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Apocalypse is a game mode that ships with the Maya & Gran Colombia DLC as part of the New Frontier Pass. It takes the climate system introduced in Gathering Storm to the next level:
On one hand disasters might wreak havoc in your land but they also add fertility.
Floodplains become more fertile.
Volcanos enrich volcanic soil.
Blizzards and dust storms likewise add fertility to otherwise barren snow and desert tiles.
It’s not all doom and gloom.
So instead of fighting climate, this guide will show you how to exploit it.
In Apocalypse mode forest fires are introduced.
Most notably these forest (and jungle) fires cause land to be fertilised. After a few turns the burnt forests and jungle regrow with additional food and production.
So civs with woods or jungle start bias can potentially exploit this. Or on arboreal or tropical maps.
So rule number 1: Don’t chop woods or rain forest!
Normally in the early game, chopping is a way to rush production. To build a settler, a wonder or whatever.
Apocalypse mode turns this go-to strategy on its head.
If you chop forests and jungles there cannot be any forest or jungle fires.
By keeping nature intact, you invite opportunity for insane late game tile yields.
Note: The asterisk symbol (*) means a yield of more than 10!
Where to Build Districts?
So if you can’t chop forests, then build your districts on marsh or tiles with harvest-able resources. Like a tile with copper or stone. Later on even rice, wheat and maize become comparatively good tiles to harvest and build on.
But remember, whatever you do, in Apocalypse mode, don’t chop your precious jungles and woods!
Example: An Arboreal Start
In this game, once the tiles around my city had become hyper-yielding (10+ food and 10+ production: easy to see by the asterisks on both food and production yields) only then did I chop the forests/jungles.
But in the early game, this city was constantly ravaged by forest fires knocking its population back to 1 or 2. This can be very disheartening at the start. But soldier on!
With the additional food and production of the increasingly fertile forest and jungle tiles, the city will rebound very quickly.
Hyperyields are the name of the game.