Version 1.0 This is a first run-through of a guide analyzing the Warmongering mechanic. At the moment, it is a bit bare bones but eventually I can pretty it up. Introduction In both Civilization V and Civilization VI, lots of players have complained about the Warmongering mechanic. Many of them simply don't understand the system or the many ways around it. So this is a guide that explains some of these concepts and shares many of the loopholes/exploits/workarounds to deal with Warmongering. What is Warmongering? Warmongering is a diplomatic penalty that is applied to all civilizations that you have met, including ones that have not yet met the third party you are at war with. Warmongering is accrued from certain actions that start, occur during, and end a war. Typically, the game will tell you when you will accrue a warmongering penalty. It will also give you a rough indication of how severe the penalty will be. That can range from: None, Light, Medium, Severe, and Egregious. Where Does Warmongering Come From? The main sources of Warmongering are: 1. Declaring a War 2. Conquering a City 3. Peace Treaty Concluding a War 4. Wiping Out a Civilization 1. Declaring a War When you declare a war, you will usually incur a warmonger penalty, but the game will typically let you know the relative severity of that penalty before you go through with it. (The exceptions are if you launch a surprise attack after being questioned about troop movements and with joint wars. In these cases, it is not obvious what the warmonger penalty will be). The two factors that influence the amount of Warmongering is the era you are in and the type of war. In the Ancient era, this is no warmongering penalty at all for declaring wars, conquering cities, keeping cities after the peace treaty, and wiping out a civilization. However, with each successive era, the warmongering penalty increases. This is based on what era *you* are in (not your opponent). If you are already in a war and you advance in eras, then future actions you take will use the increased warmonger rate of your new era. The type of war also affects the amount of warmongering you accrue as well as the warmonger amount of conquering cities. Surprise Wars accrue additional warmonger penalties. Formal Wars require you to first Denounce the target and to then wait at least 5 turns before declaring war. It has normal warmonger penalties. I have found that if an AI denounces you, you can often declare a Formal War immediately instead of needing to wait 5 turns. I haven't had much experience with Joint Wars but from what I have heard, it has smaller warmonger penalties than a Surprise War (I don't know how it compares to a Formal War), and doesn't require a Denouncement and waiting for 5 turns. However, it does require another Major Civilization willing to enter that joint war with you. You can also only have one Joint War going at a time. Once you research the Renaissance era civic Diplomatic Service, you get access to four Casus Belli - Declare Holy War, Declare Liberation War, Declare Reconquest War, and Declare Protectorate War. These allow you to wage limited wars and with reduced warmonger penalties. Like a Formal War, they first require a Denouncement status and waiting 5 turns. Declare Holy War requires that another AI converts one of your cities. The condition also seems to be satisfied if they spread your religion sufficiently that there is no longer a dominant religion in one of your cities (only the pantheon icon shows), if you initiate theological combat against their religious unit and you lose which causes one of your cities to convert or lose its dominant religion, and passive city pressure can sometimes trigger this if they have previously converted a city. With Holy Wars, the warmonger penalty for declaring and conquering cities is halved. Declare Liberation War, Declare Reconquest War, and Declare Protectorate War have limited war goals that involve reconquering or liberating specific cities. Declaring the war and achieving that objective (reconquest your own city or liberating certain cities) incurs no warmonger penalties. But doing things outside that scope, such as conquering other cities, will incur warmonger penalties. In the Industrial era, the Nationalism civic unlocks Declare Colonial War, which can only be used against a civilization that is at least two eras behind yours. Like the Holy War, it halves warmonger penalties. In the Modern era, the Mobilization civic unlocks Declare War of Territorial Expansion, which can be used if at least two of your cities are sufficiently close to at least two cities of your target. This war only reduces warmonger penalties by 25%. Please note that if you have too many units near an AI, it will sometimes question you about your troop movements. You can either promise them that they are simply passing through, declare war immediately, or ignore the request. If you declare war immediately, this counts as a Surprise War, even if you could normally declare war through a Casus Belli. If another civilization declares war on you, you do NOT incur a warmonger penalty (they do). However, certain actions during the war (such as conquering cities) can still increase your warmonger rate even though you were initially the target of the war. 2. Conquering a City When you are in a war, you can accrue additional warmongering penalties by conquering or razing cities. Like with declaring war, this amount is modified by the type of war that was declared and the era you are in. Unlike previous Civilization games, razing cities is particularly egregious and triples the warmonger penalty. One common misunderstanding is that many players believe since an AI declared war on them, that they should be able to take as many cities as they want from their aggressor. I do recall that there were periods when this was possible in Civ V, but that was eventually changed. In any case, with Civilization VI, once you start taking cities, it is no longer a purely defensive war and you will be considered a warmonger. In Civilization V, the warmongering formula changed several times throughout the patches. Eventually it settled on a formula the size of the map, the total number of cities in the world, and the number of cities the victim had. As a result, this tended to punish early game warmongering (when there were fewer cities). In Civilization VI, the game reverses this by encouraging early game warmongering (due to increasing penalties are you advance in eras). From what I have seen, the size of the map and number of cities no longer seem to impact the warmonger penalty. If you conquer an AI's city, you will incur a "-18 We occupy one of their cities" diplomatic penalty with that civilization. This does not stack if you occupy multiple cities. There is also a less -9 diplomatic penalty with civilizations that are friends or allies of your enemy. Furthermore, when you conquer a city, the immediate warmonger penalty that you receive is only the first step. This can either be enhanced or removed at the conclusion of the war. 3. Peace Treaty Concluding a War When you sign a peace treaty to conclude a war, you will incur additional warmonger penalties for each city that you conquered that you keep (even if it is Ceded to you) and you will get a refund of any warmonger penalties for cities that you return. I do not know if there are any caps or limitations on the refunds, and whether returning enough cities can completely cover (or exceed) the warmonger penalties for keeping conquered cities. In addition, if you keep any conquered cities, you will keep those -18 and -9 diplomatic penalties for occupying cities. 4. Eliminating a Civilization If you eliminate a civilization by taking out their last city, there is an additional warmongering penalty (on top of the penalty for taking that city). This tends to be pretty large. However, once the civilization is eliminated, the cities you conquered are no longer occupied. I don't know how the game handles warmonger penalties you would have otherwise accrued for keeping cities in a peace deal. It could be that wiping out a civilization results in less warmongering than concluding a peace deal and keeping everything you conquered. How To Deal With Warmongering? So now we come to the meat of this article - how to work around warmongering. There are many things you can do to minimize our warmongering penalties: 1. Map Settings 2. War During the Ancient/Classical Era 3. Postpone Era Advancement 4. Pace Your Warmongering 5. Let the AI Attack You 6. Use Casus Belli 7. Ignore Troop Movement Inquiries 8. Rethink Your War Goals and Actions 9. Take Unconquered Cities in a Peace Deal 10. Liberate Cities 11. Exploit a Liberation Chain 12. Use a Catspaw to Eliminate a Civilization 1. Map Settings Your initial map settings can actually have a surprising amount of influence on the amount of war that have. Smaller maps with more civilizations increase the speed of contact and the degree of conflict. Pangaea and Inland Sea are also good examples of this, since everything is connected. You will meet civilizations quicker, meaning you can war with them quicker before you advance in eras. Other civs are more likely to attack you since they have fewer expansion opportunities. But since you meet everyone sooner, if you war past the Classical era and accrue significant warmonger penalties, the AI's may hate you for a long time. Larger maps with fewer civilizations decrease the speed of contact and the degree of conflict. Island Plates (which is like the old Archipelago) also delays things since all the land masses are separated by water. It may take you awhile to find other civilizations to attack them. The downside is that you may advance in eras before you find other civilizations and eliminate them. The good news is that if you haven't met many other civilizations, then the warmongering penalty is limited to just the ones you have met (not the ones you haven't met yet). The game speed is another important factor. Longer games (Epic and Marathon) favor warmongering because your units get more turns before you advance in eras. As a result, you can conclude more wars before you advance in eras. Also, there are more turns for the Warmongering penalty to wear off normally. Along those lines, you have indirect factors like the age of the Earth and the humidity. Hills, mountains, forests, jungles, and marsh impede movement so they tend to slow down your conquest speed. You can do faster warmongering (and get fewer penalties) in an Old Dry game than in a New Wet game. The Continent map type is actually a special case. In these maps, half of the civilizations are on one land mass while the other half of the civilizations are on the other land mass. The two land masses are separated by water, usually ocean but occasionally just shallow water. I actually find these maps ideal for warmongering because you can completely eliminate all civs on your home land mass by the time of the Renaissance, so that when you meet all the civs on the new land mass, you're done with all your warmongering and don't have any penalties. 2. War During the Ancient/Classical Era There are NO warmonger penalties if you are in the Ancient era and they are only Light during the Classical era. So a common strategy is to do most of your warring in the Ancient/Classical eras (typically whoever your closest neighbors are) and then to minimize or stop your warrrng once you progress into the Medieval era. 3. Postpone Era Advancement Sometimes, I will artificially delay my era advancement (researching other techs and civics) so that I get the warmonger penalties of the lesser era. So I might delay researching Political Philosophy (Classical) or Apprenticeship (Medieval) so that I can first declare or finish up a war. 4. Pace Your Warmongering Warmongering decays over time. So instead of conquering ten cities at a time, you may be better off conquering just one at a time. I've found that a lot of my AI relationships can handle between 10 to 20 points of warmongering, so as long as I pace myself, I can still maintain good relationships with the other civilizations. 5. Let the AI Attack You If you let the AI attack you, you are saved the warmonger penalties of declaring war, though you may still get warmonger penalties if you conquer cities. To encourage the AI to attack you, you can either have a deceptively small army (but be ready to rush by units or upgrade them). You can also forward settle the AI with defenseless cities. I have found that in the early game (Ancient/Classical era), the AI is very opportunistic. They will eagerly attack you, even if their disposition is Friendly. This becomes less so as the eras pass. Also, AI's will frequently declare a Joint War against you. Typically what happens is that one of the AI's is the main aggressor and they will convince a Friendly AI to join the war against you. If you try reloading the game and do a bunch of trade deals to the AI's (trade GPT and luxuries for lump sum gold), you may find that the Joint War no longer happens if one of the two AI's has enough economic incentives. Typically this happens with only one of the AI's, who seems to be the instigator of the Joint War. 6. Use Casus Belli Once past the Ancient/Classical eras, I rarely use Surprise Wars. Instead, I rely on Formal Wars or even better, Holy/Colonial Wars to reduce the warmonger penalties. Denouncing and waiting a few turns isn't that big of a deal most of the time. 7. Ignore Troop Movement Inquiries If an AI asks about your troop movements, DO NOT choose the Declare War option. That counts as a Surprise War and results in significant warmongering. Instead, you are almost always better off Ignoring the request. That results in a minor diplomatic penalty for failing to make a diplomatic promise. But it allows you to declare the war on your terms. More importantly, you can use one of the Casus Belli for much smaller warmonger penalties. 8. Rethink Your War Goals and Actions A lot of players seem to think that even in a defensive war, the main goal should be to conquer their opponent's cities to stop them from attacking. That is definitely the wrong way of thinking. In Civilization VI, war can be very profitable, even without taking any cities. First off, the pillaging rewards are significant. Much more worthwhile than in Civilization V. In the early game, pillaging a single plantation can instantly grant you a Pantheon. In Marathon games, you can either wait 75 turns to gain 1 Faith a turn, or instantly get 75 Faith from a single pillage. (In standard speeds, that is 25 Faith). Similarly, pillaging camps will net you 50 Gold (150 on Marathon). In many of my wars, my priority is to pillage every single Faith and Gold yielding improvement. Pillaging districts is extremely damaging to the other civilization, mainly because right now it takes a ridiculous amount of production to repair a district. Oftentimes, it would be cheaper to build a completely new district than the repair a damaged one. So you can really cripple a civilization by pillaging all their districts. If your goal is to hamstring another civilization and you don't want to get warmonger penalties, you should be doing this instead of taking their cities. The yields to pillaging districts are the same as pillaging improvements, except that districts with buildings can be pillaged an extra time for each building. If you plan to keep a particular city, then do NOT pillage that city's districts. You can pillage the improvements but leave the districts untouched. Even the Encampments, if possible. Killing an enemy's units also doesn't incur warmonger penalties. It means they have fewer units to attack you with and nets you some XP. You can also cause war weariness. This works best if you pillage your opponent's tiles and you fight and kill their units in their own territory. The war weariness will make their cities unhappy and may even spawn rebels (though those can be a danger to you). Another possible war goal is to just eliminate the other civilization's religion. While you are at war, they won't get mad at you for converting their cities (or stealing their artifacts). However, this mainly results in a delayed reaction. If you later cause a religious incident that triggers a diplomatic message, everyone who previously had an issue will bring it up again. But if you never cause the incident (as in actively convert someone's city or win a theological combat that causes someone's city to change religion), then it is a non-issue. So the basic conclusion is that instead of taking all of your opponent's cities, you should rethink your war goals to focus on pillaging, killing units, and causing war weariness. Or if you are playing a religious game, your war goal could simply be eliminating the other player's religion. 9. Take Unconquered Cities in a Peace Deal If you do want a non-capital city from the AI, the best thing to do is to NOT conquer it and to receive it as part of the peace deal. This doesn't work with Gorgo due to her agenda and some AI's can be a bit recalcitrant in peace deals. But the interesting thing is that getting a non-occupied city in a peace deal does NOT incur warmongering penalties and does NOT result in the -18/-9 occupied city diplomacy penalties. This is most useful if the AI forward settled you and there is this annoying 1 population city on your borders that should rightfully be yours. Alternatively, if the AI has a good, non-capital city with Wonders or luxuries, you might be able to get in peacefully. 10. Liberate Cities Liberating cities results in a "severe reduction" in warmonger penalties. Practically speaking, it seems to reduce your warmongering penalty by about 15 to 20. If you liberate a city state, you get 3 envoys (the CS' envoy slate is wiped clean so you are the only one with influence and with 3 envoys). If you liberate a major civilization's city, you get a permanent, non-stackable "+20 We liberated one of their cities" diplomatic bonus with them. You also receive a non-stackable "+5 We liberated a city" diplomatic bonus with most other civilizations you have met. There does seem to be a geographical factor such that sometimes you don't get the bonus with civilizations that are far away from the liberated city. But you do even get the bonus from your current opponent (who you liberated the city from). If you liberate multiple cities, the +20 and +5 don't stack with themselves, but you can get both the +20 and the +5 if you liberate that civilization's city as well as another civilization's city. Also, another important thing is that if you liberate a civilization's city, the +20 bonus *replaces* the -18 We occupy one of their cities penalty. 11. Exploit a Liberation Chain In Civilization V, you got a humongous diplomatic bonus from a civ for bringing them back from the dead, and major bonuses for liberating 3 additional cities from them. What I would often do is war with a civilization, take all but one of their cities, reduce the final city down to 0 HP, and then encourage another major civilization or city state to finish them off. I would then restore that civilization back from the dead (possibly giving a crappy conquered city of that civilization to a third party so I can bring them back). In Civilization VI, there is no major benefit from bringing a civilization back from extinction, but there are still benefits to liberating cities. Not only does it give you +5 with everyone else, but it reduces your warmonger penalty, and essentially gives you a net of +38 with that civilization (by removing the -18 penalty and replacing that with a +20). So typically, my friendly, diplomatic Domination strategy is this: 1. In a typical war, my war goals are to conquer the capital and *maybe* another city that has Wonders or is a Holy City. Also during the war, I may try to convert all of the civilization's cities since he won't complain while we are at war. So I am only getting warmonger penalties for conquering one or two cities. My secondary goals are to reap as much gold and faith as possible by pillaging improvements, and to hamstring my opponent by pillaging all of the opponent's remaining districts. 2. During the peace deal, I get the AI to cede their capital (and any other Wonder cities). I also get them to cede to me one or two crappy cities. Doesn't matter where or how big. At the moment, this civilization hates me. 3. Now I move on to my next target. Before declaring war (but possibly after the denouncement), I give the civilization the one or two crappy cities I previously took. When I declare war, I get a warmonger penalty but I immediately try to liberate one of those cities to reduce my warmonger penalty. Ideally, I will be liberating two cities. One after I declare war and the second after I take the new target's capital. By liberating the cities, I also get my former opponent to really like me. Using this technique, I have been able to win Domination games while having all the AI's want to be friends with me (even though I previously took their capitals!). 12. Use a Catspaw to Eliminate a Civilization I haven't had to use this as much as I did in Civilization V, but if you really do want a civilization eliminated and don't want the warmonger penalties, the best approach is to whittle down its last city to 0 HP and let a city state or another major civilization deal the coup de grace.