Districts as a Blank Canvases


Oct 24, 2003
Hello all. Just wanted to see what the community thought of this idea of mine.

The Idea:

Take away the uniqueness of districts and treat them as blank canvases with buildings and wonders taking over the primary function of producing yields, great person points, and adjacency bonuses.

As you read the idea, please understand that numerous additional changes would probably be required to make it functional, such as updated graphics, UI, additional buildings and balancing.

Before I present my ideas, I think it is best to lay out the functions of districts, buildings and wonders as they presently are.

1. Districts are unique in Name, Bonuses, and Buildings and are unlocked at different techs and civics.

2. A city can build additional districts once it reaches certain population thresholds (every three citizens)

3. A city can only build each district type once and, therefore, each building type once

4. The devs organized Districts artistically to have a centerpiece and room for 3-4 buildings surrounding the centerpiece. Wonders and certain Districts take up a whole hex.

5. Citizens do not need to work districts and buildings for them to produce their respective great person points and yields.

6. Districts and Buildings can be pillaged, but never removed unless a city is razed.

7. The cost of Districts increases as the number of districts in your empire and other empires increases.

8. Buildings never increase in cost and their yields and bonuses never change over time.

The Details of my Idea:

1. Districts are no longer unique. A player can now only build a general “District.” The District does not produce yields or bonuses. It is not restricted in placement save that it must be within the constructing city’s borders (this includes water tiles). It covers up the underlying tile features (forests removed, tile yields removed, etc). Luxury and Strategic resources are still available when a city builds a District over them. Districts become available immediately following the founding of a player’s first city (no tech or civic required). Buildings and Wonders still become available through progression of the tech and civic trees.

2. There are no restrictions to the number of Districts a city can produce. A city does not need to meet any thresholds prior to building a new District.

3. A city can build any building in a District (example: a city can build a workshop and a library in the same district). Buildings do not have prerequisites with the exception of techs and civics (example: you can build a university in a district without first building a library.). A city can build any number of unique buildings within a District (example: you can build four libraries in one district).

4. Cities can only construct Buildings and Wonders in a District. Five “Plots” exist in each District correlating with the District Art; a center plot and four exterior plots. A city can only build a “City Center Building” in the center plot (examples of possible city center buildings: palace, courthouse, park, city square, castle and monument). A city can subsequently build any other non-city center building type in the other four plots.

Buildings and Wonders have size restrictions. Buildings and Wonders that are size 1 use one plot, size 2, two plots, and so forth. Some Buildings and Wonders are size 5, which take up the entire hex and do not require a city center building prior to construction.

5. So as to promote tall play and keep district spam down, districts and buildings do not produce yields and great person points unless a citizen works the district tile. Districts left unworked for long periods of time automatically become pillaged and, if left unworked even longer, destroyed.

6. Enemy units can pillage and, subsequently, destroy Districts, Buildings and Wonders. When an enemy raises a city, the enemy destroys all of the city’s Districts, Buildings and Wonders. A player can destroy any of its own Districts, Buildings or Wonders using gold.

7. The cost of districts never increases.

8. Buildings now discontinue when a better version of the same building becomes available (example: currently, libraries become available in the ancient era and never change in yield throughout play through. Now they become available in the Ancient (Ancient Library available at writing), Renaissance (Renaissance Library available at Printing Press), and Modern eras (Modern Library available at Computers). Each new version will have additional yields and bonuses compared to its discontinued predecessor. For instance, the ancient library has the current games yields and bonuses. The Renaissance library has an increased science and great person yield. The Modern library has an increase in yield and number of great writings it can hold).

Buildings do not obsolete and some can earn tourism if never destroyed. (example: A player has built numerous ancient libraries. Once Renaissance libraries are available, the ancient libraries still produce their original yields (are not made obsolete) and now a small amount of tourism. They do not automatically become Renaissance libraries. When Modern libraries become available, the ancient libraries produce their original yields and yet more tourism. A player will have to make the decision of what is better, holding onto older buildings to rake in tourism or destroy them to make room for higher yielding modern buildings).
Nice idea - districts are too specialised at the moment and which doesn't really reflect reality much. I mean, I don't really see specific cultural, entertainment, commercial, academy, holy site districts as such in a typical modern city I'm familiar with, though there are usually zones set aside for industrial, shipping etc activities.

I also don't like wasting an entire tile to build something like an entertainment district when I want to build something to help with amenities.

I'd actually rather the next iteration of civ have one city centre which grows organically over time as the population increases and more stuff gets built. Cities should also be specifically built on the coast to gain access to a harbour and ability to build ships (not using a harbour district which removes the strategic importance of placing a coastal city).
I am not a fan of a super balanced game and I'll prefer more fun elements even if it make balancing slightly harder but some of the stuffs you have said will be nightmare to balance for the developers, assuming it is even possible.
But I did dig the main concept of getting rid of specialized district.
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