Diplomacy is important in Civilization V. The world is huge and filled with other civilizations whose leaders are just as cunning and determined as you are (or more). Some are honest; others are liars. Some are warlike and others prefer peace. But all want to win.
You can accomplish a lot through diplomacy. You can gain allies and isolate your enemies. You can create defensive and offensive pacts. You can increase your technology through cooperative research ventures. You can end wars that are going badly for you. You can bluff the credulous and bully the timid.
And, finally, if you make enough allies, you can achieve a Diplomatic Victory!
Diplomacy may be conducted throughout the game, with all entities you've already discovered in the world. All of those will appear in the list in your Diplomatic screen. When you first discover a City-state, they will give you a small Gold gift.
Diplomatic contacts may be initiated by you, or by the AI (during their turn). You can talk to leaders even if you're at war with them, albeit only to try and negotiate peace.
Negotiations with civilizations are possible from the start. However, certain high-level actions (such as signing treaties) will only become possible after certain Technologies have been researched. Also, in Gods & Kings, most treaties (except a Declaration of Friendship) may only be signed after you establish Embassies in each other's capitals. This becomes possible after discovering Writing, and is usually quite easy. You need the other nation to consent (also, if they ask you, you need to consent), and it's usual for the two countries to simply exchange Embassies. Or, you may offer them (or they can offer you) a small gift of Gold in exchange for the right to establish an Embassy.
After you open an Embassy, the location of the other nation's capital is revealed on the map (but you don't gain permanent vision of it, that only happens if you send a Spy or a Diplomat there)..
Note that Embassies are closed when you enter a war with each other, and later have to be reopened with another agreement.
Diplomatic relations are pretty straightforward, and depend entirely on your amount of influence with the particular City-state. They will often approach you with 'missions', if your influence with them is at least Neutral. You, on the other hand, may attempt to bribe them with Gifts, bully them, or you may decide to Declare War to them. For more information and details - check the City-state article.
There's only one catch really when City-states are concerned, and that's the fact that if you're at war with their Patron (ally), any peace negotiations with the City-state becomes impossible. If you want peace, you'll need first to make peace with their Patron (and usually peace with City-state allies is included in the peace treaty already). An interesting situation, however, may arise due to the fact that Influence with City-States may change even while you're at war with them (under certain circumstances). For example, they may gain another Patron, different from the nation you're at war with - Peace will then become immediately possible.
Diplomatic relations with other civilizationsEdit
Diplomacy with other civs is not as easy as with city-states, because they don't depend simply on a scale of influence - they have their own agenda. A civilization may decide to attack you without any warning, even though they're friendly with you!
Unlike City-state influence, relations with civilizations depend entirely on gameplay action, and don't decay naturally. To find out more about what's currently influencing relations with a particular nation, mouse over the Relationship status word on the Diplomacy screen - you'll see a series of effects, some in green (positive), others in red (negative).
Levels of relationsEdit
Unlike the neat scale of city-state influence, relations to civilizations are represented by several broad levels:
- Neutral - They are neither friendly, nor hostile. Negotiations will be relatively easy.
- Friendly - They are well disposed towards you, and you may hope to take advantage of that in negotiations.
- Guarded - They are wary of you and your intentions and, as such, negotiations will be more difficult.
- Hostile - They are angry with you, and very willing to declare war on you. Negotiations will be almost impossible.
- Afraid - They are fearing your military presence or your victory progress. Since they will often comply to giving you anything you want, negotiations should be very easy.
What influences relationsEdit
Relations with a nation will improve in these cases:
- Acts of goodwill - If you perform any of these, relations will tend to improve. Such acts include freeing a slave (any Civilian unit) belonging to them, sharing a hostile plot of a third party (acquired via spying), gifting resource or Gold (many times they'll simply ask for that, and if you grant their request, relations will improve). Liberating a city belonging to them will give a huge boost in relations, of course.
- Declaring Friendship to a civilization they're friends with
- Fighting a common enemy - Sometimes, they will ask your cooperation in a war they intend to start, for if you agree to fight alongside them, relations will improve.
- Denouncing a common enemy
- Fulfilling promises - Often in diplomatic contacts, they require some sort of promise of you (for example not to settle near their territory, or to stop spying on them). If you promise something, and fulfil your promise, you're showing that you can be trusted.
- Trading - Every time you strike a deal with a civilization, relations improve a little.
- Sharing Religion - If most of their cities share your Religion, you get closer.
- Ideology - If you share a common late-game Ideology, you get closer.
Relations with a nation will worsen in these cases:
- Acts of bad will - This may include denouncing them, bullying city-states they're pledging to protect, stealing their technologies, and being caught attempting to do it.
- Common borders - If you share border with a civilization, or own lands they have their eye on, your interests will conflict. Relations may drop, and the other nation may contemplate treachery and sudden wars, aimed at seizing territory and resources. The effect is more severe the longer the common border.
- Settling cities near other nations' territory - They will consider that to be a provocation, and ask you to cease doing it.
- Becoming friendly with a civilization they're hostile towards
- Being denounced - If you are being denounced, you will then be regarded as a common enemy, as other people will have already known what bad wills you've done.
- Breaking promises - For example, promising to start a war together, asking for some time, then when the time to start comes - you say you're reconsidered. Or any other of the above examples.
- Building a Wonder before them tends to irritate them.
- Competing for the same City-state's influence
- Ideology - Following an Ideology different from theirs will result in drifting apart.
Sometimes game actions may result in what we call in the real world a 'Diplomatic Incident'. They will prompt a confrontation with the other nation, and you will have a choice to make. If you're the perpetrator, they'll protest, and you can appease them, or defy them. If they're the perpetrator, you may choose to overlook the incident, or promise satisfaction. The outcome for relations in both cases is obvious.
The most common diplomatic incidents are when spies are discovered while acting, and when a City-state under protection has been bullied. Note that in the second case, if they're the perpetrator, you can choose to apologize them (preserving relationships with the civilization) and lose influence with the City-state (also revoking the protection), OR you may say "You'll pay for this in time", consequently damaging relations with the civilization, but not the City-state.
You can perform a wide array of diplomatic actions, many of these are quite practical, like trading, but some - purely diplomatic, like Declarations, Demands, etc.
One of the most common interactions. You can set up trade agreements with any nation you're not at war with. All trade agreements last for a period of 30 turns, after which they need to be renewed.
You can trade Strategic and Luxury Resources for Gold, or for other resources. Depending on the level of relations between you, they may agree or not to more beneficial trade conditions. A typical example is when you sell to them a Luxury resource - if they're Neutral, they'll give you not more than 5 Gold per turn (GPT); if they're Friendly, they may give you as much as 7 GPT; if they're Guarded - not more than 4 GPT. An interesting quirck of the Fall patch is that if you're not Friendly with a nation, you can't exchange one-time quantities, just per-turn payments.
Have in mind that when you try to buy a Luxury they have only one count of, they'll require a lot in return. Else, if they have more than one count, they would often agree for a single count of another Luxury in return.
Cities may also be 'traded' between nations. Note, however, that a nation will part with a city only with great reluctance - you either have to press them with your military power, or offer cities in return. If you acquire a city via diplomacy, the same rules apply as if you conquered it (without the whole mess of war, losing troops and killing part of the city's Population).
Trading is of vital importance in the game. Your empire can't usually become so strong economically as to be completely self-sufficient, and will always need to exchange goods with other nations. Most benefit from trade comes in the form of Gold from selling your excess Luxuries, and additional Happiness from buying Luxuries you have no access to currently. Strategic resources that you're lacking are also a very important trade item.
Trading Delegates in the World CongressEdit
In Brave New World, the World Congress becomes an important tool allowing significant changes to the gameplay environment. Diplomats, assigned into other civilizations' capitals allow you to attempt a trade of influence during voting. This resembles any other trade - you will need to offer something in exchange for the votes of the other nation's Delegates in the upcoming Congress session. If they agree, their Delegates will support whatever you choose them to support, thus adding additional weight in the voting. The chances for a successful trade increase with the usual bonuses.
If you want to get closer with the other civilization, you may invite them to make a joint Declaration of Friendship. Or they may invite you. Such declaration is obviously only possible if your relations are already at least Neutral, possibly Friendly.
The first result, besides improved relations, will be that other nations they're friendly with will draw closer to you, while other they're hostile with will drift apart.
The second result is that the other nation will become more open to satisfying any demands you make of them. Use that to your advantage.
Finally, Research Agreements become possible between you and the other nation.
You may make many demands of another nation. Whether or not they comply will depend on relations:
- Demand resources, Gold or cities
- Demand that they stop settling near your territory
- Demand that they stop spying on you
- Demand that they stop spreading their religion to your cities
Other nations, on their turn, may also demand stuff from you. Note that if you promise something, for example not to settle near them, and later break the promise, relations between you will worsen.
You may publicly denounce another civilization, stating for the entire diplomatic society to hear that they're a bad person and everyone shouldn't trust them. A denunciation will immediately worsen relations with the nation you've denounced, and also with their friends. At the same time, it may improve relations with other nations that aren't on good terms with the denounced nation.
When another nation denounces you, other leaders will become more wary of you for a time. This may result in a drop in relations, although it's usually not enough on its own to lead to such nasty things like wars. However, it will often not change a Friendly civ's view of you.
After you research certain technologies, and open an Embassy in the other nation, you'll be able to conduct advanced diplomatic activities, known as signing Treaties. All of them are beneficial for you, and getting the other nation to accept them will depend on relations.
This is the first treaty you can sign, available as soon as you research the Civil Service technology. When signed, you and the other nation open each other's borders. From there on, military and civilian units will be able to freely move through the others' territory, and actually use it as their own territory, which means you/they can use the road network for fast movement, and that your/their units may heal in that territory as if it were your own. Also, in Brave New World, this treaty confers a bonus to Tourism spread between your neighbors.
A very important diplomatic agreement, the Open Borders is actually the most commonly signed treaty in the game.
It is possible for this treaty to be one-sided (i.e. only one nation to grant access to the other to their territory), but this only happens in extreme circumstances.
You must first research the Chivalry technology before you may sign this pact. When you enter such a pact, the nation you're making a pact with effectively becomes your ally. Whenever one of the nations under a defensive pact enter a war, the other one automatically enters the war as well, on the side of their ally. All allied City-states also enter the war on the relevant sides.
Obviously, signing a Defensive Pact with a powerful nation can make enemies think twice before attacking you (since this will automatically put them in war with another nation). However, it's pretty difficult to get a nation to agree to signing this Treaty. Also, be wary when signing with a less powerful nation - they may get you into wars you never intended!
This treaty becomes possible after researching Education, and while you are declaring Friendship with a nation. You can then decide to enter into a Research Agreement with them - a process when scientists from both nations get together and start working on a common project, exchanging experience and information.
To start the agreement, both nations need to expend some Gold to fund the research. The quantity starts at 250 Gold and increases the more you advance in Eras. The Agreement is complete after a set amount of turns, at which point both nations get an instant boost in Research, which apply to their current project. The bonus is calculated as 50% of the median Science value for all of the technologies the player can currently research. If the bonus is enough to complete the current research project, and there are points left, they will apply to a random technology you haven't researched yet. The bonus can be increased by adopting the Rationalism Policy tree, or by building the Porcelain Tower Wonder.
Note that if you declare war on each other, the agreement will get cancelled, and your Gold investment will be gone! The same will happen if your research partner gets wiped out in the meantime.
Research agreements are a great way to boost your technological advancement, especially if your civilization isn't very good at that. However, be mindful that the other civilization will also get a boost - if they're well under way to a Science victory, entering a Research agreement with them might not be such a good idea.
War and peaceEdit
War is an integral part of the game, and nothing to get excited about. You just array your troops and fight. Note that when declaring war, all allies of the sides automatically enter the war as well. Also, if one of the sides make new allies when the war is already under way, the new allies also enter the war immediately. All Trade agreements and Treaties between the sides at the time are cancelled automatically.
More interesting is the way you Negotiate Peace, and here are some observations about that.
First of all, peace depends on the two sides' will to continue fighting. If you have started the war and decide that you've achieved enough, you may offer peace to the other side. If they have started and think that they've achieved enough - they may offer you peace. Also, if in any case a side thinks the war isn't going well for it, they may sue for peace. That may often prove impossible - if you sue for peace and they believe they're winning the war, or that they haven't achieved their goals yet, they will refuse to even attempt peace negotiations.
Peace negotiations are a lot like trading, where the two sides attempt to reach a mutual agreement to end the hostilities. The crucial factor is who's winning, and how badly is the other side losing. The worse the situation, the more they'll be prepared to offer, or in the other case, the more they'll demand from you to end the war. Cities are often part of peace negotiations, and the most likely scenario when a nation will agree to part with them.
When a Peace Treaty is signed, all units are expelled immediately from the other country's territory (unless an Open Borders agreement is part of the treaty), and any cities that were traded away become part of their new owners' territory. A Peace Treaty lasts for 10 turns, and during the treaty the two sides may not Declare War on each other.
In the Brave New World expansion, diplomacy goes to a whole new level - an international multilateral cooperation and contest in which all civilizations and city-states take part together. This is done in a new entity - the World Congress, which is convened once a civilization discovers all other civilizations, and researches Printing Press. Because of the complexity of the new gameplay concept, it is being described in other articles, links to which you can find in the beginning of this one.