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The Observation Balloon is a Modern Era support unit in Civilization VI.

In the Rise and Fall expansion, the Observation Balloon can upgrade to a Drone.

  • Attributes:
    • Has Sight Sight of 3.
    • Sight is unobscured by terrain features.
    • Adds +1 Range Range to adjacent bombard class units.


The Observation Balloon becomes available around the same time as the Artillery, which it complements very nicely on the battlefield. With an Observation Balloon spotting for them, they can bombard a city's defenses from outside its attack range until melee and cavalry units are ready to move in and capture it.

Should you face enemy siege units supported by an Observation Balloon, Biplanes will be able to destroy them with ease. If you don't have Biplanes, use light cavalry units (preferably with Spiking the Guns) for surgical strikes against the siege weapons - even if you lose them, it's worth saving your city.

Civilopedia entry[]

Military sorts began using balloons to carry intrepid aeronauts aloft for intelligence gathering and artillery spotting during the French Revolutionary wars, a practice that reached its highpoint during WW1 and then declined in the face of advances in aircraft design. The French Aerostatic Corps was formed in 1794 to use tethered hydrogen-filled balloons for reconnaissance, providing intelligence on enemy troop deployments during battle – the first one at Fleurus in June that year. However much the observation balloon may have contributed to the decisive French victory there over the Austrians, the device was here to stay (so long as the cable wasn’t cut and it floated away). Throughout the American Civil War, the Second Boer War, and various other conflicts, the use and design didn’t change much. The “kite balloons” of WW1 gave more stability, higher altitudes and were able to fly in more extreme weather conditions; it was the apex of using balloons in war, for by 1917 those unsporting pilots in their nimble biplanes were shooting them down by the dozens. So much for floating tranquilly above the muck.

Related achievements[]

Use a bomber class unit to detonate a nuclear device, as long as its base and 9 Observation Balloons are located on the continent of Nena at the time of detonation.
A reference to '99 Luftballons', an anti-war protest song by German artist Nena.
Civilization VI Units [edit]
Civilian SettlerBuilderTraderArchaeologistSpyNaturalistRock Band GS-Only.png
Land military AT CrewArcher (Hul'che1Pítati Archer1) • ArtilleryBarbarian Horse ArcherBombardCatapultCavalry (CossackHuszár GS-Only.pngLlanero1) • Courser GS-Only.png (Black Army GS-Only.pngOromo Cavalry1) • Crossbowman (Voi Chiến1) • Crouching TigerCuirassier GS-Only.png (Rough RiderWinged Hussar1) • Field Cannon (Hwacha R&F-Only.png) • Giant Death Robot GS-Only.pngHeavy ChariotHelicopterHorseman (Barbarian HorsemanHetairoi1) • Infantry (Digger1) • Keshig R&F-Only.pngKnight (Mandekalu Cavalry GS-Only.pngMamlukTagma1) • Line Infantry (Garde ImpérialeRedcoat) • Machine GunMalón Raider R&F-Only.pngMan-At-Arms (Khevsur R&F-Only.pngBerserkerSamurai) • Maryannu Chariot ArcherMechanized InfantryModern ATModern ArmorMountie GS-Only.pngMusketman (ConquistadorJanissary GS-Only.png) • Nihang1Pike and Shot (Carolean GS-Only.png) • Pikeman (Impi R&F-Only.png) • Questing Knight4Ranger (Highlander R&F-Only.png) • Rocket ArtillerySabum Kibittum1Saka Horse ArcherScout (Okihtcitaw R&F-Only.png) • Skirmisher GS-Only.png (Warak'aq GS-Only.png) • SlingerSpearman (Hoplite) • Spec Ops R&F-Only.pngSwordsman (Hypaspist1Immortal1LegionNgao MbebaToa GS-Only.png) • TankTrebuchet (Domrey1) • Vampire3VaruWar-CartWarrior MonkWarrior (Eagle WarriorGaesatae1) • Zombie5
Naval military Aircraft CarrierBattleship (Minas Geraes) • Caravel (Nau1) • DestroyerFrigate (De Zeven Provinciën R&F-Only.pngJong1) • Galley (Bireme GS-Only.pngViking Longship) • IroncladMissile CruiserNuclear SubmarinePrivateer (Barbary Corsair GS-Only.pngSea Dog) • Quadrireme (Dromon1) • Submarine (U-Boat)
Aircraft BiplaneBomberFighter (P-51 Mustang) • Jet BomberJet Fighter
Support Anti-Air GunBattering RamCultist3Drone R&F-Only.pngMedicMilitary EngineerMobile SAMObservation BalloonSiege TowerSoothsayer2Supply Convoy R&F-Only.png
Religious ApostleGuruInquisitorMissionary
See also Great PeopleHeroes
1 Requires a DLC2 Apocalypse mode only • 3 Secret Societies mode only • 4 Heroes & Legends mode only • 5 Zombie Defense mode only

R&F-Only.png Added in the Rise and Fall expansion pack.
GS-Only.png Added in the Gathering Storm expansion pack.