The Population Limit, sometimes population cap or shortened pop cap, is the maximum number of units a nation is allowed to have. It starts at 25 and counts for both military units and civilian units (like Citizens and Scholars). All Artillery Weapons and most ships take up 2 population points, all other units 1 population point. There are several ways of increasing the limit:
- Researching Military technologies at the Library increases the population limit by 25 per level up to a maximum of 200 at Military Level 7. Military future tech adds no further improvement to this limit.
- The Colossus wonder increases the population limit by a fixed 50.
- Peacocks, a rare resource, increase the base population limit by 10%, if gathered by a Merchant from the Market. This equals an additional 2.5 population points per Military tech researched.
- The Bantu get a 100% bonus on the population limit. They start with 50 and add another 50 for each Military level researched up to a maximum of 250 (any research after Military Level 4 provides no further increase). With the Colossus and a connected Peacocks resource the maximum population for the Bantu is 325 (for other nations it's 270).
The limit can actually be exceeded, when losing the Colossus wonder or access to the Peacock rare resource, or starting in Nomad (Game Scenario). However, this is not penalized in any way. It can also be exceeded by bribing enemy units.
When the limit has been reached, production progress of new units will be held at 100% completion but the unit will not actually be created until there is available population. Also, free units upon building completion (such as the French's free General upon completion of a Fort) will not be given.