Loyalty and Governors in Civilization 6's Rise and Fall expansion are two new mechanics that neatly tie together to make one of the most interesting new systems in the game.
You can find information on most of the Governors' various traits in-game, so here on this page we'll be explaining Governors and Loyalty as systems in general, as well as giving you tips for how to earn Governors, and how to raise Loyalty through other means, too.
A quick note: we've refreshed out Civ 6 guides for the game's launch on Nintendo Switch, but just be aware that they contain information regarding the Rise and Fall DLC as well as the base game, which means some things only apply if you have that DLC! Otherwise... crack on!
Civilization 6 Loyalty and Governors explained
Governors and Loyalty are technically separate systems, but they're closely linked, with certain Governors like the Diplomat having Loyalty-specific traits, and the use of Governors in general being an important part of maintaining city Loyalty.
With that in mind, we'll explain them both in this section, starting with Loyalty.
Loyalty in Civ 6 Rise and Fall explained
Loyalty works a lot like a combination of Religion and Amenities, with cities receiving "pressure" from others citizens nearby that are loyal to one Civ or another.
Each city you found or conquer will have a Loyalty score, visible under the city's name in-game when you're using the Loyalty lens or on the Loyalty section of the city details tab where you usually find things like Amenity and Housing details, too.
When a city's Loyalty score drops to its minimum, that city will revolt, turning it into a "Free City", which is basically a mini Civ of its own that's waiting to be conquered or converted to the loyalty of another. It'll spawn a couple of basic military units and boot any of yours out of its boarders if it does revolt, and then any Civ can conquer or convert it to their own without suffering any warmonger penalties.
To convert a Free City to your Civ you can do two things - increase Loyalty pressure on it from your Civ, until it swings into your control, or conquer it with military force. The AI normally sniffs out this opportunity to claim a city very quickly and gets straight to work on it, so you'll need to act fast.
So far, it's not been possible to really tear down the system and figure out exactly what the numbers are beneath it that affect a given city's Loyalty to you, but the most important point to know is that a city's loyalty is decided by subtracting the negative influencers from the positive.
There are all kinds of things that can influence it - we'll list those just below - but here's a quick example:
Say you found a city really close to another Civ and quite far from your nearest city, and then put a Governor in it (let's assume it's not the Diplomat one for now to keep it simple). It'll probably get the maximum pressure (a score of 20) from that other Civ's citizens, seeing as citizen Loyalty pressure seems to rack up very quickly. And it'll get the bonus from your Governor of 8 Loyalty towards your Civ.
That means if there are no other modifiers or things influencing that city's pressure, then its Loyalty score will be dropping by 12 points (20 minus 8) per turn. How long it takes to rebel will depend on how much Loyalty it had in the first place, but you can easily see the "turns until revolt" indicator by hovering over the Loyalty bar under the city name in the Loyalty view in-game.
Governors in Civ 6 explained
There are seven different Governors you can earn in Civ 6 Rise and Fall, each of them having a base trait that provides a kind of bonus, and up to five bonus traits that can be activated when they're promoted, in a similar fashion to military units. Here's a quick gallery of each of them:
The immediate benefit of Governors is that, when assigned to a certain city, they'll boost loyalty there by 8 points a turn, which is often enough to stop a city from sliding into revolt.
Each Governor takes five turns to set up in the city they're assigned to (other than Victor, the Castellan, who takes three), similarly to how a Spy takes time to get set up in a city you send them to. The effects of that Governor aren't felt until they're fully established.
You should think about Governors like you would Government Policies. They're there to boost specific things that you're trying to achive, and can be chopped and changed at any time (even more easily than Policies, if you're willing to wait a few turns for them to set up), meaning you should be flexible and constantly thinking about their best use.
As you get more experienced with them, you should start looking for combos to try and pull off. Establishing Magnus, the Steward in a city early on and promoting him to earn the trait that lets your city produce Settlers without losing a citizen, plus rushing the Early Empire civic, means you can rapidly pump out Settlers to quickly grab land nearby.
There are plenty of others - Reyna the Financier is an obvious one for boosting economic growth, but you can also bump her to different cities if you're doing really well on money in the late game, and use her presence to let you buy new Districts while your new cities focus on expanding. Amani the Diplomat, meanwhile, can be gradually moved from new city to new city as you expand, nullifying nearby Loyalty pressure from other Civs and increasing your own.
If your lust for Civilization 6 knowledge is still going strong, expansion owners should take a look at our Civ 6 Rise and Fall guide hub which takes you through the basics of everything new, whilst we have dedicated pages on Governors and Loyalty, along with how to earn Golden Ages, Era Points and Era Score through Historic Moments, and a full list of new Civs in Civ 6 Rise and Fall and other DLC. Otherwise, our Civilization 6 guide, tips and tricks covers the essentials before you master early game, mid-game and late-game strategies. We also have tips on the new Districts feature, a Leaders list with their Traits and Agendas, plus the best ways to get Gold, Science, and Faith, how to win by Religious Victory, and how to earn the elusive Science Victory and Military domination victory. Finally, here's the Culture Victory, Foreign Tourism, and Domestic Tourism explained in depth.
How to earn Governors and increase Loyalty in Civ 6
How to earn Governors in Civ 6 Rise and Fall
Earning Governors - or the option to promote them - is a fairly simple on in Rise and Fall. They're earned via progressing through the Civics tree, where you'll see specific Civics unlock another Governor or Governor promotion.
That means grinding out Culture if you want to earn them rapidly - early Monuments will help this in the early game, and Theatre Districts later on.
How to increase Loyalty in Civ 6 Rise and Fall
Unlike earning Governors, which is fairly one-dimensional, increasing Loyalty in your cities can be done in a range of different ways. Here's a list of what we've found to work so far:
- Other loyal cities nearby - the most obvious one, which will be making a difference right from the start of the game, is a given city's proximity to other cities loyal to your Civ. It's actually the citizens themselves that are loyal or disloyal - like Citizens are loyal to one Faith or another in religious terms - so the more citizens a city has that are loyal to it, the more Loyalty pressure it'll exert to others nearby. The range here is up to nine tiles between city centres, and it decreases a little with each tile.
- Governors - assigning a Governor to a city increases its loyalty by 8 points a turn.
- Amani, the Diplomat - a Loyalty- and City-State-focused Governor, Amani has two promotions in particular that come in handy for affecting loyalty. One increases the Loyalty pressure of your own cities nearby, and the other decreases the Loyalty pressure of rival cities nearby. If you're founding or conquering cities right by another Civ, keeping Amani in place and in range of those new cities will be crucial to stop them revolting.
- Occupation and Garrisons - Occupying a city - as in, conquering it and keeping it when the Civ you took it from is still in the game - will give you a negative amount of Loyalty per turn. That's offset by garrisoning military units there, which increase Loyalty by about 8 per turn.
- The Government District - This grants +8 Loyalty to the city it's built in, but as you can only build one and it's probably going to be in your capital, it's unlikely to have a huge impact outside of a defensive one.
- Amenities - Having a city with excess Amenities grants +3 Loyalty towards the Civ that owns that city, so keeping cities happy will come in handy!
- Government Policies and modifiers - Finally, there are different Government Policies that can affect Loyalty. One, Limitanei, earned from the Early Empire Civic, boosts it by two per turn if you have garrisoned units in that city, for instance, which is very handy during times of conquest. Praetorium is another, granting +2 Loyalty to cities with Governors, and is unlocked with the Recorded History Civic. Others, like Civil Prestige, meanwhile, boost Amenities considerably to cities with Governors, which makes a nice combo with the Governor boost to Loyalty and the boost from excess Amenities.