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Oligarchy is a form of Tier 1 government in Civilization VI. It is unlocked by the Political Philosophy civic.

In Rise and Fall, this government's legacy bonus is conferred by Oligarchic Legacy, a Wildcard policy unlocked by changing governments after adopting Oligarchy and constructing a Tier 1 government building (Ancestral Hall, Audience Chamber, or Warlord's Throne).


Card-wise, Oligarchy is the strongest military government of the Classical Era, thereby attracting the interest of civilizations such as Sumeria and Rome, and also offers a major boost to early-game Strength Combat Strength. For civilizations such as Greece under Gorgo, using it is almost a given. Other civilizations whose leader bonuses deal with Strength Combat Strength, such as Tomyris' Scythia, can also make great use of Oligarchy's strength bonus if played correctly. Even America, historically known as a mid-to-late game civilization, can use this government type to launch devastating early wars with a collective total of +9 Strength Combat Strength.

Note that Oligarchy's Strength Combat Strength bonus applies only to specific unit classes, so in the early game, it affects only Warriors and Swordsmen (as well as Spearmen and Galleys in the expansions). Even though they aren't conventional melee units, Warrior Monks, Nihangs, and Vampires also receive the bonus from this government.

Civilopedia entry[]

The Greeks coined the term “oligarchy” to mean “rule by the few.” Whether distinguished from the hoi polloi by family ties, religious or military prestige, personal achievements, or other attributes – Aristotle used the term to refer to rule by the rich, and Plato in The Republic argued for rule by an educated elite – the oligarchs determine what issues should be on the political agenda, debate these, and then decide “for the good of the people.” Depending on the qualifications imposed to be an oligarch, oligarchy can be efficient, or it can generate a viper's nest of intrigue.

The classic examples of oligarchy are found in ancient Greece – Corinth, Sparta, Thebes, in fact all the major city-states… except the democratic Athenians. However, recent works by political scholars such as the German sociologist Robert Michels argue there is an “Iron Law of Oligarchy” whereby all forms of government tend inevitably towards oligarchy. Even in representative democracies, the practical demands of governance results in the concentration of political power in a small group, in a monolithic bureaucracy, and in rigorous means to control dissention. Which may be a good thing, as the historian Spencer Weart claims that oligarchies rarely make war on each other.


Civilization VI Governments [edit]
AutocracyCatholic Monarchy1ChiefdomClassical RepublicColonial Government1CommunismCorporate Libertarianism GS-Only.pngDemocracyDigital Democracy GS-Only.pngFascismKandake1Merchant RepublicMonarchyOligarchyPenal Settlement1Pharaoh1State Government1Synthetic Technocracy GS-Only.pngThalassocracy1Theocracy
1 Specific scenarios only

GS-Only.png Added in the Gathering Storm expansion pack.