City state theorycrafting/ranking

Discussion in 'Civ6 - Strategy & Tips' started by Ottoman player, Nov 30, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Ottoman player

    Ottoman player Chieftain

    Sep 18, 2012
    Toledo Oregon
    I'd loathe to call this a guide, because I'm not good enough to be an authority on this game, but I thought it might be fun to look at and rank the city states in each category.

    1. Kumasi: Trade routes to any city state generate +2 culture and +1 gold for each district in the origin city.
    2. Nan Madol: Your districts on or next to coast tiles produce +2 culture.
    3. Vilinus: receive a random civic inspiration each time you enter a new era (in that new era).
    4. Mohenjo-Daro: Your cities have full housing from water.

    Thoughts: Kumasi seems to be the best from a raw culture standpoint. Nan Madol might be good for England or island maps where more coastal districts are going to exist. Coast would include harbors I believe. Might be a playstyle thing, but I rarely settle cities without fresh water, so Mohenjo-Daro's bonus wouldn't usually help me except for 1-2 cities. Vilinus's bonus is okay: not sure how many turns that would save a cultural player, and you can get bad luck and have inspirations for irrelevant civics.

    1. Toronto: Regional effects from Industrial zone/Entertainment districts reach 3 tiles further.
    2. Brussels: Cities gain +15% production for wonders.
    2. (tied for second) Hong Kong: your cities get +20% production towards city projects.
    4. Buenos Aires: your bonus resources now count as luxury resources, providing 1 amenity per type.

    Thoughts: Toronto is obviously the strongest of the industrial city states. I personally seem to space out cities a little too much by accident (preferring nicer resources and rivers > getting cities closer together. Might be a thing that doesn't work in Deity), so this bonus would help players like me especially. The rest are pretty situational: I've had a game where Buenos Aires's bonus helped a little bit (only 1 amenity seems weak; regular luxuries provide 4 or 6), I do have some wonders I try to build every game so Brussels would help me eventually; would help wonder spammers on lower difficulties more. Hong Kong would be good for a late game science victory, helping with space projects. I rarely seem to do the district projects.

    1. Carthage: your encampments provide +1 trade routes
    2. Kabul: your units provide double experience from battles they initiate
    3. Valletta: city center buildings and encampment buildings can be bought by faith. You can buy walls with faith at a reduced cost.
    4. Preslav: light and heavy cavalry have +5 strength fighting in hills

    Thoughts: Carthage is the big winner here in my opinion, particularly in a domination game. Valetta could be good, I don't usually emphasize faith so would love feedback on them. Kabul is consistently good, if not amazing, and Preslav is way too situational.


    1. Yerevan: your apostles get to choose any promotion (instead of a pick from two random promotions).
    2. La Venta: you get a new colossal head tile improvement (+2 faith, +1 faith for adjacent woods, +1 for adjacent rainforest, +1 culture after Humanism).
    3. Kandy: you get a free relic whenever spotting a new natural wonder. +50% faith from relics.
    4. Jerusalem: Automatically converts to your founded religion, and exerts pressure like it was a holy city.

    Thoughts: Really think Yerevan's bonus is quite good. Some apostle promotions are much better than others. La Venta seems decent. Kandy depends on timing (when did you discover+suzerien Kandy?) and of course is really good for Kongo. I don't know enough about religious pressure to speculate on Jerusalem's bonus, but it doesn't seem strong.


    1. Geneva: Your cities gain +15% science when not at war.
    2. Hattusa: Provides you with 1 copy of each strategic resource you have revealed but do not own.
    2. (tied) Seoul: Random tech eureka each time you enter a new era. Tech is from that new era.
    4. (#1 for a cultural player) Stockholm: your theater square district buildings provide 1 extra great person point for their type (i.e. great artist for the art muesum) EDIT: This bonus is for all districts, not just cultural ones. So it's either tied with Geneva or better.

    Thoughts: these are all really good, and are good options regardless of your victory type. Geneva seems fantastic, Hattusa can really help you out if you miss a key strategic resource, Seoul's isn't bad, not spectacular (very luck based). Stockholm could mean 5-10 extra great person points per turn for a dedicated culture (edit: any district) player.

    1. Zanzibar: Receive Cinnamon and Clove luxuries that provide +6 amenities.
    2. Amsterdam: Your trade routes to foreign cities gain +1 gold for each luxury resource at their destination.
    3. Jakarta: Your trading posts in foreign cities provide +1 gold to trading routes passing through.
    4. (just very situational) Lisbon: Trader units are immune to being plundered on water tiles.

    Thoughts: On island maps, I could see Lisbon being very good. However, I haven't played enough to know how smart the AI is with plundering on water tiles. England and Lisbon would be very good together.
    I think Amsterdam is objectively better than Jakarta. Most cities have one luxury resource, many capitals have two. With Jakarta theoretically you could stack a bunch of +1 bonuses if you keep sending traders further and further away. And Zanzibar seems the strongest to me, unless you have amenities already dealt with. Could mean you could skip a couple entertainment complexes.

    Tier lists:
    In general:
    1. Scientific and Trade city-states get my envoys the most, and are useful in all situations.
    2. Cultural: culture isn't useless in games where you aren't going for that kind of victory. Not a priority for me though.
    3. Military and Religious. Good if you are going for those kinds of victories, but you can ignore if not. Maybe not Carthage, but I generally only build 1-2 encampments per 5-10 cities if I'm not going for a domination victory.

    If this is useful or interesting at all, maybe later I'll try a giant tier list of all 24 city states.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
    Sun Tzu Wu and Victoria like this.
  2. elitetroops

    elitetroops Deity

    Dec 23, 2012
    Great thread! :)

    Stockholm gives 1 extra great person point for ALL districts. +1 Great Scientist for Campus, +1 Great Engineer for Industrial Zone and so on. For the Theater Square it provides +1 Writer, Artist and Musician points just for having the district, no buildings needed. This is massive and it's in my opinion tied with Geneva, if not even alone at the top. In the early game, before the early wars are done, Geneva doesn't give anything while Stockholm can earn you several great people. Bonus Great General points from Encampment can also be very useful for domination victories, while Geneva would hardly help you at all in those games.

    In my opinion Hong Kong is definitely one tier above Brussels. It could even be better than Toronto. Problem with Toronto is that most of the time you cannot rely on always keeping their bonus, therefore you have to place your districts for best 6 tile coverage, which might not be optimal for 9 tile radius. Especially if I find Toronto late, I might find that the +3 tile radius doesn't add up to much. Hong Kong bonus applies to all district projects, including space projects, which in the late stages of the game can mean +20% production in all cities. The bonus also applies to chops and great people putting production into space projects. +20% on Carl Sagan is quite a lot. In addition you get Carl Sagan faster thanks to the Hong Kong boost. In a Culture Victory it boosts Theater projects for Great Artists/Musicians/Writers. There are also some very powerful lategame merchants and a scientist that boost tourism. In a domination victory I might find myself building lots of Encampment projects, or Commerce Hub projects to generate gold and buy units on the front line. I'm still not sure if I'd rate it above Toronto, but I wouldn't say Toronto is obviously the best either.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
  3. Gtdead

    Gtdead Chieftain

    Oct 31, 2016
    My favorites are geneva, kabul and toronto. Toronto is obvious, efficient IZs are game winners. It usually doesn't make much difference in my production powerhouse cities, but it really helps the satellite cities. Geneva allows me to hit better timings for key techs, kabul allows me to make better use of my superior units when I get there. Getting promotions fast really help when conquering cities due to healing. Also it helps siege units reach expert crew much faster.
  4. Onii-chan

    Onii-chan King

    Nov 7, 2016
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Stockholm provides +1 GPP for all districts, merely that theater squares get triple benefits since they affect writers, artists and musicians. So it's way more powerful than you make it out to be. Honestly I think Stockholm is the best CS in the game overall, the only one I could argue being stronger is Toronto but that one isn't always necessary depending on your city placement. Stockholm however is huge every single time regardless of your strategy since it affects all great people. Like let's say you have a fairly wide empire with 7 campuses, 8 commerce hubs, 3 theater squares and 3 encampments for example. Then that's a free +7 scientist points, +8 merchant points, +3 writer points, +3 artist points, +3 musician points, and +3 general points. That can almost double your output of all of them

    Some of them are also situationally amazing. I had a game recently where I had Kumasi to myself for almost the entire game. I was playing Kongo so I had a tall capital with many districts in it. As a result I was getting about +7 culture per trade route in like the medieval era. That's absolutely ridiculous; like it literally doubled my culture output all on its own

    Also Yerevan means pretty much insta-win for religious victory if you're actually going for one (and have enough faith to keep pumping out units). Being able to stack debaters, translators and proselytizers is incredibly OP in single player
  5. Lord Yanaek

    Lord Yanaek Emperor

    Aug 15, 2003
    OK. I'll add my view on them. First i want to say that i think conquering a CS to get an early city is a waste unless they are really in your way (no space to expand at all or they are exactly where you need a city for Factories overlap). Then i will consider early game and late game

    Early game. This is 1 envoy to get the capital boost. If you meet them first, it's perfect. If you don't Mysticism can give you 1 early envoy before you can start accumulating points. Whether or not you want to actually detour by Mysticism is up to you, i haven't really calculated numbers. It probably depends from game to game. I will also try to get a quest done if possible.
    1. Cultural City State is my favorite early. +2 culture early is huge to get you to Political Philosophy fast. Even if it's not much, it will also help you get Feudalism slightly faster.
    2. Military. It might be unexpected but +2 on those early units like Scouts, Slingers, Builders and Settlers makes a difference. Best found early for the free envoy though, not sure i would burn a Mysticism envoy unless i'm production starved.
    3. Scientific. Same as culture but you get more science from population and i've never felt the pressure to get Apprenticeship super early unlike Political Philosophy because you need Builders for those mines while a new government is just big help for free.
    4. Religious/Commercial. Free pantheon if you meet them first, but i won't use the Mysticism envoy on them unless playing Religion (i would rather run God-King). Commercial early is also good if i get a free envoy but i rarely have gold issues early with those maintenance-free units and few buildings.
    5. Industrial. Will get you early Districts slightly faster in your capital but unless you go for an early Holy Site you will grow a bit before you build them so it won't help as much as the early +2 for units.
    Middle and Late game. Multiple envoys to get the per-district bonus.
    1. Victory-related CS. This means Scientific and Industrial for Science, Cultural for Tourism and Religious for Religious. You'll probably have many of your victory related district so those CS will give you big bonuses that push you towards your victory. I won't add Militaristic for Domination as #1 because i'm not sure even a Domination player will run tons of Encampment but they will obviously be better for them.
    2. Commercial/Scientific/Industria. Gold is always useful and you'll have lots of Trade Hubs even if you don't spam them so +4(+8 with 6 envoys) will definitely help you. Science will also help you for almost every victory (Religious is the exception) so +4 even on 2-3 campuses will be useful. As i consider Industrial a victory related CS for science victory this means when not going science. Culture doesn't need as many production as science. It won't help you produce units (but will help you get the buildings faster). For Religious Victory it might fall even further down the list as you hardly need any district apart from Holy Site.
    3. Religious. Obviously if you have some holy sites, even if you don't go for Religious victory, more faith is nice. It means more GP, more Naturalists or more Apostles to defend you if you need to.
    4. Militaristic. Maybe with the exception of Domination Victory they are really not terribly useful.
    Suzerain bonus. Rather than, try to rank each one, i'll make tiers.

    Tier 1. I will actively fight for Suzerainty, at least if they fit my target VC. Will get 12 envoys if i have to.
    • Toronto for reasons already explained.
    • Geneva if i think i can stay peaceful.
    • Carthage because if i go domination, having Trade Routes with encampments is great.
    • Yerevan because it triples your Apostles str when going for Religious Victory
    Tier 2. I will try to be Suzerain if i can do it while gaining normal benefits. I might get a 7th envoy, maybe, but won't go much further
    • Hong Kong but maybe i underestimate it
    • Stockholm because it will help me get Great Scientists and Engineers.
    • Kabul if i go military, double XP for a number of battles is good to take. Will get those OP promotions faster.
    • Zanzibar 2 luxuries that provides +6 amenities is great, but not to the point of burning all my envoys.
    Tier 3. Situationally useful. I might try to get suzerain or not at all depending on various conditions. I might even put more envoys than i would on a Tier2 CS, but rarely.
    • Mohenjo-Daro. Because sometimes fresh water or even aqueduct is not an option
    • la Venta. Because i might not have the faith output i want. If i want to use it i'll probably try to time suzerain status with 2 serfdom builders, put those big heads where i want them, and then forget about it.
    • Valetta. Opposite from la Venta, if i have too much faith, it will turbo-charge my new cities. Again i'll probably stop adding envoys at some point.
    • Nan Madol. If i have a lot of coast.
    • Kandy. If i go for religion or culture and i can find it before i discover too many wonders those relics can be quite powerful.
    • Hattusa. If i realize there's a resource i totally miss and need the bonus can save a military campain
    • Lisbon. If i play on islands and there are plenty of barbarians and i really want external TR (probably for tourism victory) then it can be very valuable
    Tier 4. Well, if i end up being suzerain while gaining the normal benefits i won't complain
    • Kumasi. I rarely send trade routes to CS and need culture at the same time
    • Vilinus. 1 free random inspiration doesn't look like a lot
    • Brussels. Wonder what?
    • Buenos Aires. 1 Amenity, really?
    • Preslav. Why not?
    • Jerusalem. I've never seen cities flip religion because of passive pressure, but i guess it will help stabilize it at least
    • Seoul. See Vilnius
    • Amsterdam. Foreign cities takes a lot from the attractiveness of the bonus.
    • Jakarta. Far worse than Amsterdam but i don't have a Tier 5

    jollywonk likes this.
  6. Soffacet

    Soffacet Warlord

    Aug 21, 2013
    As others have pointed out, Stockholm is +1 GPP to all districts. The tooltip just lists Theatre/Writers as an example. This is an incredible bonus. Possibly better than Geneva (+15% science), depending on the circumstances. It certainly is more consistent in that it cannot be negated by war.

    I know everyone is obsessed with Toronto but it's not necessarily that great. I find that the range increase rarely makes a difference because a lot of the time my IZs are already hitting the neighboring city centers. The total amount of hammers added is not as large as people seem to think, in most situations.

    I really want Carthage to be great but I can never seem to get it to work properly. Even with the trade slot incentive I just rarely have time to make Encampments instead of CH, IZ, or Campus. And the AIs always seem to contest this CS, and randomly/temporarily losing trade slots in incredibly annoying. I think you have to be Germany to really make this shine.

    Vilnius/Seoul are useless. Randomness is distasteful and I don't like that the bonus doesn't help you at all except in very discrete moments.

    I think Kumasi is extremely strong, it just completely changes what you need to do with your routes. I know, I know, internal routes are normally better. But +2 culture per district in the source city is completely nuts. There is a long period of turns in which the food from internal routes is not very helpful due to housing limitations, and the hammers are becoming less and less significant compared to what you get from tiles and infrastructure.
  7. Tamir Lenk

    Tamir Lenk Chieftain

    Mar 12, 2014
    Valletta may be my favorite. I usually push for faith/religion, but no matter what, they have the only means to instantly create walls. This can be huge for aggressive, early expansion.
  8. trojan13

    trojan13 Chieftain

    Jan 12, 2013
    I am very surprised at Stockholm gives +1 to all gp. I never tested it by myself, and I thought it's waste if not going culture victory(the least type vic I usually picked). Thank you all for great information!
  9. trojan13

    trojan13 Chieftain

    Jan 12, 2013
    I agreed most comments above.

    Encampment is there to pump out generals by project until late game. So envoy bonus of +2 production toward unit doesn't matter in mid game until nationalism/mobilization when you directly build army at city with encampment. +4 at envoy 6 is still small in that stage. I admit that domination doesn't take that long in SP, but I've seen several MP games last til the late games(beyond corps). Scientific, commercial, and Kumasi is the strong choice in domination game. Better unit, more gold to upgrade/buy, and faster corps/army than rival are important. Don't need to bother with promotion if you can field +20 or more cs units faster.
  10. Ottoman player

    Ottoman player Chieftain

    Sep 18, 2012
    Toledo Oregon
    Thanks for the replies so far. I edited the OP to reflect on Stockholm giving GPP for every district; which is pretty amazing, and will become an envoy target for me in most if not all games. Next time I'm playing a game where it makes sense to become the suzerian of Hong Kong for projects I'll give it a try. Seems like I'm underrating those district projects.
  11. Mr. Shadows

    Mr. Shadows Nomad of the time streams

    Jul 6, 2015
    Incheon, R.O.K.
    Situationally Hattusa can be huge, especially early in the game when you're still expanding and revealing resources. All the science civs can be great though. Carthage is lovely if you can lock it down. Mohenjo Daro really helps with expansion early on, just make sure you own it because you don't want to have several cities suddenly undergo a housing crisis. Valletta is great if you don't have a religion. You accumulate a lot of faith no matter what you do, and Valletta gives you a good way to spend it. I'm sure it's still good if you do have a religion, although depending on what you want you might have better things to spend your faith on. Toronto is nice, but I think it's over-rated. I think I'm more in favor of getting minor bonuses from a lot of them than I am in completely controlling as many of them as I can. That's situational of course, but I tend to collect immediate (and reliable) lesser bonuses rather than pursue an expensive Suzerain status. I wish I had a better understanding of how envoys are earned though. I know it's tied to government in some cases but mostly it's a mystery to me. I have more in some games than in others but I don't know why. If I did I'd be a lot more willing to build a strategy around being suzerain of a particular CS.
  12. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

    Apr 11, 2011
    Great thread, needed doing. The religious ones are hard to judge... . Kandy is very situational but can be OP. Jerusalem if got early also can save a few missionaries. It certainly will convert Atheist cities well and the way I am guess pressure works currently it makes you so much harder to stop.
    For La Venta would you really Suze it?.... and is building those heads that much value unless going for tourism... and even then its not a lot of bang for your buck. It is consistent though. I am not arguing to change them... just saying Yerevan is a clear winner all round by a country mile. The other 3, from what I have played I would snap at a Kandy game if it was close and I was happy for a scout rush game. Otherwise I would probably take Jerusalem and not bother converting the cities around it unless contested because they will convert.
  13. FaerunPlayer

    FaerunPlayer Chieftain

    Dec 20, 2014

    Attached Files:

  14. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

    Apr 11, 2011
  15. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

    Aug 5, 2012
    Rural Vermont
    Moderator Action: Please let the dead rest in peace. Given how much the game has changed from patch to patch, there's too much risk of misinformation being provided in necro'd threads. Thread closed.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page