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Diplomacy: Interacting with Civs and Positive/Negative Diplomacy Modifiers (BNW)

Diplomacy: Interacting with Civs and Relationship Modifiers
Link to the original article from Carl's Civ 5 Strategy Site

Civilization 5: Brave New World Diplomacy
The Global Politics Screen shows you invaluable information
This Guide will focus on interactions with the Civ5 AI, with features of both Gods and Kings and Brave New World included in all information. Things change dramatically with these expansions installed and they vastly improve the game in many areas, including politics - simply because there are many more means of befriending (and angering) other Civilizations. This Guide is distinct from my Diplomatic Victory Guide and has does not directly pertain to being elected World Leader. This is about understanding the things that impact on your relationships with other Civilizations and how that can aid you in signing Declarations of Friendship (DoF) and avoiding Declarations of War (DoW). I'll list how you may interact with other Civs as well as many (if not all) of the positive and negative impacts on Diplomatic Score, and provide tips on acquiring more Declarations of Friendship, Research Agreements, and even Alliances (Defensive Pacts). You may also use this info to plan your strategy if you're playing the bad guy, to put off war with other Civs until you are ready, giving them some positive things to consider about you before they jump on the bandwagon and decide you're a major threat to the world.

Every Civilization in the game that you have met is judging you based on your actions, and the AI even judge each other in this way. A warmonger will generally be hated by most of the world, and weak Civs will be conquered by these warlike Civs over simple land disputes. You can consider almost every Civ warlike to some degree, for if you do enough to anger them and they think they can defeat you, they will declare war or, at the very least, denounce you.

Though it may seem appropriate to some, this Guide does not cover the World Congress and Resolutions. That deserves its own page for the many things you can do when you have delegates under your control - that will be released when I get to it. I will link it here when it's done and tie the pages together.

Helpful Mod for Diplomacy: Infoaddict

Infoaddict adds many helpful screens of information to the game, displaying Civs' progress in a number of metrics like gold per turn (GPT), so that you can analyze and optimize your own gameplay with charts and know your true standing in comparison to other Civs, or get deeper information on other Civs in the game. Players interested in seeing diplomatic relationships at-a-glance will find this tool incredibly helpful. A graph displaying all global relationships is available, which will let you see who's befriended who, wars, and all denouncements. Follow this Steam Workshop Link or this CivFanatics link to learn more about Infoaddict and consider adding it to your game. While Mods disable achievements, it is worth running on test games and is something you will want to keep around if you do not care about Steam achievements.

Military Rating: Avoid AI Declarations of War

The AI naturally factors the total strength of your military units into its decision-making process when deciding to declare war on your Civilization. You may use the Demographics screen to see your current military power score vs the rest of the world's, and your current position (click the 'Additional Information' button in the top right, then Demographics). If you are much stronger than them, they will not declare war unless they have multiple allies against you, and that is unlikely, as weaker Civs often tend to be targets of the Civs you would fear. Also, it's unlikely Allied AI would put up an effective fight vs a smart player who puts their forces on their borders and even uses Cities/City-States as buffer zones to help prevent effective invasions into your lands. When playing peacefully, I try to shoot for at least an average rating and push past that when I am able without stunting my Scientific or Cultural potential. If your Military is too weak, build a few units and watch how the score changes dramatically. Upgrading units also raises your score, so you can have fewer but more powerful units and achieve the same effect with less military upkeep - which is a significant cost in any Era, but grows to accommodate the higher incomes you can achieve in later Eras.

AI Flavors - Their Tendencies and How That Affects Your Gameplay

While your actions and situation and how they impact relationships are what I'll be able to show you, your Civilization's progress in Technological advancement, Economy, and Military Might may all be factored into how the AI treats you in terms of what they will accept in Trade deals, when they will declare war, and how willing they will be to sign a DoF with you. All AI have Flavors that determine their personality. These can vary a bit, based on some randomness - for example, Shaka of the Zulu is a Warmonger and does not much mind other Warmongers, while Gandhi of India is peaceful and does not like Warmongering. Thus, the degree to which you suffer a Diplomatic Penalty with these two Civs would differ when you take a City.

The degree to which all Civs approach Warmongering, their Friendliness, how much they covet City-States, their tendencies toward certain Victory Conditions, and how they'll build their Cities and manage their Civ will change a bit with each new game. The threshold for one Civ to Denounce or Declare War on you may be higher than another's. Each has their own personality with some randomness thrown in. Flavors are scaled on a level of 1-10 and may fluctuate by +/-2, meaning a Civ with a Declaration of Friendship willingness of 5 may roll anything from 3 to 7 when you start a game, making each new game a bit different. Still, you have a general idea of how that Civ is going to act with this information at hand. You can see a list of all 43 Civs and their XML info at, which features an interactive chart that allows you to sort by metric to get a look at each Leader's tendencies or know which Civ ranks highest/lowest in a particular type of behavior.

If you grow tired of knowing how all Civs behave, you can select the game option 'Randomize Leader Personalities' when starting your game. This can lead to all kinds of weirdness once you've come to expect a certain type of behavior, though the AI can be erratic at times regardless. I have no idea why AI Shaka sometimes builds the Parthenon, but I guess everyone needs Culture...

Relevant Link: AI Behavior Mechanics

Putmalk analyzed a lot of game code and did an 'Ask Me Anything' (AMA) for readers to get in-depth information on how the AI behaves and makes decisions. This can be useful to understanding how the game works as far as the AI is concerned, but includes a lot of math and code. I learned a great deal from this, though much of it is very specific and some portions (where code is shown) will be difficult for many people to understand. Still, you can get a good idea on how the AI makes its decisions by reading it here. It is outside the scope of this Guide but may be helpful to some readers who want to learn more about the AI's decision-making process.

Global Politics, Deal History, and Your Relationships

Pressing F4 will give you useful information on the current Political situation

You can access this handy area through the Diplomacy Tab's Diplomacy Overview button or by simply pressing F4. While the Deal History screen is not often useful, it will tell you when a trade arrangement is going to end. That may help you decide when you want to begin a War or change to another trading partner. The other two screens are going to be of more use, overall.

The Your Deals screen shows all Civs you know, the amount of Gold they have on hand, Luxury and Strategic Resources they have available. You will also see Open Borders, Embassies, and Research Agreements here. It is very helpful if you want to find a Resource that a City is demanding, in order to trigger a 'We Love the King Day', or simply need to find someone who has something worth trading. It also shows City-States, so use this information to acquire more Luxuries, and higher Happiness. It is a waste to Ally with one City-State if they will supply you with a Luxury you already have, when there is another City-State of the same type that has Luxuries/Strategic Resources you still need.

The Global Politics screen will show you all known Civs and any Friendships, Denouncements, or Wars they are involved in. It gives you a great overview of the current political situation and is a section not to be overlooked. You can even tell who built that Ancient Wonder you wanted back when it was 'built in a Distant Land'. Seeing who controls what Wonders is very handy when you're Warmongering, as it can help you pick your next target. You may also easily see who is going to be a Cultural problem because of the mix of Wonders they've built. You can see the Social Policies that different Civs have adopted, which indicate the direction they are pursuing, and also whether or not you will have a competitor for that Wonder you're building - whether it be because a particular Social Policy is required to build it, or because you are an Era ahead of everyone in the game. You can learn a lot from this screen, so use it!

Global Politics information can also help you see which Civs would be bad Declaration of Friendship partners, and who it'd be a good idea to Denounce or at least avoid. Trading/Trade Routes are fine, but saying you're Friends with the bad guy makes you look like just another bad guy. It's very hard to keep track of all those notifications from memory, so you can see if Bismarck is very unpopular in the world and avoid DoF'ing with him. Denounce him instead, and you'll get a boost with everyone else who has done so, and can then sign Declarations of Friendship en masse for later Research Agreements and a peaceful game (so long as he isn't your neighbor!).

Interacting with Civs: Trade, Demands, and Political Agreements

From the Trade Screen, you can get Civs to Declare War on one another

All known Civs can be interacted with, simply by clicking on a City or clicking the Civ in the Diplomacy panel. It is worth noting that deals and promises you make with other Civs, such as Trade Deals, Research Agreements, and Promises not to settle last 30 turns on Standard speed. You have four options here - Trade, Demand, Discuss, and Declare War. :


Trade is healthy for your relationship with another Civ and is the easiest Diplomatic bonus to receive. Your offer is on the right, their offer on the left. The most common Trades are Luxuries for Gold or other Luxuries, but you can also get or sell off Strategic Resources (Iron, Horse, etc.) that you do not need here. Beware that this will give your competitors the ability to better arm their Military. It is wise to trade off any extra copies of a Luxury you have, as you only benefit from one copy and any surplus sitting around are being wasted. Trade Deals last for 30 turns on standard speed, so any Gold Per Turn can be multiplied by 30 to know the total for the arrangement. Only Civs that have signed a Declaration of Friendship can Trade for lump sums of Gold. A Luxury is worth 240G, 7 Gold per Turn, or 5 copies of a Strategic Resource to the AI. They'll often offer worse terms when the trade is inverted, and may demand more gold per turn than this, even if you are Friendly with one another.

Through Trade, you may even sell or buy Cities from other Civilizations for massive amounts of Gold and Resources. This is helpful when you've won a City that you do not really need through War, and don't mind letting them have control of it. Selling it to a Friend and may be more profitable than keeping it.

There are a number of other options under the Trade menu:

  • Accept Embassy - Shows the location of each player's Capital. You can sell your Embassy for 1 Gold per Turn in the early game to each Civ you meet, but it may also lead them to knowing where you are - they don't until this occurs or they scout you. Embassies are what allow Spies to be placed as Diplomats in another Civ's Capital City. It's worth noting that while it may seem great to sell an Embassy in your Capital for 1GPT, upon realizing your location the AI may begin coveting your lands, resulting in a negative Diplomatic Modifier.

  • Open Borders - Requires both Civs to accept an Embassy. This allows passage through the Civ's lands, but also increases Tourism Generation between Civs, and lets Missionaries enter those lands without suffering Attrition. It also allows Great Musicians to do Concert Tours. You do not have to open your borders to them, they must simply offer open borders on their side of the table. Consider this carefully, for a Civ may use those open borders to settle a City near your own lands in an area you are planning to use - and you may not want them there, for it can block your border growth.

  • Declare War On/Make Peace With - You can influence a Civ to Declare War or end a War with another Civ. If they like you, or hate the other Civ enough, the deal may be rather cheap. Sometimes, it's impossible to get a Civ to DoW someone else. Either way, it is a sneaky tactic to get your competitors fighting and may be used to great benefit on higher difficulties. You can use this to tie up a Civ that you suspect is being Deceptive toward you or is on your borders and likely to attack. Not many Civs will wage two wars at once.

  • Vote Yea/Nay for World Congress Resolution - This option again requires an Embassy. If you do not have enough delegates, you may buy another Civ's vote to pass/stop a proposal you like/dislike. It is wise when you are going for something that will be a tough vote, like World Religion or Ideology. They will commit x votes after the deal is complete, and you'll be able to go into the World Congress screen to get an idea of how votes will be placed. Having Diplomats in other Capitals can give you this valuable information, but Spies are scarce.

  • Research Agreement - Requires Declaration of Friendship. Both Civs contribute 200-400+ Gold to cooperate and give a big boost to Research after 30 turns. The amount earned from a Research Agreement is based on the lowest of the two Civs' Research output, yet if you are ahead in tech (based on Era) you'll often be expected to pay more for the RA.

  • Defensive Pact - Available after Chivalry is Researched. Two Civs must like each other very much to do this - from game data it appears you must accrue at least 80 points of good standing with them for it to be possible (more on points below). It requires a Declaration of Friendship and a very good standing. If you do this, know that you'll be immediately drawn into War if someone has declared war on your partner, but not if they initiate it - joining in is up to you in that case. It is good for small, peaceful Civs to ally together. You need a good Military for them to accept such a deal. Note that Defensive Pacts may not always work as you'd like. First, the AI does not consider Defensive Pacts when deciding to Declare War, so it is not necessarily a deterrent to war unless used in a Multiplayer game. Additionally, your Ally will Declare War only on the first entity to DoW you (sequentially), which could be a City-State or the first of multiple Civs to Declare War. This means that while you may want them to help protect you against everyone attacking, it is not likely to be the case. Once a Defensive Pact has been triggered, it will no longer function despite indications it is still active.

This opens a one-sided Trade Screen where you make a demand of the other Civ. You're not able to ask for help as they are, unfortunately - that is the AIs equivalent to a Demand. You must have a strong Military compared to the other Civ to make a successful Demand, and their location (closer, further) is likely a factor in determining if they will accept your Demand, as well as just what it is that you've requested of them. On the flip side, Friendly Civs may ask for help and if you oblige, you will get a boost to relations for a large number of turns. If you decline, nothing will happen. Making a demand of them, however, will harm relations whether they accept or not.


The Discuss Screen offers advanced interactions with other Civs

The Discuss screen offers some different options that enable some more advanced interaction with the other Civ:

  • Shall We Declare War Against... - Ask the Civ to team up with you against another Civ. If you know they've Denounced them or the other Civ is otherwise disliked, you just may get an ally and a huge diplomatic boost for fighting against a common foe. This is very handy when you need to stop a Civ that is a threat to you, or if you're speaking with another Warmonger and might each take your share. The target Civ may back out of the War easier and give you a nice deal for a Peace Treaty once you've brought down a good portion of their units, given they will be looking at the military power of both Civilizations and fear being conquered.

  • Publicly Denounce - Denounces the Civ, which will give you a diplomatic boost with other Civs who have done the same. Naturally, the Civ you've denounced won't like you taking this action, but it's a part of Civ Politics. This is part of a concept I'll simply call joining sides, as leagues of nations will often form Friendship/Denouncement patterns that lead to strong relations among all Civs involved. You are privy to this information on the Diplomacy screen, which was discussed above.

  • Sign Declaration of Friendship - Proposes a Declaration of Friendship. The AI must like you, and not regard you as weak or technologically inept, and agreement also depends a lot on whether that leader has a high score in DoFWillingness, one of many metrics that determine each Leader's AI behavior. A DoF boosts relations between its partners. Early DoFs are valuable, for you can get more Gold overall from a lump sum than per turn in a trade agreement, and can use a lump sum of Gold straight away to purchase a needed building, for example, rather than collecting the Gold incrementally over the course of the deal! As stated above, a DoF also allows for Research Agreements and Defensive Pacts.

  • Share Intrigue (from Spy) - When you have a Spy in another Civ's Capital you may learn of their "plans" (which often don't eventuate, due to changing conditions resulting in changing AI plans). This option only appears just after that's happened, so paying attention to these notifications is worthwhile! Sharing this information with the Civ who is being plotted against can earn you a diplomatic boost for a time.

  • Stop Spying - Asks them to stop spying on you, which will require military strength and that may not even be enough if they call your bluff. Sometimes effective when you notice a Civ is stealing a lot of Tech - but the other Civ will not like that you've made them stop. It is essentially a Demand.

  • Don't Settle New Cities Near Us - Another Demand, which can be asked at any time. The AI's acceptance of the Demand is partially dependent on your military strength, so again it's important to have a decent military to secure the cooperation of other Civs. This Demand will sometimes get the AI to divert a Settler going for a prime spot you were planning to take for yourself, or lands you hope to claim through Culture's natural border expansion.

  • Stop Spreading Religion - Only available after a Missionary or Great Prophet has recently Spread Religion in your lands. This may get them to stop, but like all Demands, they will not like it and you will suffer a penalty for a time.

Relationship Levels (Approach toward Your Civ)

Use the Diplomacy Tab to get a glimpse of your standing with all known Civs
Hovering over them will tell you all factors impacting your Relationship (unless they're currently Deceptive)

Civilization 5 features a variety of Relationship Levels, which can be seen on the Diplomacy interface. Simply click into the Diplomacy tab and you will be able to see your current standing with all known Civilizations. Hovering over them will show you the current factors impacting your relationship and how they got to that level. Bright green indicates a strong positive modifier, dark a weak one. Bright red means they are quite upset over that factor, while a darker shade is less of a worry - but these small things can all add up. The game does not directly give you the information on how many points you are getting for these, but you can have a general idea based on the stated Relationship Level with you and the balance of these colors. Even still, Civs may turn from Friend to Enemy in the blink of an eye if they are being Deceptive or they come to the conclusion they want one (or more) of your Cities.

Here are the Relationship Levels I've noted during my many hundreds of hours playing Civ 5 and some general information about each:

You will learn more about the - and + under Boosts and Penalties below. Negative is better, and everything is added to determine your final score. If a Civ gets to -40, they will state as Friendly unless they are Deceptive. +80 means they will be Hostile. You want to avoid a large positive score, which generally means War if they are capable of attacking you (military comparison and many, many other factors impact on AI decision-making as you can see in the link I shared near the top of this Guide).

  • Neutral - is exactly what it says - they have not decided where they stand with you, for you have not interacted enough nor have you done enough to anger them. This situation can quickly change based on a single incident, and they may denounce you.

  • Friendly - Friendly is good, and you can certainly sign a Declaration of Friendship with this Civ if they are pleased enough with you. It does not mean, however, that they are your best friend forever and your relationship can change based on how you're playing. Maintaining a Friendship means continuing positive interactions with them while not doing things they see as negative.

  • Deceptive (a stance the AI takes with you) - Deceptive is hidden. The Civ will appear Friendly and none of the negatives they feel about you will be revealed when mousing over the Diplomacy interface. Civs with a high Deception Likelihood score who have reason to hate you may DoW you out of nowhere and invade your lands. This is one reason why this Guide should be helpful - you will know things you have done to possibly anger Deceptive Civs. One means of determining if a Civ is being Deceptive is to attempt a trade with them. When Deceptive, they will offer awful deals, just as if they are Hostile, e.g. requiring many of your resources and GPT for a copy of their spare Luxury.

  • Guarded - A Guarded Civ may fear you a bit or think you are becoming a worldwide threat. This commonly happens when you have a decent Military and the other Civ is hesitant to trust you.

  • Denouncing - You have reached such a score that the Civ has Denounced you. You may still make Trade deals, but they will not offer much in return - for example a Luxury for a Luxury is now likely impossible and you'd need to add some Gold to get them to deal with you. Two Civs that have both Denounced you will gain a positive modifier with each other and this can result in Civs forming leagues to bring you down.

  • Hostile - This is worse than Denouncing, at least I believe so. War is likely with this Civ and they are not likely to be very helpful to you at all. Trade is still possible, but watch your back.

  • War - Just shows that you are currently at War. All Trade deals are canceled and Trade Routes are pillaged upon Declaration of War.

  • Afraid - You haven't necessarily done anything to them, but your actions speak for themselves. You either have a massive Military and have been on a warpath or you have begun to stockpile Nukes and they think you're the type to use them. These Civs' responses in conversation can be funny - they bow to your might, but don't necessarily like you. You may be able to bully them or make demands if you are strong enough, but it will harm your relations.
Diplomatic Boosts and Penalties

Warmonger Penalties are based on how many Cities the target has along with Civs' Warmonger Hatred

Now that we've covered interacting with other Civilizations, Trade Deals, and the Relationship Levels you may have with them, we can look at the various factors that cause Diplomatic Boosts and Penalties that can make you friends or cause you trouble in the future as they add up. I have compiled my list from using XML data and my own notes while playing many games. There may be more to this, so I will not label the list exhaustive. These are the big ones and should be enough to help you manage your relationships with other Civs. A lot of the information presented here has a lot more complexity to it - Civs taking a certain approach toward you (relationship level) will react differently to certain events. You can see this information yourself in your Civ 5 install folder\Assets\DLC\Expansion2\Gameplay\XML\AI\GlobalDiplomacyAIDefines.xml. Without DLC, it would just be in Assets/Gameplay etc.

From gameplay data, negative is actually good while positive is bad. Think of it as a build up of points where once you reach a certain threshold and the AI finds the conditions favorable, they will Denounce or Declare War on you. The system is complex as you can see if you view the link by Putmalk that I posted near the beginning of this article. Having a really low score should almost be considered a low score of hatred, so I will avoid confusing myself while tabulating this information and stick with the negative is good and positive is bad as presented in the XML data.

Some of these factors decay over time - such as trading recently, and providing help to an AI. This means the effect decreases slightly with each turn. For example, a 'We've Traded Recently' boost gives -30, but will decay at +1 per turn and disappear after 30 turns - the same duration of a trade deal.

Good Diplomatic Modifiers - Negative is Good
Score | Action Taken by You or Situation
-80|We Liberated their Capital City - choose Liberate when conquering any City taken from them. Other Cities give smaller bonuses
-35|We have made a Public Declaration of Friendship
-15|We have made Declarations of Friendship with the same Leaders
-15|We have Denounced the same Leaders
-30|We've Traded recently. This varies-- a single GPT from you will not give a -30, but a Luxury for a Luxury will. Multiple deals may add up, but -30 is max, based on how good the deal is
-30|They asked for help and we provided it. (Accept their request for help)
-20|Build a Landmark in their lands instead of Extracting Artifact
-15|They liked our Proposal to the World Congress - lasts 45 turns
-20|We have helped them pass their Proposal to the World Congress - lasts 45 turns
-20|We have helped relocate the World Congress to their lands (Vote for them as host if they'll win anyway), lasts 45 turns
-5|We are both following the X Ideology
-20|You freed their captured Citizens (rescue Settler/Worker from Barbarian)
-5|You have adopted their Religion in the majority of your Cities
-3|They have willingly taken on your Religion in their Cities
-50|We have fought together against a common foe (War on same target, same time)
-6|You have no contested borders (either distant Civ, or they are not covetous of land)
-10|You forgave them for Spying
-1|We have an Embassy in their Capital

Bad Relationship Modifiers - Positive is Bad
Score | Action Taken by You or Situation
+15-100+|Warmongering Penalties - read below. Can go far beyond 100 if you capture many Cities.
+50|We have used Nuclear Weapons
+35|We have Denounced them
+35|They have Denounced us
+15|We have Denounced Civs that they like
+15|We've made a Declaration of Friendship with one of their Enemies
+20 per|Other Civs they like more than you have Denounced you
+15|You made a promise to other Civs to move your troops from their Borders, and then broke it!
+40|You promised to move your troops from their borders, then broke it!
+10-20|You built Wonders that they Coveted
+30|You have stolen their territory with a Great General
+80|You captured their original Capital
+10-30|They covet lands that you currently own
+35|They believe we are building new Cities too aggressively
+20|We asked them to stop Settling new Cities near us
+20|We made a promise to War with another Civ (10 turns), then broke it
+20|You made a promise to stop Settling Cities near them, then broke it
+15|They asked you to stop settling Cities near them, and you ignored them
+20|You made a promise to stop buying land near them, then broke it
+15|They asked you to stop buying land near them, and you ignored them
+20|You made a Trade Demand of them - Demand when interacting with AI
---|Your Spies were caught trying to steal their Technology - not a big hit, steal one tech but see below if you are caught:
+10|They asked you to stop Spying and you ignored them
+20|You made a promise to stop Spying, then broke it
+10|Ask them to stop Spying on you
+2|They are spreading their own Religion, but you Converted some of their Cities - Grows Worse
+8|You made a promise to stop Converting their Cities, then broke it - Grows Worse
+4|They asked you to stop Converting their Cities, and you ignored them - Grows worse
+15|They disliked your Proposal to the World Congress, lasts 45 turns
+20|We helped their Proposal fail in the World Congress, lasts 45 turns
+5|You have chosen to adopt the X Ideology while they believe in another. Adopting Ideologies sets Civs apart and can lead to War along with other accumulated problems throughout the game
+30|You made a promise to stop excavating their Artifacts, and then broke it
+20|They asked you to stop extracting Artifacts, and you ignored them
+10-30|We are competing for the favor of the same City-States, depends on MinorCivCompetitiveness
+15|We bullied City-States under their Protection (gradually decays over 30 turns)
+30|Conquered a City-State under their Protection, and grows worse
+5|They mistreated your protected City-States and you didn't look the other way (decays over 10 turns)

Warmonger Penalties - the Worst Diplomatic hit

These go from +15 (not so bad) to +100 and more (horrible). The more cities you capture or times you declare war, the higher this number will be. It can grow so high that you never escape the penalties within a normal-length game. Hovering over the AI will say how strongly they feel about Warmongering, and how they are taking your actions - from believing it's a growing concern to that you are a Warmongering menace to the World. Each City you take can bump it up a bit, depending on how many Cities the other Empire has (fewer Cities is a bigger penalty for taking one). It also depends on how badly that Civ hates Warmongering, based on their WarmongerHatred score. As stated before, Civs vary in how they approach these things in any given game, and one may roll an extreme hatred of Warmongers (7-8) while usually having a 5-6 rating. These penalties can very, very slowly decay over the course of a game. Also, if a Civ does not know you yet, they don't know about your Warmongering, so Civilizations on another Continent or on the other side of a Pangaea may have no idea you are beating on the weak.

However, if you make a promise that your troops are not on their borders for War, then break that promise and invade them, every Civ in the game will know if this treachery whether they have been met or not. Never do this if you do not want a moderate relationship hit (+15) with all Civs that lasts the whole game. I suspect the promise to not invade lasts 30 turns. Attacking before then would likely cause the penalty. It's wise to be cautious and wait for your army to be ready before closing in, keeping at least a few tiles' distance from their borderes. That way, the opponent doesn't know what you're doing and force you into the situation where you either DoW on the spot else make the promise and break it.

Things We can Learn from the List of Diplomacy Modifiers

All these factors are combined and give a final score, which will determine a Civ's stance with you. Civs have different thresholds before they will Declare War, Denounce, and how willing they are to sign Declarations of Friendship. Having many good modifiers may snowball to allow you to sign a DoF, get them with their friends, and lead to good relations with multiple Civs whom you can sign Research Agreements with and don't have to worry about as far as War. Likewise, getting in the negative and having a Denouncement (or multiple Denouncements) against you can make things turn sour quickly and lead to War. One more negative action by you could tip the scales at any time, so if you are playing peaceful and don't have a large military this is important to know.

It's better to ignore a Civ's request you stop if you're going to continue your bad behavior (spying, settling, converting) than to make a promise and break it, in all cases. There is no penalty for not accepting a Civ's proposal that you go to war with another Civ - what matters are the DoFs/Denunciations you make with other Civs, showing whose side you are on. See which way the wind is blowing, and choose a side that is safe. Distant Civs' war threats are less dangerous than a neighbor's.

You should know that it's generally safe to steal at least one Artifact and Tech per Civ - then either keep your promise or ignore them and continue if you are stronger than them. Not many of these give you a bad reputation with other Civs, just the Civ in question. Stealing Artifacts from City-States is fine, but know that building a landmark in their lands will give you a boost to your Influence.

Not many bad modifiers go away, while good relations must be maintained. Trade Deals end, Denunciations go away, DoFs go away, etc. Use this information to help you accrue positive modifiers and keep them active, for you can see there are many, many more things you can do wrong than you can do to boost relations. Trade and help them when possible. Give their proposal one vote, and don't propose things in the World Congress that will anger certain Civs unless the benefit outweighs the penalty.
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