Taking Civilization VI's New Stuff For A Spin

Last month, Firaxis quietly released the first new content for Civilization VI, the Winter Update, adding a new Civ and some scenarios. It’s a hit-and-miss affair.


The new Civ, Poland, is great for players (like myself) who prefer to take the more literal, direct approach to victory. Its unique building doesn’t mess around, it just gives you more production and gold. Its unique unit doesn’t have any weird complimentary effects, it just bulldozes enemy units out of its square. And the return of the “culture bomb”, which lets Polish players build forts that push national borders back, is borderline game-breaking on smaller maps.

I can understand people not really digging how crude most of these benefits are, but as someone who is still trying to get my head around the finer points of Civ VI’s new systems while unlearning established Civ V routines, Poland felt like a good way to bridge the gap, employing some old-fashioned strategies that aren’t quite as useful with other Civ VI factions.

The other selling point with the Winter Update was the addition of two major scenarios, one based on the Ottoman invasion of Central Europe, the other on the Vikings.

The Ottoman scenario basically spams powerful Janissaries at you until one of the defenders survives long enough to get enough points to win.

The Ottoman one is a letdown. It’s bizarre that it was even released as an “official” scenario at all, since it’s so thin (everybody simply starts in green fields with settlers then goes at it), and the focus of your defence (and point of the game) is never really explained. It just turns into a boring, messy, Civ VI horde mode. But then, since it’s included in a $5 piece of DLC alongside the Polish faction itself, maybe they figured it was more useful as a cheap add-on than something worth highlighting in its own right.

Vikings, Traders and Raiders!, the second scenario, is much better. As it had want to be, since it was $5 on its own. It’s far more realised, with a European map that’s already populated, and a simple and fun objective: control one of three Scandinavian factions and send them forth to pillage and conquer everything else in your way. The unique Viking Longship ability helps add some depth to your strategies, and I had a blast conquering Britain then moving on to butt heads with the Franks and Byzantines.

The Viking scenario has a great little map of Europe

Two hits and a miss, then! Not a bad start for Civ VI’s post-release plans, then. Now, if they can just get around to adding Australia for once...

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About the author

Luke Plunkett

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.