Along with bringing back a key mechanic from Civilization V, Rise and Fall is the first expansion of Firaxis’ latest Civilization installment has arrived with new mechanics never before seen in previous games. With a focus on effective governance and the longevity of managing your empire, the new expansions add a reformatted Golden Age system, recruitable Governors that bring further bonuses to cities, as well as the tricky Loyalty system. It also adds eight new Civilisations to the game including newcomers such as the Cree Nation from Northwestern Canada, the Mapuche Nation from Chile, Georgia (memed into existence by the playerbase!), and Scotland. Returning Civs include the Netherlands, Mongolia, and the fan-favourite science powerhouse in Korea.
The return of Golden Ages
As the title suggests, Golden Ages from Civilization V have returned with a much more extensive system. Unlike the previous game in which the player is rewarded with Golden Ages by racking up points, Golden Ages in VI now have different variants and plays a role in the player’s final game score. While advancing through various eras, players will have to earn Era Score by performing feats like discovering new Natural Wonders or fully completing districts. Earning enough Era Score points at the end of an era will allow the player to achieve a Golden Age, which grants the player unique bonuses. However, if the player fails to earn enough points their Civ will fall into a Dark Age with hindering effects. At the same time, if a player manages to secure a Golden Age following a Dark Age, they would be rewarded with a Heroic Age, which grants even greater bonuses.
Keeping your people loyal
In the revamped form of Amenities, the return of city-based happiness has been a well-received mechanic in the base version of Civilization VI. In the latest expansion however, another mechanic based on your population has also been introduced in the form of Loyalty, which is also city-based and indicates the amount of support your people have for your empire. Cities with low loyalty are subject to the influence of other empires and may eventually revolt or join the other said empires. This is a wonderful mechanic that will prevent the AI from aggressively forward-settling in your homelands, but it may also backfire when you are waging wars, as capturing one enemy city amid a large empire will often cause your new city to immediately flip back to its original owner.
Governors add another level of city management
Another major addition to the game is the Governor system where a maximum of seven cities within an empire will be able to be administered by Governors. Every Civ will have the same Governors, who each provide the city they are posted with bonuses on certain elements of the game, such as city defence, diplomacy, or infrastructure. The Governors are all cleverly named. For example, Magnus, the Governor who specialises in bonuses related to efficiency and industry, is named after the Latin word for ‘great.’ Meanwhile, Liang, who specialises in infrastructural projects, is named after the Chinese word for ‘connect.’ The bonuses each Governor provide can be instrumental in providing further synergy to the special abilities that either your Civ already has or have picked up through other means in the game. The strength of your Governors’ abilities can be further amplified with the introduction of a new Government Plaza district that can only be built once by each Civ. I appreciate the detailed design for the aspects each Governor deliver, but seeing the same set of Governors for every Civ just feels bland. It would have been great if every Civ had unique Governors with both special and universal effects that are applied in-game.
Rise and Fall brings back fan favourites with welcomed twists and adds new content that spices up the late game. This is a solid first expansion from Firaxis, and players will enjoy an even better experience when micromanaging their empires.