Civilization VI Adds New “Red Death” Battle Royale Mode. Yes, Really.


It seems pretty much everyone’s trying to get a piece of the battle royale pie these days, but I think most Civ fans assumed their beloved turn-based strategy series was immune from the fad. Well, think again! Civilization VI just dropped its latest update and, surprise surprise, it includes a new battle royale mode entitled Red Death. Yes, this is real.

The basic gist of the mode is that most of the planet has been consumed by a deadly radioactive mass called the Red Death, and you and up to 11 other players compete within an ever-shrinking safe zone to be the ones to board the last ship off the planet. Any sort of historical angle is out the window, as players will choose between various apocalyptic-themed factions such as Mutants, Doomsday Preppers, and Mad Scientists. You can check out a trailer for Red Death mode, below.

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Here’s a detailed rundown of how the mode will work:

Red Death Multiplayer Scenario

General notes

  • If you still have a Civilian unit, then you are still in the game. Once your last Civilian is killed, you will have been eliminated. Be the last remaining player with a Civilian to win.
  • The Red Death is the radioactive mass that is consuming the planet. A Safe Zone ring will appear on the map. Periodically this ring will shrink. Keep your units inside the ring to avoid the Red Death.
  • On the top-left on the in-game screen is the Red Death tracker. The left portion tells the player how many turns until the ring shrinks, and the right-hand portion tells the player how much damage units will take if they end their turn inside the Red Death.
  • Red Death damage increases as the game progresses.
  • When the ring shrinks, the Red Death will advance each turn until it reaches the ring. This gives units caught outside of the ring some time to reach the safe zone.
  • Units cannot heal in the Red Death.

You can gain new units and supplies in the following ways:

  • Find and clear City Ruins to gain equipment. These appear as war-torn cities with stacks of crates and flares around them. A Ruined City can grant experience points, an Infantry, a Machine Gunner, an AT crew, or another Civilian.
  • Clearing a Raider Camp grants either a Helicopter Gunship, an AT Crew, or a Thermonuclear device (once you receive one, any of your combat units can use it).
  • Once the “Red Death” ring starts to advance, Supply Drops can appear near the ring edge (also has a notification so you can find them). These lucrative drops can grant either a Tank, a Mobile Artillery, or a Thermonuclear device.


  • Oceans and Lakes are corrosive and will damage your units each turn as you cross, so be quick!
  • Global heal rate increased from normal for fast-paced gameplay.
  • Units have unique promotion trees. Promoting units heals only 25 HP.
  • Raiders are random opponents that wander the map, making opportunity attacks on players from their camps. Raider units take no damage from the Red Death.
  • A typical match will take anywhere from 15-50 minutes depending on the number of players, and skill of play.


  • 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.


  • Quick-join matchmaking added to front-end menu
  • “How to Play” section added to front-end menu.
  • Safe Zone displayed as a blue area on the map and mini map. Red Death displayed as a red area on the map and mini map.
  • Changed mini map tooltips to be more useful for the scenario. Tooltip displays whether tiles are in the Safe Zone or the Red Death.
  • Added mini map icons for the City Ruins, Supply Drops, and Raider Camps.

I groaned when I found out Civilization VI was doing the battle royale thing, just like you probably did, but it looks like Firaxis has actually put a lot of effort into the mode. And hey, a more strategic take on the battle royale concept for those of us who aren’t great at competitive shooters actually sounds kind of appealing. So yeah, groan if you must, but I think this might be fun.

The Civilization VI September update is available on PC right now. Civlization VI is also available on iPad and Nintendo Switch, but those versions are on a delayed update schedule.