A splendid addition to the series in many ways, Civilization VI has one major flaw - the AI is bad
We love Civilization VI. The several hundred hours spent on the game since its recent launch are a testament to that. However, we would like to recall the words of a wise soul concerning the Civilization series - any of the games weren't really good until a year after release.
And here's why for the latest example: the AI interactions in Civilization are maddening in two major ways.
Firstly, there's the warmonger penalty. Attacking a civ that's forward settled you in the early game to prevent them encircling you is a fairly wise thing to do.
Nope, you're a warmonger of the most egregious kind. Even if you don't attack their cities and just go for settler units moving into the territory you regard as "yours" - you're Pol Pot with a headache as far as the AI is concerned.
Time heals all wounds right? Not in Civilization VI. You fired a few arrows at an enemy warrior back when your own civ's main claim to fame was a nice mud dealership next to a river in 2400BC? Your name is covered in that same mud for the next several millennia.
You can even bring a defeated civ back by liberating their capital, and a few turns later get denounced by them for continuing to fight the civ that wiped them from the face of the planet. Which is simply ungrateful.
Alliances suffer from this too - team up with an AI civ for a war and woe betide you if they make peace with the joint enemy first. You're a savage for continuing to fight the confrontation they started.
We notice there's even a competition on Reddit's civ thread for the most negative modifiers to a relationship with an AI civ. That's going to be a pretty strong competition.
It's maddening and it needs to be fixed very soon.
Secondly, and this is the other side of the coin - the AI is terrible at combat. Stick an archer in a city surrounded with Ancient Walls in the early game and you're guaranteed safety from attack. Just keep a couple of melee or mounted units around to even up the odds and there's no way the AI will take one of your cities.
This takes the fear out of the early game that so many of us like, the right balance between expansion, development and defence that makes the starting turns a real thrill.
Later on the situation doesn't improve. As far as we've seen, the AI doesn't use naval units very well at all - and the aerial attack element is missing from the AI arsenal entirely.
We know AI is hard to write. Convincing AI that gives players at whatever level of the game a challenge harder still. But it's Civilization's lifeblood. Most of the people who play the series will never fight against a real player nor want to. They want pretty chess.
So please Firaxis, give us an AI that isn't depressingly predictable. We still love your game, it's just that we know we could love it a whole lot more.