Civilization 6 just went free on PC — how to get it now

Civilization 6
(Image credit: 2K)

Grand Theft Auto V is dead; long live Civilization VI. The Epic Games Store, a digital storefront that competes with the likes of Steam and Origin, has been giving away free games every week since 2018. Last week, Epic gave away one of its biggest titles so far in Grand Theft Auto V

That sale has come to an end, but this week’s selection could theoretically keep you busy for even longer. Civilization VI is a massive, open-ended strategy game that spans the whole history of the world, and if you have an Epic Games account, it’s yours to keep for free.

The Epic Games Store gives away one free game per week. Sometimes, the games are indie darlings like Abzu; sometimes, they’re big-budget hits like Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Even so, GTAV was one of the most popular games that Epic has given away so far, and Civilization VI is another beloved installment in a huge franchise.

How to get Civilization 6 for free

To get the game, all you have to do is visit the Civilization VI page in the Epic Games Store sometime between now and May 28 at 11 AM ET. Click the “Get” button where the price would usually be, and log into your account, if you haven’t already. This will add the game to your library, and you can install it at your leisure. That’s it. Once you claim Civilization VI, it’ll be in your account permanently.

Bear in mind that to access the games, you’ll need to activate two-factor authentication (2FA) on your account, if you haven’t done so already. 

Of course, the Epic Games Store isn’t giving these games away purely out of the goodness of its heart. Once you build up your Epic Games Store library,  you may feel more inclined to buy future games at Epic rather than at Steam or Origin. Furthermore, Civilization VI has at least $40 worth of paid DLC, which adds civilizations like the Mayans and the Ethiopians. Not every free Civilization VI player will pick up the DLC, of course, but many will.

For those of you who have never played the Civilization games, they’re part of a long-running turn-based strategy series. You choose one of history’s great civilizations, such as the Egyptians, the Mongolians or the Spanish, then take them all the way from the Stone Age into the near future. You can conquer the world through military might, or surpass your rivals with diplomacy and technology. The game also offers a variety of difficulties and game lengths, so it’s just as appealing to strategy newbies as it is to hardened wargame grognards.

While we don’t know what game Epic will offer next, it’s been skewing toward major hits over the past few weeks, rather than mid-budget or indie titles. Next week’s selection could be an even bigger game — or it could be a good opportunity to highlight something more niche.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.