A game mode is a setup option that adds a twist to the standard Civilization VI experience. Game modes alter the base game's ruleset and may include additional units, buildings, and improvements. All game modes are compatible with each other; players may choose to activate multiple modes when starting a game. Each New Frontier Pass DLC introduces a new game mode, and additional game modes have been released in free community updates.
These game modes are:
- Apocalypse, included in the Maya & Gran Colombia Pack, adding a new level of intensity to existing Disasters, a new unit that interacts with Disasters, a new scored competition, and the eponymous Apocalypse climate phase.
- Secret Societies, included in the Ethiopia Pack, adding four different "secret societies" that players can join, each comes with new units, buildings, tile improvements, projects or resources.
- Tech and Civic Shuffle, included in the August 2020 Update, enhancing the replayability of the game by randomizing the tech and civic tree.
- Dramatic Ages, included in the Byzantium & Gaul Pack, expanding upon the existing Age and Era mechanics and introducing many new Dark Age and Golden Age policy cards.
- Heroes & Legends, included in the Babylon Pack, introducing 12 new Heroes that players can compete for and recruit, each with unique and game changing abilities.
- Monopolies and Corporations, included in the Vietnam & Kublai Khan Pack, expanding upon the economic mechanics by allowing players to establish Industries, Corporations and Monopolies through taking control of resources.
- Barbarian Clans, included in the February 2021 Update, adding new layers of complexity to Barbarians and introducing new ways players can interact with these units.
- Zombie Defense, included in the Portugal Pack, turning the game into a survival mode against endless hordes of Zombies, which can keep rising up from the dead whenever a unit is killed on the map.