This let's play by @TheGameMechanic is worth checking out. It’s a good illustration of what’s good, and what’s wrong, with Civ VI, Deity and RnF. Some background. TheGameMechanic is a professional twitch streamer who exclusively plays Civ VI (Deity unmodded). TGM started streaming full time about 18 months or so ago. He’s a solid player, who is very friendly and charming, minimal youtube ticks / hyperbole, and has a good community. I mean, I don’t know the him personally, but I like the guy. I don’t watch a lot of let’s plays, but his games and chat aren’t a bad way to kill some time now and again. Anyway. TGM is currently playing each leader as part of a “A to W Challenge”, and posting these on youtube. The linked video is his Hojo / Japan game. TGM had been winning consistently before RnF but has been struggling since RnF and the last few patches, mostly because of increased AI aggression. This game is no different. After Action Report: - Start. TGM gets a fairly strong start - Pangea map, settles a culture luxe, natural wonder, hills and chops, mountains and rivers, snags an early settler. Scout start, which is a bit weaker v builder, and then maybe TGM doesn’t lean into diplomacy and economy enough for such a peaceful start, and instead both builds slingers (a very weak early unit) and tries for a religion using one HS and projects. - Early game. Strong forward settles from multiple AI. Then DOW by all three neighbours (Dutch, Russia and Georgia). TGM has a huge fight on his hands: vastly outnumbered, gets religion and takes defender of the faith, loses capital then immediately wins it back in an emergency, winning a huge pot of gold. - After that, he consilidates, and then captures some forward settle cities from Russia, back fills more cities, and has some fights with City States (capturing one, liberating another). - And then the mid-game. The action rapidly drops off. - TGM alternates between economising (going for culture victory) and defending repeated wars from his neighbours. These wars never really have a chance of success for the AI (although Georgia’s Kveshar are a bit scary). TGM also can’t seem to avoid these wars - his neighbours just don’t respond to diplomacy (eg he builds walls to make Georgia happy, but she attacks anyway). - Religion is also boring: all TGM does is build inquisitors to protect his own religion (which he does easily), and gets Jesuit to buy buildings late game. - TGM focuses on culture victory; settles a random late city to enable seaside resorts, and builds some wonders, buys trade routes and open borders. Then it’s basically just projects, great people sniping, and selling luxes etc. Quite a few cities flip late game via loyalty, and all the City States eventually get swallowed, but there’s nothing strategic about it. Observation: - Early game is very exciting. First video or two are particularly fun, especially recapturing he capital during an emergency. But this sort of war happens every game on higher levels. It’s just war, war and more war. The AI is definitely better tactically, and yes it’s exciting, but this early war is all there is. Indeed, the early war precludes other possibilities like exploration and settling. So, you can see how tactically the early game can be reasonably interesting, but strategically it’s inert. - ...and then the early game is over and everything doesn’t really matter any more. TGM recovers fairly quickly from the early wars by capturing some AI cities. The early war means his turn time for winning will be higher, but there’s no doubt he’ll win. Once he’s survived he’ll win. The only issue is speed now. - Not much happens mid game. There are wars, but they’re not interesting either strategically or tactically. They’re not interesting strategically, because it’s just random waves of units attacking his borders with no objective - nothing strategic is being gained or lost by either the AI or TGM (apart from some minor monkey business with City States). And tactically nothing is happening - the AI just turns up and gets killed by x-bows. - It’s also apparent though that there really isn’t anything to do mid game anyway. TGM isn’t going to start more wars - if he wants more cities, there’s huge chunks of the map unsettled, so no need to war. And anyway, the late game cities are useless except for seaside resorts. TGM doesn’t need to war for resources, because with walls and x-bows he’s safe from all attacks, and resources don’t do anything but let you build more units. He even turns down a late game emergency. - So, no value in war. But what else is there to do? Well, TGM doesn’t bother with conversion and religious war because he’s not going for a religious victory. He just wants religion for some passive bonuses, and all he needs then are inquisitors to protect his religion. - There’s little point to diplomacy bar open borders (for tourism) and gold. TGM doesn’t even need to build some spies to knock out spaceports this game. - An aside: you can see in this video how weak anti-cav are - not against melee mind you, but against ranged. The AI builds a tonne of Pikes at one point. They cause TGM single Samurai some trouble, but get killed by his x-bows. Khevsar are surprisingly good in the AI’s hands (AI benefits from extra movement), and the AI does build a few which is fun. Overall, I feel like the game needs to get the AI to build more if its UUs (or just gift them to the AI), and maybe make them more accessible to the player. - Yet another aside: TGM has a few gameplay habits which I think other players share, and which I think make the game harder (and maybe less fun) overall. First, TGM builds a lot of ranged units, particularly starting slingers. I’m not sure these are really needed for defence; but they also limit his offensive ability because they’re so slow (although at the same time Cross-Bows are too strong against walls). Second, he does too many things early game, and he builds too many different sorts of districts (although he does at least avoid IZs). Third, he’s not very efficient getting a Religion; focus your first city on a Holy Site then running projects just seems unnecessary to me. Conclusions. This is just one game. And in fairness, I usually play Immortal not Deity, so what do I know. But I’ve had so many games like this one I’ve linked. People often complain about the early aggression, and I think this game bears that out. This game is a good example of how exciting that early agression can be; but you can also see how boring that can get when it’s every game. The game also illustrates the mid game lag. After the early game, there just isn’t anything to do. Partly this is because, well, except for war there’s not many other vectors for interacting with the AI. The only decisions are war / not war?, how much gold for this luxe or resource?, and do I need to distrupt spaceports? (There’s maybe some strategy around city state envoys, but that’s it.) But even if there was more to do, there’s little point to it. It’s apparent late game cities are useless except maybe for seaside resorts. You can see there’s nothing TGM needs from the AI except open borders. There’s no issue maintaining his cities’ loyalty, and it’s largely irrelevant whether AI cities flip to him or not. Anyway. Just thought this might be interesting for people here.