Jump to content
  • Sign Up

Chinese Game Review: Civilization VI 文明6


Recommended Posts



Platform(s): PC , Nintendo Switch

Where to buy: Steam, Nintendo Eshop

Release Date: 21st Oct 2016

Languages: English and Chinese (both simplified and traditional characters, both audio and text), several other languages too

Chinese Level Required: -

Proportion of play time where you'll be using Chinese: -

Specific/specialised Vocab Learned: history, technology, military, political

Trailer: bilibili




Originally created by legendary game designer Sid Meier, Civilization is a turn-based strategy game in which you attempt to build an empire to stand the test of time. Become Ruler of the World by establishing and leading a civilization from the Stone Age to the Information Age. Wage war, conduct diplomacy, advance your culture, and go head-to-head with history’s greatest leaders as you attempt to build the greatest civilization the world has ever known.

Civilization VI offers new ways to engage with your world: cities now physically expand across the map, active research in technology and culture unlocks new potential, and competing leaders will pursue their own agendas based on their historical traits as you race for one of five ways to achieve victory in the game.



Thanks to @Tomsima for the review:



Now that im done with exams, I've been enjoying Civ 6 for the last few days. Its a great game (first time playing civ for me, so everythings new). Really amazed at how deep the game is, and how the mechanics are so well thought out. That being said, this form of game is pretty useless as a Chinese learning tool. The goal of the game is not to make you read or listen, but to think out your tactics. All the simple repetitive stuff is irrelevant whether its in English/Chinese/whatever language, as your brain has already memorised the action/meaning behind whatever youre choosing to do. The more complex stuff is just bogged down in tiny text (even with 200% text boost, but thats almost certainly because im using a surface with high DPI screen), and i just ended up skimming through with squinted eyes most of the time. Even when you take the time to read every little thing, the localisation is very unnatural (cant really blame them, the original language is pretty game-specific). With things like 'Eureka' translated into 尤里卡時刻, the majority of potentially useful vocab is in the end pretty detrimental in any attempt to improve one's Chinese.

All in all, civ 6, great game, not a great learning tool!


My laptop isn't quite up to running the game, so I've been playing its predecessor, Civ 5. It also has Chinese localisation, but traditional characters only. I found the small text to be a problem in this version too, an issue which is compounded by the use of traditional characters (those large number of strokes look a mess in small fonts). However, I found Civ to be a little bit more useful in terms of learning Chinese than Tomsima found it. While you do tend to get into a routine of quickly making decisions and cycling through turns without really reading once you get into the swing of things, I still think you can get in some decent reading practice. You'll come across a lot of history, technology, military, political related vocab. That said, it's definitely more of game you just play for fun and hopefully pick up some Chinese along the way, rather than a good learning tool in and of itself.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I bought this on sale a few months ago, but have only really been able to get into it this past couple of weeks, so now I can offer my own view.


Firstly, my concerns about my laptop not being able to run the game well were unwarranted. In fact, it actually runs better than its predecessor, Civ 5 (I guess it's just better optimised). Regarding the game itself and its usefulness as Chinese practice, I have to disagree with the first reviewer. I found it to be a really good experience.


Unlike Civ 5, this game was obviously built from the very beginning to have a Chinese language option, and as a result the fonts are clean and easy to read, and everything is fully voiced in Chinese. Every time you research a new technology for example you will get an accompanying, fully voiced, witty remark (stuff like "If you owe the bank $5 thousand you have a problem, but if you woe them $5 billion then they have a problem" when you research banking).


Civ games tend to be pretty complex and it can take a while to learn all the various mechanics (you are in charge of an entire civilisation after all), and the learning curve is even steeper when doing it all in Chinese. As with many things though, the difficult route is often the more rewarding one, and I feel I have gained a lot by doing the whole thing the hard way. Apart from the various buttons and commands, their is a fair bit of reading as involved when communicating with other world leaders and when choosing which political and cultural roads to take throughout the game. You need read carefully, unless you want to risk declaring war on a neighbouring country by accident. I've learnt plenty of fancy new chengyu while communicating with my ministers and other world leaders.


Recommended for anyone interested in history and strategy.

  • Helpful 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

glad you are getting some good practice with it, I might have been a bit overly pessimistic with my review, I suspect it's a result of the DPI scaling issues that I constantly come up against with my surface, if the characters were a little bit bigger I'm sure I would be more bothered to read through everything. That being said, I do remember some of the translations being quite unnatural, but maybe that's me just being picky

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a very good game for learning history and building world view, but may not be a useful tool for learning Chinese. Honestly, the Chinese translation of this game is amazing because it is fluent and litearay enough because some translations are adopted from Chinese classics so that they are elegant enough. 


And I wanna share a joke on this game among its Chinese players with you: Someone once told me Civ 6 was a really time-killing game but I didn't believe it. One day I sat in front of my computer at 7 pm and after several turns I looked at the watch, finding it was just 7:10. And then I opened the curtain found it was 7:10 am. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, If_IwasaLinguist said:

Honestly, the Chinese translation of this game is amazing because it is fluent and litearay enough because some translations are adopted from Chinese classics so that they are elegant enough. 


Shows what I know!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Tomsima I'm using a laptop with a 720p screen (or thereabouts) and everything looks great (unlike Civ 5, which was really difficult to make out). I think that all games have some "game" vocab no matter what the language is, but I find it interesting to see how they try to explain these abstract game mechanics in Chinese. I thought the rest of the game sounded very natural in terms of the language used (liberal use of chengyu tends to point to a decent amount of effort being put in), and it's great to have a native speaker like @If_IwasaLinguist confirm it. Even for the "eureka" moments in the game, that falls more into the "game mechanics" language mode. After all, I don't think anyone actually uses it in English in real life, unless in a jokey kind of way. 


@If_IwasaLinguist Despite being a native English speaker, I actually expanded my English vocab quite a lot by playing Civ 2 (I as at school at the time). I feel I'm getting a similar experience from playing this. Some examples:


It helps solidify words which I have learned previously, but that I either frequently forget, or just don't use enough in my own speaking and writing:




It expands the number of place and people names in your vocab:

大堡礁 (the Great Barrier Reef)

紫禁城 (the Forbidden City)


There are also lots of interesting chengyu:






More formal versions of already known vocab:

谦和 (modest, humble)

见解 (point of view)

诸如 (such as)


And just lots of random vocab of varying usefulness:

海蜇 (jellyfish)

丰产 (a bumper harvest)

神殿 (shrine)


At the level my Chinese is currently at, I just enjoy the challenge of trying to do normal things I would otherwise do anyway, but just using Chinese instead of English. An extra bonus of playing Civ 6 is that, due to my crappy laptop, each turn takes a while to process, so I have gotten in the habit of reading a page of a Chinese book while I'm waiting.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Tomsima, as the last reply shows, there are many expressions are translated in a poetic way, such as translating the "point of view" into “见解” instead of "观点". And I should explain my opinion of the amazing translation as I didn't expect it to be such authentic in terms of the style because at least this is a foreign game to Chinese players. If you are familiar with the translation of that game Total War: Three Kingdoms, you may understand the capabilities of these two translation groups are different. 


However, since Civ 6 covers countless knowledge, it is understandable that there are problems with some parts and I wanna attach this link from Zhihu.com https://www.zhihu.com/question/52184329, in which the first post complains about the translation mistakes existed in the game. 


Furthermore, I also found two links on Zhihu.com that summarizes the Chinese translations of celebrity quotes when science or civic items are completed. Unfortunately, they are not listed with the corresponding source text in English. 

Science: https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/22997720

Civic: https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/23021553

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, If_IwasaLinguist said:

If you are familiar with the translation of that game Total War: Three Kingdoms, you may understand the capabilities of these two translation groups are different. 


What's wrong with the Three Kingdoms translation? I would have thought that it would be very good, considering that the game is based on Chinese history/mythology. We have a thread for Three Kingdoms, so please post there if you have the time to give some insights about the translation:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...