Diplomacy is the art of making relations with other AI players in Civilization VI. It has been overhauled from previous versions of the game. It's a mechanic that evolves as eras pass, from a state of near constant warfare in ancient times, to more civil interactions in the mid- and late game.
- 1 First contact
- 2 Diplomatic Visibility
- 3 Relationship
- 4 Agendas
- 5 Interactions
- 6 Diplomatic Agreements
- 7 Warfare
- 8 Diplomatic Victory and the World Congress
- 9 Videos
- 10 Related achievements
In order to establish relations with any major or minor civilization you have to first 'meet' them. This is done when a unit of yours enters within visibility range of the other civilization's borders or units, or vice versa. The introductory movie for the respective leader is then played, after which you are given the options to briefly make introductory interactions.
If this first contact happens when a unit from one civilization reaches the borders of the other, the "discovered" civilization is given the option to reveal one of its nearby cities to the "discovering" one. If it happens when a unit from one civilization meets a unit from the other, both civilizations may agree to reveal their Capitals. Or you may simply say a polite Hello without revealing anything (or have anything revealed to you in return).
This first interaction causes an impression (favorable or unfavorable) in the other leader, already coloring your Relationship with him/her. This is based on your decision to reveal or not reveal data on first contact, among other things
- Main article: Diplomatic Visibility and Gossip (Civ6)
Relationships between civilizations are complex. They're affected by your behavior towards the other party and by the goals of your rivals, called agendas. Warmongering, or Grievances also heavily impact relationships, and in their case your overall behavior is considered, not only individual relationships.
The portrait of each of your rivals in the upper right part of the screen has an icon that shows the state of relationship you have with them. In the Diplomacy screen, the Our Relationship panel shows a complete breakdown of the state of your relationships.
Relationships between each pair of leaders are organized in several levels. Each factor affecting the relationship is represented by a numeric value: green numbers represent positive factors and red numbers represent negative factors. The balance between the two determines the current level of the relationship:
- Allies: Allies share the highest level of trust and cooperation possible in the game world. Allied leaders cannot Declare war on each other (even with a Casus Belli!), cannot Denounce each other, automatically share Open Borders and a Defensive Pact, and can achieve Shared Visibility after upgrading their Alliance levels. The deals you make with your allies are likely to be very favorable. Alliances can only be made between declared friends. The portraits of your allies display the Alliance icon, a flag.
- Declared Friend: You have earned a high enough level of trust with the other leader that they are ready to announce to the world an official bond. Declared friends cannot Declare war on each other, cannot Denounce each other and are ready to make Alliances at any moment. The deals you make with your declared friends are likely to be very favorable. The portraits of your declared friends display a teal smiley. Only friendly rivals can become declared friends.
- Friendly: You have done some things that make the other leader think well of you. You have a good chance of getting favorable deals with them. You also have a chance to Declare Friendship with them The portraits of friendly rivals display a green smiley.
- Neutral: Your actions have earned neither the other leader's trust, nor mistrust. Your interactions with them will be standard. The leader's portrait has no icons whatsoever.
- Unfriendly: You have done something (or many things) to offend the other leader. Deals with unfriendly rivals tend to be unfavorable for you, and they will almost never agree to accept your diplomatic delegations or embassies. You can however still make Open Borders agreement with them. You can now choose to make Demands of them, although there is no guarantee the demands will be met! The portraits of unfriendly rivals display a sad yellow smiley.
- Denounced: This leader's opinion of you is so low that they felt the need to speak officially to the world about your (perceived) misdeeds. Your deals with them will be unfavorable if they make them at all, but you can declare a Formal War against them (if at least 5 turns have passed since the Denouncing) and make Demands. Rivals in this relationship state cannot have an Open Borders agreement. The smiley on the leader's portrait becomes red.
- At War: Open hostilities have broken out between you two. You can attack or invade this leader, but you will accrue warmongering ( Grievances in Gathering Storm) and war weariness penalties. The War icon (crossed swords) appears on the leader's portrait.
These actions improve your relationship with a rival:
- Making a favorable first impression. First impressions are random but the effect eventually wears off.
- Satisfying their agendas. Each separate agenda satisfied accrues significant relationship boost.
- Sending a delegation or establishing an embassy: The relationship improves by +3 and +5 respectively.
- Offering a favorable trade. Giving gifts is included here.
- Having a Trade Route with them (it doesn't matter whether established by you or by them, +2 relationship).
- Making an Open Borders agreement: Improves the relationship by 3.
- Having the same Government they have.
- Fulfilling a diplomatic promise you made to them. Your rival asks you to do or not to do something, like not settling near their borders. If you agree to their request and keep your word for many turns you receive a notification that you have fulfilled your promise, and you get a diplomatic boost.
- Liberating a city of theirs (+20 bonus), or of one of their friends or allies. Grants a positive bonus which seems permanent.
- Fighting a common enemy. An enemy is any third party with which your rival is at odds. This may mean that they've Denounced them, or that they are currently at war with them.
- Being Friends or Allies with a third party they're also Friends with.
- Declaring Friendship.
- Making an Alliance with them.
- Joining an Emergency with them (only Rise and Fall or later).
These actions worsen your relationship with your rivals:
- Making an unfavorable first impression: Penalty between -1 and -4.
- Going against one of their agendas. Penalties vary, but are usually very significant.
- Declaring War. The penalty wears out after you make peace. In Gathering Storm this is the main factor generating Grievances.
- Occupying one of their cities: -18 penalty. This penalty easily goes away when you return 1 city in the peace deal, liberate a city during peace or simply trade any 1 city to the AI. In Gathering Storm this slows Grievances decay rate (-1 for a regular city, -3 for capital).
- Warmongering/Grievances. Being aggressive or disrespectful to other leaders, or failing to fulfill your promises worsens relationship with everyone! Leaders with the "Darwinist" agenda and some other specific agendas, such as Gorgo (who likes war), ignore Warmongering; in Gathering Storm Grievances with them will decay at double rate..
- Moving military units near their borders persistently: -2 penalty. This is seen as an act of aggression. It prompts a request from their leader to remove your troops from their borders, and expect you to do this in the next 10 or so turns.
- Settling in lands they consider theirs: -3 permanent penalty. When you do it they ask you to stop settling nearby.
- Becoming Friends or Allies with a third party they're in bad relations with.
- Having a different Government.
- Denouncing. You get a penalty both when you Denounce a rival and when they Denounce you. In Gathering Storm this also accrues Grievances.
- Breaking a diplomatic promise you made -6 penalty. The penalty for breaking a promise is the same as the one for refusing to make a promise. In addition, from Rise and Fall onward, breaking a diplomatic promise gives your rival a Casus Belli against you. In Gathering Storm this also accrues Grievances.
- Refusing to make a promise: -6 penalty. Ignoring a promise request counts as a refusal. In Gathering Storm this also accrues Grievances.
- Performing an espionage mission against them, and getting caught: -5 permanent penalty. This prompts them to request that you stop spying on them.
- Converting their Holy City. Permanent penalty.
- Culture bombing their tiles using various methods: -10 penalty first time, -20 second time (per civilization, slowly decaying)
- Being close to winning. Approaching victory gives you a penalty that grows stronger as you get closer to victory.
Civilizations can send delegations to their rivals for a fee. Delegations improve relations a bit and increase diplomatic visibility by one level. Once sent, delegations stay permanently in the target civilization. If your relationship with a rival is worse than Neutral they will not accept your delegation/Embassy.
When a rival contacts you to send you a delegation they mention some sort of 'gift'. If you accept their delegation you receive that 'gift' in the form of 25 Gold (the same amount you spend to send a Delegation yourself). The same is valid when you receive an Embassy, but the sum doubles.
Once the Diplomatic Service Civic is developed, Delegations are replaced with Resident Embassies. An Embassy is practically the same as a Trade Delegation, just updated to the modern requirements of the diplomatic community (parties, radios, secret rooms...). They improve relations a bit and increase Visibility by one level. As with delegations, if your relationship with a rival is worse than Neutral they will not accept your embassy.
Once you develop Diplomatic Service your delegations are 'revoked', and you lose all their benefits. If a rival Denounces you, they remove your Embassy or Delegation from their Capital in a sign of diplomatic reprisal. You can establish them again if your relations improve. The same happens if one of you Declare War on the other.
- Main article: Agenda (Civ6)
Rivals controlled by the computer have two agendas: A Leader Agenda and a Hidden Agenda. These agendas affect their behavior and their relations with other civilizations.
The Leader Agenda is based on a perceived historical trait of the real world leader. For example, Gandhi is seen historically as a pacifist, and in the game he follows the Peacekeeper agenda, which means that he likes leaders who don't go to war, and won't go to war easily himself. Hojo Tokimune, who has the Bushido agenda, likes "a strong soul in a strong body" (a combination of strong Culture, Faith and military).
Gathering Storm introduces a third agenda, which appears as each nation develops the Nationalism civic. This agenda is oriented towards reacting to other nations' progress towards victory (mainly aiming to deter them).
Civilizations can interact with each other in many ways. Most interactions are not available at the beginning of the game, and become available as you develop your Civic culture. Some interactions are only available when you have the right relationship status with the other civilization, and others are heavily influenced by it. The Diplomacy screen shows what interactions are currently available.
The most frequent (and maybe the most important) interaction with foreign leaders is trading. You can trade with all the leaders except the ones you're at war with. The success of the trade, however, and what they are willing to give you for something, depends a lot on your relationship. The better the relationship, the higher the chance to get a favorable trade, or to agree to take a diplomatic step. To negotiate a trade click the 'Make Deal' button in the diplomacy screen. Other leaders will also contact you and offer you deals.
You may trade almost anything in the game, including Gold (either lump sums or payments per turn), Diplomatic Favor in Gathering Storm, Strategic and Luxury Resources, Great Works, cities, and diplomatic agreements.
The trading interface has two columns with items, the left one lists the items you have available for trading, the right one lists theirs. In the upper part is the 'table', (whose two columns are labeled 'My Offer' and 'Their Offer'), where all trading items are currently displayed, and right above them are the buttons which will perform the various trading actions. When you select a valid item for trading, either from your or their inventory, it moves to the table under the relevant column. You can combine items of different types to make a deal. Great Works which were recently acquired are displayed in this screen but cannot be traded.
There are several ways to start a negotiation:
- Select both what you want to get and what you want to give. If your rival is willing to accept the deal, the green button "Accept Deal" is displayed. Otherwise, the button 'Make this deal more equitable' is displayed. If you click this button your rival makes a counter-offer and the button "Accept deal" is displayed.
- Select just what you want to get, but not what you want to give. A button labeled 'What would it take?' is displayed. Click it and the other leader will request something in return for what you want.
- Select just what you are ready to give, but not what you want to get. Two buttons are displayed, which lead to two different scenarios:
- A button labeled 'What would you give me?'. Click it and your rival will reveal what they're ready to give you in exchange for your offer.
- A button labeled 'Give gift'. Click it and you gift your items to your rival. If the leader accepts (if your relationship is very bad he might reject your gift) your relationship improves.
Click the 'Nevermind' button at the top at any time to cancel the negotiations.
Leaders who have a Relationship Status of Friendly can choose to formalize this by Declaring Friendship to each other. If agreed, they proclaim to the world their friendship for 30 turns, their Relationship Status is updated to Declared Friends and they are allowed to become Allies. In addition, they cannot undertake hostile actions (such as Denouncing or going to war) towards each other. There is currently a bug where a player can renew friendship with an AI indefinitely no matter how many negative relationships they have by renewing friendship as soon as it ends.
When you have an unfriendly relationship with a nation, you can demand concessions from them and they can demand concessions from you. This works as a trade in which you only receive from them, you give nothing in return (or vice versa). There is an implicit threat that you will attack them if they don't give what you demand. If you are much stronger than they are militarily, there is a good chance they will grant your request, but your relationship will suffer for it.
You cannot make demands from rivals with whom your relation is Neutral or better.
Discussing allows you to politely request a rival to change their practices towards you after you discover that they are doing something you don't like. Some examples of requests:
- Don't settle near my borders.
- Remove military units from my borders.
- Don't convert my cities.
- Stop spying on me.
Click the Discuss button and select the request you wish to make. They can grant your request by making a diplomatic promise to you. A diplomatic promise lasts 15 turns. They "fulfill" their promise if they don't break it in those 15 turns. If they do you may expect the upsetting behavior to cease. If they break the promise you gain a Casus Belli against them, which allows you to declare a Formal War. Once the duration of the promise is over they can re-engage in the activity that prompted you to make your request without giving you a Casus Belli.
Conversely, when you engage in activities that upset one of your rivals, they can make a request for you to stop. They do so by demanding that you make a diplomatic promise to them. Fulfilling a promise gives you a diplomatic bonus with the leader that demanded it. Conversely, breaking a promise carries a diplomatic penalty and gives them a Casus Belli.
In Gathering Storm the Discuss option is replaced with Ask for Promise option. It again activates only when one of the above-mentioned acts its detected, but each promise which is agreed to will require 30 Diplomatic Favor, and if the other leader refuses to agree you will gain 25 Grievances with them. The opposite works the same way.
The promise to stop settling nearby will be violated if there are further settlements within 8 tiles of any city belonging to the civilization who asks for the promise. It does not matter if later settlements are put down farther away from the other civilization than the original city which caused the complaint if the later settlements are still within the 8 tile radius around any city of the neighbor civilization. A way to overcome this without causing any diplomatic penalty is to forward-settle within the same turn. Since a civilization can only ask for a promise when their turn comes, if you forward-settle many cities in the same turn, it will trigger the promise in the same way as if you settle one. As long as you no longer put down any aggressive city after the promise has been accepted (or refused), no diplomatic penalty will be recorded.
The promise to remove military units from the borders of you rival is broken if you violate their borders even after a war is declared by that rival.
Denouncing a rival means openly declaring hostility towards them. Doing so immediately worsens relations with the denounced party and blocks a number of diplomatic options, like requesting Open Borders. Denouncing has a duration of 30 turns, after which its effects expire. In a gesture of mutual reprisal, Trade Delegations and Embassies are expelled from both Capitals, and cannot be reinstated until the denunciation expires. Five turns after denouncing a rival you gain a Formal War Casus Belli against them.
You cannot denounce Declared Friends or Allies - you have to wait until these states expire.
Use denouncing when you prepare to go to war with someone you have no other Casus Belli against. Denouncing gives you a diplomacy bonus with any leaders who dislike the leader you denounced, and may help set the stage for a Joint War. Otherwise, denouncing brings more harm than good, unless you don't care much about what they think of you, of course.
There are a number of Agreements that leaders may enter into. All of them have limited duration of 30 turns, after which they have to be renewed. Different types of Agreements become available with the development of a specific Civic, as described below. Agreements can be traded just like any other item.
A Joint War is a war that two leaders agree to wage simultaneously on a third one. You cannot offer Joint Wars to a leader if one of you has denounced the other. Also, at least one party must have denounced the target for 5 turns. If both signatories agree, they immediately Declare a Formal War against the third party, even if they have no Casus Belli against it. You cannot use other types of Casus Belli with this agreement. You get no Warmonger penalties with your ally for anything you do in this war, but you do get normal penalties with all the other leaders.
Joint wars become available after developing the Foreign Trade Civic. After all, it is most important to secure partners when you go to conquer your neighbors!
In Gathering Storm, you can declare other types of Joint Wars besides Formal Wars. This reduces Grievances accrued as expected. Still, the types available depend on at least one of the parties having the necessary Casus Belli against your target. Thus, with civic development there will be more and more options to make Joint Wars, just as it is with normal wars.
Join Ongoing War
In Rise and Fall you can also propose to Join an Ongoing War with another leader who is already at war with a third party, or propose to him or her to join a war you're engaged in. You will then be prompted to select the war you want to join.
This option becomes available at the same time as Joint War (i.e. with the Foreign Trade civic) and works much the same way.
After developing the Early Empire Civic nations no longer allow foreign units to enter their territory freely. At this point the Open Borders agreement becomes available. Open Borders agreements allow units to enter the territory of the nation which granted access. Foreign units use the Road network in the host nation as if it was their own. Thanks to the free movement, your nation's Tourism enjoys a +25% boost.
Open Borders can be requested or offered as part of a Trade deal. Both actions are separate. Granting open borders to a rival doesn't mean that rival also grants open borders to you.
Granting Open Borders without requesting anything in return is a nice way to improve relations.
Open Borders cannot be offered to or requested from a leader who has Denounced you, or whom you have Denounced.
Nations who enter a Research Agreement collectively research a technology which both have unlocked but neither has acquired yet. Once the research is completed, both nations gain a boost for this technology. If any of them discovers the technology before the joint research is completed, the other immediately gains the boost and the agreement is terminated. The duration of research agreements depends on the combined Science output of both nations.
Research Agreements become available after researching Scientific Theory, but only for nations that are either Declared Friends or Allies.
Research Agreements are particularly lucrative for nations that lag behind technologically and befriend or ally with a more technologically advanced nation.
While an existing Research Agreement is in progress it is not possible to start another one with the same nation. Think carefully about which technology you want to get when making the agreement.
In Rise and Fall, Research Agreements have been phased out and replaced with Research Alliances.
In the latest stages of the game, after developing Mobilization, it becomes possible for Allied players to sign Defensive Pacts. When a rival Declares war on one of the signatories, the other signatory enters the war automatically to defend the one that received the war declaration. Defensive pacts are very useful for players with a weak military and a powerful ally.
Note that Defensive Pacts don't force an ally to participate in 'aggressive' wars! For example, if the member of an alliance declares war on a third party (instead of being the target of a declaration of war by a third party), his allies will not automatically declare war on it! Also, Emergencies do not trigger defensive pacts; they are considered events outside of the normal diplomatic scope.
In Rise and Fall, Defensive Pacts turn into an integral part of Alliances and don't exist as separate agreements anymore. Allies now sign automatically a Defensive pact and are obligated to come to each other's aid. Note that the above conditions about when pacts are triggered or not still apply.
- Main article: Alliance (Civ6)
Alliances become possible after developing the Civil Service civic. You can only enter an Alliance with a nation you are Declared Friends with.
Allies automatically share Open Borders. This means you can see everything their cities and units see. Besides, you can make Research Agreements and Defensive Pacts. You cannot take hostile action against an Ally.
In Rise and Fall, Alliances have been greatly expanded into five different types and present much greater possibilities. Research Agreement and Defensive Pact are removed and incorporated into the new Alliance mechanics.
As usual in a Civilization game, war can be declared, guns will start firing, cities will start burning and the innocent will cry for the greed and ambition of their leaders! If they are still alive, that is. But this has some consequences...
- Main article: Warmongering (Civ6)
Warmongering, in the context of Civilization VI, means going to war often. It is a characteristic of each leader that evolves throughout the game as they engage in wars more or less frequently, for a solid reason, or for pure greed and bloodlust. It is also one of the most important factors that affect relationships between leaders! Warmongers receive penalties in their relationships with other leaders (except in the case of leaders who like warmongering, like Alexander).
The Warmongering system is quite complex, and you would do well to get acquainted with it in the main article.
Grievances in Gathering Storm
- Main article: Grievances (Civ6)
Grievances replace the old warmongering system in Gathering Storm. They much more logically implement the individual interactions between any two leaders, and how the world looks on them. Instead of individual transgressions only affecting individual relationships, and going to war affecting one's image before all other leaders, now they are combined in one whole system, in which previous transgressions between two leaders may actually justify going to war in the eyes of the world, even without using Casus Belli. For more information, visit the main article.
- Main article: Casus Belli (Civ6)
Surprise Wars are wars you start without any warning. With a surprise war you can surprise your enemy or even backstab a peaceful neighbor. However, this will enrage other leaders against you.
However, it is possible to wage war in a more civilized way. The new Casus Belli are situations that justify wars in the eyes of others (at least to a degree) and can be used to reduce potential diplomatic penalties. For more on them, visit the main article.
Diplomatic Victory and the World Congress
- Main article: World Congress (Civ6)
In Civilization VI: Gathering Storm, the World Congress reenters the game, giving leaders a new platform for interactions, giving the game a major new bonus/malus system, and enabling a nation to achieve a brand new (although well-known from previous games) type of victory: the Diplomatic Victory. Diplomatic Favor, a new 'currency' for diplomatic endeavors has also been introduced, and will be the main vehicle to influence voting in the World Congress, and thus to aid the quest for Diplomatic Victory.
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