What is Civilization 6?

I’ve played a lot of the Civilization 6 PC version of the game, but a new gamer might wonder what it’s all about. Is it real-time strategy? Turn-based? 4X? Space based or based in a fictional world?

Turn-based strategy with all the 4X elements of eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate is what Civilization 6 is made of. You typically start with a military unit and a settler. Starting with these two units you try to build yourself into a world-dominating empire.

This game was played with the Gathering Storm and Rise and Fall expansions enabled and has the Gathering Storm ruleset in use, so some things, like victory conditions, might be different if you’re playing the game with a different ruleset.

Civilization 6 PC Game Overview

Civilization 6 is a grand strategy game that has a lot of components and systems. It has both land, sea and air units that get progressively deadlier as the game progresses. It has many victory conditions, meaning you can use several different types of gameplay to achieve victory. It has several “economic” systems, Science, Culture, Faith, Gold, Diplomatic Favor and Influence Points.

Civilization 6 also has both a Tech (research) tree and a Civics tree, both with their own bonuses to things like your economy, diplomacy or government.

Civilization 6 has options to select Policy Cards that affect your economy and military. You can also create a Religion, hire Great People to work for you and put Governors to work for you in your cities or in city-states.

Civ 6 has map modes for various things like a strategy view and alerts telling you about important events each turn.

Civilization 6 Units

At the start of the game air units won’t be available and only the most basic land and sea units will be available. Settlers will be available for establishing cities and Scouts for exploring surrounding territory, which are ideal because of their faster movement. Builder units can be used for improving surrounding city tiles or for removing things like forests or harvesting crops.

Only the most basic land military unit, the Warrior, will be accessible at the start of the game but Slingers, forerunners to the Archers, can quickly become available through research, ideal units for defending a city due to their ranged attack. Spearmen also can be accessed through research in a fairly short amount of time (turns). You can combine units as you gain more to increase the durability and fighting strength of your units.

Naval units are also primitive during the early game. A Galley ship will most likely be the only sea vessel available and can only sail close to coastal shores until Cartography is researched.

Some civilizations also have unique units with added bonuses. For example, the Babylonian empire has the Sabum Kibittum land unit. This is a specialized land unit having a melee a strength of 17 and movement range of 3 versus the Warriors unit’s melee strength of 20 and movement range of 2. A weaker unit but one that can move much faster. This one travels light but travels fast.

Civ 6 Victory Types

In Civ 6 you can see your overall progress toward each victory and also all other empire’s progress, although you may not know who they are if they are an “unmet” civilization. This can figure into your strategy if someone is close to winning or getting too far ahead of you in a victory type you want to win, or even to close to victory in a victory type you aren’t pursuing. Although there are only 5 panels shown on the World Rankings panel there are actually six, Science, Culture, Domination, Religious, Diplomatic and Score victory. The details for each victory condition can be seen by using the buttons at the top of the victory panel.

A Score Victory occurs after 500 turns if no one has met any of the victory conditions for any other victory type. At this panel you can view the standing of all the civilizations in the game and see where you stand with the number of points shown for each civilization.

To achieve a Science Victory your civilization must complete at least four major milestones (Gathering Storm ruleset), including launching a satellite and placing a man on the moon. The Science Victory panel provides a breakdown of each civilization’s progress by graphically displaying how many milestones have been completed by each civilization.

Your culture becomes overwhelming on the world stage to achieve a victory through Culture. In order for this to happen you must have more visiting tourists than the civilization with the most domestic tourists has. If Saladin is the leader in domestic tourists with 57 then your civilization needs 58 foreign tourists to win. Tiles with high appeal are good things to have if pursuing this victory.

A Domination Victory is pretty simple in theory, just capture everyone else’s Capital. This victory panel will provide a breakdown of how many capitals each empire has captured. Like the game says, a strong military is advised.

A Religious Victory is one where your Religion achieves worldwide dominance, meaning all the majority of the faithful masses in each civilization have been converted to your Religion. The Religion Victory panel shows how many civilizations belong to each major religion.

A victory through Diplomacy is gained by collecting 20 Diplomacy points. One way these points are gained is through resolutions at the World Congress and also by some techs.

Once again, this article was written with the Gathering Storm ruleset in place, if you have different DLCs in use then many of these conditions will vary. This article is intended to only be a general overview of the game, for more detailed info about victory types go to the Fandom Wiki Victory page.

Civilization 6 “Economic” Systems

In order to support the various victory types there are several types of “economic” systems in the game. Science is a resource used mainly for research. Science points are gained from things like buildings and specialized campus districts and from strategic resources like Iron or Mercury, Natural Wonders and even from Policy Cards. The more Science points available to spend the faster research progresses.

Culture represents your civilization’s advancements in the arts and crafts. Similar to Science points, Culture points are used on the Civics tree versus the Research tree. Culture can also come from specialized districts, buildings and Wonders and Policy Cards. Great Writers, Great Artists and Great Musicians can create great works that produce Culture points.

Faith is used to support a Religious Victory. Faith mostly comes from the Holy Site district, plus they generate more faith for every Shrine and Temple they contain. Faith can also be generated from resources like Dyes and Tobacco and Policy Cards like the God King card. Missionaries and Apostles are used to spread your Faith around the world.

Gold is the basic unit for a civilization’s economy and is used to build or purchase units, buildings, and tiles. It is also used for trading purposes and for maintaining your military.

Diplomatic Favor is used to help obtain a Diplomatic victory. This is a measure of how much influence you carry with other leaders and is typically spent in the World Congress. To gain Diplomatic favors you must cooperate with everyone else, which means conducting very few wars, if any at all. Each government type produces its own amount of Diplomatic favor per turn. Alliances is another good source of Diplomatic Favor.

Civ 6 Tech Tree & Civic Tree

Both trees are very similar. Some technologies or civics depend on preceding ones being unlocked and you can’t progress into the next era of technology or civics until your civilization advances to the corresponding era. Items are highlighted in different background colors indicating whether they are unavailable, available, are being researched, or have already been completed.

Civ 6 Policy Cards

Policy cards are used to give things like military units a specific bonus, such as increased combat strength when fighting Barbarians, or for economic or diplomatic bonuses. The government type determines how many slots are available plus better government types also unlock more slots and wildcard slots. Almost all civilizations start out with a Chiefdom, which only has one Military Policy slot and one Economic Policy slot.


Religion is one main aspect of the game and only 4 major ones can exist at the same time. If you’re considering a Religious Victory, it’s a good idea to establish a religion as soon as you practically can. Clicking on the Religion icon at the top of the screen will give you a breakdown of your religion and any others that have been established in the game.

The Religion panel shows you how many cities follow your religion and what your beliefs are, like World Church, which gives +1 Culture for every 4 followers of your religion. You can see the same stats for the other religions as well.

Civ 6 Great People

There are nine categories of Great People, Great General, Great Admiral, Great Engineer, Great Merchant, Great Prophet, Great Scientist, Great Writer, Great Artist and Great Musician. Great Prophets are limited and when four religions have been established, they are no longer available. Other Great People still are and provide bonuses in their area of expertise, and each Great Person has his or her own special bonuses. For instance, the Great Admiral Ferdinand Magellan gives +5 combat strength and 1 additional movement point to any Renaissance and Industrial era naval units with two tiles of him. He also gives more luxury resources and additional gold.

Civ 6 Governors

Civilizations have seven Governors to choose from and will be available if the Rise and Fall expansion pack is enabled. Each one has a specialty that is used to benefit both your cities and your civilization. Governors are used mainly to ensure loyalty from your citizens so that the city doesn’t revolt and possibly “flip over” to another civilization. Unlike other units Governors don’t move and exist solely in cities. They can be transferred to other cities and take a certain number of turns to get there and establish themselves, but they do not move visibly on the map. Civ 6 governors can be promoted to enhance their abilities.


Once you’ve met someone that leader portrait appears in the upper right corner. If you’ve went into the Options menu and turned the “Show Yields in HUD Ribbon” to “Always Show” you can see everyone’s stats for the overall score, military strength and gold balance plus more. A great summary if you’d like to know at a glance who to avoid war with or to trade with.

Clicking on any leader’s portrait activates a dialog screen for conducting diplomacy. It gives you an overall view about the empire, plus you can see specifics like Gossip you’ve heard, information they share with you or who they have an alliance with.

You also make deals, declare war, and create alliances, like a military or trade alliance, using this screen.

City Details In Civ 6

One of the last major screens in Civ 6 is the City Details screen. Here you set production for each city, purchase tiles with either Faith or Gold, and can view issues affecting your citizens. You can see if you have a surplus or deficiency in food per turn, any growth bonuses you may have, what the city growth is, and what your total food surplus or deficiency is.

You can also assess total amenities available to the city and the status of your housing.

As always, your ever faithful advisor will be giving you advice on what buildings and units to build, but the final decision rests upon you.

Is Civ 6 Easy or Hard to Learn?

If you’ve had experience with strategy games Civ 6 will not be too hard to learn, as a beginner this is still a good game to start with. It has a good tutorial that teaches the game basics very well, and there is plenty of help when you search on-line. It will take some time to get up to speed, but the depth and diversity of the game make it well worth the effort.

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Rich Gallien

I've always liked board games like chess and PC games, especially space based strategy games, which lead to the creation of this site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it and updating it with new games!

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