Today’s most popular games are fast-paced shooters like Fortnite and immersive RPGs like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, but there’s still a place for some good old-fashioned turn-based strategy with Civilization VI. This game remains in active development after four years, with two major expansions and numerous add-on packs. The latest October update includes a game mode based on the classic Sid Meier’s Pirates!. It’s free, but then, everything is free when you’re a pirate.
The overall look and feel of the pirate scenario gameplay will be familiar to anyone who’s spent time plotting world combination in Civilization VI. It’s a top-down interface with units, cities, and resources on a hex map. The maps and assets have been tweaked to give the game a more tropical feel. Players can choose between one of four pirate factions: Dread Pirates, Privateers, Swashbucklers, and Hoarders. Each one has its own special abilities that set it apart from other pirate factions and the land-lovers.
As a pirate, you’re on the hunt for treasure — it’s all about that short-term gain. Building a civilization that will last for a thousand years? Pft. You leave that to the British, French, Dutch, and Spanish. They’re going to be buzzing around the map, doing what nations do. Founding cities, harvesting resources, and trying to blow up pirates (that’s you).
The Civ team notes that it was a challenge to bring the Sid Meier’s Pirates! RPG gameplay into Civilization, but they made it work with some creative adaptations of existing mechanisms. For example, the relic system lets you customize your playstyle in every match. It took a lot of gameplay testing to “find the fun,” which is apparently the Sid Meier’s approach to game design.
This update will also include some optimizations for the core game. One of the most important changes is the addition of scaling to more features based on game speed. So, that means no one will end up with hundreds or thousands of diplomatic favor points to spam the World Congress votes. The team also made changes based on player requests, chief among them nerfing the “Recruit Partisans” spy mission. No longer will enemy spies be able to repeatedly spawn overpowered units in your cities; they can only do it once, and the units will be weaker. The AI will also behave a bit more realistically by repairing city defenses more quickly and won’t build a dozen holy sites when it doesn’t have a religion.
The October update goes live on October 22nd for PC and consoles. Start brushing up on your pirate lingo now, matey.