Boosting Economy through Trade Routes, Districts, and Wonders
Civ 6 Trade Routes and Districts
Establishing Trade Routes can significantly boost your economy. There are two kinds: domestic routes which run between two of your cities, and international routes which connect to another civilization’s city or city-state.
The latter offer additional yield types like Gold and Culture, as well as a tourism bonus with the player that owns the destination city. Certain Wonders and the perks of various Civ leaders also increase the maximum number of Trade Routes you can have.
Trade routes are the circulatory system of your empire, pumping gold, food, and other resources to cities across your map. Domestic and international trade routes can boost your yields based on their destination city’s districts. Theater squares and holy sites provide +2 food, while commercial hubs and encampments boost production.
Each city has a maximum number of available trade routes, determined by its population and the Traders that live there. Adding more traders to a city increases its trade route capacity. Certain technologies, like Animal Husbandry and Sailing, increase your maximum number of trade routes, as do the perks of Wonders such as Venice or Petra.
Each domestic trade route produces a small amount of Faith and Culture, based on the Traders and city districts within the destination city. These can add up to a significant bonus during a Cultural or Religious victory, especially in competition for a Wonder where it could give you the edge.
When built, the Harbor provides a variety of economic bonuses. First, it grants +1 Trade Route capacity. Second, it allows inland cities to build naval units without the need for a coastal city. Third, it boosts Gold production by providing adjacency bonuses for every two adjacent districts (much like a Commercial Hub). And fourth, it gives the parent city the ability to begin Harbor Shipping, which converts Production into Gold and Great Admiral points.
Another bonus of the Harbor is that it extends sea trade routes by a tile. This is important since, before you get the Celestial Navigation technology, all your sea routes have to go through Shore tiles.
However, there’s an alternative to the Harbor available in Gathering Storm: England’s Royal Dockyard. While it’s not as powerful as a Harbor, it still makes an excellent option for sea exploration in civs with a lot of coastline. It also allows for faster ship construction and a more generous range of workable sea resources.
Districts in Civ 6 come in a variety of types and provide a wide array of benefits. They can be accessed through the Tech or Civics research trees and can boost certain kinds of production, such as food or gold. The following table provides an overview of the districts available and their corresponding benefits:
Some of these also unlock special projects that can boost output in a city, such as the Holy Site Prayers project for religion, or a Commercial Hub for production. These projects convert a small amount of production to the desired resource each turn and then award Great People points at the end, with the exception of the Theater Square which grants +1 Great Writers, Artists and Musicians per turn. Civilizations have unique variants for some of these districts, such as Brazil’s Street Carnival or England’s Royal Navy instead of a Theater Square. Districts can only be built in cities that have access to the resource they provide, though.
Wonders are special buildings that can only be built once in the game and bestow specific benefits which cannot be duplicated by any other building. They often have technology and/or resource prerequisites, but unlike normal buildings they confer benefits empire-wide rather than just at the city where built.
For example, the Colossus (built in a coastal city) unlocks an extra Trade Route slot, while Petra (built in a city on or adjacent to a desert tile) increases the production of all cities in your empire that have trade routes with it. These are huge advantages early on, and they can really pay off if you manage to get them first.
Another of the more desirable Wonders is the Library, which provides a massive boost to tourism-per-turn from other Civs with differing Religions (again, empire wide). You’ll want to get this one first if you can so that your civ has the best chance of winning any trade war it gets into.