Firaxis and 2K are taking an all-too-familiar approach to revitalizing a game: tack on a battle royale mode in a bid to capture the Fortnite crowd. They’ve released an update to Civilization VI that introduces Red Death, a 12-player competitive mode that grafts battle royale on to a strategy game that was definitely not designed for it. Instead of filling the shoes of a historical political leader, you play as one of numerous post-apocalyptic factions (no nuclear Gandhi, though) determined to get off the planet before a radioactive storm closes in and wipes you out. The basic mechanics remain intact, but your focus is clearly not on advancing society.
Everyone starts with one civilian, one infantry unit and one machine gun unit, and you grow your faction mainly to crush others. You won’t be creating any wonders of the world here. The storm shrinks the safe space every few turns, so you can never become too comfortable — especially when you lose if someone captures your last civilian. It should be much faster-paced, if not exactly in the spirit of Civilization games past.
This mode is free to anyone who already owns the core Civ VI. It’s not going to pull you into the game if you weren’t already enamored with turn-based strategy, but that’s not necessarily the point. This is more about enticing you to keep playing and, presumably, shell out on expansion packs to keep the gameplay fresh.