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The best Civilization 6 DLC

Everything you need to know about every piece of Civ 6 DLC released to date

zombies approach a city in civ 6

So, you want to know about Civilization 6 DLC? This series has never reached Paradox-levels of expansion content before now, but there’s enough Civ 6 DLC that you may need a bit of help evaluating your options. At the time of writing we’re now at half a dozen scenario packs, two major expansions and the New Frontier Pass introduced six smaller content packs that released between May 2020 and April 2021.

Time will ultimately tell if we get anything beyond that or even another ‘big’ expansion, but in the meantime here’s everything you need to know about Civ 6’s current DLC library, including all of the smaller add-ons that add new civs and standalone scenarios.

We’ve broken everything down for you below, but it’s worth noting that at the time of writing, most of the initial civilisation/scenario packs that were released prior to the Rise and Fall expansion aren’t actually available to purchase separately any more. You can typically pick them up together by buying either the Civilization & Scenario Pack bundle or the Platinum Edition. The ‘New Frontier’ pass packs are being sold individually, however, so you don’t need to buy the entire season pass if you don’t want to.

Civilization 6 DLC

The best Civ 6 DLC:

  • Viking Scenario Pack
  • Poland Civilization and Scenario Pack
  • Australia Civilization and Scenario Pack
  • Persia and Macedon Civilization and Scenario Pack
  • Nubia Civilization & Scenario Pack
  • Khmer & Indonesia Civilization and Scenario Pack
  • Rise and Fall Expansion
  • Gathering Storm Expansion
  • New Frontier Pass – Maya and Gran Colombia Pack
  • New Frontier Pass – Ethiopia Pack
  • New Frontier Pass – Byzantium and Gaul Pack
  • New Frontier Pass – Babylon Pack
  • New Frontier Pass – Vietnam and Kublai Khan Pack
  • New Frontier Pass – Portugal Pack

a shot of Scandinavia modelled in civ 6

Vikings Scenario Pack

What’s in it?

  • A 100-turn scenario set at the height of the Viking Age, allowing you to play as Denmark, Norway, or Sweden on a map that spans from Newfoundland to Constantinople.
  • Three new natural wonders from around the North Sea: Eyjafjallajökull, Lysefjord, and the Giant’s Causeway.
  • Six new city-states that can spawn in any game, including two that unlock new tile improvements for their suzerain (the Monastery from Armagh and the Alcázar from Granada).

Is it worth it?

This is the only piece of DLC so far that doesn’t include a new civilization, but it also contains one of the best scenarios. At five bucks, I think you’ll get your money’s worth even if you only play through it once. The map is huge, there are many paths to victory, and each of the three viking kings you can play as offer the potential for a different experience.

Related: The best Viking games on PC

The new city-states are nice if you happen to run into them when you’re pursuing a certain victory type. Monasteries from Armagh are one of the most powerful improvements in Civ 6 if you’re aiming for a religious victory.

two winged hussar units in civ 6

Poland Civilization & Scenario Pack

What’s in it?

  • Adds Poland under Jadwiga as a playable civ. She can steal tiles by building forts and encampments, auto-converts cities she steals tiles from to her religion, and can build the best mid-game cavalry unit of any civ.
  • A 60-turn scenario set in the 1300s and 1400s focused on defending Poland from many outside invaders.

Is it worth it?

How big of a fan of Winged Hussars are you? Poland can be a very strong religious civ – but the main feature that makes them interesting is their signature cavalry unit, which can be used to slip behind enemy lines and create extremely devastating hammer and anvil charges. Outside of that, they’re fairly vanilla. The Jadwiga’s Legacy scenario is essentially a horde mode in which you’ll be defending your capital and some allied city-states from wave after wave of barbarians.

Related: Read our guide to best Civ 6 civilisations

I didn’t have a very good experience with it my first time through because it’s never explained to you that the only activities worth your time are cranking out fortifications and military units. When the Golden Horde wiped out both of my expansion cities and all their cultural and science buildings, I wondered why I even had the option to build them in the first place. It’s an interesting way to use Civ 6’s mechanics to create an entirely different type of game, but the lack of clarity on what my objectives were was vexing, and overall it just doesn’t compare favourably to some of the more nuanced scenarios.

Australia Civilization & Scenario Pack

What’s in it?

  • Adds Australia under John Curtin as a playable civ. They’re well-suited to settling coastal and arid areas, can build a modern era infantry unit with bonuses to fighting on coastal tiles and in foreign territory, and become more productive immediately after having war declared on them.
  • A 60-turn scenario, Outback Tycoon, focused on the British settlement of the Australian continent and turning harsh land into a profitable, modern nation over the course of the 1800s and early 1900s.
  • One new natural wonder, Uluru.

Is it worth it?

Australia is a very powerful civ with the ability to prosper even in the most abysmal, Mad Max-esque start positions. They have a luxury few other civs enjoy due to their production boost at the start of a defensive war, in that they can to some extent avoid building up a defense army until they absolutely need to.

More Civ?: The best Civ 6 mods

The pack is probably worth grabbing just for that. Which is good, because the Outback Tycoon scenario is quite disappointing. I love it in concept. It reminds me quite a bit of the very good Scramble for Africa scenario in Civ 5, with the Australian interior being randomly generated to increase replayability. The problem is that it’s far too short. Just when I was really starting to enjoy developing my crown colony and removing the fog of war from the sprawling outback, the 10 Turns Remaining notification popped up and I was left really wishing there were an Epic or Marathon version available. With more time to play around, explore, and industrialize, it might have been one of the best scenarios of the bunch. As-is, it’s more of a letdown than anything else.

Persia and Macedon Civilization & Scenario Pack

What’s in it?

  • Adds Macedon under Alexander the Great as a playable civ. He gets not one, but two unique units in the Ancient Era that completely change how you fight wars, allowing for the sort of sweeping conquests he accomplished historically. On top of this, his passive abilities reward him for accomplishing such conquests.
  • Adds Persia under Cyrus as a playable civ. They gain bonuses to declaring surprise wars (and also don’t get as much of a warmonger penalty for doing so), and the Immortal unique unit, which can function as both a ranged and a melee fighter.
  • A timed scenario (between 37 and 60 turns depending on difficulty), The Conquests of Alexander, which challenges you to replicate the Macedonian wunderkind’s historical campaigns before the clock runs out.
  • Two new wonders: The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and Apandana.

Is it worth it?

The duo of Macedon and Persia is probably the best value for your money in terms of new civs. Macedon can feel kind of one-note, as their bonuses are fairly wasted if you don’t go for all-out conquest early and often. But it’s incredibly satisfying to march across the map with Hypaspists and Hetairoi, led by a great general, obliterating any opposition short of gunpowder units. Persian Immortals are ideally suited for taking cities early on, and prevent you from having to build two different types of infantry as they also fulfill the role of archers. Their other bonuses also make them great at becoming an inward-looking, cultural or religious powerhouse using only domestic trade routes, limiting the risk of losing traders on long, dangerous international caravans.

Related: The best turn-based strategy games

The scenario fell a bit flat for me in its pacing. It’s a lot of fun early on, but the last few cities you have to conquer to win are so far-flung that it’s possible to realize you’ve screwed yourself with 20+ turns left to go simply because your units can’t get to where you need them before the clock runs out. I rarely faced any challenging combat decisions when the army actually arrived, but was defeated solely by logistical sluggishness – which doesn’t present the tense, rewarding gameplay intended.

some nubian buildings sitting on a desert tile

Nubia Civilization & Scenario Pack

What’s in it?

  • Adds Nubia under Amanitore as a playable civ. They get a really good early game archer and bonuses to building and leveling up ranged units, which is extremely powerful right up through the midgame, and a unique tile improvement that allows them to quickly establish very productive cities.
  • A 125-turn scenario, Gifts of the Nile, tracing the history of the Nile Valley from the 2100s BC (shortly after the fall of the Old Kingdom) all the way up through the era of the Roman conquest of Egypt.
  • One new wonder, Jebel Barkal.

Is it worth it?

If you love archers, Nubia is probably going to be one of your favourite civs. They don’t quite make my shortlist, but the way Nubian pyramids streamline and supercharge your city planning definitely takes a lot of the guesswork out of making a new settlement healthy and productive.

Gifts of the Nile is absolutely worth it, though. I’d probably be willing to pay twice as much as the DLC currently costs just to access the scenario. Along with the Vikings scenario, it represents the pinnacle of scenario design currently available in Civ 6, and even compares favourably to some of the great ones from Civ 5. Exploring the Nile Valley, developing along its banks, and fighting off waves of invasions including Assyrians, Sea Peoples, Macedonians, and eventually even Romans gives a great sense of progression through the tumultuous history of the region and a huge variety of challenges to face.

Both Egypt and Nubia are playable, with the primary conflict being which of them will rise to dominance. There are tons of events for each which can grant you historical Great Generals and other benefits based on historical milestones. The one thing holding it back was a bug that made the religious victory impossible, as one of the buildings required for it never unlocked for me. On the bright side, that left me with the option of conquering everything – which probably ended up being more fun than building seven Temples to Amun would have been. I can see myself coming back to this meaty scenario many times, and I can hardly talk it up enough. It makes this DLC unmissable even if you never play Nubia in a normal game.

some wooden buildings on stilts in the middle of a bay, surrounded by ships

Khmer and Indonesia Civilization & Scenario Pack

What’s in it?

  • Adds Khmer under Jayavarman VII as a playable civ. Their ability makes Aqueducts (which I normally almost never build) actually pretty strong, and they get a scary, elephant-mounted artillery unit that can move and fire in the same turn.
  • Adds Indonesia under Gitarja as a playable civ. They get huge bonuses for building near coast or lake tiles and are great at spreading their religion to other landmasses.
  • A 50-turn scenario, Path to Nirvana, in which the many faiths of East Asia compete for dominance beginning in 750 AD, not long after the introduction of Islam.
  • A new map for regular campaigns modeling all of East Asia, including true start locations for all civs native to the region.
  • One new wonder, Angkor Wat, and one new natural wonder, Ha Long Bay.

Is it worth it?

I’m not crazy about Khmer or Indonesia, mechanically. The Khmer bonuses from Aqueducts will definitely change up your normal city-planning routine, and the Domrey opens up a lot of options for early conquest. Meanwhile Indonesia can spread their religion the same way Vikings spread pillage and warfare, which can be rewarding on certain map types. They’re both decent – just not necessarily that special or exciting.

The scenario focuses almost entirely on theological combat, as you can’t build normal military or naval units. It’s an alright idea, but unfortunately didn’t wow me since I happen to think theological combat in Civ 6 is still not very good. 50 turns also makes it one of the shortest scenarios, and I tended to universally prefer the longer ones on this list as they felt much more like complete, historically-rich experiences.

mounted units riding through and pillaging an enemy city

Rise and Fall Expansion

What’s in it?

  • Loyalty system can cause cities to rebel and become Free Cities or even defect to other civs.
  • Governors can now be assigned to cities to boost their loyalty, give them unique benefits, and open up new playstyles.
  • Golden Ages and Dark Ages model the ups and downs in your civilization’s history.
  • Emergencies pit multiple leaders against a common, aggressive threat.
  • Eight new civs including the Dutch, Scottich, Mapuche, Zulu, Cree, Georgian, Korean, and Mongolian.
  • A new, more militaristic leader for India: Chandragupta.
  • Read our full Rise and Fall review here. Costs $29.99 / £24.99

Is it worth it?

It’s not going to make you fall in love with Civ 6 if you were still on the fence, most likely. The Emergencies system is a bit underwhelming at the moment, and Great Ages aren’t as impactful as they should be. But Governors offer a great, new layer to city management with lots of strategic possibilities. And a number of the new civs have quickly become favorites of mine – particularly the Mapuche, Cree, Dutch, and Mongolians. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth just on new civs and leaders, comparing the price to some of the smaller DLC.

a volcano erupts above a city

Gathering Storm Expansion

What’s in it?

  • Environmental effects & natural disasters have been added to the game, allowing city tiles to be overrun by flooding, volcanoes etc…
  • New engineering projects can help mitigate pollution and other natural disaster, as well as protect against environmental concerns.
  • Eight new civilizations & nine new leaders, including a leader who can be picked for more than one civ.
  • The World Congress from Civ V makes a return.
  • The 21st Century is added as a new ear.
  • New content in terms of scenarios, build-able units and structures and improvements to existing systems like Espionage.
  • Read our full Gathering Storm review here. Costs $39.99 / £34.99

Is it worth it?

The new environmental effects certainly give you a lot of push back, and in general you have to start thinking a lot more long-term about how your civilization will develop and where you end up planting roots. The new civilisations are generally excellent additions, and the ability of Elanor of Aquitaine to be the leader for either France or England is an interesting experiment I hope we see continue.

Related: The best strategy games on PC

On its own, Gathering Storm isn’t isn’t as ground-breaking as you’d perhaps suspect. As with Rise & Fall, just getting this DLC on its own is unlikely to make you fall in love with Civ 6 if you haven’t already. But the accumulative effect of both DLC means that the game at large is finally starting to realise its full potential. The price is a bit much for what it is given that you’re paying two-third of the full-price of the main game for not nearly two-thirds of a game’s worth of content, in our opinion.

Civilization VI New Frontier Season Pass

As announced in May 2020, the next phase of Civ 6’s DLC policy will involve a run of smaller packs. Subscribing to the whole run as a cost of £32.99 / $39.99 will net you six packs, with one being released roughly every two months. The first one was released in May 2020. Each pack will contain at least one civilization and leader, as well as new game modes and other content, like Districts or Wonders.

Related: The best 4X games on PC

These packs are also available individually, so we’ll break down each pack as it is announced/released so you have as much information as possible.

Maya & Columbia Pack

Released: May 21, 2020 | £7.39 / $9.99 | Full details

Mayan Civilization with new leader: Lady Six Sky. Includes unique Hul’che unit and Observatory District

Gran Colombia Civilization with new leader: Simón Bolíva. Includes unique Comandate General and Llanero units, as well as the Hacienda unique improvement

New Game Mode: “Apocalypse” Game Mode (requires Civilization VI: Gathering Storm):

  • Adds Forest Fires and Meteor Showers as disaster types to all games
  • Optional, specialized game mode with exclusive rule changes:
  • New disasters: Comet Impact and Solar Flares
  • Larger versions of existing disasters
  • New military unit: Soothsayer, a Support unit that can trigger natural disasters at the player’s command.
  • New scored competition: Sacrifice units to volcanoes. Requires Soothsayers to use their unique action on friendly units near a volcano
  • The world enters an apocalyptic state when climate change reaches its maximum level

New Resources: Honey (luxury), Maize (bonus)

New Natural Wonders: Bermuda Triangle, Paititi, Fountain of Youth

New City-States: Caguana (cultural), Singapore (industrial), Lahore (militaristic), Vatican City (religious), Taruga (scientific), Hunza (trade)

Ethiopia Pack

Released: July 23, 2020 | £3.99 / $4.99 | Full details

Ethiopian Civilisation with new leader: Menelik II. Includes the Oromo Cavalry unique unit & Rock-hewn Church Tile improvement

New Game Mode: ‘Secret Societies’ (requires both Rise & Fall & Gathering Storm expansions):

  • An optional, specialised game mode with exclusive rule changes.
  • Adds four Secret Societies to the game.
  • Each Secret Society offers players a specialised Governor who applies their bonuses across the entire civilization.
  • Secret Societies may offer players new Resources, passive bonuses, unique buildings, units, or projects to further the Society’s ends.
  • Use your Secret Society membership to boost favorability and Alliances with other leaders.

New District: Diplomatic Quarter:

  • Build the Diplomatic Quarter, a District that can only be built once per civilization, focusing on foreign relations.
  • Enhance the Diplomatic Quarter by building the Consulate and Chancery buildings.

Byzantium and Gaul Pack

Released: September 24, 2020 | £7.39 / $9.99 | Full details

Byzantium Civilisation with new leader: Basil II. Includes unique Dromon Ship and Tagma units, unique Hippodrome district, Taxis civilization ability and Porphyrogénnētos leader ability

Gaul Civilisation with new leader: Ambiorix. Includes unique Gaesatae unit, unique Oppidum district, Hallstatt Culture civilization ability and King of the Eburones leader ability

New Optional Game Mode: Dramatic Ages (requires Rise and Fall or Gathering Storm expansions to play):

  • Civilizations always enter Golden or Dark Ages every era that feature more potent bonuses and penalties.
  • Instead of Dedications, players will gain access to powerful new Social Policies like Golden Policies and updated Dark Policies that offer more flexibility and power.
  • Dark Ages in particular are more dangerous than ever, as players in Dark Ages will have a portion of their empire immediately fall into Free Cities, and Free Cities can exert pressure on other cities.

New World Wonders: Biosphere, Statue of Zeus

New Map Script: Highlands – Test your civilization against a map dominated by hills and mountain ranges.

Bablyon Pack

Released: November 19, 2020 | £3.99 / $4.99 | Full Details

Babylon Civilisation: with new leader Hammurabi. Bablyon has an ancient-era unique unit that replaces spearman (Sabum Kibittum), a replacement for the Watermill building (Plagum) and the civ’s unique ability allows you get massive science boosts from triggering eureka moments, at the cost of base science gain per turn. Hammurabi’s ability gives you bonuses towards building districts as well as extra envoys.

New optional game mode Heroes & Legends: adds 12 powerful hero units drawn from history’s roster of mythical and legendary figures, each with their own unique abilities based on their mythology:

  • New heroes can be discovered through the Heroic Tales city project or through exploration and city-state diplomacy.
  • Heroes have a finite Lifespan and expire after a certain number of turns, but can be recalled using Faith to aid your cause once more.
  • The first time a Hero dies or expires, they leave behind two Heroic Relic Great Works: an Epic and a symbolic object. These relics can aid their civilization throughout the rest of the game.
  • Monuments can display these items in two new Heroic Relic slots.

24 new Great People: including the poet Rumi (Writer), the cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead (Scientist), and the Egyptian architect Imhotep (Engineer).

Six new city-states: one of each type, and there are also two new unique improvements unlocked by the new city-states:

  • The Mahavihara is built by the Nalanda city-state and provides additional Science and Housing. It also gives bonus Faith for every adjacent Holy Site and bonus Science for every adjacent Campus. The Mahavihara unlocks a random Technology the first time it is constructed and must be built on flat land not adjacent to another Mahavihara.
  • The Trading Dome is built by the Samarkand city-state and provides additional Gold, plus further bonus Gold for every adjacent luxury resource. International Trade Routes sent from cities with Trading Domes generate increased Gold for each dome. Cannot be built adjacent to another Trading Dome.

A shot from Civ 6 looking at the unique Vietnam district and unique unit

Vietnam and Kublai Khan Pack

Released: January 28, 2021 | £7.39 / $8.99 | Full Details

Vietnam Civilisation: Led by Bà Triệu, this culture focused civilisation has an affinity for marsh, rainforest or wood tiles. Their civ ability ‘nine dragon river delta’ means that you can only build land based speciality districts on these tiles, but you also get bonuses to production, science and culture generation.

  • Lady Triue’s ability – ‘drive out the aggressors’ – provides additional combat power for units fighting in the above tiles, and also provides additional movement, both of which are increased if that tile is owned by Vietnam.
  • Vietnam’s unique unit is the Voi Chiến, which replaces the Crossbowman. It can move after attacking and has additional movement.
  • Vietnam’s unique district ist he Thanh, which offers additional culture for each adjacent district. It will generate tourism based on culture output when ‘flight’ is researched, and it doesn’t require population to run. It replacements the encampment.

New leader: Kublai Khan as been added as an alternative leader for both China and Mongolia. His unique ability – Gerege – provides an additional economic policy slot in any government. You also get a random eureka and inspiration when establishing a trading post in another civilisation’s city for the first time.

New optional game mode Monopolies and Corporations: This new mode focuses on economic strategy, offering incentives to seek out and control luxury resources:

  • You can now exploit multiple copies of the same luxury resource to create an ‘industry’, which will confer bonuses to the host city.
  • You can evolve industries into ‘corporations’ to increase bonuses, but also create ‘products’ which can be stores in the stock exchange or seaport, much like great works.
  • Products can be shipped to other cities to share Industry effects throughout a civilisation.
  • Finally, you can create a monopoly when your civilisation dominates the global supply of a single luxury resource. These provide additional tourism and generate large amounts of gold.

New district: The ‘preserve’, which comes with two new buildings: the Sanctuary and the Grove. The preserve needs to be place in a secluded area untouched by other infastructure, and can trigger a culture-bomb. It also provides housing and appeal benefits.

  • Two buildings can be constructed in the preserve district. The Grove unlocks with mysticism, while the Sanctuary unlocks with conservation. Both increase the yields of adjacent ‘charming’ and ‘breathtaking’ tiles that have not been improved.

Portuguese faetoria and Nau units in civ 6

Portugal Pack – March 25, 2021

Released: March 26, 2021 | £3.99 / $4.99 | Full Details

Portugal Civilization: Led by João III, Portugal is focused on naval exploration and maritime trade. The civ’s unique ability is ‘Casa Da Índia’, which significantly increases the yields of trade routes to other factions, but limits those routes to cities on the coast or to cities with a harbour.

Trader units also have additional range at sea and are able to embark onto water tiles instantly, without needs to wait for the appropriate tech. Also:

  • Joao’s unique ability is ‘Porta Do Cerco’, which grants all units increased sight range. It also increases trade route capacity whenever Portugal meets a new civ and provides open borders with all city-states.
  • Portugal’s unique unit is the Nau, a naval melee unit that replaces the Caravel. It starts with one free Promotion, requires less maintenance, and has two charges to build Feitorias.
  • Feitorias are a special shipping port unique to Portugal that can only be built by the Nau on a foreign city’s coastal tile, provided it is next to a luxury or bonus resource. The Feitoria itself provides bonuses to its host city and cannot be removed by other factions. If Portugal trades with that city, it gets additional gold and production.
  • Portugal’s unique building is the Navigation School, replacing the University. It increases production towards naval units in each city that builds it. It also increases a city’s science yield for every two coastal or lake tiles within the city’s borders.

New game mode: Zombie defence has been added as an optional ruleset, where every unit has a chance to respawn as a ravenous zombie when it dies. Zombie units hunger after and attack the nearest non-zombie unit; any units they slay succumb to the infection and respawn as zombies themselves.

  • This mode comes with new tile improvements themed around traps and defences, which can be built on owned or neutral territory. Zombies will never destroy traps, only succumb to them.
  • Two new projects will allow civilisations to temporarily subjugate Zombie units, either by simply deflecting them, or out-right unleashing them on enemies.

Two new World Wonders: The Etemenanki grants additional science yield every turn, as well as bonus science and production to floodplains and march tiles. The Torre de Belém grants additional gold and Great Admiral points. International trade routes embarking from the city receive additional gold for every luxury resource at the destination.

New map script: The ‘Wetlands’ map script offers new strategic challenges and defensive possibilities with a higher concentration of marsh tiles.

Before you go: Civ 6 speed, maps and difficulty settings explained

We’ll update this guide with future DLC as it gets released so make sure you check back regularly.