Civilization VI told a straightforward story about the consequences of your actions. Failure to keep your people happy and they would put down their hammers and raise pitchforks. Be rude to the other leaders and they would quickly refuse to deal with you. But you can also build up your empire, usually without worrying about your decisions. Last year's Rise and Fall expansion has made the story more complicated with the introduction of its loyalty engineer. Operating isolated was no longer possible. Settlements in the margins of a realm could decide to revolt if they wanted what they saw across the border. Players who took the loyalty of their citizens for granted would not lead themselves.

This kind of justification is expanded in several directions with Gathering Storm, the second major extension for Civ VI. Through the establishment of a World Congress Gathering Storm allows leaders to reward leaders and punish each other for certain actions, allow them to transmit overwhelming resolutions affecting every civilization, and ultimately secure their diplomatic favor. And with its new World Climate system, Gathering Storm makes you responsible for the world by hitting you – sometimes painfully hard – with the disastrous consequences of exploiting the rich resources of the map.

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Your way to victory in Civ VI was predictable once you established your empire in the modern era, but the new world congress and the global climate system add enough dynamism to make you work until the new future era. Gathering Storm encourages you to "play the card", use the surrounding resources and then adjust the consequences of your decisions on that card. However, as an extension focused on the consequences, it may take some time before the new things appear. to feel his presence.

The World Climate System is the most meaningful change, but it only really starts after you have started extracting strategic resources such as coal and oil. In the beginning you encounter floods, hurricanes, snowstorms and endure the strange drought or volcanic eruption. These weather conditions pass a number of turns, potentially reducing your population, destroying units and pillaging improvements, but they can also fertilize tiles to reward you with higher yields in the future.

But the weather is not a climate. As soon as you start burning coal and oil to fuel both the power plants in your industrial districts and the battleships and tanks of your military power, you start pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As those emissions rise, counted by the new World Climate report that tracks the cumulative contributions of each civ and resource, the world will move on to seven phases of climate change. The sea level will rise, at the first flooding of coastal tiles and eventually leave many of them completely under water. Weather events increase in both frequency and severity, while simultaneously drying your land and destroying your cities with tornadoes.

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The choices you have to make here are difficult and meaningful. Resources such as coal and oil are powerful and refuse to exploit them will mean an immediate benefit to any rival. Through the Industrial and Modern Erase they feed the most effective units in your navy and army. Do you really want to rely on defending your homeland with frigates while the enemy has iron ladders? In addition, consumer fuel sources are the first ways to power your cities. A concept that debuts in Gathering Storm and drives a city – for example via a coal-fired power station – increases the yields of various districts and buildings. Can you really afford to keep your research labs and trade fairs quiet while your coal-sucking neighbor is sprinting ahead in the science race?

You can later develop methods for harvesting renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar parks, but by the time you can use them, you may be way too far behind a less environmentally-friendly rival or, worse still, the consequences of irreversible damage to the planet. By helping to reduce destruction and preserve the natural environment, the effects of climate change are being delayed. This forces new, confusing decisions for early games. Cutting down the nearby rainforest will give a quick boost to producing a settler, but if you leave it untouched, future settlers can live to see a world that still has air to breathe. This was not a choice for collecting Storm – you cut the short-term profit because there were no consequences in the long term. Now every decision is goal-oriented. Now every tile in your realm asks: "Are you sure you want to do that?"

The World Congress is slightly less successful in offering new and meaningful choices than the World Climate system. What it does, however, is that you are much more aware of what other leaders are planning. As soon as the congress meets, from the Middle Ages, you will find that every 30 turns you vote on different resolutions. You may be asked to vote on encouraging or banning certain types of great people, or that trade routes to certain civic or city-states must receive bonuses. You do not get just one vote; instead, you can spend a new form of currency, diplomatic favor, to vote as often as you can afford. Favors can also be traded with other leaders, just like any source, which means that diplomatic players must give away valuable luxuries or strategic resources to fully exercise their influence on the World Congress.

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In theory, these resolutions should enable the diplomatic player to tip the scales to their advantage. In practice, however, the effects are not transformative. You might get an extra trade route here, a slightly slower Great Engineer there, but nothing that changes the game. The arbitrariness does not help – if you could propose a resolution instead of simply voting on those who are emerging that would yield a better return on the investment.

More convincing are the choices that have to be made regarding the actual pursuit of the new diplomatic victory, awarded to the leader who is the first to reach 10 diplomatic victory points. You are still essentially voting your way to the top, but you also compete with other leaders to give the most help to another civilian who has recently been devastated by floods, or to generate the most amazing human points to win the Nobel Prize. . Diplomatic favor is also earned by becoming alliances with other civs and the suzerain of a city state, so the diplomatic victory is really a case of demonstrating that you can lead the world.

These are the two biggest new features in this add-on, but Gathering Storm also includes countless smaller tweaks that, in combination with the above, make it an essential purchase for Civ VI fans. There are new world wonders to build, such as the big bath or the Sankore University. There are new Natural Wonders, new military units to fill the gaps between eras, and nine new leaders, including the first two-time nationalist leader ever (Eleanor of Aquitaine can represent England or France).

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The new leaders have been carefully weighed between those who are clearly focused on the prominent additions of Gathering Storm – Kristina of Sweden has everything to do with winning diplomatic favor, while the unique skills of Kupe, the leader of the Maori, incite to be untouched. leaving as much of the natural world as possible – and those who embrace a previously overlooked facet of the game. In the last camp Matthias Corvinus leads a Hungarian empire whose military power is best composed of units levied from the Allied city states, while in the Inca, led by Pachacuti, we finally have a civilization that wants to have many mountain tiles in its countries.

Gathering Storm is generally a big extension and it heralds two important new systems that work hand in hand to deepen the experience. The embossed diplomatic options extend the range of interactions with other leaders, allowing you to work together towards common goals or pull the strings behind the scenes to your advantage. While the introduction of climate change provides new strategic choices, the consequences of which are increasingly louder as you go through the eras. It's not simply more Civ, it's a whole new way to play Civ.