Civilization 6 Queen Wilhelmina

Civilization 6 (Switch) First Steps Beginners Guide

We all need a little help sometimes when we are playing our games. As you know, I always have a CIV game going at my fingertips. But Yvonne recently took it up again after a long while, and really struggled to find her footing again. And after answering a long list of questions from her, I thought I’d add to the Civilization 6 guides we have already written on LadiesGamers, find the entire collection here!

In this First Steps Beginners Guide, I’m taking it back to basics: how to complete your first few moves in the game in 9 steps. After all, if you get your first game going, you don’t want to read through multiple instructions! And then, if you are looking for further details about some of the information in this particular guide you can refer to our previous Civilization 6 guides via the link above. 

Age of Exploration

The theme of Civilization 6 is the Age of Exploration, that in its self should give you a clue as to what is required of you when playing the game. But that’s not to say that when the game starts you can wander off into the fog of war, you have a few things that require your attention first.

Civilization 6 First Steps guide. LadiesGamers
Launched a rocket

First off, you need to decide what sort of win you’re chasing, culture, science and so on because there are a few different ways to win a game in Civilization. In a normal game, there are six ways to achieve victory: Domination, Religion, ScienceCultural, Diplomacy, and Score.

Diplomacy is the only victory condition not included in the base game (it comes from Gathering Storm expansion).

1. Pick your Victory

Science Victory

To win a Science victory, you need to Launch a satellite, land a human on the moon and back and establish a Martian colony.

Religious Victory

To win a Religious victory, your religion must be the main religion for every single civilization in the game. Religion spreads naturally from cities that are strong in a particular religion, but to achieve victory, you’ll need to find ways to produce more faith in cities by sending out missionaries. Religion is predominant if it is followed by more than 50% of the cities in a civilization.

Culture Victory

For a Cultural victory, your civilization must attract visiting tourists by generating high amounts of culture and tourism. A victory is achieved when you attract more visiting tourists to your civilization than any other civilization has domestic tourists at home.

Civilization 6 First Steps LadiesGamers

Domination Victory

To achieve a domination victory, you must conquer the Capital of every other civilization. A strong military is highly recommended.

Score Victory

A score victory occurs when no other civilization has achieved any other victory by the end of the game. In this case, the civilization with the overall highest score will win. As a game lasts until the year 2050, or 500 turns on a standard game. A Score victory merely means that a player’s civilization survived to the end of the game, and perhaps outlasted other leaders.

Diplomacy Victory

Diplomacy victory is only available to players who have the the Gathering Storm expansion.  Diplomatic Victory is achieved by reaching a certain threshold of diplomatic victory points (20 on Standard speed). There are multiple ways to gain and lose diplomatic victory points. The first player to earn the requisite number of diplomatic victory points becomes the World Leader and wins the game.

2. Pick A Leader

Civilization 6 First Steps LadiesGamers


Each leader in civilization has a leader bonus as well as a hidden leader agenda. Some have a bonus for Science, Military, Religious and Culture.

When picking a leader you try to pick one who’s bonus are appropriate to the win you are aiming to achieve. Such as selecting Eleanor of Aquitaine (Gathering Storm Expansion) as her bonus Grand Tour gives you lots of cultural bonuses to help push you towards a Culture victory.

However, depending on how the gameplay proceeds, there are times when you have to deviate from your original victory plan. After all your not the only leader with a civilization that is looking to explore beyond the fog and conquer all! You can find more details on each civilization leader in our various previous guides:

CIV VI Beginners Guide 3 A Look at the Leaders

CIV VI Beginners Guide 4 Even More Leaders

CIV VI Beginners Guide 8 Expansion Rise and Fall Leaders (if you have the expansion)

CIV VI Beginners Guide 9 Expansion Gathering Fall Leaders (if you have the expansion)

CIV VI Beginners Guide 13 New Frontiers Pass Leaders (if you have the expansion pass)

3. Settle Your First City

Civilization 6 First Steps . LadiesGamers

First You Settle

After you have set up your game preferences (tips on how to set up your game can be found in our first beginners guide here) and picked a leader it’s time to get going. The screen will load with two units on the map. On average these two units will be a Settler and a Warrior, some leaders start with a different military unit or a scout but it’s still the same steps regardless of the military unit.

You want to settle your first city using the Settler you have as close to water like a river or coast as you can. All cities need access to freshwater, this is the single most important factor early on due to the boost to housing that it provides and the results give you scope to grow your city. As well as settling beside the water, you should be looking for a nice mix of nearby terrain. Mountains are particularly beneficial for capitalising on the adjacency bonuses of the Holy Site (religion) and Campus districts (science), as well as providing a good natural defence against would-be raiders.

Civilization 6 First Steps. LadiesGamers
City Founded

If you turn the hex Yield icons on in the settings (do that by pressing “-” on your Switch), yield icons will give you an idea of the food (green seed) or production (orange cog) and gold a hex will produce.

If the Settler is in a location where a city can be constructed, the Found City action button will appear. Click on the button and the Settler will disappear, to be replaced by the new city.

4. Manage Your First City

First Steps

Congratulations, you have just settled your first city in Civilization 6. Now you’re probably wondering what to do next. First off, before you start building your empire there are a few steps to take beforehand. One of the first things you should do is build a Scout.

Civilization 6 First Steps guide LadiesGamers

Once the scout is ready send them out in the world to discover Natural Wonders and other civilizations are in the area. You can do this by pressing the move arrow button on the menu of the scout. Alternatively, you can click on the cog (automatic) wheel in the scouts’ menu. On this setting, your scout will roam around on its own, instead of you having to move it every turn. You will need to keep an eye on your scout in this setting, so you know where they are on the map.

Civilization 6 First Steps guide LadiesGamers
Scout ready to roam

Your scout is good for finding Strategic resources and Luxury resources in addition to bonus resources in the nearby area, which you’ll want to acquire by founding additional cities. Keep a look out for Tribal villages which can give you serious bonuses ranging from Technologies to Gold. Watch out for Barbarians  depending on the difficulty level you have picked  they might be pretty easy to dispatch or could be a pain to deal with.

Barbarian scouts are themselves harmless but they will trigger a barbarian raid. As you continue to explore the nearby world around, you’ll run into City States as well as other civilisations and perhaps even nearby Natural Wonders. Your will find more details about City Sates in our previous Beginners Guide 5: Envoys and City States.

Meanwhile, the one military unit you started the game with you can send to scout around the map as well. By sending that unit around the hexes under the fog near your city you get the benefit of seeing the hexes around your city.  

Civilization 6 First Steps LadiesGamers
Warriors found a tribal village

5. Watch Out For Barbarians


Barbarians come from outposts which may appear randomly in any hex that cannot be seen by a unit. Each Barbarian unit belongs to its own home outpost. There are three types of Barbarian outposts: Naval, Cavalry, and Melee. A civilization will earn a  Gold reward for dispersing a Barbarian outpost as well as the benefit of stopping it from spawning more Barbarian units.

Civilization 6 First Steps LadiesGamers
Natural Wonder discovered

Barbarian outposts will first generate a Scout and send it out searching for targets. If you’re spotted by a Barbarian Scout, it will return to its outpost and begin building units for an invasion or raid on your city!

Watch out, because you’re going to be the next target. If you don’t move fast, you’ll soon see a party of Barbarians at your borders, ready to destroy or conquer your city. This is why it’s important to periodically sweep the countryside around your civilization, destroying outposts before they become a threat.

Alternatively, you can turn Barbarians off in the games options menu, this will mean there won’t be any Barbarians appearing in your game at all. The downside of that is you won’t receive any gold that is the reward for dispensing a Barbarian outpost!

Military Units.

After you have built your scout, it’s a good idea to give your citizens some protection. Either by building a few warrior melee units or slinger units which is a ranged unit.

6. Eureka Moment

Civilization 6 First Steps guide LadiesGamers
Eureka Moment

Trigger Eureka Moments

Eureka moments can occur through out the gameplay, you’ll have eureka moments from the start of the game. Sending a scout out to explore the map under the fog will allow your scout to find new natural wonders and tribal villages and thus trigger eureka moments.

Science and Culture eureka will allow you to unlock new Techs and Civics in order to grow your empire, all leading to new units, districts and Wonders for your empire. Specific in-game actions will trigger Eurekas, reducing the time needed to research some Techs and Civics. Settling a city on a coast will give you a boost for the Sailing technology, while defeating a unit with a Slinger will trigger the Eureka for Archer.

Civilization 6 First Steps. LadiesGamers
Science tech tree

7. Pick a Tech and Civic From the Tree

Next up is choosing a Technology to research from the science tech tree and civics tree.


Science Technologies represent new scientific advancements or inventions for your civilization. Each technology you research unlocks new buildings, units or other advancements, and expands the power of your nation.

Technologies are developed through a continuous research process, the key to which is the science stat. However, they can also be hurried through Eureka’s as I’ve mentioned above. On the tech tree certain Technologies are prerequisites for others, you can tell what technology is a prerequisite by the line tracking from tech to tech on the tree.

Your initial decision at the start of the game are between Pottery, Animal Husbandry, Sailing, Mining, and Astrology. I usually start with Pottery and go from there on the tech tree.

Civilization 6 First Steps LadiesGamers
Civics tree


Civics tree works the same way as the science tech tree. Acquired from culture, every civic will unlock new social policies, governments, buildings, districts, or wonders. Progressing through the civic tree is a powerful way to advance your civilization through time. Each individual civic may be boosted by fulfilling an Inspiration requirement, similar to the way eureka’s work in the technology tree.

Inspiration moments, also known as civic boosts, provide an immediate and significant boost towards your study of a civic. These boosts will be earned as you play the game naturally, and your actions will determine what sort of inspiration moments you encounter. For example, building a wonder boosts your progress towards Drama and Poetry, and building any district will boost your progress towards State Workforce. The civics tree lists boosts associated with each civic, but you may gain them from other sources such as Great People.  You can find more details about Great People in our previous Beginners Guide 6 Great Persons here.

Civilization 6 First Steps guide LadiesGamers
Pottery research completed

8. Set Up a Trade Route


The Trader unit is unlocked by researching Foreign Trade, in the civics tree and the trader is built in your city. Trader units are on a separate map layer, and do not interact with most normal things on a map. They can freely stack with any other units on the same hex, and they ignore cultural borders.

When a Trader is in a city you own, it can begin a trade route between your city and another city that is in range. As long as none of your trade routes is already going there and you have not reached your maximum number of trade routes. How many  trade routes you have are indicated by the white circle and numbers on the top tool bar.

As you trade, you can get gossip information, and from interaction gain more knowledge about other leaders, and your relationship with them grows healthy or chaotic. Trade routes also deliver food, gold, production and culture, giving you a lifeline between your people and allies, or simply moving your domestic goods around the map more easily. Especially if you’re going for a cultural victory, you’re going to want to send your traders to as many cities as possible.

Civilization 6 First Steps guide LadiesGamers
Trade Routes available

9. Make Friends or Enemies Using Diplomacy


Diplomacy is the art of making relations with other leaders in Civilization. You can accomplish a lot through diplomacy. You can gain allies and isolate your enemies. You can create defensive and offensive pacts. You can increase your technology through cooperative research ventures. You can end wars that are going badly for you! For more on diplomacy check out our diplomacy guide which covers it in more detail Beginners Guide 7 Diplomacy here.

Civilization 6 First Steps. LadiesGamers
Making a deal

With L you choose your offer to give, and don’t be shy to give Open Borders for a number of turns. Just press What would you give me? to see what your offer is worth. You might even get some gold or luxury goods! And improve your relationship too!

That’s all for our Civilization 6 First Steps Guide. Now it’s your turn to go and conquer the world in Civilization 6. Have fun!


  1. Oh my goodness. This guide is tempting me to get back into Civ 6. But I must resist. That game sucks ALL of my game time. A very addicting game for me, for sure. Great guide!

    1. Yes it’s very tempting isn’t it, Civilization has that power to hook you in for many one more turns! thanks for reading.

We love to hear from you!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.