Last week, the mobile version of Civilization VI got updated to include the huge Rise and Fall expansion. Where previous updates to the game provided one or two new civilizations and maybe a few scenarios, Rise and Fall makes sweeping changes to the core game, to the point that it takes up an extra gigabyte of storage on your device.
Such a big expansion doesn’t come cheap though. Adding Rise and Fall to Civilization VI will cost you $30. Given such a hefty price tag, we dove deep to look at what this expansion offers to see if this add-on justifies the cost.
Nine new leaders
Previous add-on content to Civilization VI included a civilization or two plus some scenario packs. Rise and Fall ups the ante quite a bit here by adding nine new leaders (eight new civilizations overall).
This includes the science-minded Korean civilization headed by Seondeok and the Cree, a Native American civilization that excels in the early game, among others. You can mix and match any of these civilizations with all of the existing ones, though only if you play using the Rise and Fall ruleset. Thankfully, if you have a hankering to play vanilla Civilization VI, you can, but doing so prevents you from playing as any of these new leaders.
Dark and Golden ages
The key mechanic around Rise and Fall is its era system. As players perform actions in a particular time period, they receive points counting toward an overall era score. At the end of an era, these points are totaled, and can result in different bonuses based on your score.
These actions can be anything like creating a new settlement, defeating barbarians, establishing trade routes, or just about any other thing you do in Civilization VI to make progress. The idea behind the system is to create a sort of momentum to games. If you’re always pushing your people to do more and strive for greatness, you’ll enter a golden age. If you don’t, you might fall into a dark age.
What’s neat about the system is the dynamic it creates in games. Where regular matches of Civlization VI might allow you to feel content to rest on your laurels for good stretches of time, now you always want to try and up your era score to stay in a golden age. If, for some reason, you enter a dark age, there’s also a neat system that gives you special bonuses for moving from a dark age to a golden age across one era.
Loyalty and governors
Rise and Fall doesn’t just provide a system for riding the highs and lows of your overall civilization. It also has a loyalty system that asks players to manage each of their cities and make sure they don’t rebel and become a free city.
There are quite a few different factors that affect a city’s loyalty. In general though, if you keep your citizens happy and there aren’t too many nearby cities exerting outside influence, you’ll be ok. As problems with loyalty arise, you can install governors, which are special units in this expansion that grant unique bonuses and also help maintain a city’s loyalty.
At first, this loyalty system might just seem like a needless complication, but it actually introduces in interesting layer to the game. Players can now take over other cities without using military action, so you can now run complicated spy operations that destabilize your opponents and allow you to dominate them without fighting a single battle, which is pretty cool.
Special alliances and emergencies
The last (and probably least impactful) new dimension that Rise and Fall adds to Civilization VI comes in the form of more complicated alliances. Players can now choose how they want to partner, allowing them to share specific bonuses like additional science or culture to trade routes.
Multiple civilizations can also band together and declare emergencies in response to actions from a specific civilization. If the alliance works together and addresses the emergency, all participating partners receive a bonus. But, if the targeted civilization prevents the group from achieving their goal, they get a bonus.
These mechanics introduce really neat nuances to the idea of cooperative play, but they ultimately don’t feel that meaningful to me considering I only play Civilization VI against AI. While the AI is certainly capable of initiating emergencies and proposing alliances, I find they are not exactly skilled at actually trying to work with you.
The bottom line
The Rise and Fall expansion to Civilization VI is a hefty addition to an already meaty package. Most of the added content adds a ton of replay value to the game, plus a lot more dynamism to every match you play. If you’re inclined to play any more Civilization VI on iOS, it’s a safe bet to pick up the Rise and Fall expansion.