Civ 6: Rise and Fall: release date, new civs, Golden Ages, Governors - everything we know

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Civ VI's first big expansion, Rise and Fall, has been announced. We know quite a lot already, but as Firaxis's marketing campaign gets under way, you can bet that more details about the new civs will trickle out. Think of this article like a bucket, catching those drips: this is where you'll find all the latest about Rise and Fall, all in one handy place.

Whom will the new players be joining? Meet the cast in our Civ 6 faction guide.

Civ 6 Rise and Fall release date

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Rise and Fall is due to release on Steam on February 8, 2018. It will cost $29.99, €29.99, or £24.99.

Civ 6 Rise and Fall New Civs

Naturally, Rise and Fall will add several new civilisations to the base game. Firaxis have confirmed there will be eight new civs with nine new leaders. Here's who's been announced so far:

Korea

Korea return to Civ under Seondeok, queen of Silla - one of Korea's three kingdoms - from the year 632 to 647. Their unique district, the Seowon, replaces the campus, must be built in hills, and yields a whopping +6 Science unless other districts are adjacent to it. Korea's unique ability will add bonus science from mines, and Seondeok's leader ability adds science and culture in all cities with a Governor. By beelining to Seowons and surrounding them with mines, Korea can open an early lead in the tech race. They sound pretty strong to us.

The Netherlands

The Dutch are led by Queen Wilhelmena, who saw the country through two World Wars. Polders return as a unique improvement and can be built on water, though they can be traversed by land units, which might enable some interesting plays. Their unique unit is a warship with bonus range and combat strength against defensible city districts, while their unique ability grants bonus district yields for adjacent rivers. The Netherlands seem like a bit of a jack-of-all-trades with an affinity for water - distinctive, but without a clear focus.

Mongolia

The Monglians are back with who other than Genghis Khan at the helm. Predictably, they're a cavalry-focused warmongering civ, with Genghis granting combat strength to all cavalry and the ability to capture enemy cavalry, adding it to the horde. Their unique building grants a movement bonus to any cavalry trained in the local city, and the Keshig horse archer returns as their unique unit, with the ability to confer its movement to any units it's escorting. Only their unique ability stays relevant after cavalry become obsolete: it grants combat strength to all units for each level of diplomatic visibility on a rival civ, and helps Mongolia achieve said visibility by putting a trading post in the target city of all outgoing trade routes.

New Indian leader - Chandragupta

India becomes the second civ with a second leader, as Rise and Fall adds Chandragupta. He's far more martial than Gandhi: he allows you to declare a War of Territorial Expansion, granting your units additional movement and combat strength in the opening turns of the following war. A good time to make use of this would be alongside India's Váru elephant.

The Cree

The Cree were one of the largest Native American cultures in Canada. They get a stronger scout as their unique unit, a versatile unique tile improvement that can produce as many as four different yields depending on its adjacencies, and can claim land with trader units. A modern Cree leader has voiced concern on this last point, saying that these mechanics do not reflect the Cree's "traditional ways and world view."

Civ 6 Rise and Fall Golden Ages

Civilization 6: Rise and Fall

Golden Ages return in Rise and Fall, and they're joined by Dark and Heroic Ages, too. Like in Civ V, there is now a global era as well as individual player eras. The next global era is triggered by any civ fulfilling its particular conditions, and when each era dawns, every civ's performance in the previous era is evaluated. It's this evaluation that determines whether you get a Golden Age... or not.

Your performance is measured by your Era Score - you need to hit a certain threshold to trigger a Golden Age, or fall beneath the requirement for a normal age to find yourself in a Dark Age. There are three sources of Era Score that we know of: your place in the tech and civics trees relative to the Era, Historic Moments, and your Age Dedication.

Historic Moments are like gamplay achievements - things like circumnavigating the globe, or founding a new religion. Your Dedication is a strategic choice for your civ's direction that you will make in each era, and it's either an objective or a buff depending on what kind of Age you're in. A Religious Dedication in a Dark or normal age, for instance, will give Era Score for achieving religious goals, like converting a rival city to your faith. If you've already achieved a Golden Age, a Religious Dedication will buff your religious units. Successive Golden Ages will be harder to earn than your first, and they'll be very hard indeed to chain together, because Dedications don't contribute to your Era Score when they are in their 'buff mode'.

As you might expect, being in a Dark Age has its downsides. Most significantly, all your cities' Loyalty (see below) will take a hit, so you'll have to work doubly hard to keep your empire intact. That said, some government policies are only available in a Dark Age, and they sound like powerful but risky choices to represent your civ knuckling down in hard times. "We're not going to do as much with trade or diplomacy, but in turn, our internal production - our food, or whatever the case may be - is going to be stronger," says producer Andrew Frederiksen.

If, while in a Dark Age, you earn enough Era Score to qualify for a Golden Age, you'll instead receive a more powerful Heroic Age, in which you get to pick three dedications rather than just one. Indeed, Strenger says there are some devs who 'zigzag' between Dark and Heroic Ages as a strategic choice, rather than opting for the calmer course of normal and Golden Ages.

Civ 6 Rise and Fall Loyalty

St Basil's Cathedral can be seen in the centre of this screen, and possibly the Temple of Artemis to its left

Cities now have individual Loyalty to your leadership, measured as a percentage. As Loyalty falls, so does productivity (in other words, lower yields). You'll then see revolts, and ultimately, a city might declare its own independence, becoming a Free City. Free Cities have armies and will defend themselves, but don't have quests or suzerains, like city states.

Instead, they can be absorbed by rival civs, either through military force or Loyalty. Loyalty is thus the equivalent of previous Civilization mechanics - such as Civ V's ideological influence - that enabled you to take other cities without military intervention. It can't be done directly now, though - every city has to become a Free City first. Interestingly, Frederiksen says you'll be able to absorb city states with Loyalty, but you'll lose their suzerain bonus, just as if you'd conquered them.

Loyalty emanates from cities in a similar manner as religious pressure, so it will be more of a problem in wide, sprawling empires than tight, tall ones. This makes forward settling other civs a more complicated choice, and has required some tuning for civs like England, who are nudged to settle far away, says Frederiksen. As we've seen, Dark and Golden Ages act like Loyalty bombs, tanking or buffing your cities' Loyalty empire-wide respectively. Amenities affect Loyalty, too, but the most direct way to boost Loyalty is sending a Governor to your city (see below).

Civ 6 Rise and Fall Emergencies

Emergencies are an elegant way to challenge leading players without acting like an artificial rubber banding mechanic. Emergencies represent threatening events on the world stage - a civilisation launching its first nuclear weapon, or converting the Holy City of a rival religion, for instance. There are many types, with different triggers.

When an Emergency occurs, the game determines which other civs are eligible to join a pact against the threatening civ. They may then choose whether or not to opt in, and there's plenty to consider. Such pacts will have various time-limited goals according to the Emergency, and a buff to help you complete it - in the case of the nuke, you might get the task to capture the city that launched it, and combat bonuses against the offending civ.

Completing the objective in time will grant a boon for the rest of the game, but if you fail, the targeted player will get bonuses of their own for surviving the pact. 

Civ 6 Rise and Fall Governors

We can see the Statue of Buddha, a mesa-like Natural Wonder, and possibly Versailles in this screen

You'll be familiar with this concept if you've ever played an Endless game - Civ VI is getting Governors. These are special characters who can be assigned to cities (they don't exist on the world map) to give them powerful bonuses according to their unique promotion trees.

Strenger says there will be seven different types of Governor, inspired by historical archetypes, and you can only have one of each. You can spend a Governor Title to either recruit a new one, or promote an existing one, so there's a nice wide/tall trade-off there. Governor Titles are "primarily" unlocked through the Civics tree, but Strenger's use of that word hints that there will be other sources - perhaps a leader or a civ's unique ability?

Here are all the Governors we know of right now:

  • Liang, the Surveyor: grants builders extra charges, but some of her later promotions can unlock improvements - the City Park and the Fishery - that can't be built any other way.
  • Raina, the Financier: one of her later promotions enables you to purchase city districts with gold, like you can with buildings and units.
  • Amani, the Diplomat: exerts Loyalty pressure on nearby rival cities each turn, increasing the chance they'll declare indpendence and, if already independent, increasing the chance they'll join your own civ. You can even put her in a city-state, where she'll act as an envoy on top of these effects.
  • The Cardinal: mentioned by Eurogamer, this is quite clearly a religious Governor, but we don't know anything about their abilities just yet.
  • It sounds like there will be a military Governor who can "be a saviour during a city siege, and can make or break a city's defence against a powerful attacking army," according to this blog post from Firaxis.

All Governors will also bolster a city's Loyalty, so wide players will probably want to recruit many rather than promote a few, and send them around their empire keeping the people in line. Governors have five promotions each. 

Civ 6 Rise and Fall Enhanced Alliances

Alliances now come in five flavours: Research, Military, Economic, Cultural, and Religious. Each will provide its own bonuses, which will strengthen the longer the alliance endures. Strenger tells us that the Research Alliance gives both allies Science bonuses to their trade routes at level one - a fairly modest bonus - but at level two, they will also get Tech Boosts at regular intervals. Level three includes all of the above, plus bonus Science when researching the same tech as your ally, or a tech already known to them. 

Civ 6 Rise and Fall new units, wonders, districts, and more

We can spot the Statue of Liberty and Coney Island in this screen, plus new districts, a military truck, and in the bottom right - is that a Kasbah?

Alongside all these civs and systems, there is a trove of new content available to all players. This includes eight new world wonders, seven new natural wonders, four new units, two new tile improvements, two new districts, fourteen new buildings, and three new resources. There are also an unspecified number of new government policies (including Dark Age policies), new hidden leader agendas, and new Casus Belli.

We've seen a few early screenshots, and we're going to make some guesses about a few of these items. We're pretty confident about them - and you can see the evidence for yourself elsewhere in this article - but do note they haven't been officially announced yet.

Civ 6 new Wonders:

There are eight new World Wonders due in Rise and Fall. Some have been revealed by Firaxis, but others are visible in those early screens - we'll indicate where we're guessing, but here's our list:

  • Coney Island (unconfirmed) - recognisable for its distinctive Ferris Wheel, just above the Statue of Liberty in the desert screenshot above. 
  • Kilwa Kisiwani - visible in the bottom-right of the desert screen and since officially revealed, this wonder, representing an island community off the coast of Tanzania, grants bonus envoys and boosts yields from any City State of which you are Suzerain.
  • Archivo General de Indias (unconfirmed) - we're pretty surethis is the thing in the bottom-right of the grassy screenshot, but it's not the most distinctive model. The Archive of the Indies, found in Sevile, contains documents illustrating the history of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and Philippines.
  • St Basil's Cathedral (unconfirmed) - also in the snowy screenshot, in the dead centre of the image. Hopefully Firaxis don't confuse it with the Kremlin this time around.
  • Kotoku-in (unconfirmed) - also known as the Great Buddha of Kamakura, this is one of the biggest of many statues of Buddha around the world. It can be seen to the top-left of the centre of the grassy screenshot.
  • Statue of Liberty - now confirmed, the Statue of Liberty grants bonus settlers and Loyalty to nearby cities. Settlers seem a little redundant in the late-game, so let's hope the Loyalty boost is significant.
  • Taj Mahal - leaning into the Great Ages mechanic just as it did in Civ V, the Taj Mahal grants bonus Era Score for every Historic Moment earned for the rest of the game.
  • Temple of Artemis (unconfirmed) - visible in the snowy screenshot, in the centre-left of the image. It's the horse statues and staircases that make us think it's the Temple of Artemis rather than any other classical wonder, but we could be wrong.

Civ 6 new units:

Firaxis told PC Gamer about four of the new, non-unique units that will flesh out the tech tree:

  • Pike and Shot - an anti-cavalry unit bridging the gap between Pikemen and Anti-Tanks.
  • Supply Convoy - an upgrade to the Medic, which can increase the movement speed of units it shares a tile with, as well as heal them. It's probably the truck in one of the new screens.
  • Spec Ops - inspired by US Navy SEALs, these will top the upgrade tree that begins with the Scout, and will be able to para-drop forward without needing aircraft.
  • Drone - an upgrade to the Observation Balloon.

Civ 6 new districts:

Firaxis also told PC Gamer about a new district: the Government District. You're only allowed one of these in your whole civ. The buildings you can place there are determined by your current government type, and they will unlock new policy cards.

Civ 6 Rise and Fall Timeline

More of a nice flavour feature than anything else, Rise and Fall will chronicle your Historic Moments in a Timeline, which you'll be able to open and review at any time. These moments include circumnavigating the globe, training your unique unit, founding a religion, and even building districts with high adjacency bonuses - finally, sound urban planning gets the recognition it deserves.

There are over 100 such moments planned, the most important of which will have their own unique illustrations on your timeline. We got our first look at this in the Cree reveal trailer (see image).

That's all we know about Civ 6: Rise and Fall so far. We'll update this post regularly, so check back whenever you want the latest.

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