“…new and contrasting Civs offer fresh and enticing styles of play for long-term players to experiment with…”
The New Frontier Pass for Civilization VI is Firaxis and 2K’s answer to season pass-style continued content for the popular turn-based strategy game. Promising almost a year’s worth of regular updates to satisfy the title’s consistently dedicated fanbase, the first content pack to hit our hexes adds a pair of new Civ’s to the game along with a challenging new Apocalypse game mode.
The first new Civ to enter the fray is the Maya, led by the illustrious Lady Six Sky. The Maya’s unique ability offers additional housing and production from your farms; a major early-game benefit for growing and supporting your cities. In addition, any luxury resources improved next to your city centre will provide you with amenity bonuses. In essence, Lady Six Sky offers benefits which will see your cities grow quickly and happily following their founding and prosper into the long term. On the flipside, though, founding a city next to a coasts or lake does not provide its usual housing bonuses; flipping the standard rules of settlement in Civ on their head but happily protecting you from sea level rises down the line (which is of particular help in Apocalypse Mode!) Lady Six Sky would also prefer to see her cities remaining close to home, with her leader ability allowing yield bonuses to all other cities within six hexes of the capital. This will suit players who prefer a tight-knit, defensive national setup, and the additional combat bonus to units within this six-hex radius help to seal the deal further still. The Maya suit a playstyle previously neglected in the main game and its major expansions, broadening the horizons of workable strategies in Civ VI.
To bolster your new compact and defensive playstyle, the Mayan unique unit, the Hul’che, is ready to defend your borders from the inception of your civilization. Replacing the early-game Archer unit with a slightly more powerful entity, the Hul’che benefits from increased combat strength when attacking already wounded units. Keeping would-be aggressors attempting an early sneak attack, and of course those nasty barbarians, out of your borders has never been easier! Whilst you defend your peripheral interests, the new Observatory district is unique to the Maya, too. Replacing the standard Campus district, the Observatory adds an adjacency bonus from all of those already-useful Mayan farm improvements, as well as an even greater adjacency bonus from plantations. Favouring a tighter, well-defended community-style city structure and swift scientific advancement, the Maya civilization is well worthy of its place in Civ VI and offers a unique and positive outlook on the early-game world.
The other half of the coin is of course Gran Colombia, led by “the Liberator” Simón Bolívar. Gran Colombia contrasts heavily with the Maya when it comes to the playstyle which the civilisation best suits. Rather than staying close to home and holding your borders tightly, Gran Colombia grants significant bonuses to your military’s mobility in the world. All Gran Colombian units gain a small movement bonus, and military units can continue to move in the same turn as they have been promoted. This simple ability transpires to be a huge benefit from early to late game and everything in between, not least when you are at war with other civs. Bolívar’s leader ability bolsters this militaristic playstyle further, granting a Comandante General unit each time a new era begins. Similarly to Great Generals, these units offer either a passive bonus to nearby military units or a one-time benefit such as promotions or boons to the future movements of a unit.
With all of these obvious and frankly huge benefits to your military efforts, the unique Gran Colombian military unit that is the Llanero seems an unusual, but beneficial addition. Entertainingly a unit which consists of a guitarist on a horse, the Llanero replaces the traditional cavalry unit for the civ, and requires less maintenance than its counterpart. When gathered in groups, the Llanero received bonuses to combat to each matching unit adjacent to it. Better still, should you manage to bring together the Llanero and Comandante General on the field of battle, the unit fully heals when its commander is activated. On the whole, the Llanero is the surprise star of the show in a sizeable mid-game battle.
Gran Colombia doesn’t forget to support the civilians back home, either, with the unique Hacienda improvement providing a vast array of benefits to your civilisation (if you have the skill and luck to place it). Production, gold and housing bonuses await any player who can pull of the improvement’s placement amongst a flurry of plantations; with an additional a food bonus for on the cards for each adjacent plantation as well. If that wasn’t enough, plantations and Haciendas receive further production bonuses still for adjacent Haciendas. With Haciendas in the mix, the “stonks” meme certainly comes to mind…
The two new Civs alone offer a contrasting yet compelling addition to the wider Civ VI meta, but the new additions to the game don’t stop there. The other big headline addition to the game is Apocalypse mode. This new game mode turns the existing natural disasters in the game up to 11, whilst also adding comets and solar flares into the mix. Crazier still, the new Soothsayer unit allows players to trigger natural disasters of their own. That’s right, you can now weaponise the very forces of nature in Civ (and sacrifice the odd spare unit into a volcano to win a competition (yes, really)). Should climate change be allowed to reach its final form in the game, the map will lay in apocalyptic ruin; quite a sight to behold. Apocalypse mixes up the way you have to play the game, forcing you to think long and hard about where you settle and frequently adapt your plans to repair and protect your cities from destruction.
The latest updates to the game also throw in a few new additions to sweeten the deal, including new resources, natural wonders and city-states. Honey and maize offer new luxury and bonus benefits respectively. The Bermuda Triangle, Paititi and the Fountain of Youth add a fantastical element into the natural wonder pot, each offering benefits which fit their unique and mythological natures; from randomly transporting naval units to healing units which pass them by. Caguana, Singapore, Lahore, Taruga, Hunza and the Vatican City lie in wait somewhere in the fog of war, ready to offer an array of benefits to players who seek to support them. Each of these little additions are a pleasure to find the first time you come across them in the game and show the dedication which the development team have made to its committed player base.
Even at this early stage, I find it easy to recommend the New Frontier Pass to long-term Civ VI players who are looking for new ways to freshen up their game. The new Civs encourage you to play in vastly different ways to one another, and perhaps using strategies which you have never thought to attempt before. Apocalypse Mode, whilst perhaps not best suited to easily triggered or traditionalist players of the game, ups the challenge but also the overall entertainment factor of the standard Civ gameplay. All of the new city states, natural wonders and resources added on top sweeten the package nicely, too. If this flurry of new content is representative of what to expect from further drops coming as part of the pass in the near future, then this is clearly a worthwhile investment for players feeling as though they have seen all that Civ has to offer. As one of those players myself, I highly recommend you go in!
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI New Frontier Pass is available on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch for around £32.99 to buy the DLC on its own its £7.39
This review is based on the PC version of the game which you can purchase here.
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Sid Meier's Civilization VI New Frontier Pass - Maya & Gran Colombia Pack
This new content pack introduces Lady Six Sky as the leader of the Maya and Simón Bolívar as the leader of Gran Colombia. The Maya can build prosperous city centers early in the game, supported by surrounding Farms and Plantations and protected by their unique Hul’che. Gran Colombia focuses on fast armies boosted by Simón Bolívar’s powerful Comandante Generals.
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 7.39
Product In Stock: Available