The best Civilization 6 mods

Civilization 6 modding tools and Steam Workshop support finally came along with the Australian Summer update, so there's lots of great modding to come. But the community got started well before the tools, and there's already lot out there, both on Workshop and not. These mods are our favorites released so far, with a focus on general graphics, gameplay, and UI tweaks over individual new civilizations, which you can find many of on the Workshop.

On top of that, you can do some tinkering of your own as Civilization 6’s XML files and Lua scripts sit uncompressed in the game directory—we’ve already assembled some tweaks and written about a simple way to modify Civ 6’s starting conditions here.

Installing Civilization 6 mods

With the addition of Steam Workshop support, installing many mods is easy: simply subscribe to the mod on Steam. Steam will automatically download the mod, which can be enabled or disabled from the 'Additional Content' menu. 

Mods that aren't on Workshop can be installed by creating a folder called ‘Mods’ in your Civilization 6 user directory: \Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization VI. 

Extract mods to your new Mods folder (with each mod in its own subfolder) and then enable them from the ‘Additional Content’ menu in-game. Some mods may have extra steps, which I’ll describe in their individual entries.

If you want to make changes to Civ 6’s files yourself, the simplest way is to make direct changes to the files in Civilization 6’s install directory (after backing up the originals, of course). First, find Civ 6’s install folder. If you don't know where it is, you can right-click on the game in your Steam library and select Properties > Local Files > Browse Local Files. The default install location is Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Sid Meier’s Civilization 6. Identify the file you want to mess with, save a copy, and go for it—just don’t forget what you’ve changed.

For help with the more elegant and shareable approach—a mod which can be installed in the Mods folder and toggled in the menu—check out Locke’s Russia Modding Example and Gedemon’s breakdown of the .modinfo file structure.

Yet Not Another Map Pack

Yet Not Another Map Pack is another map pack from well-known modder and bundler Gedemon. YNAMP for Civilization 6 includes Earth-shaped maps with the correct start locations for each culture. If you’re tired of playing a landlocked Norway, this is your chance to create a proper Viking empire. The pack also adds new, bigger map sizes (one of which is so big it might take five or so minutes to load).

You can either subscribe to YNAMP on Steam Workshop, or download it from Github. If you download it manually, extract the folder to \Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization VI\Mods and then enable it in the ‘Additional Content’ menu. When starting a game, you’ll have new map types and size options available. Head to the post on Civfanatics for more information on how to use YNAMP, as well as known bugs and issues.


CQUI is an interface overhaul which incorporates several other mods—including Better Trade Screen, which is later on this list—and it's a must have. You can see all of its features on its GitHub page, and subscribe on Steam Workshop.

Production Queue

Lozenged, thank you. I don't know why Civ 6 didn't have a production queue at launch, but I'm glad the problem is solved. This mod adds an attractive queue on the upper-left side of the production menu. Anything you click will be added to it, and the production order can be rearranged by dragging and dropping. Grab Production Queue here, unzip it into your mods folder, and select it under Additional Content as usual.

There's also a version on Steam Workshop. Unfortunately, Production Queue doesn't currently work with CQUI.

Improved Water Yields

I love building seaside cities, and whole civilizations on little islands, and so Improved Water Yields is one of my favorite simple tweaks. It leaves the base yield for water tiles alone, but adds significant bonuses, like +1 food to every water tile when you build a harbor and +1 food to sea resources when you build a lighthouse. It makes cities on tiny islands and canal cities—my two favorite kinds of city—much more viable.

Moar Units

Moar Units does just what author Deliverator’s title promises, adding nine general units and two unique units per civ. Originally, art from the base game was reused for the new units—Civ 6 launched without a modding toolkit—but the mod now features several new models, including T034 tanks and AH-64 Apaches. If you want to know how, Deliverator has written a guide to adding art assets

Subscribe to Moar Units on the Steam Workshop or download it here. To install it manually, copy the MOAR_Units folder to your Mods directory, and enable it in the Mods menu.

R.E.D. Modpack .2

Gedemon brings us a Civ 6 version of one of our favorite Civ 5 mods. The R.E.D. Modpack rescales units to make them a little more like miniatures, a little less like cartoon giants stomping over the hills. It's also on Steam Workshop along with versions that work with Moar Units.

Combat and Stacking Overhaul .1

Another from Gedemon, Combat and Stacking Overhaul is a boon to warmongers. It allows recon and ranged units to stack with melee units, reduces unit costs, reduces early warmonger penalties, and changes how strategic resources are used—rather than needing them to build units, they provide bonuses to those units.

Smoother Difficulty

Harder difficulties give AI civilizations extra units at the start to tilt the game in their direction—but while that does make Civ 6 harder, it can lead to early game stompings that aren’t much fun. If you’d rather the AI players not send an army to your door in the Ancient Era, but still get bonuses to Production, Gold, Science, and Culture so they can keep up with you, Smoother Difficulty makes that happen. Install it, as usual, by extracting it to a folder in your Mods directory.

PhotoKinetik (Westeros)

This is a ReShade preset that mutes Civ 6’s colors for a more Civ 5 look and adds heavy depth of field (which is togglable) for a tilt-shift effect. The DOF is pretty intense, so I disable it with NumPad 0, but I prefer the faded map look to Civ 6’s vibrant default.

Download PhotoKinetik (Westeros) here and follow the installation instructions provided in the overview. It took me a few tries to install it without making Civ 6 crash, so if you have trouble, here’s what my process looked like:

1. Extract either the 1080p or 4K version from the zip file.
2. Run ReShade Assistant.exe
3. Hit the + button at the top, above ‘Default.’
4. Navigate to and select the Civ 6 executable. You’ll find it in your Steam folder, in \steamapps\common\Sid Meier's Civilization VI\Base\Binaries\Win64Steam.
5. Select ‘d3d11’ and hit ‘Confirm’ at the bottom.
6. You should now have a profile called Sid_Meier’s_Civilization_VI selected.
7. Go to the Presets tab and confirm that CIVVIPK is selected. Save it.
8. Run Civilization 6 as you normally would. If it crashes, go back into ReShade Assistant, select Sid_Meier’s_Civilization_VI, and hit the - button to undo the change.
9. If it works, you’ll probably want to hit NumPad 0 to disable depth of field. It’s way too much for me.

Better Trade Screen

The 'Repeat Route' checkbox alone makes Better Trade Screen worth it, but it brings lots of improvements, such as new sorting options to the Trade Overview screen. It's one of those quality of life improvement UI mods we'll keep checked forever. It's on Steam Workshop.

Diplomatic Total 1.10

Wondering why everyone's mad at you? Diplomatic Total shows you the numerical status of your relationship with other leaders, from 0 to 100, as well as a breakdown of everything influencing that number. 

Fewer AI Tantrums 1.0

I love being attacked for no reason, and then being called a warmonger for defending myself. It's great. But if you don't love that sort of absurd behavior, Quo's Fewer AI Tantrums calms some of the more erratic AI behaviors. It makes AI leaders less angry about minor infractions and more forgiving, and less likely to hate you because of a bad first impression roll. Note that it requires the Aztec DLC.


RestartButton is what it sounds like: a restart button that starts a new game with the same settings and a new random seed. As a serial restarter (I just have to have the perfect location for my capital), this mod is essential to me. Unfortunately, it has to be installed directly to your Civ 6 install folder, rather than in the mods folder. I've tested it and it works great, but do backup the files you replace just in case.

Adjust starting units, techs, and more

Unfortunately, starting with this many units and no treasury to support them doesn't quite work out.

While I was messing with Civ 6 to try to play a game without ever founding a city, I found that all the player and AI starting conditions are stored in a file called Eras.xml. You’ll find it in the Civ 6 install directory, under \Base\Assets\Gameplay\Data. 

Using what’s there as an example, it’s not hard to copy and paste to add starting units, or limit the AI’s unit bonuses on harder difficulties. Just make sure you backup Eras.xml before you start tinkering in case you want to revert to the defaults.