I bought Sid Meier’s new empire simulator last week to see if it lives up to the hype. “Civilization VI” and decided to play one game in order to see how it compares to all the hype that it has been receiving. When I finally decide to play as Gorgo, the Queen of Sparta, Sean Bean’s medieval voice suddenly starts talking to me, setting the expectations for my success in the game rather high.
Brimming with confidence, I found my first city on the coast and begin using my only unit, a primitive warrior, to explore the surrounding area. Sparta grows and I research new technologies and experiment with different civic policies as the game progresses.
The Greek Empire is thriving now, but as I move into the Classical era, I realize I am trapped on an island half-covered in snow and tundra and there is no other city-state or any civilization to trade with. Soon my people will starve unless I venture a settler across the shallow seas to some unforeseen promise land where I can develop a second city.
My plan turns to action and I found Athens on the coast of a neighboring continent, unexplored and therefore dangerous to an unprotected, fledgling city. I must train military units to fend off the roaming barbarians and any world leaders that I meet and may be thirsty for conquest. An archer and a hoplite, the Greek special unit, make it into the Athens the same turn I am introduced to a scout from the French civilization.
The French are led by Queen Catherine de Medici, and as we discuss our relationship in the world, I can tell there will be issues later down the road because of her agenda to develop espionage operations and spread Catholicism around the globe. Religious victory is not the way I plan to win the game, though it is possible to switch this early in the game. Still, I make sure Athens is fortified and secure since it is on the same landmass as Paris, Catherine’s founding city.
I roll quickly through the Medieval Age thanks to my scientific focus turning new technologies over in short intervals. By the time the Renaissance period arrives, Catherine and I are on unfriendly terms with one another. War is imminent, but I am prepared. I have established multiple trade routes with city-states outside of Catherine’s domain, so I have a secure income to support my military’s maintenance costs. My home island now hosts another, smaller city, Pharsalos, and is located close to China and Scythia, two civilizations who share my detestment toward the French.
Catherine is the one to make the first move, declaring formal war for the world to witness. She sends bombards and knights to attack Athens, pillaging some of my farms and managing to destroy my encampment district, in which I train units. If I want to survive the war I need the district back and rebuilt. I retaliate with pikeman, who have the advantage against the knights, and crossbowmen to attack from afar as they sit upon hills to gain the upper ground.
Driving out the French from Athens was the beginning of the end for the French-Greek war because Catherine had sent her full forces against me, exhausting her military and leaving nothing on the defensive. As a result, I successful counterattack and lay siege to Paris over the course of the rest of the Renaissance and through the Industrial era.
Victory over France gives me the lead in global competition of science and military dominance, allowing me to continue my expansion into the untouched regions of the world. The other civilizations bow to me in trade deals and cannot challenge my vast empire, most likely out of fear for what would happen if they did not appease me. Though domination could have been a quick and easy victory for me, I decide to play the long game and aspire to win scientifically so that I can revel in my glorious power over the peaceful Modern Age and Information Era. Plus, building the Apollo program and making it to Mars will ensure that the Greek Empire’s peace bringing reaches the Red Planet too.