Civilization VI (2020) Review – Frontier Pass

Civilization VI (2020) Review – Frontier Pass

Civilization VI, despite being released in 2016, is still seeing large additions made to the game. Two expansions later, here we are with the release of the Frontier update. Unlike previous expansions, the Frontier update will roll out it’s content over the span of the next year, with a DLC pack being added to the game every other month.


Two New Civilizations

The first DLC pack, out now, contains two American civilizations, one old and one new: the Maya and Gran Colombia.

The Maya

Lady Six Sky leads the Maya

Returning from Civilization V, the Maya civilization; lead by Lady Six Sky offer the following bonuses:

  • Civ Unique Ability: The “Mayab” ability gives Maya housing and production bonuses from Farms, and Amenity bonus for Luxury resources adjacent to the City Center. Settling adjacent to Coasts or Fresh Water does not provide housing bonuses.
  • Leader Unique Ability: Lady Six Sky’s “Ix Mutal Ajaw” ability lets the Maya gain yield bonuses to non-capital cities, and a combat bonus to units, within six tiles of the capital.
  • Unique Unit: The Hul’che, a stronger replacement for the Archer and receives bonus combat strength when attacking wounded units.
  • Unique District: The Observatory replaces the Campus and adds a minor adjacency bonus with Farms and a major adjacency bonus with Plantations.
City placement is always difficult when next to active volcanoes

Playing as the Maya offers a very unique experience, especially in the early game, as you will want to keep your cities close to the capital, without having to worry about whether those locations have access to fresh water. Along with their unique archer units and campus districts, this civilization is perfect for isolationist science focused playstyles.

In my first game as the Maya, I won a comfortable science victory on Emperor difficulty

Gran Colombia

Gran Colombia Civ IV Frontier Pass
Simón Bolívar leads Gran Colombia

New to the Civilization series is Gran Colombia, who boast the following bonuses:

  • Civ Unique Ability: With the “Ejercito Patriota” ability, Gran Colombia receives a movement bonus to all units, and promoting a unit does not end the unit’s turn.
  • Leader Unique Ability: Simón Bolívar has the “Campaña Admirable” ability, granting a Comandante General when entering a new Era.
  • Unique Units: Gran Colombia features two unique units
    • The Comandante General is a Great General with unique abilities, including Passive and Retire effects.
    • The Llanero replaces the Cavalry. It requires less maintenance, receives a combat bonus for every adjacent Llanero and fully heals when in range of a Comandante General that activates.
  • Unique Improvement: The Hacienda provides Production, Gold and Housing bonuses, and a Food bonus for each adjacent Plantation. Plantations and Haciendas receive Production bonuses for adjacent Haciendas.
In my game as Gran Colombia, I won a diplomatic victory

In contrast to the Maya; Gran Colombia’s bonuses do not require you to alter your playstyle at all in order to take advantage of this Civ’s bonuses. It’s hard to overstate how powerful the additional movement speed will be for your games. In my game as Gran Colombia, it wasn’t the military benefits that surprised me, but the civilization-building in general, as this movement bonus effects settlers and builders. Playing as Gran Colombia opens up the possibility for any victory type.

Do not forget to maintain your nuclear power plants

Apocalypse Mode

Also added in the first pack is the Apocalypse mode; expanding on the natural disaster system added in Gathering Storm. This optional mode will increase the intensity and frequency of disasters, adding the following:

  • Adds Forest Fires and Meteor Showers as disaster types to all games.
  • An optional, specialized game mode with exclusive rule changes:
    • New disasters: Comet Impact and Solar Flares.
    • Larger versions of existing disasters.
    • New military unit: Soothsayer, a Support unit that can trigger natural disasters at the player’s command.
    • New scored competition: Sacrifice units to volcanoes. Requires Soothsayers to use their unique action on friendly units near a volcano.
    • The world enters an apocalyptic state when climate change reaches its maximum level.
Russian units are immune to blizzards, their buildings however, are not

I played three games with this new mode on and enjoyed the variety it added to my games. In my first game as Gran Colombia, Korea to the north of me seemed to spend the entire game suffering from the effects of being sandwiched between two active volcanoes. In my second game it was my turn. Constant environmental dangers means it would be wise to keep a builder or two on standby, to help repair the damages as soon as possible. Aid requests will be much more common with this game mode enabled, giving additional ways to earn diplomacy points towards that victory type.

Civ 6 Disasters
Tornadoes will damage your farmlands as they travel through your territory
Forest fires; a new disaster to keep builders on standby for

This DLC pack also includes six new City-States, two new Resources and three new Natural Wonders.

See details regarding the future DLC packs at

Civilization VI Review (2020)

Bermuda Triangle Civ 6
The Bermuda Triangle grants naval units bonuses before teleporting them to the other side of the map; an example of a new wonder players will discover

Never have I lost track of time as much while playing a game than I have with the Civilization series, and Civilization VI is no different. Being a turn-based game, you will always feel the urge to carry on playing, well into the night.

Overall the first DLC in the Frontier pack is a great sign of what is to come. Both new Civilizations are fun to play and I will definitely be playing all of my future games with the Apocalypse mode kept on. I look forward to seeing what future content will be added in the next DLC pack, available in July.

If you are interested in strategy games. Then Keep an eye on the upcoming DLC for Europa Universalis IV: Emperor.


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