The Envoy is a representative of your civilization that can be sent to city-states that you've met. It is the focus of the brand new City-State Influence system in Civilization VI, which is suited to all the major changes which happened in this aspect of the game.
After earning an Envoy, you will receive a prompt to choose which city-state to send it to. If you have multiple Envoys, you may divide them between city-states as you wish. Or you can stockpile them, if you wish, and not send them anywhere for now (for example, if there is no particular city-state you'd like to befriend right now, and you are expecting to meet new ones soon).
The bonuses you earn from a city-state depend on how many Envoys you have sent to the city-state. One bonus is earned for having 1 Envoy, the next bonus is at 3 Envoys, and the final bonus is at 6 Envoys. The civilization with the most Envoys on a city-state, and at least 3 Envoys, is considered that city-state's Suzerain, which gives additional bonuses.
Declaring war directly on a city-state removes all Envoys you had there. Otherwise, Envoys stay on the city-state permanently. Envoys at a city-state are visible to all players, and placing them may have diplomatic consequences. The bonuses earned are based on how many Envoys you have present, regardless of who else has Envoys there. City-states of a type all share the same type of bonuses. They are cumulative, so that as a player places more and more Envoys on a city-state, they stack with the bonuses from before.
- Governmental influence generates Envoys over time. Check here for more information.
- Additionally, the government Monarchy grants a 20% bonus to your influence generation, +1% every ten turns on Standard speed (or, in Rise and Fall, a flat 50% bonus). The diplomatic policy card Charismatic Leader grants +2 influence per turn. This gets replaced by Gunboat Diplomacy that ups it to +4 per turn.
- Being the first to meet a city-state grants one Envoy.
- Completing city-state quests grants one Envoy.
- The diplomatic policy card Diplomatic League doubles your first Envoy to a city state. To min-max this, you can store up Envoys until you have met a certain number of city-states, then activate the card and get the bonus for each one, and then deactivate the card since it no longer gives benefit.
- The diplomatic policy card Containment doubles Envoys to City-States whose Suzerain has a different government. This could be min-maxed in a similar way to Diplomatic League; just remember that you lose the bonus once you become Suzerain.
- Some Great General retirement and Great Merchants' powers provide Envoys.
- Building the Apadana will grant 2 Envoys once it is finished. 2 Envoys will also be granted anytime a Wonder is built in the same city.