City-States are small independent political entities introduced in Civilization V, which could be linked in the real world to the small nations of little significance that don't have any ambitions for world domination. In essence, they are single-city civilizations that do not compete against anyone for the victory. Although they have the same capacity for producing units and buildings as normal civilizations, as well as technological and even cultural progress, they cannot build Settler units and thus are (almost) never interested in expansion. They do start with a Settler, who founds the city state on the same tile it spawned at the beginning of the game. Unlike the major civilizations, City-States don't have a military unit right at the beginning of the game.
City-States start neutrally-disposed towards everyone, and how to deal with them is your choice - you can coddle them to improve relations, and eventually make them friends or even allies; or you can capture them (at which the Mongolian civilization is especially good); or choose to ignore them. However, be mindful that they can be of immense help to you in the game and that they are needed to achieve a Diplomatic Victory.
As with the default names of cities for all civilizations, all City-State names come from the real world. What's more, most of them are the (current) Capital of an existing country, which is not present among the civilization choices.
All of the short musical themes for the City-States were composed by Roland Rizzo and some are adapted from pre-existing soundtracks.
Types of City-States
There are different types of City-States, depending on what they are focused on: Cultured, Maritime and Militaristic. Two new types of City-States, Mercantile and Religious, are added in the Gods & Kings expansion. Note that, unlike the special trait, the type of a City-State is pre-determined by its name (e.g. Hanoi will always be a Militaristic City-State).
Each different type of City-State will provide you with a different bonus when you develop relations with them:
- Cultured City-States start a cultural exchange program with your empire (artists, shows, artifacts), and give you Culture points each turn (at one rate for Friends, and at double rate for their Ally). Note that these points are not associated with any particular city, and thus don't help border growth.
- Maritime City-States share their considerable Food resources with your cities. They give you +2 Food in the Capital at the Friends level, plus an additional +1 Food there and in all other cities of yours at the Allies level. The Food appears right at the city tile, and is thus subject to additional bonuses from Social Policies, We Love the King Day, etc.
- Militaristic City-States bolster your military might. They periodically gift land units to your army; these units appear near the city which is geographically closest to the gifting City-State. The rate at which you gain units is increased at the Allies level (less number of turns between gifts). What's more, if the City-State has constructed military training buildings, gifted units spawn with promotions!
As of Gods & Kings, Militaristic City-States can give units unique to certain civilizations, provided you're allied and have discovered the appropriate technology. You can check which special unit you receive by hovering over the "militaristic" trait in the City-State info tab. Allied Militaristic City-States will also sometimes grant more technologically advanced units than you can produce currently.
Each city-state's unique unit is set at the beginning of each game, and will always be a land unit (as opposed to a unique naval unit like the Dromon or a unique air unit like the B17) belonging to a civilization that is not present in the game. For this reason, you can use the available uniques of city-states to narrow down the possible opposing civs - for example, if one city-state's unique gift unit is the Longbowman, you can be certain that England is not present in the game.
- Mercantile City-States are focused on trading exotic goods and finely crafted items. They provide a +3 Happiness bonus to you at the Friends level (which is maintained at the Allies level; it does not increase). Furthermore, each Mercantile City-State produces a unique luxury resource ( Jewelry or Porcelain), and you gain access to it when Allied. These resources serve as a source of extra Happiness that cannot be obtained by any other means.
- Religious City-States share their religious practices and artifacts with your nation, giving you Faith each turn in addition to a one-time bonus when first met.
In addition, City-States also have a Personality trait, which can be Hostile, Neutral, Irrational or Friendly. This affects the default rate of Influence change per turn and affects which quests they are most likely to give.
City-State Tech Level and Army
All City-States progress technologically, producing Science like all civilizations. Their tech level varies, but it follows the general tech level of the civilizations. This means when most civilizations are in the Medieval Era, most City-States will be there too. They develop the necessary technologies to access resources, including late-game strategic resources, such as Oil.
All City-States build and maintain an army, with the size depending on the difficulty level, but their army is usually relatively small. Their units' tech level again follows the general tech level. This means when you decide to invade a City-State in the Modern Era, you can expect them to defend with Infantries, Artilleries, etc.
City-States build naval vessels, which sometimes explore the oceans far away from their territory (especially Caravels). It is also possible for a City-State to build an air unit, including guided missiles, although this is extremely rare. Also note in Brave New World, City-States do not build Caravans, Cargo Ships or Archaeologists.
Relations and Influence
Relations with City-States depend on Influence points, which are organized in a scale going from -60 to +n (because it's not clear whether there is a maximum Influence level), where the 0 represents the point of Neutrality. The amount of Influence points determines your influence level with the City-State. There are five different influence levels:
- Neutral - You start on this level, and it means exactly what it says. The state is neither friendly, nor hostile. You can move units through its territory, but each turn your military units stay there will anger the City-State, diminishing Influence.
- Friends - Gaining at least +30 Influence points will make you friends with the City-State. This causes the City-State to give you gifts based on their type (check above), and grant you open borders to their territory.
Note that a single City-State can have an unlimited number of friends - technically all civilizations may befriend it.
- Allies - If you gain more than 60 points of positive Influence, you become the City-State's patron, or in other words, they become your Ally. This gets you larger gifts based on the type of the City-State, plus access to the City-State's luxury and strategic resources. You also gain permanent vision of the City-State's territory, and they automatically declare war on any civilization you are at war with. Finally, in later eras of the game, the voting power of the City-State is added to their Ally's delegation in the World Congress.
Note that a single City-State may only have one Ally at a time. If more than one civilization has 60+ Influence points with it, it will ally itself with the one that has the most Influence.
- Angry - If you push the Influence scale into negative territory, the City-State will become gradually more hostile to you. They will cancel quests they have given to you previously, and won't give you new quests until relations go back to Neutral.
- War - On the other, negative end of the Influence level scale is war. You can declare war against a City-State just like you declare war on another civilization, and the effects are pretty much the same as well. Or a City-State may declare war on you for several reasons.
Once you irritate, harass and bully City-States enough, they will all join their forces and declare permanent war against you, in which they will never stop - unless you conquer them, of course.
If another civ enters into a war, their City-State allies will do the same. Unless that civ's alliance with the City-states ends, peace cannot be made with these City-States unless peace is also made with that civ.
You cannot negotiate peace with City-States if you are in a permanent war.
In Gods & Kings, there is a new influence status: Afraid. This is achieved by having a strong military presence near the City-State. You can request tribute from City-States that are afraid, for either some Gold or a Worker, but of course at the expense of Influence points. This may also result in their quests for you being cancelled.
You can find some more information about Influence here, and also below.
City-States also have one of the following four special traits, which are not connected with their name, but determined randomly at the start of the game (whereas their special bonus is always connected with the specific City-State):
- Neutral - This trait doesn't have any effect, either positive nor negative.
- Friendly - This means the City-State is quite peaceful and generally well-disposed to everyone. Its quests will be primarily peaceful, such as building a Wonder or connecting a Road.
- Hostile - This means the city is quite violent. Influence with them will degrade 25% faster than normal (so, it will drop 1.25 per turn); also, the quests it gives to you will tend to be violent in nature, such as bullying another City-State, or denouncing a civilization.
- Irrational - This trait means that the state will give you all sorts of quests, so you can never know what to expect of it.
Interactions with City-States
When you meet a City-State for the first time, a screen will appear, showing the name of the City-State, and its attribute and personality. City-States will gift you 15 Gold when you meet them for the first time (this is doubled if you are the first civilization to meet them). Religious City-States will also grant you 4 Faith (the double bonus for meeting them first also applies here). Also, the City-State is added to your Diplomacy menu, making it possible to interact with them from this point on. It is interesting to note that, for some reason, most City-States are located along the coast - take this into consideration when planning your early scouting.
Clicking on a City-State name opens a menu which shows you their resources and your influence with them, besides their attribute and personality. Additional information is available via tooltips by hovering your mouse over the City-State banner in the World screen, or over different items in the City-State menu. For example, you can see exactly how many points of Influence you need to replace the City-State's current Ally.
There are various ways to increase the influence points you have with a City-State. The more basic ones are gifting Gold (keeping in mind that the net benefit in making a large payment is bigger than the one from small payments; also, the effect diminishes with the passing of eras), or gifting units (although the amount of influence points you get is very low).
Other common ways to increase influence include liberating captured Workers from the City-State and returning them. This nets 40 Influence, and is particularly useful in the early game. Also, whenever you kill a Barbarian unit within one tile of, or within the territory of a City-State, you'll receive 10 Influence points.
Influence has a natural tendency to gravitate towards the Resting Point of the scale - 0 by default. If positive, it will diminish by 1 point each turn (by default), or if negative, it will increase by 1 point each turn. Certain civilization abilities and Social Policies (especially the Patronage tree) will change the speed with which influence changes naturally, or it may even set a new Resting Points level. Also, if the City-State shares the same religion as your majority religion, influence will diminish 25% slower. And if you declare to be the City-State's Protector, the Resting Point of the scale will move up by 5.
Violating a City-State's borders
If you aren't Friends or Allies with a City-State, you do not have permission to enter their territory with any military unit (you can enter freely with civilian units, such as Workers or Missionaries). In case you violate this rule, for any turn your units stay within the City-State's borders, your Influence with them will diminish by 12 points.
It is interesting to note that whenever there are Barbarians nearby, or within the City-State's territory, the usual penalty for violating its borders does not apply, even if you're not Friends or Allies. Any player can then march his or her military units on its territory without fear of "diplomatic repercussions" (the idea being that in this case, they are seen as "protectors" rather than "invaders").
Another, much better way to gain influence with City-States is by performing quests for them. If they're at least Neutral to you, they'll occasionally contact you with a quest, and accomplishing it will give you influence points. The quest variety has been greatly expanded in Gods & Kings; there are some which are timed (for a max of 30 turns), some which apply to all civilizations in the game, while others apply only to you.
Here are the quests you can perform:
- Destroy a nearby Barbarian camp
- Kill Barbarian units near their lands (Can be done at all times, even when they don't call for it.)
- Acquire a Great Person of a certain kind
- Construct a particular World Wonder
- Find a Natural Wonder (Any will do.)
- Find a particular civilization's lands (This happens when you have already discovered/met the civ in question, but haven't revealed any tile part of its territory.)
- Connect a certain resource, Luxury or Strategic, to your trade network
- Build a road to their city (Only if they are close enough to a city of yours.)
- Spread a certain religion to their city ( and )
- Donate money to support a Public Works project ( Gold gifts are more effective for 30 turns.)
- Help in a war against another civilization (By killing the enemy civ's units anywhere on the map; alternatively, the City-State may request gifted units for more Influence than normal when attacked in Gods & Kings and Brave New World.)
- Destroy another City-State (By conquering it; only possible in vanilla.)
- Bully another City-State (By successfully requesting a tribute from it; and ).
When a City-State becomes the victim of bullying (another civ demands tribute from them/makes them afraid), they call for defense in one of the following manners, all of which only apply to you, and are valid for 30 turns:
- Pledge protection to them. In this case only, the action will give you some Influence.
- Denounce the civilization that bullied them.
- Donate money to help them recover. Unlike the "Public Works" quest, this one is a single-use, giving you +20 Influence when you make the gift in addition to the regular influence effect. Also, the City-State becomes more resistant to tribute in the future from other players.
Finally, City-States will "Call for..." (some stats here, Culture, Faith or Technologies). These quests are timed, and apply to all civs. Whoever gathers the most of the particular stat at the end of turn 30 will gain a large influence boost. Ties are allowed - in this case, all civilizations that were tied will gain influence.
Note that while the Culture and Faith races call for a gross accumulation of points of said stats, the Technologies race applies to the number of technologies discovered, NOT science points gathered. All ways to discover tech are applicable, including Espionage and Wonders or Social Policies that give free techs.
If you pledge to protect a City-State, the resting points with it are raised by 5. If your influence is below your resting points, the influence increases every turn. Combined with the Consulates policy from the Patronage policy tree, you achieve a base resting point of 25.
You can revoke protection of a City-State at any time once 10 turns since your declaration of protection have passed. (In vanilla, doing this results in a penalty where you cannot pledge to protect the same City-State for a short period of time.)
Giving protection shouldn't be used lightly. Once given, there will be diplomatic consequences any time another civilization attempts to bully and/or attack that City-State. Whenever this happens, you will be offered a choice to either fulfill your promise and defend the City-State, which will anger the perpetrator civilization, or to break your promise, which will anger the City-State.
Demanding a Tribute
In Gods & Kings, there is a new interaction type: Ask for Tribute. This is literally bullying a City-State into giving you either some Gold or a Worker, and can only be done with a large military presence near the City-State. The City-State in question must be afraid of you before you can demand tribute from them. A City-State's fear of a given civilization is based on that civ's overall military might and the presence of military units belonging to that civ within 8 tiles of the City-State, as well as whether or not the civ has adopted the Gunboat Diplomacy tenet of the Autocracy ideology. A City-State's resistance to tribute demands is based on whether or not the City-State has another civ protecting it, if the City-State was recently bullied by the player, if a civ completes the quest of giving the City-State a gift of gold after tribute was demanded, if influence with that City-State is too low (less than -30), if the City-State has another civ as an ally, or if the City-State has the Militaristic trait. You can check the tooltips on the options shown when demanding tribute to see information on the fear and resistance in effect for that City-State.
Asking for tribute will cause an immediate loss of Influence (15 for demanding Gold and 50 for demanding a Worker), and may also spark diplomatic incidents if the City-State has a protector. In case you are protecting a City-State, and another civilization takes tribute from it, they'll expect you to at least express outrage. If you don't, you'll lose 20 Influence and the protection will be automatically cancelled. If you do express outrage, you'll suffer a temporary penalty to relations with that civ, but your Influence will remain unchanged.
If a City-State gets bullied by another civ, there may be a quest following it if you are not protecting them. The quest could be pledging protection to the City-State, giving them a gift of gold (any amount), or denouncing the bullying civ.
One way to earn lots of Influence points is liberating a City-State. This becomes possible after another civ has conquered a City-State, and you take it from them later - you can then choose to annex, puppet, or liberate it. Liberating a City-State makes it almost eternally grateful to you (meaning a lot of influence points), and the city is returned to the game as an individual City-State. It is important to note that the Allies status will still decrease over time. Also, the City-State will not be able to vote for the liberator in the United Nations or World Leader vote (since City-States can't vote), though the liberator will most likely have enough influence over the City-State to be able to take advantage of its voting power.
Likewise, liberating or returning a Worker that belonged to a City-State from barbarians or an enemy civ will grant 45 Influence. (Note that you can only return Workers to City-States you have met. Acquiring a Worker originally belonging to a City-State you haven't met yet immediately gives it to you without the option to return it, and meeting the City-State afterwards still won't allow you to return it then.)
Austria and Venice
The Austrian and Venetian civilizations are masters of City-State diplomacy. The Austrian court excels at gaining the allegiance of City-States by arranging diplomatic marriages between the royal line and influential people from the City-State, while the famous Merchant of Venice is able to lead a blitz campaign to buy out all major assets of a City-State, thus making it totally dependent on the Venetian civilization as a Puppet state. The target of these operations will join the relevant nation with all its troops and civilians. It will also lose the status of City-State and will act as though it were a settled city. The city can no longer be liberated, permanently removes delegates from the World Congress, and can be razed if captured by an enemy civilization. This effect is far superior to conquering the City-State, because it comes without all the mess of reduced population, destroyed buildings, Resistance, etc.
City-States during War
As stated above, each City-State maintains a small army. As a general rule, their army stays within, or close to, their borders, and serves to defend the city from Barbarians or hostile civilizations that invade with the purpose of conquering them. In rare cases, a military unit may stray to attack a nearby encampment.
This changes, however, if the City-State is dragged as an ally into a serious war between civilizations. In this case, the City-State army will not only defend, but also attempt to attack nearby hostile countries (usually despite being vastly outnumbered). If the enemy, be it a nation or another City-State, has a city right nearby, the City-State will send their units to attack that city. Their armies can also pillage improvements and capture Workers. In very rare cases they may manage to capture another city, which is then temporarily added to their own territory. City-States will not pursue the enemy further and will always raze captured cities, with only a few exceptions. They cannot, for example, raze another City-State (should one have been allied to the enemy), or a civilization Capital.
Of course, if the reverse occurs and City-State is conquered by another civilization, it will cease to exist unless liberated later on.
Note that if the Happiness of the allied civilization of a City-State falls into the negatives, this will also affect the combat strength of the City-State – not just those of their army proper. The city-state units will suffer the very same penalty the units of the allied civilization suffer, as long as their Happiness is below 0 (though the City-State won't suffer revolts).
Be aware that nations usually become hostile to you if you invade and annex a City-State.
Espionage and City-States
Starting in Gods & Kings, the new Espionage game-play feature allows an additional way of manipulating City-State Influence. You can now send one of your Spies into any City-State (even the ones you're currently at war with). Once they establish their surveillance network, your spies start manipulating elections which are held regularly (every 15 turns; apparently, the general idea is that every City-State is a democracy). When doing this, they try to plant people in the government which are more friendly to your civ, and less so to others. If they rig an election successfully, your Influence level with the City-State rises, while the Influence of all other civs falls. Normally, the boost is enough not only to offset the natural decline in Influence, but also to bump it up a bit. Eventually, you will become friends and later allies with this City-State.
Rigging elections may not work if there is a rival spy in the City-State. In this case, you have to beat a check based on the experience level of the two spies and how long they have been in the City-State, plus any other special bonuses.
But if you don't feel like waiting for the City-State's allegiance, you can order your Spy to Stage a Coup. This more extreme action attempts to completely replace the current government with the one full of your supporters. If successful, the City-State becomes your Ally, and their former Ally's Influence level will be switched with yours. Also, all other civs lose some Influence. The chance of success depends on several factors, among them the Spy's level, your current Influence level with the City-State, etc.
Note that a coup is only possible if the City-State currently has an Ally. What's more, a failed coup results in your Spy's death, as well as loss of some Influence with that City-State, as its officials discover the relationship of the failed spy with your civilization. Use this option with care!
It is possible to stage a coup in a City-State with which you're currently at war. If successful, you can immediately make peace with them, even if their current patron is still at war with you!
City-States and Diplomatic Victory
City-States play a major role in diplomatic victories. When the United Nations wonder is built, a UN vote is scheduled every once in a while to vote for a world leader. Every City-State in play will vote for its ally or choose to abstain. It is crucial to get City-States to back you, for they are the tie breakers. It is relatively simple to obtain votes from City-States if quests they have issued have been completed. It is also possible to gain influence by bribery, and maxing out the influence possible by completing "investment projects" will give the best bang for the buck. Depending on how the game is configured (number of civilizations and City-States), the City-States are necessary for having the majority vote.
Brave New World
With the introduction of the World Congress, City-States also receive an even larger role in achieving a diplomatic victory. From the Industrial Era and then, you can acquire more delegates by making allies of City-States. The more City-State allies you have, the more additional delegates you get.
The conditions for a diplomatic victory remain the same. However, in Brave New World, rather than being an actual World Wonder, the United Nations now develops automatically from the Congress. This occurs when any civilization reaches the Information Era, OR at least half the world's civilizations reach the Atomic Era. From then, a vote for the World Leader will be held every 20 turns.
- A City-State can capture another city. The captured city will be razed (unless the captured city was the original Capital of a civilization or another City-State, or had been captured and puppeted by another civilization). If you click on that city, it will bring you to the City-State screen.
- If you are at war with a major civilization, and the enemy major civilization liberates one of your captured cities that was once a City-State, all your troops will be pushed out from that city's border, despite the fact that you will be at war with said City-State.
- If you receive a city that once was a City-State through a deal or peace treaty, you will not have the liberate option for that City-State. (This was fixed in Brave New World.)
- If a player is using a mod in which one of the cities they can found shares a name with a City-State, it will appear as "CITY" in diplomacy/diplomatic requests.
- When City-States issue a call for the most technological advances, note that Future Tech doesn't count. Even if you research it every turn, you will not win this quest.
- City-states can fight each other in the absence of any civ being involved. This can happen even if the city-states are allied with the same civ. There appears to be no way, aside from capturing one of the warring city-states, to stop them.
List of City-States
The following are comprehensive lists of the City-States that can be found in the game. Mercantile and Religious City-states were added in the Gods & Kings expansion pack.
Note that there are a limited number of City-States generated in the beginning of each game (depending on map size). The particular City-States are selected randomly among all five types, and distributed evenly around the map. The traits of a City-State with a particular name are always the same (e.g. Almaty will always be Militaristic) regardless of its location on the map; however, the resources it has access to may differ according to its location from game to game (so that Almaty won't always have Iron and Cotton, for example). There are a total of 72 different city states, 17 cultured city-states, 22 maritime city-states, 15 mercantile city-states, 10 militaristic city-states, and 8 religious city-states.
Sydney replaced Copenhagen as a City-State a day after the Denmark DLC pack was released. Quebec City replaced Oslo as a City-State as well.
Gods & Kings
New City-States included in Gods & Kings:
- Milan, Prague and Yerevan (Cultured)
- Jakarta, Lisbon, Manila and Mombasa (Maritime)
- Antwerp, Cahokia, Colombo, Hong Kong, Marrakech, Zanzibar and Zurich (Mercantile)
- Valletta (Militaristic)
- Jerusalem, La Venta, Vatican City and Wittenberg (Religious)
Geneva and Lhasa have been changed from Cultured to Religious. Genoa and Singapore have been changed from Maritime to Mercantile. Tyre has been changed from Militaristic to Mercantile.
Brave New World
Jakarta, Lisbon, Marrakech, Rio de Janeiro, Venice and Warsaw were removed as City-States and became the Capitals of many new civilizations (Indonesia, Portugal, Morocco, Brazil, Venice and Poland, respectively).
New City-States included in Brave New World:
- Bratislava, Buenos Aires, Kyzyl, Kabul and Kiev (Cultured)
- Byblos, Mogadishu, Ormus, Panama City, Riga, Ur and Vancouver (Maritime)
- Antananavario, Malacca, Melbourne and Samarkand (Mercantile)
- M'banza Kongo and Sofia (Militaristic)
- Ife (Religious)
Kathmandu has been changed from Cultured to Religious.
Three new City-States were added in the Fall 2013 patch:
- Bogota (Cultured)
- Wellington (Maritime)
- Vilnius (Mercantile)
Say Hello to My Little Friend
Reach Ally Status with a City-State.
Annex a previously puppetted City-State.
Use a spy to gain influence with a city-state.
Junta for Red October
Use a spy to successfully stage a city-state coup.
Select the Papal Primacy Belief and Ally with 12 city-states.
As Austria, acquire a City-State with 15 or more units through Diplomatic Marriage.
Gimme Your Lunch Money!
Bully 3000 gold from city-states across any number of playthroughs.
It Belongs in a Museum
Have Artifacts from 10 different City-States in the Museums and Wonders in your civilization.
Valid only in the Gods & Kings expansion pack.
Valid only in the Brave New World expansion pack.
|Civilization V |
|Gods & Kings • Brave New World|