Tips For Playing Civilization VI

Illustration for article titled Tips For Playing Civilization VI

Civilization VI is a very good video game! It’s also got some weird complexities and systems that aren’t explained properly, as well as some neat little headen features, so here are some tips for getting the most out of it.



In Civ V, cities could defend themselves, so you could concentrate on building improvements. Not here. Civ VI’s settlements won’t have their own defences until you complete some research, so in the early stages of the game it’s worth building a decent little army. On King difficulty or higher, this is an absolute priority.

You’ll need it for defence against barbarians and over-zealous AI, but it’s also handy for warmongering types; early units are cheap with the right policies, and you’ll find you can roll over quite a few neighbouring Civs early on without much trouble, especially if you take the time to build some siege engines and battering rams.


Before you build a district, send in a Builder to harvest any resources there first. Dropping the District will clear the tile of that bonus, but if you send in the Builder first you’ll get a decent cash injection for harvesting it. Oh, and always harvest a marsh, regardless of what you plan to do with it, they’re largely useless.


Maybe the most important thing in the entire game is making sure your speciality districts are placed properly and working efficiently. The bonuses you can get from putting them in the right spot and assigning citizens correctly to work them can make the difference between winning and getting your ass kicked.


Here’s an excellent video by MadDavyBones which breaks down the finer details of district planning:


Don’t fear expansion in Civ VI. It’s annoying link to happiness from Civ V is gone, meaning you’re free to erect new cities as long as you can afford them and have the space/will to build them. Indeed, some opponents, like Trajan, will remind you to do this if you’re not. Early expansion is the easiest way to secure areas of the map that contain valuable resources and strategic bottlenecks.

I could do this all day.


Hold Alt down and you can pan the camera around. It snaps back once you let go, sadly, but it’s a nice way of seeing the world from a new angle.



As of February 2017, the AI cannot control navies. It can’t build good ones, and it can’t use the ones it does build properly. This gives you a huge advantage on certain styles of maps, both for pillaging coastlines and protecting invasion fleets. So if you want to get the best of the AI, especially on lower difficulty levels, take the fight to them on the seas.



Civ VI’s new city state system is neat, in that it lets you send “envoys” to them in return for favour. And while, like Civ V, there’s an ultimate end-game to this (gaining the principle favour of the city), don’t sweat it if you can’t achieve it. You get nice consolation bonuses for the 1st, 3rd and 6th envoy you send regardless of who is their best friend, so if you spread these around instead of focusing on just one or two, you can collect a nice spread of perks, on everything from faith to production to gold.



You’re no longer simply given a Great Person. Instead, you are shown one that you have earned, and asked whether you want to claim them or pass and wait for the next one. Don’t automatically claim them! Make sure to read the fine print of their requirements, because some Great People may require certain districts or tiles that you don’t have, making them useless.



As I said in my review, happiness is a lot easier to keep on top of in Civ VI, but it just because it’s easier to manage doesn’t mean there’s no managing. Your people will still get unhappy, and if they get too unhappy they’ll riot (spawning barbarian units outside your cities). The obvious way to keep this under control is to do what the game tells you—build more amenities—but you can also get big boosts to satisfaction by diversifying your luxury resources. Each type brings happiness to your people, so if you’re surrounded by lots of different varieties, snap ‘em up. If you’re not, but you have multiples of one type, trade it with other Civs for their luxury resources.



In Civ V, you really only needed to set up trade routes between your own cities if one of them was starving. In Civ VI, though, it can be handy to do this, at least early on, because until you can build Military Engineers trade routes are the easiest way to build roads between your cities, since your Traders do it automatically in their wake.


And while the trade screen (the one where you select which city to send a caravan to) can look confusing, the easiest bet for beginners is always just to pick the foreign city with the highest gold yield. Once you’ve completed a route, a little market icon will appear next to its name in the list, and you’ll get higher yields on future trips.

Illustration for article titled Tips For Playing Civilization VI


This tip is an oldie, but a goodie: after you’ve checked out some of Civ VI’s smooth/cute unit movement animations, turn them off. It’ll save you a lot of time, especially between turns, since the AI will animate everything moving inside your field of vision.


You guys got any good ones you’ve discovered so far? If so drop ‘em below and I’ll add them!

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs


Nick Ha


Every civ has a core “theme”, a melody that represents them. During the Ancient era, you’ll hear a very simple version of it played on one, maybe two instruments. But as you progress through the tech eras, the music evolves in incredible ways. What you might hear played on a single viola or a lonely banjo at the start of the game will evolve into a full orchestra by the Industrial Era.

For example: England’s thematic melody is Scarborough Fair (probably familiar to any American fans of Simon & Garfunkel). Originally, it’s played on just a viola and a harp.

As you move into the Medieval Era, it turns into something you’d hear out of an olde Englishe pub.

But as your civilization reaches the Industrial Era, it becomes this breathtaking full-orchestra arrangement, an epic fanfare heralding your nation’s arrival to the future. (Jump to 1:50 to hear the core theme)

There’s another change as you move from the Industrial Age to the Information Age. It’s a much smaller change than between the other three eras.

This game is an outstanding achievement in video game composition and dynamic music.

I’m pretty sure the reason why the leader screens are less interesting in Civ 6 compared to Civ 5 is because all the budget went into the music.