Civilization VI City Building Tips & Tricks

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is not an easy game. Games can take a while, and they can be a struggle for players new to the game as it is quite complex. City building and planning districts is a core part of the game that is very important for winning games. That’s why I have chosen to collect some of the best tips and tricks that cover some strategies for planning an empire in Civilization 6.

Planning out your empire and settling cities is a very important part of playing Civilization. Always try to settle on fresh water if you can because you will get a big housing boost and therefore get more citizens to work your tiles. Try to avoid settling cities in the desert or tundra unless there is something valuable there such as a natural wonder, or if you are playing as a leader who benefits from these harsh climates.  Look for areas with a balance of good food and production, as you can’t just have one without the other. You also need to remember that the AI or other players will be settling cities too, so you have a limited window of time to get cities settled before your opponents do it first.

Adding to this, use your cities to work together. Placing districts all next to each other will give them an adjacency bonus, granting some extra yields and value to them. While getting +1 science from building a campus next to a mountain doesn’t seem like much, remember that it will add up for the rest of the game. If you get a campus on turn thirty, a one science adjacency bonus adds up to 470 science by turn 500 (the maximum amount of turns on a standard speed game). Imagine if you can get a campus next to two mountains, that would be double as much science. Or if you place one next to a reef and a couple districts. Many districts benefit from being adjacent and simply placing districts where they get small yield boosts will add up over the course of the game and will prove to be powerful. This is why I like putting my cities as close as possible to each other, so that they can work together to make their districts have adjacency bonuses. Using map pins can really help you plan out districts and tile improvements, so I would highly recommend just slowing down and planning out what your cities should build.

Image: Firaxis

For most of the time, you only want to build the district that supports your victory condition. Use campuses for a science victory, theater squares for a culture victory and holy sites for a religious victory. Of course, if you are lacking in science, culture, or faith, you can build these, but just remember that you need to focus on what you need for you to win. Encampments and Aerodromes should be used when you are planning to make a powerful army or when you are concerned about defending yourself. Industrial zones help with production and are most helpful in the space race when you require truckloads of production for making spaceships. The Preserve is an interesting district that increases appeal on adjacent tiles and puts massive yields on those high appeal tiles. I personally think that these aren’t the most useful districts and should just be done for satisfaction, but the appeal can help for building national parks in a tourism victory.

Entertainment complexes help you with making your empire happy, and I’ll explain the importance of amenities in the next paragraph. Aqueducts, Neighborhoods, Dams and Canals are not really set in stone for a certain victory type, they are more of just a helpful district that you place every now and then to solve your housing problems in order to gain more citizens. Spaceports are required for running the projects to complete a science victory. And finally, Commercial hubs and Harbors are very helpful to have in each city no matter what victory type you are aiming for, as the gold and trade routes will assist your empire in any situation.

Districts cost more production to make the later the game goes on for, so try to place them down as soon as possible. This will lock in the production price of that building and stop it from taking longer to build. You don’t have to actually construct the district straight away either, you can build other things while the district is placed, and the production cost still won’t go up. Always remember before you place a district or wonder down, to harvest any resources that are on the tile first by using a builder. It’ll give you more value, and most likely help speed up the production of that thing.

I see a lot of people online asking what building they should make in their cities first. Personally, I think that unless your city is low on food or housing, building a monument is one of the most important things for your first city to build at the very start of the game, aside from making some units at the start to explore the map and defend yourself from barbarians. Granaries and water mills are quite important too, as they allow your city to grow, but culture in this game makes your borders expand faster which will give you more tiles to work with, and those tiles will likely have food or production to help speed up your city. So I think getting a monument first is best, as it will roughly be as good as a granary, just with culture instead of housing. I think that the culture is better at the start than the housing, because your first city at the start will have very few people in it with no housing issues, whilst the culture will help unlock your first government faster.

Image: Firaxis

Amenities, or happiness, are something that I always used to look over in every single one of my games. I always just thought that if my amenities weren’t worse than -1 or -2, I shouldn’t worry about them. However, after some experimentation, I learnt that having lots of amenities can provide a bonus percentage multiplier to your yields in your cities and having negative amenities will provide a negative multiplier to city yields. As a city’s population rises, it requires more and more amenities to stay happy. Failing to keep a city happy will result in all the yields in that city dropping substantially, the population growing painfully slow, and citizens may rebel, spawning hostile units inside your territory. Always try to keep your amenities high by avoiding long wars, obtaining plenty of luxury resources, and building Entertainment Complexes.

I hope at least some of these tips were of use to you. Having knowledge about how to build and plan out your empire in this game is so important. Make sure to take your time — for it is infinite — and plan out what you are doing in the game. Good luck on your next game!

By YellowThing

Yellow has been enjoying playing a large variety of games for years now - from Portal to Stardew Valley, from Civilization to XCOM. Outside of gaming, he also enjoys listening to music and having a good time with his friends.

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