Having a lot of cities will never hurt you although some players might argue that certain kinds of victories encourage you to have a minimum number of cities. For example, if pursuing a Science Victory 8 cities is the recommended minimum number. Adding Science producing buildings in them is a must though or you won’t gain much of an advantage. But are there any mile markers to go by when building cites, like how many should you have by turn 50? Or turn 100? But the bottom line is that you simply can’t have too many cities in Civ 6.
The answer is you can have as many cities as you want without suffering any penalties. The best rule of thumb is to continue expanding as long as there is space. Most experienced players believe you should have about 10 cites by turn 100, meaning you should establish, on average, one city about every 10 turns.
The best rule of thumb is to continue expanding as long as there is space and your top priority is to get your first three cities as soon as you can. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to build at least two Settlers before building any districts since expansion is very important early in the game, and this will provide you the means to found those next two important cities. By most standards by turn 40 you should have at a minimum two new cities established. The limiting factor will be the cost of creating Settlers and the population limits in your early cities, plus as the game progresses they get more expensive to create. Check out my page on where to settle if having trouble deciding where to start your cities.
One possible exception to having as many cities as possible is if going for certain victories, like a scientific victory. In Civilization VI districts and special persons count more toward how much science you produce per turn than having a lot of cities with a lot of pops like it did in Civilization V. By spending less resources on founding cities and more on constructing science related buildings you can accrue more science points faster, gaining the upper hand for a science victory. The early game lead might just be insurmountable.
Of course, the other side of the coin says that with the more cities you have the more scientific buildings you’re able to build. With that in mind the question becomes why wouldn’t you want a lot of cities since there’s really no limit to the amount of scientific related buildings you can construct as long as you have the cities to support them. Someone with a few cities focusing on science might have an early lead but due to the sheer quantity of science related buildings you can build you should be able to overtake him before the end of the game. Plus, you will be better positioned for other types of victories, like a Domination victory. My vote would go toward founding as many cities as you can.
One drawback to having a lot of cities is having more territory to defend. The main disadvantage is upkeep costs for the units you need for defense. Another issue is being able to deploy them rapidly to a trouble spot, the more cities and the wider the territory the more difficult it is to mount a strong defense and counterattack. And there’s always someone who will be offended by your expansionism, like Cleopatra.
Even with these disadvantages I still like the option to expand and have as many cities as you can. Once built the first thing I do is build a defensive unit and fortify it in the city, usually an archery unit of some type, plus I like having defensive walls around my cities. Positioning and fortifying forces between important cities make it a little easier to get help to a city that’s under attack much more quickly.
Read More: Need some Amenities to go along with those cities?
How Far Apart Should Cities Be In Civ 6
Typically, cities should be four to five tiles apart. This allows room for cities to expand and still get some adjacency bonuses from districts in other cities, and even benefits from some of the specialty buildings produced by Districts. Keep district adjacency in mind when placing cites so you can optimize the benefits of districts. For instance, an Industrial Zone gains bonuses when placed next other districts, in addition to being placed next to mines and quarries. Some buildings produced from districts can benefit more than one city at a time as well. For example, a factory building can provide a benefit to another city if it is with six tiles of the city center.
Placing cities this close together will also cut down the effects of loyalty pressure caused by the pops of other civilizations. Loyalty is not normally an issue if you build your cities close together, but it can be if you encounter another civilization that is using loyalty pressure and trying to steal cities from you by influencing them to join their empire. When loyalty reaches zero your city will say goodbye to you and become a Free City. Even if loyalty only drops down to 75% you lose 25% of all the yields that city produces so this can be a big deal.
Sometimes you may need to “leapfrog” ahead to grab an area that’s important to you and leave a big gap between cities. Always keep an eye on loyalty if you have to do that and if you can fill that gap in with another city whenever possible. Sometimes you just need take a spot less favorable to your city to gain that tactical or strategic advantage that you want.
You can defend against a loss of loyalty in distant cities by establishing a Governor in the city. You can also use abilities the Governor has to increase other aspects in the city so placing one there will not only benefit loyalty but will increase things like City Defenses, which might be important in a distant city. As mentioned earlier, establishing another city close by is another protection against loyalty loss.
Another consideration is defense. The more spread out your cities are the more military forces you’ll need to muster to adequately defend your territory. Unless going after something special, like a coastal city to get a luxury resource before someone else does, or to gain control of a critical chokepoint, it’s usually better to keep cities close together.
What Happens If You Build A City On A Resource In Civ 6?
It depends on the resource. It’s actually a good idea to found a city on a tile with a luxury resource since it gives the city access to that resource immediately. You gain the benefits of that luxury resource even if you haven’t researched the technology to use it yet. As a matter of fact, one of the most powerful starts you can get in a game is to establish a city on a plains/hill tile with a luxury resource. A city automatically increases food production on any tile is it established on to two, so your new city would get two food, two production , and one luxury resource output.
It really isn’t a very good idea to establish a city on a tile with an ordinary resource like rice or one that has a rainforest. Founding a city removes those things, just like they would in real life. Just like building a real city, those resources are bulldozed and removed to make way for the new city. It’s better to build adjacent to those types of resources if they’re important to you, that way your Builders can improve those tiles and you can gain even more benefits from those resources.
Civ 6 Governors
Governors can be used primarily to help out with loyalty in a city and each one can help out with things they specialize in, like city defense or production. It’s obvious but each Governor has special abilities and to utilize them fully a Governor should be placed in the city that makes the best use of his or her unique skills. You can only assign one governor to a city. Governors can always be assigned to a different city but it will take them time travel and get established in the new city.
You get a governor and promote a governor through Governor tiles, which is a little confusing since the map area is also made up of tiles but these are not the same thing. You usually unlock governor tiles through new civics, but they can also be gained through the Government Plaza district and by building the Casa de Contratación Wonder.
Read more about Civilization VI here on my website.