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Red Death is a Post-Apocalyptic Turn-Based Battle Royale

red death post apocalyptic battle royale game with wide shot of game map plus a man in radiation suit

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The September Civilization VI update brought the Red Death game mode; a fast paced online post-apocalyptic battle royale. Yes, you read that correctly. Fast paced Civilization. Oh, and it is the FIRST EVER TURN BASED BATTLE ROYALE. So we’re breaking a lot of new ground here.

Being a Civilization veteran and a post-apocalyptic enthusiast, I had to give it a shot. And boyyyyyyyyyyyy let me tell you. It’s pretty…different.

First of all let me say that I’ve logged more than 140 hours in Civilization VI. It is an addictive and layered game. And when they sprung Red Death on us this month, it caught me completely by surprise.

Civ VI games are LONG. Way too long. They take forever even when you know what you’re doing. So online play is difficult. Most people only play the computer opponents.

But this Red Death game-type takes less than an hour from start to finish. That’s incredible. I’ve played twice tonight already. Two games of Civ in one night is unheard of.

So in the sense that this is relatively fast paced, it can be called battle royale. Also, a shrinking circle of radiation forces the players into a smaller and smaller area. Something Fallout Nuclear Winter did as well. You can read our review of that here.

But there are usually only half a dozen other players per game, so it is unlike most battle royale games in having way fewer participants.

The game is set on earth in the aftermath of a catastrophic event. The world is in ruins and your only hope is to get off this hunk of rock as fast as possible or be melted by the blanket of radiation slowly engulfing the earth.

Here’s the problem: only one ship. The ship gods have decreed that only one faction gets to board – the last one surviving. So you take charge of Doomsday Preppers, or a Cult, or Mutants, or Pirates, or any one of several other factions trying to be the last man standing and earn that ticket outta here.

Available Factions:

  • Cultists: “Observing The End,” All units have +3 sight.
  • Doomsday Preppers: “Always Prepare for The Worst,” All units have +100% experience bonus.
  • Borderlords: “Living On The Edge,” +10 Combat Strength when 3 hexes or closer to the Safe Zone border.
  • Jocks: “Witness Perfection,” +5 Combat Strength.
  • Mad Scientists: “This Will Only Hurt A Bit,” All units heal 2x faster.
  • Mutants: “Radiant Personalities,” -50 Red Death damage. “Radioactive Movement,” +3 Movement for all units in the Red Death.
  • Pirates: “Water Logged,” All units take 50% less water damage and ignore additional movement cost from embarking and disembarking.
  • Wanderers: “See You Later,” Infantry and Machine Gunners, as well as Civilians in formation with them, have faster Movement on Woods, Rainforest, and Hill terrain.

Your sect is embodied in your civilian, a unit which never founds a city because, you know, the apocalypse. You lose your civilian(s) and you lose the game. Apparently military lives don’t matter?

You are a roving band of units, “scavenging” for “supplies” which are really additional military units or unit experience which can be used to give your military units special abilities.

Raiders, an NPC military faction, appear somewhat randomly as you explore the wasteland, and can crop up in places you thought were secure. Killing them gives you exp which gets you those tasty upgrades when you “promote” the unit.

You can also find nukes, which can strike from a distance and deal significant damage to a whole area. Two nukes on top of each other will kill essentially kill anything.

In my first play-through I found one nuke total. I think that is common. In my second play, I found three. And I held them all until it was down to two people left.

When I dropped my nuke on the poor guy, he says something like “ha. no problem! two other players already nuked me this game and I survived that”. So then I dropped two more nukes  and ended the game.

Poor guy. I don’t think it is common to get five nukes dropped on you in one game. But in the end my people survived, and that’s whats important. I had no quarrel with his people – but it was us or them and it sure as heck wasn’t going to be them. And now I’ve got to live with what I did to get us here.

It was fun, but the nukes are overpowered. It was just impossible for that guy to win, so there’s at least some luck involved. But again, I think he is an outlier.

I’ll be playing it again for sure. You should try it out. And if you’re not already a Civ player, then maybe watch a “lets play” on Youtube like this one below before you take the plunge.

    Derek is a licensed (non-practicing) attorney with a keen interest in avoiding catastrophe. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

    Contact: [email protected]

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