How To Conquer A City In Civilization 6 (2023)

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  • Why Conquer?
  • Analyzing The Opposition's Defenses
  • Training The Right Units For The Job
  • Strategic Positioning
  • Conquering The City

Sid Meier's Civilization 6 is the continuation of Firaxis Games' long-running series of turn-based strategy video games. The objective is to evolve your civilization through the ages while hampering the growth of other civilizations.

RELATED: Civ 6: Tips To Dominate On Deity Difficulty

There are several different victory conditions, ranging from a religious victory to militaristic domination. Each victory type can be quite a challenge, and conquering every other nation is no exception. In this guide, we are going to take a look at how you can conquer a city, as well as the entire world.

Updated October 11, 2022 by Jacqueline Zalace: We've updated this guide with more information on how to conquer a city, as well as refreshed formatting so you can navigate a bit easier.


Why Conquer?

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Although Sid Meier's Civilization 6 offers several paths to victory, The conquest of rival cities remains a crucial part of a civilization's evolution to ensure territorial expansion and your civ's overall growth and prosperity.

In fact, methodically conquering each opposing civ's territory is a good way to run them out of the game altogether (on the lower difficulties at least) or stunt their societal growth so severely you'll achieve the conditions for every other type of victory by default.

This is why conquering cities in Sid Meier's Civilization 6 can be such a pivotal maneuver, but how do you accomplish such a feat? For starters, militant units are only able to traverse into a rival's territory when civs are at war with one another, either by declaring war on the other themselves or having their opponent target them in a declaration of war.

Once a formal war is declared both armies are free to cross borders at will. War in Civ 6 holds a "Capture the Flag" sort of objective; conquer enemy cities, whilst defending your home turf.

(Video) Civilzation 6 - How To Capture A City

In order to capture a city in Civ 6, you must first lay siege to the city center (the tile on which a Settler initially established the city) to formally occupy the territory. This breaks down into fairly simple phases: storming the city, laying siege to the city walls, and occupying the city center.

Analyzing The Opposition's Defenses

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Several factors determine a defending city's strength. Its base strength is equivalent to that of the civilization's strongest melee, while these other factors will determine how robust those defenses will grow.

  • Capital cities (the first city established by a civ) have an innately higher defense than other cities in a civ.
  • Cities erected on a hilltop offer additional defense value.
  • Specialty districts also contribute to a city's overall defense, making Districts vital targets for efficiently depleting a city's health. You can target Districts one of two ways:
    • By filling them with units that can draw benefits from occupying them.
    • Destroy districts along your way to the city center if it is a large territory with Districts placed out from the central hub.

It's also good strategic planning to place a city near or ideally between mountain ranges. Mountain tiles not only provide a water source and a wealth of adjacency bonuses for future districts but also serve as a natural defense against approaching hostile units.

The map's geography aside, perhaps the biggest hurdle in breaching a city's defenses has become laying siege to its border walls. This preliminary line of security has been reinforced in Civ 6 compared to previous installations of the Civilization series.

(Video) Civ 6 - FASTEST WAY TO TAKE A CITY *with Tutorial*

Training The Right Units For The Job

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Since the fortification of city walls in Civilization 6, the use of siege machinery has become imperative. Walls offer defending cities built-in ranged damage, which can steadily thin out conquering troops.

In the early eras of Civ 6, conquering armies will utilize Battering Rams and Siege Towers to breach city walls.

Battering Rams shatter a city's wall defenses, but keep in mind that this archaic siege weapon is only a viable tactic against Ancient Walls.

Conquerers will need to advance their siege technology before attempting to breach the walls of cities in later eras. Siege Towers allow melee troops to surpass the wall defenses and get a head start on depleting the city's health.

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Siege equipment alone will not conquer a city. You'll need to comprise a balanced militant force of melee and ranged units to lead the charge. In the table below, you can check out some recommended units to conquer a city.


Why Use?

Knights and Cavalry

These units hit harder than foot soldiers, and their increased movement allows them to sweep across a continent more efficiently.

Gorgo's Hoplite

You can bolster each unit's strength by maneuvering them in pairs to gain their unit adjacency bonus.

Japanese Samurai

These are heavy hitters that can make quick work of city defenses given proper backup from the right support units.


Steadily chip away at a city's health from a distance while avoiding enemy counters.


These ranged vessels are great for capturing coastal cities.


These are great for blowing through a city's defenses while also staying out of the line of fire themselves by hanging a couple of tiles back — especially if you place foot soldiers around them for extra defense.

You can also increase the effectiveness of a specific unit in siege warfare by awarding them certain medals of honor for their previous victories. But remember, without siege equipment, the attacking army will likely perish before they can breach a well-fortified city's outer defenses. For reference, here are the general debuffs suffered by certain unit classes.

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  • Melee troops only hit walls with a fraction of their usual strength.
  • The power of ranged attacks is cut by roughly half the unit's typical damage.

Strategic Positioning

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Now that you have the right units, let's go over the positioning for your siege.

Move-in with siege equipment first, then melee units on the first circle of tiles surrounding the city center. Have archers and bombardments at the ready to move in behind the siege equipment one tile out from the city center.

Conquering armies should bear in mind the fact cities under siege will have to finance wall repairs throughout the battle; unlike a city's overall health, which will regenerate organically. Additionally, these repairs may only be made if the wall hasn't been attacked in at least three turns.

This prerequisite can benefit attacking units significantly, allowing them to balance siege efforts between assaulting the wall, clearing other local hostile troops, and additional tactical maneuvers.

Your melee units will likely need to heal at some point mid-siege, so the 3-turn leeway before repairs can commence allows those units the time to retreat in order to safely recover. This is also why it's important to leave these units a clear escape route, so their retreat doesn't affect other units positioning for the siege.

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Despite the advantage, fledgling armies especially should keep to the tactic of methodic advancement from city to city, swarming one city center at a time. That is until you have built up a large enough militant force to lay siege to multiple cities simultaneously. Keep in mind you'll also need to guard the home front, as such aggressive tactics are sure to make enemies of your neighboring civ leaders.

(Video) Civ 6 - Cities under Siege - Civilization 6 Tutorial

Conquering The City

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Once through the city walls, the core objective is to continue depleting the city's health and maneuver melee troops to the city's core.

The melee unit must physically occupy the city center after fully depleting the city's health in order to conquer a city officially.

Ranged units, along with siege equipment and bombardment machinery, can only aid in inflicting damage to the city and its defenses.

Once formally occupied by one of your melee units, the city borders will take on your civ's national colors, and you'll be presented with the option to either keep or raze the city. Razing will dissolve the city borders and demolish all buildings within the territory while claiming the city as your own maintains the border and all tiles within fall under your domain.

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City-states you are a Suzerain of will often go to war for you whether you levy their military or not. However, you must levy them in order to have direct control over the units. If an unlevied city-state unit destroys a rival city center without units from your civ aiding in the battle, the rival territory will simply be wiped from the map and you will not be able to claim the land as your own without first resettling the area.

As civilizations advance through the ages, siege equipment evolves, and new armaments are invented for both defense and offense. But despite technological advancements, conquering tactics remain the same: Build a large and well-balanced army, breach the city walls and occupy the city center.

(Video) Taking City-States | Civilization VI #13

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