Power creep & leader abilities


Doomsday Machine
Jun 6, 2004
Zagreb, Croatia
It's no secret by now that Civilization 6 maps can be(come) a rich place. Volanoes, forest fires, natural wonders, monopolies... Take your pick. Put the disaster level to 3 and off it goes. Add mid-game trade routes into the mix (most powerful yields by far) and yields explode.

My question, or perhaps a comment is this: why are the devs being so sheepish about leader abilities? Or, better to say, why don't they all focus on scaling, rather than flat bonuses? +1 science per trade route? +100 gold per sacked camp? Hm... why?

Wouldn't it be far more interesting if leader abilities were scaling with map and game progression?

Devs have done it before – in heroes. Sinbad, Hercules, Himiko... Take for example Sinbad. 400 gold per natural wonder, continent, cleared barb camp or when damaging enemy ship. 8 charges for a total of possible yield of 3200 gold. Can you grab that amount? Well, it depends. If you are ahead in exploration, yields from continents or natural wonders might be a miss. Camps might be rare, your best bet might be chasing barbarian fleets camping those islands. But... you can plan for Sinbad. Hold back on exploration, leave that isolated coastal barb camp protected. He might very well fund those universities, if space is your goal. Hercules might be handy twice – once for early districts & warfare, later for spaceports. Better save up those 850 faith points! And himiko works however you want – either top up several city states, or grab that single one that everyone wants. She's flexible, really flexible.

There's a reason why I prefer nations that have abilities that helpfully scale. Trajan is a perfect example. Effective +2 culture per founded city that rewards early expansion. Legions that can chop themselves out. New roads built with every city added to the empire. Wilhelmina: +2 adjacency for every new district added to the empire. Hojo – similar to Wilhelmina. The idea here is that many of these abilities scale by doing stuff you would otherwise do anyway. Attacking someone not in a golden age, while I'm not in a golden age... is a very... very specific scenario. I understand it's flavor, but...

There are numerous examples of leaders with scaling abilities. And these are by far the most interesting, at least in my opinion. I hope devs add some more. Still a few leaders to go :)


Oct 21, 2013
I'm a little confused at what you are calling scaling because both an example you give (Trajan's monument) and a counter example (+1 science per trade route) seem like exactly the same type of bonus to me. More cities means more free monuments and more trade routes mean more free science.

FYI if you are referring to Tokugawa's LUA with the +1 science - it's actually +1 science per district per trade route, so it goes stronger the more districts you build and more trade routes you have, so very scaling.


Jun 8, 2019
Some abilities could scale better. Caesar's 100 Gold per Barbarian Camp is a good example of poor scaling. You could easily add an extra +100 per era. I think Wilhelmina's culture from international trade routes is another example of poor scaling. You could add +1/+2 culture per Trading Post that route goes through.

But not everything needs to scale. There are design's which revolve around giving a Civ or Leader an early boost. It would be contrary to such a design to then keep the ability equally powerful throughout all eras.
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