If I build roads in a friendly civilization, are they just free, or does that civilization pay for them, and if they do pay for them is it possible to encumber their economy by filling their nation with roads?

  • I'm pretty certain the road builder pays for them. I might do a test tonight.
    – Arperum
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 13:17
  • 2
    IIRC, road builder pays for roads in neutral territory, but the territory owner pays for all roads in territory
    – Affine
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 16:05
  • i thought roads built in neutral territory were free?
    – Jimmery
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 14:00
  • @Jimmery: No they aren't free. This is an interesting question. I'll try this tonight. I'll build every tile of my enemy with road. As a result, he/she would have more maintenance and less income. Bwahahaha.
    – Mark
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 8:04
  • 2
    @Jimmery while at the same time vastly improving their infrastructure.. Friend did this to me then tried to attack me but because I had so many roads I could just keep moving units everywhere to counter him. He lost. Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 17:04

2 Answers 2


There is another similar but broader question here. The answer left unresolved your particular question - what happens to roads you build in other players borders.

Short Answer:
Roads inside a civilization's territory are paid for by the owner of the territory.
Roads outside any borders (neutral territory) are paid for the constructor of the road.

So you can theoretically wage economic warfare by building roads in other players land.

Also another nugget - roads that used to be in a civilization's borders (aka when a city is razed) are free - nobody pays for them.

Some empirical work with screenshot from a hot seat game on settler difficulty, so 3 roads = 1 gold.

You pay for roads outside your territory - 6 roads here You pay for roads outside your territory - 6 roads here
Owner of territory pays for roads you build in their territory (view from both sides - 9 roads built by Teal, 3 in Blue, 3 Neutral, 3 in Teal) Owner of territory pays for roads you build in their territory
View from the builder's side
And nobody pays for roads that used to be in someone's territory (screwed up the screenshot from the original owner's side, so you'll have to take my word for it) The razer
[Insert missing screenshot]

Also, some quick digging around in the SDK source code. Since my digging was somewhat cursory, there might be some more edge cases around. The relevant code files and functions in the SDK are:

ChangeBaseImprovementGoldMaintenance() in CvTreasury.cpp, which is called in a variety of functions in CvPlot.cpp to remove and add maintenance cost when plot ownership changes, such as

setOwner() - note that when ownership is taken of a plot (aka plot becomes part of a civilization's territory), the variable tracking the original constructor is set to nobody

setRouteType() - called by changeBuildProgress() when a road is completed, which also calls SetPlayerResponsibleForImprovement() if the road is built outside anyone's territory

setPlotCity() - only seems to be used when a city is about to be razed, called by PreKill() in CvCity.cpp


You pay for all of your roads, whether they be in your territory, neutral territory, or allied territory. The upkeep is also paid by you.

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