Units gain experience for actions taken. This experience can be increased using cards or governments or legacy bonuses. Experience is rounded up to the next whole number.
Promotions are not covered here, there are many lists on google.
When you select a unit a thin bar shows at the bottom of the unit panel depicting how much XP the unit has and how much more is needed to get to the next level
You need 15 XP * the level you are currently on to get to the next level.
Once you have enough experience to be promoted any additional XP is not given to your unit and is lost.
The maximum level of promotions you can have is 6 (5 promotions)
Once a unit has been promoted once a small promotion number shows in a white box with the unit. This is the number of promotions the unit has gained as opposed to its level. A level 3 units has 2 promotions.
A unit typically gets more XP from attacking than defending. This XP is shown briefly above the unit after combat, it is only shown for your own units.
When you promote a unit, it heals 50% of its original health.
Once a unit is promoted it will only gain 1XP from combat with barbarians
XP gained from combat is limited to 8XP per combat with the exception of city combat.
There is no XP limit per turn, the main limit is reaching the next promotion level.
There is no way to tell from looking at a unit how much bonus combat experience it will gain. Hopefully this will be resolved in the future
Combat experience mechanics
The Base XP value is calculated as the enemy’s base strength divided by your unit’s base strength. If the enemy is killed this value is multiplied by 2.
For example, your warrior is attacking a spearman and kills it the base XP = 2 x 25/20 = 2.5
To this base XP the following are added to gain a calculated XP
+1 if you unit is ranged
+2 if you are a non ranged unit
+1 if you are attacking
So a warrior attacking and killing a spearman is 2.5 base XP +2 for non ranged +1 for attacking is 5.5 calculated XP
The calculated XP is then give a % XP bonus if the unit gets one. For example a calculated XP of 5.5 with the unit getting +25% XP from a barracks is 6.875
Finally the bonus XP is rounded up at the end of calculations to the next whole number, in our example a warrior attacking and killing a spearman with +25% bonus will gain +7XP
XP from cities
City XP is not capped at 8 XP max per combat
A unit taking a city gains 10 XP plus any bonus XP %
A unit attacking a city gains 3 XP plus any bonus XP %
A unit being attacked by a city gains 2 XP plus any bonus XP %
When a city has 0 garrison left further attack provide no extra XP.
Corps, armies, fleets and Armadas
These larger or joined units still count as a single unit for XP.
When joining units together XP is used to decide the outcome. The XP value and the promotions of the unit with the highest XP is what is applied to the newly formed unit. When both units have the same XP the values of the target unit (in the blue hex) are used.
Units that change type
A fighter will count as melee when fighting other fighters but otherwise counts as ranged
A scout counts as melees but ranger and special ops upgrades count as ranged.
When is XP not given
Cities receive no XP nor could they use it.
Any unit attacking a land tile rather than a combat unit gains no XP
Aircraft attacking anti-aircraft units (AA and SAM) gain no XP
Attacks against support units gain no XP
You get 0 XP for using a nuke.
Sea dog captures and Aztec worker captures gain no additional XP.
Scout discovering wonder – 10 XP
Scout clearing goody hut – 5 XP
Civilization Bonus XP
Gilgamesh’s Adventures with Enkidu provides joint war partners with 5 tiles of the combat the XP gains that Gilgamesh’s troops gain.
The Nubia Ta-Seti special ability gives all their ranged units +50% XP
The Mapuche Toqui ability provides +25% for units trained in a city with a governor
Government Bonus XP
Oligarchy has a legacy card bonus of 20% XP for all units.
City States Bonus XP
Being Suzerain of Kabul provides you with double XP from combats you initiate
Great person Bonus XP
Industrial great admiral Laskarina Bouboulina give +25% experience to a naval unit when retired
Modern great admiral Togo Heihachiro gives +50% experience to a naval unit when retired
Atomic great admiral Sergei Gorshkov gives +100% experience to a naval unit when retired
Information great admiral Clancy Fernando gives +200% experience to a naval unit when retired
Medieval great general Timur grants 25% experience to a military unit when retired
Modern great general John Monash grants 75% experience to a military unit when retired
Information great general Vijaya Wimalaratne grants 100% experience to a military unit when retired
Unique Unit Bonus XP
The American Mustang gains an additional 50% XP
Zulu Impi gain 25% additional XP
Civic Bonus XP
The Survey military policy doubles the XP for recon units
The dark age policy Elite Forces provide 100% XP to all units
Encampment Bonus XP
The encampment district provides no XP benefit
The Barracks provides +25% experience for all melee and ranged units trained in the city
The stable provides +25% experience for light and heavy cavalry trained in the city
The Armory provides an additional +25% experience for all units trained in the city
The Military Academy provides +25% XP for all land units
Harbour Bonus XP
The Lighthouse provides +25% XP for all naval units
The shipyard provides +25% XP for all naval units
The seaport provides +25% XP for all naval units
Aerodrome Bonus XP
The Hangar provides +25% XP for all air units
The Airport provides +50% XP for all air units
The seaport provides +25% XP for all air units
Spies can only be promoted to level 4 (3 promotions, the number 3 showing against the unit)
Each successful mission allows the spies a promotion, they do not really gain XP, just promotions for successful missions.
Difficulty change to XP
Settler 45% bonus XP
Cheftain 30% bonus XP
Warlord 15% bonus XP
King AI gets 10%
Emperor AI gets 20%
Immortal Ai gets 30%
Deity AI gets 40%
Marathon 300% of XP needed to increase levels (rounded down)
Epic – 150% of XP needed to increase levels (rounded down)
Standard 100% of XP needed to increase levels (rounded down)
Quick 67% of XP needed to increase levels (rounded down)
Online 50% of XP needed to increase levels (rounded down)
- The 8 XP cap is easily met, especially for melee class units and so many % increase benefits make little difference apart from to ranged units that shoot at cities.
- Taking a city is at least 10XP so take it with a unit that can benefit from 10 XP or that you want promoted fast. For example if you want a level 4 scout fast get it to take all cities.
Civ VI Experience
A guide on how XP works in Civ VI