Civilization VI is now available on the App Store for iPad. It's the full game, making it the first legit, main series Civ game to be released on mobile.
The game was ported by Aspyr Media, a company that has been doing Mac game ports for two decades and which had previously ported BioWare's Jade Empire and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic to iOS. While those games were available on the iPhone in addition to the iPad, Civilization VI is not.
Unfortunately, Civ VI will not work on just any iPad. According to Aspyr's blog post announcing the release, Civilization VI requires "iOS 11 on an iPad Air 2, iPad 2017, or any iPad Pro." This is not surprising, but it cuts out the entire iPad mini line—which is still available for sale from Apple—and the original iPad Air, which is still popular and in use.
We tried the game out and found that it is indeed the full Civilization VI experience, as promised. The UI is blown up a little bit, but all the same elements are there. You tap and drag units to move them, and keyboard shortcuts are supported with the smart keyboard. The arrow keys moved around the map. The "additional content" section is present for DLC, and LAN multiplayer is supported—but not cross-platform.
According to Twitter user Steve Troughton-Smith, mods are also supported via iTunes File Sharing. Unfortunately, Civ VI does not support the iPad Pro 12.9-inch resolution—the game works on that device, of course, but it looks a little blurry.
Search for Civilization VI in the App Store, and you might be surprised to see that it's listed for free. There's good news and bad news here. The good: fear not, for there are no microtransactions, timers, or any of that game design-influencing stuff that can break a game like this. Civ VI is free because the first 60 turns you play are free. After that, you have to buy it. That's where the bad news comes in: it will cost $60, the same price as the PC and Mac versions.
However, Civ VI is currently discounted at $30 for the launch window—which is (maybe not) coincidentally the price at which you can currently buy the desktop version in Steam's winter sale.
Civilization VI's first expansion pack, Rise and Fall, is scheduled to release on PC February 18, 2017. Aspyr hasn't said yet when (or whether) that expansion will come to the iPad version. It will add long, gameplay-changing ages, governors, and non-violent ways to seize cities, among other things.
Here's the short trailer for the iPad release of the game.
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