A city is the basic building block of a civilization. It houses its people, it advances its science, culture, faith and other stats, it expands its territory, and it produces everything else the civilization has.
Cities are also central to your technological and cultural development, and serve as bastions for your armies. You cannot win without powerful, well-situated cities.
Cities in Civilization VI are far different than in previous games. They are now composed of a City Center - the original tile where the city was founded - and additional tiles called "districts," which can be built on nearby tiles. A single city can thus sprawl over a considerable expanse of land, and even water!
Founding a City Edit
In order to Found a new city, you need a Settler unit. Each Settler may found one city, and is consumed in the process.
Cities must be founded on land (no water cities in Civilization VI!), on a valid, passable tile. Cities may be founded on top of Resources: the player will gain use of that resource (if it is Strategic or Luxury), and the resource's bonus yield will continue acting on the City Center tile. Any removable Terrain features, such as Woods. will be removed automatically (even if you don't have the necessary technology).
A city must be at least 4 tiles away from any other city (City Center, that is), including City-States. The special Settler Lens will help you determine which tiles are valid for settlement: red-color tiles there are too close to other cities and cannot be settled. The other colors are related to Water supply: dark green shows access to Fresh Water, light green shows coastal water, and gray means no water. You should try in most cases to settle on Dark green tiles, unless strategic reasons compel you not to.For more on suitable settling locations, check the 'Where to construct cities' section below.
When the 'Found city' Ability of the Settler is activated, a new city (or rather, a City Center District) is founded on this tile, with a Population of 1. All neutral tiles surrounding the city are claimed into your empire's territory. If there happens to be a Barbarian Outpost there, it is instantly destroyed (although you will still need to deal with its inhabitants); any Tribal Villages are activated and the bonuses acquired.
The yield of the city tile may change, so as to be at least 2 Food and 1 Production. If the city is on a Hill in Plains, it will have 1 more Production (due to the native yield of Plains Hill being 2 Production); note that this is not valid for Grassland Hills (whose native Production yield is 1)! If there are any Resources underneath (see above), their bonus yield will also work. Finally, every City Center comes with a Road, and if it happens to be next to a River - a Bridge (meaning that units will be able to cross the River without losing MPs). This is valid even before the Classical Era, when Bridges are added to normal Roads.
Cities contain the empire's population, represented by the entities known as Citizens. Cities normally begin with a population of 1 and grow based on available housing and food output. The size of the city determines the total workforce that can work the land surrounding the city. Additional districts may only be built once the population reaches a certain threshold.
As in previous games, the main population growth factor is Food. However, there are now additional factors determining how fast your city grows. If a city has a food surplus, its population will gradually increase, whereas a food deficit will cause its population to gradually decrease. That's why it's always important to consider the food resources in nearby terrain when founding a new city - these will allow it to grow fast and become more useful to your empire.
City growth is also controlled by Housing, a new concept in the game which represents the habitation and sanitation infrastructure of the city and puts an upper limit on how many Citizens the city is really able to support. Initially the amount of Housing available is strongly dependent on fresh water access - that's why the Water layer pops out every time a Settler unit is selected. When the city center is built on a tile with Fresh Water access, it receives a very high initial Housing value, and is able to support fast population growth. A medium bonus to Housing is also received if the city is built on the coast; in any other case there is no initial Housing Bonus. When the city grows, however, its Housing becomes mostly dependent on the existence of tile improvements, buildings and districts (that is, facilities inside the city which have no relation to nearby terrain).
Housing acts by putting an additional constraint on Population growth beyond food supply. A city which is close to (one Population less than), or at the Housing limit, will grow at -50% penalty; when it exceeds its Housing limit the growth slows by 75%, even if it has plenty of food. When a city has 2 more Population than it has Housing, it will stop growing altogether.
"Many buildings grant Housing. After researching Pottery, every city is able to build a Granary, which adds 2 Housing, and later they can build Sewers, which also adds 2 Housing. Buildings in other districts sometimes add Housing, such as the Barracks in the Encampment district, the University in the Campus, and the Lighthouse in the Harbor. The Palace building in your capital city also adds 1 Housing."
"Each Farm, Pasture, Plantation, or Camp supports a small amount of Population - 1 Housing for every 2 such improvements. Supporting rural Population in this fashion will allow for slightly larger Populations prior to the Industrial Era, when the Neighborhood district becomes available." -Civilopedia
The Amenities situation in the city may also affect Growth: having more Amenities than necessary boosts growth, while having less diminishes it. However, in practice the main constraint to growth remain Food and Housing.
To summarize: the final growth factor of a city's population depends not only on food (as in previous games), but also on Housing and available Amenities. You can always find a detailed description of all factors affecting population growth in the first City Details screen, along with practical advice on how to accelerate growth.
Citizens as a workforce Edit
As in previous games, the Citizens of a city also act as the basic workforce of your Empire. They may occupy the tiles around their city, working them and thus granting the city the yields these tiles currently have. If a tile isn't worked by a Citizen, its yield goes to waste, no matter how high it is. In Civilization VI non-worked Tile Improvements have visually different models, so you could tell at a glance which of them are worked, and which - not.
Note that District tiles (those tiles around your cities occupied by Districts) cannot be worked initially. After you construct certain buildings in the Districts, however, Citizen slots appear there, just as on regular tiles. The difference is that Citizens occupying District tiles are considered 'Specialists' and contribute specialized yields, based on the District type, and not related at all to the land yields of the tile. For example, Citizens working in a Holy Site District contribute Faith, while those working in a Theater Square District contribute Culture. Unlike in Civilization V, Specialists do not contribute Great Person Points - these are now reserved for the Districts themselves. Also, note that a single District may have up to three Specialist slots, where you could assign up to three Citizens at the same time, thus boosting considerably the special yields! Wonder tiles cannot be worked.
Using Citizens the right way, by working the right tiles in different stages of the game, might be the most important micro-managing decision you make. You should think carefully about what your city and your Empire need right now, and assign Citizens accordingly. Alternatively, you may use the checkpoints next to production yields in the city info tab to focus or un-focus production on certain types of yields - then the game will automatically reassign Citizens so as to maximize (or minimize) the respective stat for this city.
City Production Edit
In Civilization VI cities still have a single production queue (that is, they can only do one thing at a time). However, the production is not concentrated in the City Center anymore - many of its Districts now act as specialized production centers! For example, after you build an Encampment district, all land military units produced in that city will start appearing there, and not in the City Center (unless there is already a unit of the same type in the district, in which case the new one will appear in the City Center). The same is valid for the Harbor and Aerodrome districts, respectively for Sea and Air units.Note that Civilian and Support units will always appear in the City Center.
But what's more, in many cases production of certain units in a city becomes possible only if the city has a certain district! This is the case for Air units, which require an Aerodrome district, and for Religious units, which may only be purchased in a Holy Site district. Certain special Civilian units will also appear in Districts, for example the Archaeologist only appears in a Theater Square district with an Archaeological Museum.
And of course, as mentioned elsewhere, most Buildings can only be constructed in certain Districts; with some also requiring other buildings, for example the University requires a Library. Purchasing units with Gold or Faith also obeys the same restrictions.
The Production price of military units is fixed, although as we know they become obsolete, and their more modern versions have higher cost. The same is valid for support units. The Production cost of civilian units, however, scales up with each unit produced over time. This means that the same Builder you produce in the beginning of the game will cost much more towards the middle, when you have already had to produce (or Purchase, see below) several of them. It seems that Capturing enemy Civilians won't increase the price, though.
Purchasing is the ability to spend an accumulated resource ( Gold or Faith) to acquire instantly something in a city. Purchasing by either Gold or Faith has its own tabs, along with the Production queue. You may Purchase instantly two types of game elements:
- Buildings, from the City Center or any District, as long as they are unlocked (have their requirements fulfilled). Districts may not be Purchased. Buildings are usually Purchased with Gold, unless they are Religious buildings (such as the Temple), in which case they may also be Purchased with Faith. The only buildings that can't be Purchased at all are City defenses (such as the Ancient Walls) and, of course, Wonders. Purchased buildings appear in the relevant District right away, and start functioning.
- Units. Most units may be Purchased with Gold, with the exception of some special units such as the Spy. Some units may only be Purchased with Faith: this includes the three types of Religious units, and the Naturalist. If you are in the Theocracy government, you may also Purchase military units with Faith. Note that the cost of Purchasing Civilian units goes up with each unit Purchased, following the same scaling rules as with Producing them (this is valid for both gold and faith purchases)! So, as the game progresses and you keep Purchasing or Producing a certain type of unit (for example, a Builder), its cost will rise far above its Base value.
In general, the Gold cost of an item is 4x its current Production cost, while the Faith cost is 2x the Production. Discounts to Production costs applied by gameplay elements (such as Policies) do not affect the Purchasing costs. Note that in cities with Military Academy or Seaport you can also purchase Units as Armies/ Fleets, etc. however, their cost will be double the normal cost for Corps/Fleet, and triple for Army/Armada. In this case it is cheaper to Produce the units, since their Production cost receives a discount from the above-mentioned buildings, and comes out as less than double/triple.
Note that, in the case of unit purchases, the place where the unit will appear needs to be 'free' - that is, no other unit of the same type may be present there. So, for example, if you have a Builder in the City Center, and you try to Purchase another one, or a Settler (which is again a Civilian type of unit), you will be told that you can't do it. The same is valid for Military units, although they may have the additional option of appearing in an Encampment District.
The final type of production in a city are Projects - conceptual undertakings, which use the city production system, but don't pop up physical things, such as units or buildings. Instead, they provide different benefits!
Along with the usual Projects, related to the Space Race, or to developing nuclear capabilities, Civilization VI introduces a number of regular Projects, such as Holy Site Prayers, which are related to the Specialty Districts, and may only be undertaken if the city has these districts. These Projects run for a set number of turns, and when finished produce a large amount of some stats, and usually some specific Great Person points.
Territorial Expansion Edit
As in previous games, every city pushes your empire's territorial boundaries. At foundation, it annexes all tiles surrounding the City Center (which are still free). Further expansion is again controlled by the amount of Culture the city produces. Note that, barring exceptional circumstances, even newly founded cities now produce a small amount of Culture from their Population, and will thus grow their borders eventually.
You can visualize the next tile the city's territory will grow to by activating either the Citizen assignment, or the Tile Purchase option of the city command tab. The tile will be displayed in purple, and the number in it will show in how many turns the growth will occur.
Tiles may also be purchased with Gold. This is now done straight from the city options on the main screen. You may purchase any tile which is founded right next to the current boundaries of the city; the farther the tile is from a City Center, the more expensive it is. Unlike in Civilization V, Resources don't seem to affect the price of tiles. Again, you may only purchase tiles up to three away from any City Center - further tiles may only be annexed via normal Cultural expansion.
City Defenses Edit
Being a civilization's main manifestation, a city is always a target for military action. That's why it's also important to consider how a city can defend itself from enemies.
In Civilization VI early cities are quite weak, because they lack any defensive structures. Unlike in previous games, without defensive structures a city cannot use a Ranged Attack to damage invaders. It will still damage attacking units in retaliation to melee attacks, though.
But there are additional vulnerabilities to cities in Civilization VI: because their districts are now physically located on other tiles, cities may now become severely crippled by invading armies, even if they don't attack the City Center. Invaders now are able to pillage nearby districts, crippling other aspects of the city production, and setting an empire back even without taking its territory. Each time a Pillage action is triggered on a District tile, one Building in this district will be disabled; if there are no functioning buildings left, the District itself is disabled! Disabled buildings and districts have to be Repaired, using a special action in the city's Production queue. Repairing a whole District is quite expensive, while individual buildings take less time to fix.
For more information on city combat, head here.
Where to Construct Cities Edit
Cities should be constructed in locations with plenty of Food and Production and with access to Strategic, Luxury, and Bonus Resources. It is often a good idea to build a city on a River or coastal hex, as sources of water are very important to a growing Population. Cities constructed on Hills gain a defensive bonus, making it harder for enemies to capture them.
The exact location of the City Center shouldn't consider yields, just strategic access (and eventually, whether there is a Resources on it). This is because of the change in yield the city forces on the tile. In fact, the best possible yield for a City Center without a Resource on it is 2 Food, 2 Production, and this may only be obtained by settling on a Hill in Plains. For any other terrain, the yield will be 2 Food, 1 Production, even in Desert or Snow. In fact, you may find it worthwhile settling in such inhospitable terrain, as long as nearby tiles have better yields! This way you will practically force a tile without yield to acquire one, and still preserve better tiles for use by your Citizens. Normally, you should also leave tiles with Resources to be outside the center, because later you can build Improvements there and increase the yield. Settle on top of resources just in extreme cases, when other strategic factors warrant it.
Cities built on a Coastal tile will be able to build ships, once you've researched the right technologies. Cities built within 2 tiles of Coastal water, or a Lake, will be able to construct a Harbor District (once their borders have grown to the water tile), and then they too may build ships. Any civilization which wishes to develop seafaring must have at least one city with conditions to build ships.Civilizations which have special sea-oriented Abilities, such as the Norwegian and English should consider settling cities on the Coast a priority.
With a Settler selected, ideal city locations will be shown on the map with an icon. Additionally, every Settler will show the Settler Lens (for the first settler, you can activate it with the filter button on the top of the minimap), giving you an idea of where on the map will provide the best source of water for your city, and indicating unavailable tiles.
Choosing the exact location for a city is actually so complex that it almost amounts to an art. With all of the above recommendations, there are still a ton of other factors to consider: location in respect to your other cities, in respect with rival civilizations, nearness of Resources, etc. etc. It is only after you acquire experience playing the game that you will be able to place your cities in the best locations strategically.
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