Civilization VI

It’s hard to know what to marvel at first with Civilization VI. The epic world-building game, originally for Mac and PC, has arrived on iPad without sacrificing any depth. And after all these years, the series continues to evolve, striking a more satisfying balance between researching scientific advancements and developing a thriving culture.

Completing a world wonder—like this Aztec pyramid—is a huge rush.

Guided by pop-up hints (soothingly voiced by Game of Thrones star Sean Bean), you’ll choose a leader from among 20 historical heads of state to lay down the roots of your realm. Choices include England’s Queen Victoria, who can expand her empire extra-quickly, and Japan’s Hojo Tokimune, who marshals steely samurai units.

A sprawling city makes a tempting target for enemy soldiers. And Vikings!

The game also plays perfectly on touchscreens. Using intuitive taps and swipes, you’ll plan out your first of many gorgeously detailed cities, build a network of roads, and begin your grand journey toward global domination. If you’re good, you might shepherd your civilization all the way from the discovery of the wheel to the first colony on Mars.

Led by Catherine de’ Medici, 21st-century Bordeaux is lookin’ good.

High tech meets high art in an incredible sequel.