7 Big Changes Coming To Civilization VI's 'Rise and Fall' Expansion

by Daniel Tack on Nov 28, 2017 at 10:00 AM

With many Civilization titles over the last decade, the initial title is a strong showing, but the expansions really add the oomph that keeps us playing, hour after hour, game after game. Civilization VI's upcoming expansion, Rise and Fall, contains a significant number of tweaks, changes, and additions. Rise and Fall hits on February 8, 2018. In a discussion with lead designer Anton Strenger and producer Andrew Frederiksen, we dived down into some of these features and mechanics.

New Civilizations and Leaders

Rise and Fall adds eight new civilizations and nine new leaders to the ranks. Firaxis is rolling out reveals for each of these civilizations during the lead up to release, so check the official site in the weeks to come.

New Units and Upgrades

The new civs bring plenty of new units to discover and use, but upgrade paths for old units are also being fleshed out. Essentially, unit paths that trickled out or had serious gaps between tech have been looked at and addressed. The scout path, for instance, gains a Spec Ops unit that can paradrop. The medic path gains supply convoys. An anti-tank unit is available between pikemen and anti-tank guns.

Golden, Dark, And Heroic Ages Change Everything

Ages are a major mechanic in Rise and Fall. In each age, you can score a golden age, regular age, or dark age. Golden ages are the most desirable, while dark ages are more difficult to manage – you will be the underdog to the rest of the world in these situations, playing catch-up. However, if you manage to go from Dark Age to Golden Age, you can trigger a Heroic Age, which offers absurd benefits, so even though you may be behind, there are ways to get back on top. Your era score determines your ages at various points. You accumulate era points by achieving anything of historical significance, such as circumnavigating the globe or other "big wins". A new timeline keeps track of all your historical moments, and "tells the story" of your civilization as you progress.

Loyalty Matters

The new loyalty system is tied to the age feature as well. Think of loyalty as a system that works alongside managing your population's happiness. Dark Ages will cause you to take a loyalty hit among your people, so loyalty must be managed carefully. Cities that take enough loyalty "damage" will actually break off from your civilization and become a free city – one ripe for the taking from other nations. New strategies allow you to attempt to break a city's loyalty down either openly or from the shadows, letting you fight for the hearts and minds of a city's populace and potentially take it without firing a shot. Golden ages boost your entire population's loyalty, while a dark age leaves you open to influence.

Game Changing Governors 

Governors are new "big personality" units that you can have up to seven of in your civilization. As you advance, you can choose to recruit more governors to spread out among your cities or focus on making one more powerful and influential. For instance, a finance specialist governor improves your economic potential, trade, and borders. A boosted financial governor can buy new districts straight up for cash, an extremely powerful ability. Governors raise loyalty in their cities, and can alternatively be used to chip away at opposing holdings to wear their loyalty down.

Introducing Emergencies

Emergencies add some serious spice to the game. Perhaps an opponent is about to launch a nuclear weapon – an emergency could be declared. When a civilization is running away with victory, emergencies trigger that can even the stakes or push that player even further ahead. If you choose to team up and stop the nuclear launch with other players for instance, you could significantly hamper or destroy that civilization. However, if you band up and fail, the civilization in the crosshairs actually gets some bonuses to keep pushing forward. The system isn't directly tied to players about to win, but instead focuses on putting the spotlight on gigantic international incidents (such as the first nuclear launch.)

Alliances Matter More Than Ever

Alliances are being overhauled and upgraded, and you can now make different types of alliances such as research or economic. These alliances reward you for keeping them going over time, allowing you to level up the alliance to gain access to more significant upgrades and bonuses.

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Civilization VI

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Mac, Linux, iOS
Release Date:
October 21, 2016 (PC, Mac), 
February 9, 2017 (Linux), 
December 21, 2017 (iOS), 
November 16, 2018 (Switch), 
November 22, 2019 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)