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One of the biggest new features in the Rising Tide expansion is the addition of floating cities, with greatly expands aquatic gameplay.

Aquatic cities[]

Main article: City (CivBE)#Aquatic Cities

In Rising Tide, players are able to build aquatic cities. By default, only the North Sea Alliance and Chungsu have the ability to build their capitals on the ocean. Players, however, have an option that make all colonies start on the ocean.

Differences include:

  • Aquatic cities can be moved from one spot to another.
  • Aquatic cities produce 50% more Culture Culture for virtues, but do not expand their borders through Culture.
  • Players must either purchase ocean tiles or move their city to expand an aquatic city's borders.
  • Aquatic cities have 50% less Health Unhealth rate.
  • The production rate of naval units is doubled, while the production rate of air and land units is halved.
  • Trade routes originating from aquatic cities yield 50% more Energy Energy than those from land cities.
  • Aquatic cities have half the defensive strength of a land city.

Objects previously on land only[]

Many resources and objects that were land based in Beyond Earth are now also found in the water. Explorers, in turn, do more when embarked to exploit these resources.


Aquatic Only[]


Land Only[]


Aquatic Only[]

Land Only[]

Aquatic City Movement and Territory[]

Move city icon

As mentioned earlier, aquatic cities do not acquire new tiles through culture the way land cities do. They have a special project they can access when choosing production. The project requires production to complete, therefore cities with higher production can move more quickly. Each successful project will move the city one tile, and the city will then instantly claim all tiles around its new location. Therefore, a city has the potential to capture three tiles of territory EACH TIME it moves.

Here are some points to consider while developing an effective aquatic city strategy:

  • City movement is based on production. While it can be tempting to try to move a city as soon as its founded to gain territory quickly, it may be better to buy/build production booster buildings first.
  • Regardless of your level of production, no city can move more than one tile per turn, and every city movement project will take at least one turn to complete.
  • Units stationed in the city when it moves will stay on the city and move with it (though there is a bug with stationed aircraft that will sometimes cause them to get left behind when a city moves; if they're not immediately rebased they vanish)
  • Cities can move into tiles occupied by hostile units; the hostile unit will be displaced
  • Cities damage whatever they pass over. Improvements will be destroyed by the passing of a city (which creates a wonderful opportunity to use cities to destroy improvements on tiles without resources so that the tiles can be improved by weather satellites or orbital fabricators) and alien nests will automatically be looted (you will *not* receive a warning message that you're about to loot a friendly nest).
  • Cities cannot move too close to other cities or to stations (though I've been able to move some cities quite close to one another, I think this is a bug, not intended behavior)
  • Aquatic cities work tiles in the same range as normal cities, up to three units away from the city's location. Tile assignments will be automatically performed each time a city moves.
  • Cities moving into new areas may suffer sudden, massive swings in resource generation. Because a city can only work tiles which are claimed and are close enough to be worked, when heading into virgin territory cities will have very few particularly productive tiles to work from. Grower specialists can help through some of the rough patches by keeping food production up.
  • When an aquatic city moves onto a Hydracoral, the Hydracoral is destroyed, causing no damage to the city.
  • Units who are told to move to a city are actually told to move to a particular tile. If the city moves while the unit is in transit the unit will not update its pathing to try to reach the city's new location. When sending units long distances to an aquatic city, try to plan to send the unit where the city will be.
  • Likewise, units in the orbital layer are locked into the tiles where they were launched. Orbital units providing bonuses to cities within the area of effect are trickier to use with aquatic cities which are regularly moved.
  • Territory claimed by an aquatic city will be lost if the city itself is lost.
  • Just because an Aquatic City claims territory doesn't mean that city needs to work it. Try having a few "trailblazer" cities that do little more than wander around claiming massive amounts of territory, and then backfill the newly claimed territory with other cities.
  • Following normal city behavior, strategic resources are added to the player's resource totals whether there's a city close enough to work that tile or not. Aquatic cities can excel at quickly claiming strategic resources across huge areas; they can be improved by workers to gain the resources without needing to keep a city close by to work the tile.
  • Aquatic Cities (particularly for the NSA or factions allied with them) can be thought of as super-massive carriers. Well-developed cities can usually get movement time down to one turn, allowing for them to be used as massive invasion platforms. What better way to take out a pesky neighbor than by bringing ALL YOUR CITIES right to their borders?
  • Aquatic cities have trade routes just like normal cities. Because aquatic cities (particularly if used for offensive military action) can have trouble keeping enough production and food, internal trade routes are particularly valuable. When using a city as an assault base, consider redirecting trade routes to sustain your forward base of operations.
  • Aquatic cities can build wonders. Some wonders are land-exclusive, and some are aquatic-exclusive.
  • If you're building an aquatic city with the intent of working an area of ocean, consider founding the city on the *edge* of the territory you want it to work. After building some initial production boosters, walk the city in a spiral on the area you want it to work, finally ending up in the center.

Unique Aquatic Gameplay in Other Games of the Series[]

  • The original Sid Meier's Civilization settlers has a bug that allows settlers to build roads on water tiles. Land units cannot travel on these roads, nor can sea units travel faster on them. However, cities do gain the trade bonuses afforded by roads.
  • Underwater cities and tunnels can be built, in both Call to Power games.
  • Sea bases can be constructed in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.
  • In Rise and Fall, the Dutch Civilization can build the water improvement Polders and the Indonesian Civilization can build Kampungs. The Governor Liang allows for fisheries to be built.
  • Civilization VI: Gathering Storm, allows for the aquatic improvements, Seasteads, Oil Rigs, and Wind Farms to be built. The Māori Civilization starts the game in the ocean.
  • In C-evo and in Gathering Storm, canals can be built on one-tile-wide isthmuses. In a Civ4 expansion pack, fortresses double as ports for ships so when two fortresses are built next to each other on an isthmus 2 tiles wide, that can be used as a canal as well.
  • Call to Power, Alpha Centauri, and Gathering Storm have global warming mechanics which cause sea levels to rise.


Civilization: Beyond Earth [Edit]
Games: Base Beyond EarthRising TideStarships

Aliens • Artifacts (Alien, Old Earth, Progenitor)RT only.pngBiomesBuildingsCargoColonistsOrbital UnitsPersonality TraitsRT only.pngPlanetsQuestsResourcesSponsorsSpacecraftTechnologiesTerrainTile ImprovementsTrade AgreementsRT only.pngUnitsVirtuesWondersYields


Harmony HarmonyPurity PuritySupremacy Supremacy

Alien gameplayAquatic gameplayRT only.pngArtifacts SystemRT only.pngBuildingsCitiesCovert OperationsDiplomacyExpeditionsMarvel SystemRT only.pngMiasmaOrbital LayerStationsTech WebTradeUnitsVictory

Culture CultureDiplomatic Capital Diplomatic CapitalRT only.pngEnergy EnergyFood FoodHealth HealthProduction ProductionScience Science

Starting a new gameStarter GuideStrategy GuidesSteam AchievementsModsUpdatesSoundtrackStarships UnlockablesExoplanets Map Pack

RT only.png Introduced in the Rising Tide expansion pack.† Spin off game based in the same fictional universe


  1. Original work for building and wonders section came from this reddit site. [1] Further changes originated here
  2. Original work for building and wonders section came from this reddit site. [2] Further changes originated here