Lenses are tools you can use to change your view of the world. Each lens will overlay important information that will help you make strategic decisions throughout the game. There are currently 11 different lenses in the game, 10 of which can be activated manually from the Lenses button above the mini-map, while the other one is activated automatically when you choose to place a District or Wonder from a city's Production menu.
The only automatic lens in the game right now is the District and Wonder placement lens. It is activated whenever you choose to place District or Wonder from a city's Production menu. The lens will display the current territory of that city, valid spots for the desired District and Wonder that the city currently owns, and also valid spots within the 3-tile workable range of the city but it has not yet owned.
In order to activate a manual lens, you need to turn them on from the Lenses button above the mini-map. There are currently 10 different manual lenses, only one of which can be activated at a time.
The Appeal lens differentiates tiles based on their Appeal. The default hotkey for the Appeal lens is 3.
The color code means the following:
- Dark green tiles are Breathtaking, with an Appeal of 4 or higher.
- Light green tiles are Charming, with an Appeal of 2 or 3.
- Gray tiles are Average, with an Appeal of -1, 0 or 1.
- Orange tiles are Uninviting, with an Appeal of -3 or -2.
- Red tiles are Disgusting, with an Appeal of -4 or lower.
This lens is especially helpful when you play as a civilization or a leader who relies on high Appeal tiles, such as Mapuche, Teddy Roosevelt (Bull Moose), or Australia. It can also be used to great effects when you are checking how many tiles can benefit from Earth Goddess when picking a Pantheon, or when looking for suitable location for a National Park or a Seaside Resort.
The Continent lens shows the geographic extent of each continent. When turned on, each land tile will be color coded based on the continent it belongs to. The default hotkey for the Continent lens is 2.
This lens is useful when you are playing as a leader whose abilities make use of continents and their borders, and since in Civilization VI, continents are no longer synonymous with landmasses, this lens becomes indispensable in those cases. These leaders are Teddy Roosevelt, Victoria, Philip II or Dido. Each continent has also a unique set of luxury resources. (Read more about continents here.)
The Government lens shows the distribution of governments across the map. When turned on, every tile that is owned by a major civilization will be color coded based on their current form of government. The default hotkey for the Government lens is 5.
This is not a very useful lens, since there is very little gameplay and few abilities that relate to the current forms government of two empires. Leaders with the hidden Ideologue agenda will like you a bit more if you have the same government but normally this is not much of your concern. Civilizations with different governments will receive a -25% penalty to Tourism towards one another, but it is rather unheard of to switch government forms just to avoid this penalty, since it is impossible to have the same government as everybody else in the game.
The Political lens differentiates tiles based on their ownership. Each non-neutral tile will be colored based on the primary color of the jersey each civilization is using in that game. City-state tiles will be always in black and Free City tiles in dark gray. The default hotkey for the Political lens is 6.
This is not a very useful lens, since for the most parts, its purpose is already fulfilled by the drawn borders on the map.
The Religion lens allows you to visualize the religious battleground of the game. The default hotkey for the Religion lens is 1.
Here you will see each city with its territory colored in the color of its Majority religion (the territory of those without a Majority religion remains blank). This is especially useful for Theological combat, as is described elsewhere. Additionally, you will see colored circles emanating from each city, representing its Religious pressure; and colored arrows pointing towards it from all nearby sources of Religious pressure. The 'thicker' the arrows, the stronger the pressure. Thus you can grasp at a glance what pressure is exercised where, and what you need to do to convert a particular city.
Under each city's name there is a special Religion tab, where all current religions are present which have converted Citizens. Clicking on the tab expands it and you can see the particular division - how many citizens each Religion has.
Of course, you can also see additional information about Religion from the City Details tab.
The Settler lens highlights valid tiles for settling. Its additional function is to show housing bonus for each tile, Loyalty effects from nearby nations in Rise and Fall as well as potential disaster dangers in Gathering Storm. The default hotkey for the Settler lens is 4.
The color code means the following:
- Red tiles cannot be settled; they are either too close to other cities or their terrain doesn't allow settling.
- Dark green tiles have access to Fresh Water and will receive +3 Housing if settled.
- Light green tiles are coastal and will receive +1 Housing if settled.
- Gray tiles do not receive any Housing bonus.
Furthermore, little icons on tiles mean the following:
- The negative Loyalty pressure from other nations is shown with number icons. Note that the actual negative loyalty pressure from citizens upon settling will appear to be slightly less as the pressure is partially counteracted by the city's population upon founding, and in the Settler lens bonus Loyalty from Happiness and other factors is not taken into account.
- Coastal tiles that may be flooded as the sea level rises are marked by a wave icon. There are 3 levels of lowland coastal tiles, which are also shown. (The tiles that belong to the first level which may be flooded by the first sea level rise are without numbers.)
- Floodplains tiles and tiles that are susceptible to Volcano eruptions are marked with their corresponding icons.
The Tourism lens highlights which tiles in your empire are currently generating Tourism and how many tourists they have each attracted. If you hover above a tile that is generating Tourism, it will also show you the lifetime accumulation of Tourism of that tile. The default hotkey for the Tourism lens is 7.
The Tourism lens is the most useful when you have to decide where to assign the Governor with the Curator title (Reyna in Rise and Fall and Pingala in Gathering Storm) or just want an overview look of all the Tourism activities in your empire.
The Empire lens shows your city borders, district locations with adjacency bonuses, and Wonders. You can also see inside other empires' territory, as long as you have direct vision over them, but you cannot see the adjacency bonus their Districts have. The default hotkey for the Empire lens is 9.
The Empire lens is the most useful when you are playing as a civilization or leader that relies on gaining high adjacency bonus on Districts by placing them next to one another, such as Germany (Hansa), Japan (all Districts), Mali (Suguba), or any Production focused civilization that wants to pull of a multiple-city Dam-Aqueduct-Industrial Zone formation.
The Power lens shows the distribution of Power in your empire. It differentiates between cities that are generating Power and the reach of their Power network, cities that are Powered by another city, cities within Power range but do not require any Power, and cities that require Power but do not have any. The default hotkey for the Power lens is 0.
The Loyalty lens helps you visualize all Loyalty pressure straight on the map. You will see arrows around each city which is experiencing Loyalty pressure, coming from the direction of the cities exerting the pressure. Each arrow's color matches the color of the nation the city belongs to, and the thickness of the arrows represents the strength of the pressure coming from the relevant city (the thicker the arrow, the stronger the pressure). The default hotkey for the Loyalty lens is 8.
Additionally, under each city banner you will see a tab displaying the current Loyalty score: a bar in this tab will be filled with either green (which stands for "Loyal"), or red ("Independence"). If the Loyalty score of the city is lower than 100 you will see both colors and you should start paying attention! Click on the tab to bring out a detailed breakdown of the different groups of factors affecting Loyalty - this will make it clear what influences the city negatively, causing its Loyalty to slide. Additionally, if a city is losing Loyalty, you will see a big red fist flashing under it - the symbol of Independence.
Of course, in the City Details tab you may see even more detailed information about current factors affecting Loyalty.
The Search bar is a special type of lens, used to highlight features of the player's interests. Only features present on a discovered tile will be highlighted (the tile is not necessarily in vision, but cannot be in the fog of war). It was added in the Antarctic Late Summer Update as a Quality of Life change.
It is especially useful when you are searching for Antiquity Sites or Strategic Resources that you just recent unlocked. This is the only way you can find Antiquity Sites and Strategic Resources hidden under Districts. It can be also useful to check if any civilization is building (or already has built) a wonder or to look for unimproved tiles.
There are a couple of way to limit your search results. For example, if you just type "Coal" to the search bar to see if you own any Coal in your territory, it is not the most useful that you will end up seeing all sources of Coal belonging to your neighbors or sources half across the map that you cannot reach. You can limit these results by typing in the civilization you are playing (to limit the results down to sources of Coal in your territory only) or the continent that you are interested in searching, such as "Japan Coal" or "Antarctica Coal".
You can also use the 2nd inputfield to filter the results. For example if you want to find campuses that do not have a University you can type "Campus" in the Search Terms and "University" in the Search Filter. In a similar way you can also easily find unimproved resources.
More Lenses mod
The More Lenses mod created by astog adds several very useful lenses:
- Builder: Highlights unimproved resources, hills and removable features. This lens auto applies when a builder is selected.
- Archaeologist: Highlights artifacts and shipwrecks. No longer do you need to hunt around the map for antiquity sites.
- Barbarian: Highlights barbarian encampments on the map.
- Resource: Highlights resources on the map based on their category (Bonus vs Strategic vs Luxury) and if they are connected or not.
- Wonder: Highlights natural and player made wonders.
- Scout: Highlights goody huts on the map. Automatically applies when a scout / ranger is selected.
- Naturalist: Shows possible locations where a national park can be built.