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Civilization 6 Now Has A Battle Royale Mode

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What started as an April Fool’s joke has become a reality, as turn-based strategy game Sid Meier’s Civilization VI sees a battle royale mode called Red Death added to its September update. The update also features a smorgasbord of new content, and it’s free for PC owners who own the base game.

Red Death tasks you with besting up to 12 other players as you race to secure the only spot on the last ship ditching the planet. It’s not the complete Civ VI experience, as it only features eight apocalypse-themed factions with a variety of in-game advantages. Publisher 2K Games shared a detailed promotional video, below, outlining everything available in Red Death. There’s no confirmation on whether the mode will appear on other platforms.

A press release elaborated on Red Death’s origin. Multiplayer engineering lead Bradley Olson implemented the battle royale mode in an April 1 build of Civ VI. Not a single developer on the team noticed. After Olson pointed out the mode’s stealthy addition at a design meeting, a play session was set up so everyone could try it out. Not long after, with the art team developing assets and the design team expanding the scope, Red Death was born as Civ VI’s first battle royale mode.

Civ VI’s September update is available to download now and with it comes an assortment of new features, balance tweaks, and fixes. Lead producer Dennis Shirk shared what’s new and what’s changed in a YouTube video. Some of these include strengthening coastal cities, adding six new maps, giving Great Admirals new bonuses, and more. You can check out the full patch notes below.

Civilization VI September update patch notes

Features

  • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Red Death Multiplayer Scenario
    • General notes
      • If you still have a Civilian unit, then you are still in the game. Once your last Civilian is killed, you will have been eliminated. Be the last remaining player with a Civilian to win.
      • The Red Death is the radioactive mass that is consuming the planet. A Safe Zone ring will appear on the map. Periodically this ring will shrink. Keep your units inside the ring to avoid the Red Death.
      • On the top-left on the in-game screen is the Red Death tracker. The left portion tells the player how many turns until the ring shrinks, and the right-hand portion tells the player how much damage units will take if they end their turn inside the Red Death.
        • Red Death damage increases as the game progresses.
        • When the ring shrinks, the Red Death will advance each turn until it reaches the ring. This gives units caught outside of the ring some time to reach the safe zone.
        • Units cannot heal in the Red Death.
      • You can gain new units and supplies in the following ways:
        • Find and clear City Ruins to gain equipment. These appear as war-torn cities with stacks of crates and flares around them. A Ruined City can grant experience points, an Infantry, a Machine Gunner, an AT crew, or another Civilian.
        • Clearing a Raider Camp grants either a Helicopter Gunship, an AT Crew, or a Thermonuclear device (once you receive one, any of your combat units can use it).
        • Once the “Red Death” ring starts to advance, Supply Drops can appear near the ring edge (also has a notification so you can find them). These lucrative drops can grant either a Tank, a Mobile Artillery, or a Thermonuclear device.
      • Oceans and Lakes are corrosive and will damage your units each turn as you cross, so be quick!
      • Global heal rate increased from normal for fast-paced gameplay.
      • Units have unique promotion trees. Promoting units heals only 25 HP.
      • Raiders are random opponents that wander the map, making opportunity attacks on players from their camps. Raider units take no damage from the Red Death.
      • A typical match will take anywhere from 15-50 minutes depending on the number of players, and skill of play.
    • Factions:
      • Cultists: “Observing The End,” All units have +3 sight.
      • Doomsday Preppers: “Always Prepare for The Worst,” All units have +100% experience bonus.
      • Borderlords: “Living On The Edge,” +10 Combat Strength when 3 hexes or closer to the Safe Zone border.
      • Jocks: “Witness Perfection,” +5 Combat Strength.
      • Mad Scientists: “This Will Only Hurt A Bit,” All units heal 2x faster.
      • Mutants: “Radiant Personalities,” -50 Red Death damage. “Radioactive Movement,” +3 Movement for all units in the Red Death.
      • Pirates: “Water Logged,” All units take 50% less water damage and ignore additional movement cost from embarking and disembarking.
      • Wanderers: “See You Later,” Infantry and Machine Gunners, as well as Civilians in formation with them, have faster Movement on Woods, Rainforest, and Hill terrain.
    • UI:
      • Quick-join matchmaking added to front-end menu
      • “How to Play” section added to front-end menu.
      • Safe Zone displayed as a blue area on the map and mini map. Red Death displayed as a red area on the map and mini map.
      • Changed mini map tooltips to be more useful for the scenario. Tooltip displays whether tiles are in the Safe Zone or the Red Death.
      • Added mini map icons for the City Ruins, Supply Drops, and Raider Camps.
    • New Maps
      • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Mirror Map: Randomly generated, balanced four-player map ideal for competitive multiplayer matches. Has option to mirror start positions as well.
      • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Terra: A continents map where all major civilizations start on the largest continent.
      • Primordial: A map from an early time with unpredictable continents and islands. More volatile conditions exist with extra coastal lowlands and volcanoes. Try it on Disaster 4!
      • Tilted Axis: A polar projection of a continents map.
      • Splintered Fractal: A highly random map that will often form thin, snaky continents and islands.
      • Continents and Islands: Continents with more islands.
      • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Add Lakes map to all rulesets
        • Add more small lakes to the Lakes map.
      • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Move Seven Seas and Small Continents to all rule sets (before it was Gathering Storm only).

Balance/Polish

  • Civs
    • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Exploitive Agenda: Adjusted some of the parameters on the Exploitative Agenda to make it care more about how many tiles are improved. Also bumped up the threshold for “sparsely improved”.
    • Maori Civ Ability: Change the production from Unimproved Rainforest and Woods. Before it read “Unimproved Woods and Rainforest are +1 Production, becoming +2 once the Conservation civic is unlocked.” Now it reads “Unimproved Woods and Rainforest are +1 Production. Additional +1 Production from Mercantilism and +2 Production from Conservation.
    • [XP1, XP2] Georgia Civ Ability Addition: +50% Production towards defensive buildings.
  • Governments
    • Added an extra policy card slot for each of the Tier 4 Governments: 3 Military for Corporate Libertarianism (was 2), 3 Diplomatic for Digital Democracy (was 2), 3 Economic for Synthetic Technocracy (was 2).
  • Great People
    • Great Admirals
      • Themistocles: Instantly creates a Quadrireme unit. +20% Production towards units of the Naval Ranged promotion class.
      • Leif Erikson: +1 Sight Range for all naval units. Allows all naval units to move over ocean tiles without the required technology.
      • Rajendra Chola: +3 Combat Strength for all naval units.
      • Zheng He: Grants a free Trader unit in this city and increases Trade Route capacity by 1. Foreign Trade Routes to this city provides +2 Gold to both cities.
      • Francis Drake: Instantly creates a Privateer with 1 promotion level. Military units get +50% rewards for plundering sea Trade Routes.
      • Ferdinand Magellan: Grants 1 free copy of the Luxury resource on this tile to your Capital city. Gain 300 gold (on Standard speed).
      • Ching Shih: Gain 500 Gold (on Standard speed). Military units get +60% rewards for plundering sea Trade Routes.
      • Horatio Nelson: Instantly builds a Lighthouse and Shipyard in this district. +50% flanking bonus for all naval units.
      • Chester Nimitz: Instantly creates a Submarine unit with 1 promotion level. Grants 1 Oil per turn. +20% Production towards units of the Naval Raider promotion class.
      • Grace Hopper: Unlocks 2 random technologies.
    • Improvements, Buildings, and Wonders
      • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Mausoleum at Halicarnassus: +1 Science, +1 Faith, and +1 Culture on all Coast tiles for this city. Great Engineers have an additional charge. Must be built adjacent to a Harbor district.
      • Lighthouse: Now also provides +2 Housing if Harbor is adjacent to City Center.
      • Fishery: Now also provides 0.5 Housing.
      • Shipyard: Now also provides +1 Production to all unimproved coastal tiles in this city.
      • Camp: Now provides +2 Gold. Synthetic Materials also provides additional gold.
      • Plantation: Feudalism now increases Plantation yield by +1 Food.
      • Fishing Boats: Colonialism increases Fishing Boats yield by +1 Production.
    • Districts
      • Campuses now also receive a major adjacency for Reefs.
    • Map Gen
      • Increase the Water Luxuries on Splintered Fractal.
      • Reefs are no longer placed adjacent to Rivers.
    • Rock Bands
      • Promotions
        • Album Cover Art: Performs as if 1 level more experienced on Wonder tiles (Reduced from 2 levels).
        • Indie: Performing a concert causes that city to lose 40 loyalty (Reduced from 50 loyalty).
        • Music Festival: Can now also perform concerts on National Wonders.
        • Pop Star: Earn Gold equal to 25% of the Tourism generated (Was 50% Gold).
        • Space Rock: Performs at Spaceports and Campuses for +500 Tourism and 1 level more experienced (Can play at Campuses w/ no Uni for 500 or with Uni for 1000) (Was 1000 tourism at Spaceports and 1 Level).
        • Surf Band: Performs at Seaside Resorts and Harbors for +500 Tourism and 1 level more experienced (Can play at Harbors w/ no Shipyard for 500 or with Shipyard for 1000) (Was 500 tourism at Seaside Resorts and 1 Level).
      • World Congress
        • Nobel Prize in Physics: (Gold tier gets the Silver tier as well which is the same for all scored competitions)
          • Gold Tier: 1 Tech boost, Increases the accumulation of resources in cities with a University by 1 (Updated).
          • Silver Tier: 1 Tech boost, Increases the accumulation of resources in cities with a Research Lab by 1 (Updated).
          • Bronze Tier: 1 Tech boost (same).
        • Diplomacy
          • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Protectorate War no longer triggers a Betrayal Emergency.
        • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Unit Abilities UI Exposures
          • Multiple Leader and Civ assigned unit modifiers have been converted to unit abilities so they can be tracked in the UI.
          • Units with Anti-Air strength now have unit ability text describing its function.
          • Added abilities and text descriptions for Ranged and Bombard unit buffs/debuffs.
          • Unit modifiers granted by retiring Great Generals and Great Admirals are now applied as unit abilities so they can be displayed in the unit abilities UI list.
        • Natural Disasters
          • Reduce the likelihood of most damage effects from Hurricanes by a third.
          • The Veterancy Military Policy (unlocked by Military Training a Classical Civic) now includes Harbors and Harbor buildings.

UI – All Game Versions

  • Front End
    • Change “Additional Content” to be a sub-menu that hosts “MODS, Hall of Fame, and Credits”. This reduces the main menu from 10 items (information overload) to 8 items.
    • New Map Type UI when starting a new game that features filtering and icon visualizations for the different maps. Only on “Create Game” and “Advanced Setup” menus in single player.
    • Single Player “Jersey” Support: Setup/Advanced Setup now allows the player to select their civilization color (jersey).
    • Leader list is now alphabetical, rather than grouped by release.
  • End Game
    • Add quick fade up of leader portrait (without a movie it looked jarring to snap from hide to show).
    • Fix ESC restarting end game movie.
  • Pantheon Chooser
    • Selected pantheon can now be cleared by clicking the button in the top panel.
    • Chooser now plays its slide animation when opening.
    • Adjusted button working/style to match other Chooser screens.
    • The Religion keybinding will now properly open/close the Pantheon Chooser.
  • Misc
    • Government Screen: Government card policy slot icons will squish together if they overflow the Government card to avoid overlap.
    • Pagination for Gossip Report added.
    • Added hotkey for the Power Lens.
    • Add a confirmation dialog box for when you are going to remove a feature by settling.

AI

  • Domination
    • Improve ability to use GDR’s (or other mixed melee/range) to take cities.
    • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Allow units to move out of threatened areas when endangered, even on neutral territory. This manifested in AI units staying still and fortified while being attacked by ranged or air until they were dead.
    • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Some bias adjustments to improve attacks on enemy cities.
    • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Improve range/bombard garrisoning and improve melee garrison logic to attack when it is safe.
    • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Don’t try to assemble city attacks for target cities that have an unclear or hidden path. Improve ability to protect embarked units.
  • World Congress
    • Favor Trades: Adjust some favor trade values to make deals more viable.
    • Normalize evaluation of emergency projects (Send Aid was especially overvalued).
    • Mercenary Companies: AI no longer always chooses choice B, “Faith.”
  • Great Works
    • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Rework of how AI arranges and places Great Works to maximize culture generation. Corrected an issue that could cause the AI to “throw away” a Great Work.
  • Misc
    • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Ensure AI finds rally points that are on the map.
    • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Try to improve culture civ’s race for Theater Squares.

Performance

  • Significant optimization and improvements to Volcano VFX.
  • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Perf optimizations to both Shaka and Mansu Musa.
  • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Reduced memory usage.
  • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Additional graphics performance improvements.

Bugs

  • Production Overflow
    • Add the concept of ‘salvage’ production to the Build Queue. Previously, when salvaging production from a lost Wonder build, the production was added directly back to the build queue. This caused problems of not knowing where the extra overflow came from as well as causing build production to happen when the player’s turn was not active.
      • e. Player A and B are making the same Wonder. Player A takes their turn, then Player B takes their turn and finishes the Wonder. The salvage production would be added to Player A’s build queue immediately, possibly causing something to complete if the player had multiple things in their build queue.
    • Now, when the salvage production is given to player A, it is stored and then applied to player A’s production overflow when player A becomes turn active again. This also fixes the issue of losing legitimate overflow, where we force clear production overflow on turn end to prevent a user from ‘banking’ overflow by force-ending their turn when a city has no production.
    • Fixed an issue where production on a unit could be transferred to something else by removing that unit from the production queue.
  • UI
    • When purchasing something in a city, make sure that if it was already in the build queue, it goes through the motions of removing the item in the build queue as if it were complete, so that if it was the first item, the next item in the build queue starts building properly.
    • The user was able to open but was unable to close the World Congress screen while the game is paused in multiplayer.
    • Fixed multiple Gossip reports issues.
    • Fix usable scroll area and logo clipping for various resolutions.
    • Remove the rank border designating a score tier while participating in a non-scored Emergency during gameplay.
    • A misleading “Location Pin” icon was present for Projects, Competitions, and Emergencies when the player views the Active Effects menu in the World Congress.
    • The “previous results” icon was appearing in low resolution when voting on a Resolution that has appeared before in the World Congress.
    • The target civ icon was appearing low resolution when viewing a Military Emergency.
    • The Alliance Points appeared with a zero denominator when viewed after an Alliance expires during expansion gameplay.
    • Climate Screen – Use the territory name as a fallback for continent name for climate events which will usually give us names for bodies of water.
    • Production/Gold/Faith production buttons will now be highlighted properly based on which production panel is currently selected.
  • Gameplay
    • Fixed a bug where pillaged districts in a conquered city would cost the full production price to repair. Now they cost 25% as intended.
    • Fixed a bug where pillaged districts would not regain applied bonuses upon repair.
    • Changed Mapuche’s Toqui experience bonus ability to be permanent on units so that it remains even after the governor is removed from the city.
    • Pillaged dams no longer prevent flooding.
    • The Swap Units operation was ignoring the ZoC state of the units, giving you the possibility of an extra move for a unit in the ZoC.
    • Fixed an issue that was preventing units that have the appropriate ability from attacking twice in a single turn.
    • Don’t apply Grievances if a player conquers a City-State you have never met.
    • Prevent Laurier from taking the Exploitative random agenda
    • Eject rock bands from a player’s territory when they adopt the Music Censorship policy.
    • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Tomyris’ heal after kill ability was incorrectly being applied multiple times.
    • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Polish Hussar pushback ability was not working correctly.
    • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Air units can no longer attack plots marked as impassable.
    • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Fixed an issue with military buildings not applying their XP bonus correctly.
    • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Fixed incorrect modifier being applied by Royal Navy Dockyard.
    • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Fix the Colossal Heads not providing faith with every 2 adjacent woods.
  • Unit Abilities
    • Fixed missing text description for Drone unit bonus ability. Changed Drone unit Civilopedia description text to be more accurate.
    • Fixed missing unit ability description for Observation Balloon range bonus. Changed Observation Balloon Civilopedia description to be more accurate.
    • Fixed text description for Supply Convoy movement bonus ability.
  • Misc
    • Mountain Tunnels, Qhapaq Nan, and Ski Resorts (improvements on Mountains) can no longer be destroyed (or pillaged) by natural disasters.
    • Transfer canal navigation properties on city capture.
  • Crash
    • Multiple crash fixes as seen in the public bug collector.
    • Fix a crash in the Australia scenario that could occur after a random event.

Art

  • Adding a low-quality version of the volcano that gets used if the VFX quality setting is low.
  • Apply FOW blending in river overlay pass.
  • the game camera on the Ski Resort will now shake the snow. Why? Just ‘cuz.
  • Adjusted volcano visuals to feel more volumetric and rolling/boiling.

Modding

  • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] World Builder
    • Added first pass at hand-drawn river flooding.
      • Edge case notes:
        • Only works for floodplains at least 3-long.
        • Only works for hand-created maps, not adjusted map-script created maps.
        • There are a couple places where a user may place a floodplain where it will never flood (like sharing a plain with another river branch, for example).
      • Use our own custom overlay type for Continent mode with more vibrant colors.
      • Normalize order of tool hotkeys and added them to the tooltips for user discoverability.
      • Integrate World Builder properly into the main menu flow instead of hanging off a weird button in the mods screen.
      • Fix several usability issues in Map Editor.
      • Add tooltips to the placement and plot mode buttons.
      • Stop the placement panel from eating the mouse around it.
      • Expose wonder distance check to Lua and wire up specific error message.
      • Fix many bugs related to changing terrain type and having resources/features/improvements go away when they’re no longer compatible.
      • Show different continents in different colors when in Continent mode.
      • Only show spawn location icons in Advanced Mode.
      • Hide the tools palette when the Player Editor or Map Editor are up. This is necessary for 1024×768 screens.
      • Don’t show labels options in World Builder that don’t work.
      • Allow brush usage in Continent mode.
      • Fix some flipped tests that were locking out improvements unnecessarily.
      • Fixed text for rivers and cliffs to distinguish between placing and removing.
      • Split feature and Natural Wonder placement modes.
      • Fixup Natural Wonder undo when dealing with multi-tile features, especially ones that also modify the terrain as well. i.e. Lake NWs changing the terrain to coast.
      • Advanced Mode
        • Don’t show spurious “Wonder” district in Player Editor anymore.
        • Add labels to all the items in the General tab of the player editor.
        • Don’t create any units alongside a barbarian camp in the WB editor.
        • We don’t support Garrison strength editing so don’t even show it.
        • Districts are now placeable through the Plot Editor Districts can now be pillaged by the Placement Tool or Plot Editor.
        • Delete units when a player is edited.
        • Fix case where capital city would have no name if you changed a civ’s leader to not match (Should help with mod civs too).
        • Fixed issues with the Plot Editor Improvement Pillaged checkbox. Fixed null error which prevented the Placement tool from placing improvements. Pillaged checkbox for Improvements now works with the Placement tool.
      • Tiled Map Importer
        • Fix additional crashes seen in the wild when importing maps from Tiled editor.
      • Misc
        • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Removed constraint on map start positions that only allowed 1 entry for map/plot, as it was too restrictive for modders.
        • [ALL GAME VERSIONS] Looking up localized text in mods will now fall-back to other languages before failing.




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