Gathering Storm is the second expansion (Rise and Fall being the first) for Civilization 6, the latest installment in Sid Meier’s classic turn-based strategy game. The DLC introduces “an active planet where geology and climatology present unique new challenges.” This adds a new dynamic to the game, but the DLC is more than just a weather add-on. There are new leaders, enhanced diplomacy, added content, and new functionalities that seek to integrate with and enhance the game as a whole.
What’s new in Civilization 6: Gathering Storm
Environmental roadblocks come in the form of flooding rivers, devastating typhoons, damaging droughts, and eventually global warming. The inclusion of these planetary threats adds a new dynamic between your civ and the map, and introduces a common ground to protect and fight over with other nations.
Even early decisions of where to settle will have a lasting impact throughout: Settle near a volcano and it may erupt and devastate anything you’ve built nearby – but volcanic soil is some of the best, and you could see your crop yield hit record highs! Settle near the edge of a continent and the sea is yours to command – but don’t be surprised if your land begins to disappear, swallowed up by rising sea levels later in the game!
Climate change will become a more serious threat to the planet as a whole as you approach the late game. Nations will consume resources like coal and oil to power their cities or military units, and the planet will start to show signs of wear and tear as the years go by. Climate change comes about in the form of increased storms, more severe flooding, and worst of all, vanishing coastal tiles. Districts close to the ocean may disappear if carbon emissions reach a peak threshold. Fortunately the problem will not be yours alone; Global Warming is an issue to be tackled both as a single faction and as a community of nations.
Power and consumable resources
Resources are a double-edged sword in Civ 6. While they create carbon emissions that slowly wreak havoc on the planet’s climate, they will also dial your city yields up to 11. Strategic resources now include fuel sources such as coal, niter, or oil that can power your cities and mighty late-game units like artillery, tanks, fighters, or Giant Death Robots.
You can build a power plant in a city that will utilize either coal or oil to spur industrial productivity to its maximum potential. Your more sophisticated buildings will not be able to perform at peak efficiency without these resources, and will work at less than half their normal yield if deprived. Similarly, units that rely on these resources will not be as effective in combat without them. If you’re feeling particularly gutsy, you can upgrade your coal and oil plants to nuclear, which will create very light carbon emissions. If you don’t regularly maintain these (a function under your cities project queue), a nuclear accident can devastate your city and surrounding districts with all the force of a nuclear bomb.
Maintaining them sounds obvious, but once you have over a dozen cities, it may prove challenging to keep track of which ones need attention! Late in the game you can switch city power over to green energy such as hydroelectric dams, solar panels, or wind farms.
You might also consider building improvements to lessen and negate the adverse effects of natural disasters. Examples include the dam or flood barrier later in the game.
New leaders, civilizations, wonders, and units
Another of the biggest reasons to get Gathering Storm is the inclusion of eight additional nations and nine new leaders. These new figures offer a wide and unique range of units, alliances, buildings, and play styles to explore, adding a variety of new color and reactive gameplay to the experience. These new leaders are Dido of Phoenicia, Suleiman of the Ottomans, Kristina of Sweden, Mansa Musa of Mali, Pachacuti of the Inca, Laurier of Canada, Kupe of the Maori, Matthias of Hungary, and Eleanor of Aquitaine for both England and France. Play as the nomadic Maori, the wealthy Mali, or sea-faring Ottomans for a truly fresh experience in Civilization 6.
Gathering Storm also has new wonders both man-made and natural such as The Great Bath, the Chocolate Hills, the gold-granting Machu Picchu, or the Meenakshi Temple which provides free gurus to heal your other religious units.
New units include the popular Giant Death Robot for late-game, and our new favorite, the Rock Band once you research the Cold War civic. Rock Bands are created through faith, and can be named and sent to other nations for huge boosts to tourism, economy, or even religious takeover through certain upgrades.
The World Congress is another new feature added with Gathering Storm, and it allows for the nations of the planet to meet and discuss proposals and resolutions to various issues such as trade, military, or who should earn points towards a diplomatic victory.
Diplomatic favor works almost like a currency, earned through trade, city-state relationships, or by competing in world competitions. You can spend diplomatic favor as a bargaining chip when trading, to extract favors and promises from other leaders, or to help and hinder other nations in the World Congress. You could also stockpile your diplomatic favor and splurge on points towards a diplomatic victory.
New technologies and civics
Gathering Storm also adds content in the form of new techs and civics as you approach and enter the 21st century. New civics like Information Warfare create opportunities to integrate attack logistics, while others still later are actually randomized, encouraging you to improvise your strategy in this late-game phase, catering your decisions towards whatever new bonus you happen to stumble upon.
There’s also new improvements like canals, railroads, and mountain tunnels to provide new means of transportation and tactical maneuverability in combat, and scenarios like War Machine or The Black Death if you’re looking for a radically different (and typically shorter) Civ experience.
At its core, Gathering Storm adds a new player to the mix in the form of the living map. Decisions you make from settling to generating power to building new improvements all play a part in your civilization’s relationship with the sky above them and with the soil beneath their feet. Games in Gathering Storms are more multi-faceted than ever, and your ability to prepare for and recover from disasters will now play an additional role in your success as a leader. Are you ready to take on the challenge? Install Gathering Storm today, and lead your civilization to glory!