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Anarchy happens when you unlock a policy tree that is incompatible with another policy tree you have already unlocked. As a result of this change, the old policy tree will be rendered inactive, though you may activate it again (and thus re-enter Anarchy) at any time at no Culture Culture cost.

Rationalism is incompatible with Piety, and Freedom, Autocracy, and Order are all incompatible with each other.

Anarchy lasts for one turn. During Anarchy you won't gain any Gold Gold (though you won't start losing Gold Gold either) or Science Science, and Production Production in your cities will be halted.

In Brave New World there are no more mutually exclusive social policy trees, and Anarchy happens instead when you're forced to change Ideologies, with the same effect.

Though you generally want to avoid Anarchy, it can sometimes be worthwhile if your priorities have changed or as part of a special strategy.

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