Loyalty occurs at the city level only. Loyalty based on your population both within a city and nearby account for a large amount of your loyalty and loyalty pressure from other civilizations is also based primarily on population and how they are affected by golden and dark ages. To counter external loyalty pressure, you gain additional loyalty factors within your city that exert no pressure.
A city is fully loyal to your country at 100% loyalty or 100 loyalty points. Both mean the same thing. When a city has 0 loyalty it will rebel and turn into a free city which can in turn change loyalty to your or another civilization. When a city changes loyalty this is called here city ‘flipping’.
A new city starts at 100% loyalty and a captured city starts at 50% loyalty.
Finding Loyalty Information
There are various useful screens in the game to gain loyalty information
You can move your mouse over the Civ icon on any civ’s city to get a view of the general loyalty state of the city
Clicking on a cities Civilization icon brings up a small loyalty bar showing the cities loyalty %. The example left shows clicking on a free cities fist icon bringing up a bar show green for about 60% and Red with the polish icon at the end. This means the city is 60% loyal to the free city and if it will rebel it will change to be a Polish city.
This Loyalty bar can be shown for all cities by using the loyalty lens
This loyalty bar can be expanded by clicking on the civ icon on the bar. We will discuss the white sections of this screen in the loyalty sections chapter. The lower part showing civs is discussed in the Free Cities chapter.
You can get a summary of your all your cities loyalty in the City Status report
When you select one of your settlers, you may see numbers on the map indicating you will have some loyalty issues settling where there are negative numbers. This is discussed in the Population pressure section. Numbers shown reflect the status at the beginning of your turn and are just raw pressure numbers.
When you select a city, from the city toolbar you can select the city details pane. The loyalty section of the city details pane shows the most detailed loyalty information available. Unfortunately, it will still list some effects as “other” and these are discussed in the Other section of the Loyalty Sections chapter.
In the loyalty detail of a city we see loyalty broken into sections. Different loyalty influences affect different sections as summarized in this chapter. The key point to remember is that the only thing that influences other cities is population pressure (an and Amani promotion) All other effect are only applied to the local city.
Population pressure is based on the population of all cities within 9 tiles of a city. Any of your cities count as loyalty to you. Any other cities pressures are added up against you. The two numbers are compared as a ratio and an outcome of pressure is resolved as a number between +20 and -20 loyalty pressure.
A pressure is counted as population -10% for every tile distant from the city. This is then multiplied by 0.5 for a dark age and 1.5 for a golden age.
So an enemy city of 5 population 5 tiles away in a golden age would give 3.75 loyalty pressure (5*50%*1.5=3.75). If your city had 4 population in a dark age that would be 2 loyalty pressure. The two pressures are then calculated as a ratio which is a little under 2:1 in favour of the enemy.
The ratios roughly equate to the following
3:1 +20 Loyalty per turn
2.5:1 +15 Loyalty per turn
2:1 +10 Loyalty per turn
1.5:1 +5 Loyalty per turn
1:1 0 loyalty
1:1.5 -5 loyalty per turn
1:2 -10 loyalty per turn
1:2.5 -15 loyalty per turn
1:3 -20 loyalty per turn
In the normal game there is more cities adding to each side of this equation. All your own cities vs all other cities not including free cities or city states. The average reduction from foreign cities due to distance is 2/3 so if there is 9 pop of foreign pressure it will roughly equate to 3 for ratio comparisons.
The precise pressure formula has not been identified but the formula used is accurate to 0-0.3 pressure. The basic formula is
Loyalty from pop= (ratio-1)*10, ratio=enemy loyalty/self loyalty if enemy loyalty>self loyalty, self/enemy if self<enemy
The Bread and Circus project when run adds an additional +1 pressure per population which degrades with distance at the same rate as other pressure.
The Governors section hold governor modifications for the city. Placing any governor in a city will immediately provide +8 loyalty to the city. Using the Praetorium diplomacy card increases this by +2. Amani’s +2 loyalty to friendly cities will only take affect once Amani has spent 5 turns joining the city (or a near city). The Governor section also includes the enemy Amani’s -2 which can stack so having 5 enemy Amani’s nearby will give -10. These also take effect one Amani is established in the city. Card modification due to governors are not included here but under the Other section. All loyalty here only affects the local city.
Amenities affect loyalty also. When a city is happy (+1 amenities) then the city gains +3 loyalty per turn. When the city is ecstatic (+3 amenities) then the city gains +6 loyalty per turn. When a city is displeased (-1 to -2 amenities) then the city has -3 loyalty per turn and when unhappy or worse (-3 or worse amenities) then the city has -6 loyalty per turn.
Garrison during war and Occupation
A city captured during war is not yours and so is -5 loyalty for being occupied. This goes even if the city is not ceded to you.
If during war you garrison a captured city that provides +5 loyalty therefore counteracting the occupation negative.
Other affects are all other loyalty effects not mentioned in this section. They will be mentioned in their own sections.
City States and Free Cities
City States and Free Cities have their own sections to discuss them in more details
All Free Cities gain +10 loyalty per turn shown in their own section
All City States gain +20 loyalty per turn shown in their own section
While a city is a free city but is getting higher pressure from other civ's it collects these pressure points over turns. At the time the free city will flip it will flip to the civ that has historically had the most pressure while the city has been free.
All governors assigned to a city provide +8 loyalty to that city and only to that city. Like all other loyalty effects, while it may show immediately the effect is only calculated at the end of a turn.
Only direct loyalty abilities are discussed here.
Amani’s Prestige promotion provides all other cities of your civilization within 9 tiles +2 loyalty. This loyalty only comes into effect once Amani is established. +2 may seem like a small amount but has the same effect as a 4 population city 5 tiles away. This value is displayed in the governor section of the loyalty display.
Amani’s Emissary promotion provides other cities within 9 tiles not owned by you +2 loyalty toward your civilization. This loyalty only comes into effect once Amani is established. +2 may seem like a small amount but has the same effect as a 4 population city 5 tiles away. This value is displayed in the governor section of the loyalty display.
If you have not founded a religion this is not really an issue.
If you have founded your own religion a city you own gains +3 loyalty for following that religion. A city following another religion has -3 loyalty for this.
The key things about cards is you can get +4 loyalty from them until quite late in the game. Only +2 if they do not have a governor.
Limitanei (Early Empire)
military card - +2 loyalty for a garrisoned unit
Praetorium (Recorded History)
Diplomatic card - governors provide an additional +2 loyalty to the city they are in.
Colonial Offices (Exploration)
Economic card - +3 loyalty to off continent cities
Police State (ideology)
Diplomatic card – All cities suffer -2 loyalty (spy levels reduced by 2 in your lands)
Martial Law (Totalitarianism)
Military card - +2 Loyalty for cities with a garrison (-25% WW also) – replaces Limitanei
Communications Office (Social Media)
Diplomatic card - +1 loyalty per turn to the city they are in per promotion they have – Replaces Praetorium
Your capital city provides additional population pressure roughly equivalent to an additional population.
The Government Plaza provides +8 local loyalty to the city it has been built in. If an enemy just has their capital left, Sacking the plaza may be all you need to flip it rather than suffering other penalties for taking it.
If you build the audience chamber, every city in your civilization without a governor will have -2 local loyalty applied.
Provides +2 loyalty to every city within 6 tiles
However the Amenity benefits of Colosseum typically will give +3 loyalty to cities.
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty guarantees that every city within 6 tiles always has 100% loyalty to your civilization
With high chopping ability you can settle a city next to the opponent, chop in the statue and get 2 settlers that will settle near that city to provide a powerful fast loyalty attack with cities that cannot switch, especially chopping in population and ED for bread and circuses.
Equally, capturing a city with the Statue and you have no loyalty issues for 6 tiles.
When the city lacks food for its population -4 local loyalty is applied to the city
This value is displayed in the Other section of the loyalty display.
A level 1 cultural alliance stops both party’s cities loyalty pressure on each other’s cities. This can allow you to forward settle them.
Target city of the emergency gains +20 loyalty to avoid free city status
Failure to successfully resolve the nuclear emergency means all your cities permanently suffer a loyalty reduction
Target city of the emergency gains +20 loyalty to avoid free city status
Target city of the emergency gains +20 loyalty to avoid free city status
Cities with a garrisoned unit gain +3 loyalty per turn. This is increased to +5 loyalty for a corps or army.
Swift Hawk (Mapuche)
If a Mapuche unit destroys an enemy unit within the enemies land, the enemy city gains -5 loyalty
Radio Oranje (Netherlands)
Trade routes to your own country gain +1 loyalty per turn in the source city
Royal Navy Dockyard (England)
Provides +2 loyalty on your home continent and +4 loyalty on foreign continents.
A monument provides +1 loyalty to a city and if the city is at 100% loyalty provides an additional culture point.
An 8 turn mission that causes -20 loyalty when successful. Not that efficient as you can only have one spy performing that task in a city at a time. It should be used in combination with other tactics
An 8 turn mission that neutralizes a governor for what seems like a random number of turns between 6 & 10 although duration may be reliant on spy level. I will update after testing more.
A 16 turn mission that removes all enemy Amani’s from a City State.
Once a city flips it first flips to be a free city. In this state it gains +10 loyalty as a free city. If this is enough to survive as a free city it will do so but often it is not enough as population pressure alone may be +20
City States gain an additional +20 loyalty and so are very hard to flip. This is made worse by envoys as each envoy sent to a CS counts as +2 loyalty visible in the Other section of the loyalty panel.
You are better off taking the city and letting it flip to free after you have taken it as long as it is not too close to your cities.
If you are suzerain of Preslav each gains +2 loyalty for each encampment building built there.
Effects of low Loyalty
A city at 75% or below loyalty grows at 75% of normal and has -25% to all yields.
A city at 50% or below loyalty grows at 25% of normal and has -50% to all yields
A city at 25% or below loyalty does not grow or produce anything.
This area of pop growth is often forgotten. Capturing a free city will be at 50% loyalty. The very small population growth means making farms and improving land has little effect until you are over 75%.
An occupied city is when you are still at war with the cities owner (the one you just captured it from, not from a previous war)
An occupied city will be at -5 loyalty which can be counteracted by having a garrisoned military unit.
Do not forget that an occupied city has no population growth (apart from chopping)
Coping with Loyalty
Size and number of cities matter but typically more so when they are small. Smaller cities allow the pressure ratio against you to get higher, reaching 3:1 is -20 which is very hard to deal with but even 2:1 (-10) is more than just a governor. Growing a city is now more important than it was, especially with close neighbours at the start. It is quite possible to get a capital city losing loyalty if there is low population growth at the start. Equally capturing cities in high foreign pressure areas is also a problem.
First a foremost think of population growth, even if it means chopping in more population. A close second it how many cities you have close by, every little bit helps, even taking a settler on campaign with you to slow down the revolt of the first captured city can be useful. An easy rule of thumb is a city 5 tiles away has half the pressure of local population so it can be fairly fast to estimate rough pressure.
Once you get to governors they can be used to counter bad loyalty but it can mean they are not where you want them. Cards can also help but every loyalty card you slot is a slot less for more useful cards. Limitanei is a good early example of a card taking a very valuable space.
Keep a strong eye on what civs are in golden and dark ages. This helps cope with pressure a lot and if you are about to go into a dark age you will get more significant
Making Enemy cities flip
Sacking their lands will make a city starve for -4 loyalty and possibly even get -3 or -6 loyalty from unhappiness.
This alone is not enough in many cases, you need to reduce their population pressure from other cities, attacking when they are in a dark age helps or remove other cities
You can settle new cities or quickly grow your cities population with chopping in food to add pressure. Being in a golden age adds pressure as does running a Bread and Circus project which needs and Entertainment Complex. Running a forment unrest espionage mission can also help as can Neutralising the governor.
Finally, you can use Amani’s Emissary promotion to add another -2 loyalty to their city.
If all of this does not help then you may not be able to flip them or you may have to remove some of their other cities to make them flip. Alternatively, as long as you do not mind the warmongering you can take their city which will then flip to a free city. Take that again and you avoid the -18-diplomacy penalty with them.
Flipping a CS
A CS naturally has +20 which counteracts your +20 pressure max. This is roughly 3 times as much pop in a 9 tile radius than the CS has.
The CS then can have happiness for +3/6 (they can slot cards) but the CS does not have a governor. So if you do not want to capture the CS outright, pillage their lands which will give then starvation, unhappiness and pop loss... you do not even need Armani but she can speed things up by a turn. Pillaging and pop pressure together will do it in roughly 10 turns.
Flip and pillage Strategy
This gamey strategy occurs when you take a city and it is going to flip in a few turns. You can use a builder or two to repair all the valuable land before it flips. When it flips you get experience for killing the new units and you can pillage the lands for great rewards (especially if you slot the raid card). You can then capture the city, repair it's improvements and let it flip again for the same benefits. Two such cities with 4 mines each can gain you roughly 100 science per turn. It gets boring fast and it is not really in the spirit of the game but there is nothing wrong with doing it once.
Forward Settling Someone Correctly.
If I was to forward settle now (and I do) you need to be very aware of how many large pop cities will affect you but just be generally aware that to successfully do it some things are key.
External cities will -20 you at max so that's 5 turns till free city. You need to reduce that -20 as much as possible.
1. Buy a monument on Turn 1 for +1
2. Slot the +2 loyalty card for +2 (you can get more but realistically +2)
3. Send in the governor for +8 (if later you can probably afford the extra +2 from Amani but lets not consider here)
4. be Happy for +3 ... this is the turning point
You are now 1 pop suffering -20 counteracted with +14 so you have 17 turns to fix things
5. For goodness sake do not starve because that is -6 and is your death knell
6. Buy a builder at T1, you should not have settled somewhere where you cannot chop in at least 2 pop... the more pop the better (within the limits of point 5). Your pop is on average twice as powerful as the enemies... and also be aware it is not just the enemies cities affecting you, CS also do... add up all their pop, any city within 9 tiles that is not your then divide that by 6 (2 for distance then 3 for max ratio) and the number at the end of it you need to be higher than within 17 turns... the higher the better.
7. You can use other things like buying entertainment with Reyna or chopping it in and running Bread and Circus (no buildings needed) but this is normally excessive.
8. Last but not least... be aware if they are in a golden and you are not... and also be aware how long it is until an era change occurs. These make a massive difference to the sums above.
Key rule of thumb is be happy
Governor + ecstatic = -6 (Amani + 2 loyalty cards = 0!)
Governor + happy = -9
Governor + unhappy = -18
The ability to sell cities should just be removed from the game as now with loyalty benefits you can sell a city then watch it flip back 5 turns later. Agreed a civ will pay very little for it but the tactic has benefits.
Terrain appears to have an influence value but not sure if that means loyalty
Mountains have 3 influence
Desert, tundra, coast and snow have 2 influence
The rest have 1 influence.
... no idea what this means currently
Civ VI Loyalty Guide
Civ 6 Loyalty guide