Loyalty is a game mechanic added to Civilization VI in the Rise and Fall expansion pack. It represents the political alignment of a city and how much political control its current owner has over it. Loyalty introduces a new way in the game to change city ownership (along with associated territory) without military conquest.
- 1 Mechanics
- 2 Factors affecting Loyalty
- 3 Free Cities
- 4 Strategy
- 5 Trivia
- 6 Videos
- 7 Related achievements
- 8 References
Loyalty applies to each city of each civilization individually and represents how much political control that nation has over the city's ruling class. Loyalty has far-reaching consequences with serious gameplay effects: below a certain point Loyalty problems will start affecting the city's economy as the ruling class starts disagreeing with local government officials. The situation may become so serious as to completely cripple city life - population growth will stall, scientific and cultural contribution will stop, and even standard production will become a burden! And If the situation persists, the city will rebel.
Each city has a Loyalty score which is a value between 0 and 100, and a Loyalty change per turn.
The Loyalty change per turn is decided by the summed contribution of four factors:
- Pressure from nearby Citizens.
- The effect of domestic and foreign Governors.
- Happiness of the citizens in the city.
- Other factors.
Below you will find a more detailed breakdown of these factors.
The current Loyalty of a city is described by several stages with relevant gameplay effects:
- Loyal (76-100): no penalties.
- Wavering Loyalty (51-75): 75% Population growth, -25% to all yields.
- Disloyal (26-50): 25% Population growth, -50% to all yields.
- Unrest (1-25): no Population growth, -100% to all yields.
Thus low Loyalty, even without falling further, will still cripple a city's development! You should try your utmost not to let Loyalty fall below 26.
If a city reaches 0 Loyalty or less while continuously receiving negative Loyalty per turn, it will revolt and break off from the empire which founded it (or controls it currently), turning into a "Free City" (see below).
Note that it is possible to flip another player's Capital! Of course, since it exerts extra Loyalty on its own, you will need to achieve really big pressure: removing their own pressure by eliminating their other cities, and possibly surrounding it with your own cities from every direction.
City-states and Loyalty
City-states are a special case within the Loyalty pressure system. They have a special extra Loyalty feat which gives a bonus to resisting pressure from nearby civilizations.
- Main article: Lens (Civ6)
Factors affecting Loyalty
The following factors are all cumulative; that means that a combination of all could potentially achieve a Loyalty pressure of 40+ for a given city.
Pressure from nearby citizens
The pressure from nearby citizens is a metric calculated for each individual city dependent upon its neighboring cities' populations of the same civilization compared against the neighboring cities' populations of foreign civilizations. Only civilizations' cities within 9 tiles of the city can impact the pressure from nearby citizens, and Free Cities and city-states have no impact.
The calculation is done in two stages: firstly pressure from your own neighboring citizens and pressure from foreign neighboring citizens are calculated, then secondly a comparison is performed to determine the final pressure value. Each unit of Population exerts pressure proportional to its distance away - the amount of pressure diminishes by 10% per tile away from the home city. The Age each civilization is currently experiencing also impacts:
Domestic Pressure = Age Factor * Sum of [ each Domestic Population * (10 - Distance Away) ]
Foreign Pressure = Sum of [ each Foreign Population * (10 - Distance Away) * Age Factor of Foreign Civ ]
where Age Factor is 1.0 for Normal Age, 0.5 for Dark Age, and 1.5 for Golden or Heroic Age. Note that a Capital is counted twice: the first time with its Population affected by the Age Factor and the second time it is assumed to be in a Normal Age. A city always exerts its own domestic pressure with the Distance Away set to zero. The Bread and Circuses project from a nearby Entertainment Complex or Water Park also has the effect of doubling the Population count, so a Bread and Circuses project in a highly populated city can be very powerful.
Pressure from Nearby Citizens = 10 * (Domestic - Foreign) / (minimum of [Domestic, Foreign] + 0.5)
This final pressure value is capped at ±20. In other words, even if nearby cities have enough Citizens to exert more than 20 points of pressure, the final effect won't exceed +20 or -20. Other factors (happiness, religion, etc.), however, will still build upon this pressure, potentially resulting in a total Loyalty per turn well over +20.
There is a special case which occurs when a city someone just conquered becomes the reason for an Emergency (a "Free this city" type of mission). To ensure that this city remains owned by the actual target of the Emergency and doesn't flip before it ends, it will receive an extra 20 points of Loyalty for the duration of the Emergency. Of course, military conquest will result in ending the Emergency itself, and cancel these points.
Example of pressure from nearby citizens
The image to the right contains a small island with 5 cities, 1 city-state which we ignore, 2 English cities (experiencing a Normal Age) and 2 Kongolese cities (experiencing a Dark Age). If we calculate the pressure for the city of Kinchassa:
Domestic = 0.5 * [ 5 * (10-0) + 2 * (10-4) ] = 31
Foreign = [ 1 * 11 * (10-7) + 1 * 2 * (10-4) ] = 45
Pressure = 10 * (31 - 45) / (min[31,45] + 0.5) = -4.4
The pressure for Mbanza Mbata and Manchester can be similarly calculated but Liverpool has external influence from other cities from the south and west.
England could mount a "Loyalty attack" (see below) by running Bread and Circuses in Liverpool. This would reduce Kinchassa's pressure to -15.2 (and Mbanza Mbata's to -10.8). Neutralising its governor, whilst also using Amani's Emissary title and quickly growing the Population of Manchester, would see Kinchassa revolt in around 5 turns, and Mbanza Mbata would also fall shortly after. Kongo's Dark Age makes this a fairly straightforward attack to mount. If England were also in a Golden Age, this attack might succeed even without the player necessarily doing anything or being aware of it!
Happiness of the citizens
Happiness of the citizens (which depends on Amenities in the city) also plays a role:
- -6 if the citizens are in Unrest ( Amenities deficit greater than 2).
- -3 if the citizens are Displeased ( Amenities deficit is either 1 or 2).
- 0 if the citizens are Content (no surplus or deficit Amenities).
- +3 if the citizens are Happy ( Amenities surplus is either 1 or 2).
- +6 if the citizens are Ecstatic ( Amenities surplus is greater than 2).
Domestic and foreign Governors
Impacts from Governors can be direct or indirect depending upon their abilities.
- +8 Loyalty per turn for having any Governor assigned to that city (activated from the moment you assign the Governor, not the moment they actually become established).
- -2 Loyalty per turn if a foreign city has their Governor Amani, with the Emissary title, established in a city within 9 tiles.
- +2 Loyalty per turn for having Governor Amani, with the Prestige title, established in another city within 9 tiles.
- +4 Loyalty per turn for having Governor Victor, with the Garrison Commander title, established in another city within 9 tiles.
A number of Policy cards have a major impact on Loyalty. Usually, however, they only provide their benefit under certain circumstances:
- +2 with the Limitanei policy card and if the city is garrisoned.
- +2 with the Praetorium policy card and if the city has a Governor.
- +1-6 with the Communications Office policy card and if the city has a Governor.
- +3 with the Colonial Offices policy card and if the city is not on your Capital's continent.
Buildings also can have impact on Loyalty:
- +1 if the city has constructed a Monument.
- +8 if the city has constructed the Government Plaza.
- -2 if the Audience Chamber has been constructed in the civilization's Government Plaza district and the city is without a Governor.
And there are also a number of other factors:
- +3 if the city is following the religion you have founded.
- -3 if you have founded a religion and the city doesn't follow it.
- -5 if the city is Occupied (which may be negated by keeping a unit garrisoned in it).
- Variable penalty to Loyalty if the city has been conquered and you have lots of Grievances with its founder.
- -4 if the city is facing starvation (for example, if its Farms have been pillaged).
- +10 as a base level for Free Cities.
- +20 as a base level for city-states.
A number of Great People can permanently increase Loyalty in the city where they are Retired. Note that many of them are Great Admirals and can only be activated in coastal cities, meaning that only such cities will be able to benefit from their ability!
Finally, there are a number of civilization/mode-specific abilities which increase Loyalty:
- +4 for English cities on a separate continent from the Capital with a Royal Navy Dockyard.
- +2 for Spanish cities on a separate continent from their Capital with a Mission adjacent to their City Center.
- +3 for Zulu cities with a garrisoned unit, increased to +5 if unit is a Corps or Army.
- +5 for Persian cities with a garrisoned unit.
- +2 for Dutch cities per each starting domestic Trade Route.
- +2 for Swedish cities with an Open-Air Museum.
- +2 from having the Colosseum Wonder within 6 tiles.
- If the Secret Societies game mode is enabled, the Owls of Minerva earn +4 Loyalty per turn when a Spy is in their territory once the Industrial Era is reached.
If the Loyalty score of a city that is exerting negative Loyalty pressure per turn drops to 0, it will declare independence, ripping itself away from its mother nation and becoming a Free City. Unlike a city-state, a Free City doesn't have a strong national identity, and is basically the local governors of the city becoming fed up with central government and deciding to have a crack at independence. Consequently, their functionality is quite limited.
Free Cities' colors are dark gray and dark red, and just like Barbarians they are always hostile toward (i.e. at war with) other civilizations. This means that they will attack any units that near their territory, and often will invade neighboring cities. For this purpose, Free Cities spawn military units as soon as they declare independence, and continue training them non-stop. But apart from this, they don't do anything else. The tech level of units matches the tech era of the last civilization which was in control of this city, not that of its original owner.
Free Cities are like city-states in that they don't compete to win the game, but they are different in everything else. They cannot be negotiated with (and for example attracted as Allies for wars), they are not valid destinations for Trade Routes, and they do not provide any other benefits which real city-states grant to empires with enough Envoys present. And it is because they don't have real governmental structures and national identity that they are still subject to Loyalty pressures, and will eventually petition to join another empire which manages to exert sufficient pressure on them. You can always see the flag of the civilization exerting the greatest pressure flashing under the city. Note that Free Cities receive a +10 Loyalty bonus to help them resist foreign pressure.
The process of causing a city of a foreign empire to become a Free City, and then causing it to join your own empire is known as "flipping" a city. First you need to exert enough Loyalty pressure on a nearby foreign city to force it to become a Free City, then make sure no-one else exerts more pressure on it until you flip it to your empire! This is, in practice, a way to conquer enemy cities without firing a single shot!
If a Free City petitions to join your civilization, you will have the choice of accepting or rejecting their petition, with the following consequences:
- If you accept the petition, the city joins your civilization without any penalties, with the Population, buildings, and Districts it currently has. Note that any units it had spawned or trained are immediately disbanded.
- If you reject the petition, the city will remain a Free City, but your civilization will no longer be able to exert Loyalty pressure on it. So, theoretically, if no other civ manages to attract or conquer it, it will remain free for the rest of the game.
Of course, Free Cities may eventually rejoin their previous owner if they take measures to increase Loyalty pressure in the region.
Loyalty is a mechanic which you might not need to pay much attention to, unless you:
- Decide to found cities far from the core of your empire and close to the territory of other empires.
- Are in a Dark Age and the closest neighboring empire is not.
- Plan to conquer cities which have strong domestic pressure - for example, those on another continent, densely positioned, or of civilizations in a more favorable Age than you.
- Plan to use Loyalty to flip foreign cities which are poorly settled.
The Loyalty system was designed alongside that of Ages and Governors, and the effect of Ages on Loyalty is often underestimated. A Dark Age is very damaging to Loyalty defense. Either in wartime or with contentious borders, the Ages of civilizations should be considered. Maintaining control of conquered cities might be impossible if you are in Dark Age and the opponent a Golden Age, yet straightforward if the Ages are reversed.
If you are an expansionist or struggling to maintain Loyalty of your cities, try to:
- Install Governors where needed and utilize Governor Amani's Prestige or Promoter titles.
- Keep citizens happy by improving luxury resource tiles, trading for luxury resources or constructing buildings that provide Amenities. Sue for peace if war weariness is too great.
- Build Monuments.
- Maintain your religion through the help of Inquisitors.
- Increase your population quickly by focusing on Food, removing features with Builders, and re-routing domestic Trade Routes.
- Found additional nearby cities.
- Run Bread and Circuses projects in nearby cities to amplify their domestic pressure.
- Try to avoid Dark Ages.
- Slot the Praetorium, Limitanei, and/or Colonial Offices policy cards in more desperate times.
- Found and/or conquer cities in globular shapes where each can assert maximal domestic pressure on the others, rather than having linear empires.
Loyalty while conquering
If you plan to conquer cities with military force, try to:
- Consider the effect of Ages on Loyalty pressure, ideally target a Dark Age civilization when you are in a Golden Age.
- Conquer the city with the highest Population first to dramatically reduce the foreign pressure on nearby cities, while also ensuring maximum domestic pressure.
- Conquer multiple cities in quick succession to amplify the domestic pressure each conquered city exerts on the others.
- Use Settlers to found new opportunistic cities supporting domestic pressure.
- Use the above defensive strategies to maintain control of conquered cities.
- Maintain a garrison in each conquered city.
Dealing with the war weariness resulting from a campaign affecting the general Happiness in all your cities, including the newly-conquered ones can be difficult, especially when combined with the other factors or assaulting a new continent with no domestic pressure foothold, or attacking civilizations in superior Ages.
A Loyalty attack can be executed peacefully or supported by pillaging. To try to "flip" cities:
- Use the amplified effect of Ages if you are in a better Age than your opponent.
- Use Spies to neutralize the target city's Governor and perform Foment Unrest missions.
- Grow your bordering cities' Populations as quickly as possible, as described above.
- Run Bread and Circuses projects to amplify your pressure; ideally they should be run in big cities surrounding the target.
- "Flank" the target city by having numerous cities of your own surrounding it.
- Use Governor Amani's Emissary title.
- Convert the city to your religion.
- Use Great Works when playing as Eleanor of Aquitaine.
- Run the Move Capital project to move your Capital to shift your Loyalty pressure when playing as Dido.
- Slot the Hallyu policy card, purchase Rock Bands with the Indie promotion, and send them to perform concerts in the city. Two concerts will reduce the city's Loyalty to 20; a third will turn it into a Free City.
- If the Secret Societies game mode is enabled, the Voidsingers' Cultist can expend charges to reduce Loyalty in nearby cities.
An example of when to use a Loyalty attack is detailed above.
All in all, the Loyalty mechanics offer great possibilities on one hand, and great problems on the other. It makes it all but impossible to expand your empire by founding or conquering cities far from your own empire, and at the same time very close to other empires. If this is part of your strategy, you should plan to dedicate half your Policy slots to Cards increasing Loyalty, and at the same time move Governors to the new cities immediately after founding/conquering them. Keep your Happiness levels as high as possible, and try to spread your Religion (if you have one) to the new cities immediately (or even beforehand, in case you're conquering).
The stakes of the new Loyalty system are huge because, at the extremes, it can flip control of entire cities to different players without military force. Low Loyalty in a city puts it at risk of rebelling and becoming a Free City. That, in turn, makes it a juicy target for other players looking to expand their own empire. Keeping your cities loyal not only keeps it on your side, but also emanates its Loyalty as a kind of “peer pressure” to other cities nearby. You could even sway cities from other civilizations to join you.
In previous Civilization games, there were ways to “Culture Flip” another player’s city without military intervention. We felt it was time to reexamine this non-militaristic way to change borders, and expand territory.
Loyalty also changes the landscape and strategy around the map as the game continues. What could have been an unchanging border between two civilizations in the base game becomes a contentious battleground of loyalties in the expansion, especially when Golden Ages or Dark Ages are involved.
Golden Ages and Dark Ages are a kind of loyalty bomb. In the best-case scenarios, triggering a Golden Age makes all of your citizens a little bit more loyal. Also, other cities nearby see the appeal of that civilization and may waver in their Loyalty to their current owner. The quickest and most direct way to boost Loyalty, though, is to send a Governor to the city.
Gain control of an Ally's city after it becomes disloyal, and choose to keep it.