The first official expansion for Civilization VI, Rise and Fall, has been out for a little while, and by now, you may be researching the finer points of how to navigate the changes and incorporate them into your play strategy. If you’re still working your way through the finer details of Governors, Ages, Government Districts and Loyalty/Influence, then settle in, fire up your latest file, and let these advanced tips guide you.
When you move a Settler to a new location, the tiles of the game will tell you how much Influence is being exerted on them individually, so pay attention to where you pop a squat. Newly settled cities are often the most vulnerable, as they lack the infrastructure to stave off foreign Influence. The further you are from the capital, the more pronounced the effect is. Don’t plant a Settler unless you’re in a rich green tile with no negative Loyalty from other civilizations.
Chances are, the borders of your civilization are eventually going to run smackdab up against those of another world leader. This is where the Loyalty factor can be your biggest enemy—or friend. It is your best opportunity to gain new cities without lifting a single finger. You’ll need to maintain strong diplomatic relationships with the other civilizations and perhaps even stoke the fires of conflict every once in awhile by sharing intrigues. But if you wait it out, the Influence may be enough to turn a city under revolt into a city under your control.
Because your border cities are often near other civilizations, they’re at the most risk in Rise and Fall. Loyalty is hard to maintain, but you can help by making sure your city is well provided for, especially in terms of Amenities. If you have more cities than you do Governors, who apply +8 Influence, then station them at your borders, where their addition to Loyalty will matter the most. The three most essential for your border towns are Reyna, who improves the rate of land acquisition; Victor, who increases city garrison combat strength; and Amani, who is a master of diplomatic relations and will help maintain Envoys and Influence in City States.
And as for those Amenities—plan ahead. Make sure you maintain room for an Entertainment District and fill it up with every available building. The Water Park and Copacabana, new with the addition of Rise and Fall, will also help.
When considering a new spot for a settlement, keep this in mind: the Loyalty from your civilization is only effective within nine tiles and it diminishes the further you get away, at a rate of 10% per tile. Growth should be incremental, and close to home. When establishing a new city, escort your Settlers with at least two if not three military units, and make sure you have enough cash to quickly purchase the lowest tier buildings and a Builder. If approaching a new continent, try to send over two or three settlers at a time to increase your Influence and support.
Just because you station a Governor somewhere doesn’t mean they have to stay there. You can move them whenever you need to with no fees and penalties, and you should do so often to ensure you get the most out of their different bonuses. If you claim a new city by force or influence, send a Governor there immediately.
Maintaining a good relationship with opposing world leaders is helpful, but don’t let your guard down. They can, and will, turn on you, even if only to provoke an Emergency and force you into action. One way to circumvent this is to make sure you actually declare your friendship with them, and form some kind of alliance, be it research or religious, etc. I went back a few turns in one file after a glitch during an Emergency, and found that the entire situation could be avoided by initiating a more concrete bond with the attacking civilization. Use this to your advantage, and don’t be afraid to ask for what your goods are worth during a negotiation—the game lets you fudge with the terms of a trade with no penalties for adjustments, so you may as well push it to the limit.
Sometimes you just won’t have enough Amenities or a strong enough Governor to appease the negative Influence of a newly revolted city. Thus, it’s worth taking a look at your Policy cards to see if you have any buffers available. At least one Diplomatic card will increase the Loyalty generated by a Governor per turn to +2.
If you’re concerned about the waning Influence as you spread your civilization out further and further from the core capital city, keep in mind that Loyalty is boosted by Golden Ages. It’s worth it to push your civilization and pivot your strategy around achieving Historic Moments for that alone.
Entering a Dark Age, during which Loyalty is decreased for all the citizens in your cities, may seem like the end of the world, but don’t despair. It may actually be advantageous to let yourself slip into one in the latter half of the game, because it lowers the threshold of achieving your next Golden Age—and if you enter a Golden Age from a Dark Age, you get a Heroic Age, which gives you three Dedications going into the next Era. That’s quite a boost.
Perhaps the best defense against negative foreign Influence of all is the Government District, which automatically awards +8 to Loyalty in any city in which it is built. It’s super boring, but it provides buildings that can be tailored to your unique playstyle, and it provides excellent support in border cities, allowing you to expand forward without constant conflict from revolting Independent settlements.
They also award Governor bonuses in the form of one additional title, which strengthen the effects of each. They may be boring as hell, but Government Districts nonetheless should be an essential part of your strategic adjustment to Rise and Fall.
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.