A disgruntled citizen is a drone, shown as red in the base menu, instead of their usual image. If even one citizen is still a drone when the next turn starts, whatever base they are in has a "drone riot" and shuts down completely until you fix the problem, then it turns back to normal the following turn. Drones are caused by the base's psyche (called happiness in previous Civilization games) dropping too low.

If a base is left to riot long enough, and the faction Free Drones is in the game, they might switch over to that faction.

You can nerve staple rioting drones, to force them back to work, but this counts as an Atrocity and causes other factions to impose economic sanctions against you. It also leaves them more vulnerable to mind control by attacking probe teams, and in time they can become resistant to nerve stapling if it used too often.


  • Every unskilled worker currently being made to work will produce a negative effect on psyche.
  • Having military bases away from home for a long time can also have a negative affect on psyche.
  • Enemy probe teams can hit a base and cause a drone riot at times.
  • Bases which are conquered will have additional drones for a certain number of turns. Then the artwork for that captured base, is changed to the artwork for your faction's bases, and they are no longer disgruntled conquered subjects but instead normal citizens.


There are various things you can do in order to prevent hard working citizens from becoming unruly drones.

  • Build base facilities such as Recreation Commons.
  • Switch some citizen from workers to something else. Doctors, empaths, or transcended all provided extra psyche to help even more so.
  • Have military units in base to act as police units. The number of units you can use for police force per base is determined by your Social Engineering choices, as well as certain Secret Projects. The Gaians and Cult of Planet have such a reverence for native life , than each mind worm counts as two police units. There is also a technology which once researched, will allow you to build units with twice their normal police powers(doesn't work on native lifeforms of course).
  • Certain Secret Projects lower the number of drones per base, or prevent anyone from turning into a drone all together.
  • In your social engineering menu you can direct more of the base's energy production to psyche.

To determine if you are going to have a drone riot, you can cycle through all of your bases, and check to see if any citizens are showing red, or if your growth indicates you are about to have a population increase. If this is the case then you can check to see if you have enough facilities and police units on hand to prevent a drone riot. It is much simpler at times to save your game each turn, and just reload if there was a riot, and change things according. The messages listing what bases have had riots, will continue to be in your message box even when you reload to the previous turn before that happened. This allows you to easily tell which bases are going to be a problem, and with a click on the message, you can go to that base to make changes.