Improving Building Choices


Feb 7, 2015
In Civ VI, most districts have a fixed sequence of buildings to be constructed while progressing through the tech tree. A handful, however, have mutually exclusive options at one of the building tiers. I think this mechanic is heavily underused and could be expanded to create more interesting city management dynamics. Below is my draft of what such a system could look like. In choosing building bonuses, I tried to keep the following objectives in mind:

1.) Create new opportunities for city specialization. A number of district and buildings have multiple functions (ex. city defense and military production in encampments). Building choices should allow a player to double down on one of these functions at the expense of the other on a city by city basis.

2.) Provide additional reasons to care about terrain and resources. Adjacency bonuses are a really interesting piece of city planning in Civ VI, but they’re mostly limited to the initial placement of districts. Buildings with additional terrain and resource bonuses should provide incentives to choose between competing buildings and opportunities for advanced players to plan ahead.

3.) Allow players to avoid wasted duplication of bonuses. As regional effects don’t stack (with the exception of Magnus’ Vertical Integration promotion) and a single city can produce only one trade route capacity (without wonders) bonuses from markets, lighthouses, factories, zoos etc. often end up being wasted. Allowing alternatives to these buildings means that players have more choices about whether and how to avoid this duplication.

4.) Reduce flat yields and automatic great person points. Currently, the main way for a player to increase science or a similar yield is simply to build and fill more of the appropriate district. While this should certainly be one piece of the solution, putting those districts in the right places and developing their cities and surroundings appropriately should play a much larger role. Similarly, great person races should depend more on active choices rather than being largely automated based on building counts. In these descriptions, I’ve been very aggressive about editing out flat yields and great person points, but if I’ve gone a bit to far it would be easy to add some of these back in without changing any new/unique features.

Holy Site
Tier 1: Shrine
+2 Faith, +1 GPP
Reliquary Provides one Relic slot

Tier 2: Temple +4 Faith; +2 GPP; allows the purchase of Apostles etc.
Festival Grounds- doubles pantheon bonuses in this city

Tier 3: Worship Buildings

At Tier 1, the shrine remains the obvious early game option for a player aiming to found a religion, while the reliquary (which could unlock a bit later) aims to support players pursuing religious tourism. At Tier 2, the Temple continues the focus on founding and developing a religion while the Festival Grounds is more appealing in cities benefiting heavily from a Pantheon belief (especially for players who aren’t interested in developing a religion but want to build holy sites for follower beliefs and to earn faith for great people, national parks etc.). Tier 3 retains the current worship building mechanism, which already provides plenty of options (though a few of these could use balance tweaks).

Tier 1: Apothecary
+1 Food from cocoa, coffee and tea; +1 Science from honey, spices and tobacco; +1 GSP if this increases the yield of 3 or more tiles
School of Mathematics +1 Science; +1 GSP; Siege units produced in this city start with 1 free promotion
Library +1 Culture and +1 Science from international trade routes arriving in this city

Tier 2: University +33% science from population in this city, +1 GSP, and +1 GPP (of the appropriate type) in each adjacent district
Observatory +2 science from adjacent mountains; -2 science from adjacent districts and city centers

Tier 3: Research Lab +2 Science from Uranium, Mercury and Aluminum; +8 Science if powered (requires 4 power)
Public School +33% science from population in this city, +33% additional science from population if powered (requires 2 power)

At Tier 1, little direct science is available, but this can be altered through resource availability or cultural exchange, the buildings have substantial ancillary benefits. At Tiers 2 and 3, the university and public school are appealing options, doubling science from population and enhancing great person production in adjacent districts, while the observatory and research lab instead depend on terrain, resources and power availability.

Theater Square
Tier 1: Amphitheatre
+2 culture, +1 GWP; 2 Great Writing Slots
Promenade +2 culture and +2 tourism for each adjacent wonder
Forum +4 culture

Tier 2: Art Museum +2 GAP, +2 culture and +1 GAP from dyes and marble, 3 Great Artwork Slots (provide minor culture and major tourism)
Archaeological Museum +4 culture from archaeology and shipwreck sites, 3 Artifact slots (provide major culture and minor tourism); allows production of archaeologists
Natural History Museum +2 science from quarries and amber, 3 fossil slots (provide science and tourism); allows production of paleontologists

Tier 3: Broadcast Center +2 culture (6 tile regional bonus); When powered, this regional bonus also provides +1 amenity; +25% tourism to all civs with at least 1 city within 6 tiles of a powered broadcast center
Concert Hall +4 Culture; +2GMP; 2 Great Music Slots

Here, early options provide choices about whether to pursue culture as a path through the civics tree or towards the goal of a culture victory. The Promenade and Broadcast Center provide additional tourism options that aren’t directly tied to great work generation, and the Natural History museum supports hybrid strategies between scientific and cultural paths.

Commercial Hub
Tier 1: Market
Trade routes arriving in this city provide the sending and receiving city +1 gold for each luxury resource present in one city but not the other
Caravansary +1 Trade route capacity; this city automatically acts as a trading post for all trade routes, +1 gold for foreign trade routes passing through this city

Tier 2: Bank +4 gold, receive 500 gold when constructed
Mint +4 gold from silver and copper

Tier 3: Stock Exchange +2 Gold; +6 Gold when powered; +2 GMP
Commodity Exchange Bonus resources in this city provide gold equal to the number of that resource present (that is, 3 wheat resources in the same city would produce +3 gold each, for a total of +9 gold).
Currency Exchange +2 gold to each player for international trade routes originating or arriving in this city. Civs sharing such a trade route generate +25% tourism towards one another

The Tier 1 commercial options both focus on trade routes, but do so in different ways, with the market most attractive in large cities with diverse resources and the caravansary preferable at convenient waystations. At Tier 2, I considered a loan mechanism for the Bank but realized an upfront gold payment would be a much simpler way of generating a similar gameplay dynamic.

Tier 1: Lighthouse
+ 1 Trade Route; This city automatically acts as a trade post for all trade routes; + 1 GAP
Fisher’s Docks +1 Food from coastal tiles; +1 production from coastal resources; +2 Housing

Tier 2: Drydocks provides production equal to this district’s adjacency bonus; +50% production towards naval units
Shipping Docks trade routes arriving in this city provide +1 production to both cities

Tier 3: Seaport +2 gold from coastal tiles; +2 gold from coastal resources; +2 Housing
Cruise Port +2 gold and +2 tourism for seaside resorts in this city, doubled if powered.
Naval Port increased fleet and armada production; +1GAP; Naval Units produced in this city start with a free promotion

This is one of the districts I’m less confident about. My goal was to separate out bonuses to allow players to choose between focusing on coastal tiles, trade, and naval production, but those choices seem potentially painful in a lot of cases, and outside the Cruise Port, I don’t have as many ideas about bonuses to add as for many of the other districts.

Industrial Zone
Tier 1: Workshop
+6 production towards civilian units
Architect’s Guild +4 production towards buildings and wonders; +1 GPP
Smithy +6 production towards military units

Tier 2: Factory +3 production (regional effect), additional +3 when powered
Depot +3 production from domestic trade routes arriving at this city, additional +3 if the sending city is connected by rail or water
Foundry +2 production from iron, coal and oil

Tier 3: Coal Power Plant
Oil Power Plant
Nuclear Power Plant

At Tier 1, players can specialize cities for expansion, internal development, or military production. At tier 2, having options other than the factory makes overlapping regional effects easier to avoid. The depot essentially allows the use of trade routes to extend a factory-like effect to new cities that may be out of range, and the foundry doubles down on local production in cities with rich strategic resource deposits. Tier 3 already has three well differentiated options thanks to gathering storm (though the oil plant could perhaps be made a bit more effective.

Entertainment Complex
Tier 1: Arena
+1 amenity; +1 additional amenity for each adjacent horse; +25% experience for land units trained in this city
Gardens specialists in adjacent districts require half the usual amenities
Fair Grounds farm and pasture workers within two tiles require half the usual amenities

Tier 2: Zoo +1 science from rainforests and marshes; +1 amenity if you have an unimproved ivory resource in your empire; +1 amenity if you have an unimproved fur resource in your empire. These bonuses increase to +2 if the unimproved resource is in this city.
Circus +2 amenities (regional effect)

Tier 3: Stadium +2 amenities (regional effect, increased to +3 if powered); +25% experience gain for units trained in this city.
Cinema +2 amenities; +4 culture; +4 tourism (all doubled if powered)
Amusement Park +1 amenity for every 6 population; +1 amenity for every 4 population instead if powered

At tier 1, the arena (now boosted by horses remains the baseline building), while the gardens and fair grounds allow specialization of amenity consumption for specialist-based or agricultural cities. At Tier 2 the zoo benefits from rainforest, wetland and wildlife conservation, while the circus gains the regional effect (representing their travelling nature). At Tier 3, the stadium continues on the regional effect path, while the amusement park benefits a single, highly populated city and the cinema supports a hybrid amenity/tourism focus.

Tier 1: Barracks
+1 production from adjacent mines, +50% experience gain for melee and anticav units trained in this city
Stable +1 production from adjacent pastures, +50% experience for heavy and light cavalry units trained in this city
Firing Range +2 production, +50% experience for ranged class units trained in this city

Tier 2: Drill Field Land units produced by this city start with a free promotion; +1GPP
Armory +5 combat strength and +5 ranged strength for this city and any friendly units within its borders

Tier 3: Military Academy All units produced by this city start with a free promotion; +2 GPP
Recruiting Center Increased corps and army production; this city gains bonus production equal to its population when building land units
Bunker +20 city defense against bombers and artillery; population loss and wall damage from nukes reduced by 50%

Tier 1 retains the barracks/stable choice but adds mine and pasture adjacency effects to create city specific incentives and splits out a firing range option for ranged units. At tiers 2 and 3, players can choose to emphasize the encampments military production bonuses or its defensive ones, and tier 3 further differentiates the military production choice into a quantity focus and a quality focus.

Aerodrome standard adjacency (gold) for city center and commercial hub districts; minor adjacency for flat tiles; -1 appeal on adjacent tiles; +100% production towards air units
Tier 2: Communications Airfield +1 gold to both cities for trade routes arriving in this city; +1 access level and +25% alliance growth with civs with a city within 6 tiles of a communications airfield
Training Airfield Air units trained in this city gain a free promotion

Tier 3: Air Base Air units trained in this city gain a free promotion. Air units based in this district gain +5 combat and ranged combat strength. This district has hit points and combat strength as a city center or encampment but does not gain walls or ranged attacks.
Conference Center provides a major adjacency bonus and +1 GPP per level of your strongest alliance to adjacent districts.
Hotel Complex +100% tourism from culture generating tiles in this city

This is the one district where I couldn’t resist changing my district itself. My thinking is that aircraft should be available at twice the current cost in any city, or at the current cost in a city with an aerodrome. For the buildings themselves, I split bonuses for combat aircraft from communication and tourism bonuses. I’d also be tempted to add oil costs to some of the advanced building to emphasize non-military factors in the climate system, but that’s probably beyond the scope of this discussion.

What are your thoughts on such a system of competing buildings? Are there additional options's you'd add? Opportunities I missed to include resource bonuses? Any ideas about the Water Park or Neighborhood? I'd be very interested to see more ideas or discussion on this topic.
I really love this idea and would like to see it implemented. The linear progression of building a district and then filling it with buildings in sequential order never felt interesting to me. There's basically no decision to be made. You already built the district because you want the yields it gives. Putting more buildings into the district = more of those yields.

However, I'm afraid that the complexity of such a system means it would only be implemented in Civ VII at the earliest :sad:
This is similar to my Civ 7 ideas doc I'm working on. I honestly would love this in civ 6. However, I don't expect to bc civ 6 is almost done. (unfortunetly)
I like the idea of variation but I'm not sure I would want every building to have one.
Anyways here are some of my ideas that I have talked about and others I have just thought of:
1. Campus- split the Research Lab into Biological Research Lab focused on granting science from rainforest or reefs adjacency bonuses or Geological Research Lab granting science from mountains and geothermal fissures adjacency bonuses.
2. Theater Square- Make the Opera House mutually exclusive with the Broadcast Center. Give the Opera House two Music slots and one Writing slot. Keep the one music slot in the Broadcast center but make their tourism output based on rock band performances.
3. Commercial Hub- Make a caravansary mutually exclusive with the Market. The caravansary only provides +2 trade route capacity. The markets stays the same.
4. Harbor-Split Sea Port into Naval Sea Port and Cruise Sea Port similar to the OP ideas.
5. Entertainment Complex-Make a circus mutually exclusive to the zoo. Bread and Circus projects and amenities extend to cities 3 more tiles away and also provides some tourism.
6. Water Park- Amusement Park mutually exclusive with Aquatics Center? Same as circus.
7. Aerodrome- add International Terminal tier 3 building which grants tourism or Military Airfield which grants more air slot capacity and production towards aircraft units.
8. Neighborhood- these buildings are mutually exclusive with the other two: Public School+ 0.5 science for population, Cinema +0.5 culture for population, Police Station stops spies from affecting this district and those adjacent, Fire Station prevents natural disasters affecting the district and those adjacent, Safe Bunker protects loss of population from disasters and nukes.
While I do think having options for most of the buildings would be a good idea, I agree that it's unlikely to happen in Civ VI. Still, whether you want a full array of options or just a handful of the best, floating more ideas certainly won't hurt.

1. Campus- split the Research Lab into Biological Research Lab focused on granting science from rainforest or reefs adjacency bonuses or Geological Research Lab granting science from mountains and geothermal fissures adjacency bonuses.

Splitting up the research lab would be a good idea if including the public school as a neighborhood building. These options seem like they'd work well gameplay-wise, but thematically it would feel a bit off for geology and field biology to be the only late game science options. As much as I care about these fields, they're a comparatively small piece of modern science, and probably less applicable than other fields towards the game's rocket-launch-oriented goals. Perhaps keep these options but add a chemistry lab with resource bonuses and a physics lab with high power consumption?

I also like the ideas of tying the bread and circuses project to a circus building, and of tying rock bands to the broadcast center.

Also, geothermal vents have a lot of interesting biology as well as geology (extremophyles living there could be informative about the possibilities of extraterrestrial life, and they're the original source of the enzymes needed for CRISPR gene editing). Then again, there's also a lot of interesting biology in mountains (good examples of ecological gradients and of facilitation interactions). And in grasslands/plains (where vegetation communities are easiest to monitor and manipulate). And in lakes and streams (where predation interactions among microorganisms are similarly easy to monitor). And in temperate forests, and in deserts... But the game has to focus somewhere, and rainforests do make sense as the most diverse environments.
Perhaps keep these options but add a chemistry lab with resource bonuses and a physics lab with high power consumption?
Chemistry Lab and Physics Lab could work too though not necessarily for the adjacency bonuses to the Camus like I was originally thinking of.
Chemistry Research Lab- Extra science for every mineable resource in the city or improved oil resource.
Physics Research Lab- Extra science for every source of power in the city.

I'm not big into science but I decided to redo the others based off of what you mentioned.
Biology Research Lab- Extra science for adjacencies from rainforests, reefs, or geothermal fissures.
Geology Research Lab- Extra science for adjacent mountains and volcanic soil in the city.
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Excellent post. I would like to see the building more tied in to trade. I think your on the right track with Harbors having one military building and one trade. For the trade building rather then having a yield i would have their effect be +50% (or some number) to trade route yields.

For Industrial Zone there should also be some workshop alternatives that produce additional trade yields from resources. A flower mill adds +1 food to trade routes per wheat, a cannery +1 food per fish.

Commercial Hub - For bank and Stock Exchange rather then a specific yield have a %increase in the cities gold yield.

The power building should be split out into a different district and have the third tier IZ buildings be an areospace factory - prerequisite for Jet Fighter and Jet Bomber, heavy equipment factory - prerequisite for the other information era units, or automated factory with big bonus for power.
Yup, some excellent ideas here. Keep them up ^__^
To fix the campus conundrum they could have three paths to a science victory. (I have a whole doc coming out on Civ 7)
Maybe these three:
Astronomical: The current victory
Virtual: Something to do with creating a matrix
Biological: Making your people advanced and higher beings through genetic modification.
I really like this idea. I find the decision making with government plazas to be a nice brain tickle. Or atleast it helps me feel I'm "building" my civilization as in many cases the choice is obvious. Doubt it will get implemented for Civ 6 at this point.
I just realized that they sort of do this with museums at the moment. You can have either an art museum or an archaeological museum, but not both in a city.
I just realized that they sort of do this with museums at the moment. You can have either an art museum or an archaeological museum, but not both in a city.
They have it too with the barracks/stable, coal/oil/nuclear power plant, shopping mall/food market and all the govt. plaza buildings.
I'm really glad I click the link of this thread from your signature. It's an interesting idea.

Do you want city states still benefit the buildings the way they used to do? Like if you have a tier 1 Campus building and 3 envoys at a science city state, then +2 science for that building. I feel like even in current game they are the main source of science (with 3 science city states libraries go from +2 science to +8 science). The building is only serving as the carrier of those bonus.
I'm really glad I click the link of this thread from your signature. It's an interesting idea.

Do you want city states still benefit the buildings the way they used to do? Like if you have a tier 1 Campus building and 3 envoys at a science city state, then +2 science for that building. I feel like even in current game they are the main source of science (with 3 science city states libraries go from +2 science to +8 science). The building is only serving as the carrier of those bonus.

Thanks, and welcome to the forum!

I think city states' 3 and 6 envoy bonuses should be changed, not specifically because of these building rework ideas, but because they favor a strategy of repeating the same district/buildings in as many cities as possible, at the expense of making more unique city planning decisions or balancing growth against expansion. I do think these bonuses should have some form of scaling to help retain their power, I just don't like the incentives created by tying them directly to counts of tier 1 and 2 buildings. Perhaps they could instead be linked to population or specialists or applied as an overall percentage bonus? I'm very interested to see the details of how these bonuses change with the Diplomatic Quarter/Ethiopia update.
I would like to see some more exclusive buildings too. They don't need to happen at all tiers either, I feel like rax vs stables is a meaningful choice, as is food market vs shopping mall. The variance in tier 3 holy site buildings is also quite interesting, and I find that I don't always make the same choices each game, either due to the choice already being taken or certain choice simply being more suitable for my circumstances.

The same can be said of the gov plaza buildings. I've built all of them at least once, and though I have some clear preferences, they are all useful enough while being diverse enough such that I would seriously consider which building to get at each tier.

For the record, I'm assuming the promo bonuses from the buildings you've listed won't stack with Victor's Embrasure?
For the record, I'm assuming the promo bonuses from the buildings you've listed won't stack with Victor's Embrasure?

I believe that's built into Victor's promotion. So, assuming no changes to governors, Victor would synergize well with armories, bunkers and recruiting centers, but not so well with drill fields or military academies.

I was aiming to allow units to start with up to two promotions with the appropriate buildings, though I may have accidentally made it three for siege units by forgetting to check the School of Mathematics against the encampment buildings (maybe the drill field should get a unit class restriction to fix that).
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