Zones of Control (ZOC) is a game mechanic which in some cases prevents units from moving to tiles adjacent to enemy units.

The general rule is that a land unit adjacent to an enemy occupied tile cannot move directly to another tile that's also adjacent to an enemy occupied tile.

In some cases, ZOC does not apply:

  • The enemy unit occupying the tile does not impose ZOC; e.g., civilian units, certain types of aircraft, etc. Check the help on a unit to find out if it imposes ZOC.
  • The moving unit is igZOC: that is, a special type of unit that ignores ZOC rules. For example, Explorers, Diplomats, Spies, and most non-land units.
  • The unit is moving directly into or out of a city.
  • The unit is moving to a tile occupied and held by a friendly unit.
    • Friendly "igZOC" units who ignore ZoC do not count when the server setting zoc_purity is enabled.
  • A unit moving from or to an ocean tile: ZOC rules do not exist on ocean.

Two Riflemen from the same nation face two enemy Musketeers. Green lines show where they can move. Red lines show moves blocked by ZOC. Shaded tiles adjacent to enemies are illegal destinations for any unit already on a shaded tile, unless the destination tile has a qualifying friendly unit.


  • Some games may have the server setting zoc_purity on, such as Multiplayer II rulesets. Read the link for more info how it changes the rules described on this page.
  • Only land units are restricted by ZOC.
  • Non-land units can impose ZOC, but only if they are on a land tile.
    • This means sea units can't impose ZOC unless they are in a city, river, or canal.
    • Air units can't impose ZOC if they are over ocean squares.
  • ZOC only restricts movement. It does not restrict attacks.
  • An enemy city counts as an enemy occupied tile, but only if it's occupied.
  • Moving from or to an ocean square is always allowed because ZOC is inactive on all ocean tiles.


You can infiltrate enemy zones by exploiting the rule that ZOC does not apply when moving onto a tile occupied by a friendly unit. Which units can do this will depend on the ruleset and the server's current zoc_purity setting.