Things like disasters and grievances give us plenty to consider during all eras and it backs up a dump truck’s worth of leaders of other content atop an already fully loaded strategy game.
The list of available leaders has grown to a gigantic cast of 45. – or 46. if you count Eleanor of Aquitanine’s ability to leader either the French or the English. All that narration must’ve taken Sean Bean ages.
Gatering Storm’s titular feature though is its great new disasters. I love having these in play, because not only do they add more variety , but they bring an important element of the real world to Civilization VI that’s been conspicuosly missing all this time. It balances out their destruction by clearly telegraphing where volcanoses will erupt and rivers will flood, so you know what you’re getting into. And when disasters do strike, the residual effect is a nice reward of increased fertility . On top of that, mid game technologies aloow you to mitigate flood damage with dams or you can turn them-off if you don’t like that element of randomness in your strategy.
Separate but complimentary, the climate change system gradually raises the sea levels and increases the likelihood of loods, storms, and droughts as you and other civilizations burn fossil fuels to power cities. Even if you avoide coal and oil, invetiably some tiles are going the way of Atlantis. It’s a race against time to tack up and unlock seawall improvements and solar and wind power. Or you can just plan ahead and enjoy your new beach front property, because you know exactly which tiles will flood first. That does take some of the surprise out of it and the consenquences aren’t as apocalyptic as you’d expect. But having the map change so radically throughout a game is a novel and ntriguing idea for Civ. Managing all that dirty coal and oil, along with horses, niter, and uranium is now more intuitive and slightly more realistic because they’re consumable resources that are harvested every turn and can be stockpiled and traded.
Diplomacy has also been maningfully improved with some sastisfying mechanics, the brievances system finally put a number on just how angry leaders get over broken promises – being able to declare a justified war against a bad actor finally feeks like the rest of the world is holding them accountable. There’s also a new currency, called Diplomatic Favor, that represents the good will earned by simply doing another civilization or city state a solid, or keeping a promise. And if you throw enought of it around at the New Congress meetings, you can bend all the other civilizations to your will on everything from wars to what trading partners get what bonus, it’s a power trip !
As useful as Diplomatic Favor is, the opportunities to spend it on the diplomatic win condition are rare because the congress only meets every 30. turns.
And of course there are tons of new features that range from long requested improvements like canals and tunnels through mountains to a set of futuristic goverments, plenty of new units, new man made and natural wonders and so many new odds and ends that I’ll have to leave to the wikis to list them all. It also comes with a pair of new scenarios based around World War I and the Black Death.
On the multiplayer front there’s an exciting new asynchronis Play By Cloud option where Steam will pop-up and let you know when your turn is ready, after your opponensts cycle through and play on their own time .
Civilization VI Gathering Storm is a bursting at the seams expansion that leaves few systems without a substantial improvement or new content. It’s new civs and leaders are distinctive, and its natural disasters are predictable but meaningful without feeling as cruel and unfair as their real life counterparts. A new emphasis on tradable resources, both tangible goods and abstract favors, is a welcome change that bring a sense of accountability to the notoriously erratic AI rivals. This is likely where CIV VI’s expansions end, which is logical because it’s hard to imagine how Firaxis could cram much more into its frame.