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Loyalty is a feature added to Civilization VI in the Rise and Fall expansion pack. It represents the political alignment of a city and how much political control its current owner has over it. Loyalty introduces a new way in the game to change borders without military conquest.

Mechanics Edit

Loyalty applies to each city of each civilization individually and represents how much political control that nation has over the population of the city. It is expressed by a score from 0 to 100, which changes each turn according to a number of factors:

  • Citizen6 Citizen Loyalty pressure from within the city. Each citizen exerts some positive pressure, with the exact amount changing according to the Age the empire is currently in.
  • Positive Loyalty pressure from other national cities within 9 tiles.
  • Negative Loyalty pressure from external cities within 9 tiles.
  • Amenities6 Amenities (Happiness level) in the city.
  • Following a religion while being a founder of one.
  • A Governor being present in the city vastly increases Loyalty.
  • Occupied cities have a Loyalty penalty (which may be negated by keeping a unit garrisoned in it).
  • Additional factors, such as Policy Cards or City Projects (Bread and Circuses from a nearby Entertainment Complex or Water Park), can also affect Loyalty temporarily.

Each turn, all the above factors are combined to raise or lower the Loyalty score of the city.

Loyalty states Edit

The current Loyalty of a city is described by several stages with relevant gameplay effects:

  • Loyal (76-100): no penalties
  • Wavering Loyalty (51-75): 75% Citizen6 Population growth, -25% to all yields
  • Disloyal (26-50): 25% Citizen6 Population growth, -50% to all yields
  • Unrest (0-25): no Citizen6 Population growth, -100% to all yields

Thus low Loyalty, even without falling further, will still cripple a city's development! You should try your utmost not to let Loyalty fall below 26.

If a city's Loyalty reaches 0 or less, it will rebel and break off peacefully from the empire which created it, turning into a "Free City."

Loyalty Pressure Edit

Low Loyalty City (Civ6)

Valladolid has low Loyalty and is about to revolt against Scotland.

The Loyalty score of each city exerts pressure on all other non-city-state cities within 9 tiles, similarly to religious pressure. However, the amount of pressure from Loyalty diminishes by 10% per tile, so its strength will be only 10% at the edge of the influence zone. In other words:

The farther you go from the core of your empire, the less Loyalty pressure will be exerted, both on your own and on foreign cities.

That makes it increasingly difficult to maintain the Loyalty of cities which are far from the relative center of your nation. Conversely, it will make it easier for you to "flip" cities of other nations which have been founded in "your" lands.

The combination of the Citizen Loyalty pressure, both from the city and from neighbor cities, is capped at ±20. In other words, even if nearby cities have enough Citizen6 Citizens to exert more than 20 points of pressure, the final effect won't exceed 20 or -20. Other factors (Happiness, religion, etc.), however, will still build upon this pressure, potentially bringing the result well over 20.

There is a special case which occurs when a city someone just conquered becomes the reason for an Emergency (a 'Free this city' - type of mission). To ensure that this city remains owned by the actual target of the emergency, and not flip before its end, it will receive an extra 20 points of Loyalty for the duration of the Emergency. Of course, military conquest will result in ending the Emergency itself, and cancel these points.

City-States and Loyalty Edit

City-States are a special case within the Loyalty pressure system, in that that they are practically excluded from it. They have a special extra loyalty feat which ensures that they can resist even the most powerful pressure from nearby civilizations. So, despite the new Loyalty mechanic, City-States remain always independent and loyal only to themselves (until conquered by someone, of course).

Loyalty lens Edit

The special Loyalty lens helps you visualize all Loyalty pressure straight on the map. Bring it up from the Lens menu, or by pressing 8 on the keyboard. You will see arrows around each city which is experiencing Loyalty pressure, coming from the direction of the cities exerting the pressure. Each arrow's color matches the color of the nation the city belongs to, and the thickness of the arrows represents the strength of the pressure coming from the relevant city (the thicker the arrow, the stronger the pressure).

Additionally, under each city banner you will see a tab displaying the current Loyalty score: a bar in this tab will be filled with either green (which stands for "Loyal"), or red ("Independence"). If the Loyalty score of the city is lower than 100 you will see both colors and you should start paying attention! Click on the tab to bring out a detailed breakdown of the different groups of factors affecting Loyalty - this will make it clear what influences the city negatively, causing its Loyalty to slide. Additionally, if a city is losing Loyalty, you will see a big red fist flashing under it - the symbol of Independence.

Of course, in the City Details tab you may see even more detailed information about current factors affecting Loyalty.

Free Cities Edit

Free City under Pressure (Civ6)

Rotterdam has become a Free City and is about to join the Cree, to whom it has the most Loyalty.

Once a city's Loyalty score goes down to 0, it will declare independence, ripping itself away from its mother nation and becoming a Free City. Unlike a city-state, a Free City doesn't have a strong national identity, and is basically the local governors of the city becoming fed up with central government and deciding to have a (not that successful) crack at independence. Consequently, their functioning is quite limited.

Free Cities' colors are black and dark red, and just like Barbarians they are always hostile toward (i.e. at war with) other civilizations. This means that they have Open Borders with all civs, but will attack any units that come near their territory.

Free Cities are like city-states in that they don't compete to win the game, but they are different in everything else. They cannot be negotiated with (and for example attracted as Allies for wars), they are not valid destinations for TradeRoute6 Trade Routes, and they do not provide any other benefits which real city-states grant to nations with enough Envoy6 Envoys in them. Instead, Free Cities become enemies with everyone, spawn their own units to defend themselves against everyone, and that's it. And it is because they don't have real governmental structures and national identity that they are still subject to Loyalty pressures, and will eventually petition to join another empire which manages to exert sufficient pressure on them. You can always see the flag of the civilization exerting the greatest pressure flashing under the city.

In practice this means a way to conquer enemy cities without firing a single shot! First you need to exert enough Loyalty pressure on a nearby foreign city to force it to become a Free City, then make sure no-one else exerts more pressure on it until you "flip it" to your empire! If a Free City petitions to join your civilization, you will have the choice of accepting or rejecting their petition, with the following consequences:

  • If you accept the petition, the city joins your civilization without any penalties, with the Citizen6 Population, buildings, and districts it currently has. Note that any units it had spawned are disbanded.
  • If you reject the petition, the city will remain a Free City, but your civilization will no longer be able to exert Loyalty pressure on it. So, theoretically, if no other civ manages to attract or conquer it, it will remain free for the rest of the game.

Of course, Free Cities may eventually rejoin their previous owner if he or she takes measures to increase Loyalty pressure in the region.

Strategy Edit

Loyalty is a mechanic which normally you don't need to pay attention to, unless you decide to found cities far from the core of your empire (and in the same time close to the territory of other empires), or to conquer such faraway cities.

The problems in the first case arise from the opposite Loyalty pressure from nearby empires, and the lack of such pressure from your own. This, combined with the small Citizen6 Population (which otherwise also exerts pressure) will immediately tip the scales towards Loyalty slide, and eventually loss of the city.

The most obvious way to counter this is to immediately assign a Governor to the new city. He or she will start exerting Loyalty pressure immediately, even before being established, and usually this will be enough to stabilize the city, barring even more serious problems (such as low Amenities6 Amenities count across your empire). Other ways to ensure Loyalty are certain Policy Cards, or by making a Cultural Alliance with the strongest nearby empire - this will cancel their negative Loyalty pressure, which should be enough to enable you to keep your new city/cities.

Problems when conquering cities are, however, even more serious. Not only will you have to deal with the same issues described above, but you will also have to deal with the war weariness resulting from your campaign and affecting the general Happiness in all your cities, including the newly-conquered ones. And while the core of your empire won't suffer from Loyalty issues just because of that (the counter-effect from your own citizens being quite enough to offset that), the newly-conquered cities most certainly will! Add to this additional negative effects, such as Occupation and different religion (which is usually the case), and you will have problems even with a Governor assigned there.

All in all, the Loyalty mechanics make it all but impossible to expand your empire by founding or conquering cities far from your own empire, and at the same time very close to other empires. If this is part of your strategy, you should plan to dedicate half your Policy slots to Cards increasing Loyalty, and at the same time move Governors to the new cities immediately after founding/conquering them. Keep your Happiness levels as high as possible, and try to spread your Religion (if you have one) to the new cities immediately (or even beforehand, in case you're conquering).

Trivia Edit

Here's the lead designer Anton Strenger on the subject:[1]

The stakes of the new Loyalty system are huge because, at the extremes, it can flip control of entire cities to different players without military force. Low Loyalty in a city puts it at risk of rebelling and becoming a Free City. That, in turn, makes it a juicy target for other players looking to expand their own empire. Keeping your cities loyal not only keeps it on your side, but also emanates its Loyalty as a kind of “peer pressure” to other cities nearby. You could even sway cities from other civilizations to join you.

In previous Civilization games, there were ways to “Culture Flip” another player’s city without military intervention. We felt it was time to reexamine this non-militaristic way to change borders, and expand territory.

Loyalty also changes the landscape and strategy around the map as the game continues. What could have been an unchanging border between two civilizations in the base game becomes a contentious battleground of loyalties in the expansion, especially when Golden Ages or Dark Ages are involved.

Golden Ages and Dark Ages are a kind of loyalty bomb. In the best-case scenarios, triggering a Golden Age makes all of your citizens a little bit more loyal. Also, other cities nearby see the appeal of that civilization and may waver in their Loyalty to their current owner. The quickest and most direct way to boost Loyalty, though, is to send a Governor to the city.


Civilization VI- Rise and Fall - Devs Play the Mapuche (Loyalty Deep Dive)

Civilization VI- Rise and Fall - Devs Play the Mapuche (Loyalty Deep Dive)

Sarah Darney and Anton Strenger demonstrate the Loyalty system.

Related achievementsEdit

Steam achievement Frenemy (Civ6)
Gain control of an Ally's city after it becomes disloyal, and choose to keep it
'Frenemy' is a combination of the words 'friend' and 'enemy', used to refer a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry.


  1. The original text of the page was found here [1]
Civilization VI [edit]
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