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8 Civilization VI Beginners Tips for War

Wars can have a big impact on the outcome of Civilization VI games. This game guide includes some Civilization VI beginners tips for more effective military and war operations. Are you ready for a game of war, conquest, and plunder in Civ 6?

8 Civilization VI Beginners Tips for War Cover

War is the name of the game in Civilization VI. Even if you’re not playing for a Domination Victory, you’ll probably need to go to war at least a few times during a Civ game. When there isn’t much empty territory left on the map, capturing cities in wars is the best way to expand your civilization in Civ 6. Winning wars gives you a better chance of winning games in Civilization VI. Here are 8 Civilization VI war tips for your military campaigns.

1. Make the most of defensive terrain

Some of the terrain types in Civilization VI provide defensive modifier bonuses to units stationed on them. Woods, rainforests, and hills are the most common defensive modifier terrains in Civ 6 that give units stationed on them +3 Combat Strength. Woods and hills combined on a single tile will give a unit stationed on that terrain +6 Combat Strength. Position your units on woods, rainforests, and hills as often as you can during wars to boost their combat strength.

Note that some terrains also have a Combat Strength penalties. Marsh and floodplains terrains have -2 combat strength penalties. Thus, a unit placed on one of those terrains will be a little weaker when attacking or defending against another melee unit. So, try not to move your units onto marsh or floodplains during a conflict.

2. Build a strong air force

When the Modern Era begins in Civilization VI, build a strong air force for wars ASAP. Air units can dominate wars in the latter third of a game. For starters, aircrafts have great range that enables them to attack units and cities without needing to be close to them. You can move them across the map quickly by re-basing them. The best bomber and fighter planes also have the highest bombard and melee attack ratings in the game. Therefore, having a strong air force will give you a much better chance of winning wars in Civilization 6.

3. Select the Discipline policy 

Barbarians are rampant in the early game. The barbarian hordes will attack your units, capture builders and settlers, and pillage city tile districts. Therefore, you’ll need to wage a war against barbarians during the early game to wipe out their encampments and stop them spawning.

The Discipline policy

The Discipline policy

To annihilate those pesky barbarians, select Discipline as an early game military policy. That policy will give your units +5 Combat Strength against barbarian units. When you combine that Combat Strength bonus with defensive modifiers from terrain, you’ll eliminate barbarians somewhat more easily.

4. Turn on Show Yields

To check how big a civilization’s military is before declaring war on it, select the Show Yields in HUD Ribbon option. You can do that by clicking Options > Interface and selecting the Show Yields in HUB Ribbon setting. Then the hub ribbon will display the yields for all civilizations you’ve discovered as shown in the snapshot directly below.

The Hub Ribbon

The Hub Ribbon

The red military strength yield shows you how big another civilization’s army is. Note that is primarily a quantitative value for the number of military units a civilization has. It does not reflect how advanced a civilization’s military is.

To get an idea how advanced a civilization is before declaring war on it, have a look at the tech tree instead. You can see how far along the tech tree other civilizations are on the scroll bar at the bottom of it. You’ll have a good chance of winning wars against civilizations that are behind you on the tech tree and have lower military strength values.

The tech tree

The tech tree

5. Fortify units to replenish their health

Try to minimize your losses during wars by replenishing units’ health. When a unit’s health drops to a very low amount, withdraw it to a safer position and then select the fortify option. The unit will replenish health for each turn it’s fortified. By replenishing units, you’ll lose fewer of them and get more chances to promote them.

6. Pillage city districts

You can reduce a city’s Combat Strength by pillaging its districts. Pillaging a district can reduce a city’s Combat Strength by -2 to -8. If you pillage lots of surrounding districts, the city will become somewhat easier to capture.

7. Establish a zone of control around a city 

You can establish a zone of control around a city you’re attacking to place it under siege. To do that, you’ll need to move at least three units around a city, as shown directly below, so there’s a one tile space between each one of them. The empty tiles between the units are the zones of control that restrict enemy movement.

A city under siege

A city under siege

When you do that, the city’s name box will display a heart (as in the shot directly above). Then the city will not regenerate health when under siege.

Note that zone of control is not exerted across rivers. So, you’ll need to station units on all tiles around a city a river runs through to besiege it.

8. Flank units

When you unlock the Military Tradition civic, you can get a flanking bonus when attacking units. To flank a unit, place units on two tiles on directly opposite sides of the enemy, as in the snapshot directly below. A unit flanking the enemy will get a Flanking Bonus that increases its attack by +4 when it attacks the hostile. Flanking is an easy way to increase your units’ Combat Strength.

A flanked unit

A flanked unit

Those Civilization VI war tips will give you a better chance of smashing your enemies! So, stick to your guns to emerge victorious in Civ 6.

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