The 2016 entry Civilization VI has become the fastest-selling game in the history of the franchise. In every new Civilization game, the players have to learn about the various unique aspects or new civilizations and the playing styles best suited to them.
We have come up with an exclusive guide to help you understand the styles of the various Civilizations, Leaders, and their suitability for different victory types in Civilization VI.
Table of Contents
Best Domination Civilization and Leaders
Civilization VI: Domination Victory
The well-known route, Domination, leads to just what it sounds like – dominion over the entire world by the sheer strength of your army. The civilizations weaker than you will have no choice but to submit. However, Civilization VI does not really require you to conquer a whole civilization. All you need to do is to capture all of the capitals in order to win. Needless to say, you need a booming economy and scientific temperament in order to make your army the strongest out there. Therefore, make sure you give them due attention rather than simply beefing up your military ranks.
Tomyris of Scythia
Scythia is one of the most powerful military units featured in Civilization VI. It can single-handedly trounce all other civilizations in the early to mid-game itself. Scythia has a unique Horse Archer unit that does not need horses to produce! It also has 4 Movement and +1 Attack Range, which makes it far more formidable than any other contemporary faction. As a matter of fact, you obtain two of them whenever one is trained. As a result, Scythia can put together a terrifying unit of seriously strong cavalry archers, capable of blitzing their enemies like lightning storms.
Apart from this, Scythia’s units obtain an additional +5 Combat Strength attack when dealing with injured enemies. They heal up to 50 additional points on killing them, thus reducing the strength of enemy units while maintaining their own. This makes them seriously challenging opponents to reckon with.
Remember, though, that in order to put Scythia’s abilities to their best use, you must have a map with adequate stretches of land. This is because the Saka Horse Archers have negligible use at the seas. You must act before the mid-game because Scythia will not be able to keep up with the technological prowess of modern forces.
Teddy Roosevelt of America
America has an important role to play after the mid-game. So at the beginning of a match, they need to take up a defensive position. Their considerable home defense ability bestows on them +5 Combat Strength in their homeland. This is sufficient to repulse most inbound assaults. At the same time, they gain government bonuses at the double rate of other civilizations, courtesy of their legacy. This considerably boosts their prosperity.
After reaching the modern area, America’s special military forces are strong enough to take down nearly all of their opponents. Their “Rough Rider” land unit obtains +10 Combat Strength on hills and is also cheaper to maintain compared to other factions. The P-51 Mustang aircraft boasts of the +2 flight range and obtains a +5 attack against assailants. It also gains experience at the regular double rate. You should consider investing in Science and Technology to do those units justice and fast.
America is one of the most versatile civilizations in Civilization VI because it is focused more on the latter part of the game and is not limited by its landscape. You can also acquire culture and science victories conveniently.
Shaka of Zulu
The Zulu is undoubtedly the most powerful feature of the latest expansion of Civilization VI. Their inborn penchant for immense strength in battle and agility in training puts them at a significant advantage. The anti-cavalry unit that substitutes for the Pikeman, the Impi, can be prepared swiftly and economically. As a bonus, they obtain extra flanking and experience bonuses compared to other factions. This makes them an excellent starting point to build a formidable army unit.
Once you’ve done that, you can get early access to corps and military units by making good use of the Ikanda Encampments and Mercenaries/Nationalism civics. You can put all of these units together to create a juggernaut of immense power. You can also put to rest any concerns about defense because the Zulu obtains +3 loyalty for cities possessing a garrison. The only civilization in the game to do so, in fact. This makes them quite immune to military and cultural attacks.
Alternative: Eleanor of Aquitaine of England/France
Eleanor is a very special lady in the game. Apart from having the unique distinction of being the only leader in the game to be able to select between two different factions – the British and French empires – she also boasts of the unparalleled ability to seize control of cities without engaging in battle at all.
She has a special ability due to which foreign cities lying within a range of nine tiles lose a loyalty point every turn. Thus, she can make an invasion succeed without even invading in actuality. Isn’t that almost paradoxical? All you need to do is to put a city housing great works in the vicinity of the foe’s border. Very soon, that particular gateway settlement is going to be yours. And it’ll lead to a chain reaction of sorts that will result in a series of cities flipping over to your sides. As long as you play properly and don’t face any effective counters, this will allow you to rule the map even on a high difficulty level. You will also earn a healthy amount of gold and Culture as a bonus.
As far as choosing between the British and French Empires is concerned, we recommend the former. After all, their powerful Royal Navy Dockyard is indispensable.
Alternative: Lautaro of Mapuche
Mapuche was introduced with the updates in the summer of 2018. Now Swift Hawk, Lautaro’s special ability has been enhanced to be able to cause any plundered enemy city to be deprived of 5 loyalty as well. Additionally, it reduces the loyalty of enemy cities by 20 every time one of Lautaro’s forces takes down an opposing unit inside the city’s borders.
As a result of this boost, Lautaro can wreak serious havoc among enemy forces and dominate entire cities without actually laying siege on them. As the reliance of having opposing forces for loyalty flip has been circumvented, the Mapuche can unleash destruction upon enemy cities along the border even more easily. Although the Zulu remains superior to the Mapuche in terms of straightforward Domination plans, it’s a good way to dominate cities indirectly.
Civilization VI: Science Victory
Science victories play a very important role in the Civilization franchise, especially considering the space race that could help your civilization reach the heavens, quite literally. The game promotes scientific progress in several appreciable ways.
Saladin of Arabia
If you’re a veteran seeking an alternative way towards a science victory, look no further than Saladin. This revolutionary can blend technology with religion and fetch you victories in both fields. Arabia features unique religious buildings that enhance the total Science, Culture, and Faith by 10 percent. Their bonus produces an extra unit of Science per turn for every city that shares Arabia’s religion.
This special outlook towards religion and Science produces a healthy economy that helps Arabia surpass its contemporaries. By fostering harmony between these two important aspects of humanity, Arabia holds the unique ability to achieve victories in both of them.
Peter the Great of Russia
Russia is a rather strange civilization. It gains a number of important variable bonuses from tundra tiles and gives importance to expansion. But their own added territory lets them be more flexible when constructing districts. At the same time, their unique ability produces an additional +1 Science or Culture from trade routes to far more developed civilizations.
If you are experienced enough with the game, you can use these extras to obtain a science victory with relative ease. This will very soon turn Russia into a formidable power. Remember that achieving victory will be relatively easy as long as you settle down in the tundra to the best of your ability.
Seondeok of Korea
Korea is a returning civilization from the fifth entry in the franchise, albeit a scientific one now. Unfortunately, it has a comparatively weaker position in Civilization VI. Mines will give Science to any nearby Seowon Campus districts. These give +4 Science on their own anyway, along with +2 for every specialist.
Prior to the update in the summer of 2018, established governors in cities could provide +10 percent Culture and Science irrespective of their promotions. Now, they can generate +3 percent Culture and Science for every promotion they earn, including their first one as well. These features let you plan out properly regarding the cities you wish to enhance to the highest possibility, against those you simply want to grant some extra privileges to. Along with the Hwacha ranged unit, this means that a medium-sized empire halfway through Civilization VI is the best way to allow Korea to beat its rivals in the rat race for Science.
Lady Six Sky of Maya
The New Frontier pass and the Maya & Gran Columbia Pack introduced the Mayans as a new civilization in the game. Led ably by Lady Six Sky, the Mayans give some severe competition even to the Koreans regarding the progress of Science. Their military prowess is mighty in the early stages of the game, which you can utilize to take down some formidable opponents like Korea. Lady Six Sky’s unique ability allows non-capital cities to lie six tiles inside the Capital to obtain +10 percent to all yields. This will enable you to bring up a vast, tight empire heavily reliant on geography.
Observatory – the special district of the Mayans – serves as an economical and superior Campus. You should try to expand onto some proper farmland in order to gain as many benefits as possible. Being a smaller empire, you will definitely face the scarcity of some strategic resources. Therefore, be prepared to face the heat during the Industrial era. As of now, we recommend selecting the Ancestral Hall as your Tier 1 Government Building. After this, try to move Settlers out onto important locations, because you will have to obtain important resources like aluminum and coal when the time is right.
Civilization VI: Culture Victory
Early on in the game, cultural victories might be hard to obtain. This is because, in order to win, you need to ensure that the number of tourists visiting your country is the same as the sum of the number of domestic tourists in all the other civilizations. For that, you will have to recruit a number of skilled people, especially artists. You must provide buildings, districts, and wonders to showcase their monumental works. Artifacts, relics, and sculptures are the most important objects for this. Trading with other civilizations will help you propagate your Culture and choose policies to enhance Culture. Make sure you observe your rivals’ progress closely while going after a Culture victory.
Qin Shi Huang of China
Unlike the communist China of modern times, the country in Civilization VI is far more interested in being a hot spot for tourism and propagating the influence of their Culture far and wide. In the previous games, the Great Wall of China was considered a wonder. Here, however, it is a special improvement that only the Chinese can build. Every nearby segment will generate an additional +1 culture, gold, and tourism. This means that walls are both strategically and culturally important. Building a solid perimeter of the wall around your empire offers good protection, and also provides a healthy amount of Culture unsurpassed by other civilizations in the game.
As a result of this special upgrade, China simply needs sufficient land to build a wall as large as imaginable. As you expand your civilization while moving through the game, the wall will grow alongside and not only protect your empire effectively but produce a lot of resources as well. If you aim for a defensive style in the game, then this just might be the best playing style for you.
Gorgo of Greece
Gorgo uses her military prowess to produce 50 percent additional culture from vanquished units and an additional +1 wildcard policy to create an impact. While involving in battle, she also introduces cultures to Greece. Unlike many other civilizations, Greece boasts of the ability to pair culture production and the military properly. This enhances cultural output by beefing up the military prowess and unleashing ruthless onslaughts. Thanks to the Thermopylae bonus, Greece is much more violent under Gorgo than it was under Pericles. The Culture here happens to be more stable because it is gained with each kill made on Greece’s behalf.
Apart from this, the Acropolis is unique among districts. It offers a bonus +1 culture from every wonder, district, and city center in the vicinity. This greatly enhances culture output. It’s important to note that after the classical era is over, Greece is deprived of pretty much its only special unit. Thus, its most important option is a cultural victory. Later stages of the game feature special units of other civilizations that can easily demolish Greece’s comparatively mediocre roster.
Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
In Civilization VI, the Dutch rely heavily on the use of adjacency bonuses. This helps them form an intriguing economy that sustains itself and goes along well with their trading mechanisms. Proper expansion in apt lands is benefited by rivers and special Polder tile improvement in the surrounding districts.
The Netherlanders’ greatest asset, however, is their naval trade. Building a harbor greatly boosts Culture, and its influence spreads to nearby tiles. Trade routes will imbue nearby Dutch cities with loyalty and also obtain Culture from foreign cities. If carefully done, this will create a huge upsurge in power halfway through the game. You must also use their special ranged navy to defend your trade interests.
Kupe of Maori
Courtesy of their special starting position in the dead center of the ocean, the Kupe has become famous. They will obtain +2 Science and Culture for each turn used up without colonizing your very first city. This will make the prospect of surviving as a nomad pretty risky, before finally settling down firmly and reaping the fruits of your patience.
The greatest strength of the Kupe becomes apparent once the Maori obtain control of a few cities and successfully put their rocky beginnings behind them. The Theatre will be replaced with the special Marae District, and it will produce +2 Culture and Faith for every city tile featuring Woods, Rainforests, Oases, Marshes, Geothermal Fissures, Reefs or Floodplains on it. For example, if there are ten tiles scattered around your city that possess any of these features, then you will obtain a +20 bonus to Culture one turn.
Apart from this, they also boast of a culture bomb that will turn the surrounding landscape in accordance with their purpose every time a fishing boat is crafted. The Kupe of Maori is definitely the ones to go with if you are looking for a Culture Victory.
Civilization VI: Religious Victory
Unlike previous entries in the franchise, religion is now a necessary criterion to win. You cannot emerge victorious unless your religious beliefs are accepted by at least half of each civilization’s followers. Watch out, because it may even lead to holy crusades. And trying to convert another leader’s cities can result in serious retaliation as well.
Gandhi of India
With Gandhi, you will receive an additional five faith every turn from each civilization you meet. The condition, of course, is that you’re not engaged in conflict with them. He stands as a universal symbol of non-violence and peace, and therefore war is openly discouraged. Opposing nations will be inflicted with twice the war-weariness, and population growth and productivity suffer as a result. Each turn used for conflict with India will result in a great drain on the economy and heighten the chances of stirring up a mutiny. As a result, antagonizing Gandhi can lead to the economy being demolished and literally lay waste to an unprepared offending empire.
Everybody is obviously intent on propagating their own religious faiths. Gandhi, however, is tolerant of other religions as well. This will fetch the follower bonus from all religions that have at least one convert in a city. As a result of this, India stands as a leader in regard to religion, promoting peace, and penalizing violence and war. It possesses the potential to generate large amounts of Faith and obtain rewards from various pantheons as well.
Philip II of Spain
Unlike Gandhi, Philip is not hesitant to resort to force to ensure religious victory. His formidable Inquisitors get an extra use in overpowering other religions, and his military forces obtain an extra +4 combat strength when engaging in battle against civilizations of another faith. True to the Spanish Inquisition, this is a ferocious ambush. It results in the spread of religion by violence.
The special unit of Spain is the conquistador. It obtains +10 combat strength when present in the same hex as an apostle, inquisitor, or missionary. Any of these units being in the vicinity of an enemy city when it is taken down, resulting in that settlement being converted to Spain’s religion at once. This will surely turn the tide in your favor during religious wars.
Tamar of Georgia
Almost everything Georgia does produces extra Faith. Therefore, it is a great choice for religious victories. They have a special wall that produces +3 each turn for you, and you can build it in any city. Engaging in territorial wars can help you obtain twice your normal production. If you help a city-state during a territorial war, you will win their favor and often manage to convert them to your religion too. It will also provide two votes to every envoy of yours.
Apart from this, Georgia can receive the Normal and Golden Age bonuses at the beginning of a Golden age by producing a declaration. This will enable you to swiftly collect Era points and start a consecutive chain of Golden Ages. Combined with the powerful Khevsur melee unit that is immune to the movement penalty in the hills, you will possess an exceptionally strong religious army that will not hesitate to propagate their religion using violence.
Alternative: Mansa Musa of Mali
Admittedly, Mali is a rather strange faction to play with. It’s true that their mines produce +4 gold, and living in the desert will give each trade route +1 gold. But at the same time, the generation of buildings and units is impeded by 30 percent, and your mines will lose -1 Production as well. Although Mali is good for obtaining a lot of quick cash, it will badly test your patience regarding everything else.
Being desert folks, Mali will receive additional bonuses for living in the forbidding hot regions. Every desert and desert hill tile will produce an additional +1 for Faith and Food. Courtesy of the extra gold and permanent increase in trade route capacity by +1 whenever a Golden Age is triggered, Mali can swiftly become a most prosperous empire.
You must be wondering what all of this has to do with religion. Since the game doesn’t have any capitalist victory goal, the gold thus accumulated needs to go somewhere. Since Mali is the only civilization in Gathering Storm with proper bonuses to Faith and is rich enough to buy anything in the game, it can impose their religion of choice on the world as effectively as possible. Maintaining economic and religious empires needs proper resource management and effort, especially in the later parts of the game. And Mali has just the right resources to help you with this.
Civilization VI: Diplomatic Victory
With the release of Gathering Storm, Diplomatic victories have finally made their comeback in the Civilization franchise. So what is the best faction to help you sneak your way through the World Congress? Read on to find out.
Wilfired Lautier of Canada
Canada is possibly the one empire in Civilization VI that holds diplomacy in very high regard. Although they are unable to declare or be affected by Surprise Wars, the Canadians obtain +1 diplomatic favor for evert 100 tourists they obtain. They also get twice the number of rewards from competitions and emergencies in the World Congress. Essentially, they get twice of what everybody else does.
Apart from this, their special Ice Hockey Rink district can produce +2 appeal. This will boost housing for your citizens and produce more tourism in later parts of the game. This will enable huge empires with progressive cities to rake in tourism points, and thus gain more diplomatic favor. Canada truly is the way to go for anyone aiming for a diplomatic victory.
Naval warfare always played an important role in the Civilization franchise. It can have a big impact on the pace of the game, and obviously, certain factions are better adapted to function effectively at sea. Obviously, it will only work if your map is laden with water.
Victoria of England
Unlike previous entries in the franchise, England’s military role in Civilization VI is less traditional. In Civilization V, dominion over the seas was obtained by sheer ruthless force via the Ship of the Line units. Here, the British Empire is mostly concerned with colonization and reach. You should pay special attention to the Ship known as the Sea Dog. Unlike other ships, it is not visible on the map until it is right next to the foes. This enables it to capture its unsuspecting units with relative ease.
Every sea craft constructed in the Royal Dockyard District will receive +1 additional movement points. This ensures that England will have a tiny but permanent advantage over other civilizations dealing with the sea. Due to the District, the penalty for embarking and disembarking land units is also done away with. This provides Victoria with an open field to let military units into the seas and colonize other lands. Fighting outside the continent of England’s Capital gives the special Redcoat unit +10 combat strength. The Pax Britannica bonus provides a free melee unit to every city captured or built abroad. This ensures sovereignty in newly formed colonies and suppresses mutiny. With the summer 2018 update, Pax Britannica will now reward you with a free melee class unit when building a Royal Navy Dockyard in any city built on foreign land.
Apart from the sea, England also requires separate landmasses in order to do their job effectively. This means a landlocked or Pangea-like map would cause serious trouble for their forces. Thanks to the British Museum improvements that you can put up in every city and fill with Culture, you will still be able to obtain a Culture victory.
Harald Hardrada of Norway
Norway features special bonuses that enable its fleets to assault enemy tiles from the sea and also does away with penalties on embarking and disembarking. This results in the formation of a formidable Viking civilization that launches terrifying onslaughts from the seas. They possess the Berserker, a vulnerable but strong unit that can plunder tiles and move during the same turn. The legendary Viking Longship can replenish health when in neutral territory, and thus help the fleet survive longer. All of these make Norway a serious opponent that even the big guns think twice before engaging with.
Since Norway is a pretty niche, you need the proper map to ensure its success. Although building cities surrounded by forests near the seas can considerably empower Harald, you cannot progress without having access to the sea. So always bear that in mind.
That’s it for now. We hope our guide helps you choose the civilization and leaders best suited to your playing style in Civilization VI. You can check out other guides on iPhone and iPad, PC Troubleshooting, and Android Guides for more. We want you to participate in the $150 giveaway by subscribing to our YouTube Channel. If you have any feedback or queries, comment down below with your name and e-mail ID.