8 Civilization VI Early Game Tips

This guide includes some Civilization VI early game tips for getting your games off to a good start. The early eras of a Civ game can have a big impact on its overall outcome, so pay attention! Civilization VI is a game in which you can make history.

8 Civilization VI Early Game Tips Cover

Civilization 6 is a turn-based game that can last up to 500 turns. Therefore, the early game in Civ 6 amounts to the first 100-150 turns, in which you’ll play through the Ancient, Classical, and Medieval eras. If you get off to a good start during the early game, you’ll be well placed to fulfill your victory objective later on. Here are some Civilization VI early game tips for starting Civ 6 games better.

Read also: 6 Civilization VI Economic Tips 

1. Set aside units to explore the map with

It is essential that you quickly and thoroughly explore the surrounding map during the early game to reveal a lot of nearby open territory. By doing so, you’ll have a much better idea of where to establish future cities and plan your civilization’s expansion better. Furthermore, you’ll discover more tribal villages, which provide numerous bonuses, when you explore the map. In addition, discovering city-states first will automatically grant one envoy for each one you discover.

A unit scouting the map

A unit scouting the map

So, you should set aside two or three units to explore the surrounding map with. Those units don’t need to be scouts. Horseback units are good for exploring the map with, as they typically have better movement stats.

2. Don’t delay civilization expansion

The early game is the best time to expand your civilization with settlers when there’s lots of unclaimed territory on the map. You’ve got to make the most of the early game period to expand your civilization without too much delay while there’s a lot of territory to grab. Recruit settlers with reasonable regularity during the early game period.

To reduce the production cost of settlers, select the Colonization Economic Policy Card during the early game. That policy reduces the production cost of settlers by 50 percent. Then you’ll be able to recruit settlers in half the time and expand more quickly with that policy selected. To select the Colonization policy, you’ll need to unlock Early Empire civic.

CIVILIZATION VI - How To Take Your First Turns

3. Don’t go to war unless you have to

If you’re not playing for a Domination Victory, don’t go charging into an early war unless you really have to. You don’t usually need to capture cities from other civilizations to expand during the early game. Instead of recruiting more military units for war, focus on expanding peacefully with settlers and building up your cities.

Barbarians are another reason not to declare war with other civilizations during the early game. You’ll usually need to deal with quite a few barbarian units spawning from camps in the early stages of Civ 6 games. It’s better to keep the peace with other civilizations so you can utilize all your military to flush out nearby barbarian encampments.

4. Establish cities by rivers

Tiles that are adjacent to rivers are a good place to establish settlements. The rivers provide a source of freshwater that boosts growth and also enables you to build the Water Mill. The Water Mill is one of the few early game buildings you can build to boost city production. So, try to establish some cities alongside rivers with your settlers during the early game.

A settlement by a river

A settlement by a river

5. Grab some iron

Iron is a crucial strategic resource in the early game. You’ll need iron to recruit a lot of the best early game units, such as Swordsman and Knight. Those units can be invaluable for wiping out barbarian encampments. Establish a settlement by some iron on the map even if the overall location isn’t especially ideal for a city.

6. Select the Discipline policy

You can’t afford to ignore nearby barbarian encampments for too long in the early game period. More and more barbarians will spawn from the encampments if you do. Those barbarians will pillage your cities’ tiles and capture settlers and builders.

The Discipline policy will help you annihilate the barbarian outposts. That’s a Military Policy Card which provides a +5 Combat Strength bonus against barbarians for all your military units. Therefore, eliminating barbarians is somewhat easier with that policy selected.

A barbarian encampment

A barbarian encampment

7. Boost your cities’ productivity by building mines and lumber mills

Your cities will be at their least productive in the early game. Thus, it takes a bit longer to build things in the early eras. Focus on enhancing productivity in your cities so that you can build them up more quickly and recruit new units in fewer turns.

The best way to boost city productivity in the early game is to build mines and lumber mills on surrounding hill and forest tiles. So, make sure you research the tech required for mining and machinery ASAP. Then recruit builders to build mines and lumber mills on your cities’ tiles.

Mined tiles

Mined tiles

8. Make the most of unique early game units

Unique units are a bit better than the standard ones they replace and are exclusively for specific civilizations. Most of the unique units for civilizations are from the Ancient, Classical, and Medieval eras. Try to make most of whatever early era unique unit your civilization has in the early stage of a game. Those unique units can give you an upper hand against barbarians and in early wars.

Those Civilization VI early game tips will leave you well placed for the middle game. A strong early game will pave the way for victory during the final two centuries.

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