CIVILIZATION VI: Warfare through the Ages (Part 2)06 Dec 2016 2
Rome needs a lesson in humility; Trajan is down to his capital and still demands that I pay for peace! Eight hundred-some gold, plus 50-odd per turn!? Not gonna happen… Uhh… I trust you loyal readers have read Part 1; if not, that might make little sense… Assuming you’re still with me though, here is Part 2 in my analysis of warfare in Civilization VI (Civ VI)!
We left off more or less in the Renaissance era, the walls of said period having been rendered obsolete with the advent of flight and/or artillery. Note however that, although they still count as part of your Garrison Defense Strength, and all cities appear to get the defence benefit of ‘walls’ at some point, I haven’t been able to determine exactly when they’re no longer buildable (first Modern Era tech?). Whatever the case, the only unit (aside from nukes; see later on) that appears to have much of a chance against cities besides artillery is the Mechanized Infantry, albeit at least a Corps, preferably an Army (these Formations are also covered in the next section).
Yet, before we proceed, I thought it advisable to spend another moment reviewing the Casus Belli system mentioned in Part 1, especially since it takes effect after researching Diplomatic Service, a Renaissance technology. In essence, various ‘causes for war’ can be earned in Civ VI, namely, Holy War, War of Liberation, War of Reconquest, Protectorate War, War of Territorial Expansion, and Colonial War. All DoWs using one of these incur a reduced Warmonger penalty, the latter two requiring another technology prerequisite each, however. Only the last is perhaps not self-explanatory – at least I had to look that one up in the Civilopedia! A little strangely, players can earn the Colonial War casus belli against any other civ that is two eras behind, technologically. Hmm… Imperialism by means of sympathetic aggression?
ESPRIT DE CORPS (AND ARMY)
Once a player has attained the Nationalism Civic (also Renaissance Era), two units of the same type may be combined into a Corps or Fleet, conferring the new unit +10 Combat Strength; after Mobilization three units equals an Army (Armada), with a further +7 (cumulative). It’s worth repeating (from the Civilopedia) that HP are not enhanced thereby, plus, combining experienced units with green ones is recommended to keep promotions, as only the best carry forward; moreover, formations are irrevocable. Finally, they may not only be created but can be built from scratch via the regular city build queue, albeit only in a city with the Encampment District for land units, a Harbor for ships. An Armory/Shipyard must first be built, then a Military Academy/Seaport builds formations quicker, while both upgrades increase experience as well.
As for unit changes and additions not previously mentioned, we have a few. To start, once Flight is attained, an Observation Balloon enters the mix, which is supposed to enhance adjacent siege units’ ranges by +1. However, there is some debate about whether or not it’s working, or alternatively that it works too well; either way, it didn’t seem to function for me in limited testing. In any event, Civ’s Anti-Tank Gun gets an upgrade to Modern AT, and Helicopters can no longer fly over mountains (plus, they still can’t hunt subs; must embark over water!).
Something new that perhaps should have been included when I brought up terrain in Part 1 is cliffs; certain units can earn a promotion to ‘scale’ them, which means cliffs now protect areas of coastline from units otherwise unable to land amphibiously thereupon. A myriad other new promotions are available as well – too many to mention here – such as Thrust for AT guns, allowing +10 vs. mêlée units. In addition, spies have a new sabotage mission against enemy Districts, and finally, players should note that Great Generals now ‘expire’; they provide passive combat bonuses only to adjacent units of their era and the next (or previous), after which they should be ‘retired’ (with varying effects).
IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME…
Warfare-specific new buildings include the Aerodrome – mentioned in Part 1 – upgradable with a Hangar to increase air unit capacity (which then allows the aforementioned Airport), once again boosting capacity in addition to unit experience. Perhaps most significantly, a Spaceport is now a required district not only for the Science Victory – i.e., the rocket mission to Mars – but also to build an Earth Satellite and attempt a Moon Landing, the first steps thereto (the latter additionally grants a lot of Culture and Science, while the former reveals the map, as before).
The Atomic Era has received a small tweak as well. Upon researching Nuclear Fission and building the Manhattan Project – which of course enables nukes and then Fusion – another project, Operation Ivy, becomes available, allowing a Thermonuclear Device (+1 radius, +3 range over regular nukes). Note also that each is now referred to as a “Device”, not a missile/bomb, which means they’re deployable on any unit (or in a city), yet all still require one Uranium each, and come with heavy maintenance costs (thus inhibiting large stockpiles); for example, 16 per Thermonuclear Device, in contrast to the Jet Bomber at 8. Speaking of which, we can now conclude this section by mentioning that ‘stealth’ units have not <ahem!> disappeared, but merely get a new name, i.e., the “Jet Bomber”. It is still acquired after researching Stealth Technology, yet isn’t quite as invisible as its Civ V predecessor.
YOU MUST ALL COME INTO THE LIGHT…
I went over theological warfare in Part 1, but neglected to mention the new victory path, namely the Religious Victory, accomplished by making your religion predominant in every other civilization. Apparently, the AI more or less understands that sending out (hordes of!) Missionaries and Apostles is the path to winning this way; they come in waves, as if the AI saves up its Faith points until it can launch a mass ‘invasion’. In my current game, this form of combat turned out to be far more prevalent and intense than normal warfare, even. After a lull of a few turns, they come again; I often ended up fending off two civs’ proselytizers at once!
In any case, I’d also like to expand upon the Warmongering penalties I previously touched on as well. I can state now that they seem far more grievous and longer-lasting than in Civ V; in no game of the latter do I recall any civ treating me as such a pariah, refusing to trade with me while repeatedly demanding outrageous ‘tribute’, and at the same time flatly refusing gifts of a resource or even two! Doubtless, it had to do with my taking city after city, razing a few (triples penalties), and rejecting ‘reasonable’ peace deals (because I was determined to teach them a final lesson!). I think players should be aware that such a path can pretty much cripple future efforts at relationship-mending. Threads in various forums have covered the systems(s) in greater detail than I have space for here, so I will not pontificate further. One more thing to be aware of, however – also covered in those threads – are Hidden Agendas, which can adjust other rulers’ attitudes toward you. Essentially, each civ has one or two… well, hidden agendas that drive their diplomacy, such as expansionism or flexing one’s military might. Players can discover them through espionage, but other leaders’ in-game admonitions will offer hints.
CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG…?
Although this two-part article is not intended as a review of Civilization VI, I have to conclude by adding my $.02 in regards to a couple of wishes for patches and/or mods. First, the use of Formations is a little at odds with how I envision them; as a wargamer, I expected corps and armies to permit ‘combined arms’ formations of two or three different units, thus creating units that could stand on a battlefield more or less on their own. I’m not suggesting the system doesn’t work as is; although they aren’t my idea of such real-life formations, they nonetheless seem eminently workable for Civ VI’s warfare system, and add another dimension to said battlefield – unit ‘stacking’.
Next, the Civ VI AI indeed appears to behave oddly: Witness Trajan’s terms, above; Mvemba a Nzinga, of the Kongo, similarly tried to extort me for responding to the second time he settled adjacent to my territory, this time by taking him out, too! All other leaders except Gorgo kept pestering me with demands for outrageous tribute whilst I waged war against these two and others – but then, that might be just their quirky character.
Finally, for those who may be wondering how my game turned out, it happens I won a Culture Victory just three turns before the time limit. I still may go back and nuke Ghandi, though, just for kicks!