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Civ VI Title Screen | Image from 2K/Firaxis

Civilization 6 Difficulty Levels: Which Should You Play On? Answered

To get crushed or not to get crushed... that is the question!

Are you looking for a chill game of Civ, specifically to win an achievement for a victory type or leader? Or are you looking for an ultimately competitive, rage-inducing battle to the death?! The Civilization 6 difficulty levels add a great deal to your gameplay experience and this game’s phenomenal ability to let you customize it.

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Let’s take a look at the Civilization 6 difficulty levels and how to choose the right level for your gameplay experience.

List of Civilization 6 Difficulty Levels

The difficulty levels in Civ 6 are largely about the level of challenge the AI will present. Keep in mind, the AI aren’t the smartest, so this means some of them will simply come across as unreasonable. That’s not to say some world leaders aren’t like that in real life — but there seem to be a lot more of them around in a difficult Civ 6 game!

The AI aren’t exactly intelligent, but they can also pose disadvantages to you because they get bonuses according to difficulty level.

Prepare for the AI to be a jerk the higher level you go. Looking at you, Victoria! | Image by Firaxis Games

Here are the Civilization 6 difficulty levels from easiest to toughest.

  • Settler: This mode comes with tutorials. New players should start here to get a hang of the game.
  • Chieftain: This level is still considered easy mode, and the one most players choose for a “chill” Civ 6 game, or to experiment with a new leader or feature.
  • Warlord: Remember the old days, when Civ advisors used to say “lets go bonk some heads” and stuff? This is a good setting for that.
  • Prince (default setting): Prince is where things start to get challenging. You have to have a real grasp of how each part of the game works to win on Prince setting. I find that most of my peers regularly play on this level.
  • King: Ouch. Unless you are keen at managing resources, you will be outperformed by the AI in terms of production, and your bonus XP shrivels.
  • Emperor: This is where things start to get really wild. It begins to feel like a game of survival here, for most players.
  • Immortal: If you can last an entire age on this setting, I’m freaking impressed.
  • Deity: Everyone should try it once. It’s hilariously complicated, and most of the people who play on deity level regularly do it for the views on Twitch or YouTube. It’s HARD.

Achievements Regarding Civilization 6 Difficulty Levels

Each difficulty level has its own cleverly named achievement. They are:

  • Settler: Game, Settler Match
  • Chieftain: Irish Heartbeat
  • Warlord: Warlording Over Others
  • Prince: Machiavelli’s Great Work
  • King: The Divine Right of Kings
  • Emperor: Emperor’s New Groove
  • Immortal: 12 Labors of Hercules
  • Deity: God-Like

Factors Affecting Your Civilization 6 Difficulty Levels Choice

In addition to the achievement you’re looking for, there are some other factors that should affect which of the Civilization 6 difficulty levels you choose.

  • If you’re going for barbarian gold or want to play in Barbarian Clans Mode, understand that the amount of gold you get for clearing camps decreases as the difficulty level increases. It is 45 on Settler, 40 for Chieftain, 35 for Warlord, and 30 for Prince and up.
  • On the King level, AI get extra bonus settlers and another starting warrior, making your early game truly challenging when you get here. they also start banking combat XP that you don’t get, whereas on Settler you get a +3 combat bonus to start.
  • King level grants the AI all sorts of cool stuff like starting builders (once the get their first district), free civics boosts and tech, and more.
  • If you’re playing Gathering Storm, Deity and Immortal levels give ancient walls as starting items to all city states, making them hard to absorb or conquer early game.

Lastly, don’t forget to have fun. If challenging is fun for you, play something challenging. If not, there’s no shame in enjoying a breezy game that lets you experiment with new strategies and tactics. I tend to play easier games, but don’t find myself truly struggling until King level.

My personal recommendation is to play on Settler for specific achievements, but I usually play on Prince when I’m in multiplayer mode with friends, and don’t have a terrible time keeping up. Find your groove and get those achievements!


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