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What’s new in Civilization VI? A deep dive into the new mechanics

The upcoming Civilization VI brings tons of new mechanics, which can be confusing for both old and new fans. With the game coming out in about 10 days, here’s our first deep dive into some of the new mechanics in Civilization VI. (This is not a review of Civilization VI. If you want one, check this out. Hint: The answer is “yes you should get it”.)


Civilization VI’s strategic view. It’s like a whole other game!

First up: Amenities, housing, water and resources. It seems like a lot to juggle, but they’re all interconnected. (Absolutely random, but don’t you LOVE the Civilization VI strategic view? It looks like an old school strategy game or a really snazzy Catan spin off. It’s beautiful.)

Previously, you only had to worry about food and happiness to influence the size of a city. Now in Civilization VI, it’s a triumvirate of food, housing and amenities (we’ll touch on resources at the end). Good news is, food is still required to grow a city, and it’s more or less the same so there’s nothing for the experienced ones to worry about.


The changes to housing are VERY interesting. Every city starts with a maximum housing of 2. There are many ways to improve housing (from buildings, to districts, to civics), but the most MOST important is access to fresh water. Coastal water gives you +1 housing, and fresh water (lakes, rivers etc) give you +3 housing, so that means you have a max population of 5 for a basic city on a river. Bear in mind that the river needs to be RIGHT BESIDE your city hex, so it is integral that you have water for most of your cities.

Water lens? Red = bad, deeper green = best.
Water lens? Red = bad, deeper green = best.

It is so important that they even have a water lens to tell your settler which hex has access to water and whatnot.


Most of the time, your population grows at the normal pace. However, once it reaches one less than your housing, your growth slows to half the normal rate. Once you HIT your housing max, your growth slows to a quarter the normal rate. The cool thing though is there is no real population cap. Your population only stops growing once it hits your housing +5. This means the technical max population of a city with 10 housing is 15, but you’ll probably see it hover around 9-11 without additional housing.

Civilization VI
Look at all ’em sources of amenities!

It is important that you get housing, and while your common go-to sources are the neighbourhood district or aqueduct district, you can find them in the strangest places. For example, the military encampment district barracks building provides housing, as does the university building (I guess us nerds have to live somewhere). As mentioned earlier, housing can also be provided by civic cards slotted into governments.


In Civilization VI, each tile has a different Appeal, which is just how ‘pretty’ the hex is. This is usually calculated by proximity to terrain, natural wonders and the like. It is useful primarily for tourism (the culture victory), but it is also used to calculate the housing for neighbourhood districts.

More important are Amenities. These are the equivalent of happiness, although this is now localized. Every city needs half of its population in amenities. You can provide the amenities via luxury resources, buildings (usually in the entertainment district), or civic cards (for example the garrison ability is now a military civic card). Luxury resources provide enough amenities of that type for up to four cities. So for example, 1 fur can give +1 amenity to up to 4 cities. 2 fur can give +1 amenity to up to 8 cities, but it can’t give +2 amenities if you have 4 (or fewer) cities.

Look at all 'em sources of amenities!
Look at all ’em sources of amenities!

Buildings generally only supply amenities to that city specifically, but higher level buildings may provide amenities in an ‘aura’ (i.e. to city centre hexes in a radius of X).

As per previous games, Civilization VI happiness will lead to production bonuses (positive or negative).


Lastly, there are three types of resources. Bonus resources, luxury and strategic resources. All provide bonuses to that hex’s production. Bonus resources don’t do anything else by themselves. Luxury resources have been talked about, and the last resource type is strategic resources.

What is very interesting is every mined strategic resource ONLY gives 1. And you USUALLY need at least 2 to build a unit that needs that resource. However, there are several ways to go about this limitation.

You might choose the wrong government at this stage, but at least nobody will vote you out.
You might choose the wrong government at this stage, but at least nobody will vote you out.

Firstly, if you build the unit from its related district (encampment for land, harbour for naval, etc), you only need one strategic resource. Secondly, if you upgrade a unit, you also need only one strategic resource. Also, and important note is unlike Civ V, building a unit does NOT use up the strategic resource, so you can spam your gunpowder units once you have Nitre (a new resource) and an encampment.

That’s it for today. We’ll try to post at least one or two more instalments detailing some of the mechanics, so keep your eyes open for more! Feel free to send us questions on Facebook, twitter and stuff and we’ll see what we can do.


Singapore’s resident Press Ganger, that is, the man to go to for Privateer Press’ WARMACHINE, and HORDES. Kakita also dabbles in Games Workshop’s WARHAMMER FANTASY and WARHAMMER 40K lines.

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