One of the main stated design goals of Civ VI is to make every game different by making the players base their decisions on geography and on the flow of the game. Theres Eureka moments, terrain bonuses for districts, varied and nontrivial conditions for building wonders, and probably some more features we dont yet know of that aim at the same goal. This is in contrast to Civ V where a social policy, once chosen, was forever fixed in place, encouraging the player to choose their strategy early and stick to it. Unique abilities of civilizations contradict this design goal, making not only geography but also genetics destiny. Given the goal of making the player adapt to new situations I think its very odd that unique abilities seem to be even stronger now than in Civ V. England, for example, will get bonuses not only for their navy but also for colonizing other continents. No matter what their situation is they will have an extra incentive towards a strong navy and overseas colonies. Even in terms of flavor I find (strong, strategy-dominating) unique abilities off-putting. The Chinese didnt build the Great Wall because the Chinese are naturally inclined to fortifications, they did it because they had a long northern border where they wanted to control and defend themselves from nomads. The incentive of the English to develop their navy was not in their genetics but in the fact that they are surrounded by the ocean. Back in Civ I and Civ II, I always thought wonders are supposed to be the game mechanic that represents the uniqueness of civilizations. The Great Lighthouse is not just one big lamp, it represents the maritime focus of the civilization that built it. But the choice of focus is not fixed in advance, the wonder gets built only if it is appropriate for the situation. Why arent strong unique abilities seen as the bad kind of railroading that the other parts of the new design are trying to avoid? Is it just the coolness factor of unique stuff?