Civilization 6: How to use Nukes A Civilization 6 guide on how to research and acquire nuclear weaponry, how to use them in war, and how to deal with its repercussions.

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Civilization 6 Map Screen
Nukes in Civilization 6 are the most powerful weapons in the game, to nobody’s surprise. They instantly defeat any military units caught within the blast radius and set the health and walls of a city to zero. This enables players to merely walk their own units up to a city and take them without any resistance, provided the enemy has not sent in reinforcements from their nearby territory. If players are looking for a quick way to take out a rival civ and aren’t worried about the diplomatic repercussions for doing so, then look no further than the game’s nuclear weapons. They can be a little difficult to set up, so this guide aims to help new players, who might have picked up the game while it was free on the Epic Games Stores, make and use them.


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The first 2 steps to making nukes in Civilization 6 is to discover the uranium resource and then acquire it by mining it. After the player researches the Combined Arms technology, which civs focusing on science have an easier time doing, all sources of uranium will be revealed across the map. If the player has a deposit of it in their empire, they can simply build a mine over it to obtain it. There’s a fair chance that there isn’t any uranium available in player territory, so they ought to prepare for this. At this point in the game, the player should have explored a large portion of the map, so there will likely be a source of uranium somewhere the player has already discovered. To prepare for this, train a settler ahead of time so the new city can acquire the uranium sooner, and be sure to explore the map as much as possible. The polar regions tend to have uranium deposits, so don’t rule out locations just because they’re not as habitable.


Civilization 6 Mayan Map
Once uranium is acquired, there are 2 different types of nuclear weapons the player can build: the nuclear device and the thermonuclear device. They’re unlocked after completing the Manhattan Project and Operation Ivy project, respectively, in any city, which is, in turn, unlocked by researching the Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Fusion technologies, also respectfully. Once a civilization finishes these projects, a notification will appear informing the world that they have been completed. The two nukes function the same, but the thermonuclear device has a larger radius of effect, damaging everything within 2 tiles of impact instead of 1, and has 15 range instead of 12. It also requires more uranium to make and costs more gold per turn to maintain, so keep this in mind.


There are several methods of launching nukes at other players. Regardless of how players intend to use them, they must be first stored in a missile silo, which are improvements built on the map by military engineers. They are unlocked with the rocketry technology, so the player technically needs to research rocketry, combined arms, and nuclear fission to use nukes. Placing them near enemy territory will help line them up for a strike, but nukes can also be launched with nuclear submarines and from bomber-style planes, which have the same strike radius as the range. What method the player use alters depending on what they’ve researched and how close their target is, as submarines are best for attacking coastal players, and bombers can better target inland players. Aircraft carriers can extend the range of planes, but both require the aluminum and oil resources to make, so consider the extra costs required. All that’s left is to click the bomb and click the designated target.


A River in Gran Colombia in Civilization 6
After a nuclear weapon detonates, it completely destroys the area around it. All districts and improvements are pillaged, and all tiles suffer from fallout that deals heavy damage to units stationed in it. Everything destroyed cannot be repaired until the fallout is gone, which will take 10-20 turns to clear up depending on the device launched, or if a builder cleans the area. If a player plans to take a city, they should be aware their units will be damaged by the fallout. And, once the city is taken, it will take a while to rebuild everything that was destroyed. Not to mention, the population will drop like when a city is normally taken, so by the time the player does take it, there will be very few people left to work tiles. It’s an easy way to take a city, but dealing with the aftermath may prove to be difficult if the player isn’t properly prepared.


This aftermath also extends to diplomacy, as the other civilizations will be appropriately mad at the player for launching a nuclear device. Doing such a deed will net the player a hit in their reputation, making other civilizations unlikely to form alliances and trust the player. If the player has the Rise and Fall or Gathering Storm expansion, then launching a nuclear weapon will trigger a nuclear emergency. Designed as ‘checks and balances’, emergencies are meant to keep more powerful players in check by creating a competition. For nuclear emergencies, civilizations that choose to participate gain points by taking cities from the player who launched the nuke. This means that competing civilizations become completely justified in taking down and eliminating aggressive players, so those who use nuclear weapons ought to be on guard and have defensive units guarding their cities in the event of retaliation. If the player is beaten when the turn limit is up they suffer a permanent combat penalty when fighting those who took part in the emergency, making domination victories harder to win. If the player wins, the enemy civilization suffer loyalty drops, making the player easier to hold them when captured, and not rebel.


Nuclear weapons in Civilization 6 will only truly be used by those seeking domination victories in desperate need of a change in tide, or those who are role-playing as a super-villain. Peaceful civilizations only have a few highly situational needs for nukes due to the prerequisites and repercussions of using them. If an invading force is coming by ocean, then a nuke can be launched at them to take them out. This is provided a peaceful player has a nuke in storage to begin with, though.

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Sid Meier"s Civilization 6 is available for PC, Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and App Store.