Tile improvements are modifications on tiles created by units to improve tile yields, access resources, improve a civilization's defense, or provide infrastructure. They are the most common way for a civilization, apart from developing its cities, to ensure its advancement in the game.
The vast majority of tile improvements are constructed and maintained by a new civilian unit: the Builder. However, there are some which are great engineering challenges, or are considered of particular importance for military purposes, and are thus entrusted to the more advanced Military Engineer. Some civilization-specific improvements, such as the Roman Fort and the Pā, are exceptions, and are constructed by the civilization's unique unit (the Roman Legion and the Māori Toa, respectively).
Unlike buildings or districts, improvements are constructed in a single turn, but each construction consumes one build charge of the respective unit. Given that Builders and Military Engineers disappear after all their charges are spent, players are now forced to evaluate carefully what improvements to place, and when.
In most cases, tile improvements may only be built within a civilization's territory or in a city-state when the player is its Suzerain. All of the Military Engineer's improvements save the Missile Silo are exceptions to this rule, and may also be constructed in neutral territory.
All tile improvements except Farms are unlocked by researching technologies (or in rare cases, civics). The Farm is considered the foundational improvement, learned when your tribe developed Agriculture and thus jumped the gap from the life of the hunter-gatherer to civilized life.
Tile improvements may only be constructed on certain types of terrain, or on resources. Improvements may not be constructed on tiles that already contain a District (including a City Center) or wonder. Also, in most cases they cannot be constructed on tiles with removable features (Woods, Rainforest, or Marsh, which will have to be removed first), unless there is a resource present which is accessed through this improvement.
Like districts, some improvements gain an adjacency bonus for being built next to certain types of terrain, other improvements, resources, or wonders.
You can always replace improvements later if you decide you can use their tile in a better way. Remember that, unlike Districts and wonders, they are non-permanent - they can be removed, which takes a single action of a Builder and doesn't consume a build charge. Other units with build charges may also remove any type of improvement for free.
Like districts, improvements can be pillaged by hostile forces such as Barbarians. Pillaged improvements cease to function until a Builder repairs them (which doesn't consume a build charge). Mostly, pillaging an improvement heals the unit or awards its owner with Gold or Faith; pillaging a road awards no spoils.
Accessing resources via improvements
Besides tile yield boosts, the most important function of an improvement, when built on a strategic or luxury resource, is to grant your civilization access to this resource's special function. For the former, it means the ability to build specific military units (or, in some cases, use it to generate Power in Gathering Storm); for the latter, it means additional Amenities for your empire. In both cases you will be able to also trade these resources with other players.
Note that each specific resource requires a certain tile improvement to access. For example, Iron can only be accessed with a Mine, while Cotton requires a Plantation. This detail is usually a no-brainer, since the game doesn't let your Builder construct anything but the required improvement when on a resource tile. The situation is different, however, when it comes to strategic resources which you have recently revealed by researching a new tech, and which turn out to be in a tile with a different type of improvement already constructed on it. In this case, you won't gain access to this resource's special function until you remove the existing improvement and replace it with the correct one.
Housing from tile improvements
There are several tile improvements which also provide Housing, one of the new features in Civilization VI. The most common ones to do this are the Farm, the Pasture, the Camp, Fishing Boats, and the Plantation, besides other special improvements. All of them serve as alternatives to city Housing, and besides their yield boosts provide 0.5 Housing each to the city owning them. Thus, a city controlling land suitable for building these improvements has an alternative source of Housing for its farmers, ranchers, hunters, and fishermen, and is able to grow its Population faster.
Tiles do not need to be worked in order to supply Housing to their cities. Tile improvements that are built outside the workable (3-tile) range will supply Housing if they are unique but will not if they are standard.
Technological development and many special improvements grant access to even more improvements, providing additional Housing. Pay attention to descriptions as you advance and use these new opportunities!
Power from tile improvements
Gathering Storm introduces a new game mechanic called Power, and there are several late game improvements which can provide it: Wind Farms, Solar Farms, Offshore Wind Farms, and Geothermal Plants. They are all sustainable energy alternatives to the traditional Power Plants, which consume Coal, Oil, and Uranium to power your cities. The good news is that collectively, all of these improvements save the last one can be constructed on practically any terrain (the first one on flat tiles, the second one on Hills tiles, the last one on Coast tiles), which makes good use of all these tiles in your territory you can't otherwise take advantage of. For more info, head here.
There are certain improvements which may only be constructed under special circumstances. Excluding the Governor-specific improvements, they can be divided in two groups:
- City-state specific improvements, which become available to the Suzerain of a particular city-state.
- Civilization specific improvements, available only to specific civilizations.
These improvements do not replace generic ones - they are available as extra options and may often be built on terrain which can otherwise accept no standard improvement. Special improvements are not used to connect resources and, unless otherwise noted, cannot be built on tiles that contain Woods, Rainforest, or Marsh.
Note, however, that once constructed these improvements will continue functioning even if the necessary conditions for their placement have vanished - for example, if you're no longer the Suzerain of the relevant city-state, if that city-state doesn't exist anymore (has been conquered and thus had its special functions extinguished), or if Liang is removed from the city.
Improvements' adjacency bonuses
Many improvements also enjoy adjacency bonuses: the first and most important one of them is the Farm, which gets additional Food for other nearby Farms; but many unique improvements also get diverse bonuses from nearby terrain, features, or other improvements. Read improvement descriptions carefully and plan accordingly to make the best use of your space!
List of tile improvements
- Main article: List of improvements in Civ6
- Main article: Roads (Civ6)
Roads are a special type of improvement that connect cities and districts and expedite overland travel. Roads may not be built by Builders; aside from Traders, which build roads as they establish Trade Routes, only Military Engineers can build roads. Every district and wonder automatically creates a road on its tile, which remains even if the feature is pillaged or the city is razed.
Roads themselves can be manually pillaged by a marauding combat unit.
|Ancient Roads||Ancient||1 Movement. No Movement penalties for terrain.|
|Classical Roads||Classical||1 Movement. Adds bridges over Rivers.|
|Industrial Roads||Industrial||0.75 Movement.|
|Modern Roads||Modern||0.5 Movement.|
If You Build It, They Will Come
Have 6 Improvements at one time.