14 tiny things that drive me crazy about Civ 6

After putting dozens and dozens of hours into Civ 6 this month, we've got some notes for Sid Meier's Suggestion Box.

#15: Gilgamesh's superfluous second pinky fingers.

Civ 6 is real good. I agree with most of the stuff that T.J. had to say about it in his enthusiastic review. I think Civ 6's elegant map breathes a ton of life into the series, and I love the Pixar-quality expressions of the leaders. I like most of the UI, how much individual tiles matter, and that barbarians are smart and annoying. I think the changes to combat are smart. 

But alongside these improvements are a pile of annoyances that I am compelled to put on the internet. Here are some discomforts that've sapped my enthusiasm for Sid's Sixth.

1. Adjacency bonuses: incredibly important, poorly expressed 

This is the big one. When you're about to build a district, Civ 6 tells you what bonuses you'll get for that tile immediately—if I drop a campus beside two mountains, I'll get two bonus science per turn, for example. But you can't really check in on those adjacency bonuses mid-game. Is my aqueduct boosting my theater district? How much are my mines helping my industrial zone? It's bonkers that I can't just hover over a tile and have it tell me in detail what benefits it's giving me.

2. My kingdom for a tooltip

Likewise, some of Civ's biggest nuances go un- or under-explained. For my first playthrough, I struggled to figure out why a city I'd conquered was suffering occupation penalties hundreds of turns later because the (I guess) inconsequential topic of city conquering is afforded a single sentence in Civilopedia, which itself has tons of information gaps. What do you do with captured spies? If I agree to not move too close to my neighbor's borders, will I violate that promise if their borders advance, or if a scout passes by? What determines which type of artifacts spawn from an antiquity site? What's the threshold for gaining or losing the war weariness penalty? If I found a city atop a luxury resource, do I get it?

3. Amenity allocation

On that note: I like amenities. I think they're an interesting counterweight to population growth. But they aren't well explained. Civ tells you that amenities are distributed evenly between cities, automatically. But if I have four cities and five amenities, with equal population, who gets the fifth one? Again, it's frustrating to not have perfect information when you're deciding whether to build a zoo or a spy. It also took me too long to understand that duplicate luxury resources provide no benefit, other than being tradable extras.

4. UI scaling doesn't work at 1440p

5. Distance-based benefits

Some buildings and wonders, like zoos, or a power plant, grant their benefits to all owned  cities within six tiles. Getting two improvements for the price of one can be game-changing. Unfortunately, Civ 6 gives no indication of how that six-tile range is determined. If my neighboring city is four tiles north and two tiles east, does that mean it also gains the benefit? You can calculate it out yourself after a building is completed, but again, why isn't there any visualization of this when you're making a building decision?

6. Camera snapping to units

You can disable this easily by tweaking a text file, but the default camera behavior can be pretty aggravating depending on how many 'awake' units you have and how widely they're distributed over the map.

7. Tourism is the loneliest number

I enjoyed my run as Teddy Roosevelt. I founded New York and Yosemite on the same turn! Hell yeah. Accumulating great works and great people remains a satisfying part of Civ: deploying Chopin or Mary Shelley or Dvorak and seeing their creations spring to life, fullscreen, feels like grabbing epic loot off a boss in Diablo.

Ultimately, though, tourism in Civ 6 is a number that you watch go up until you win. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, there's no visualization to help me delight in the idea of citizens visiting my museums and resorts. I don't get the same visual payoff that I do with a science victory, where I get to see each stage of the Mars mission shot into space. That's a shame because Civ 6 has some wonderful, handcrafted details: if you build Cristo Redentor, for example, its appearance changes depending on the time of day. But there's no expression of Berlin or Jerusalem being thriving hubs of travel and culture.

Broken record time: tourism's nuances are also poorly explained. I have to do a lot of mouse-hovering over icons to figure out that India's religion is boosting the tourists I get from them, or that, because Germany grabbed the Enlightenment civic, I'm getting fewer tourists from them. Culture also doesn't interact with many of the game's other systems, other than spies. What if tourists had a negative impact on housing?

8. The religious endgame

For many of the same reasons, I find Civ 6's religious victory unsatisfying. Because you've only got three units, it's attrition with very little strategy underneath it. Although some civs like Kongo have interesting interactions with religion, and the 'faith race' to earn a great prophet is interesting, religious warfare essentially operates on a parallel plane from the rest of the game, disconnected from Civ's other systems and goals.

9. The spy assignment UI

Please, just let me click on the tile I'd like to place my spy.

10.  The hidden unit selection menu

"Now where did I put Leonardo da Vinci?" Seriously, I had to help two different people find this thing.

11. The ancient secret of tile swapping

It's strange that the Very Useful ability to swap tiles between bordering cities is buried under the citizen management button. Swapping a big farm or production tile can make all the difference when you're managing population growth or wonder progress.

12. And Civ's secret spreadsheets

Blame this on my own illiteracy (or on #4), but I didn't find the incredibly useful "View Reports" button until about 40 hours in. It's right there, staring at you in the top-middle of the screen, ready to table a bunch of valuable info your cities' output.

13. Diplomacy menu 'lag'

I can click on things within the diplomacy menu while a turn is processing, but that my inputs don't resolve until the turn is done processing. It's weird to be able to push these buttons and have them not immediately respond. Likewise, visualizations like the worker allocation view aren't usable while a turn's being processed.

14. Housing isn't visualized

Housing becomes a big concern in the mid-game before you unlock neighborhoods, and yet Civ 6 hides where housing is distributed across your tiles. There is a UI mod for this, but it's not great.


...And, yeah, the AI, which T.J. dug into in greater detail at the bottom of his review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raised by a Team Fortress Classic clan, Evan can only communicate using multiplayer FPS jargon, sort of like that Star Trek: TNG "Darmok" episode. 2fort, when the walls fell...
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