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Knowing how to move your armies and workers through the world is essential to success in the world of Civilization. This article will explain the movement rules in Civilization VI.

Basic rules[]

All units in the game have a statistic called Movement Points (MP), or just Moves Movement. This stat determines how far, measured in number of tiles, a unit may move in a single turn. Usually 1 Moves Movement corresponds to 1 tile of movement, but this is not true in many cases - there are many features on the land which present obstacles to movement. When you mouse over any tile of the world, you will find text showing how many Moves Movement it costs to move to this tile. When a unit exhausts its Moves Movement it is unable to do anything else for now and will end its turn. Also, if a unit doesn't have enough Moves Movement left to execute a particular command you've given, it will also end its turn and wait for the next one to proceed. In this case, however, you can still change your mind and try to execute a different command with said unit, before you end your turn.

MP are sometimes spent partially - this is the case when a unit is moving on Roads and Railroads in the late game. Since 1 tile will then take less than 1 Moves Movement, it is possible that moving 3 tiles will take less than 3 Moves Movement, and the remainder, if less than 1 Moves Movement, will still be available to the unit. This becomes important when attempting to perform actions after moving, such as upgrading or earning a Promotion Promotion - a unit which has some fraction of Moves Movement will still be able to perform such actions before it ends its turn. Sometimes even attacking is possible with just a fraction of a Moves Movement left, if the target is within range.

Units with full Moves Movement can always move 1 tile regardless of terrain. This prevents a unit from being stuck when completely surrounded by difficult terrain. For example, to enter a tile with Woods and Hills across a River requires 6 Moves Movement, but a Warrior standing beside it who hasn't moved yet can enter it despite having only 2 Moves Movement. In contrast, a Courser that has already moved 1 tile across a Railroad and has 4.75 Moves Movement left can't enter the same tile despite having more Moves Movement than the Warrior.

Note that compared to previous games there is a subtle, but significant difference in movement rules: MP are now spent before you enter the tile, not after! This means that whereas in Civilization V you could move onto a Hill tile with only a fraction of a Moves Movement left, in Civilization VI you need to have 2 full Moves Movement left in order to do so. This makes it significantly more difficult to move through "broken" terrain, where open tiles are mingled with rough terrain; it also affects attacking, as you will see below.

Other actions in the game, such as attacking or pillaging, also require Moves Movement remaining to be performed. Most actions, other than movement, consume all Moves Movement a unit has left for the turn. However, certain Promotion Promotions and special abilities may alter that, either allowing the unit to spend less Moves Movement to do certain actions, or granting additional overall Moves Movement. For example, all Great Generals possess an aura which grants additional Moves Movement to nearby units, thus allowing them to move further each turn. Also, the Logistics policy card allows all units that start the turn in friendly territory to move further.

Moving on land[]

As usual, moving on land is much more difficult than moving at sea. Many terrain features present obstacles to movement - Woods, Rainforests, Hills and Marshes all require 2 Moves Movement to move onto. What's more, Hills may combine their movement difficulty with Woods or Rainforests, requiring 3 Moves Movement to move onto! Units which don't actually have 3 Moves Movement will still manage to move there, exhausting their entire movement for the turn. This makes moving through rough terrain especially difficult.

  • Matterhorn - land combat units ignore Hills movement penalty.
  • Mount Everest - religious units ignore Hills movement penalty.
  • Recon units with the Ranger or Alpine promotions ignore Woods and Rainforests or Hills movement penalties respectively.
  • Melee units with the Amphibious promotion ignore rivers' movement penalty.
  • Helicopters ignore all terrain features and rivers' movement penalty.
  • Georgian Khevsurs and Ethiopian Oromo Cavalry ignore the Hills movement penalty.
  • Kongolese Ngao Mbebas ignore the Woods and Rainforests movement penalties.
  • The Missionary Zeal enhancer belief makes religious units ignore all terrain features and rivers' movement penalty.

Crossing Rivers is also extremely difficult: it requires 3 Moves Movement, or all the unit's movement for the round (if its default movement is 3 or less). If the tile on the other side of the river has additional obstructing features (woods, hills, etc.), same rules apply as described above - the unit will still manage to cross the river in a single turn, even though it doesn't have enough Moves Movement! That means that units with 3 or less Moves Movement won't be affected by crossing a River into tiles with additional obstacles on them; but that's not the case with faster units. Additional obstructions will apply normally for them; instead of the unit being able to cross and move another tile, for example, it will have to stop there.

Mountain tiles are completely impassable, except for aerial units in the late game. Most natural wonders are also impassible, as well as Ice tiles in the extreme north and south of the world.

The Helicopter, a late-game light cavalry unit, is the only land unit which ignores all features (including rivers) and spends 1 MP per tile (adjusted for the eventual presence of a Road). Note, however, that it still cannot pass Mountains.

In Gathering Storm a new special improvement, the Mountain Tunnel, allows passage underneath Mountains. It acts like a portal, which land units may use to cross from one tunnel entrance to another tunnel exit inside the same mountain range. The cost is the same as crossing a River: 3 Moves Movement.

Technological development does not aid movement on land, apart from the fact that more modern units which move inherently faster are developed. However, infrastructure does aid land movement, and it improves with technology.


Creating a transport infrastructure is essential for aiding land movement, especially in the beginning of the game. When units move through tiles with Roads, they spend significantly less time than moving through the wild.

Roads automatically become better with the passing of eras. The roads outside your territory, however, will remain the same until your Traders, or those of a civilization which has reached a later era, pass along them.

Railroads are available as of the Gathering Storm expansion.

Impassable tiles[]

Certain tiles are considered impassable, and block all movement. This includes all Mountains, and most natural wonder tiles. Note that unlike Civilization V, no units can pass through these tiles.

Territory also affects movement rules: while friendly and neutral territory can be accessed at all times by all unit types, passage through rival territory is blocked as soon as the civilization in question develops the Early Empire civic. Of course, your units may enter it if you declare war. Also, note that religious units disregard territory rules and may freely enter rival territory at all times.

Tiles of enemy cities are impassable in all circumstances, even while at war. Other civilizations' Encampments also count as city tiles and become impassable from the moment construction of the Encampment begins. However, if an Encampment gets pillaged (i.e., its Walls are destroyed and its HP depleted), your units may enter its tile freely. For more on this, check here.

Tiles occupied by enemy units (military, civilian, or support) become impassable as well (check below for more details on that).

Moving at sea[]

Moving at sea is significantly easier than moving on land - all tiles here take only 1 Moves Movement to traverse (with the exception of Polders, which require Moves 3 Movement). However, as usual, certain technologies are required to be able to move at sea at all. Furthermore, the seas are divided into two types of tiles: Coast tiles, where the waters are close to land and more calm; and the treacherous Ocean tiles, which cover most of the map, and where storms and monsters rule. The Sailing tech allows you to build the first ship in the game, the Galley, but this ship may only move on Coast tiles. The same is valid for the more advanced Quadrireme ship.

At the same time, most land units may not move on sea at all, until the Shipbuilding tech is developed. Before that, only Builders may embark (with Sailing), and Traders may form sea Trade Route Trade Routes (with Celestial Navigation).

None of these units (or even more modern ships for that matter) may enter Ocean tiles until the development of Cartography in the Renaissance Era. At this point even Galleys and Quadriremes are able to enter Ocean tiles. This represents a stark difference with Civilization V, where early game units could never enter Ocean tiles even when your civilization had progressed enough.

Finally, all units moving at sea (including embarked land units) receive +1 Moves Movement after researching Mathematics. Note that this detail doesn't appear anywhere in the Civilopedia information on naval units, so you shouldn't be surprised to see 5 Moves Movement on a Frigate when its Civilopedia entry says it has only 4. Later ships become even faster and may cover considerable expanse of water each turn.

Note that naval units (i.e., ships) may enter cities built on the coast.

In Gathering Storm, Canals with limited length may be built on land to provide passage for ships between bodies of water.


This is the process of a land unit transforming to a transport ship to enter a sea tile (and the opposite, which is called disembarking). As previously mentioned, all land units may do so, but only after developing certain technologies.

Under normal circumstances, embarking is quite a slow process, requiring either 3 Moves Movement or all the unit's Moves Movement for the round (if it has less than 3 Moves Movement). If a unit has more than 3 Moves Movement available for either embarking or disembarking, the remaining points are transferred to the new movement mode, and that unit may manage to continue moving in this same turn; otherwise its turn will terminate. So, for example, if a cavalry unit with 4 Moves Movement is right next to water in the beginning of a turn, it will embark (-3 Moves Movement), and still have 1 Moves Movement left to move on the water. Conversely, if an embarked unit with 6 Moves Movement is right next to land, it can disembark (-3 Moves Movement), and still have 3 Moves Movement left to move on land! Note that normal movement limits still apply after the switch of movement mode - if the above-mentioned unit has a normal limit of 2 Moves Movement, it will be able to only use 2 of these 3 Moves Movement after disembarking.

However, embarking to and from a tile with a Harbor district or a City Center tile (for a coastal city) is much easier, and costs only 1 Moves Movement.

Developing technology vastly improves movement of embarked units once they're at sea, which also helps disembarking. Embarked units have 2 Moves Movement in the Classical Era; the following techs each add more: Square Rigging (+1 Moves Movement), Steam Power (+2 Moves Movement) and Combustion (+1 Moves Movement). When fully developed, embarked units move as fast as normal ships, and considerably faster than units on land! The Great Lighthouse wonder's +1 Moves Movement bonus also applies to embarked units (although the description doesn't say so).

  • Melee units' Amphibious promotion allows them to embark/disembark with 1 Moves Movement.
  • Norway's civilization ability, Knarr, allows units to embark and disembark without using Moves Movement, making the Norwegians especially quick at moving land units by sea.
  • Gitarja's leader ability, Exalted Goddess of the Three Worlds, allows religious units to embark/disembark without Moves Movement cost.
  • Phoenicia's civilization ability, Mediterranean Colonies, allows Settlers to embark/disembark without Moves Movement cost.

In Gathering Storm the Giant Death Robot is also introduced, which uniquely does not need to embark. It can fight at full strength on land or at sea.


Cliffs are special features found on land tiles on the coast. Embarking to and from land tiles with Cliffs is impossible, unless a Harbor has been built on a tile bordering a Cliff. Thus founding cities on, or close to Cliffs will mean they are defended from sea invasions.

Melee units such as the Swordsman may earn the Commando promotion, which allows them to "scale" Cliffs - that is, embark and disembark from them.


Ice tiles are found in the far north and south of the world seas. They are considered impassable to all units, even Submarines.

Movement-boosting effects[]

There are certain circumstances in the game in which units will receive more Moves Movement than they normally have:

Note that all these movement boosters work only if the boosted unit starts its turn already under the effect of the boosting factor. For example, let's imagine that we have a unit and a Supply Convoy which are 2 tiles apart (the boosting effect of the Convoy works only in its own and adjacent tiles). If you move the Convoy next to the unit, you will notice increased Moves Movement on the unit, but there will be a deduction for the lack of actual boost (-1 Moves Movement). If you move the unit next to the Convoy, thus spending already some of its movement for the turn, you will notice the increased Moves Movement, but there will be a deduction to account not only for the movement already made, but also for the lack of the boost itself. Only if the Convoy and unit start their turn next to each other will you enjoy the full boosted movement.

The boost for chariot-type units works similarly. They need to be in a flat terrain tile in the beginning of the turn to receive extra movement; if they enter the tile during their turn, they will get an increased maximum Moves Movement along with the relevant deduction.

Entering other empires' borders[]

Civilization VI subtly changes the way borders are handled. In the beginning of the game all units may enter freely all other civilizations' and city-states' territory. This changes only after a civ (or city-state) develops the Early Empire civic - this civilization now understands how important is to keep watch on its borders at all times, and establishes border guards, closing its borders. From there on, units of one civ may only enter the territory of another civ if they have granted them Open Borders - or, in the case of a city-state, if they become its Suzerain.

The current state of a civ's borders as related to you is also graphically represented on the map - if its borders are "unlocked" to you, they will appear unconnected, as dashes; otherwise, they will be a solid line.

Entering a civ's territory when they haven't granted you Open Borders is considered an Act of War, and will prompt a confirmation dialogue.

Unit stacking[]

Civilization VI largely maintains the previous games' "one unit per tile" rule. There can be only one military unit and one civilian unit occupying a particular tile at any time. However, the creation of the new support class unit flouts this rule, as it also allows one additional support unit in the same time. Support units are specifically designed for military purposes, and although they can't attack directly, their effects are always military. So, for example, you can now have a Battering Ram together with your Swordsman, attacking the target city; in Civilization V they had to occupy different tiles.

At sea, there are no support units, so there can only be one ship per tile. Great Admirals, as civilian units, may stack with ships. Embarked units are also considered a separate class, and may stack with both a military ship and an Admiral.

Finally, the Fall 2017 Update introduces new stacking rules for religious units (Missionaries, Apostles, Inquisitors and Gurus). They now form a separate class of units which may occupy the same tile with military, civilian, and support units, and may even enter tiles with non-religious enemy units. For more information on this, see below.

Escort formations[]

In many cases it is advantageous to keep two (or more) units moving together in the same tile as they move around the field. For example, a Warrior that moves together with a Settler protects it from Barbarians, and a Great General that moves with an army provides a boost to the units' combat capabilities while the units protect it from harm. The new stacking rules allow this; what's more, there is a special function which allows you to bind units of different classes together: escort formations. They allow the player to link up to three units that are located in the same tile and move them together automatically as a formation, provided that all these units belong to different classes (military, civilian, and support). For example, a Swordsman, a Battering Ram, and a Great General make a valid formation, but a Swordsman and an Archer or a Battering Ram and a Siege Tower do not.

To create a formation, place the units you want to be part of it in the same tile - you will notice a chain button appearing in their command tabs. (There will be a separate button for each unit in the tile.) Press it to link the units you want to move together, and from now on any Move command will apply to the entire formation. In practice, formations will almost always include a military unit that serves as an "escort" for the other units.

A formation's Moves Movement is equal to that of the slowest unit that belongs to it, since cooperation depends on the weakest link. For example, a formation consisting of a Builder and a Horseman has a Moves Movement of 2, causing the Horseman to lose its speed advantage. Some Promotion Promotions, however, allow a fast unit to grant its Moves Movement to whichever unit(s) it's escorting.

Escort formations should not be confused with combined units (Corps/Fleets and Armies/Armadas), which are sometimes called "formations."

Moving around other empires' units[]

As in Civilization V, you can move right through a tile occupied by a unit owned by a neutral or friendly civilization if you have enough Moves Movement, and if you can see the tile onto which you want to move. Remember that you'll still need enough Moves Movement to enter the tile beyond the one occupied by the unit. Since this can require quite a lot of Moves Movement, many times it becomes impossible to execute such maneuvers (especially in rough terrain) - not because you don't have the right to pass the tile of the unit, but because you simply don't have enough Moves Movement.

The novelty is that now civilian units may also move through tiles occupied by other units. This helps a lot when moving Settlers, for example.

When you are dealing with hostile units, movement becomes constrained - you cannot move through the tile taken by a hostile unit. What's more, in most cases movement becomes subject to zone of control rules, which further restrict your freedom.

Special movement regimes[]

There are a number of units in the game which move under special rules. Here follows a breakdown of these units and the rules, in order of their appearance into the game:


After production, and each time they complete a Trade Route Trade Route, Traders may be based or re-based in a city in your empire (they start in the city where they were produced, of course). The rest of the time, while servicing their current Trade Route Trade Route, the Trader will move along the route's trajectory, one tile at a time. They will stack with all other unit types and are not subject to ZOC or similar rules; however, they can be plundered by an enemy unit.

Traders ignore borders, but otherwise they need to be physically able to move through the land or the sea. Before researching Celestial Navigation, they can only move on land; after that they may also move on coastal tiles, but they need a port from which to switch - either a coastal city, or a Harbor district belonging to you. After researching Cartography Traders may also enter Ocean tiles as all other units.

You cannot fully control Traders' movements beyond selecting their base city and their current trading target city, but the trajectory they follow is usually the straightest path possible between the two cities. You can see the projected path of the Trade Route Trade Route while you're choosing the Trader's next target - use it to gauge whether there will be danger (e.g., if the route passes dangerously close to a Barbarian outpost).

Religious units[]

All religious units (Missionaries, Apostles, Inquisitors, and Gurus) move on their own layer, which is not shared with other types of units. That means that they are not hindered by any military or civilian units whatsoever, but they are still subject to normal physical rules otherwise. Religious units also ignore borders, but they may not enter foreign City Centers or defensible districts.

Finally, religious units are subject to ZOC exercised by enemy religious units. Since they are always considered to be at war with all other civilizations (except in the case of a Religious Alliance), they will always be under ZOC rules for all practices. Also, be mindful of the fact that military units of a civilization you're at war with can use a special action ("Condemn Heretic") to instantly destroy your religious unit if they enter its tile.

Great People[]

Great Person Great People are considered civilians for unit class purposes; each has 4 Moves Movement and may move normally across the map, respecting all normal rules. However, they also have a special ability which allows them to instantly relocate to other City Centers of your empire. The only special case here is the Great Admiral, which may also relocate from a City Center to a Harbor district (but cannot use a Harbor as a starting point).


Spies don't move normally on the map; they may only move from city to city between their missions. They initially appear in the city which trained them, and can then select their next destination from the list of all cities (both belonging to civilizations and city-states) which you have currently discovered. The travel takes a few turns.

When a Spy gets discovered during a mission and manages to escape, he or she will appear in your Capital Capital after a few turns. Also, a Spy that is imprisoned and later freed through trade will appear in your Capital Capital instantly.

Air units[]

As in previous games, air units have a special movement regime. Since they require a lot of fuel to stay in the air, they usually cannot spend prolonged periods of time outside their base, the way other units may stay in the middle of nowhere. So, air units only stay in their bases, from which they may attack any tile within their Range Range. They may Rebase to valid bases within a certain range - this action takes a full turn and moves the unit from one base to another.

The only exception is for fighter-class units, when they engage in their Patrol regime. For more information on that, visit this article.

Despite technically being able to fly, Helicopters are not classified as air units for movement purposes.


Towards the end of the game technological and civic development enables the most powerful movement option, airlifting: the use of cargo planes to move instantly between cities anywhere in the world! After researching the Rapid Deployment civic, the airlift option will be turned on provided there is the necessary infrastructure in at least two of your cities, in the form of an Aerodrome district with an Airport building.

To airlift a land unit (be it military, civilian, support, or religious), you need to move the unit within one tile of either the Aerodrome or the City Center of the city containing the Aerodrome; you also need at least a fraction of Moves Movement left. The airlift action moves the unit instantly to a tile within 1 tile of the Aerodrome of the remote city, consuming all its remaining Moves Movement.

In the Secret Societies game mode, units can be teleported to and from Vampire Castles when Endless Night is unlocked, similar to how Airports work.

Siege units and the move-and-shoot rule[]

The move-and-shoot rule for siege units is an elusive mechanic which causes quite a lot of confusion and misunderstanding for players. A siege unit is not necessarily prohibited from moving and shooting in the same turn without Expert Crew, nor does it require at least 2 Moves Movement left to shoot or need to start its turn with 1 more Moves Movement than normal. Here is how it works: a siege unit can move and shoot in the same turn if its maximum Moves Movement is 1 more than normal when it attempts to shoot. The key words in the sentence above are "maximum Moves Movement" and "attempts to shoot." Two examples follow.

Please note that the condition above is the sufficient condition in order for a siege unit to move and shoot. The necessary condition is too obvious and thus only implied: the siege unit can never shoot if after moving its remaining Moves Movement hits 0, but needs at least 0.25 Moves Movement left for any of the following to apply.

Example 1[]

A Catapult starts its turn outside of the area-of-effect (AoE) of a Great General Great General, thus giving it 2/2 Moves Movement to use this turn. After using some, it now has x/2 Moves Movement. In order for it to be able to shoot, the Great General Great General needs to move closer to the Catapult, raising its Moves Movement to x/3. Note that the remaining Moves Movement that turn (x) does not change if the Great General Great General moves closer; only the maximum Moves Movement value does. Since its maximum Moves Movement value is now 1 above the normal value, the Catapult can shoot.

Example 2[]

A Catapult starts its turn within a Great General Great General's AoE, thus giving it 3/3 Moves Movement to expend. At any given moment within this turn that the Great General Great General moves away, the Catapult's maximum Moves Movement will change accordingly while its remaining Moves Movement stays the same, so it is entirely possible to have the remaining Moves Movement exceed the maximum Moves Movement (like 3/2 Moves Movement or 2.5/2 Moves Movement). If the Catapult has expended some Moves Movement points and the Great General Great General moves away before the Catapult is about to shoot, it cannot do so, since now its maximum Moves Movement is 2, regardless of what its remaining Moves Movement is.


  • If the siege unit has not moved, it can always shoot regardless of its maximum Moves Movement.
  • The required maximum Moves Movement for Rocket Artillery is 4, and 3 for all other siege units.
  • Civilizations or leaders that grant extra Moves Movement to units are better at using siege units, since they aren't reliant on having a Great General Great General in the early game or a Supply Convoy later. A few examples are Gran Colombia, Cyrus, Bà Triệu, and Chandragupta, although most of these civilizations/leaders have no trouble earning a Great General Great General due to their victory preference.
  • The Korean Hwacha obeys this rule just like a siege unit.
  • The Expert Crew Promotion Promotion is nowhere near as impactful as players often believe. However, you will still want Crew Weapons, Shells, and Expert Crew on any siege unit you have, because it reduces the amount of micromanagement with your Great General Great Generals and Supply Convoys, and the alternative Promotion Promotions encourage your siege units to do something they should avoid.


  • In the early to mid game, you most likely only have 1 Great General Great General but a lot more siege units if you are going on a conquest. Hence, it is advisable not to keep your Great General Great General in formation with another military unit. Instead, the Great General Great General should be moving around freely to grant the move-and-shoot ability to as many siege units as possible. The moment a siege unit conducts its attack, move the Great General Great General closer to another one. This can be reliably done every game, since the locations where the units and the Great General Great General end/begin their turns are irrelevant.
  • Roads do play a small role in helping siege units be able to move and shoot in the same turn. However, since roads do not raise the maximum Moves Movement of units, they are not the deciding factor. They only facilitate the Moves Movement of units and close the gap between two points, so they make it easier for siege units to travel longer distances while still retaining the 0.25 Moves Movement needed to shoot.
  • Logistics and Integrated Attack Logistics are incredibly helpful for moving and shooting in the same turn.

See also[]

Civilization VI [edit]
Rise and FallGathering StormNew Frontier PassLeader Pass
R&F-Only Added in the Rise and Fall expansion pack.
GS-Only Added in the Gathering Storm expansion pack.