City-state (Civ6)

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BackArrowGreen Back to Civilization VI

A city-state is one of several small, independent political entities with which all players in the game may interact. After being introduced in Civilization V, they make a comeback in Civilization VI.

Civilopedia Entry Edit

City-states are the smaller political entities. They cannot win a game, as they're not competing against you, but they can greatly assist or impede your progress towards victory. You can befriend city-states and gain a number of important benefits, you can ignore them and concentrate on bigger and more important foes, or you can conquer them and take their stuff. It's up to you.

What is a City-State? Edit

A city-state is an AI-controlled entity that represents a small nation or sovereign territory. It is present at the beginning of the game along with the standard AI- and player-controlled civilizations, but it cannot build new cities and does not compete for victory in the game. Instead, it interacts with all civilizations in the game and confers special benefits to those with which it has friendly relations.

City-State Relations Edit

Gaining influence with city-states has changed significantly in respect to Civilization V. The Influence meter is gone and the game time doesn't affect your influence with city-states anymore. Instead, you can improve relations by assigning special units known as Envoys to each city-state you want to befriend.

Envoys Edit

Envoys are diplomats which specialize in city-state relations. There are three ways to earn them:

  1. Envoys are earned over time for free, as a result of your government activity. The more advanced your Government is, the faster you earn them (see "Influence Points" below).
  2. Special desires of each city-state (we may call them "quests" to liken them to the old system) will be posted upon meeting the City-State, or upon Era transition. Any player that can fulfill the request earns one free Envoy with that city-state.
  3. Many Civics grant free Envoys upon completion.

Additionally, the first player to meet a city-state earns one free Envoy with them. There are also certain Policies which speed up the process of gaining Envoys. Some Great People also create envoys upon activation.

Envoys may be earned directly with the City-State (when you complete their quests), in which case you have no control over where they get assigned. But more often Envoys are "trained" by your government officials, and then you choose where exactly to assign them. After earning Envoys, you may choose to delay their assignment, or assign them immediately - both approaches are valid and have uses in the game.

Note that, once assigned, Envoys stay in their City-States forever. You never the influence points of one city-state unless you yourself declare war on that city-state. (Being drawn into war with a city-state due to warring with its suzerain does not remove your influence points.)

Influence Points Edit

The main way to earn Envoys is through accumulation of Influence. We said earlier that the influence meter is gone, but that's not exactly true: there is an Influence meter, but it is a general one, and all it does is to serve as a generator system for Envoys. Each government type grants certain amount of Influence points per turn, and a different Influence meter maximum; upon reaching that maximum you gain certain amount of Envoys. Look at the upper right corner of the Government to check the exact details. There are three different 'levels' of influence gain, depending on how advanced the Government is:

The initial Chiefdom government earns only 1 point per turn, and grants 1 Envoy at 100 points.

As mentioned above, certain abilities and Policy Cards may speed up the accumulation of Influence points.

Relations Degrees Edit

Relations bonuses now depend both on the number of Envoys a civilization has with the particular city-state, and whether or not other civilizations have more Envoys than the player.

Special benefits are conferred to any player that has a particular number of Envoys:

  • One Envoy: confers a bonus yield to the player's Capital6 Capital.
  • Three Envoys: confers additional bonus yields to cities wth a particular kind of District.
  • Six Envoys: doubles the previous District-based bonus.

They types of the yields confered depend on the type of the City-State. Check the table below for more information on that.

As for diplomatic relations, the only possible statuses a city-state may have with a particular civilization are Neutral and Suzerain. A player becomes the Suzerain of a city-state when he/she has a minimum of three Envoys with it, and more Envoys with it than any other civilization.

City-State Benefits Edit

The benefits of befriending city-states have changed substantially since Civilization V. City-states still have types, such as Religious, Cultural, etc., but instead of having bonuses based only on their type (e.g. bonus food if Maritime, bonus faith if Religious), each city-state now provides a unique bonus. Players who desire specific bonuses will have to compete with other players to get them instead of searching for another city-state that offers the same bonus.

Most of the bonuses conferred are additional yields of some kind, according to the type of the city-state; for example, bonus Civ6Faith Faith from Holy Sites, bonus Civ6Culture Culture from Theater Squares, etc. However, each city-state also has a unique Suzerain bonus, which is usually related to its type. See below for a full list of effects.

Additionally, the Suzerain of a city-state gains a number of other benefits:

  • The city-state follows you into war and peace with other civilizations.
  • Your units may enter city-state territory.
  • Your Builder units may improve city-state tiles.
  • You are given vision of 3 tiles around the city-state.
  • You can pay Civ6Gold Gold to temporarily take control of the city-state's military.
  • Gain ownership of all the city-state's resources.

Types of City-StatesEdit

Type Color 1 Envoy 3 Envoys 6 Envoys
Trade Yellow +4 Civ6Gold Gold in the Capital6 Capital +4 Civ6Gold Gold in every Commercial Hub district Additional +4 Civ6Gold Gold in every Commercial Hub district
Religious White +2 Civ6Faith Faith in the Capital6 Capital +2 Civ6Faith Faith in every Holy Site district Additional +2 Civ6Faith Faith in every Holy Site district
Scientific Blue +2 Civ6Science Science in the Capital6 Capital +2 Civ6Science Science in every Campus district Additional +2 Civ6Science Science in every Campus district
Cultural Purple +2 Civ6Culture Culture in the Capital6 Capital +2 Civ6Culture Culture in every Theater Square district Additional +2 Civ6Culture Culture in every Theater Square district
Industrial Brown +2 Civ6Production Production in the Capital6 Capital when producing wonders, buildings, and districts +2 Civ6Production Production in every Industrial Zone district when producing wonders, buildings, and districts Additional +2 Civ6Production Production in every Industrial Zone district when producing wonders, buildings, and districts
Militaristic Red +2 Civ6Production Production in the Capital6 Capital when producing units +2 Civ6Production Production in every Encampment district when producing units Additional +2 Civ6Production Production in every Encampment district when producing units

Strategy Edit

As in Civilization V, City-States are a very important part of the game, which could become the difference between winning and losing. Compared to the previous game, however, the competition for influencing City-States is both more targeted and more broad. It is more targeted because of the unique Suzerain bonuses of individual City-States (which may suit one player's goals better than these of another player); it is more broad because there is no Diplomatic victory anymore, and influencing City-States is more a question of gameplay aid, than a crucial element of victory.

In order to make the best use of the City-State bonus system, you must first understand how exactly it works. We could separate the City-State benefits in two classes: General (which is the yield bonuses to the Capital6Captial and all cities with a particular District) and Specific (which is the Suzerainty bonus). General bonuses, once earned, stay with you throughout the game (unless the City-State is conquered by a nation, of course). Special bonuses you will have to fight for, by competing constantly with other nations. Of course, both depend mostly on your sending out your Envoys.

Earning Envoys is comparatively easy, and it happens naturally as you progress through the game (especially if you're strong in Civ6Culture Culture - many Civics grant free Envoys). But how are you going to spend them - here is the nub of the question. Sometimes it could be more beneficial to spread them around different City-States so that you earn their General bonuses, instead of concentrating them in 1 - 2 specific States in an attempt to earn their Suzerainty.

The first General bonus of each City-State activates with a single Envoy. Which means that if you manage to be the first to meet a City-State, you will already earn that first bonus (because of the free Envoy). This could help immensely in the early game, when your Capital6 Capital is your only city - every single City-State you meet first will already boost your capital's yields! This is one of the reasons exploration is so important in the beginning.

The other General bonuses, however, only work in cities with a particular District. Which means that if you don't have this district anywhere, there is simply no use to rush and get 3, much less 6 Envoys with a City-State. Better send out to other City-States and earn their first General bonuses. Only later, when your Districts are up and running, you should go for the higher General Bonuses - each of them will work on every city with a particular District, even without Suzerainty.

But, if you could already make use of a particular State's Special bonus early in the game (which activates at only 3 Envoys, if no other nation is influencing it), then you should go for it! Analyze well the bonuses of the City-States' you've found, and see if you have use for them. Some, as Toronto's, for example, will only become useful much later in the game; while others, like Brussels' or Geneva's, can be useful right away.

In any case, you should always adjust your strategy on-the-fly. Do you lack Civ6Gold Gold income? Look to influence a Trade City-State! Are you going to war, do you need units? Go for a Militaristic City-State! Or, you could adjust from the oposite side: have you befriended many Cultural City-States? Then go ahead and construct Theater Squares so you could use their bonuses! If you are influencing many Trade City-States, construct Commercial Hubs, etc. etc.

Another way to influence City-States is completing their 'quests'. These are a tad more prosaic than in Civilization V, but they are still very diverse and will make you adjust strategy to complete them. You will have to decide wether this adjustment is worth it - sometimes spending time and resources just won't be worth the reward.

List of City-States and their Suzerain bonusesEdit

City-state Type Unique Suzerain Bonus
Amsterdam Trade Your Trade Routes to foreign cities earn +1 Civ6Gold Gold for each luxury resource.
AntananarivoCultural Extra 2% Civ6Culture Culture with every Great Person ever earned.
ArmaghReligious Builders can construct the Monastery improvement, which provides Civ6Faith Faith and heals religious units.
AucklandIndustrial Additional Civ6Production Production for Coastal tiles.
Buenos Aires Industrial Your bonus resources behave like luxury resources, providing +1 Amenities6 Amenity per resource.
Brussels Industrial Your cities receive +15% bonus Civ6Production Production towards Wonders.
Carthage Militaristic Each Encampment in your cities provides a extra TradeRoute6 trade route.
Geneva Scientific Your cities earn +15% bonus Civ6Science Science output when you are not at war with any civilization.
GranadaMilitaristic Builders can construct the Alcazar improvement, which protects military units and provides Civ6Culture Culture.
Hattusa Scientific Provides you with 1 copy of each strategic resource you have revealed but do not own.
Hong Kong Industrial Your Cities get +20% bonus Civ6Production Production towards city projects
Jakarta Trade Your trading posts at international destinations grant +1 additional Civ6Gold Gold to all trade routes that pass through them.
Jerusalem Religious Jerusalem automatically converts to the Religion you founded and exerts pressure for that religion as if it were a Holy City.
Kabul Militaristic Your units receive double experience from battles they initiate.
Kandy Religious Receive a Relic6 Relic every time you discover a new Natural Wonder, and earn +50% bonus Civ6Faith Faith from all Relic6 Relics.
Kumasi Cultural Your trade routes to any city-state provide +2 Civ6Culture Culture and +1 Civ6Gold Gold for every specialty district in the origin city.
La Venta Religious Your Builders can now make Colossal Heads improvements. (A tile improvement that produces +2 Civ6Faith Faith)
Lisbon Trade Your Trader units are immune to being plundered on water tiles.
Mohenjo Daro Cultural Your cities all have full Housing6 Housing from water, as if they were next to a river.
MuscatTrade Bonus Amenities6 Amenities in cities with a Commercial Hub.
Nan Madol Cultural Your districts on or next to Coast tiles provide +2 Civ6Culture Culture.
PalenqueScientific Improved City growth for cities with a Campus.
Preslav Militaristic Your light and heavy cavalry units have +5 Civ6StrengthIcon combat strength when fighting on Hill tiles.
Toronto Industrial Regional effects from your Industrial Zone and Entertainment Complex districts reach 3 tiles farther.
Seoul Scientific When you enter a new era, earn a random Eureka from that era.
Stockholm Scientific Your districts provide +1 GreatPerson6 Great Person point of their type (ex. Writer6 Great Writer, Artist6 Great Artist, and Musician6 Great Musician for Theater Square districts).
Valletta Military Allows the Suzerain to consume Civ6Faith Faith to purchase urban centers and military buildings in their cities. Reduces Civ6Faith Faith costs.
Vilnius Cultural When you enter a new era, earn 1 random Inspiration from that era.
Yerevan Religious Your Apostle units can choose from any of their possible promotions instead of receiving a random promotion.
Zanzibar Trade Receive the Cinnamon and Cloves luxury resources. They cannot be earned any other way in the game, and provide 6 Amenities6 Amenities each.

† Available with the Vikings Scenario Pack DLC.

Civilization VI [edit]

AgendasBeliefsBuildingsCity-StatesCivicsCivilizationsDistrictsImprovementsLeadersPantheonsPolicy CardsPromotionsResourcesScenariosTechnologiesTerrainUnits (Unique Units) • Wonders (Natural)


AmenitiesBarbariansCityCombatContinentDiplomacy (Gossip, Warmongering) • EspionageEureka MomentGovernmentGreat PeopleGreat WorksMap (Borders) • MovementReligionTrade RoutesTileVictory

Civ6Culture CultureCiv6Faith FaithCiv6Food FoodCiv6Gold GoldCiv6Production ProductionCiv6Science ScienceTourism6 Tourism

DLCModdingSoundtrackStarting a new gameSteam AchievementsSteam trading cards

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