Resources are special commodities found in limited quantities on the map. As in all Civilization games, they are essential to your empire's development, and an important reason to seize and hold territory. Different resources may be found virtually anywhere, except in Ocean tiles. There is a limit of 1 resource per tile.
In order to gain access to and make use of a resource, you will need to expand your territory onto its tile and have a Citizen from a nearby city work it. Strategic and luxury resources must also be improved with the appropriate tile improvement. Accessing resources provides many benefits, including increased tile yields ( Production, Food, etc.), the ability to produce new military units, and extra Amenities Amenities for your civilization.
All resources are placed at the very start of the game, when the map is first generated - unlike in Civilization: Beyond Earth, resources cannot be created by player actions. Most strategic resources are not visible in the beginning of the game, but they are nevertheless there. Antiquity Site Antiquity Sites and Shipwreck Shipwrecks are also invisible in the beginning; however, it is unclear if they are actually placed at map creation, or the game uses a system similar to Civilization V where significant playing events (a battle, the destruction of a Barbarian Outpost, etc) later become Antiquity Site Antiquity Sites. It is known that Antiquity Site Antiquity Sites may appear underneath Districts; they won't, however, appear in a tile with any other Resource.
Each type of resource is tied to a certain type or types of terrain or a terrain feature, and will not appear on any others. There are certain terrains and features that may never hold a resource: Oceans (being too deep for effective exploration), Ice (being too cold and unstable), Mountains (being... too tall, probably), and Oases (being in itself valuable). And obviously, a River can't hold resources, because it doesn't actually occupy tiles. Natural wonders are also too valuable in themselves to hold any additional resources. If you're familiar with which resources are prevalent around your starting terrain, you will be able to guess what you will find nearby without even exploring.
Types of Resources
Bonus resources are the most frequently found type of resource, and the most versatile in a strategic sense. They provide bonus Food, Production, or Gold to the tile's yield, thus benefiting a nearby city, and can be improved further for even greater benefits. But that's not all:
- Bonus resources may be Harvested by a Builder - a new gameplay action which gives a significant, one-time boost which benefits the city owning the tile. The boost is comprised of a large quantity of the same bonus yield which the resource inherently provides to the tile (+25 Food, +25 Production, or +50 Gold, scaling by era). However, harvesting a bonus resource permanently removes it from the map. Harvesting for the different resources is unlocked with certain early technologies (e.g. Pottery allows the harvesting of Wheat Wheat and Rice Rice).
- Bonus resources may also be Removed so city districts or Wonders can be placed on their tiles. This happens automatically in the District or Wonder placement dialogue, and is almost, but not completely the same as Harvesting: it is the same because it is unlocked by the same technology (e.g. a Wheat Wheat resource can be Removed only after discovering Pottery) and results in the resource vanishing from the tile; however, it is different from "Harvesting" for purposes of resources gained - when you Harvest the resource, you gain the bonus mentioned above; when you remove it, you don't gain anything! This may be explained by the fact that Removing is done instantly without you needing a Builder to expend an action. Therefore, the Resource is basically wasted.
So, when you plan to use a tile with a resource (or terrain feature) on it, think ahead and have a Builder Harvest it beforehand, instead of just placing something there and losing the opportunity to gain lump sums of Food, Production or even Gold! Some bonus resources may be required for certain Wonders. For example, Stonehenge must be built next to Stone Stone.
Finally, in Gathering Storm Bonus resources may be destroyed outright by the eruption of a nearby Volcano. So, when you see such a resource in the 'blast radius', be sure to make use of it right away, before it gets destroyed! If its yields are useful to your civ in the long term, improve it; otherwise feel free to Harvest it.
Strategic resources are those that are important from a military standpoint. They also provide some bonuses to tile yields, but more importantly, when the relevant tile improvement is built on them, they provide access to vital materials which allow you to build important military units (e.g. Horses Horses are needed to produce Horsemen and Iron Iron is needed to produce Swordsmen). All strategic resources, provided you start in the Ancient Era, are hidden at the beginning of the game - they do not appear on the map until you develop technologies to reveal each resource. Horses are a special case: in the base game and Rise and Fall they can be seen right from the start, but in Gathering Storm they are also locked and revealed with Animal Husbandry.
Strategic resource supply for the empire is handled differently than in Civilization V. There are no more multiple counts of a resource per each source tile - there is only 1 count, the same as luxury resources. One count of a strategic resource, however, is now enough to produce an unlimited quantity of the respective units! There is a catch: only specialty districts may produce them with a single count of resource available, cities without the relevant Specialty district will require 2 counts of the relevant resource. That means that, if you only have 1 count of Iron Iron, all land units that require it may only be produced in a city with an Encampment district, while all naval units requiring Coal Coal (and you only have 1 Coal Coal) may only be produced in a city with a Harbor district. If you have access to 2 or more sources of these strategic resources, however, all cities with applicable production capabilities will be able to produce the units! So, you will no longer need Encampments to produce Swordsmen in a city, for example. 3 or more counts have no further use by your civilization, and become good trading commodity for deals with other leaders!
- You can place districts, Wonders, and even cities on tiles which contain unrevealed resources - in this case, upon discovering the relevant technology, you will gain use of the resource as if it were already improved.
- However, if there is a tile improvement on top of a strategic resource that doesn't match it (e.g. you have a Farm on a Niter Niter resource), you will need to remove it and build the right one to access the resource.
- Strategic resources cannot be harvested. Districts and wonders cannot be built on tiles with revealed strategic resources.
Consumable resources in Gathering Storm
Gathering Storm alters once more the way Strategic resources are handled. Instead of each source producing 1 count only (so, 3 sources means your empire will have 3 counts of the resource), now each source produces certain count per turn, which is then added to your stockpile. Thus, if you have 2 sources of Iron Iron (which produces 2 per turn), you will be gaining +4 of the resource per turn, until you run up to your stockpile limit. The maximum stockpile amount is initially 50 for each resource, but constructing military buildings in your empire (Barracks, Armory, etc.) will increase your maximum stockpile by 10 per building (for all resources). Everything which uses this resource (units, buildings, projects, etc.) will draw from this stockpile.
Before, it was enough to have two sources of Iron Iron somewhere in your empire in order to produce and maintain any number of Swordsmen you wish (in a city with an Encampment the amount gets decreased to 1). This practically meant that any count greater than 2 of a resource was useless for anything but trading.
Now, you will need to gather and spend 20 Iron Iron for every single Swordsman you want to train or Purchase. If you are itching to turn all those Warriors into Swordsmen, but you have only stockpiled 30 Iron Iron, you will be able to convert only 1, and wait to amass more Iron for the rest. This means that Production or Gold are no longer the only things determining how quickly you can churn out units; how much Iron Iron you have stockpiled and how many sources you have are also important. And that's not all!
Strategic resources are now used in two distinct ways: for unit production and for Power production for your cities. But the second only enters into play from the Industrial Era on, and the first has 2 distinct models of operation, which are again divided by the same era. So, the Consumable resources are further distinguished by these factors:
- Materials ( Horses Horses, Iron Iron, Niter Niter, Aluminum Aluminum). For them, each unit which cost Strategic resources will require a set amount of it at the moment you start production (or the moment you purchase it). This puts a practical ceiling on the number of units you may purchase or start producing at the same time (within the same turn). When you exhaust your stockpiled resource, you will need to either wait for it to accumulate, or trade for it with another player.
- Fuel ( Coal Coal, Oil Oil, Uranium Uranium). For them, the up-front cost of units is greatly reduced (usually to 1), but you also have a per-turn cost for each unit! This puts other kind of restriction on you - rather than having a hard limit on how many units you may start producing at the same time (or you can purchase together), you now have to think of how production will affect your resource stockpile flow. The more units you have that consume a particular resource, the slower the resource will accumulate, until you reach a neutral, and then negative point. For example, if you only have 1 source of a certain resource, you will be able to safely maintain only 3 units consuming this resource; if you have 5 sources, 15 units; and so on. Anything else and you risk depleting your resource stockpile, and then running into the consequences of having a negative resource flow (see below). You will then be forced to constantly trade with other players in order to replenish your stockpiles.
- Power production ( Coal Coal, Oil Oil, Uranium Uranium). These will also be needed for your Power Plants, which will consume them each turn and convert them into Power for your cities! This process is completely automatic and may vary according to your building new buildings in your cities, and/or developing Renewable energy sources to replace Power Plants. Thus, in the late game, you will need to juggle powering up your cities and producing/maintaining units, and this is not an easy decision!
Note that the (un)availability of Strategic resources will also affect the units after you produce them! For example, if you had acquired Iron Iron to produce Swordsmen, but have no continuous access to Iron Mines, those Swordsmen won't be able to Heal! For later units, lack of their respective Strategic resource will also mean a CS penalty during combat (which is proportional to the amount you're short).
Of course, Strategic resources may still be traded with other players. Arguably, the new system makes trading them even more important than before. Note, however, that unlike Gold trading, you can only trade lump quantities of Consumable resources.
|Resource||Enables||Base Yield Modifier||Improvement||Notes|
|Horses||Pre-: Horseman, Cavalry||+1 Production, +1 Food||Pasture||Tech not required to see. Revealed by Animal Husbandry. Found on flatland Grassland and Plains.|
|Iron||Pre-: Swordsman, Knight||+1 Science||Mine||Revealed by Bronze Working. Found on Hills.|
|Niter||Pre-: Musketman, Bombard||+1 Production, +1 Food||Mine||Revealed by Military Engineering. Found on flatland only.|
|Coal||Pre-: Ironclad, Battleship||+2 Production||Mine||Revealed by Industrialization. Found on Hills.|
|Oil||Pre-: Tank, Aircraft Carrier||+3 Production||Oil Well, Offshore Oil Rig||Revealed by Steel. Found both on land and at sea.|
|Aluminum||Pre-: Bomber, Fighter, Jet Bomber, Jet Fighter, P-51 Mustang||+1 Science||Mine||Revealed by Radio. Found on Plains and Desert.|
|Uranium||Pre-: Nuclear Devices, Nuclear Submarines, Modern Armor||+2 Production||Mine||Revealed by Combined Arms. Found everywhere.|
Artifact spots are special "resources" on the map, since they do not have any extra yields and they cannot be developed. They can be, however, excavated by an Archaeologist to yield an Artifact, which can then be displayed if there is an appropriate slot in your empire. There are two types of artifact spots: Antiquity Site Antiquity Sites and Shipwreck Shipwrecks.
|Antiquity Site||Artifacts||Land||Revealed by Natural History. Found only on land tiles, and may be developed by Archaeologists to produce Artifacts.|
|Shipwreck||Artifacts||Sea||Revealed by Cultural Heritage. Found only on water tiles, and may be developed by Archaeologists to produce Artifacts.|
Luxury resources are commodities highly prized by Citizens, and their availability helps increase Citizen happiness by granting Amenities Amenities. Most luxuries are provided by the land, and you can access them by improving a tile that contains the resource or even founding a city on it (provided you've discovered the technology necessary to improve it). Some, however, are exclusive products of specific city-states and may only be obtained via achieving Suzerainty with them. Yet, others are the lifework of Great Merchants, who you will need to attract to your civilization in order to access the resource.
Most luxury resources provide +1 Amenities Amenity for the 4 cities that need it the most, though a few special ones will provide for up to 6 cities. Duplicates of the same luxury resource will not supply additional cities; however, these extra resources may always be traded to other civilizations. Luxury resource tiles provide more varied tile yield bonuses than bonus and strategic resources. Those include Gold, Faith and Culture, which aren't normally found on any terrain, and makes these resources quite valuable.