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Civilization VI (iOS) Beginner’s Guide: 11 Tips, Tricks & Hints Every Player Should Remember

Late last year, Aspyr Media released Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, which is the latest title from the long-running city building game series to arrive for mobile devices. Currently, it’s only available for iOS device users, and if the only Apple device you own is an iPhone, then you’re in for an unpleasant surprise — it only works on iPad Air 2, iPad Pro, or iPad 2017. But with all that said, the game takes off on Sid Meier’s original, turn-based vision for his super-successful game series, and, as noted in the description, it offers “new ways to interact with your world, expand your empire, and advance your culture.” How well can you lead your civilization, and do you have what it takes to become the supreme “Ruler of the World,” as you conquer other great (or maybe not-so-great) leaders from world history?

Being what it is as one of the more ambitious releases for iOS in the year 2017, you’ll have to deal with a rather steep learning curve. But you shouldn’t let all those features and all those options overwhelm you. We’ve got something that you might want to check out, regardless of how long you’ve been playing this game — a Civilization VI strategy guide that covers everything you need to do to survive as a beginner. Read on, and best of luck in building up your own historical civilization!

1. Start Out With A Smaller Map For Your First Games

If you’ve played your share of Civilization titles in the past, you probably don’t need to bother with this tip. But even if you are, you may still have some trouble adjusting to the mobile-friendly mechanics of Civ 6. As we mentioned in the game overview, the game has a rather steep learning curve, and there may be some aspects of the game that you may need some time to fully learn. So if you’re struggling early on, or if you would want to get off to a smoother start as a beginner, you can change the settings in such a way that you start out with a smaller map. Go to Single Player, then Create Game, then feel free to change the settings to your liking. That would include playing in one of the easier difficulties — you could try Settler or Chieftain — and choosing the smallest map option. With a smaller map, you have less to navigate through, and less civilizations to be concerned with. That means you won’t have to worry much about fighting for resources, finding land to settle in, and defending your civilization against the threat of war.

2. The Basics Of Obtaining A Victory

Civ 6 will talk you through the game with a rather in-depth tutorial, but the downside of this is that the game won’t tell you what you should do to achieve victory. You would think that the game should have that covered, but then again, that’s where the challenge lies. And that’s why we’re here — to fill in any blanks that may have been present in the tutorial.

Before we get into the specifics, you should keep in mind that there are five ways to obtain a victory in the game, and you can view them simply by tapping on the gold medal symbol on the upper right corner of the menu. Make sure to check your victory stats on a regular basis, as that’s going to give you insights on how well (or how poorly) your opponents are doing. That should give you a clue on the civilizations to watch out for, and which ones you should be acting aggressively against, so as to put an end to whatever dominance they may have at any given point in the game.

3. A More Detailed Look At The Five Types Of Victories

As mentioned above, there are five types of victories, and five different ways you can get an edge over opposing civilizations.

Science Victories, for starters, can be obtained by doing all of these three things before everyone else does — launch a satellite, send someone to the moon, and set up a Martian Colony. Next, you’ve got Culture Victories — you may want to pay close attention here, as the process behind this could be a bit tricky. You can achieve a Culture Victory by attracting more visiting tourists than the other civilizations have domestic tourists at home, or, in other words, being more interesting to outsiders than other civilizations are.

The other three types of victories are simpler to run through. Religious Victories would require that your civilization’s religion be the most common one in the entire in-game universe, Domination Victories require that you conquer every original capital city of opposing civilizations, and Score Victories simply require you to have the highest combined score in Civics, Empire, Great People, Religion, Technology, and Wonders. The only time you can qualify for a Score Victory, however, is if none of the civilizations achieve any of the four aforementioned victory types before 500 turns are completed.

4. Make Sure You Have Your Defense Set Up Early On

One constant of Civilization titles is the ever-present threat of other civilizations attacking yours and/or declaring war. That requires you to have a good defense as soon as possible, and that would definitely apply in Civ 6. It won’t take long before you encounter enemies for the first time in this game; think of those first few turns as the proverbial calm before the storm. That means you’ll need to have a defense up ASAP, and that also means you might need to ignore the game’s suggestions of units to purchase. Go for those purchases that actually bolster your defense —Slingers, for instance, should be your first priority in your production cycle. Some have suggested that the hierarchy should start with a Slinger, followed by a Scout, then another Slinger, then a Settler, as this allows the latter two to explore a new city, while having one Slinger and Scout defending your capital. Don’t start work on new buildings or upgrades, and don’t send settlers off to new areas unless your defense has been bolstered; you wouldn’t want any low-level barbarians ruining the hard work that you’ve put in during the early stages of the game.

5. Get Rid Of The Barbarians ASAP

Speaking of barbarians, they’ll be a nuisance in the early parts of the game, and you’ll want to rid yourself of that nuisance as early on in Civ 6 as possible. They’re working on their own weapon technology and recruiting new troops just as you are, and if you aren’t careful, they could prove to be the proverbial spanner in the works as you strive to make your civilization a great one. For this, you’ll need to have your scouts ready, and when they spot a barbarian outpost, you’ll need to work quickly by taking out their scouts and troops and destroying the entire outpost. They may start out at a low level, but they may become a formidable power in the in-game universe if you leave them alone for too long. Of course, you’ll still need to have one troop or more in your capital, but you can feel free to deploy everyone else to get rid of the barbarians sooner rather than later.

Pro-tip: Your slingers could do you a world of good against the barbarians, as these are ranged units that could take out enemies from close range, and earn you an Archery Eureka as an added bonus.

6. Choose A Leader That Suits Your Play Style

All in all, there are 20 different leaders you can choose from in Civ 6. Like in previous Civilization titles, each of these leaders have their own unique characteristics and traits, and you need to review each and every one of them, to ensure that you’re choosing a leader that works best wit your play style. It doesn’t matter if you prefer a strong military or rich culture or whatnot — there’s a leader to match your preferences in terms of running your civilization. Plan your research around your choice of leader, and be prepared to make changes to your strategies over time, and on the fly in many cases.

7. Remember Your Play Style As Well When Planning Your Districts

Planning things for your districts is one of the most important things you’ll need to do when playing Civ 6. And just like you would have done when choosing a leader, you need to take your play style into account when planning your districts. Here’s a simple example — you should set up an Encampment if you’re a more military-minded player who wants to conquer everyone else sooner rather than later, as that will allow you to construct stables, barracks, military academies, and the like. And if you want to focus on religion, you should be working on holy sites as your first district per city, keeping in mind that each holy site is worth one Great Prophet point per turn. This will allow you to set up your own religion and make it the predominant one in the in-game universe, by recruiting one of the four Great Prophets in the game.

The examples we mentioned above are basic examples, and you will be able to add more districts later on in the game, as you continue growing your population. Districts, after all, will set you on the right path depending on the type of victory you want to achieve, and that would still remain true, even if you change your victory strategy midway through the 500 turns. Fortunately, the game makes it easy for you to align your district plans with your play style/preferred mode of victory — for an example of this, you’ll be shown areas of land that would earn you more points for a district.

8. The Faster You Expand, The Better

If you’re a first-time player, your first instinct may be to focus on your home city/capital, as you try to improve it and make it better than the home cities of your opponents. But what good will that get you if you aren’t expanding? Instead of focusing mainly on improving things at home, your best bet would be to claim as much territory as you could, and see what lies beyond the familiar confines of home. Take note that the game’s mechanics make it impossible for you to predict the terrain you will be dealing with in the future, and consequently the ways in which you can expand. Always bring a troop with you when expanding — any troop will do, really, but ranged troops are preferred if you want to keep yourself safe from unwanted barbarian attacks while expanding.

9. Should You Declare Wars Like Your Opponents Might Be Doing?

Of course, you will want to start wars if your objective in the game is to dominate. But if you’re aiming for another type of victory in Civ 6, it’s best to be a peace-loving leader, keeping your defenses strong at all times, but not starting wars with other civilizations in most cases, The game, after all, does deal out what’s known as a “warmongering penalty,” which puts you at a disadvantage by making you lose some of your allies. (Gilgamesh is the only leader who cannot be slapped with a warmongering penalty.) This penalty is dealt out if you declare a “surprise war,” which is just how it sounds like — a war you started with another civilization just for the heck of it, with no forethought or advance warning.

If you really need to go to war with someone else, there’s a method behind the madness, so to say. The first thing you need to do is to denounce the enemy leader, then wait for the Casus Belli option, which would take you five turns. At that point, you have to be absolutely sure that you have enough troops ready to defend your civilization, because you don’t want to go to war with a manpower deficit of any kind. You can also choose to back off and make peace instead with your rival civilization, though you’ll need to wait a good 10 turns before this becomes possible. Remember that offering peace won’t always yield, well, peaceful results — there would be some times in which the enemy will choose to be civil with you again without any hidden catches. Most of the time, however, you’ll be asked to share some of your resources in order for them to accept your virtual olive branch.

10. How Delegations And Diplomats Work In This Game

Meeting another civilization in Civ 6 will introduce you to several Diplomatic options. If you’re a beginner, these options include, but are not limited to the following — making trades, making friends, opening borders, or sending delegations. The latter option is particularly helpful if you’ve encountered a new civilization; send a delegation over there, as the delegation will provide information about the new civilization, much like a scouting report of an enemy civilization’s army. As we mentioned above, you can use diplomatic options when dealing with civilizations you are at war with, specifically by making friends with them.

Things don’t always have to be contentious each time you meet new civilizations. You can also leverage this first meeting into a chance to trade for resources. They may need something you have, and you may ned something they don’t. But don’t be all-trusting when it comes to these dealings, especially when you’re in the later parts of Civ 6! Giving border access to a civilization that’s competing with you in the same category could be dangerous, as they could dispatch some spies to find out the secret of your success. You may also be letting in religious people who want to help their civilization get the leg up in religion by preaching to your people after they’ve been let in.

Regardless of the options you want or need to choose, the common thread here is this — you need to be careful about those whom you deal with while expanding your civilization or discovering a new one.

11. Choose Wisely In Those Research Trees

The paths you choose to take in the various research trees may be more important than you ever thought they were. You may be going for the obvious by following the paths from top to bottom, but as is often the case, the obvious solution may be good, but is not always the best one available. You should conduct your research based on what you are actually trying to do in order to attain victory. Each research item in the Civics and Technology trees has an icon below them that allows you to view information on them, showing you what exactly you will be unlocking. It will become more important for you to look at these informational bubbles as you progress further in the game; at that point, you could start thinking out of the box by going a few steps down and choosing that option for research; the game will then work automatically by researching whatever has to be completed beforehand.

Choosing the right path in the research trees is something whose importance cannot be understated. And to further highlight how important this is, you should also remember that you need to take specific paths if you’re aiming for a Science Victory and trying to launch more satellites, or send someone to the moon.