Civ 6 Trading Cities and Amenities
Civ 6 players have a lot of options for maximizing their income. Some civs shine in trade and culture, others excel in military dominance or scientific research.
Besides increasing the number of routes by researching the civic Foreign Trade, certain wonders and city-state perks increase income from Traders (e.g. the Cothon for Phoenicia).
Trade routes are the lifeblood of your empire. They connect cities across long distances, both within your empire and with other civilizations. Each route runs for a set number of turns, during which the Trader earns Gold based on the districts and improvements in its destination city (plus some bonus if the sending civilization has the Trade Facilitator unique building).
In vanilla only, the Commercial Hub and Harbor buildings (and the Market and Lighthouse in Rise of the Fall) increase your empire’s Trading Capacity by one. In the expansions, the Commerce Center adds another and the Hanse unique building offers an additional two.
Domestic trade routes send Food and Production to the origin city, while Sea trade routes bring in GPT and Science based on the destinations’ districts and special improvements (again, plus some bonus if the sending civilization has the Facilitator building). Any Civilization at war with a player cancels its existing trade routes with that player, and their Traders get recalled to their home cities.
Trade Leagues are an important part of a civilization’s economy. They boost Gold, Food and Production yields by bringing in more trade posts as well as providing a diplomatic visibility bonus.
A civ can create a trade league by inviting other nations through the diplomacy interface. Only nations that have a single province can be invited to join the trade league and only those with an eligible government type can become leaders of it. Once the leader of a trade league gains another province they will change to a merchant republic and no longer be able to lead a trade league.
Many civs rush the Mercantilism civic as it is one of the best money makers in the game. It allows cities to be focused on generating more gold per turn instead of being divided between culture, food, science, and production. Additionally, it gives them a huge faith boost and provides envoys that count twice as much when sent to city-states with the same religion.
In Civ 6, Amenities are what keep your cities happy and healthy. They boost city growth and non-food yields by +1 each, and they are distributed automatically to the cities that need them most. Amenities can come from a few different sources, including Luxury Resources (which produce up to 4 amenities when improved) and Entertainment Complexes that can provide benefits not just to the city they’re built in but to adjacent cities as well. They can also be obtained through Wonders, Civics like the Alhambra and the Colosseum, or Social Policy cards such as Retainers and Liberalism.
Other ways to gain amenities include constructing the Foreign Trade civic (which adds one trade route to your empire) and Districts such as the Commercial Hub or Harbor, which increase Trading Capacity by a single point per improvement. Becoming Suzerain of certain city-states will also grant you Amenities on top of any benefits from their Wonders or districts.
When Civ 5 introduced a new happiness mechanic, they did it to force players to keep only a small number of cities in their empire at any given time. Rather than having individual city maintenance costs, the global happiness rating limits how many settlers can be produced in any given city.
This is actually a good idea, but it’s also maddening that the AI doesn’t play this way. They ignore happiness on higher difficulties, meaning that there’s no downside to mass city spamming.
Hojo Tokimune is easily the best leader in the game at this point, as their adjacency bonuses for districts, halved build time on theatre squares and holy sites, and combat bonus make them incredibly difficult to beat. Catherine de Medici is another good choice, with their unique builder ability and free spy early on. She gets great tourism and culture accumulation bonuses, and her personal loyalty bonus makes it easier to hold onto captured cities.