‘Civilization VI’ Beginner Guide: 3 Essential Tips to Establish Your Empire

Joe Lay

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is here. Longtime fans of the turn-based strategy series can’t wait to sink hundreds (or even thousands) of hours into the new game. But to some series newcomers, the idea of a 4X game can be quite daunting. The game features a myriad of complex systems and rules to learn before you can “eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate.” Worry not, because Fandom has you covered there. For longtime fans and newbies alike, our Civilization VI Beginner Guide provides some quick tips to improve your early game and increase your chances of success.

These three key pieces of advice will prevent unnecessary frustration and have you wanting to take just “one more turn” in no time. Then, when you are ready to move on to some more advanced strategies, check out our full Civilization VI Super Walkthrough guide on the wiki.

Dealing With Barbarians


Barbarians have been in Civilization games since Civilization IV. Back then, they were weak military units that spawned at random locations throughout the map. Civilization V introduced barbarian encampments. These were single-tile bases that would spawn barbarian units. An encampment would continue to spawn units until you detroyed it by moving a civilization’s unit onto an empty encampment.

Barbarians, and their bases (now called outposts), return in Civilization VI. This time around, they’re significantly more aggressive and dangerous. A barbarian outpost will first spawn a scout, which surveys the nearby land. If a barbarian scout finds one of your cities, it will attempt to return to its outpost to report the discovery of a city.

If the scout successfully returns to its outpost, that outpost will begin spawning an army to attack your city. Therefore, it is crucial — especially in the early game — to not only survey the land around your cities for barbarian scouts and outposts, but to also have at least a few military units available to kill the scouts and destroy their outposts before they become a threat. Of course, if you don’t manage to kill a barbarian scout before it returns to its outpost, you’ll need those military units to defend your city!

Planning Your City’s Districts and Improvements

Plan your cities wisely in Civilization Vi

Improvements are nothing new to the series, but Civilization VI introduces a new addition to cities, called Districts. Gone are the days in which every building you construct resides on your single city tile. Districts are specialized tiles that unlock certain buildings. You construct these buildings within the district, rather than the city center. For example, the Campus unlocks the Library, University, and Research Lab. The Commercial Hub unlocks the Market, Bank, and Stock Exchange.

Most districts have adjacency bonuses for being next to certain terrain, improvements, or other districts. Let’s say you want to build a Campus, and there is a small mountain range nearby. The Campus receives a bonus to science for each adjacent mountain tile. It is therefore very wise to place the Campus next to the mountain range. The Campus also receives a science bonus for every two adjacent rainforest tiles. If there are no mountains nearby, look for rainforests as a location for your future Campus.

Additionally, the Feudalism civic gives a bonus of +1 food to each farm improvement when three farms are adjacent to each other. So setting aside three adjacent tiles, in a triangular arrangement, as farmland will greatly boost your city’s food production.

Declare an Early War

Declare an Early War in Civilization VI.

Civilization VI includes potentially stiff warmonger penalties. These increase as you progress through the eras. However, during the Ancient Era, there are no penalties for declaring war. As mentioned above, you’re going to want to train a small army early on. So if you happen to see an unguarded settler or builder outside its borders, there’s no reason not to immediately declare war on that civilization using the Diplomacy screen. Then you can capture the civilian unit by simply moving one of your military units onto its tile.

Similarly, if you’re planning on a Domination Victory – capturing the capital city of every other civilization – and come across a weak enemy that is militarily inferior, you may consider declaring war and capturing an early capital while avoiding a penalty.

For more Civilization VI tips and tricks, check out our complete Super Walkthrough. Then be sure to explore the Civilization Wiki for everything you need to know about the series.

Joe Lay
Joe has been a Fandom staff member since 2007. He's been playing video games since the days of the Odyssey² and Atari 2600. When he's not at his computer, he enjoys going to the pub with friends.
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