Warmongering is a game concept and mechanic in Civilization VI. It represents the diplomatic penalties acquired from engaging in wars and conquering cities. It is replaced by the Grievances system in Gathering Storm.
The concept of warmongering describes the perceived aggression of a leader with respect to the other nations, and as such exclusively affects diplomatic relations with the AI players. Although hardly new (Civilization V: Brave New World already had quite an elaborate system), warmongering in Civilization VI is a much more subtle and well-developed mechanic.
Warmongering Base Scores
When calculating warmonger penalties, there are two more important numbers that should be kept in mind:
- The base warmonger score (BWS) for the current era. In fact, all other scores are calculated on the basis of this one. Its first and main manifestation is the declaration of Formal War penalty.
- The city occupation penalty. This one is equal to 50% of the BWS (e.g. if you have a BWS of 12, the occupation penalty will be 6). Other city-based penalties, such as razing, are calculated based on this score.
The various Casus Belli will modify the BWS, and thus all other scores, either diminishing or increasing them. In some cases, warmonger penalties may be eliminated altogether!
Earning and Losing Warmongering Penalties
Warmongering penalties are represented as a negative score affecting diplomatic relations with each leader you've already met. These penalties are applied under the following circumstances:
- When you declare war. You receive this penalty only for initiating a war, not for being the target of one.
- When you conquer a city and keep it (occupy it). This penalty may be removed later at the peace negotiations if you decide to return the city. (This has been bugged since the release of Rise and Fall - returning a conquered city will not remove the warmongering penalty for having conquered it.)
- When you conquer a city and raze it. Since this is an irreversible action, in this case the occupation penalty is doubled.
- When you negotiate to acquire a city you've conquered after the end of a war. Penalties are applied for each city you acquire, based on occupation score.
- When you conquer the last city of a civilization, thus wiping it out. In this case there are two possible penalties, depending on whether you choose to keep that city or raze it. Obviously, it will be impossible to negotiate with this nation anymore, so this penalty will be the last applicable from your campaign against them.
You'll still get warmonger penalties for conquering cities belonging to a civilization that has declared war on you, although they will be roughly 25% smaller than usual.
There are a few interesting twists to warmonger penalties, which are related to the new leader agenda system. Gorgo's unique agenda, as well as the random leader agenda Darwinist, disregard warmonger penalties completely! For leaders with these agendas, warmongering is considered a most honorable thing, and worthy of praise, not condemnation! If you happen to have such leaders in your game, you will see no effect on your relations with them no matter how many wars you wage. In addition, Cyrus' unique agenda makes him far more accepting of Surprise Wars than other leaders - he actually praises leaders who declare Surprise Wars, and frowns upon those who don't! Conversely, Tomyris' unique agenda makes her particularly hostile towards anyone who declares a Surprise War - more so than other leaders.
You will lose warmonger penalties under the following circumstances:
- Naturally, with the passing of time. Your warmonger score decays at the rate of 0.5 points per turn, unless you did something to increase it the previous turn.
- When you liberate a city. If you conquer a city which your current adversary had previously wrested from a third party, and then choose the "Liberate" option, you will gain a positive score which will immediately reduce all warmongering penalties you currently have. Not only this, you will get a small diplomatic bonus ("Liberated a city") with each leader! Note that liberating more cities doesn't increase this bonus, but does subtract from warmonger scores.
- When you return a city to its original owner. Whether this happens during peace negotiations or during normal trading, the penalty you earned for conquering this particular city is refunded.
Effects of Eras
As mentioned above, warmongering penalties scale with the era. The logic is that at the beginning of civilization everything is wild, communication between young nations is poor, and fighting with others is considered a matter of survival, not of aggression. Thus, during the Ancient Era there are no warmonger penalties for any of the above-mentioned actions. (Consequently, there are no bonuses either.) Starting from the Classical Era, however, warmonger penalty scores start accumulating in all cases (starting with a BWS of 6), and they rise steadily for each subsequent era until the Industrial Era (which has a BWS of 24). At that point international diplomacy has evolved to such a point when launching a war without cause is considered barbaric and terrible, and everyone frowns upon it. The warmonger penalties are so huge that they don't need to rise anymore.
Effects of Casus Belli
The new Casus Belli system heavily modifies the circumstances under which penalties are applied. Depending on which Casus Belli is invoked to declare a war, all warmonger penalties are generally reduced by 25-50 percent. There are also some cases in which some or all of the penalties are completely eliminated. In the late game, it is generally advisable to launch only justified wars unless your nation is so militarily dominant it doesn't fear anything in the world.
Some Casus Belli carry no penalty for declaring war, but inflict a heavy penalty for capturing or razing cities outside of the stated goals of the war.
If you launch a war without any Casus Belli (the so-called Surprise War), all warmonger penalties are increased by 50%!
Since the spring patch, you earn less warmonger penalty for declaring war or taking cities from a civilization if that civilization has denounced your target or is at war with them. The penalty is reduced as follows:
- -20% warmongering if this is against a player they have denounced
- -40% warmongering if this is against a player they are at war with
For example, Macedon is at war with Persia. If India goes to war with Persia sometime in the middle of this Macedonian/Persian War and captures a Persian city, Macedon will reduce its warmonger penalty against India by 40%
Note that this is not used in situations where you are fighting a Joint War against the target power or when Sumeria joins as ally in war (in both those cases the penalty is still zero).
Also, the warmonger penalty for taking cities is now adjusted by the city size: if the city's population after conquest is below the average population of all the cities in the game, reduce the warmonger penalty by the percentage that city's population is below the average. So, for example, Persepolis is conquered and its population after conquest is 6. But the average size of a city in the game is 8. So this city is 2 / 8 = 25% below the size of the average city in the game. Therefore, the warmonger penalty is reduced by 25%.
Lastly, in most occasions, you will not earn warmonger penalties with actions you took before meeting a given civilization. For instance, if you had declared war on and taken cities from Aztecs, you will have earned warmonger penalties with all then known civilizations. But if, during the war, you meet Arabia, you will start with a "clean slate". Note that of course any further DoWs or conquests will incur warmonger penalties with them as well.
The following table provides the warmonger penalties for each era (as applied when declaring a Formal War). These are base values, subject to modification according to the rules described above. Declaring war generally applies 2x the base penalty, capturing a city applies the base penalty, while razing a city applies 3x the base penalty. However, this can change depending on the Casus Belli used (see the table below).
|Era||Base penalty||Liberation bonus*||Wiping out a civilization|
* This amount is subtracted from your warmonger score.
In addition to era, the Casus Belli used to declare war modifies warmonger penalties for declaring war and other war actions. Since the March 2018 patch, capturing and razing cities have separate modifiers for each Casus Belli. The following table shows the percentage modifier to the base value shown in the above table for each war action.
|Casus Belli||Declaring war||Capturing a city||Razing a city|
|War of Territorial Expansion||150||75||150|
|Golden Age War||50||25||300|
Warmongering is more than just a diplomatic consequence; it can be a state of mind, considered a most honorable thing from a certain point of view. It is believed that a soldier in Napoleon's early days of conquest saw his General and Emperor's constant warmongering to be of righteous cause! There are, however, some stiff penalties for launching a non-justified, or lack of Casus Belli, war.
A player who launches into a non-Casus Belli war (see the section on Casus Belli under Diplomacy) will start to accumulate diplomatic warmongering penalties from other civilizations that player has come in contact with, on top of any war weariness already suffered. Launching a surprise war, capturing opposing civilizations' cities, razing captured cities, and using nuclear devices increases the diplomatic penalty based on what era the player is in.
The other approach is to denounce the opposing civilization first and then declare war formally. With this avenue to war, the warmonger penalties are NOT increased and there is the opportunity to use a Casus Belli to reduce those penalties. However, because you must first denounce your opponent, such a plan is "telegraphed" for the target and you will not have the advantage of surprise.