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Civilization VI: Rise and Fall - title

Civilization VI's second expansion, Gathering Storm was announced earlier this year, and will be released in a couple months. It will include modified rules and new civilizations, and I'll certainly be writing some guides for its new civilizations. In the meantime, however, I'm going to tackle one more civilization from the previous Rise & Fall expansion. This civilization happens to be the last of the "new" civilizations (a civ that has never appeared in a previous game): Scotland, lead by Robert the Bruce.

Scotland is currently a part of the United Kingdom, and makes up the northern third of the British isle. However, Scotland was an independent, sovereign kingdom throughout most of the Middle Ages. The lands of Scotland are shaped predominantly by receding glaciers during the tail end of the last ice age, and the area has been inhabited for over twelve thousand years. The Scottish Gaels strongly resisted Roman encroachment into their territory during the first and second centuries. Their raids on Roman forts forced emperor Hadrian to construct a defensive wall over 117 km long and as tall as 6 meters, that ran almost the entire width of the island. Parts of the wall still stand across England today. After the withdrawl of the Romans, the kingdom of the Picts became known as the kingdom of Alba, which flourished in the 12th and 14th centuries, possessing some of Europe's most influential philosophers.

In 1295, when Scotland's King John had refused to fight alongside England's King Edward against the French -- despite Edward having arbitrated the Scottish crown to John -- England and Scotland were plunged into war that resulted in England seizing control over Scotland. In the early 14th century, new Scottish King Robert the Bruce began a 20-year campaign against the English to restore Scottish independence. Victory at the battle of Bannockburn finally restored control of Scotland back to the Scotts, and conflict between England and Scotland continued off and on for many generations before the two countries were united diplomatically in 1707.

Civilization VI is still a "living game". Strategies for the game (and for specific leaders and civs) may change as Firaxis applies balance patches, introduces new features, or expands the game through further DLC or expansion packs, or as the Civ community discovers new strategies or exploits. As such, the following strategy guide may change from time to time. I will try to keep it up-to-date, and will make notations whenever changes are made. I'll also post links in the official 2K forums and CivFanatics, where I'll also report any changes made. If possible and practical, I will try to retain the original content of the strategy for posterity.

I welcome any feedback or suggestions that readers wish to offer. Feel free to post on the linked forums, or by posting a comment at the bottom of the page.

This guide is up to date as of the November 2018 "launcher" patch (ver.

Scotland is another "world police" civ (similar to Australia). It can also hold its own and can become a technological and/or industrial powerhouse if its citizens remain happy.

Civilization VI - Robert the Bruce of Scotland

Robert the Bruce of Scotland's uniques in Civilization VI: Rise & Fall

Scotland capital start bias: none.

Civilization VI - Scotland flag

Scotland civilization unique: Scottish Enlightenment

"Happy cities gain +5% Science and +5% Production, and generate +1 Great Scientist point in their Campuses and +1 Great Engineer point in their Industrial Zones. Ecstatic cities double these bonuses."

Bonuses to science or production tend to be powerful in the Civilization series (and in Civ VI in particular). Scotland gets both -- as long as you can keep your cities happy. The earlier that you can make your cities happy or ecstatic, and the longer that you can maintain that amenity value, the more benefit you'll receive from this ability. You should take extra care to acquire a diverse set of luxury resources (either through expansion, conquest, or trade), and you'll probably want to invest in Entertainment Complexes and Water Parks earlier than you otherwise might.

Robert the Bruce's leader unique: Bannockburn

"Can declare a War of Liberation with Defensive Tactics, instead of Diplomatic Service. +100% Production and +2 Movement for all units for the next 10 turns after declaring a War of Liberation."

Civilization VI - Robert the Bruce portrait


Robert the Bruce's ability is a lot harder to trigger than, say, Australia's liberation ability, since Wars of Liberation have very strict requirements that must be met. Unlike Australia, you do not activate this ability (or extend it) for each city that you liberate. You can only get this bonus once per declaration of war, and only if the civ that you are declaring against has conquered cities that formerly belonged to a civ whom you currently have a declared friendship or alliance with. These bonuses will only last for 10 turns, so try to make the most of them before they expire. You'll have control over when you declare war, so make sure all your units are in position, and your cities are ready to take advantage of the production bonus.

As far as I can tell, the civilization who's city(ies) you are trying to liberate must still be in the game (e.g. still has some cities on the map) and must currently be your declared friend or ally. This rules out city states, and any civilizations who have been completely conquered. In fact, I'm not sure if city states would be eligible to begin with, since you're not technically "friends" or "allies" with a city state, even though most rules and mechanics that apply to allies also apply to any of your suzerain city states. Not the case here.

If you want to get this bonus, you also can't accept an emergency targeting the civ who conquered a city of your ally. You aren't allowed to use a casus beli when accepting an emergency, so you can't specify that the emergency is a "War of Liberation", even if the goal of the emergency is to liberate a city that happens to have originally belonged to one of your allies.

Civilization VI - emergency
You cannot use a casus beli for an emergency,
and won't receive the War of Liberation bonus from accepting an emergency.

So yeah, good luck ever being able to use this ability... Do not, by any means, plan your strategy around being able to trigger this War of Liberation bonus!

There are some rather "game-y" ways to utilize Bannockburn. You could befriend every other civ, and then just wait for one to declare war and conquer another's city. You could also maintain amicable relations with every other civ, but not declare a formal friendship or alliance. Then when another civ's city is conquered, declare friendship with the civ who's city was conquered. Either of these tricks should allow you to gain access to a War of Liberation casus beli against the aggressor civ, but it will still be mostly up to luck whether you get to use these strategies reliably.

If you ever are able to declare a War of Liberation, then the bonus that you will receive is a good one! +100% production is insanely powerful, and the bonus is useful for quickly training units, or (if you already have the units that you need) building up your infrastructure. The latter should probably be the case, as you generally should not be declaring war unless you already have the necessary units available and positioned to make a first strike.

You'll also receive additional movement points for all your units. This can be useful for making hit-and-run strikes to pillage enemy improvements or districts. It can also be useful for catching up to routing units, or to navigate around enemy units to avoid zone of control. If you're on the defensive, then the movement bonus will allow you to quickly mobilize or recall units to the homeland for defense.

Unique improvement: Golf Course

Game Info:

"Unlocks the Builder ability to construct a Golf Course, unique to Scotland.
+1 Amenity and +1 Gold. +1 Culture if adjacent to a City Center district and +1 Culture if adjacent to an Entertainment Complex district. Additional Tourism and Housing as you advance through the civics and technology tree. Cannot be placed on Desert or Desert Hills. One per city. Tiles with Golf Courses cannot be swapped. +1 Appeal.

Civilization VI - Golf Course


Requirements: Reformed Church civic,
cannot be placed on deserts or desert hills,
limited to one per city.

Effects: +1 Amenity,
+2 Gold, +1 Appeal, +1 Culture if adjacent to city center, +1 Culture if adjacent to an Entertainment Complex, +1 Housing (after researching Globalization civic).
Tiles containing a Golf Course cannot be swapped between cities.


Golf Courses, along with City Parks, are a good source of late-game amenity. Unlike the City Park, Golf Courses can be built in any city without having to switch a governor around. If you can squeeze one in between the city center, and Entertainment Complex, and Neighborhoods, you'll get two extra culture and each adjacent Neighborhood will be boosted by the appeal of the Golf Course. The appeal boost of the Golf Course could also potentially turn adjacent "charming" tiles into "breathtaking" tiles, which could enable to the placement of a National Park, which provides a large sum of tourism, as well as amenity to multiple nearby cities.

Civilization VI - cheap scouts
Golf Courses do not receive
bonus culture from Water Parks.

You cannot switch which city works a Golf Course tile if the Golf Course happens to be built in a tile that overlaps the workable radius of multiple cities (similar to a district). You cannot, therefore, change which city receives the benefit of the amenity, appeal, or housing that the Golf Course generates, nor can multiple cities ever receive these bonuses from the same Golf Course at the same time. It is also worth noting that Golf Courses do not receive the bonus culture from being adjacent to a Water Park; this bonus only applies to Entertainment Complexes.

Civilization VI - Highlander icon

Unique unit: Highlander

Game Info: "Scottish unique industrial era unit that replaces the Ranger. +5 Combat Strength bonus when fighting in Hill and Forest terrain."

Civilization VI - Highlander unit portrait

Requirements: Rifling technology
Replaces: Ranger.
Obsoleted: Plastics technology,
Upgrades to: Spec Ops.

Cost: 380 Production / 1520 Gold [Standard speed].
Maintenance Cost: 5 Gold.

Attack Type: Ranged, Promotion Class: Reconnaissance,
Melee Strength: 50 (+5 from Ranger),
Ranged Strength: 65 (+5 from Ranger),
Attack Range: 1
Movement Speed: 3.

Bonuses: +5 combat strength on hills and woods.

Like with the Cree, Scotland should emphasize training lots of Scouts early in the game. Any Scouts that survive long enough will be able to be upgraded to Highlanders, and will hopefully be well-promoted.

Highlanders (especially corps, and doubly-especially ones promoted with Ambush) can also make very good offensive and defensive units. With 50 melee strength, they should survive attacks from Infantry (70 strength), and can be competitive against Infantry if they are able to get off a ranged first strike. They can also be parked in your cities, encampments, and forts (especially forts on hills) to defend your territory from invasion.

Happy Scotts are productive Scotts

In preparation for upgrading them to Highlanders, you should make an effort to field multiple Scouts early in the game. Using the Survey policy should help to get some extra experience and promotions for those Scouts, which will make them more formidable when they upgrade to Highlanders. Consider escorting your Scouts with another Scout or a Horseman (if you have access to horses), so that you can protect your experienced Scouts from barbarian ambushes. Always be sure to move the most-experienced Scout first, so that any experience from discovering natural wonders will go to your best Scout and not his escort.

Take special care to protect any experienced Scouts, especially those that come close to earning the Ambush promotion (+20 strength). Around the medieval or renaissance era, you should start recalling your Scouts back to your territory in preparation for upgrading them to Highlanders.

Civilization VI - cheap scouts
As you approach the Rifling tech, start building cheap, stock Scouts in order to join them
to your experienced Scouts and create Highlander corps.

As you approach the Rifling technology, you should try to quickly produce some extra Scouts from your cities. At this point, they should be very cheap to build (probably only taking 1 or 2 turns depending on game speed). If you have the Nationalism civic, you can combine your old, well-promoted Scout(s) with the fresh, stock Scouts that you just built to create corps. Ranger corps in general (and Highlander corps, especially) make excellent barbarian-hunters. Send them out with a Privateer escort to scour the corners of the map and disband any barbarian camps that may still exist in order to reap the rewards of gold, experience, and era score.

Civilization VI - ecstatic city
Happy and ecstatic cities will generate bonus research and production.

In the meantime, you should focus your efforts on building happy or ecstatic cities. Work on accumulating as many luxury resources as you can, either by trade or conquest. As you progress through the civics tree, policies that provide amenities (such as Civil Prestige (amenity from governors), Retainers (amenity from garrisoned units), Liberalism (amenity from having 2 or more districts) will be valuable. They'll still have to compete with other strong policies (such as any policy that improves science, production, or gold yield), so you'll want to unlock and adopt higher-level governments quickly.

Civilization VI - Alhambra

Investing in wonders that provide additional policy slots will help make room for these amenity-generating policies. Alhambra will grant an extra military slot that you can use to adopt Retainers, as well as provide some straight-up amenity, among other benefits. Big Ben grants an extra economic slot that can be used for Civil Prestige or Liberalism. The best will likely be Forbidden City, which will grant a free wild slot that you can use for any policy.

Civilization VI - Temple of Artemis Civilization VI - Huey Teocalli

Wonders that provide amenity directly will also be valuable to Scotland. Some of these are restricted by access to certain map features or resources. Temple of Artemis will provide amenity from camps and pastures. Huey Teocalli will provide amenity from lakes. So if you have camps, pastures, and/or lakes, you should consider these wonders.

Civilization VI - Colosseum

Other wonders will provide amenity regardless of the underlying terrain. The best early-game wonder for amenity will be the Colosseum which can grant amenity to the city that builds it, and to nearby cities. Later in the game, the Está dio do Maracanã will provide amenity in all cities, which will be very valuable with the higher-population late-game cities.

There are also some great people (usually great merchants) who can provide free amenities or luxuries to Scotland. If you save up a stockpile of faith or gold, you can hopefully purchase these specific great people, even if you're not generating enough great person points to earn them outright. John Spilsbury will give you 2 copies of toys, Helena Rubinstein will give you two copies of cosmetics, Levi Strauss will give you 2 copies of jeans, and Estée Lauder will give you 2 copies of perfume. Some engineers will also provide amenity bonuses. Joseph Paxton will grant amenity to an industrial hub's regional building. Jane Drew and John Roebling will provide free amenity in a city.

Civilization VI - great people
Great People can also provide access to bonus luxuries, or can provide free amenity to a city or building.

Becoming the suzerain of some city states can also provide amenity. Buenos Aires makes bonus resources (cows, wheat, rice, deer, fish, copper, and so forth) grant amenity as if they were luxuries. Muscat will grant an amenity to each city with a commercial hub. Toronto extends the range of regional buildings in industrial hubs and entertainment complexes. Lastly, Zanzibar provides access to cloves and cinnamon luxuries, which both provide 6 amenities each. While it doesn't provide amenity, Geneva provides its suzerain with a science bonus when the suzerain is not at war. Since Scotland usually favors a more peaceful strategy, Geneva is a great city state to invest envoys in.

Don't neglect military or culture

Be sure to build a lot of units early on. You don't want to put yourself in a situation in which you power through the tech tree, unlock more advanced units, but your economy and infrastructure haven't caught up. In this case, you won't be able to build or purchase units when you need them. If your tech progress starts to outpace your industrial development and workforce, you may even need to reign in your science in order to keep your units affordable. Otherwise, you may become the victim of a surprise war, with no way to quickly mobilize a defensive force.

You also don't want to neglect culture. While your science and industrial districts should be the jewels of most of your cities, you'll also want to make sure that you have a healthy culture output so that you can access better governments and policies. You also want to make sure that you don't neglect the religious civics. Scotland doesn't have any particular bonus to faith or religion, so you may decide not to bother researching Mysticism, Theology, Divine Right, or Reformed Church, since the policies and wonders contained therein won't be useful to you. However, two of the three possible medieval governments are along this path, there's several envoys along this path, and (most importantly) Scotland's unique Golf Course improvement is unlocked by the Reformed Church civic.

Civilization VI - religious civics
Don't neglect religious civics, since the Golf Course is unlocked by Reformed Church.

Golf Courses will help provide an amenity boost to your cities late in the game, which will help keep them happy or ecstatic. They'll also provide appeal, which could allow you to build National Parks and Coastal Resorts in places that you otherwise might not have been able to. It will also slightly improve the output of National Parks and Seaside Resorts that you would have been able to build anyway. The extra tourism from these improvements could help propel Scotland to a Culture Victory. The extra appeal will also benefit any adjacent Neighborhoods.

A Science Victory is probably the top victory target for Scotland. If you can keep your cities happy and ecstatic throughout the game, you'll receive extra research and more frequent great scientists that will allow you to power through the tech tree. You'll also get extra production and more great engineers, both of which can be used to more quickly construct spaceship parts needed for the Science Victory. Try to build your spaceports adjacent to industrial hubs if possible. This way, you'll be able to protect both districts with a single spy, making it less likely that rivals will be able to sabotage your spaceship construction.

Having science and production bonuses makes Scotland versatile. Even though Scotland's uniques lean them towards and science or culture victory, they can also compete for other victories. Faster science will mean you'll have more advanced units than your opponnets throughout the game. Having to go through the religious civics to get to Golf Courses also means that you could go for religious play if you want. If you get some free faith or a relic from a tribal village early, or if you get easy envoys with multiple religious city states, you could go ahead with a more religious-oriented gameplan. Scotland has no specific perks towards religion, so you'll want to follow standard religious strategies.

Playing against Robert the Bruce's Scotland

Robert the Bruce's A.I. agenda: Flower of Scotland

"Will never attack his neighboring civilizations unless they break a promise to him, and dislikes anyone waging war on them. Likes civilizations not at war with his neighbors."

An A.I.-controlled Robert the Bruce will likely be one of the friendlier and least hostile civilizations in most games that you play. If A.I. Robert the Bruce is your immediate neighbor, you probably will not need to worry too much about an invasion unless you leave yourself completely undefended, or you go out of your way to antagonize Scotland. Declaring wars on other civs and city states (especially Scotland's friends and allies) will be a sure way to incur his wrath.

Whether playing against an A.I.-controlled Robert the Bruce or a human-controlled one, be wary about conquering his allies. If you give him an opportunity to declare a War of Liberation, he will receive a huge production bonus that will allow him to quickly train units, or jump ahead in infrastructure. If I were playing as Scotland, and I had the opportunity to declare a Liberation War, I might do so even if I weren't planning on attacking the enemy or liberating cities. That production is probably worth declaring war and then playing defensively to reap the rewards.

Civilization VI - trading luxuries to Scotland
Sell luxuries to Scotland only if you desperately need the money, or if Scotland is far behind in technology.

You also want to be careful about trading luxury resources to Scotland. The extra amenities may push Scotland's cities into "happy" or "ecstatic" status, which will grant bonuses to science, production, and great person generation. You should avoid selling luxuries to Scotland unless you are desperate for the money (or luxuries of your own), or if Scotland is far behind in technology. Before trading with them, open up the tech tree and look at the icons on the scrollbar to see approximately how technologically-advanced Scotland is.

If you're ever at war with Scotland, put priority on pillaging their sources of amenity and strategic resources. This includes any Golf Course, City Parks, National Parks, Entertainment Complexes, and Water Parks, as well as luxury and strategic resources. Even if you're not planning on capturing their cities, you should consider sending a raiding party into their territory to pillage some of these amenity sources and resources in order to slow down their research and production.

Look for a human-controlled Scotland to compete for military or science victories first, and culture or religious victories second. A more passive A.I.-controlled Scotland will more likely go for science first, with culture or religious being second, and military being an unlikely victory plan, unless other civs give Robert easy opportunities to conquer their cities. Along with civs like Sumeria, Korea, and Australia, Scotland is one of the most dangerous civs with regard to science victories. I've lost several games by Scotland sneaking out a science victory because I didn't do anything to slow down his tech progression or spaceship construction. If you simply cannot afford a war with Scotland, then your last resort is to try to take out his Spaceports and Industrial Hubs with your spies in order to slow down his progress towards a science victory.

Civilization VI - sabotage Scottish rocketry
Scotland will likely compete for a science victory. Have spies ready to sabotage their Spaceports.

Discussions & Change Log

Thanks for reading. I hope this guide helps you to build a Scottish civilization that will stand the test of time!


These strategy guides for Civilization VI have been taking longer to research and write than I would like. Part of this is due to the fact that I'm not as familiar and experienced with Civ VI as I was with Civ V when I started writing strategy guides for that game, so I have to spend more time trying to learn the different mechanics and rules associated with each new civ that I play. I also have a lot more things competing for my time.

If you enjoy this strategy guide, and would like to see more like it, please consider making a contribution and become a Patron on Patreon. With some additional funding, I could dedicate more time to writing guides like this one, and can maybe even branch out into video content on Youtube.

I did have a few questions that I was never able to get a concrete answer for in my playthroughs with Scotland. If anybody can confirm the answer to these questions, I invite you to post the answer in the comments. My oustanding questions are:

  1. Can a Liberation War be declared if the ally you are trying to liberate does not have any remaining cities? I believe the answer is "no", but I was not able to explicitly test this specific scenario.
  2. Does the movement bonus of Bannockburn increase the range of air units? Once again, I believe the answer is "no", but I was not able to explicitly test air units with Bannockburn.

I'll also be posting links to this strategy guide in the forums at Civfanatics and at 2K's official Civilization VI forums, so feel free to join in the discussion there. Perhaps the forums will provide answers. Also, feel free to share your own strategies for Scotland (or for Civilization VI: Rise & Fall in general in the comments of this post, or on the forums. Happy Civ-ing!

Feel free to comment and share, or discuss you Scotland strategies in the CivFanatics forums at:

or on the official 2K forums:

or on Steam:

[Show Change Log] [Hide Change Log]

22 January, 2019
Based on feedback from forums, added a paragraph to the Bannockburn section outlining methods for making the War of Liberation casus beli easier to obtain.

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