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Yesterday I was playing civilization 6 and wanted to try out the missile silo. I launched a thermonuclear missile to a city state at level 14 population, which got reduced to 1 immediately. That strike me as odd, I expected much less casualties: usually I use strategic bombers and they kill about 7 or 8 levels of populations.

I researched a bit (link and link) and it seems that the number of casualties to be random (from a maximum of 19 to a minimum of 0 in some case). What parameters affect the number of casualties? Does the number of casualties change based on what's delivering the nuke (bombers vs silos vs submarines), or just the type of nuclear device (thermonuclear vs regular)?

  • I haven't played Civ 6 yet, but in Civ IV there are buildings like the bunker to reduce casualties from nuclear strikes. I think in Civ 6 is something similar, too. – Artery Feb 20 '17 at 9:02
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    As far as I can see, there's nothing equivalent to that, @Artery – STT LCU Feb 20 '17 at 9:03
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    Another great title when taken out of context... – nickson104 Feb 20 '17 at 13:05
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    @Artery, if you haven't played it and have no evidence you shouldn't assume. There are no bunkers like in Civ V in Civ VI – n_plum Feb 20 '17 at 13:55
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    @nickson104 I am shamelessly aiming for the hot network questions. – STT LCU Feb 20 '17 at 14:18
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I'll try to answer each question in there, let me know if I miss any or you need more info.

What parameters affect the number of casualties?

Multiple things happen upon a nuclear detonation. First is that all Citizens working affected tiles are eliminated. (If they are working a farm tile and it's destroyed, they die too). Your number may have seemed high, but that is not unreasonable because of the size of a thermonuclear device. Every tile is destroyed killed a citizen.

Any units occupying those tiles are also destroyed, all the tile improvements are set to pillaged, any buildings or districts in the tiles are also destroyed and must be repaired to use again, and all tiles are contaminated with fallout.

Fallout damages any unit ending their turn in it by 50 hp. Production is also not applied from any contaminated tiles. This can be cleaned by builders or military engineers but also has a timer before it disappears.

Does the number of casualties change based on what's delivering the nuke (bombers vs silos vs submarines)?

The number of casualties does not change based on the delivery system. No matter what you use, the impact does not alter. The way you deliver it is simply a means of changing the launch location, which changes where you can strike. If you use bombers/submarines you can usually get closer to enemy territory and bigger cities to target.

The type of nuclear device (thermonuclear vs regular)?

Nuclear devices have a blast radius of 1 and have a range of 12 tiles. They also cost 14 gold per turn to maintain.

Thermonuclear devices have a blast radius of 2 and a range of 15. They cost 16 gold per turn to maintain. The reason these seem to be more devastating is because of the extra blast radius which can kill more citizens working tiles.

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    So the thermonuclear device, which covers 18+1 tiles can kill up to 19 citizens, which reflects well with my measurements. Can you explain why/how sometimes it appears that no citizens are killed by a nuclear blast? Thanks :) – STT LCU Feb 20 '17 at 14:21
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    If none are being killed, which is extremely unlikely, my only guess is that most of their citizens are working tiles outside of the blast and the rest are specialists within the city (I don't believe specialists die, but they cannot produce anything if their building is destroyed) – n_plum Feb 20 '17 at 14:34
  • Makes sense. Thanks! I'll wait 24 hours before accepting – STT LCU Feb 20 '17 at 14:51

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