Civ 6 DLC guide

Everything you need to know about all of the Civ 6 DLC released to date

The Civilization series has never reached Paradox-levels of DLC’s, but there’s now enough Civ 6 DLC, that you may need a bit of help evaluating all of the variety and options. We’re now at half a dozen scenario packs, two major expansions and the New Frontier Pass is currently running with six smaller DLCs releasing between May 2020 and May 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 DLC that add many new civs and standalone scenarios. This is similar to what happened with the Civ 5 DLC run back when that was still a thing.

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 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 though are being sold individually.

The Best Civilization 6 DLC

Here is a list of the best Civ 6 DLC:

  • Viking Scenario Pack
  • Poland Civilization & Scenario Pack
  • Australia Civilization & Scenario Pack
  • Persia and Macedon Civilization & Scenario Pack
  • Nubia Civilization & Scenario Pack
  • Khmer & Indonesia Civilization & Scenario Pack
  • Rise and Fall Expansion
  • Gathering Storm Expansion
  • New Frontier Pass – Maya  & Gran Colombia Pack
  • New Frontier Pass – Ethiopia Pack
  • New Frontier Pass – Byzantium & Gaul 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. Marcello wrote our official review for the expansion, and he had a few more concerns than I did but ultimately similar conclusions.

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

We also understand that these packs will be 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 21st, 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 23rd, 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 24th 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.

New Frontier Pack #4 (November 2020)

This pack adds one new civilization and leader, another game mode, new City-States, and numerous new Great People.

New Frontier Pack #5 (January 2021)

This one adds a single new civilization but TWO new leaders, one new game mode, a new District, and two new Buildings.

New Frontier Pack #6 (March 2021)

The final pack will add another new civilization & leader, one new game mode, new World Wonders, and one new map.

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.

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