Diplomacy is the art of making relations with other civilizations in Civilization VI. Having been overhauled from past games, Diplomacy is a mechanic that evolves as eras pass, starting with periods of near constant warfare in ancient times, to more civil interactions in the mid-to-late game.
Upon first meeting a rival civilization, it may be possible to exchange knowledge of each other's Capitals. When the player's borders are discovered by another civilization, the player is given the option of revealing a nearby city. If the player discovers another civilization's borders, the other civilization may offer to show their nearby city. If two players' units discover each other, they may agree to reveal both civilizations' Capitals.
There are many possible interactions with foreign civilizations - peaceful and ... not that peaceful. Most of the possibilities are locked in the beginning of the game, and become available as you develop your Civic culture. Also, many of these depend on the current relationship status you have with the other civilization. Open the Diplomacy screen to check what options you have available currently. We will describe each one in detail below.
Diplomatic Visibility Edit
A new addition to Civilization VI, Visibility is the amount of information you are currently able to obtain about the other civilization. For example, at the first level (None) you don't know anything about them, not even their agenda, or what exactly influences your relationship. Visibility may progress through the levels Limited, Open, Secret, and Top Secret. With higher levels of Visibility, you will start receiving frequent updates (maybe even every turn!) on exactly what they are doing, down to building something in one of their cities! When you click on the "Access level" button, you will see in the bottom part of the UI a breakdown of all active factors currently contributing to Visibility. You will also see what kind of info you share on this level, and what you may expect to see in the next level of visibility.
- Sending a Trade Delegation or Establishing an Embassy. (These two are not cumulative!)
- Having a Trade Route with them.
- Being Allies.
- Having a Spy create a Listening Post in one of their cities. This action does not stack with being Allies. (Unlike in the real world, you don't spy on your Allies!)
- Research Printing technology. This automatically gives you one level of Visibility with all nations!
Players can, for a fee, send delegates to rival civilizations, boosting relations a bit and increasing diplomatic visibility. Note that, once sent, the Delegation remains there permanently. However, it is also possible that the foreign leader may refuse to accept your delegation - this will surely happen if your relationship is worse than Neutral.
Once the Diplomatic Service Civic is developed, Delegations are replaced with Resident Embassies. An Embassy is practically the same thing as a Trade Delegation, just more modern - its effect is to improve relations a bit and give you a level of Visibility.
You will have to Establish an Embassy with each leader, regardless of whether you already had a Delegation with them, and the conditions are the same. In other words, if your relationship worsened in the meantime, you may not be able to Establish the Embassy.
Note that if any of the two parties Denounces the other, Embassies and Delegations are expelled from the respective Capitals, in a sign of diplomatic reprisal. They will have to be re-established again when relations improve. The same happens if you Declare War on each other.
Declaring Friendship Edit
When you, or another leader, feels that your relationship is on a solid, good footing, one of you may request to Declare Friendship. Usually this is only possible if you have Friendly relations with the leader. After declaring Friendship, your Relationship Status will change. Note that no Civic research is needed to declare friendships - this is possible from the very start of the game.
The most frequent (and maybe the most important) interaction you will have with foreign leaders is trading. You may always trade, except when you are at war with them.
The success of the trade, however, and what they are willing to give you for something, depends a lot on your relationship. Generally, the better the relationship, the more chance you have to get a favorable trade, or to get the other leader to agree to an important diplomatic step.
You may trade almost anything in the game, including Gold (either lump sums or payments per turn), Strategic and Luxury Resources, Great Works, and even cities! Finally, the different types of diplomatic agreements are found here, since it is a sort of trade to reach an agreement with the other leader.
You may combine many items of different types when attempting a deal. Whenever the green "Accept Deal" button appears, the other leader is ready to seal the deal!
You may also offer items without demanding anything in return - when this happens, the green button will turn to "Give Gift", and you will offer these items for free. If the leader accepts (yes, it is possible that he may not accept if your relationship is very bad!), you will receive a positive relationship modifier.
Relationships between civilizations are always complex, governed not only by objective factors (such as what you are doing in the game), but also by subjective goals of each foreign leader, called "agendas." The current state of relationship with each civilization will be marked visually by icons on their leader's portrait in the upper right part of the UI. Or, you can always open the Diplomacy screen with them, and click the Our Relationship button for a complete breakdown.
Status Levels Edit
- Allies: When in an Alliance with a leader, you may not declare war on each other, cannot Denounce each other, you automatically share Open Borders, you may make Research Agreements and Defensive Pacts, and deals you make with each other are likely to be very favorable. The Alliance icon (flags) appears on the leader's Portrait.
- Declared Friend: When you choose to declare your friendship with a leader, you may not declare war on each other, you cannot Denounce each other, you may make Research Agreements, and deals you make with each other will be more favorable. This relationship state is required to make an Alliance. The smiley on the leader's portrait becomes teal.
- Friendly: This means the leader thinks positively of you, and you have a better chance of getting favorable deals with them. There is a green smiley on the leader's portrait.
- Neutral: You have done nothing to upset or impress the leader, and your interactions with them will be standard. The leader's portrait has no icons whatsoever. No icon on the leader's portrait.
- Unfriendly: For some reason, you have done something to upset this leader, and deals with them will likely by unfavorable for you, or you can choose to make demands of them. A yellow sad smiley appears on the leader's portrait.
- Denounced: This leader has let the other leaders in the world know that you have done something to offend them. Your deals with them will be unfavorable if they will make them at all, but you can declare a Formal War against them and make demands. You cannot have Open Borders with a nation you have denounced and vice versa. The sad smiley on the leader's portrait becomes red.
- At War: Open hostilities have broken out between you two, and you can attack or invade this leader, but you will accrue warmongering and war weariness penalties. The War icon (crossed swords) appears on the leader's portrait.
Improving relationships Edit
Here is a list of the factors which improve relationship between countries:
- Do a favorable first impression (currently we don't know how exactly this works; also the effect eventually wears off)
- Send a delegation or establish an embassy
- Offer a favorable trade. Making gifts is also included here.
- Establish a Trade Route.
- Grant Open Borders..
- Satisfy their agendas.
- Fulfil a diplomatic promise you made to them. This has to arise from a gameplay situation, where the other leader will ask you something (for example not to settle near their borders). You have to agree, and then spend many turns abstaining from this activity - eventually you will receive a notification that you have fulfilled your promise, and get a diplomatic boost.
- Fight a common enemy. It's not clear if you have to explicitly do this through a Joint War, or it will work if both of you happen to Declare War on the same third party.
- Declare Friendship.
- Make an Alliance with them.
What worsens relationships Edit
And these will impact relationships negatively:
- Do an unfavorable first impression (currently we don't know how exactly this works; also the effect eventually wears off)
- Go against one of their agendas.
- Declare War. This negative effect will dissipate eventually, after you make peace.
- Occupy one of their cities. Unlike the above, this effect will never dissipate while you continue occupying any city of theirs.
- Warmongering. Acquiring a warmonger penalty of any kind will result in this. Note that leaders with the 'Darwinist' agenda will completely ignore Warmongering, and so will leaders with some other specific agendas, such as Gorgo (which quite likes war).
- Move persistently military units near their borders. Even though you don't 'break in', this is seen as an aggressive move.
- Denouncing. You will get a negative reaction both when you Denounce them, and when they Denounce you.
- Break a diplomatic promise you made. Just like the opposite situation, but this time you will engage in the same activity and thus break the promise you made to the other leader.
- Refuse to make a promise. Again, this requires a gameplay situation where the other leader will ask you to promise not to do something. This time you will refuse to comply.
- Perform an espionage mission against them, and get caught.
- Convert their Holy City.
- Main article: Agenda (Civ6)
All AI-controlled rivals are governed by an agenda, which affects how they view other civilizations. Each leader has a set agenda based on their historical traits, which affects their opinions and playstyles.
When you have an unfriendly relationship with a nation, you may demand stuff from them. This may be described as a ruder, more one-sided trade, where you select the items you wish from them without offering anything in return. If you are much stronger than they are militarily, there is a good chance they will grant your request, at the expense of additional worsening of your relationship.
You cannot make demands of Declared Friends or Allies.
On the other hand, you may politely request another nation to change their practices towards you after you discover that they are doing something they don't like, such as spying on you or converting your cities to their Religion. After clicking the Discuss button, you may select the request you wish to make, and hope that they will agree to grant it. If they do, you may expect the behavior to cease, and if it doesn't you will gain a special Casus Belli against them!
When you (or they) are fed up with someone, you may make the extreme diplomatic step of denouncing them. This will immediately worsen relations with the denounced party, and block a number of diplomatic steps you may take. Trade Delegations and Embassies from both Capitals are expelled. However, 5 turns later, you will gain the Formal War Casus Belli against them!
You cannot denounce Declared Friends or Allies - you will have to wait until these states expire.
Use denouncing when you prepare to go to war with someone you have no other Casus Belli against. Otherwise, denouncing brings more harm than good, unless you don't care much about what they think of you, of course.
Denouncing also has a duration of 30 turns, after which its effect expires.
Diplomatic Agreements Edit
There are a number of Agreements that leaders may enter into. All of them have limited duration of 30 turns, after which they have to be renewed. Different types of Agreements become available with Civic research, and will be described below. As mentioned above, sealing Agreements is much like making a trade deal, and will depend a lot on your relationship with the other nation.
Open Borders Edit
After developing the Early Empire Civic your nation becomes more careful about who passes their borders, and starts patrolling them regularly, and throwing out invaders. At the same time, your government understands the importance of access to others' territory, and gains the ability to grant Open Borders to others.
Open Borders allows units to enter the territory of the nation which granted access via this treaty. They may also use the Road network there as if it were their own, and heal with accelerated rate.
Open Borders may be requested, or granted, as part of a Trade deal. Note that both actions are separate! That means that if you grant someone Open Borders, he or she won't necessarily grant you Open Borders in return. Granting Open Borders without requesting anything in return is a nice way to improve relations.
Joint War Edit
This is in fact the first diplomatic agreement that becomes available after developing Foreign Trade Civic. After all, it is most important to secure partners when you go conquer your neighbors!
When a Joint War is proposed you have to select a third party which will be the target of the war. If the other nation agrees, both will immediately Declare Surprise war against that third party.
The highest form of "friendship" between two nations becomes possible after developing the Civil Service Civic.However, you can only enter an Alliance with a nation you're Declared Friends with.
As Allies, you share automatically Open Borders, and you may make Research Agreements and Defensive Pacts. (Note that you will not automatically declare war against a third party without a Defensive Pact!). Of course, you cannot take hostile action against an Ally.
Defensive Pact Edit
In the latest stages of the game, after developing Mobilization, it becomes possible for Allied players to extend their cooperation to the military sphere. After signing a Defensive Pact, both allies will automatically enter war with a third party which Declares war on any of them!
This deal is a great way for players who are weaker militarily, but have a powerful ally, to defend themselves.
Research Agreement Edit
This deal becomes possible after researching Scientific Theory. After that, two nations who are either Declared Friends or Allies may enter into a Research Agreement and work together towards a particular technology which you both have unlocked, but neither has acquired yet. After a set amount of turns (which depends on their combined Science output), both players will discover the tech. However, if any of them discovers it beforehand for whatever reason, the other will immediately gain it as well.
Research Agreements are particularly lucrative for a player who lags behind technologically, but has befriended or is Allies with another, more technologically advanced nation.
While an existing Research Agreement is in place, you may not start another one! So, think carefully about which technology you want to get when making the agreement.
And, as usual in a Civilization game, war can be declared, guns will start firing, cities will start burning and the innocent will cry for the greed and ambition of their leaders! If they are alive, that is.
Unlike in vanilla Civilization V, attitudes towards warmongering change through the eras. Warmongering is defined via points, which accumulate with foreign leaders each time you do something warlike. The base points for such actions increase with each passing era: in the Ancient Era, the warmongering penalty is non-existent, and does not become significant until the Renaissance Era. After that, warmongering becomes a real diplomatic pain in the butt.
After you stop your wars, accumulated penalties will slowly decline, until they disappear altogether...unless, of course, you do something to renew them.
Note that warmongering penalties don't seem to accumulate equally with all leaders. For example, leaders you haven't met yet will be much more forgiving about your past wars.
But Civilization is not a pacifist game, and it is possible for players to wage war without irritating other leaders too much. The way to do this are the revolutionary Casus Belli, causes which justify wars in the eyes of others. For more on them, continue reading.
A "surprise war" is any declaration of war without any attached casus belli. Until the mid-game, this is the only form of warfare possible and will not incur as many diplomatic penalties. After all, leaders are more worried about forming their empires and battling the filthy Barbarians than about what nations their neighbors are conquering currently. In later eras, diplomacy becomes a much more sophisticated and civilized affair, and declaring war without a casus belli will be frowned upon and will result in progressively higher penalties.
- Main article: Casus Belli (Civ6)
Casus Belli can be used to declare justified wars, which decreases the diplomatic penalties based on how "just" the war is. After the Medieval Era you should use Casus Belli as much as possible, or you risk accumulating huge Warmonger penalties with all players.
There are many different Casus Belli, each of which unlocks with Civic development.
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