Civilization VI: Strategy Through the Ages

Updated On: February 14, 2024 by   Ciaran Connolly   Ciaran Connolly  

Embarking upon the grand journey that is Civilization VI can often be a somewhat daunting prospect, with its intricate strategies and myriad routes to victory. Rest assured, you’re not alone in this – we’ve all felt that mild sense of trepidation while rifling through guide upon guide as we strive to forge an empire from the ground up.

It’s undeniable – the introduction of Dark and Golden Ages with Civilization VI: Rise & Fall has revolutionised strategic depth in ways we couldn’t have imagined. In our article, we delicately unwrap each layer, from your first fledgeling settlement to ultimate late-game supremacy, offering sage advice for navigating the choppy seas of each era.

Join us on this enthralling quest as together we master the art of guiding a civilisation through time!

Key Takeaways

  • Master the early game by swiftly scouting and settling in resource – rich areas, utilising your civilisation’s special abilities, and laying a clear path towards victory through economic stability.
  • Fortify your mid – game strategy by building strong defences around key districts, advancing in science and technology for superior units and buildings, creating diplomatic alliances, and executing tactical conquests to expand territory.
  • In the late game, focus on amassing a powerful military capable of both defence and projection of power; construct Wonders that provide strategic bonuses; optimise trade routes for economic gains while maintaining robust international relations.
  • Understanding how to use terrain effectively can make or break city development—mountains are great for science boosts with campus districts while rivers encourage growth.
  • Prioritise research throughout all stages of gameplay to progress through eras faster, unlock new abilities/units quicker than opponents, and maintain pace with or surpass rival civilisations.

Understanding Civilisation VI Strategy

Planning is essential in Civilization VI, whether it’s for the early, mid, or late game phases. Mastering these different stages requires careful consideration of city development and resource management as well as identifying winning strategies to lead your civilisation to victory.

Planning for Early, Mid, and Late Game Phases

As we venture into the epic game of Civilization VI, it’s crucial to strategise across the different stages of advancement. Each phase calls for its distinct approach to ensure our civilisation thrives from the early game through to the late game.

  • For the early game, start by scouting your surroundings quickly to locate resources and plan city placements. Founding cities in resource-rich areas will power up our economy right off the bat.
  • We must consider special abilities unique to our chosen civilisation; these can give us an edge if used wisely from the onset.
  • Developing a clear path towards victory should guide all our decisions, whether we aim for military dominance, scientific supremacy, or cultural influence.
  • Economic strength underpins everything we do; thus, investing in infrastructure and commerce early paves the way for future prosperity.
  • Our focus shifts towards establishing strong defence systems around newly built districts. This ensures that we hold onto critical territories against any threats.
  • Science and technology become pivotal as they unlock advanced units and buildings that propel us ahead of rivals.
  • Diplomatic relations can be as powerful as a well – oiled army. We leverage them to form beneficial alliances or keep potential adversaries at bay.
  • Tactical conquests are essential — selecting weak enemies and timing assaults can expand our influence with minimal resistance.
  • Amassing an advanced military enables us not just to defend but also project our power across the map for territorial expansion or deterrence.
  • Erecting Wonders bestows monumental bonuses that can clinch victory conditions or hinder opponents’ strategies.
  • Optimising trade routes fuels both our economy and international relations, creating a web of dependency that turns trade into a powerful strategic tool.

Mastering the Early Game

Building cities quickly, utilising special abilities, identifying winning strategies, and expanding a strong economy are essential in mastering the early game. Read on to learn more about how to dominate each phase of Civilization VI!

Building Cities Quickly

  1. We scout and identify locations with access to multiple resources such as food, production, and luxury goods.
  2. We focus on acquiring these resource – rich tiles early to boost city development and expansion.
  3. It’s crucial to select sites that provide opportunities for future district placement, enhancing the city’s efficiency and productivity.
  4. By leveraging special abilities of leaders or civilisations, we capitalise on unique bonuses that accelerate city growth and development.
  5. Utilising available policies, we optimise production towards building settlers swiftly, enabling rapid city expansion.

Utilising Special Abilities

Players can harness their civilisation’s unique special abilities to gain an edge in Civilization VI. Whether it’s the ability to move through difficult terrain or generate bonus resources, these distinct advantages can be pivotal in shaping your strategic approach.

With each civilisation offering its own set of unique advantages, understanding and effectively utilising these special abilities becomes essential for success. By leveraging these strengths, players can carve out a strong position in the game and make significant strides towards victory.

In addition to providing distinct gameplay experiences, special abilities contribute to the depth and complexity of Civilization VI. They offer players the opportunity to tailor their strategies based on their chosen civilisation’s strengths, adding layers of decision-making and variety to gameplay.

Identifying Winning Strategies

To identify winning strategies in Civilization VI, players must prioritise research and resource management. By focusing on developing a strong economy early in the game, they can lay the foundation for long-term success.

Utilising terrain effectively and managing diplomacy are also crucial components of a successful strategy in this turn-based empire-building game.

Understanding how to capitalise on each age progression from Age I to Age III is essential for navigating the challenges and opportunities that arise throughout the game. Additionally, recognising the benefits of achieving Golden Ages versus mitigating potential negative impacts during Dark Ages can greatly influence a player’s success.

Expanding and Building a Strong Economy

To expand and build a strong economy, it is essential to focus on the allocation of resources and the development of infrastructure. Here are key strategies for success in Civilisation VI:

  1. Allocate citizens to work on tiles that yield high production or food, aiding in the rapid growth and development of your cities.
  2. Construct commercial hubs and harbours in suitable locations to bolster trade routes and generate additional gold for your civilisation.
  3. Implement policies that prioritise economic growth, such as those focused on reducing maintenance costs or increasing resource yields.
  4. Invest in research and technology advancements that lead to the creation of new trade routes, boosting commerce and overall economic prosperity.
  5. Establish alliances with other civilisations to promote mutual economic growth through trade and exchange of resources.
  6. Capitalise on natural resources by building appropriate improvements, maximising their benefits to fuel your economy.
  7. Leverage the power of Great Merchants and Great Engineers to accelerate economic development through their specialised abilities and projects.
  8. Manage city amenities effectively to ensure stable growth and productivity across your entire civilisation.
  9. Utilise espionage to gather valuable information about rival civilisations’ economies, allowing you to exploit weaknesses or prevent potential threats.
  10. Encourage cultural development through tourism initiatives, attracting visitors from foreign lands and stimulating economic activity within your borders.

Dominating the Mid-Game

Building up defences and prioritising science and technology are key components of dominating the mid-game in Civilization VI. Utilising diplomacy to form alliances and conquer enemy cities will also be crucial for success.

Building Up Defences

Building up defences is crucial in Civilization VI, especially during the mid-game when conflicts intensify. Here are some tips for fortifying your civilisation:

  1. Constructing city walls provides vital protection against enemy attacks and invasion, safeguarding your cities and citizens.
  2. Placing ranged units strategically around your cities can help fend off enemy incursions and provide early warnings of impending threats.
  3. Building encampment districts not only strengthens your military capabilities but also allows for the production of powerful defensive structures and units.
  4. Utilising city – state alliances to bolster your defences can provide additional military support and access to valuable resources.
  5. Developing a strong economy to support the maintenance and expansion of defensive structures is essential for long-term security.
  6. Forming defensive pacts with friendly civilisations can offer mutual protection, deterring potential aggressors from targeting your territories.
  7. Capitalising on natural barriers such as mountains, rivers, or coastlines can enhance the effectiveness of your defensive positions and make it harder for enemies to penetrate your borders.
  8. Utilising spies to gather intelligence on rival civilisations’ military strength and movements can help you anticipate and prepare for potential threats before they materialise.

Prioritising Science and Technology

To succeed in Civilization VI, prioritising science and technology is crucial as it offers numerous advantages throughout the game. Here are some key strategies for mastering science and technology:

  1. Devote production to building science – related districts and buildings early on to increase research output.
  2. Establishing trade routes with other civilisations can help boost science by providing access to new technologies and boosting city growth.
  3. Construct Campus districts near mountains or rainforests to maximise science production.
  4. Prioritise research on key technologies that provide significant benefits, such as those that lead to advanced military units or powerful wonders.
  5. Utilise Great Scientists to gain scientific boosts, bonuses, and additional boosts for future technologies.
  6. Engage in alliances with other civilisations to access their scientific advancements and potentially gain a boost in your own research efforts.
  7. Utilise spies to steal technology from rival civilisations, giving you an edge in technological advancements.
  8. Invest in acquiring great works of writing and art to generate culture, which can be used to enhance scientific research through civic policies that boost scientific output.

Utilising Diplomacy

In Civilization VI, utilising diplomacy is a crucial aspect of the mid-game strategy. Establishing and nurturing relationships with other civilisations can lead to beneficial alliances and trade agreements.

It’s important to engage in diplomatic actions such as forming friendships, establishing embassies, and entering into research agreements to create a secure and prosperous environment for your civilisation.

Additionally, employing strategic negotiations like making deals for resources or open borders can significantly impact your progress in the game.

In Civilization VI: Rise & Fall expansion, adopting diplomatic tactics becomes even more essential due to new gameplay features such as governors and loyalty. Players need to carefully navigate political landscapes by managing relationships with rival civilisations while maintaining their own empire’s stability.

Conquering Enemy Cities

To conquer enemy cities in Civilization VI, it is crucial to develop a strong military and employ effective tactics. Here are key strategies for success:

  1. Prioritise Military Development: Focus on building a powerful and diverse army to overpower enemy defences.
  2. Utilise Siege Weapons: Employ siege units like catapults and trebuchets to weaken city defences before launching an attack.
  3. Form Alliances: Forge alliances with other civilisations to gain support in taking over enemy cities.
  4. Target Weaknesses: Identify vulnerabilities in the enemy city’s defence and plan your attack accordingly.
  5. Invest in Espionage: Use spies to gather intel, sabotage defences, or even stage a coup to take control of the city.

Conquering the Late Game

In the late game, building a strong military and utilising trade routes becomes essential for victory. Expanding your empire and constructing wonders will also play a crucial role in securing your dominance on the battlefield.

Building a Strong Military

To build a strong military in Civilization VI, players need to focus on several key aspects.

  1. Train and upgrade a variety of military units, such as infantry, cavalry, and ranged units, to maintain a diverse and adaptable army that can handle different combat situations.
  2. Construct defensive structures and fortifications within your cities to protect against enemy invasions and sieges, ensuring the safety and security of your civilisation.
  3. Utilise strategic positioning of troops and units on the map to control key territories, defend borders, and launch successful offensives against rival civilisations.
  4. Research and develop advanced military technologies and tactics through dedicated investment in science and technology advancements, providing your military with an edge over opponents.
  5. Secure alliances with other civilisations and city – states to bolster your military strength through joint operations, mutual defence pacts, or coordinated attacks on common enemies.

Expanding and Building Wonders

Expanding and building wonders in Civilization VI is crucial for advancing your civilisation. Wonders provide unique bonuses and can significantly impact your strategy. Here are some key points to consider when expanding and building wonders:

  1. Prioritise wonders that align with your chosen victory type, such as cultural, scientific, or domination victories.
  2. Strategically plan where to build wonders to ensure maximum benefits for your civilisation, considering factors like adjacency bonuses and terrain features.
  3. Utilise Great Engineers and other special abilities to speed up wonder construction and gain a competitive edge over other civilisations.
  4. Balance the decision to construct wonders with other crucial tasks such as city development, military expansion, and resource management.
  5. Carefully analyse the prerequisites and requirements for each wonder before investing resources into its construction, ensuring it aligns with your long-term goals.
  6. Plan ahead to secure specific wonders by prioritising relevant technologies and cultural advancements while leveraging diplomatic relations with other civilisations.
  7. Understand the potential impacts of wonders on gameplay dynamics, including their effects on city growth, resource production, and strategic positioning.
  8. Consider the defensive benefits of certain wonders in addition to their offensive advantages when facing challenges from rival civilisations or barbarian forces.
  9. Use wonder construction strategically to boost civic development and cultural influence while staying mindful of potential vulnerabilities in your empire’s defense or economy.
  10. Continuously assess the evolving game state and adjust your wonder – building strategy based on changing circumstances such as rival civilisation actions or shifts in world politics.

Utilising Trade Routes

After expanding and building wonders, another crucial aspect in Civilization VI is utilising trade routes. Trade routes are essential for economic growth and diplomatic relations. Here are key strategies for maximising the benefits of trade routes:

  1. Establishing international trade routes to foreign civilisations can boost your economy by generating gold and providing additional food or production to your cities.
  2. Utilising domestic trade routes between your own cities can help in balancing resources and enabling faster growth and development within your civilisation.
  3. Prioritising trade with city – states can provide valuable bonuses, such as increased culture, science, or other resources that can aid in the overall progress of your civilisation.
  4. Protecting your trade routes from plundering by barbarians or enemy civilisations is crucial; maintaining a strong military presence along these routes is essential to safeguard against potential threats.
  5. Adapting to changes in international relationships and altering trade routes accordingly is important for maximising benefits and ensuring the security of your economic interests.

Tips for Success in Civilisation VI

– Prioritise research to advance through the different eras and unlock powerful abilities and units. Utilise terrain effectively, such as positioning your cities near valuable resources or natural defences.

Manage diplomacy and relationships with other civilisations to avoid conflict and secure beneficial trade deals.

Prioritising Research

Prioritise research to unlock essential technologies and advancements that will give your civilisation an edge. By focusing on scientific progress, you can improve your military capabilities, boost city development, and enhance diplomatic relations.

Researching key technologies early can lead to a significant advantage in all aspects of the game.

Optimising research priorities is crucial for staying competitive throughout the ages. As you progress through Civilisation VI, make sure to allocate resources towards gaining new knowledge and adapting to the changing landscape of the game.

Utilising Terrain Effectively

Utilising terrain effectively is crucial in Civilization VI. When settling cities, we must consider the land’s natural resources and geographical features. Additionally, certain terrains provide bonuses for specific districts and wonders.

Remember to prioritise settling near mountains for scientific advantages or close to rivers and coastlines for enhanced growth opportunities. Leveraging these features can significantly influence our city’s development.

Prioritising strategic placement of districts on varied terrains also maximises their potential benefits. For instance, building campuses adjacent to mountains heightens scientific output, while industrial zones flourish next to mines and quarries.

Managing Diplomacy and Relationships

Diplomacy and relationships are crucial in Civilization VI. We can establish alliances, negotiate trade deals, and form friendships with other civilisations to enhance our own growth and security.

Engaging in diplomacy allows us to gather information about the intentions of other leaders and understand their strengths and weaknesses. By maintaining positive relationships with neighbouring civilisations, we can secure valuable resources through trade routes while also establishing a united front against common enemies.

Building trust with allies is essential for successful cooperation during times of war or crisis.

As we progress through the game, it’s vital to monitor our standing with other civilisations closely. Using spies effectively can provide valuable intelligence on potential threats or opportunities for forming new alliances.


In conclusion, Civilization VI offers a multitude of strategies for mastering each phase of the game. Utilising special abilities and prioritising research are key to success in the early game.

Building a strong military and leveraging trade routes are essential for conquering the late game. Navigating through ages and challenges requires players to adapt and employ different tactics to lead their civilisation to victory.

With new choices and challenges introduced in expansions like Rise & Fall, the game continues to offer fresh experiences for both novices and experts alike.


1. What is Civilization VI: Strategy Through the Ages about?

Civilization VI: Strategy Through the Ages is a turn-based strategy game where players build and manage their own empires through different periods of world history.

2. How do you start building your civilisation in the early game?

In the early game, focus on establishing your city, managing resources, and planning your district layout for effective civilisation-building.

3. Can you win in Civilization VI without going to war?

Yes, there are various winning strategies that don’t involve military conquest; such as cultural growth or scientific advancement alongside empire-building.

4. What should beginners know when starting out in Civilization VI?

Beginners should learn basic city management, explore beginner tips on how to expand thoughtfully, and understand early game strategies for a solid foundation.

5. Does playing Civilization VI help you learn about world history?

Playing Civilization VI can simulate aspects of world history as it incorporates elements of historical civilisations into its empire-building gameplay.

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