- Build Tile Improvement (uses 1 charge)
- Repair Tile Improvement (uses no charge)
- Remove Tile Improvement (uses no charge)
- Harvest Resource (uses 1 charge and provides a one-time yield; Bonus Resources only)
- Remove Feature (uses 1 charge and provides a one-time yield; Forest, Rainforest, or Marsh only)
- Plant Woods (uses 1 charge; requires Conservation)
- Clean Nuclear Fallout
The Builder is the basic building block of an empire, replacing the Workers from previous Civilization games. They are used to create tile improvements (both on land and sea), collect resources, and build many different things within your cities' borders. They can also be used to repair pillaged improvements (but not districts or their buildings, which must be repaired through the city production queue).
The Builder is very different from the Worker of Civilization V. First of all, it has limited uses (i.e. charges, which are also visually represented by the number of members in the unit), and disappears from the game after it expends these. Second, its actions are instantaneous, instead of extending through various turns. These differences require a very different approach to using Builders - they are best used quickly, so that you can start enjoying the improvements they built ASAP. You can, of course, maintain one reserve unit for emergency repairs, although it often isn't worth it if you don't expect to have your lands pillaged by any sort of threat.
The Production cost of a Builder scales according to the following formula, in which x is the number of Builders you've trained or purchased:
Captured Builders do not increase the cost of the next Builder, but Builders received for free do.
By default, the Builder only has three charges, but this can be increased in various ways:
- Qin Shi Huang's leader ability grants his Builders one extra charge.
- The Governor Liang (The Surveyor) grants all Builders trained in the city she's in one extra charge with her default title Guildmaster.
- The Pyramids wonder grants all Builders one extra charge (retroactively for active Builders).
- The Serfdom and Public Works policy cards grant newly created Builders two extra charges.
Builders captured by military units will retain their current charge count.
Harvesting is a new action which a Builder may undertake in order to clear a Bonus Resource from a tile, and provide a massive instantaneous stat yield to its parent city. The Harvest Resource (e.g. Stone, Rice) and Remove Feature (e.g. Rainforest, Woods) commands cost a build charge to collect the one-time yield bonus from removing the resource or feature (in contrast to removing an improvement or repairing an improved but pillaged tile, which does not cost any build charge). This boost is optional if building a Wonder or District: placing it on the tile without harvesting will prompt you that the feature will be removed.
The quantity is scaled by research progression and is modified by building production bonus multiplicatively — which is the sum of modifiers from policy cards, civilization ability (in the expansions), Dedications, and certain titles. Also since Rise and Fall, the base yield (after research scaling) is separately modified by Magnus' default title multiplicatively.
If harvest results in more Production than the remaining Production required for the city's current construction item, the excess is stored and used for the next construction item. In Rise and Fall, the overflown Production is committed only on the turn's passing unless it is a new district placed this turn, which immediately absorbs the overflow. In Gathering Storm, the exception is removed.
Up to Rise and Fall, the modifiers that apply to the quantity of the harvest follow the current construction in the city, which the player can freely swap between different items, changing the corresponding modifiers, within the same turn. In Gathering Storm, the modifiers are determined by the construction in progress at last turn's end. If the previous construction is completed, then no building modifiers are applied to harvest yield. Also, overflow does not enjoy any building modifier.
For example, if a Medieval Wall costs 225 Production in the current turn and the construction progress of the wall has been filled to 200 Production in a city and thus 25 more Production is needed to complete the wall; and suppose, in the same turn, harvesting a Rainforest yields 61 Production (alongside 61 Food). Without Magnus or any building modifiers, harvesting the Rainforest will complete the wall and result in 36 Production in overflow. The overflow will contribute to the city's next construction.
In contrast, in Rise and Fall, if Magnus is established in the city, the harvest yield will become 122 Production (alongside 122 Food). This quantity is displayed in-game. Adding to that, if the Limes policy is active, the Production yield is further modified to 244 Production, which is not displayed in-game. The overflow will thus be 219 Production, which can be used for any subsequent construction in the city of player's choice. This leads to heavy emphasis to the abuse of overflow mechanics and placement of Magnus.
In Gathering Storm, the overflow abuse would be remedied as follows. (Note that Magnus now increases harvest yield by 50% in Gathering Storm instead of 100% in Rise and Fall.) Harvesting the Rainforest will yield 91 Production (alongside 91 Food) with Magnus. The Limes policy will modify the yield further to 182 Production, 25 of which will be used to complete the wall. The remaining 157 Production is then only treated as 78.5 Production — as if Limes is selectively unapplied to the overflow portion. Even if there are building modifiers applicable to the next construction, for example the French civilization ability of +20% Production towards certain Wonders, those modifiers will not apply to the overflow. Only 78.5 Production remains. But the remaining amount can be still used freely to any new construction. Also, the Medieval Wall must have been under construction at the end of the previous turn in order for Limes to apply. The player cannot shuffle to constructing a near-complete building or unit within the same turn and expect to use the overflow for the next construction. If no construction is in progress (i.e. the previous construction is complete), no building modifiers will apply to the harvest yield.
After the harvest which completed the Medieval Wall, when a new construction is selected, a second harvest yield will be modified by modifiers that apply to the new construction.
Every era has had the men and women who lay the foundations … the farms, fences, mines, roads, bridges, ditches, and all the rest that add up to “civilization.” Whether slaves, wage-slaves, contractors, or actually working for themselves, these “builders” spread out into the wilderness and tame it, making it productive and profitable. Then they keep it all running and in repair. No civilization can survive without these men and women (and children, at least until the early 20th century). While technology and machinery has certainly helped, the work of all this building and maintaining the infrastructure of a nation is still demanding, dirty, and dangerous; in 2013 AD, there were 828 fatalities in the construction industry in the United States, and 46 in the United Kingdom.
- Upon reaching the later eras, Builders change in appearance. In the Industrial Era they appear as factory workers, while in the Modern Era and beyond they wear hard hats and reflective jackets.