- 1 Introduction
- 2 Conducting Diplomacy
- 3 City-State Diplomacy
- 4 Diplomatic Relations with Other Civilizations
- 5 Diplomatic Actions
- 6 Signing Treaties
- 7 War and Peace
- 8 World Congress
Diplomacy is the art of making relations with other game entities in Civilization V. The world is huge and filled with other civilizations whose leaders are at least as cunning and determined as you are. Some are honest and others are liars; some are warlike and others prefer peace. But all want to win.
You can accomplish a lot through diplomacy: you can trade to make profit off your nation's excess production; you can gain allies and isolate your enemies; you can create defensive and offensive pacts; you can advance your technology through cooperative research ventures; you can end wars that are going badly for you; you can bluff the credulous and bully the timid.
And finally, if you make enough allies, you can achieve a Diplomatic Victory!
Diplomacy may be conducted throughout the game with all entities you've already discovered in the world. Click on the Diplomacy button in the upper right corner of the screen - all civilizations and City-States you know already will appear in the list here. You can initiate contact with each of them at will, simply by clicking on the particular entity.
Diplomatic contacts may be initiated by you, or by the AI (during their turn). You can talk to leaders even if you're at war with them, but only to try to negotiate peace.
Negotiations with civilizations are possible from the start. However, certain high-level actions (such as signing treaties) will only become possible after certain Technologies have been researched. Also, in Gods & Kings, most treaties (except a Declaration of Friendship) may only be signed after you establish Embassies in each other's capitals. This becomes possible after discovering Writing, and is usually quite easy. You need the other nation to consent (also, if they ask you, you need to consent), and it's usual for the two countries to simply exchange Embassies. Or, you may offer them (or they can offer you) a small gift of Gold in exchange for the right to establish an Embassy.
After you open an Embassy, the location of the other nation's capital is revealed on the map (but you don't gain permanent vision of it, that only happens if you send a Spy or a Diplomat there). Also, you gain a small boost in relations with the other nation.
Note that Embassies are closed mutually when one nation denounces another nation, or when they enter a war with each other. Embassies later have to be reopened with another specific diplomatic action (in the case of denouncing, this can be done immediately on the next turn; in the case of war you have to negotiate peace first).
City-States are the "minor" players in the game, and they know it. So much so that, as an act of goodwill, they offer a small Gold gift to each major civilization when it first discovers them! City-States try to stay out of the big struggles of the great, but at the same time they often ask the great for help in different matters; and also the great can use them to achieve their own goals, so they constantly try to befriend City-States. Since each State is basically neutral, diplomatic relations are pretty straightforward, and depend entirely on your amount of influence with the particular City-State. They will often approach you with "missions," if your influence with them is at least Neutral. You, on the other hand, may attempt to bribe them with Gifts, bully them, or you may decide to Declare War on them. For more information and details, check the City-State article.
There's only one catch when City-States are concerned, and that's the fact that if you're at war with their Patron (ally), any peace negotiations with the City-State becomes impossible. If you want peace, you'll need first to make peace with their Patron (and usually peace with City-State allies is included in the peace treaty already). An interesting situation, however, may arise due to the fact that Influence with City-States may change even while you're at war with them (under certain circumstances). For example, they may gain another Patron different from the nation you're at war with, or their Patron has been annihilated - Peace will then become immediately possible. Keep an eye on the game alerts in the beginning of each turn - they will notify you of any changes in the allegiance of City-States.
Diplomatic Relations with Other Civilizations
Diplomacy with other civs is not as easy as with City-States, because they don't depend simply on a scale of influence - they have their own agenda. A civilization may decide to attack you without any warning, even though they're friendly with you!
Unlike City-State influence, relations with civilizations depend entirely on gameplay action, and don't decay naturally. The current state of relations with a nation will affect all negotiations you attempt with them (or they with you), from trading deals to alliances. To find out more about what's currently influencing relations with a particular nation, mouse over the Relationship status word on the Diplomacy screen - you'll see a series of effects, some in green (positive), others in red (negative).
Levels of Relations
Unlike the neat scale of City-State influence, relations to civilizations are represented by several broad levels:
- Neutral - They are neither friendly, nor hostile. Negotiations will be relatively easy.
- Friendly - They are well disposed towards you, and you may hope to take advantage of that in negotiations.
- Guarded - They are wary of you and your intentions and, as such, negotiations will be more difficult.
- Hostile - They are angry with you, and very willing to declare war on you. Negotiations will be almost impossible.
- Afraid - They fear your military superiority or your victory progress. They will often comply with anything you want in negotiations.
What Influences Relations
Relations with a nation will improve in these cases:
- Acts of goodwill - These include freeing and returning a captured civilian unit belonging to them, sharing the intrigue of another civilization plotting against them, gifting a resource or Gold when they have nothing to trade for it (variable depending on how much they needed it), and liberating a city that once belonged to them.
- Declaring Friendship with a civilization they're friends with
- Making a Public Declaration of Friendship
- Fighting a common enemy - Sometimes, they will ask for your cooperation in a war they intend to start. If you agree to fight alongside them, relations will improve. They also improve if you declare war against a foe they're currently fighting.
- Denouncing a common enemy - You can receive this bonus if you denounce a nation they have already denounced, or if they denounce a nation you've already denounced.
- Fulfilling promises - There are many situations when you will be asked to promise something to another leader. Some of these include: after you settle a city close to their territory (and they ask you to stop settling close to them), when you have troops amassed near their borders (but say you're only passing through), when you spread your religion to their cities (and they ask you to stop), or if they suspect you of spying on them, they will tell you that you're making them feel uncomfortable and request you to stop. If you desist these actions for a certain amount of turns, a notification will appear stating that you have kept your promise.
- Trading - When you strike a deal with a civilization where they know that they're getting the better half of the deal, relations improve depending on how large of a benefit they get out of it. Comparable to the variability of gifting.
- Building a Landmark on their territory - You can choose to do this with one of your Archaeologists instead of extracting an Artifact for your own use.
- Sharing Religion - If at least half of their cities share your Religion, it has similar effects to the lower spectrum of providing help to them.
- Common Ideology - If you share a common late-game Ideology, it has similar effects to Declaring Friendship.
- Having no contested borders
- Them having an embassy in your capital
- Forgiving them for spying on you when they get caught in the act
- Passing the World Congress to their hands (by helping them win the leadership vote)
- Helping their proposal to the World Congress pass (by voting for it)
- Liberating their capital (or another of their former cities) after they have been completely removed from play - This is the largest non-variable action you can take in favor of another civilization. They will be really grateful for that, as they should! The info tip for that is "Recalled to Life," which is pretty suggestive.
Relations with a nation will worsen in these cases:
- Acts of ill will - These include denouncing them, demanding tribute from/attacking City-States they have pledged to protect, getting caught stealing their technologies, and flat-out refusing to comply with their demands (such as to stop spying, not to settle a city near their lands, or not to spread religion to their cities).
- Coveting land you own - If you settled near land they consider to be theirs (i.e. land they intend to settle in the future), territorial disputes will create tension between you.
- Stealing their territory with a Great General - Using a Great General to create a Citadel improvement on or adjacent to another nation's borders will transfer ownership of their territory to you. When they covet lands you own strongly enough, they may also steal territory from you in this manner.
- Settling cities near other nations' territory - They will consider that a provocation, and ask you to stop doing it.
- Making a Public Declaration of Friendship with a civilization they dislike/have denounced
- Being denounced by a civilization they like more than you
- Breaking promises - For example, promising to start a war together, asking for 10 turns to prepare, then saying that you've reconsidered when it comes time to start the war. Or in any other case when you promised something and you didn't wait enough turns.
- Completing a Wonder they wanted to build/were building
- Competing for the same City-State's influence
- Differing Ideology - Following an Ideology different from theirs will result in an effect similar to you denouncing them.
- Signing a Peace Treaty with a civilization you agreed to go to war with
- Spreading your religion to their Holy City forcibly
- Spreading a religion to their city while they are spreading their own religion
- Denouncing a leader they like more than you
- Asking them to not settle near your land/spy on you
- Demanding a trade
- Digging up Artifacts on their land - This penalty can be turned into an act of goodwill if you turn the site into a Landmark improvement inside their borders.
- Taking part in causing failure to their proposal to the World Congress (by voting against it)
- Declaring War on a leader you had made a Declaration of Friendship with - This is one of the most serious offenses, and it will stay on your record for the entire game!
- Denouncing a leader you had made a Declaration of Friendship with
- Demanding they cease spying on you after you caught them in the act
- Nuking them - This is the largest non-variable action you can take against another civilization.
- Being at War - This causes the nation to be as aggressive towards you as possible until you make peace.
- Not denouncing another player when they ask you to - This causes them to think that you put the priorities of the nation they requested to be denounced above their own, and they will denounce you for it.
- Warmongering - This term denotes the perceived image of a nation with imperialistic ambitions which is a threat to the existence of all other nations. In short, the more wars you wage and the more cities you capture, the more other nations will see you as a Warmonger, which will negatively affect your relations with everybody. For more details on this important factor, check its article.
Sometimes game actions may result in what we call a "Diplomatic Incident" in the real world. They will prompt a confrontation with the other nation, and you will have a choice to make. If you're the perpetrator, they'll protest, and you can appease them, or defy them. If they're the perpetrator, you may choose to overlook the incident, or promise satisfaction. The outcome for relations in both cases is obvious.
The most common diplomatic incidents in Civilization V are when spies are discovered while acting, and when a City-State under protection has been bullied. Note that in the second case, if they're the perpetrator, you can choose to forgive them (preserving relationships with the civilization) and lose influence with the City-State (also revoking the protection), OR you may say "You'll pay for this in time," consequently damaging relations with the civilization, but not the City-State.
You can perform a wide array of diplomatic actions; many of these (like trading) are quite practical, but some (like Declarations, Demands, etc.) are purely diplomatic.
- See also: Trading (Civ5)#Trading deals
One of the most common interactions. You can set up trade agreements with any nation you're not at war with. All trade agreements last for a period of 30 turns, after which they need to be renewed.
You can trade Strategic and Luxury Resources for Gold, or for other resources. Depending on the level of relations between you, they may agree or not to more beneficial trade conditions. A typical example is when you trade them a Luxury resource: if they're Neutral, they'll give you no more than 5 Gold per turn (GPT); if they're Friendly, they may give you as much as 7 GPT; if they're Guarded, you'll get no more than 4 GPT. An interesting quirk of the Fall 2013 patch is that if you're not Friendly with a nation, you can't exchange one-time Gold quantities, just per-turn payments.
Note that you cannot trade Strategic resources unless you have an excess count of the resource. However, this does not hold true for Luxuries - you can trade away your last count of a Luxury resource, in which case you'll lose the +4 Happiness bonus (unless you're playing as the Dutch). And keep in mind that when you ask for a Luxury they have only one count of, they'll require a lot in return. On the other hand, if they have more than one count, they will often accept a single count of another Luxury in return.
Cities may also be "traded" between nations. Note, however, that a nation will part with a city only with great reluctance - you either have to press them with your military power, or offer cities in return. If you acquire a city via diplomacy, the same rules apply as though you conquered it (without the whole mess of war, losing troops and killing part of the city's Population).
Trading is of vital importance in the game. Your empire can't usually become so strong economically as to be completely self-sufficient, and will always need to exchange goods with other nations. Most benefit from trade comes in the form of Gold from selling your excess Luxuries, and additional Happiness from buying Luxuries you currently have no access to. Strategic resources that you're lacking are also a very important trade item.
Trading Delegates in the World Congress
In Brave New World, the World Congress becomes an important tool allowing significant changes to the gameplay environment. Diplomats, assigned into other civilizations' capitals, allow you to attempt a trade of influence during voting. This resembles any other trade - you will need to offer something in exchange for the votes of the other nation's Delegates in the upcoming Congress session. If they agree, a minimum of three of their Delegates will support whatever you ask them to, thus adding additional weight in the voting. If the nation has more than three delegates, however, the remainder can vote freely, possibly voting against the proposal. The chances for a successful trade increase with the usual bonuses.
If you want to get closer with the other civilization, you may invite them to make a joint Declaration of Friendship. Or they may invite you. Such a declaration is obviously only possible if your relations are already at least Neutral, possibly Friendly.
The first result, besides improved relations, will be that other nations they're friendly with will draw closer to you, while others they're hostile with will drift apart.
Another benefit is that the other nation will become more open to satisfying any demands you make of them. Use this to your advantage!
Finally, Research Agreements become possible between you and the other nation.
You may make many demands of another nation. Whether or not they comply will depend on relations and the AI leader's Boldness:
- Demand resources, Gold, or cities
- Demand that they stop settling near your territory
- Demand that they stop spying on you
- Demand that they stop spreading their religion to your cities
- Demand that they stop digging for artifacts in your territory
Other nations, on their turn, may also demand stuff from you. If you agree to their demand, know that you will have to spend a certain number of turns (50-100) not engaging in the activity in question. At that point, the promise will be considered fulfilled, and you may go back to doing what you were doing previously. If you break the promise before the required period has expired, relations between you will worsen.
You may publicly denounce another civilization, stating for the entire diplomatic society to hear that they're a bad person and everyone shouldn't trust them. A denunciation will immediately worsen relations with the nation you've denounced, and also with their friends. At the same time, it may improve relations with other nations that aren't on good terms with the denounced nation.
When another nation denounces you, other leaders will become more wary of you for a time. This may result in a drop in relations, although it's usually not enough on its own to lead to such nasty things like wars. However, it will often not change a Friendly civ's view of you.
Denouncing is often used as a prelude to war - the denouncing party may only gain if they already intend to attack, since nations that aren't friends of the denounced will drift apart from them, and may become more amenable to allying with the denouncing party.
You can declare war on any nation you want - an option you have to consider very carefully! Before completing the declaration, the game will prompt you to confirm, also showing the current state of relations with the party, such as active trade deals, trade routes open between you two, other entities allied, treaties signed, and so on. Know that the declaration will immediately cancel all treaties and deals, the allies of each side will automatically declare war on the others (including civilizations which have a Defensive Pact with one of the nations), and trade routes will be exposed to attacks.
You can also ask (or be asked by) other nations to join a war against a third party - this is called forming an attack alliance. If they agree, you can declare war together and attack at the same time, ensuring bigger chances of success. Of course, you will most probably have to divide the spoils as well. Note that when asking another nation to attack with you, you may use all possible "persuasion" methods, such as bribing.
After you research certain technologies, and open an Embassy in another nation's capital, you'll be able to conduct advanced diplomatic activities, known as signing treaties. All of them are beneficial for you, and getting the other nation to accept them will depend on relations. Of course, other nations may also propose signing treaties, in which case you should weigh the proposal's merits.
This is the first treaty you can sign, available as soon as you research the Civil Service technology. This treaty requires an embassy with the other civilization (that is, civ A must Accept Embassy to be able to subsequently ask civ B for Open Borders). When signed, you and/or the other civ agree to allow free passage through your/their territory. From there on, military and civilian units will actually be able to use it as their own territory, which means you/they can use the road network for fast movement, and that your/their units may heal in that territory as if it were your own. Missionaries will no longer lose Religious Strength to attrition. Also, in Brave New World, this treaty confers a bonus to Tourism spread between your neighbors.
A very important diplomatic agreement, the Open Borders is actually the most commonly signed treaty in the game.
It is possible for this treaty to be one-sided (i.e. to have only one nation allow the other to pass through its territory). You might want to do this because of the Tourism bonus you receive toward the civilization that has opened its borders to you, while preventing them from getting the bonus toward you. Other civilizations are usually willing to sell border passage very cheaply, making it an excellent return-on-investment for your tourism industry.
If war is declared while an Open Borders treaty is in effect, enemy troops are immediately moved to the nearest allowed point outside the border.
You must first research the Chivalry technology before you may sign this pact. When you sign such a pact, the nation you're making a pact with effectively becomes your ally. Whenever one of the nations under a Defensive Pact gets engaged in a defensive war (a war declared by a third party), the other one automatically enters the war as well, on the side of their ally. All City-State allies also enter the war on the relevant sides.
Obviously, signing a Defensive Pact with a powerful nation can make enemies think twice before attacking you (since this will automatically put them at war with the nation that signed the treaty with you). However, it's pretty difficult to get a nation to agree to signing this treaty. Also, be wary when signing one with a civilization that may be attacked during the duration of the treaty. Attacking or declaring war on another civilization will cancel the defensive pact!
Finally, you should be wary of signing Defensive Pacts when you are friendly with several other nations. Even if they are friends with you, they may not be friendly toward each other at all. At this point, it becomes dangerous to sign this pact as one of your friends may declare war on the nations that you signed the pact with. This causes massive ramifications: if one of your allies attacks an civilization with which you have made a Defensive Pact, you will automatically go to war with the attacker and suffer a diplomacy penalty for declaring war on a civilization that you declared friendship with. Not only will this make you a pariah to the other civilizations, but the civilization that dragged you into the war is bugged to consider you a traitor. Once the war ends, they will have a negative opinion of you even though you helped them.
This treaty becomes available after researching Education, and you must also have made a Declaration of Friendship with another nation. You (or they) can then decide to sign a Research Agreement - a process when scientists from both nations get together and start working on a common project, exchanging experience and information.
To start the agreement, both nations need to expend some Gold to fund the research. The quantity starts at 200 Gold and increases as you advance in eras. The agreement is complete after a set number of turns (30 on Standard speed), at which point both nations get an instant boost in Research, which applies to their current project. The bonus is calculated as 50% of the median Science value for all of the technologies the player can currently research. If the bonus is enough to complete the current research project, and there are points left, they will apply to a random technology you haven't researched yet. The bonus can be increased by adopting the Scientific Revolution Social Policy in the Rationalism tree, or by building the Porcelain Tower Wonder.
Note that if you and your research partner declare war on each other, the agreement will be cancelled, and your Gold investment will be gone! The same will happen if your research partner gets wiped out in the meantime.
Research Agreements are a great way to boost your technological advancement, especially if your civilization isn't very good at that. However, be mindful that the other civilization will also get a boost - if they're well on their way to a Science Victory, entering into a Research Agreement with them might not be such a good idea.
War and Peace
War is an integral part of the game, and although it might be fun at first, it quickly turns into a burden for everyone. You just array your troops and fight endlessly. Note that when declaring war, all allies of the sides automatically enter the war as well. Also, if one of the sides makes new allies when the war is already under way, the new allies also enter the war immediately. All trade agreements and treaties between the sides at the time are cancelled automatically.
More interesting is the way you Negotiate Peace, and here are some observations about that.
First of all, peace depends on the two sides' will to continue fighting. If the war is going well for the side that declared it, they will simply refuse any attempts at peace negotiations and continue pushing. If you have started the war and decide that you've achieved enough, you may offer peace to the other side. If they have started and think that they've achieved enough - they may offer you peace. Also, if in any case a side thinks the war isn't going well for it, they may sue for peace. That may often prove impossible - if you sue for peace and they believe they're winning the war, or that they haven't achieved their goals yet, they will refuse to even attempt peace negotiations.
Peace negotiations are a lot like trading, where the two sides attempt to reach a mutual agreement to end the hostilities. The crucial factor is who's winning, and how badly the other side is losing. The worse the situation, the more they'll be prepared to offer, or in the other case, the more they'll demand from you to end the war. Cities are often part of peace negotiations, and the most likely scenario when a nation will agree to part with them.
When a Peace Treaty is signed, all units are expelled immediately from the other country's territory (unless an Open Borders agreement is part of the treaty), and any cities that were traded away become part of their new owners' territory. A Peace Treaty lasts for 10 turns, and during the treaty the two sides may not Declare War on each other.
In the Brave New World expansion, diplomacy goes to a whole new level: an international multilateral cooperation and contest in which all civilizations and City-States take part together. This is done in a new entity - the World Congress, which is convened once a civilization discovers all other civilizations, and researches Printing Press. Because of the complexity of the new gameplay concept, it is being described in other articles, links to which you can find in the beginning of this one.