challenge, just to pass time. Times change. Meanwhile, the series added unique features rather than just unique leaderheads and city names. Hence yet more replayability, theoritecally. But that doesn't match. The sometimes very particular way of playing a given civ is incompatible with a much more streamlined way of making more replayability out of a new system. It's not thought out well in my opinion. As I already said, they change X and add Y, but both are counterproductive put together. There is countless examples in the Civ series, that have even become kind of running gags at that point.
To be honest, the market for games is huge and if you want to build a competitive game, you need a team to do it. The Civ6 team simply doesn't have the will or skill to do it. Starcraft 2 for me is the golden benchmark, and Civ6 is so far down that list it's almost touching the bottom.
Civ multiplayer is not THAT bad, but as specified the experience is changing from single. The most idiotic, luck-based Civ multiplayer was Civ5, where the one with enough aluminium to build many stealth bombers wins. At least I watched a "pro" game which unfolded like that. (I played a couple games of vanilla Civ5 multiplayer too, where I stole iron from another dude placing my city nearby and purchasing the iron tile, but was wiped out by Rome that didn't have enough space so went all in where I didn't even know he was there before he declared war. Another one I was building tons of longswordsmen or knights and my neighbour did the same with the other type of units. This led to a pathetic stalemate where nothing happened in the end. Another one I was with another player on my continent, I conquered all his cities and the other guys on the other continent were like "WTH dude, why conquering this much ?" I made the error to attack his spying scout because I didn't like it and he threw an atomic bomb on my capital, or several, whereas if I wouldn't have declared war, I could have win a economic (well "diplomatic") victory with my ton of money. What a surprise would it have been to him ! But he probably would have said himself that was broken and didn't count it.)

At least the net code of Civ6 is decent now, from my experience. (vanilla) It can be played by pros too, who master the meta, which is, frankly, a nightmare from my point of view. Alas there is inherent strategies to adopt due to the map type that is most played : a pangaea map where all allies start randomly, sometime stuck between two enemies. IMO the best multiplayer Civ is Civ4, only from a map variety point of view, where one of most played maps was north vs south, and also inland sea : both mostly "equal" (not) between the two camps. One thing that bothers me though with Civ6 MP, is that we cannot choose to start all with a "blank" civ. It would be MUCH more equitable and A LOT less cheesy.

But in the end, I don't think Civ6 MP is less valuable than Starcraft 2, remember that this last is constantly, even nowaday, patched for balance purposes, this means that it obviously wasn't thought out perfectly for multiplayer balance, but it's true Civ6 doesn't benefit from the same attention, that's for sure. By the way there is way more civs in Civ than in Starcraft, the meta is a nighmare in this last so imagine the balance for Civ6... we simply ban the OP civs from every game eventhough not all see the same civs as imbalanced. (Spain...)
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