When it comes to expansion packs, Firaxis has their formula down and Rise and Fall is no exception here. As Civilization DLC’s go, Rise and Fall adds gameplay tweaks and new mechanics to the base game which add new levels of complexity, ultimately creating more strategy. The DLC is well polished and bug free in my time of playing but this something that should be expected in turn based strategy games.
So let’s talk about the main addition that Rise and Fall adds, the Great age system. Basically this feature dynamically affects the gameplay of Civilization 6 by encouraging players to adjust their style of play each new era. Each era excluding the ancient era can have three possible ages, a Dark Age, Normal Age, and Golden Age. These ages are dependent on your overall Era score from the previous era and this score can be gained by completing certain historical events, building wonders, researching new technology, or succeeding in combat. Each of these ages begins by having you choose a dedication for that Era which serves as a goal for your play and affects how you gain Era score for the next Age. One thing that I really enjoyed is that each age has unique opportunities for gameplay especially Dark ages and Golden ages which give potentially powerful boosts to your Civ. While Dark ages have a few downsides, they also allow you to enact powerful Wildcard policies in your government that come with some debuffs to balance their strength. Golden ages on the other hand have no downsides and are much more tame when it comes to their bonuses, which makes them less interesting to play on than Dark Ages in my opinion, but still powerful and definitely worthwhile. There is also a unique variation of a golden age that is significantly more powerful than a Golden Age called a Heroic Age which allows you to choose 3 dedications instead of just one. However, this Age can only be received if your Civ gets a golden age after a dark age. Besides dedication, Eras also affect your citizens loyalty to your Civ. The better the Era, the higher your loyalty. Speaking of Loyalty…
Loyalty is the other new mechanic added by Rise and Fall. Every city now has a loyalty meter and if it is part of a civilization, it also exerts loyalty to neighboring cities. This is very similar to the way religious influence works. If a city loses all of its loyalty to its civilization it has a revolution and becomes a free city. From here, if a city gains enough loyalty to a new civ, it will join that civilization–no war needed. Besides settling cities close to one another, the other major ways to gain loyalty are through Ages and governors but we’ll talk about governors in a bit. Aside from penalizing the settling of cities in other civilizations’ lands this feature also makes border disputes much more interesting. Capturing cities through war is also somewhat different now as the city captured will immediately want to rebel so growing their loyalty quickly is of utmost importance this is where governors come in handy.
Rise and Fall adds 7 governor’s to the game all of which have different strengths and focuses. One specializes in science, another one focuses on faith, and so on. Each governor can be unlocked with governor points as the game progresses but each governor also has an upgrade tree consisting of 6 perks which improve their effectiveness that are also upgraded through those points. Each city in your empire can have one governor and each governor can only govern one city at a time. One of the governors can even be placed in a city state to improve your relations with them. Largely, governor point spending depends mostly on your focus for a given game. One thing that all governors have in common is that they produce a large amount loyalty for their city so having governors in rebelion prone cities is crucial.
The potential for civilization interactions been increased in Rise and Fall with the addition of Emergencies and Alliance Enhancements. Emergencies are triggered when a civilization does something that could potentially be a threat to other Civilizations such as taking city states or dropping a nuclear bomb. If an Emergency is accepted by other civs they have a certain amount of time to accomplish a goal and if they succeed they receive a reward. Should they fail however, the Civilization that triggered the emergency gets a reward instead. The enhancements made to alliances also provide players the opportunity to capitalize on friendships through boosts to certain yields like science or culture.
A timeline was also added to the game. This is little more than a horizontal page you scroll through to see the accomplishments of your civilization throughout the game. Although this serves no gameplay features in and of itself, I did find that having it pop up everytime I accomplished something great was quite rewarding and immersive, definitely a fun little feature that gets you a bit more invested in a game.
Besides that Rise and fall also comes 9 new leaders and 8 new civs, india gaining a second leader. These of course offer new play styles and some of them are quite powerful if played properly. New wonders, buildings, improvements, resources and more have also been added as well as some small tweaks to previous systems, many of which honestly won’t change your play too much.
So what do I think of the Rise and Fall DLC? Well, in my time playing it I definitely found it enjoyable. The Ages and Loyalty systems definitely add more complexity to the game but none of it feels out of place. The new mechanics work well with previous systems and had I been handed rise and fall with the base I game, I probably wouldn’t have even known it was DLC.But there is something to be said about the complexity aspect of it. Rise and Fall definitely takes time to learn and figure out. There’s more micromanaging involved and more things to keep track of, especially in late eras, so if you’re new to Civilization it may be worth holding off on Rise and fall until you have the base game figured out. My final critique is that the Golden ages in particular feel a bit shallow when compared to the Dark ages.
How come there are no special Golden Age or Heroic age government policies that offer unique play styles like in Dark ages? I realize that these would have to be weaker as the purpose of the Dark age policies is to rebound back the next era but their absence leave much to be desired. It just feels that Golden Ages are bland and aren’t all that, well, great. Aside from that though, the DLC is certainly worth playing at some point. Maybe not right away if you’re pressed for cash but definitely worth picking up in the next steam sale.
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