The Envoy is a diplomatic representative of your civilization that acts as your agent in city-states that you've met. It is the focus of the brand new City-State Influence system in Civilization VI, which is suited to all the major changes which happened in this aspect of the game.
- Envoys are earned (or maybe trained) with Influence points which come as a natural result of your government activity. The more advanced your government is, the faster you earn them (check here for more information).
- Additionally, the government Monarchy grants a 20% bonus to your influence generation, +1% every ten turns on Standard speed (or a flat 50% bonus in Rise and Fall). The diplomatic policy card Charismatic Leader grants +2 influence per turn. This gets replaced by Gunboat Diplomacy that ups it to +4 per turn.
- Being the first major civilization to meet a given city-state grants +1 Envoy with it.
- Special desires of each city-state (we may call them "quests" to liken them to the old system) will be posted upon meeting the city-state, or upon era transition. Note that while in vanilla Civilization VI "era transition" means the individual Era progression for each civilization, in Rise and Fall the World Eras are considered "era transitions," and only then will new quests be assigned to players! Any player that can fulfill the request earns one free Envoy with that city-state.
- The following Civics grant free Envoys upon discovery: Mysticism, Military Training, Theology, Naval Tradition, Mercenaries, Colonialism, Opera and Ballet, Natural History, Scorched Earth, Conservation, Capitalism, Nuclear Program, Cultural Heritage, Near Future Governance and Global Warming Mitigation. The civics between Mercenaries and Conservation grant +2, while Conservation and all others afterward grant +3.
- The diplomatic policy card Diplomatic League doubles your first Envoy to a city-state, regardless of how you earn it. To min-max this, you can store up Envoys until you have met a certain number of city-states, then activate the card and get the bonus for each one, and then deactivate the card since it no longer gives benefit.
- The diplomatic policy card Containment doubles Envoys to city-states whose Suzerain has a different government. This could be min-maxed in a similar way to Diplomatic League; just remember that you lose the bonus once you become Suzerain.
- Some Great General retirement and Great Merchants' powers provide Envoys.
- Building the Apadana will grant 2 Envoys once it is finished. 2 Envoys will also be granted anytime a Wonder is built in the same city.
- Liberating a city-state will earn you a number of Envoys with it that depends on the current game era: 2 in the Ancient Era, 3 in the Classical and Medieval Eras, 6 in the Renaissance and Industrial Eras, and 9 in other eras.
- In Rise and Fall, Envoys can be earned through the use of governors. Amani's starting title, Messenger, allows her to be established in city-states and provide 2 Envoys. Unlike a standard envoy, Amani can be moved around, taking these envoys with her. Her Level 3 title, Puppeteer, further augments her ability by doubling the Envoys you have at a city-state while she is established there.
- If the Secret Societies Game Mode is enabled, the Owls of Minerva earn 1 Envoy to a city-state each time they send a Trade Route there.
- The unique district of Greece, the Acropolis, grants an Envoy when built.
- Glory of the World, Kingdom and Faith, the leader ability of Tamar, grants an additional Envoy every time one is sent to a city-state following your religion.
- Raven King, the leader ability of Matthias Corvinus, grants 2 Envoys at a city-state when you levy its troops.
- Roosevelt Corollary, the leader ability of Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt, grants an additional Envoy every time one is sent to a city-state you have a Trade Route with.
- Ninu Ilu Sirum, the leader ability of Hammurabi, grants an Envoy when each of the following districts is built for the first time: the Government Plaza, the Neighborhood, the Aqueduct, the Canal, the Dam, and the Spaceport.
Most of the above ways to earn Envoys provide you with "free use" agents, which you can then assign as you please; the only exceptions being meeting a city-state first, performing a quest for a city-state and liberating a city-state. Both of these will earn Envoys directly with the city-state in question.
After earning an Envoy, you will receive a prompt to choose which city-state to send it to. This is done in the City-States tab, where you will see buttons next to each city-state with which to increase (or decrease) the number of your Envoys there. If you have multiple Envoys available, you may divide them between city-states as you wish. You may choose also to delay their assignment if you have no immediate use for them - just go out of the City-State window without assigning Envoys.
The type bonuses earned from City-States are based on how many Envoys you have present, regardless of who else has Envoys there. City-states of a type all share the same type of bonuses. They are cumulative, so that as a player places more and more Envoys on a city-state, they stack with the bonuses from before. For more information on what exactly the benefits of Envoys are, head here.
Envoys at a city-state are visible to all players, and placing them may have diplomatic consequences. Other leaders who strive to become this specific state's Suzerain will be displeased if you compete with them; so will leaders with the special agenda 'City-state friend'.
Under normal circumstances Envoys stay in their assigned City-State forever (or at least until the end of the game). But... circumstances are not always normal!
There are several gameplay situations in which you will lose your Envoys with a certain City-State! Declaring war directly on a city-state removes all Envoys you had there; the same also happens if the city-state loses its independence (gets conquered by another civilization). Otherwise, Envoys stay in the city-state permanently. Being drawn into war with a city-state due to warring with its Suzerain does not remove your Envoys! What's more, you're still able to assign Envoys there. This interesting state of affairs actually makes it possible for you to "flip" a city-state's allegiance in the middle of a war! If you assign or otherwise gain enough Envoys to at least equal its current Suzerain's number of Envoys, that nation will immediately lose its Suzerain status, and the city-state will make peace with you automatically. This is actually worth a Historic Moment.
In Rise and Fall, Spies can remove other civilizations' Envoys from a city-state if they succeed at a Fabricate Scandal mission.