One of the beautiful things about complex games with passionate communities like Civilization VI is that it now takes very little time after release for players to start pushing its systems to the limits and going far beyond the bounds of normal play. Reddit user Procblocked built his capital city of Rio De Janeiro up to a 200 population, or roughly 2.7 billion people in real-world terms, according to Kotaku. That is more than 58 times larger than Delhi, the current most populous metropolitan area on Earth, or twice the population of China.
Procblocked built this monstrosity through a savvy use of its specialized districts, which have stacking effects that benefit nearby cities in addition to its own. After resetting the map several times to ensure he had enough space, with all of the victory conditions turned off except for points, Procblocked ringed his capital with 20 cities that each have entertainment districts providing the amenities necessary to keep such an enormous population from going stir crazy and rebelling. Rio itself is almost entirely filled with neighborhood districts to house everyone. All in all, it requires 30 neighborhoods, 20 stadiums, 80 trade routes bringing in 750 food per turn, two wonders, and the efforts of a variety of great merchants and engineers to make the city work.
In previous Civilization titles, players made a distinction between tall and wide strategies, i.e., building a few very large cities or a sprawling mass of smaller cities. This shows how that breaks down in Civilization VI, using urban density to prop up an enormous city. Where Civilization V had harsher penalties for settling more cities, throttling your science and culture production, the newest game has lifted a lot of those restrictions, opening up the field for players to experiment with wide strategies like, for instance, taking advantage of the district adjacency bonuses to interlock more diverse arrangements than Procblocked’s neighborhood spam.
Procblocked muses in the Reddit post that this is not even quite the largest they could go. On a map that has all of the possible luxury resources you could get the population score up to 230 before housing maxed out. It took nearly 1,000 turns to reach 200 population in the year 2289 — we do not recommend trying this at home unless you have a serious tolerance for tedium and the time for it. Its geometric regularity and efficiency bring to mind other great works of virtual urban planning, like Magnasanti, a Koyaanisqatsi-inspired 6 million people city that claimed to ‘beat’ SimCity 3000 in 2010.