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Thoughts on Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth (Civ 6 or Civ VI)
You can get your copy through this link if you're interested in trying it out for yourself.
Out of This World!
About a month ago, I picked up Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth. I waited until I achieved a glorious victory (Promised Land Victory!) before writing my review, so that I'd have plenty of experience to draw upon. This article is going to be updated over time to be more comprehensive, as it is merely an overview at this time.
As a threshold matter, those who love the format and style of game-play of traditional games from the Civ series will be pleased to learn that this is basically a traditional Civ game in a different setting. In fact, aside from different graphics, different names for concepts that are common to all Civ games (e.g., "Energy" as a substitute for traditional money used in these games), a few unique features (the dreaded miasma, as an example) and different Civilizations from which to chose to play the game with, it is hard to distinguish this game from others in the series.
Promised Land Victory!
Follow Me to the Promised Land!
I elected to play using Polystralia, for no reason beyond the fact that I think Australia is cool, and also because I liked what they have to offer in terms of the advantages each civilization gets in each game in the series.
To demonstrate how similar the game-play to earlier games in the series notwithstanding the units having different names and - in some cases - being totally unique within the franchise, I won the game in my typical style (bullying, city-spamming the map, taking cities from other civilizations and entirely "cleansing" them from the map), despite being unable to sit here and itemize / describe the game's units from memory. I just got a feel for what Polystralia's units can do, and used them as I would use the military units from any other game in the series.
It follows that the most unique units are the ones controlled by the game's AI. In this game, instead of Barbarians, there are land-and-sea-based "Alien" units. Pictured below are the Alien Siege Worm (land-based) and Kraken (sea-based) units. The Alien Siege Worms are extremely aggressive and will destroy (eat?), in one turn, your military or civilian units that are unlucky enough to find themselves within one space of them during their turns. You'd be lucky to leave with a living unit when you attack them, as well. Krakens are really interesting Alien units. They're annoying, and can destroy your sea-based military units with one attack, but in my experience they aren't really aggressive at all. You can be right next to them and keep going without being attacked. When attacking them despite their passive nature (I'm no Saint, and they clog up shipping lanes!) it takes an impressive number of turns to wipe each of 'em off the map (especially earlier in the game with units that aren't yet promoted and/or upgraded).
Another aspect of the game that is unique with regard to Alien units is that other civilizations hold it against you if you mercilessly wipe off all Alien life from areas surrounding your territory. In my own experience with the game, it is still worth it to cleanse them from the map. And in any event, you get 37 units of Energy for clearing their nests! Energy, power, respect, what you need in life!