Dramatic Ages is the fourth game mode in Civilization VI, introduced in the Byzantium & Gaul Pack. It is focused on the Ages mechanic and Loyalty, making the game much more dynamic. It requires either the Rise and Fall or the Gathering Storm expansion to play.
Put in a nutshell, the Dramatic Ages mode eliminates Normal Ages and Heroic Ages - leaving only modified Golden and Dark Ages. It also replaces the Dedications mechanic by a slew of new powerful Golden and Dark Policy cards, which can be used only when in the relevant Age. Just like the special Dark Age cards in a normal Rise and Fall game, Golden Age and Dark Age cards must be used in a Wildcard slot; so you should try your utmost to gain as many of these slots as possible.
The way all this works is simple: after you start the game in a Normal Age, the Era meter will fill directly towards a Golden Age. And if you don't manage to fill it, you fall into a Dark Age. This means that, once the Ancient Era passes, you will be in either a Golden or a Dark Age.
Another very important change is that Free cities now also exert Loyalty pressure! This is felt especially keen when you enter a Dark Age and happen to lose several cities at the edge of your empire. It will be then not only next to impossible to reclaim them through Loyalty (don't forget that Loyalty pressure from your own cities is reduced during a Dark Age!), but will also feel pressure towards cities you had considered secure previously!
In this mode, there are a couple of new minor Historic Moments that grant you Era scores, such as earning a Promotion on a unit, or triggering a Eureka or an Inspiration. It is very important to use these, as there are less opportunities to earn Era score in this mode (due to the fact that normal Dedications aren't here to provide you with alternative score opportunities).
The first advantage of the Golden Age in the Dramatic Ages game mode are the new Golden Age policy cards which become available. They combine many of the powerful bonuses of Dedications with the advantage that you're not stuck with a single bonus, but may instead change it at will. And of course, if you have several Wildcard slots, you may use many bonuses at the same time, similar to a Heroic Age.
The second advantage of the mode is increased Loyalty pressure to nearby cities (as compared to a normal game's Golden Age). This is an even greater boon than super policies, particularly if other civilizations have entered a Dark Age. Because the era changes for everyone at the same time, getting a Golden Age at the right moment may allow a player to conquer several cities from other civilizations with Loyalty pressure.
While Dark Ages are supposedly negative, some players aim to get them on purpose. This is because of their unique Policy Cards, their manageable downsides, and the possibility of entering a game-changing Heroic Age afterwards. However, in this game mode, Heroic Ages have been removed from the game entirely.
To make matters worse, Dramatic Ages also massively boosts the biggest downside of a Dark Age: loyalty problems. While a Dark Age in the base game will cause a player to have to work to keep their cities loyal, entering one in Dramatic Ages will immediately cause a number of cities to rebel. This number varies based on the difficulty level, and the cities chosen will always be the ones with the lowest Loyalty pressure. These Free Cities will then exert Loyalty pressure on others around, potentially spreading the rebellion.
There are only two ways to reclaim Free Cities, either by putting enough Loyalty pressure on them that they change back or through conquest. However, the problem is that these options aren't only available to the player that founded the city in the first place. A player who loses cities to a Dark Age in Dramatic Ages may find their neighbors snap them up before they can.
In the face of an inescapable Dark Age, it may be worthwhile to settle some sacrificial extra cities in suboptimal locations to act as a buffer between your more important cities rebelling. These suboptimal cities should desirably be settled far away from your capital and adjacent to enemy civs, to decrease their Loyalty pressure. And because Dark Ages target the cities with the lowest Loyalty pressure, these cities will be targeted before your stronger, older ones. While this may be appealing, don't forget that this is only worthwhile if the protection and saved yields it grants your empire exceeds the Production spent on Settlers and the benefits for enemy civilizations.
Changes to Georgia
List of new Policy Cards
|Civilization VI Game modes |
|Apocalypse1 • Barbarian Clans • Dramatic Ages1 • Heroes & Legends1 • Monopolies and Corporations1 • Secret Societies1 • Tech and Civic Shuffle • Zombie Defense1|
|1 Requires a DLC|