Civilization 6 Difficulty Explained

Civilization 6 Difficulty, Civ 6 Difficulty, Civ 6 Difficulty Explained, Civ 6 Difficulty Guide
The Giant Death Robot, (known for it's big, squishy hugs) is usually seen on the higher difficulties.

There are 8 difficulties in Civilization 6, can you beat "God Mode"?

Civilization has never been known for its simplicity; small intricacies and complexities are part of what makes the game fun and give it that “one more turn” addictive quality. 
But while playing the game is one thing, winning on a high difficulty can prove to be quite another. In this brief guide, I will break down the 8 difficulties from Settler to Deity, which do you prefer?


It's dangerous to go alone! Take this!

As the name implies, Settler difficulty, like the settler itself, is for those players at the beginning of their adventure. 
It’s a great difficulty for people just learning the game, or if you happen to be scared of your own shadow.
In any case, you would have to actively try to lose the game on this difficulty.

In a nutshell:

  • This is the lowest difficulty setting and is best suited for learning how the game works.

Settler Details:

  • AI gets a -1 to combat strength; the player receives +3
  • Player units receive +45% bonus XP as well as +15 bonus gold from barbarian camps
  • You receive the “Game Settler, Match” achievement for winning a game on this setting


Barbarians are likely to be your biggest threat on Chieftain

A difficulty the Maori would love, Chieftain is just a step above Settler.
A great difficulty for when you have a general understanding of the game, but still don’t want to take too many chances.
Playing on Chieftain is like playing with bumpers at the bowling alley, if you still lose, maybe the game just isn’t for you.

In a nutshell:

  • This is the second easiest difficulty with light advantages for new but confident players.  

Chieftain Details:

  • The AI gets a -1 to combat strength; the player receives +2 
  • Player units receive a +30% bonus to combat XP; barbarian camps give a bonus 10 gold.
  • Beating the game on Chieftain gets you the “Irish Heartbeat” achievement, a reference to Van Morrison/The Chieftains.


Warlord difficulty, despite its name, is typically pretty easy.

When I hear the word “Warlord” I typically think of ancient tribal leaders or a dictator with a massive inferiority complex. 
So you would think the aggressively-named difficulty would be tough, but you’d be wrong. 
The Warlord difficulty is skewed ever-so-slightly to the player’s advantage so you can be a warlord, just remember to play nice.

In a nutshell: 

  • Warlord has very light player bonuses and is best used when you aren’t quite ready for an even playing field. 

Warlord Details:

  • The AI and the player get a -1/+1 combat bonus, respectively.
  • The player receives a meager +15% combat XP bonus.
  • The player receives 5 bonus gold from barbarian encampments.


Be careful: the AI will start taking advantage of a player's mistakes

This is it; the training wheels are off, the bumpers are gone, it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy for the player. Whereas the prior 3 difficulties all give the player a bonus and the AI a penalty, the Prince difficulty does neither.
It is the default setting in Civ and gives neither the player nor the AI bonuses of any kind.

In a nutshell:

  • This default difficulty conveys no bonuses or penalties to the player or AI.

Prince Details:

  • Both the AI and the player start off with the exact same units: 1 settler and 1 warrior (in the ancient era). 
  • Barbarian camps provide 30 gold, which is the default amount.
  • Winning a game on Prince awards the acheivement "Machiavelli's Great Work", a nod to "The Prince", written by Niccolò Machiavelli.  


Keeping a standing army is important from here on out...

If Prince is the default setting, “King” is the obvious next choice in difficulty nomenclature. 
King is the first “real” challenge the AI will present for many players. 
From here on out, the AI will be at an advantage and while not too challenging, King gives the ever-present feel of the sword of Damocles looming over you.

In a nutshell:

  • King is the first difficulty type where the AI begins to receive bonuses to global, local, and combat yields. 
  • Play King if you know you could win on Prince, but you’re ready for the next challenge.

King Details:

  • AI combat units receive +1 strength, +10% XP, and the AI starts off with an extra warrior
  • The AI receives 8% bonus to science, culture, and faith; 20% bonus to production/gold
  • The AI receives 1 free tech/civic boosts, and a free builder with their first district
  • Beating this setting awards the "Divine Right of Kings" acheivement. 


Learning strategic district and wonder placement isn't just helpful, it's what will keep you alive!

While no doubt being an emperor has its perks, many an assassinated one could tell you it ain’t all wine and palm fronds. 
Emperor is roughly twice as hard as King and about 3 times tougher than Prince. 
With greater bonuses and extra starting units, The AIs can now pose a significant challenge, demanding more player consideration to policies, districts, and unit placement.

In a nutshell:

  • Somewhere right in the middle of tough and toughest, Emperor is the first real test of mettle for most players.

Emperor Details:

  • AI combat units receive +2 strength, +20% XP, and the AI starts off with 2 extra warriors.
  • The AI receives 16% bonus to science, culture, and faith, and 40% bonus to production/gold.
  • The AI gets 2 tech/civic boosts, 2 settlers, and 2 builders, the second one after the first district is built.
  • Beating this difficulty gets the "Emperor's New Groove" acheivement. (underrated movie, btw.)


Immortal you say? There can be only one!

The gloves are off. The penultimate “Immortal” pulls no punches in this civ-eat-civ world. 
With ever-increasing bonuses to yields, units, and military might, the AI can no longer be pushed around by your superior intellect. 
If you've made it this far, you can be confident in your Civ abilities...but...this isn't even its final form...

In a nutshell:

  • The AI receives significant bonuses and yields and is a capable challenge from turn 1.
  • This difficulty is only for the truly determined; it will put your skill, knowledge, and ingenuity to the test. No milk-drinkers!

Immortal Details:

  • AI combat units receive +3 strength, +30% XP, and the AI starts off with 3 extra warriors.
  • The AI receives 24% bonus to science, culture, and faith, and 60% bonus to production/gold.
  • The AI gets 3 tech/civic boosts, 2 settlers, and 2 builders, the second one after the first district is built.
  • Beating this difficulty unlocks the "12 Labors of Hercules" achievement.


The defeat screen is something you’ll be seeing often, but if you can win on Deity, you are Civ-certified “God-Like”.

Deity, as the name not-so-subtly implies, is the highest difficulty. 
Choose this difficulty if you’re masochistic, don’t like winning, or if you really like never being able to complete a wonder. 
The AI, receiving massive bonuses to almost every aspect of gameplay, make early-game survival alone a difficult prospect. 

In a nutshell:

  • With almost insurmountable bonuses the AI receives, Deity will make you question what you’re even doing with your life; only the strongest will achieve victory on this setting.

Deity Details:

  • All AI combat units receive +4 combat strength, and +40% XP.
  • The AI receives 32% bonus to science, culture, and faith, and a whopping 80% bonus to production/gold.
  • The AI starts off with 4 free tech/civic boosts, 3 settlers, 2 builders, and 5 warriors.
  • Beating this final setting unlocks the coveted "God-Like" title, so feel free to lord it over your friends!

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