Civilization VI is a game of interlocking systems, requiring a combination of luck and strategy to master. It’s a game that rewards careful attention to its multiple paths toward victory. Sometimes, you might just have a bad run and end up in a tight spot. The good news is, there’s a way out of those tight spots. The Age system can swing the odds in your favor and turn a rough run into smooth sailing. The most useful of these (but also the trickiest to get) is the Heroic Age. When triggered, it offers significant bonuses to a struggling civilization. While it takes some work, hopefully with the right guidance, your Civ can score a heroic age and stand the test of time.
How Ages Work
First and foremost, it’s important to know how Ages in the game work. Every era, you gain points in your era score. You can check your era score and how many points you need to reach the next age by either looking at the progress bar wrapped around your “next turn” counter, or by opening up the era menu in the top right of the screen. Eras advance every time a civilization reaches the next technological age, triggering a countdown for all the other civs to wrap up whatever they’re doing before the next age occurs.
You gain era score points from:
- Advancing to the next technological age
- Founding a city in specific locations (such as floodplains or close to volcanoes)
- Getting a Great Person or Hero
- Becoming Suzerain of a city-state
- Visiting a Tribal Village
- Advancing to the next cultural age
- Gaining your civilization’s unique military unit
- Founding your own religion
- Finding a natural wonder
- Building any wonder
There are four age types you can experience:
- Dark, which gives huge loyalty penalties and offers dystopian civic cards you can adopt into your government
- Normal, which gives you nothing and only offers a boost to your era score based on triggering tech boosts or constructing buildings
- Golden, which gives you significant loyalty boosts and offers you access to Dedications. Dedications are temporary bonuses to your civilization that can boost research, let you declare special types of wars, and up your culture output, among other things.
- Heroic, which gives you all the boosts of a Golden Age, but allows you to choose three Dedications to boost your civilization, instead of one. While the requirements are tricky, this can be a huge swing in gameplay.
Get A Dark Age
The process for getting a Heroic Age is simple: You have to first plunge your civilization into a Dark Age. For a Dark Age to trigger, you have to reach the next era without that bar filled.
While this is simple, it’s also wildly counterintuitive, especially in the early game. Since everything from discovering villages to stumbling across natural wonders can boost your era score, you rack up points rather fast. To get a Dark Age, you have to do things that will make the earlier parts of your game hell. This includes holding off on sending envoys to city-states (you get an era score for every suzerain), founding cities, and even exploring the map so you can keep your era score low.
The easiest way to get a dark age is to wait until the later stages of the game when there are fewer ways to rack up era score. The sweet spot seems to be somewhere around the Medieval Era. In earlier eras (like Ancient and Classical) you practically trip over events that increase your score (while researching, merely advancing turns totaled up the twelve points necessary to score a Normal Age in the Ancient Era). In later eras, it becomes too expensive to veer into a Dark Age, especially on purpose. The fewer options you have for discovery, the easier it is to keep that score low. Once you get a Dark Age, though, congratulations! You’re halfway there.
Get A Golden Age After Getting A Dark Age
This would be the other part of the “simple but tricky and counterintuitive” equation. After plunging your civilization into the absolute nadir of their cultural and technological development, you have to bring them out of it into a Golden Age.
A Golden Age happens when you exceed the score of a Normal Age by a certain number of points. Usually, this is double the score of a Normal Age.
The age mechanics don’t change much, but you’re now on a very tight schedule. You have to do everything you can to rack up those era points. Send out envoys, rush every technology, or splash cash and faith around on the Great Persons screen. You also have to do this against your Dark Age loyalty penalties, which are going to keep you a little off-balance.
The good news is that the required points for getting out of a Dark Age are lowered, to make it that much easier to catch up and get back to a Normal Age. If you can swing it, getting from a Dark Age to a Golden Age will be a lot easier than it sounds. It’ll still be difficult— a lot of the era score is based entirely on what events are available to you, but the task isn’t completely impossible. Your reward is a sweet three dedications and the envy of every other civ on the board.