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You Need to Play the Most Iconic Strategy Game on Xbox Game Pass ASAP

Everybody wants to rule the world.

Originally Published: 
key art from Civilization 6
Firaxis Games

With huge numbers of interlocking systems, layers upon layers of tactics, and globe-spanning campaigns, strategy games can be intimidating for newcomers. Once they’ve got their hooks in you, though, the best among them are almost impossible to put down. The latest entry in one of the most venerable strategy series around is leaving Game Pass this month, and that makes this a great time to try it out.

Sid Meier’s Civilization debuted in 1991, beginning one of the most popular and beloved series of strategy games that’s still running today. Each entry has tried new ways to reinvent itself and expand Civilization’s growing empire, and the newest installment benefits from those decades of refinement. Hardcore fans may prefer specific mechanics in earlier versions of the game, but they don’t need anyone telling them to play Civilization 6. If you’re looking to jump into the series or even try out strategy games in general for the first time, you’d be hard-pressed to get a better introduction than Civilization 6.

Like any other Civilization game, you start by choosing a real-world nation to command. Each nation and their associated ruler give specific bonuses that might strengthen your army, make expansion easier, or smooth over trade with your fellow leaders. That alone makes Civilization 6 more approachable than it might seem at first, as you can tune how it’ll play to your liking.

Civ 6 lets you choose from a cast of historical and mythical leaders.

Firaxis Games

Civilization 6 also opts for a more colorful, cartoony art style, which brings a lot of personality to different faction leaders. When you’re accosted by Gandhi or brokering peace with Cleopatra, they feel more like living rivals and allies than simple bots to be conquered. It’s not a huge factor in the game, but along with vibrant art throughout, it brings a lot of life to an otherwise technical genre.

When you’re not chatting up Genghis Khan, you’ll be maintaining and expanding your empire through diplomacy, economics, and conquest. You can achieve victory in many different ways in Civilization 6, from military domination to cultural hegemony. So if wargames aren’t your thing, you can still try your hand at becoming a global superpower.

One of the biggest innovations in Civilization 6 is how it handles cities. This time around, you take a much more active role in building cities than previous Civilization games allowed. Each city can be expanded with districts, which grant various bonuses and unlock entirely new capabilities. Districts offer one more way to choose how you want to handle conflict in Civilization 6 and force you to think about managing what you already have rather than just constantly expanding and leaving cities along the way like breadcrumbs.

You’ll grow from a small settlement to a worldwide empire in the course of Civilization 6.

Firaxis Games

City-states also shake up the formula. Though they were introduced in the previous game, Civilization 6 puts a fun twist on these minor civilizations. You can choose to simply crush city-states, taking their valuable territory for your own, or you can befriend them through unique quests to gain their help. Some city-states might want to open trade with you while others ask you to destroy a nearby enemy. They’re another example of how Civilization 6 presents multiple different paths to victory so you can find what you like in it.

Civilization 6 is famous for keeping players up late into the night, swearing they just need “one more turn” before calling it quits. If you’re new to strategy games, it’s easy to get lost in its dense systems and spend an entire play session just poking around the map. Even experienced strategy players can find themselves losing hours to crafting the perfect plan of attack.

So in a way it’s fortunate that your time to play Civilization 6 on Game Pass is running out. You can take a swing at one of the best strategy franchises around and move on when it’s removed, or if you find yourself needing more, you can pick it up in a sale that expires the same day it leaves Game Pass. Whether you stick with it or not, now is a great time to experience this classic franchise and see if you’re cut out to rule the world.

Sid Meier’s Civilization 6 is available on Game Pass until September 15.

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