'Civ 6' beginners' guide: Tips for how to play your first game of 'Civilization VI'

Source: Civilization VI

Sid Meier's Civilization 6, the next game in the long-running Civ franchise, was released on Friday. Hear that? It's the sound of a thousand PCs booting up.

Everyone who's been playing Civ over the last 25 years knows exactly how frustrating those first few turns can be. If you're a budding world leader who hasn't spent much time with the game yet, here are four things to keep in mind during your early turns in Civ 6. Ready? Let's talk strategy.

Don't sweat your choice of leader for the first few games, if you want to experiment with different early game strategies.
Source: 
2K Games/Civilization VI

1. Actions in Civ 6 trigger much wider consequences than ever before

Research in Civ 6 is appreciably different than research in other Civ games, and this has ramifications on how the earliest days of your civilization will go. Actions like discovering important areas or winning battles can also contribute toward research into a related field. If a unit discovers a body of water, you might be instantly granted some progress toward a sailing-related technology.

You get these bonuses even if you haven't begun researching the technology in question, which means when you do work your way up to that technology, you'll have had a head start, which speeds up the research time.

In other words, players who don't necessarily want to focus on a strong science or cultural infrastructure can still beeline the necessary Techs and Civics necessary to make a huge impact. Just identify the Tech or Civic you want to rush, figure out what triggers its eureka moment and play accordingly. 

Who knows? Your warmongering Civ may get to build the Alhambra faster than that turtling Science player.

The Civics policy tree offers a selection of small policies you can swap in and out for one another.
Source: 
2K Games/Civilization VI

2. Simultaneous Tech and Civics research in Civ 6 opens new options faster

There are two separate research trees in Civ 6, called Tech and Civics, and doubling up your research can speed up your first 100 turns appreciably.

If you're a longtime Civ player, you've noticed that mixed in with the technological achievements that comprise most of the tech tree, there have always been items on that tech tree that feel a little out of place. Like Democracy and Communism. Those are types of governments, not democracies.

Civ 6 breaks government down into its own research category, called Civics. Each type of government you unlock can support a certain number of Policies. Policies add small bonuses to your civilization's performance, like increased production or culture generation, that can also be used to speed up progress during the early game.

City States are easier than ever to interact with, and can become important parts of your early empire.
Source: 
2K Games/Civilization VI

3. More choices in Civ 6 means faster gameplay


Breaking research down into two simultaneous lines means that it can feel like Civ 6 is throwing a lot more upgrades at you as normal. Compared to other Civilization games, you may find yourself making more decisions about how to build your civilization in lesser time than ever before.


Civ 6 breaks down the decision-making on how to evolve your civilization into bite-sized chunks, however. Rather than making many decisions of major import, you have many smaller decisions to deal with on a regular basis instead.

Rather than feeling overwhelming, this weaves the social and tech research more into the moment-to-moment gameplay, which also helps speed up those first 100 turns.


Unit animations in Civ 6 are worth zooming in for. These Roman Warriors are about to put the hurt on the barbarian village.
Source: 
2K Games/Civilization VI

4. Give Builders in Civ 6 a rest, whether you want to or not

Gone, at least for now, are the days of having a single veteran worker automatically building roads and improvements in each of your cities. In Civ 6, builder units will exhaust themselves after each major task, like clearing a forest or building a farm.

Make sure you pay attention to how many builders you have active, and under construction, during your first 100 days. Those builders can get used up quickly. Use them efficiently, as each builder unit represents a substantial investment in resources for early game play.

Keep in mind the need to build Districts in Civilization 6, a new mechanic in the series, when planning your builder production and city development plans.

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Dennis Scimeca

Published on Salon, NPR, Ars Technica, Kotaku, Polygon, Gamasutra, GamesBeat, Paste. Former games writer at The Daily Dot. Reach me at dennis@mic.com.

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