- We’ve assembled some starter tips to help during the early phases of Sid Meier’s Civilization VI.
- From scouting early and often to clearing out those pesky barbarian camps, this guide will help establish your footing within this epic turn-based strategy game.
- Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is available now with Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, and Cloud.
Now that Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is available with Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, and Cloud, many of you may be diving into this epic turn-based strategy game for the first time, while others may be returning after some time away from their conquering days. Either way, we thought we’d lend a hand to give some starter tips to help get your civilizations established during your first 50 Turns or so.
Some Core Starting Tips
- Ocean Front Views: It’s helpful to establish your city near waterways or the coast. It opens more options (trade, food, etc.) for your civilization as you start out. For example, establishing a city on the coast immediately gives you a Sailing research bonus that can come in handy later as you embark upon the waves.
- Robots Are Your Friend: Use Automate Exploration on your Warriors/Scouts early on so you can concentrate on getting your core strategy in place. Their pathfinding ability is pretty good and can give you early insight into future desirable city state locations and Barbarian camps (more on that later).
- Set and Forget: Use the Queue system early and often in both research and unit creation. This too allows you to think about the rest of your layout and exploration while the Turns quickly roll by (and it will go by faster than you think!). Ideally, your first Units should be some combination of Scout, Warrior, Slinger/Archer, and Builder in whatever order you choose.
Pick a Route to Victory and Work Towards It
There are five Victory Conditions (Science, Culture, Religion, Domination, and Score – Diplomacy is available in the Gathering Storm DLC) and each Civilization Leader has a core strength that you should lean into and not away from. For example, Cleopatra (Egypt) gives you Gold and Food bonuses for trade routes, so look to establish those early to help your civilization grow to take advantage of this.
A lot of this information and strategy can be mapped out for you early on from the in-game Technology Tree. It will also give you a rough approximation of how many turns it will take for you to unlock some of these skills. You can even add numerous technologies to a build queue so you can “set and forget” as you work on other aspects of your world domination plan. Or, to make it even easier, if you have a victory condition in mind, simply scroll to the right and select that desired Technology and the game will map out the ideal tech to unlock to achieve it, automatically add it to your queue, and you’ll be on your way.
Seeing as how we’re trying to get up to speed in 50 Turns today, we’d recommend you unlock the “Core 3” as soon as you can which are Pottery, Animal Husbandry, and Mining. In less than 30 turns, all of those should be unlocked which opens several other paths for you to start progressing towards and making tiles available to extract resources from. They’re key to you finding early success in the game since they feed into just about everything.
Scout Early, Find Your Neighbors, Discover Resources
Knowledge is key to success and that comes in revealing the “fog of war” on the world map in Civilization VI. Sending Scouts into the world can yield resource locations, other civilizations, villages, and those pesky Barbarian Camps (more on those in a minute). Scouts can also stumble upon National Wonders which can give a boost to Astrology.
And while a Scout is the obvious unit to use here, Warriors can also be used as an alternate early on. Your odds of another civilization invading your just-established settlement are relatively low in the early game phase and sending them out as a “cheap Scout” can yield early round benefits before you can build a dedicated Scout (which takes about 5 turns). Once you do have your Scout in place, you should pull your Warrior back close to home because the Barbarians can put a serious wrinkle in your plans for early expansion. Speaking of…
Clear Out Barbarians ASAP
Despite your best laid plans, all of it can come quickly crushing down by just a couple of unwelcome raids via the local Barbarian population. It’s advisable you don’t ignore this thorn in your side and look to counter their raids by building some Warriors and Slingers/Archers to seek out their camps and wipe them out entirely.
Before that happens, you should start to plan this offensive. Your Warriors can gain XP by taking out Barbarian Scouts, who are relatively weak. If you can level them up, it will tilt these one-on-one battles more in your favor. Personally, we’ve found that a good combo of 2 Slinger/Archer units with 1 Warrior unit is the best approach during the early game phase. Once you can upgrade Slingers to Archers (by researching Archery after Animal Husbandry), their line of sight allows you to start picking off the Barbarian raiders much further away, allowing you to weaken them for your Warriors to clean up.
Taking care of these Barbarian encampments are key for your success early on so you can start to build ideal units that can bring your expansion plans to fruition, like Settlers, Builders, and Traders that are free from raiders.
By about Turn 30 you should be close to unlocking Pottery, Animal Husbandry, and Mining which will allow you to take advantage of the resources near your starting location (located on adjacent tiles). Builders will be your key unit at this next early phase of the game as you want to get your local economy up and running as fast as you can, which can then open Trading and feed into your expansion plans.
Builders can only be used three times before they’re expired, but they have the power to Build Improvements instantly – no waiting around for your Farm to take shape. So, if you happen to start out in a very feature rich area, it may be wise to queue two of them up during this phase of the game if you can afford it. They can also be used to repair damaged titles (for free!) that may get raided by Barbarians or other hostile civilizations.
The other unique thing about Builders in Civilization VI is that they can also Harvest Resources to yield a lump sum to the parent city if you’re in immediate need of resources, like food for example. Later, as you unlock bronze working, you can also use a Builder to remove land features to help with further expansions, like placements of campuses. Just be mindful you’re not stripping something that you intend to build later. For example, a Wonder such as Stonehenge needs to be built next to Stone.
We hope these starter tips help you in your quest for domination in Civilization VI. As you’ll no doubt discover (or become reacquainted with), there are dozens upon dozens of different ways to approach the game and much more in-depth strategies to consider as you get deeper into the game around Turns 100 though 200. For now, we hope you enjoy playing Sid Meier’s Civilization VI today with Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, and Cloud. Happy conquering!
Sid Meier's Civilization VI
Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI