How to Build Roads in Civilization VI

Everyone drives on paved roads today, but older civilizations also made use of roads for easy travel. The ancient Roman Empire built roads that are still usable today. Civilization VI, or Civ VI, reflects this historical accuracy in its gameplay.

How to Build Roads in Civilization VI

Roads are a type of tile improvement in the game, offering several advantages to your civilization. Although these roads can’t be built directly until later, they remain a crucial part of expansion regardless. Here, you’ll learn how to build roads and use them strategically.

Civilization VI: How to Build Roads

When you first start Civ VI, you’re in the year 4,000 BC. Naturally, there were no roads paved by humanity at that period, as no civilization had discovered the technology to do so. However, as time passes, your civilization will learn how to build roads.

The earliest roads are actually not made by Builders but Traders. They travel long distances to trade with other civilizations, and as a result, require some form of comfortable travel. To help with the journey, they will start looking for Trade Routes.

Trade Routes are lines through which Traders reach other civilizations or cities for commerce. The process of creating one goes like this:

  1. Buy or wait for a Trader unit.
  2. Select the Trader with your mouse.
  3. From the menu, select a destination for the Trader.
  4. The Trader will start establishing a road as he travels to one of your cities or another civilization.
  5. After he returns, you can put him to sleep until you need another route.

As you can see, the Trader builds roads passively as you ask him to travel to a new location. However, he must take a Trading Route by land, as it would be impossible to pave a road across the sea.

This method is the earliest and easiest way to build roads in Civ VI, though it’s not the only one. There’s another method that you can use after reaching the Medieval Era.

During the Medieval Era, you can unlock the Military Engineer. He requires an Armory and some Gold, but you can start building roads once you have at least one.

Every road a Military Engineer builds will consume a build charge. This limitation means that a Military Engineer can only create one route on a single tile at once. In the earlier stages, they only have two charges before you research Steam Power.

The Military Engineer’s road-building powers aren’t as beneficial before modern times. In these earlier stages, you should let your Traders build the roads instead.

Roads in Civ VI

When you get newer technology, the roads paved by Traders and Military Engineers will get upgraded automatically. However, the roads must be within your civilization. You have to research the relevant technologies after reaching the proper eras to upgrade your roads.

As for neutral roads, the civilization that uses it will upgrade them once a Trader pass through them. In effect, you’re making a Trader pave a new route over the old one.

If another civilization’s Trader uses one of your roads and has better road technology, he also upgrades your roads for free. If there isn’t a road, he makes a new one according to his civilization’s technological level.

Here are the four road types in Civ VI:

  • Ancient Roads, one MP cost, crossing rivers have a three MP cost
  • Classical Roads, one MP cost, add, bridges over rivers
  • Industrial Roads, 0.75 MP cost per tile
  • Modern Roads, costing only 0.5 MP per tile

With the Gathering Storm DLC, Military Engineers can upgrade any roads into Railroads after achieving Steam Power. You can upgrade one tile per turn, and the action costs one Iron and one Coal each. However, no build charges are consumed.

Even building a Railroad on land without prior roads won’t consume build charges. The lack of charge costs makes it viable to construct.

Road Strategy in Civ VI

The best time to build roads is now, as your Traders do it passively. You’ll need trade to grow anyway, and the Ancient Roads are the easiest ones to make. They’re a mere byproduct of commerce, and you can always create more by establishing more Trade Routes.

You can even plan ahead and use roads to attack another civilization. Without a road, your army will take longer to reach the target. Thus, you can use Traders as the first line of offense, albeit indirect.

Something you should keep in mind is that roads have no true allegiance to whoever created them. Enemy nations can easily take your roads to attack your capital city or one of the other cities of your civilization. The best way to slow them down is to pillage your own routes and slow them down.

In the late game, the world will be primarily civilized, making road creation almost unnecessary. The other civilizations will build their own roads, which everyone can use. All that’s left at this time is to maintain them and use them as you see fit.

All Roads Lead to Conflict

You can quickly start a conflict with paved roads in Civ VI, as troops will find heading to their destination much more manageable. Otherwise, your Traders will construct them as part of their journey to other locations. By the time you reach the Modern Era, the world will be covered with roads.

Do you use Traders as precursors to conflict in Civ VI? Do you use Military Engineers to build roads often? Tell us in the comments section below.

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