Grievances is a new gameplay mechanic in Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. It replaces the Warmongering system as a way of determining diplomatic reactions to a leader's actions towards others, and ties heavily into both the normal diplomatic relations between civilizations and into the new Diplomatic Victory.
Grievances are a score which each pair of nations keep for each other, reflecting serious transgressions which happened between them. For example, denouncing, declaring war or taking a city of the other civilization will all bring up Grievances against you, and vice versa. So will breaking promises, and all other acts which are considered "transgressions". Each of these will bring up the Grievances score of the "victim" nation against the "transgressing" nation; the exact balance of this score affects how other nations will judge all such actions. This means that further transgressions perpetrated by the "victim" will be ignored diplomatically by other leaders, as long as the Grievances score is in favor of the offending party.
The exact mechanic of the Grievances score is simple:
- The score is organized as a coordinate system, with the "neutral" point, 0, and the two nations A and B standing on the two sides of the neutral point;
- Any transgressing action by nation A or B will add certain number of points, which will tip the score towards one or the other nation's part of the system;
- Actions which occur while the score is different from 0 may further increase the Grievance balance, or subtract from it (depending on the perpetrator of the action and where the balance currently stands);
- If the two nations are not currently at war, a "natural decay" effect will gradually tip the balance back to the neutral point. While at war, this effect does not occur.
If, for example, the Grievances score between nations A and B is in favor of nation A, the world will favor nation B, and ignore transgressions perpetrated by nation B. However, these transgressions will accrue their own Grievance score, tipping the balance towards nation A. Eventually, the world will start noticing transgressions by nation B and this will affect relations with other leaders, adding a negative score to them.
In essence, Grievances are an equation which is determined on the level of each pair of players, before being brought up as a possible penalty before the other leaders. While the warmonger penalty was a straightforward computation of warlike actions taken by each player, which would cause a direct (and immediate) negative effect with all other leaders, the grievances system takes into account many more actions than just combat ones and it also takes note of the actions of the opposite party. Both are then compared against each other and allow players to "justify" aggression with past transgressions committed against them.
It is important to note that the end result of the Grievances system is the same: a diplomatic penalty which the "offending party" eventually receives with all other leaders (or at least with those which are normally intolerant towards violence). However, in most cases this penalty will kick in sometime after the incident(s) which has caused the Grievances. This is especially the case of wars; there are many events which generate Grievances at the war's start, while it lasts and when it ends. The Grievances' effect with other leaders will usually kick in only after peace has been brokered between the warring parties, which is completely logical, since the world needs time to sift through all the different actions which have affected the balance and decide who is to blame after all.
Of course, it is understood that the Grievances system only works for human players against AI players.
Accruing and losing Grievances
Under normal circumstances, Grievances scores are in constant motion: actions will accrue Grievances for or against nations, and the natural tendency of "forgetting" transgressions will gradually reduce the Grievances scores to 0. Diplomatic relations penalties are only applied while the player has outstanding Grievances with other players; when they vanish, so does the diplomatic penalties with third parties...unless the player has offended said third parties specifically.
Most actions in the game have only negative repercussions (i.e. they increase Grievances), but there is one single, powerful action which has very strong positive repercussions: Liberating cities. Each such action will instantly reduce the Grievances score of the liberating nation with every other nation which currently holds grudges, including the nation which just lost the city. This is also the only action which reduces Grievances with a nation during war. Of course, this is a rare occurrence, and so the main means of "losing" Grievances is the natural decay mentioned above, whose mechanics are described below.
As in the real world, leaders tend to gradually "forget" the transgressions of the past. The Grievances score between each pair of nations has a decay rate whenever the two nations are not at war with each other (no decay when they are at war!). This rate depends on the Game Era, and goes from fast to slow, as the game progresses. This mirrors the old Warmonger score differences, as related to Game Eras, and preserves the diplomatic tendency of diminishing tolerance towards aggressive behavior with the coming of modern times. However, instead of the penalties increasing with Game Eras and then decaying at the same rate, now the penalties stay the same with eras, but the decay rate slows down - the leaders will remember transgressions for far longer, and consequently react negatively towards the transgressor for longer periods. To see a breakdown of the Grievances decay causes, mouse over the little number next to the main Grievances number.
The base decay rate of Grievances is equal to 10 - x per turn, where x is each era after the Ancient Era. So, Grievances in the Ancient Era will decay by 10/turn, while in the Renaissance Era they will decay by 7/turn, and so on, with the decay reaching 2/turn by the Future Era.
The base decay rate is modified if a party is currently occupying a city or cities of the other party. Depending on which party currently has Grievances with the other, the rate changes by -1 for the "victim" party (the one whose city the enemy is occupying), but by +1 for the occupying party. So, for example, if you are occupying cities of a nation in the Renaissance Era and they have Grievances with you, the decay rate will be 7 - 1 = 6/turn, but if you have Grievances with them the rate will be 7 + 1 = 8/turn. If on the contrary, they occupy cities of yours and you have Grievances with them, the rate will be 6; if they have Grievances, however, the rate will be 8. Note that it does not matter how many cities you occupy, the decay rate modifier is always 1. However, if you occupy someone's Capital the rate becomes ±3.
It is unclear if the decay rate can be completely negated by these modifiers.
Causes for Grievances
Compared to the old warmongering system (where only outright aggression could have international consequences), the gameplay situations which can cause Grievances are many more, and include practically the entire field of diplomacy. Here are the general areas where you could expect generation of Grievances:
- Warfare. This remains, of course, the main cause for accruing grievances. Declaring war (even with a Casus Belli in most cases), conquering cities, razing cities, as well as retaining cities after a Peace negotiation all inflict grievances with the victim leader.
- War declarations to friends or allies. When third parties declare wars on your friends, you get Grievances against them, even if you do not Declare an automatic war. Note that this is also true when the friend entity is just a City-state! A friend in this context is considered any City-State in which you have at least 1 Envoy (and if you are also the City-State's Suzerain you will gain a Casus Belli against the offending nation).
- Relationships between leaders. Many diplomatic actions can become causes for grievances, including denouncing, refusing to make a promise, and reneging on a promise. Refusing to make a promise causes 25 Grievances at first and 25 Grievances for every offense afterwards, but breaking a promise made causes 100 Grievances initially and 25 Grievances for every offense afterwards.
- Spying. Being caught spying now also inflicts Grievances (against you, of course).
And here is a complete list of Grievances causes and their exact numerical values. Note that using Casus Belli when declaring wars will also reduce as before all war-connected Grievances-generating actions:
|Surprise War Declared||150|
|Captured the final city of a civilization||150 (all remaining civs gain Grievances against you)|
|Formal War declared||100|
|War declared on a city-state a civ is the Suzerain over||100|
|Broke a Promise, including:
||100 at first, then another 25 per repeated incursion|
|War of Territorial expansion declared||75|
|War declared on a Friend or Ally||75|
|Holy War declared||50|
|Colonial War declared||50|
|War of Retribution declared||50|
|Ideological War declared||50|
|War declared on a city-state friend or ally||50 (to every civ that has at least 1 Envoy in that city-state but is not the Suzerain)|
|City-state conquered||50 (all civs gain Grievances against you)|
|Golden Age War declared||25|
|Refused to make a Promise||25 at first, then another 25 per repeated incursion|
|Controlling the civ's original Capital||3/turn|
|Controlling any cities founded by the civ (unless you also have the original Capital)||1/turn|