“Just one more turn.” For all that the phrase is most commonly attributed to the Civilization franchise, I’ve never really experienced that feeling with the games. Whenever I’ve wanted to pack the game in and continue another day, I’m able to do so. If the phrase were instead “Just one more game,” then that would much more accurately capture the influence Civilization VI in particular exerts over me. I’ve probably played through as many early-games in Civ VI as I’ve played turns in any single game of Civ. I’m utterly and eternally in love with those first few dozen turns.
It’s interesting to think about just how much Civ VI innovated on the granite-solid 4x formula of its predecessors. The two 4x games that I’ve sunk the most hours into are Civ VI and Endless Legend; and of those two, Endless Legend has a far stronger reputation for bringing new ideas to the table. And perhaps that’s still true. But it’s easy to forget that Civ VI also brought us several subtle and brilliant new ideas.
How about Eurekas and Inspirations? The idea that you can accomplish tasks in the game which give you a boost to a certain technology or civic being researched. What a fantastic way to motivate players to be more than just science-churning machines, and to actually engage with the map and its inhabitants! And, hand in hand with this, the separation of technologies into two distinct trees – one for science and one for civics – allowing players to be much more flexible in their approach to progression throughout a game.
Now I’m on a roll. What about AI agendas? My biggest gripe with games like Civ has always been poor AI, and… well, that’s still true. But at least agendas gave each AI leader a bit more of a personality to influence their decisions. And, of course, the adoption of Endless Legend’s multi-tile cities with the districts system, allowing you to build metropolises that actually look like metropolises.
As I said, I’m not much of a “just one more turn” player. In fact, I’m slightly ashamed by my ratio of games started to games finished in Civ VI. But I also have enormous fun whenever I do pick up Civ VI again after time away. I wonder if Humankind, the next game from Endless Legend creators Amplitude, will be able to capture that same thrill of starting a new game in an unknown world ripe for exploration, exploitation, exfoliation, and excretion. Yes, I’m sure I’ve remembered that correctly.