I want to start this guide off quickly by introducing what I’d call core mechanics. Whenever you want to get really good at a game really fast, you are not looking at the game in the same way as everybody else, and what I mean by that is you want to min/max as much as you can within the game to find the “most efficient” way to play to achieve victory. I understand this is a very competitive way of looking at things but strictly speaking I get the most enjoyment out of “getting better”. The fastest way to get better is to break something complex down into something simpler and to focus on these simple concepts that will work every single time. This is what I refer to as Core Mechanics. What I’m about to tell you about this game might sound super simplified at first but I’m doing this not to insult your intelligence but I’m going to be building on these core concepts in my guide into far more advanced ideas.
To start off, the core mechanics of the game is that you have 4 objectives, or victory types and in order to accomplish them you make cities, units, and you research “tech”. I’m simplifying these things down to the bare minimum for a reason so bare with me. CITIES is what I call anything related to cities, sim city building, district management, and all that good stuff. UNITS is what I refer to as anything that allows you to field a lot of things that move around the map, such as military units, religious units, etc. Finally, I call TECH the sort of “intellectual property” that you own in a civ game such as researched science and culture as well as religion, those are all TECH.
When you break the game down into these three simple categories you can then see the game in a much more clearer and concise manner and be able to understand the Core Mechanics.
CITIES allow you to make UNITS.
CITIES allow you to obtain/produce TECH.
TECH unlocks new CITIES and UNITS.
CITIES, UNITS, and TECH all progress the game and get you the Victory conditions.
Based on that, you can see that CITIES and UNITS are more important than TECH on the tree of what comes first. TECH comes as a result of your development of CITIES. UNITS are important for winning the game, and CITIES are also responsible for producing those UNITS. The core mechanic of the game is (overly simplied as):
CITIES > UNITS
CITIES > TECH
CITIES + UNITS + TECH > WIN.
Whenever you have a chain of cause and effect where CITIES is the CAUSE and UNITS and TECH are the effect, you prioritize the first thing, the CAUSE, to help get you the EFFECT. What I mean is, if you want A, B, C, D, etc. and A is the main thing that makes all the rest happen, A is the most important. It is simple to understand this in Civ 6 by stating “Cities are the most important things in the game, and if you lose a city it’s a BIG deal”. We can all agree with this, but I go further to say, “Cities are the foundation that you build upon to obtain everything you need to win the game”. When put in this light you can suddenly see why I don’t waste too much time oogling over what each individual unit in this game does, because while they are very important and I will go into greater detail about them later, the CORE MECHANICS of this game is CITIES and if you focus on CITIES you will be able to get more UNITS and TECH. If you are familiar with Starcraft then this is essentially saying that Bases are your economy and thereby the more Bases you have the more able you are at obtaining what you want in the game.
All of this SHOULD sound obvious and I’m not wasting your time because…
Most players when they first pick up the game will be in a mindset of “What Civ should I play?” “What Civ is currently OP right now?” “How do I win more often?” “What are the top tier Civs out there?”
It’s like working out. Most beginners start with “Should I start on the bench press or the dead lifts?” “How much weight do I need to put on in order to look great in ten months?” “How can I lose fat fast?”
When the questions they SHOULD be asking are, “Am I getting enough sleep?” “Am I too stressed out?” “Am I eating right? Am I eating enough protein and fiber?”
Because it’s like this guys… if you’re not eating right or sleeping enough, I don’t care what workout equipment you own or how many reps you do, it’s NOT going to work. This is the difference between MACRO and MICRO… STRATEGY vs TACTICS. Start with the big picture, understand it, then work out the details… or start with the BASICS, then work on getting more advanced… Things like what civs you play and what bonuses they get do matter a great deal but first you must get really good at understanding how to become extremely effective at this game. Because between a very experienced player and a newbie at the game, I dont’ care if the newbie player is playing Scythia, and the experienced player is playing England, my money is on England if the player behind it is much more experienced at the game, because I’m sure that player will be getting a lot more of the fundamentals down.
Furthermore, ANY discussion of the relative strength of one Civ over another has to be purely based upon CORE MECHANICS of how this game works. How else can you compare different Civs with different abilties to one another and be able to gauge relative strength of their bonuses? They are all in separate THINGS. But, since you’ve been patient with me with this Core Mechanics section, I will show you how understanding CORE MECHANICS will help you understand a civ better and be able to compare it to other civs.
Civilizations and Comparisons and why they aren’t the most important considerations (in a balanced game)
NOTE: If you want to get a tier list breakdown for each civ look at the last section in this guide, but read this first.
Remember what I said earlier about CITIES, UNITS, and TECH?
Let’s put all the possible bonuses and unique abilities and THINGS that each Civ can get into these categories and expand these categories with specifics.
-Production (production, science, culture, gold, faith, etc)
-Bonuses to Units
-Movement and other effects to Units such as healing, etc.
– Any bonuses to Faith, Culture, or Science gain.
Even this is a very simplified way of breaking things down but let’s see how this helps us!
Let’s take Germany and Rome and compare the two civilizations!
Germany’s bonuses are:
A policy slot which in my book falls under the TECH category…
An ability to make more districts than normally allowed which is a CITIES thing
A unique district so that’s CITIES
So Germany’s bonuses and mechanics focus is essentially:
And if we want to rate the abilities using a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being really amazing and 1 being crap….
Germany’s bonuses would look like this:
Rome can be broken down using the same method as:
Given what we know about how the CORE Mechanics of the game works… anything that helps out your CITIES more will help influence your game a LOT more than what comes out of a city because one thing creates the other.
Now wait a minute you might say… is a roman bath really something that can be said to be producing a roman Legion?
Sure! Think of it this way ok? You MAKE things out of cities right? Making ANYTHING in this game requires some form of production, and there are three forms of production.
You may only make things in this game out of these three types of production.
Now, if you needed to make something, ANYTHING in this game, you have to make it out of a city or using some form of these three resources since faith and gold can be stored up, but to store these up you need to produce these things so essentially it’s the same idea. Right?
Whenever you have to think of things in these terms in Economics we think of things with an “opportunity cost”. If you have to make something for the city, such as building a district, or a building inside a district, while you are doing that, you are sacrificing the opportunity to make units. Any time you can influence that process and speed it up you either lower the opportunity cost, or you influence the balance in some other way you are helping yourself move along towards your goals. In this case, when you have bonuses in a Civ that influence anything I listed as CITIES… even though on paper they don’t seem to have anything to do with units or making units… by making your cities more efficient or effective, you are indirectly also making more units because you are able to spend less of your time making city related things and focus more time on making units or be better able to make them or make more of them. A Roman bath is going to be helpful with both Housing and Amentities. You need Housing and Amenities for your population to grow and if your growth in your cities slows down, you could think of it as the ability for you to make more Legions faster is also being slowed down because you are slowing down your rate of population growth if you don’t have Housing or Amenities. By having a better version of Aquaducts that also give Amenities, Rome is going to be able to save time from needing to build things like an entertainment district (which is expensive to make), and be able to focus more of their time on making Legions as an indirect result of having Roman Baths… so even though on paper Roman Baths has nothing to do with Legions, because it falls under the category I made called CITIES, it is helping everything that CITIES ultimately make indirectly by being earlier in the chain of causation. CITIES make UNITS and anything that helps CITIES grow will indirectly help UNITS and TECH. Therefore CITIES and bonuses that have to do with them will be more valuable in the long run.
In my opinion Rome from THIS model of viewing the comparison, Rome would be considered better than Germany. BUT WAIT!
The ablities themselves also do matter of course because they do factor in in terms of the magnitude of the impact they make on the game. If you were to compare two unique units you would compare how strong they are and how early you could get them to influence the game (the earlier the better… kinda like the cause and effect thing I’m talking about).
In Germany’s case, while its bonuses impact CITIES less and thereby the game less than Rome, the bonuses that it gets towards the CITIES aspect of the game is HUGE. Being able to slam down an extra district regardless of population and having a unique district that influences the PRODUCTION of units are two things that synergizes with itself so well that despite Germany having a totally inconsequential unique unit (U-Boats), and a very mediocre at best TECH ability (one extra military policy slot), it more than makes up for it in what it has going for it!
Knowing and understanding the impact each of these abilities and bonuses have on the game takes time spent playing the game… which sadly you won’t get from watching videos of youtubers talking about these things. I mean yeah I could give you my numbers and breakdowns on all the civs, but without an understanding of how I got there and arrived at those numbers, my breakdown would be meaningless to you! I could even go so far as do all that for you and explain why I weighed each ability a certain way, but then if your OPINION differed from mine, you would just disregard it. Furthermore, does spending large amounts of time looking at guides that tell you whether one civ is better than the other help you in actually getting better at the game? NOT ONE BIT. The best way to learn is through large amounts of experience, and the next best thing is to read up on a summary of that experience so you yourself might arrive at similar conclusions and this is what this guide is about.
But using my metrics earlier of stating that things that influence CITIES aspect of the game will far outweigh the other aspects as a general rule of thumb, we can still see that it holds true in Germany’s case, because the two best abilities it has ARE in fact abilties that boost CITIES.
But if you looked up at the title of this section… I mention that Civs and Comparisons don’t ULTIMATELY matter… meaning in the end it doesn’t matter, and why do I say that?
Imagine two guys getting into a bet to see who can out speed each other in a race through the streets. One guy is a retired Nascar Driver, and he loves racing cars, so he assumed that the race will be involving cars, so he gets inside his car and gets ready to race. The other guy’s got a large motorcycle collection and he is an avid collector and racer of motorcycles. He gets on one of his hot rides and gets ready to race. Who will win the race? Are motorcycles better than cars?
That’s essentially the question you all are asking when comparing civilizations.
My answer is…. “whoever is fastest is going to win the race”. DUH.
At the end of the day regardless of whether you’re choosing to race in a motorcyle or a car, it’s how well you drive that vehicle that counts. And if you think this guide has been long so far… this is not what the bulk of the guide yet. Because all I’ve done is break down the basic mechanics, and shown you how silly it is to compare different civs, how I would actually go about comparing them in a balanced manner that deals with game mechanics and not just opinion, and NOW I’m going to show you the real skills involved in playing a strategy game like this one, and how to “drive faster”.
Build Orders: What they are
For anyone who have played RTS’s like Starcraft or Starcraft II or similar games the term Build Orders might already be fairly ingrained into them. But for some reason even though we play Starcraft a certain way, when we arrive at another game like Civ, it is like nobody has even heard of the terminology or concept! For those of you who aren’t familiar with this idea, it is the simple idea that everything you “make” in a strategy game happens in a specific order, and what you make and the order that you make them matters, so much so, that you can almost think of each new thing you make like a chess move, and the first few things that you make in a game is like a chess opening and will heavily impact the rest of your game.
Every Civ will play a bit differently due to their unique abilities and bonuses and will require a different “Build order”. This is very important to understand! If you play every Civ the exactly same style, then the outcome is you will eventually gravitate towards the Civ that matches your play style… which isn’t wrong, but the only way you will improve and get the maximum potential out of a Civ you are playing is by understanding how to alter your build order and therefore your playstyle to play to the strengths of the Civ.
Let me give you an example involving Aztecs, Rome, and Japan. Aztecs, Rome, and Japan are Civilizations that are uniquely geared towards a Domination Victory. However, that is not to say they are the same play style and if you play them the same way then you are doing them wrong!
I would say Aztecs are an Early and Late game civ, Rome is a heavily Mid game civ, and Japan is solely a Late game civ. How did I arrive at that? And what does that have to do with their build order? Specifically it impacts what you build and when.
If you look at Aztecs for example, they start off with their unique unit the Eagle Warrior right on turn 1. They can very easily wipe out a neighbor civilization from the face of the game by building 2 more Eagle Warriors and attacking with them immediately. There is no counter to this other than to see it coming and to make their own warriors and slingers and hope they can survive long enough to kill off the eagle warriors. If not, they lose their capital and now Aztec have two fairly nice starting cities and can then transition into using their newly acquired builders from their early war to improve some tiles around those cities and then get set up to make settlers like most normal civs, but they would already have an advantage from early on. Mid game Aztecs should tech up like normal and focus on getting more cities on luxury resources and developing those tiles so that eventually they snowball out of control from that early lead into having a clearly superior late game military with many stacked bonuses to have easily 10+ strength advantage on their military units vs their opponents. That’s my typical Aztec build order.
A Roman Build order might be that they start off expanding early to take advantage of their expansion bonuses and then start to prepare themselves for massing up Legions in the mid game where they will need a lot of gold income and production to support that army of Legionaires… SO, Rome will start with early expansion, followed by a brief period where he might make an encampment to be able to have more production and then once the tech opens up for Legions he can immediately start producing them and attack his neighbors right around that time once he’s had a few Legions out!
Build Orders: Why you need them
If you look at Rome in our previous example, could Rome do that? No! Rome cannot make three warriors and just go ham on another Civ because their warriors don’t start off with +8 strength like the Aztecs do. Not only that but one of Rome’s early bonuses lets them get a lot of culture from expanding and it is free every time you expand with Rome so there’s a lot of reason and incentive to early expand and to expand very aggressively on important locations such as near luxuries or lots of nice hills for those mines later. SO, you absolutely can’t play Rome like you would Aztecs… but they are clearly both Military victory type civs right? Rome’s Legions are probably the best units at their tech level in the game, and they don’t come until the Classical Era. This gives Rome the time to set up… expand a few times, make some encampments, get walls up, and by the time they have their Legions researched, they should already have the PRODUCTION they need to rapidly push out a nice little army of legions and push out with that force of strong units! So essentially Rome focuses on CITY then UNITS… Aztecs is UNITS then CITY, which is a bit risky with Aztecs because if that early rush didn’t succeed they are left fairly behind. That’s also why when I play Aztecs I forego the scout and devote all production into Eagle warriors until I have 3 and attack as soon as possible so that I give myself the maximum chance of it succeeding. An early aggressor like Aztec is banking on the enemies around him expanding too greedily and not having enough miltary to fight him off. That in this case is ironic because Aztecs in the first 30 turns or so is a huge counter to Rome because Rome can’t safely expand if they are next to Aztecs. And here is where build orders really matter. It has to do with what you are making NOW impacting what you can and cannot do later.
If you were Rome and your nearest neighbor is Aztecs and you didn’t know they were there and you went about doing the normal Roman thing which is to get Settlers fairly early… and say the Aztecs got out 3 warriors and started to attack you what would happen? You’d lose, sure but let’s go into greater detail. WHY would you lose? Because you don’t have enough time to produce enough military to hold them off! The Aztecs in my example spent all this time making 3 warriors. If Rome went a typical build and started with a scout and then either a builder or a settler. Assuming that the best case scenario for Rome is that he scouts the 2 Eagle warriors with his Scout while the third is building. THAT is when Rome can begin to adjust his build order to account for this new information “oh ♥♥♥♥, I’m next to Aztecs”. If he looks back at his production queue he’ll probably see that builder or settler in the queue halfway done and if he was smart and wanted to survive, he would switch immediately to slinger and then pump out warriors nonstop. (slingers are faster to build and can defend while in the city and after that you would want warriors on the outside of the city to hold off the incoming Eagle warriors while you keep your slinger inside the city). But say even if this were true and Rome did all that to the best of his ability. Aztecs would still have what we call a “timing window”, where because of his build order, he gave himself an opportunity to strike his enemy and have an advantage. That is to say, before Rome can get out his slinger and enough warriors to hold him off, Aztecs can safely push his Eagle warriors into the enemy and basically successfully attack Rome. BUT it’s a small window, and as soon as Rome starts to produce military to hold him off that window is rapidly closing until finally Rome reaches an equilibrium with Aztecs where they can mutually kill off an equal amount of military and can’t do anything to each other’s cities… Usually it’s hard to do so and therefore the attacker has the advantage IF the attacker produced the units before his enemies could make enough to hold him off.
But here’s where things get tricky, because while it sounds like so far Aztecs are super strong and over powered from what I had described, it’s fairly easy to counter them. You just have to see that it’s them coming and switch to producing things that can hold them off. If you reach a point where you have an archer in every city or ancient walls, it becomes a lot easier to handle the Aztecs. But what about holding off say Rome?
Let’s imagine another scenario where Rome and Japan were neighbors. Rome, like Aztecs have a timing window with their Legions where once they have encampments and the ability to make Legions they can make Legions, battering rams, and the works to succeed in a big invasion force that is strong enough to punch through even if you had set up defenses. However, Japan knows this about Rome. As soon as they spotted each other early on, Japan knew that Rome will start mass producing Legions around the time he himself can obtain Swordsman. He knows that in order for him to suvive against Rome, he’s going to need to start producing units early enough where by the time Rome arrives with his Legion army, Japan will have sufficient units to defend. There is more opportunity for Japan to surivive against Rome however because Japan has a lot more time before Rome attacks. In order for Rome to overwhelm Japan with his Legions when that time hits, Rome has to make sure that his early game expanding and his city set up phase puts him far ahead enough of Japan that when Rome starts pushing out those Legions he’s going to be able to make a lot more of them along with their support units than Japan can safely handle, which means Rome needs to build up PRODUCTION early on in order to make UNITS later. Because if Rome did not do a good job of setting himself up early in the game and making his cities strong enough to produce the overwhelming amount of Legions he needs to overwhelm his enemy Japan, then he would not be able to win that military conquest. Meaning, the early game for Rome or any Civ when it is about building up your cities and GROWING is just as militarily important as making units. I know I’ve spoken a lot about Military but this also applies for the other victory types. I will also address Victory Types in a bit.
Sooo let’s talk about growth next… maximizing growth through build order.
Build Order: Maximizing Growth
Let’s look at this concept in the micro scale just to show you an example of PRODUCTION influencing build order. Say you are in the early game, you have a choice of making settlers once you have at least 2 population, builders, a granary, a scout, and a warrior. Now, what do you choose? How do you go about choosing what to make and when?
I’ve given you an idea so far of the big picture of build orders giving you a certain timing window of opportunity for military conquest, but what about being more efficient? In our previous example of Rome and Japan, how could either of them play their civs in the early game to ensure success in the mid game when they will be battling each other for supremacy?
Growth of your CITIES in general tends to give you the other things you need in the game because your CITIES are the things that produce everything else, and specifically they produce them in a number of ways:
Production from CITIES:
– Production (hammers)
The more Production that you have in your CITIES, the better off you will be. I simplified it down by making it a categorical thing so far by calling it CITIES as a THING that you focus on first based on Game Mechanics. BUT let’s go into detail how to go about doing that efficiently.
There are three things you want to ask yourself when you decide what to build at any given point in time.
1. Is it safe right now and will it be safe for me to build X for the number of turns it takes until it is finished building?
2. Out of the things I am able to build right now, which of them will allow me to DO MORE EARLIER?
3. Which order should I build these things in that will allow me to have all of them the FASTEST?
These three simple questions are just general guidelines to show you the kind of decision making questions you should be asking yourself while playing Civ 6, and furthermore it is in answering these types of questions that determine your build order. You do NOT make a static list and follow that and expect that to work every single time the same way because you will have different opponents, different map locations, different timings based on your relative positions to your opponents and a large number of other factors that will vary between games, BUT being able to answer these questions will consistently help you be successful.
In this specific set of questions, geared towards that previous situation I mentioned between Rome and Japan in the early game before Rome has the chance to mass produce Legions, both players understand that this is a period of growth. SO for question 1, yes it is safe now to build things because Rome is not yet ready to build Legions.
Answering the second question of what will allow you to do more Earlier is going to be a very big consideration. What will allow my civ to DO MORE? What do I mean by that? Say everything in this game that you make, or move around is something that is DOING something. The more THINGS that you have in this game that lets you or is DOING something the more GROWTH you experience over all. When you look at it this way, the decision between choosing a worker first or a granary first becomes more obvious. IF hypothetically it takes you 10 turns to make a Granary and 10 Turns to make a Worker, then you should make the Worker first, because if you choose to make the Granary first, you spend 10 turns making the Granary, and then you spend another 10 to make the Worker and you sacrifice the 10 turns of your Worker DOING SOMETHING if you went and made Worker first in the first 10 turns and then a granary second, because while you are making that granary, your worker that was created first can now go about DOING something to help you grow and DO MORE. This idea is simplified in this case with the worker because the worker as we all know will go about making tile improvements. Is it easier to see now that I explained it this way? Your worker will be able to make tile improvements while you build that granary so yes, build your builder first and THEN make that granary.
But this question becomes harder to answer when you have other choices that you can’t easily compare. How do you go about comparing the value of choosing to build a scout first versus building a Worker first? They aren’t exactly going to give you the same things.
The key to splitting the difference between different aspects of the game is Prioritization, and specifically knowing WHAT YOU WANT. If you have a GOAL of WHAT YOU WANT, then it becomes easier to Prioritize for that Goal.
My big goal in the scenario of being Rome in a game versus Japan in the early game is to ultimately be able to grow and expand and get to the point when I can dominate Japan with my Legions. In order to get to that point better and faster I want to maximize my ability to produce units such as Legions once that point of the game has been reached. And in order to reach that point faster I must focus on my Growth.
As Rome specifically I want to expand a couple times as soon as possible and then get up those Encampments because I can get them before Legions arrive and they will help me train Units. I will also want to build mines if I can or anything that can help provide me with more production. Ok that sounds like that is my goal.
How do I achieve that goal? When you look specifically at this scenario, Expanding come first and then I make more Production.
With expanding as a GOAL, my short term goal is to make a settler and build a city. Everything that helps me accomplish this faster or safer is going to take priority over other things. If I am choosing between a worker and a settler the choice become obvious, but when we are creating a build order it is more about answering that third question, “What order will allow me to have what I want FASTER?”
When answering this question of what will get me there Faster I have take a look at everything that is involved with building a settler and putting it down as a city.
1. My population has to grow to 2 before I can create a Settler.
2. I have to find a good spot for my settler to settle.
3. I have to safely move my settler to that location.
Breaking it down like this allows for me to see the ORDER of things I need to do. While I have a GOAL in mind of settling another city and expanding outward in mind, I can begin to break that down into STEPS I need to take. Understanding that I have to do these three steps allows for me to PRIORITIZE what I need to do to get there FASTER.
Building a scout first does NOT help me to reach this goal FASTER. I know this is likely the first thing almost all of you make on turn 1, and I’m telling you, you are shooting yourself in the foot. I can go into a long discussion about why it is BAD but let’s talk about what is GOOD first.
The FIRST thing to settling a new city is to make your starting city’s population grow. Prioritizing this first will get you to the point of settling a new city that much sooner and give you an advantage later. Making a scout does not help you grow that population. At the start of the game the only thing that you can produce that can directly impact how soon your population will grow is a worker, and I can guarantee you that you are 100% safe to make that first worker because barbarians don’t spawn on turn 1 and other players won’t have the ability to attack you on turn 1. SO, builder first is the fastest and safest thing to start with if you have growth in mind. But let’s be more specific, BUILDER FIRST is the fastest way to reach having a second city. There are other considerations and GOALS in this game such as in the Aztec example and making a builder first is NOT the best idea in ALL situations. Choosing a GOAL and focusing on that GOAL is what will help determine the most optimum build order for that specific GOAL.
Once you made that first builder you actually come back to this decision process again and decide the next thing.
Build Order: Goals and how they impact play
When you choose to make something you are focusing time towards something to reach a certain goal. IN the previous example with Rome trying to reach his goal of settling a second city as soon as possible, we see that by breaking things down he can come up with what he needs to make first, a builder.
Once he has made that first builder, he can then choose his next step. He actually should go through in his mind the same checklist of questions and break things down so that he can make his next decision. In doing so, the answer of “What I need to make right now to reach my goal sooner” becomes easier.
1. grow pop to 2 (meant we made a builder first and now he’s making us some farms)
2. find a location to settle
3. escort settler there.
Now that we are on step 2, we have to make something that will help us find a location to settle. It seems obvious that we need a scout… but wait, do we? We started off with a warrior right? If we knew at the beginning of the game our first goal to complete is to settle a second city as soon as possible to maximize our growth potential, then we would be already DOING something with that warrior. Our starting warrior will be moving around already looking for a location that is good to settle near us.
As a general rule, UNITS can help make your production more efficient through ACTIONS that give you value. I’ll go into ACTIONS and UNITS more in detail in a later section but for now I want you to notice that IF your starting warrior was able to find you a juicy location to settle near you from early on in the game, then you don’t actually NEED that scout because the VALUE of the scout is to find yourself a nice location to settle when your goal is to settle first. By taking an ACTION using your units, you have saved yourself valuable production and time by being able to skip that scout entirely.
BUT, what if your first warrior did NOT find you a good location? THEN it becomes necessary for you to make that Scout. And since you already have a builder and he’s already making you a farm and possibly a mine to help you make more units faster, you can begin to focus on that next goal of finding that next location.
But if you go through that decision making process carefully. DO you HAVE TO make a scout? I’m risking looking like I hate scouts, I don’t hate them, I love them and they are very useful but in this decision where you have just made a builder, and your goal is to expand, a scout might not be needed because your warrior might have found a spot to settle, BUT even if if you didn’t find that location let’s look more closely at what you COULD be making FASTER
The ultimate goal is to make a settler and put it down on the location you desire. Finding a location takes a few turns of moving a unit around. It comes back to that whole idea of what do I make first in order to get what I want earlier? You definitely eventually want to settle in this case, the final action is to plant down the settler, so you need that settler and in order to do that you built yourself a builder to get population growth, but while you were building that builder, you may have already grown your population to 2, OR you might be very CLOSE to making that population hit 2.
In this scenario what we already have is a builder, a warrior, a rising population that is close to hitting 2 or is already a 2. We want a settler as soon as possible, which means that the sooner we start making that settler the earlier we can get that settler moving towards the location. We COULD start making that settler already if our population is 2 and continue to move our warrior around in a big circle around our city in order to find a close location to settle while the settler is being made. This is because the warrior that we already have is giving us VALUE through his actions and that VALUE that we are getting out of that warrior is allowing us in this specific case to skip out on the scout to make a settler sooner while still obtaining some scouting information to give us a location to settle towards.
In a later section I will cover a more advanced topic called TURN SAVING where I will address the specific case when you are about to make something like a settler but you don’t have quite what you need to make it yet, either it be the population requirement, or the tech, but you are close enough to it that in a few turns you will be able to make it. WHAT DO YOU DO? What I would do is what I would call Turn Saving but I’ll get into that later. For now let’s focus on Build Order, which is a huge topic.
I hope that you can see so far with my example that all of this decision making comes from the fact that you have to have a goal in mind based upon the situation that you are in. And that goals are what allows you to be specific and to then use those goals to give you the prioritization you need to become much more efficient and effective at what you are doing, but all of it comes from an understanding of your situation and setting goals. THIS process is the essence of Strategy.
I have one final thing to add about Build Orders and then I will move on to talk about Victory Conditions. This next idea about Build Orders can be said to be the MOST IMPORTANT. Games like these involve decision making every step along the way, and a BUILD ORDER is simply a term we use to describe our decisions made along the way. However things CHANGE. If say once you made your first builder and your population is already 2, and suddenly you see a barbarian warrior arriving near your city, what do you do? How does that affect your Build Order? What do you do to account for this change? Let’s talk about this next.
Build Orders: Adapting to Change
It is hard to talk about and account for ALL possible scenarios in this game, which is why I’m trying to teach the PROCESS of strategy through this guide as applied to Civ 6. Because by learning the process I go through, you too can improve quickly and get better.
That is why I’ve offered very specific examples in my discussions so far dealing with Build Orders because in my mind a Build Order is very specific to a SITUATION and essentially what it comes down to is two things, “Doing the best thing to get what you want” and now in this section, “Doing the best thing to account for changes while still getting what you want”.
SO I will continue to use Rome and Japan’s hypothetical game in my earlier example. In this scenario, Rome already built one Builder at the start because he went through a process of mentally asking himself questions to help inform his build order to best obtain what his first goal of the game is, which is to expand early, so he can best impact the mid game later from a position of strength.
But let’s say suddenly a Barbarian warrior shows up at Rome’s door step. Immediately this is going to impact the way Rome needs to play this game in order to reach his goal of expansion. Firstly, the Barbarian Warrior can capture his builder if the builder moves close enough to it and because of this Rome can’t safely move his builder out to improve tiles. Also, if Rome doesn’t deal with this threat, moving his settler out later to reach the desired location to settle is also potentially dangerous and the barbarian warrior might capture the settler!
Because of this change in the situation, Rome has to deal with this barbarian warrior because it has become an OBSTACLE towards his GOAL. Say something else happened instead of a barbarian warrior. Say a Scout happened to appear and it was Arabia’s scout. This would probably not change the build order for Rome because the appearance of Arabia’s scout, while it does change the situation, is not an OBSTACLE for Rome’s GOAL of expanding. But this Barbarian Warrior IS an Obstacle. And because there is an OBSTACLE, there needs to be a change in the build order to overcome this problem.
Of course, you could say Rome at this point makes 3 warriors and goes nuts on that barbarian warrior… that barbarian warrior didn’t even stand a chance and Rome is victorious and takes down the nearby barbarian Camp… whooppie! But THAT would be a mistake. Rome’s GOAL remember, is to conquer Japan by the time he has Legions. His short term goal is to expand quickly in order to be in a better position to do that with his Legions later. This warrior that appeared is an OBSTACLE to that Goal. Completely destroying this barbarian warrior is not required, and the FASTEST WAY TO REACH ROME’s GOAL in this case is to choose the most effective method of dealing with the threat while continuing towards the goal. Rome’s best option is to do the minimum required thing and make the minimum required adjustment in his Build Order in order to compensate for this change and to deal with it while still continuing on his path towards glory.
In other words, this is only going to change one thing in his short term plans:
1. Reach Pop 2
2. Find a good location to settle (possibly while making the settler)
3. Keep the Settler safe while it moves
4. Move the Settler to the location it needs to settle.
Dealing with an Obstacle should be seen as an additional step. It does slow you down, and it does set you back a bit from your goals, but your job as a player is to minimize that impact on you so that you’re not wasting too much time or effort on dealing with this problem so that you are still making decent progress to your goal. The less of an impact this obstacle has on your build order, the better, because this essentially comes down to making what you want, versus making what you need to make so that you can go back to making what you want.
Let’s look at Rome’s Options. Rome, could make a Warrior, a Slinger, and a Scout to deal with the enemy barbarian Warrior. What will each of these units allow him to do? A Warrior will be able fight the enemy barbarian warrior and potentially kill it in a few turns. A Scout would be able to escort our settler to location while taking some hits from the enemy warrior. A slinger could defend our base in the safety of the city and keep the Barbarian from attacking our city. That’s what they do in the short term. Not to mention we also have our own first starting warrior.
How to deal with this situation?
Firstly we want to minimize the impact this enemy barbarian warrior has on our overall strategy so that we can still reach our goals as soon as possible. We want to settle as soon as possible. Our current warrior that we started with is on a mission right now of finding us a good location to settle, this allowed us to safely build a builder first without worrying about making a scout. So in a way our Warrior is tied up. If we move our Warrior to fight this barbarian warrior what we are giving up is the value of a Scout. In other words, if we bring our warrior back to our city to defend against this Barbarian Warrior, the cost to us is high, we are losing the VALUE of a scout, even though we never even made a scout. If we already found a location to settle, then that’s not a problem and pulling our warrior back in time to push out with our settler becomes our most optimum strategy, because we can continue to build our settler, we already got the VALUE of a scout by finding ourselves a good place to settle and we only lose the value of being able to move out with our builder to improve some tiles. The impact on our game just by this barbarian showing up is reduced down to us losing a few turns of being able to use our Builder.
BUT if our warrior is still looking for a place to settle, we have this cost implied to moving it back to fight this Barbarian Warrior, because then we still haven’t found a location and so effectively we are still behind by a Scout, and on top of that, until our Warrior gets back home, our builder still can’t move out from our city safely. So moving our warrior back is costly if we don’t have a location found yet, based upon our GOAL of settling a second city as soon as possible.
Let’s look at making new units then as something more than just dealing with our enemy Barbarian Warrior for just a second. We already talked about how making a new warrior, a scout, or a slinger might impact the game NOW when dealing with that enemy barbarian warrior, but one of the key Concepts I want to impart on you is this idea that you can maximize what your building is going to DO for you by making it have more VALUE for you. Again I will go in great detail about this later when we discuss UNITS, but already you can see that our Warrior that we started with is providing us with a lot of VALUE by doing the job of a scout.
When you come up with a build order or decide what to make next, you must also take into consideration your goals in the FUTURE. What you want to do is to maximize not only the value of what you get out of making something NOW, but also what it can do for you later on in the game.
If Rome made a scout as his second thing that he trains he’s saying “either way I need to create a scout’s value for dealing with this barbarian warrior”. He acknowledges that if he pulls his warrior back before he finds a location to settle with it, then he’s losing a scout’s early game Value, and if he makes a scout Now, it’s essentially the same thing, he’s going to have that same cost applied to his civilization, and that seems to be a price he can’t avoid now moving forward. A Scout is cheaper to make than a Slinger or a Warrior so it might almost sound like the best option to make and it can be depending on what you want to use it for.
What can Rome get out of his scout? (continued)
Build Orders: Adapting to Change (continued)
IF Rome decides to make a scout, he could use it to body block the enemy warrior by providing his settler a meat shield as he moves both on the same tile towards a location to settle. He might take a lot of damage in the process and hopefully the warrior that he already has at the start, who found that new location to settle can almost head back towards the direction of his first city to help out that scout and fend off the barbarian in time. This is kind of risky but can work and it sounds like it is the minimum adjustment Rome can make under this circumstance to deal with the enemy Barbarian Warrior.
But in a Build Order I’ve just mentioned that you want to maximize the VALUE you get out of a unit by looking ahead and seeing what it can do for you down the road. What can the Scout do if it survives the barbarian? It can find a third location to settle. That is it’s next Value… Possibly it can find a fourth after that if it survives or even find you a natural wonder or the location of the enemy civ near you. It’s advantage going ahead of other units is that it has faster movement so it can go places faster and help you reveal more of the map.
Now let’s consider the other units in this scenario.
If we made a slinger, we can use it to also do the same thing as the scout as mentioned before and bodyguard that settler to the new location meeting up with our first warrior along the way. If Rome chose to make a Slinger at this point, the Slinger could also be used to defend the new city that the settler will found once Rome puts it down at the new location. The slinger could provide the VALUE of giving that city some added security against future attacks. That is NOT something a scout can safely do. The Slinger could also be said to have the ability to do what the Scout can do later in that we could also move the Slinger around the map and act as a scout to find the enemy Civ, Japan or natural wonders, etc. It will move a little slower, but you could say that it can still do what the Scout does but it does something else in addition, it can defend a city. So, a Slinger, even though it is a slightly more expensive option than the Scout, we can get more out of it later.
Next let’s look at the Warrior. If we made a new warrior to defend our new settler, we will be able to all the things that the slinger could do, and one extra thing. We can attack. Based on the way Barbarians works, there will be more and more of them the longer we leave that barbarian camp up. We will need to eventually handle the situation by sending military units over there to destroy the camp and earn us some gold and exp on our units in the process. Now the Slinger can also accomplish this task indirectly by being able to possibly kill one of the barbarians (giving us a boost to our research on Archery) and then promote it into an Archer and THEN it can safely move out to attack the barbarian camp… BUT we have to look at the our GOAL in determining what is the VALUE that we are looking for.
Making a Warrior and attacking the barbarian Camp is great… and so is Upgrading a slinger later into an Archer and dealing with the Barbarian Camp, but in order to determine the best option we have to look at our GOAL of making Legions and attacking our neighbor Japan. Because the Legions are Rome’s strongest option for it’s tech level (archers being a lot weaker and horseman being also weaker) and because the warrior can be upgraded into a Legion later, it is better for Rome to make a warrior NOW to deal with this situation because of the VALUE this warrior can give to Rome by being able to safely body guard the first settler, by being able to defend the new city, by being able to scout, by being able to attack the barbarian camp later, and by being able to upgrade into a Legion and attack our nearby Civ enemies.
If Rome makes a scout right now or a slinger, he would be getting less value and in order to get the value of being able to attack the barbarian camp safely and also to get more Legions (his goal), Rome would need to make a warrior later on top of making a scout or a slinger NOW, so you could see it as being more efficient to make a warrior NOW as opposed to later because one warrior now can do all those things we mentioned later, while making a cheaper unit now will mean we still need to make more of the expensive units later. In this specific scenario, a warrior after a builder to deal with the barbarian threat is good.
Let’s look at a few more options and discuss why they are inferior to this specific scenario. What if Rome decides to make his settler as soon as he hits second population and he ignores the barbarian warrior and continued to scout for a good location to settle with his first warrior? Well, his builder will still be unable to move out safely, but to top that off, after he makes his first settler he can’t move his settler out safely either. He will have to either wait a lot of turns for this first warrior to move all the way back to his city to escort his settler out, OR he would have to wait for an entire new unit such as a new warrior before he can move his settler out anyway… so it’ll cause a lot of waiting around and waiting around is just another way of saying you are not getting VALUE out of the units you made… when you can’t improve tiles with a builder that builder is not giving you any value. When you can’t move out with your settler to settle and it has to wait around, you are not getting any value out of that settler.
But if Rome made a new unit now, with the barbarian at his doorstep, he can immediately get VALUE out of that unit by escorting his existing builder out safely to improve tiles while he trains/makes his first Settler. In an ideal world, of course Rome would have hoped that no Barbarians spawns near him so that he could safely just go Builder first into Settler… that would be optimal if no obstacles came up. But when there is an obstacle that comes up like a barbarian warrior, it become important to choose a new action that gives Rome the optimal response. THAT is the nature of Build Orders and how you plan your decisions in this game. I hope I gave good examples to illustrate this thought process.
Next, I will zoom out and go back to the “big picture” and look at Victory Conditions.
Build Orders: HOW TO LEARN
Ok I went back and added this section. I wanted to share briefly in what I did with this game in order to learn and better improve my knowledge of the game in terms of understanding how to make better build order decisions.
DO the following in order to learn FAST!
1. Pick a Civ you want to learn and play it on a difficulty in single player that you are comfortable with.
2. Play the game up to a point where you have to make a decision on what you want to make inside your city. (great for coming up with early game scenarios as you can set this up faster.)
3. Once you’ve reached this point in the game, save the game on this very important decision making turn. Now choose one out of the many options and continue to play through the next 20 or so turns noting the effect of your decision and the impact of that decision on the next 20 or so turns of the game.
4. Reload the game back to the saved turn, and choose a different option and build something different instead, and again play through the next 20 or so turns to see the effect of your decision.
5. Repeat this process as many times as you like with different scenarios that come up that you want to learn from, and eventually you will get a much better idea of how you should play in a certain situation than just spamming games and playing from start to finish.
Victory Conditions: Single Player Domination Victory
While I prefer to cover more about Multiplayer aspects of this game, I believe due to how long it takes to complete a game of Civ, most of us still do play Single player and it is still very enjoyable, so both modes are valid, but because Multiplayer plays very differently, I’m keeping them separated when considering Victory Conditions.
When you are up against the AI, especially on higher difficulties, the AI has an advantage at the start, this is because it is very difficult to program an AI to be able to handle the complexity of this game well and to prioritize things correctly like a skilled human player. If we all started playing this game and knew the bare minimum to be able to play… we’d all be playing like the AI. But since we are able to learn and improve and prioritize what’s truly important, we can be more efficient than the AI and therefore we naturally have an advantage over the AI and it doesn’t necessarily make this game unfun, it can still be pretty challenging to play the single player mode on higher difficulties until you’ve learned enough about this game that you can be so efficient in your moves that you will always beat the AI on any difficulty, but until then, this is how I see the Victory Conditions in Single Player.
In terms of being able to completely take over the map or take all the capitals of the AI, I see this as quite a difficult agenda to pursue because the AI as I mentioned before starts off with advantages. In order to overcome their armies, you need to gain an advantage that is strong enough to overcome this difference at the start. In other words you will be playing a lot of catch up. Another aspect of this game is that AI hates warmongering, and if you pursue this path you will have to be ready to fight every civ in the game and possibly all at once at some point. This means you can’t play the diplomacy game very easily. I have given up trying to please the AI of any other civ when I’m pursuing Domination Victory. The AI is not smart enough to understand the concepts such as “I am a big threat, but you can negotiate with me to kill you off later”, the behave more like innocent children when it comes to violence… if they see violence, they get upset and they cry about it and makes damned sure you hear about their crying. They also behave like very irrational and somewhat crazy people, and will declare war on you even if they have no hope of winning with their weak armies. This actually can cause problems because some AI’s will suicide into your larger empire while your army is out conquering some foreign land somewhere. Finally, since you will be fighting a war with every civ at a certain point, you will need to have a ridiculously large economy to be able to support the upkeep of an extremely large army or a highly advanced one. This means you can’t neglect your gold production. Finally you also have to have enough production capacity to make all your military units. All in all, this is a fun and challenging way to play Civ 6 in Single player and forces you to master the use of your units, your traders/commercial districts, and your cultural policies to be able to gain the edge you need.
Typically I found there to be a central strategy that works every time against the AI when pursuing this path to victory. You should always use your Capital or your first cities to make at least one city your main Production City with as much mines, industrial district, and such things as possible so that you can very quickly make an army out of one or two main production cities. This main production city is mainly going to produce Production and Science, and later Amenities through Entertainment. This is important to have because of the flexibility it gives you by being able to quickly produce a unit and being able to switch to a new unit to adapt to changing situations. As you conquer new cities from enemies, these will be what I consider “satelite cities” and they will never grow to the size of your main production cities, and because you will have a LOT of these as you push on towards conquering the world, they can be all told to make the OTHER types of resources you need, mainly Gold, and Amenity through Entertainment districts. Because as you expand and make your empire wider and wider and have more and more cities, the increase in the number of cities and population will constantly put pressure on you to make more Amenities, and since you’re not going to rely on them to make your army, they can take as much time as they like to make Amenities for your empire and since you will need an ever increasing amount of income in gold to support the upkeep of your extremely large army, you will need gold and as you conquer more of these satellite cities, they can be set to make financial districts and traders to boost your gold income to handle this problem. Finally, there are some key policies that you will want to go for if you are going this route.
Conscription, Professional Army, Native Conquest, and Merchant Confederation.
Also the Merchant Republic is the best type of Government to reach and stay in.
You will notice that I have placed a heavy emphasis on gold management and gold income when I’m talking about Single Player Domination Victory, and the reason for this is very simple, Armies require gold. Not only do they require gold to maintain but they also require gold to upgrade as you advance in tech… your extra gold income will also allow you to purchase more of those units on the front lines in your recently captured cities to reinforce your armies a lot better than if you were to solely rely on your main production cities for the entire game. The main production cities should be how you start off your first war, and continue to use those production cities to make things you need such as wonders and other things as you progress along with new units, but towards the late game gold will make your life a LOT easier at finishing up and clearing up the map. You don’t have to wait 30 turns for a new unit to walk all the way across a large map to reinforce your armies… You can instantly buy a new unit or upgrade an existing unit at the front lines and THIS is so you don’t lose momentum moving forward. If your conquest is ever stopped for too long you might not be able to pick it back up again against the AI so it is very important that you have this endless momentum swinging forward and across the map. Money is how you do this in the late game and production is how you do this in the early game.
Victory Conditions: Single Player Religious Victory
I tend to see Religion as it’s own version of “production” but what is interesting is it is also a quasi-tech. You do get to “research” things with faith, but for the most part faith is a “production based mechanic” kind of like Gold. You accumulate it over time and you spend it to buy what you want. When playing against the AI and trying to obtain a Religious Victory you want to try to be as efficient as possible with your faith. The key to being efficient with Faith is to not spend it in a little bit at a time but to spend large amounts all at once. If you merely spend a tiny bit of faith and say spread your religion to a large city a “little bit” the momentum of change in that city will still favor the dominant religion in that city, meaning over time, the faith that you spent will be wasted as the dominant faith will exert more force on the city and you will lose out in the long run. Instead, the smart thing to do is to save up a lot of faith units, and then “blitz” the cities you want to convert so that instantly overnight you convert like multiple cities all at once and become the dominant force in a region all at once religion wise. This can be hard if the enemy faction is also religious and hostile towards you, which is why I advise first playing a very diplomatic and economic early game and save up as much faith as possible and spend it once you have Theocracy for the discounts.
Once you have Theocracy you should focus on taking over the strongest Religions first. By wiping out your competitors in the Religious arena, you can easily convert the other non-religious civs at your own pace later. The key is to overwhelm them with a LARGE force of religious units and almost overnight convert their entire civ to your religion.
If you are playing on a larger map, the key to overcoming multiple religions over time is literally one specific Founding Belief that can completely change the game for you.
Always try to get Pilgrimage. This founding belief will singlehandedly win you the game. The bonus to faith that you get scales with the number of opponents you have so even if it’s a large map with lots of civs, your total number of faith produced in a game will scale based on how many converts you will need. Without this founding belief you might find yourself running low on Faith after converting a few civs and if you ever hit that point and you are purely relying on religious pressure to spread your religion, and there’s still other religions out there that are dominant? Say goodbye to your victory… Unless you have a higher faith income than other religions you won’t be able to overcome them in the long run… making the faith gain per turn the main resource towards getting you victory and Pilgrimage is game changing.
Finally, just because you decided to go a religious victory route doesn’t mean you can’t lose to other victory types. You still have to keep an eye on Military and play the military game to an extent to stay alive and relevant. And if the game ever drags on for too long, there could also be a culture problem, you need to deal with civs that are getting too strong on culture by attacking their cities that have artifacts and relics, OR make sure you have enough population and culture of your own. But more often than not, if you are going for the religious victory you mainly need to worry about staying relevant with your military to keep you alive and from being conquered.
Victory Conditions: Single Player Cultural Victory
Let me emphasize this one fact… Cultural Victories are the hardest to accomplish in this game. I personally still haven’t gotten one yet. Partly because I’m not interested in this victory type myself, but also because if you had to pick a “back up victory condition” when you were originally going for a Domination or Religious Victory, a Science Victory is almost always easier to do because of how the game mechanics work. Let me explain.
First let’s explain how obtaining this victory type works… you have to gain more visiting tourists than all other civs’ tourism combined…
To put this into perspective, it’s like saying in order to win a population victory, you need to have more population than the rest of the world combined… or in order to win a domination victory you need to have more armies than the rest of the world combined. Numerically speaking this is the hardest to achieve goal! You don’t have to be better than other Civs, you have to be better than ALL OF THEM COMBINED. Tourism is NOT the same as culture. It is HARD to gain tourism.
There’s a really great article from Eurogamer that explains this victory type in detail. Here’s the link:
The problem I have with this Victory condition is two fold. Firstly, everything that produces culture and tourism, strictly speaking is separated and isolated on it’s own… you can say it’s like Religion in that this is a competely separate game mechanic that has little to do with other mechanics. BUT tourism is harder to impact directly than Faith conversions, and therefore there is less ACTIVE things you can do to influence or compel this type of victory to happen. You are playing a minigame inside your own civilization to maximize Tourism while trying to survive and this minigame is very non-interactive with other civs. Outside of policies, Culture doesn’t really impact the game in any way. If you have enough Culture to progress fairly rapidly, you can get stuff like bonuses to producing units early which is great. So SOME culture is nice. But when you have a LOT of Culture, it doesn’t make it better…
Secondly, when you build a cultural district, you are giving up the chance to make an industrial district or a campus, and that HURTS you because all these other districts can impact the game in other aspects of the game, where culture is it’s own little universe and it does nothing to help other aspects of the game aside from the policy cards. Like I’ve mentioned, Policies and getting them faster is good, but having a LOT of culture doesn’t make those policies better… it’s still the same policy. And in the meantime, if you chose to make say a district like say Industrial, the productivity increase will allow for you to make more units and even other districts and will give you a long term compounding bonus that will really help you as the game progress and the more you have it the more it will impact the game. Commerce acts the same way, the MORE gold income that you have, the better… you will get more gold faster and be able to spend it on more things. But more culture is limited to the max number of slots you have and the policies themselves are the upper limit… if I get 100 culture per turn versus if I get 300 culture per turn, I’ll still be essentially getting the same policies.
There are several mitigating factors to consider. There are some civs out there that have some very powerful abilities and bonuses that help towards this victory type. Kongo for example is amazing at this victory type… instead of one or two useless artifacts and relics sitting in museums, Kongo can make a LOT of useless artifacts and relics sitting in museums! And when you play a civ like Kongo, and make a LOT of these useless things…they get close to being useful because their only usefulness is suddenly giving you the win when you have enough of them… Think of it like this… if you haven’t already won the game through cultural victory… these relics and artifacts and writings and songs and such, they do absolutely nothing for you in impacting other aspects of the game… the only impact having 300 culture per turn versus 100 culture per turn will have on my game is that I will accumulate more tourists faster… and these tourists give me absolutely NO IMPACT and NO VALUE whatsover until at the end I win, IF I win. Now if they gave Tourism a bonus to Gold or Science income then I would be spending a LOT more time looking into this aspect of the game, but since tourism (the direct result of having MORE culture as opposed to less) gives you absolutely nothing, pursuing this victory condition makes you less efficient over all.
If you look at science, even though you haven’t won the game by launching to Mars, being further up the science tech tree will give you access to better units and tech. While you can make an argument for a Cultural victory being the same thing because you can unlock policies, it is not like policies that are unlocked are all going to benefit you… you have a limited number of slots available for them, meaning the impact on the game is limted through the policies. They are powerful but they can’t all be used at once while Science doesn’t have this limit. Also, Culture is NOT the same as Tourism, it should be called a Tourism Victory. Because Tourism is what you need to win a “Cultural Victory”. And Tourism is what you need to focus on to win this type of Victory and it is worthless until you have enough of it to win.
That’s my take on it. Culture is great, but Culture is something every civ gets anyway and is NOT how you win a Cultural Victory, and Tourism is extremely hard to gain safely because it’s like saying “I’m spending time and energy becoming more and more useless and all this time and production I spent will yield me a few policies that can somewhat help me, while I allow other civs to develop and out compete me through efficiency, while I sit here and become less and less effective until one day suddenly I win, but more likely than not, my artifacts and relics will not defend me against invaders and I will be raped and plundered.”
Lastly, if you focus too hard on Tourism, you will not be able to impact the game as well and therefore you won’t win. If you don’t focus on it hard enough, other players will have more culture and tourism than you and then again, you won’t win. It’s a lose lose situation. My opinion, this Victory Type needs a rework.
Victory Conditions: Single Player Science Victory
Science Victories in 4X games are really interesting to me because overall they have always been the easiest to balance. By pursuing it, the player is able to use Science to impact how they play and does have an advantage to other aspects of the game such as their military strength. The victory condition of having researched every tech in the game has been fairly common and players can easily grasp this idea and try to maximize their science production to “rush” down the tech tree for victory. It also gives opposing players a chance to catch up or to slow down the winner in some meaningful way.
In Singleplayer this is actually the “inevitable victory type” at the end of the game when all else fails simply because everyone will eventually produce enough science to have all the tech unlocked at the end, and in Civ 6 with the introduction of Space Shuttle modules, you also get a chance to impact any opposing civs going for the same science victory by destroying the space modules that they are making or destroying the city with a nuclear weapon.
My biggest advice to anyone pursuing the science Victory in Civ 6 is that Campuses are not the only way to get science and there are 2 invisible “science” numbers in the game.
Population gives science and culture. The more population you have the more science and culture you will gain.
The other one is even less obvious. Production. While it can be said that Production doesn’t strictly produce Science, Production does produce buildings that produce Science. If you build up your production capacity first you can make science related buildings a lot faster and thereby speeding up your “science”.
Never underestimate these two factors. You need large population and production numbers if you really want to win a science victory on top of making lots of campuses, libraries, and universities.
Science Victory can be said is mainly dependent on CITIES type interaction, and for the most part you will be doing a lot of what people call “Sim Citying”. To Sim-City in Civ 6, you’re emphasizing developing your cities over making more units and you are focusing on it a lot more.
Lastly a precaution, when you make a lot of buildings in your districts, you will need to pay an upkeep for them just like an army… think of your scientists in your campuses as people who trained to become a scientist instead of joining the army in your civ and you still have to pay them… so having gold income to support them will be important in the same manner as in Domination, but the policies to help it will be different. I would focus more on trading to get the gold income you need. Also City State interaction and policies will help you a great deal. All in all a fun way to win and is not so simple as it seems.
Victory Conditions: Multiplayer Discussion
While much of the tips and things I said about the different victory types in single player still applies, Multiplayer adds a whole new dimensioni to this game and that is that instead of playing against AI civs who have a start advantages on higher difficulties, other players have solely their skills and knowledge of the game as a measure of their relative strength. The biggest part to note about that is that players who play Civ 6 are not all at the same level of skill, and most players don’t know how to play the game to the maximum potential.
Why that matters is that the incompetent players in Multiplayer mode heavily skews the game in favor of a Domination Victory. The players who are skilled enough to field an adaquate army to take a city from a less competent player in Civ 6 multiplayer play will have an advantage over all the other Civs in the game no matter how skilled the other players are… if you manage to take cities from other players you will get ahead and snowball out of control.
Further more, look at it from this perspective, each Victory Type has a sort of timer…
Domination: Can happen at any time.
Religion: Mid game to late game.
Cultural Victory: Late game.
Science Victory: Late game.
At any point in the game Domination Victory can occur and the game is over so it trumps all other Victory Types. Then Religion comes into play about mid game. I’d say most players I’ve played in Multiplayer do not understand the game well enough to reliably get the Religious victory so it means that the main counter to Domination Victories is not where it’s at and this is due to player skill.
Culture and Science Victories are fun and fine in single player but because they happen so late in the game they are easily the hardest to accomplish in Multiplayer and any Domination Victory type players with a military will easily overtake players who focused only on science and culture by having more cities and the extra population of those cities will give enough extra science and culture to offset the cutural districts and campuses that the more passive players had built.
In the hands of skilled veteran players of this game, Domination or “Military” is the key to “surivival” in this game and must be always one of the main concerns. Handling victory through Religion, Culture, or Science are alternative paths to victory that should not disregard Military.
Finally Military units have a way to directly impact the opposing players while the other types of victories do not have units or direct ways to impact other players, and therefore Military can “counter” other play styles or deal with other play styles while a non-military play style in this game cannot handle a strong military directly. Therefore in Multiplayer, it is so important to be able to properly understand your Military and applications in the game that it is like what Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “Military Conflict is the chief concern of the state, it is a matter of life and death”.
City Management: Builders
I’ve just mentioned in the previous secion that Military is the main concern in Multiplayer, but if we go back first to what I said earlier about Core Mechanics, you can see that in order to have a stronger Army through having lots of UNITS, you have to have strong CITIES.
In my example of build orders, you can see the importance of Builders and their huge role in this game. Builders have the biggest impact on this game, PERIOD.
The True VALUE of Builders:
Builders start with 3 charges in this game and can instantly spend a charge to build something called a tile improvement. Most tile improvements have to be unlocked through research, but right off the bat you have the ability to make farms.
Before going into detail about each of the tile improvements themselves, visualize this… You need certain things like food, production, gold, faith, culture, and science in this game… these are your resources. You spend a certain amount of time producing Builders and in return they can use their charges to help you obtain more of these resources and these improvements are permanent. If they are pillaged by enemies you can simply repair these improvements without spending any charges. This means that each charge on a worker is a permanent addition to your civilization’s capability. Workers are fairly cheap to make, and as long as you have tiles that are open in your city that you own, your worker can improve that tile with one of the unlocked improvements that you had unlocked through your technology. They start with 3 charges and they can even gain more charges later in the game with more tech and wonders.
Each charge improves your civlization permanently and instantly and you can then use these improvements and the resources that they give to make more things that your empire needs. This is truly the foundation of your civilization. If you relied purely on your population to grow on it’s own for example it would be a lot slower than if you had a builder and you made yourself some farms. The extra food from the farms will help your city population grow. Similarly this can be said for every resource and once you have the tech for improvements that you want unlocked you can be pretty flexible with what you want to make on your tiles.
You have Builders available to be trained at the start of the game, and immediately they can heavily impact your game by giving you more resources which will help your progress for the rest of the game. In other words, you make Builders to Grow.
Within growing your City, Builders have the fastest and easily the biggest early impact, before you get your districts unlocked and even after you have a district unlocked you will still have more tiles worth of improvements than a district.
Let’s take a quick look at a district to compare. A district, mind you, will take a lot longer to produce than a worker. An industrial zone (a production district) gives a base of +2 production if it is being worked by a citizen (a population) and it costs 60 production to make. A worker costs 50 production to make and once you have Mining researched you can use it to make mines which will give +1 production in the early game on top of the production value of the hill that it is built on. If a worker spent all three charges making Mines, you would get +3 production out of the three mines and the District would only give 2 on it’s own while the worker is cheaper.
This does not mean you should only make workers and improve all your tiles, because if you notice, there are “adjacency bonuses”. This is the key to City Management in Civ 6 and the most important aspect of the game to learn by far. The way you layout your city will determine how much production you will get out of your land. Given the same exact city, a different layout will give you different production numbers. Figuring out the best layouts can take experience to learn.
The example I would give is, if there is a spot next to 2 hills where you could place a farm, instead of placing a farm there, consider placing a Industrial Zone there later, because the Industrial Zone will give you +1 production for each Mine it is next to. Knowing this, we can plan to build two mines on the hills and an Industrial Zone on the flat ground next to those hills for a total of +4 production from the district, and +1 each from the mines to get a total of +6 production on those three tiles. If we had placed a farm where the district is we would only get +1 food and +2 production from the mines and we would get 3 total resources out of those three tiles instead of 6 if we made the district there.
Finally, every improvement gives half a housing… builders help your HOUSING!
Where you place your improvements matter so take your time to decide how you want to layout your city for the best use of the tiles around that city!
One major advanced tip I would give new players and veteran players alike is instead of spending all the charges of a builder, if it is the only builder that you have in that area of the map, it is a good consideration to think about saving that worker with 1 remaining charge on it, because a worker can Repair damaged tile improvements for free without spending a charge. By keeping at least one worker with 1 charge around (I call this builder saving) you have a way to readily and quickly repair any damaged tiles as soon as it is safe to do so. This is an advanced tip and I trust that those of you skilled enough to use this tip properly will understand that this is situational because sometimes it is not worth it to save that charge when you need the extra boost to your economy by making an important improvement. But I have always found this Builder Saving strategy to save my butt more often than not, because pillaged tiles don’t give their bonuses… and it can take a while to make another builder, wasting valuable time those tiles could have spent giving you the resources they contained, and by having just 1 charge saved up on a builder you have an insurance against losing all those valuable turns worth of resources.
The Great Pyramids:
If you are considering getting this wonder, it can be useful to keep multiple builders with 1 charge remaining around since they will be able to gain an extra charge once the Great Pyramids finish. It will apply to them retroactively.
Policies: If you are making multiple Builders for the near future turns and/or have multiple cities building Builders, then it is good to invest in policy to help you make them faster and more efficiently such as Ilkum, or later on, Serfdom which gives newly made builders 2 extra charges. Try to use policies that can help you with your current goals.
Civilization Specific Builder Mechanics:
Both Aztecs and China have unique mechanics that have to do with Builders.
China’s abilty to have an extra charge on their workers is a huge bonus considering just how powerful each charge on a builder is already. In addition they can spend builder charges to get a discount on their wonders being constructed. Each charge of the builder speeds up the production by 15% of total construction. For example… if you spend builder charges on speeding up Petra, each charge that a Chinese Builder spends on Petra will speed it up by 15% or… 60 production, since Petra is 400 production to make. That is a HUGE bonus! And each Chinese Builder has 4 charges to start with! It takes 7 charges to fully complete a Wonder and you can only spend Builder charges on the ancient and classical wonders as China.
One additional pro tip with Chinese Builders. Remember the earlier tip about Builder Saving? If you save 7 builders with 1 charge remaining, you can finish a wonder in one turn by keeping the builders next to the tile you build the wonder on.
Aztecs are similar but their worker bonus is only 20% of a district. Districts are cheap, so 20% of 60 is only 12 production per charge… still good, but situational.
City Management: Districts
I mentioned in an earlier section (I think it was Victory Conditions: Single Player Domination Victory), that there are different city types and you should consider some of them to be “main production cities” and other cities to be “satelite cities”. Well, this distinction comes from something very central to the core mechanics of how the districts in this game function. It is limited by Population.
Unlike in any other previous Civilization game, population growth is now limited by a dual system of Housing and Amenities, which I personally think is better than the previous Happiness system.
I will go into Housing and Amenities in the next section.
Each District can be further improved upon to have buildings within them that gives the city large bonuses and in this way Districts in this game make up for the heart and soul of your city. It is the backbone, the bread and butter, the meat of your civilization and it has the greatest impact on what your city can do and is specialized for. And what all your cities can do will influence how your civ empire will develop. Districts take what you’ve made out of your city through builders and improvements and take it to the next level.
Because of the sheer power of districts, the developers of this game limited the amount of districts you can have in the game through population as: you have a base allowance of 1 and one additional for each 3 citizens (population) your city has, where from 1-3 population you can make 2 districts and from 4-6 population you can make 3 districts, and so on.
There are many districts to choose from in this game but what you choose will dictate how you play and how well you can play, so it is important to understand up front that the best district is an Industrial district.
You might laugh when I say it so simply, but this is because Production is the one resource in your cities that you absolutely require to make everything else, especially in the early stages of the game. Later, you might consider switching over to a more gold based or faith based economy but from the get go, the one resource that you need the most of and is the most important is production since it is the production that leads to everything else, it is simply the single most important early game resource.
The first district you should make is a production type district and there are two in the early game. The Encampment and The Industrial District. In the case of the Encampment only some of its buildings once you get it can give production such as the Barracks or the Armory. The advantage of the Encampment is that you can get it fairly early in the game and it also helps defend your city from attack once you have walls up. But in terms of sheer amount of production, the Industrial Zone provides the most production out of any district as that is its specialty. Once you have an Industrial zone and later some buildings in it, it becomes a LOT faster to build any other districts and units out of this city. Investing in production early means being able to build more THINGS later… that’s everything later… if you want more army you can have more army units later if you first invested some time into increasing your production because then you can make more units faster.
The reason why you can only reliably use your early cities as “main production cities” is because of how long it can take to set up a city with a fully operational industrial zone with buildings in it and everything. You have to first invest into it early on and then you get the rewards for your investment later. If say you made some new colonies mid game or you captured a low population city from another player or the AI, you won’t have the luxury of time to set up a big production base inside a new city. By the time that you have done that in a new city you got in the mid game, the game might already be over and you won’t have time to use the production of that city to make enough THINGS out of it to make it worthwhile. SO, for those cities, with low pop or low production, I consider them “Satelite Cities” because they are what I use to make the “other districts” that are not production focused such as Commercial Districts, Campuses, and Entertainment Districts. Faith districts and Cultural Districts are situational and dependent on whether you are going for a religious victory or Cultural Victory. I wouldn’t even bother with making them in Multiplayer. You get culture from population anyway, the more population you have the more culture you generate and that’s already enough to progress you along through the cultural policies, and the only “culture building” you really need all game is monuments in all your cities because they are cheap, and have no maintainance cost.
While some people or guides tell you to make a Faith district in one of your cities so you can get that early religion and get the founder bonuses, it is a nice idea in theory but it puts you waaaaay behind in the game because of what you sacrificed in the process. The founder beliefs are a lot weaker than having a fully functional industrial zone up and running, and since you need to essentially build a religious district in one of your early cities in order to have the ability to found a religion, you are definitely trading off between having an industrial zone by choosing the faith. If you’re not going for a religious victory, I would leave faith districts alone and focus on Industrial Zone first as your top priority in ANY civilization that you play because it is THAT important.
The second most important district in the game is the Commercial District and here’s why. Everything you make in this game from districts to Military Units require a gold upkeep. You could say Science is important, but a truly skilled player will know how to use the “Eurekas” to boost their science which is significant enough that you don’t have to make campuses your top priority. Also, with enough gold income you can outright BUY a unit which is faster than building one and this mechanic allows for you to have a sort of buffer in response to being attacked by enemies. If someone declares a surprise war on you, no amount of science can help you defend yourself, and even if you have high production, unless you planned to be attacked or was planning to attack someone else, you won’t be able to catch up in time to the army the enemy already has, because they will have “timed the attack” maximize the number of units they could have at that moment in the game to try to overwhelm you. Gold lets you spend it on demand for such situations where no other mechanic in the game other than Faith purchasing in the game with Theocracy. In other words, outside of purchasing an army with Faith through Theocracy, the only way to instantly respond to an attacker is through having a strong gold economy, so Commercial Districts are directly under the Industrial Zone in terms of importance.
Campuses come next, because out of all the other ones, Campuses gives the player “More options” and “accumulates over time”. Again, Culture is not nearly as good as I’ve stated repeatedly, and science is really far better.
Finally, You have the Entertainment Complex, and it is a good solid choice to make in all your satelite cities as a second district after you have made a commercial district.
So let’s break it down. In general, regardless of which civilization you are playing as, you will want to build certain districts in your Main Cities, and certain districts in your Satelites.
Main Cities: Start with Encampment or Industrial district, second district should be Industrial for sure if you don’t already have one, or a Commercial district, Third one Campus/Entertainment.
Satelite Cities: Start with Commercial District, and take your pick between Campus and Entertainment depending on your Amenities needs.
The only exceptions to this is when you want to try to focus on a Civ that focuses on a specific win condition.
City Management: Housing and Amenities.
I was very Unhappy about the Happiness system back in Civ 5 and I’m so Happy they changed it and split it up into two separate mechanics called Housing and Amenities! It’s so much cleaner and simpler to understand!
Back in Civ 5 population was limited by only the Happiness system and it was fairly complicated as a system for me to understand and to play around, but in Civ 6, Housing is very simple, your population needs space, you need to make more space for people in order for the city’s population to grow!!!
Yay! Housing is simple! And with that basic understanding of how Housing works, it’s not difficult to manage Housing, especially since you can use tile improvements from your workers to boost housing as each tile improved count as half a point of housing.
If you have the same population as your housing your growth does not stop as long as you still have excess food. The population will continue to grow beyond your housing limit as long as you have enough food in your city to feed the entire population. However, the population will slow down it’s growth as it goes beyond the housing limit. Certain key buildings and districts help with Housing such as Aquaducts, Sewers, and Neighborhoods and it is usually a good idea to build them with the following consideration given for Amenities.
Amenities is the new and improved version of Happiness. It reflects the quality of life of your population. For every 2 population you need 1 Amenity to keep them happy starting at the population of 3. Meaning if you have 1-2 population you don’t need amenities to keep the citizens happy. At 3-4 Population you need 1 Amenity, at 5-6 population you need 2 amenities, and at 7-8 population you need 3 amenities.
You can certainly have more amenities than required to give a boost to growth and production as well.
The Amenities come from Luxury Resources that you can get from improving their tiles with the correct improvement. Once you have 1 copy of that luxury resource you gain 1 Amenity to up to 4 of your Cities (unless you are Aztecs, then you get 6 cities worth of it). You don’t get more Amenities for extra copies of the same Luxury.
I highly recommend thinking of the game in this way…
0 Luxury: I can afford to have as many cities as I want up to 2 population.
1 Luxury: I can afford to have as many cities as I want up to 2 population, 4 cities can be 4 population.
2 Luxury: I can afford to have as many cities as I want up to 2 population. 4 cities can be 6 population
3 Luxury: I can afford to have as many cities as I want up to 2 population. 4 cities can be 8 population.
In thinking this way, you can consider the 2 population cities to be “Satelite cities” like I previously discussed and your 4 higher population cities as your “Main production Cities”. This quick rule of thumb is for what you can afford without any ammenity related buildings. For every 2 population you go above this rule of thumb you will need extra amenities to offset this, which you can make through Entertainment districts, Policies, and special unique things like Roman Baths.
Pro tip: You can use Housing as a way of limiting your population growth so that you don’t have to deal with unhappy citizens from Lack of Amenities. This isn’t something I recommend doing all the time, but in certain situations when you would rather spend your production making an Army, like to defend yourself from an invader, by choosing not to build housing in your less important cities, you can save yourself from having to worry about Amenities for a short period of time.
In the long run it is always better to allow your population to grow, and so the order of business is usually:
1. Make city
2. Improve tiles around the city while considering where districts will go to get their bonuses.
3. Make districts as the cities grow and produce things out of them if they are not a satellite city.
4. Create more housing and Amenities as population grows accordingly.
Hopefully this section of my guide made it easier to think about Housing and Amenities. It’s really a lot easier to understand than the Civ 5 mechanics.
City Management: Defense
Walls. Build them ASAP.
City Management: Roads and Trade Routes
In terms of Roads and Trade Routes, this is one mechanic in the game that makes something very important for you, gives you money, and helps your units out in combat all in one mechanic.
The way it works is every trader you send out will make a trading post in the target city. Each trader has a range of 18 tiles and once they reach a city with a trading post their distance is reset so they can keep going for longer routes. Every time a trader moves through an area they create a road which helps your units move through the area faster.
The roads improve as you progress in eras.
Ancient Roads: Allows units to pass through woods and hills like they are flat terrain but does not increase movement. So instead of a hill or woods costing 2 movement points they only cost 1.
Medieval Roads: Improves the movement speed of the unit moving on the road by 1 tile if you are moving from a tile with a road to another tile with a road (I believe). The cost of moving along a medieval road is 1 movement point.
Industrial Roads: Reduces the movement cost by 25% (kind of weird and awkward but it sometimes allows for one extra tile of movement along the road is what it comes down to depending on how fast the unit is.)
Modern Roads: Reduces the movement cost by 50%. This helps a lot because essentially you have double movement speed on roads… cavalry type units move up to 8 tiles and infantry type units can move up to 4 tiles.
Roads and You:
If you are considering to attack a civilization near you, it may be a good idea to link your city to theirs through a trade route first before you attack so that your army can reach them faster. In terms of also defending yourself from being attacked, since you have limited units and can’t always have troops in every city, you can build trade routes between your own cities so that you can move your troops between your cities for faster defense response time.
No amount of roads will save you from invaders if you don’t have walls up, so I suggest you read my previous section on Walls, it is a very short and very important section of this guide.
Now… let’s move on to Traders.
Traders don’t just build roads. They give your city extra things depending on the civ you are playing as and also depending on your policies. Typically they give whatever the destination city can produce on its own to your city but you can enhance the trade routes to give other things with policies and special civ bonuses like Rome’s or Egypt’s.
In Egypt’s case it is a flat bonus going both ways to give Eqypt gold and the player who is trading with her gets food.
Rome’s traders are super OP and strong if you know how to use them properly. For each trading post that Rome owns that the trader passes through the trade route is worth +1 gold on top of whatever the trade route normally offers. Each trade route can go through as many cities as it wants… and the roads are already built due to the ability. What this actually means is the more cities that you have, and the further away you trade, the more gold you can get out of each trade route. In some of the larger maps that I’ve played, I have had games where my Roman trade routes were giving me 20 gold each per turn. That’s a lot of money.
In general, traders are good ways to supplement your money and production. You want to have as many as you can afford trade routes. They are that good, but they often do get looted in Multiplayer so be aware and also keep an eye on any barbarians that spawn along their routes.
Unit Management: Unit Types and their Roles (part 1/2)
There are a lot of unit types in Civ 6 and depending on which type it is, they get a different set of “skills” that they learn as they level up. Because of this fact the type of troop matters in determining their role in combat.
Here’s a good link on a wiki that shows a complete list of the basic units:
You will notice that every unit type in this game along with their movement range and abilities give them different tools to deal with different things, and while most of them are obvious such as medics are for healing, or anti-cavalry type units help deal with cavalry, most people don’t understand what the most common and CORE unit types do. So let’s cover them.
For reference look at this page for all the Unit promotions based on their type:
They are mainly to act as vision units to give you vision of the enemy. A key promotion is Spyglass as it increases the view range. I believe that out of all the classes this is the least useful class in most situations due to their low strength but in the hands of really skillful players they can help with ranged units and siege units do their jobs better by being their spotter. I think they have their place but in general are hard to use to full effect.
The key understanding of Melee units is to understand that their job is to be on the frontlines and to soak up damage. Their job is to not die, or if they die, to die slowly and buy time for your Ranged Units do to their own damage. They can also do decent damage on their own. In terms of using the Melee Units as your main core units, the melee units will give you the upper hand when taking Cities away from enemy players. Having a lot of melee units will help you achieve this goal, because their skills are all focused around this aspect of the game, they are the units you send in to take a city and conquer it. That said, often people misunderstand this to mean that you just ONLY make Melee Units. That’s is a problem we will talk about after I cover all the other CORE UNITS. There are many very excellent promotions for this unit, but the main ones are War Cry, Tortoise, Amphibious, and Elite Guard. All of those are very excellent promotions with Elite Guard giving them a second attack on the same turn which allows them to take a city a lot faster/easier than most units. Civs like Rome and Aztecs have great unique units in the melee class and they show their worth by each being very capable of taking down cities on their own, and with support units they can be unstoppable.
When playing with Melee Units against other unit types, make sure you try to get Tortoise fairly soon, though it is a toss up between War Cry and Tortoise. When engaging against an enemy player with an army, use your Melee Units to force them to fight you on your terms. Melee are slow units and can’t fight ranged on open ground, they can also get run down by cavalry without being able to retreat, so when fighting against those compositions you must make sure to push them against impassable terrain, use hills and woods against them, or choose to lay siege to their city and pillage them to force them to come to you. Generally Melee units have the hardiness it takes to continue to survive. You can further enhance this by simply choosing to stand still and fortify until healed. This will heal some HP depending on where they are, and they will also gain some bonus strength +3 for each turn of fortification, up to 2 turns worth.
Even more than Melee Units they are specialized in “melee combat” in that they are great at defending against anything with a close ranged attack. They can counter Melee units with their promotion Schiltron, they can counter Cavalry inherently and can get another bonus on top of that with the promotion: Echelon. The problem I have with this unit is that it is ironically NOT very survivable, because it is weak to ranged units. Melee units have Tortoise which allows them to survive against ranged attacks and THAT is the key to Melee Unit’s survivability where Anti Cavalry often fails. That said if the enemy player is massing up only cavalry, it’s best to mix in some Anti Cavalry units into your army. These units are not CORE and are more situational.
If you are fighting off cavalry with anti cavalry, you must take advantage of the fact that they are cheaper to make and make more of them. Anti cavalry excel mostly when they can push cavalry up against something or surround them and that takes numbers. If you ever heard of a “phalanx” used by the Greeks, they would push their enemies and surround them by having a long line of such units to make them hard to flank. Incidentally the Hoplites from Greece are their unique unit in this class.
In general due to their unit positions on the tech tree, Anti-Cavalry units have an awkward time to be effective, but if you time it right, you can be aggressive with them at these awkward times and do “timing pushes” and use them effectively at a time when horsemen have not come on line yet and you already have the numbers advantage by having made enough of them to push into enemy territory. Later in the game this class is more useful as a defensive class to protect your flanks and your cities from aggressive Light and Heavy Cavalry.
If you look closely at this unit type’s promotions you will notice that it focuses on mobility, flanking, and generally speaking initiating combat as shock troops. They want to hit fast and hit hard and kill any stragglers. They are great for fighting army vs army situations and they have great flexibility in out maneuvering opposing forces and can pull back when low health or chase down a low health unit. But they lack survivability and they aren’t suited for prolonged combat, which is what taking a city involves, staying and fighting. Light Cavalry can instead choose to back off to heal or pillage a lot easier. So they are considered a CORE unit, because they give a skilled player flexibility and mobility. Like the Melee Units, the Light Cavalry also need some help from other unit types when taking down well defended cities. Scythia has a nice bonus to making two of this unit type at a time and this is their main playstyle, killing the enemy troops.
Heavy Cavalry is like a mix between Heavy Cavalry and Melee Units, where they have both the mobility to maneuver AND the durability to smash into enemy cities. They do make a big threat on cities just like Melee units and they are also capable of attacking more than once per turn. Sumeria is an example of a Civ that has a great Heavy Cavalry unit that can seriously threaten your cities and most likely take them from you. They are also fast enough to fight a mobile fight against light cavalry and can deal with ranged units well. I think out of any unit type, Heavy Cavalry is the only type that can stand on its own without a different unit type to support them.
Ranged Units are the damage dealers who are glass cannons. They are very vulnerable units but can do a lot of damage to their enemies especially if they hit first and they often do that by being able to shoot from a range of 2, BEFORE the enemy can engage. Cavalry units can deal with Ranged Units really well, especially heavy cavalry, but most Units can deal with them by closing the distance between them. Once Ranged Units can’t have the range they need, they become much less effective and are quickly killed. This is why Ranged units are commonly used with other unit types that are more meant for the frontlines, they stand behind Melee Units, and Heavy Cavalry, and do damage to enemy units from the safety of behind their friendly units. It is possible to use a mostly Ranged unit composition, but the problem with this is that you have to rely on hitting the enemy first and hitting so hard they can’t retaliate.
Unit Management: Unit Types and their Roles (2/2)
Siege Units are mainly used like Ranged units except they get more bonuses towards damaging city defenses and they are capable of hitting a city while being outside of the city walls range of fire with their promotion Forward Observers. They are even more vulnerable than Ranged units since a lot of units can specialize in destroying them such as cavalry, but they do have promotions like Crew Weapons to help with defending from attacks and is more suited to fighting a stationary fight near a city. They can’t fire after they move however so they need a LOT of support and should always be kept away from danger as much as possible. They are great to have if you use melee units as this slow composition of melee and siege combined makes for a slow but unstoppable force when it pushes into a city.
Out of all the units, the most useful are actually the Support units and not because they can actually fight. None of them can fight on their own, but they help other units and enhance their ability to fight. They also stack on top of friendly units of other types so they don’t follow the same rules when it comes to unit stacking on tiles. In the early eras, it can be very important to note that Battering Rams and Siege Towers significantly improves the Melee Units ability to take down a city. It is so effective that if you have both a siege tower and a battering ram next to each other on next to an enemy city and a melee unit on top of each of them, both melee units will be able to attack the city and do FULL DAMAGE to their walls AND the city itself. Often, even if the city has walls and are at full health, just 2 attacks from such a melee army can completely wipe out the city down to virtually no health… if you have a third melee unit next to the city it is almost a guarantee that you take the city unless the city is a really high population city as higher population cities are stronger.
Later eras Support units are able to support all other units better by being able to build roads(engineer), or heal them(medic). This is an often overlooked class, but they are very important because they get around the limit of having one unit per tile and enhances the combat abilities of other friendly units significantly.
There are many classes of Naval units but usually they are not as relevant because most players play on Pangea maps in Multiplayer. I’m kind of sad this is how the meta is evolving but it does make sense that people don’t like it when a player gets to sit on his own continent and build up for free and be untouchable until the other players have navy unlocked to reach them. However if my personal preferences are taken into account, I would prefer continents type maps because Pangea also runs the risk of having one player getting an early lead with taking over an enemy civ and then snowballing out of control by taking over all the other civs on the same pangea continent. Games like that end super quickly and give other players even LESS options to stop such a player. In a Continents game, even if someone did well by attacking and eliminating another player early on on their continent, they only get to have that continent, while the other players are given a chance to get up their armies and navies to be able to deal with this massive player in the lead in the mid game and late game. This also makes Naval units relevant again by forcing there to be a midgame transition to Naval units. Currently with the meta being around mostly Pangea maps and the common opinion that THAT is more balanced, you will likely see that civs with naval combat bonuses are irrelevant or next to worthless, and civs who can attack early and have a strong advantage early militarily will have more power on these pangea maps.
Air units are more like Late Game units as you only get them fairly late. They are hardly ever relevant in the game, and it is possible to do well without ever bothering to make them. Currently I would only consider them as one of the two delivery options for nukes… If you had a strong fleet in the mid game and you have things like battleships and carriers, then you can make bombers on your carriers to drop nukes. If you had a weak navy or didn’t have a navy, then late game the better option would be to use the stealthy nuclear submarines to deliver your destructive payloads.
The ONLY reason to talk about this class is the mobile SAM. Like walls, they are simply, “Get them ASAP”. If you ever reach late enough into the game that you can make these Anti-Air units called Mobile SAM, you want them in every “Main production city” to help defend against potential nukes. It’s always a surprise to find a nuke being dropped on one of your main cities… just like you can be surprised when you suddenly lose your city early in the game because you didn’t build a wall and you get rushed. Just don’t let it happen, so there’s no need to panic or be surprised! Build Walls! Get Mobile SAMs! It’s that simple! Stay safe and use protection 🙂
Unit Management: How Combat Works
Every Unit in the game has a number called strength associated with it. When two units fight each other in Civ 6, they compare their strengths to each other and then damage is applied based on their strengths.
Units with higher strength will do more damage to and receive less damage from units with lower strength.
Units will lose strength as they lose health.
A bigger difference in strength is an exponential increase in damage and not a linear increase. A difference of 10 strength is not twice as strong as a difference of 5 strength. If you have a difference of 30 strength the stronger unit can potentially one shot the weaker one from full health.
When you engage in a fight 1 on 1, and you are similar in strength but you have lower health, it is always better to fortify and heal instead of continuing to attack, this way you force the enemy to attack you while you heal. They can’t heal because they attacked you, but since you didn’t attack them, you get to heal. When they attack you, as long as it wasn’t ranged attacks like Range or Siege, both units will take damage in the conflct, but you will have the upper hand by healing. This is usually the best way to fight off a barbarian warrior with your own warrior 1 on 1. You walk up to them and you heal. Even though you technically fought, because you got attacked, because you didn’t choose to attack on your turn and actually spent that turn resting, you still get the hp from healing as long as your unit survives the fight.
When you have multiple units in a fight, if you have a full health unit and a low health unit you can have a different “attack order” in order to accomplish different goals.
If you attack an enemy with your full health or higher health units first and then follow up with your weaker units, you are reducing damage that you would have taken because you are using your strongest to reduce the strength of their units first so when your weaker units attack, they are fighting weaker units. This, or allowing your weaker units to heal is usually the best way to fight a prolonged fight in a war because this reduces casualties and helps make sure that your units last long enough to be promoted.
If you did the opposite and attacked using your weaker unit first and then follow up with your stronger unit, you will take more damage over all (especially to your weaker unit), BUT the advantage here is you are maximizing your damage dealt on that turn as well, by weakening their unit first with your weaker unit, you are increasing the gap in strength between their unit and your strongest or healthiest unit so that your healthy or strong unit can hit that much harder and do that much more damage.
Promotions heal your troops for 50% of their maximum health. If your troops are full or at nearly full health and you are about to get into a fight, it might be wise to wait and save the promotion before fighting for that moment when your unit will be less than half health to spend that promotion and get that unit back to much higher health in the middle of the fight. This will give you an upperhand in the fight and effectively gives you a larger HP pool to work with. If you combined this with a Medic unit in the Industrial Era, your troops can be extremely hard to deal with as they will continue to heal and survive and get away with doing much more than without support or without saving their promotions for key moments.
Saving promotions will prevent the unit from earning more experience for leveling up however so keep this in mind as well.
Finally, I will need to talk about Mobility. It deserves it’s own section so read on for that discussion.
Unit Management: Melee vs Ranged Combat
Let’s talk about Movement next and explain how to properly maneuver your units based on their type and the terrain.
First let’s start with a classic example of Melee vs Ranged. Ranged has the advantage in Movement even though it does NOT have more movement points than Melee, because Ranged units can attack from further away. The Melee unit fighting a ranged unit has to walk further to attack the Ranged Unit while the Ranged unit can attack from further so it does not need to spend movement as much as the Melee unit does.
On open/flat terrain where all movement equals 1 movement point, Ranged does not have a movement advantage over Melee. Because for Ranged to attack Melee it would be standing within 2 tiles of Melee. Melee can reach the Ranged unit in one turn and counter attack. HOWEVER, Ranged has the added advantage of not losing health when using its attack to a hit a target. Meaning it conserves it’s strength and after attacking it will still be at full strength. Melee will be lower hp and have a lowered strength if Ranged attacked first. Melee is only at a slight disadvantage here on open ground. If Melee upgraded the Tortoise promotion then it might even have the advantage over the Ranged unit if Melee has similar starting strength as the ranged Unit and chose to attack the ranged unit on the next turn.
On a hill/forest tile the Ranged unit has an advantage over the Melee unit if the Melee unit is on open/flat terrain. The ranged Unit can attack without being worried that the Melee Unit can counter attack, because the Melee unit will require 2 full movement points to move onto the tile of the Ranged unit, so that if the Melee started off 2 spaces away, he can only move 1 tile closer and the Ranged unit can attack a second time. THIS makes it hard for Melee to deal with the Ranged unit. Do not attack Ranged with melee if melee is starting on open ground and Ranged has the rough terrain.
If both were on rough (hill/forest) terrain, then Ranged no longer has the advantage, since tiles with forests and hills will prevent ranged from shooting over them, so their range is reduced to 1. That means the Ranged unit will once again have the advantage of not losing health when attacking but can only attack when standing next to the enemy melee unit so it won’t get a free second attack. The melee can win if it has Tortoise, and might go even with the ranged unit if it only has Warcry.
If the melee unit attacked the ranged unit first, the melee unit has the advantage for the rest of the fight.
If a group of Ranged units and a group of Melee Units were to fight each other. The group of similar size of Melee has a slight advantage. This is because if you averaged out this fight over the long run, the Melee units as a group will close the gap between the two groups and turn the fight into a fist fight at close range. The melee group might lose some units if the ranged units focus fire down their units, but the full health Melee units will hit much harder than ranged units and when they come down to trading blows the Melee group of units will win over the Ranged group of units if their numbers were equal at the start, but the Melee group will suffer unavoidable casualties.
Ranged Units when placed inside a city can fire on their enemies within their range for free while maintaining full health and this scenario gives Ranged Units a significant advantage when defending inside a city. However there can only be 1 ranged unit inside a city at a time, and this means that if a large enough group of melee units attacked a city, a similarly large group of archer will not be able to defend well enough on their own, because the melee units will be able to kill the archers that are outside very quickly.
That said, defending a city against Melee requires that lone ranged unit inside the city, with some additional support from melee or other units that can effecitively trade health with the attacking melee group, and buy time for the archer and the wall to do damage. The priority in defense is to trade health and buy time for the archer inside the city and the wall to do enough damage to the attackers that the attackers don’t have enough hp remaining to continue the attack.
This is why a mixed of ranged and melee units are better than only making melee and only making ranged units and why a Ranged + Melee composition is a very effective composition.
Unit Management: Melee vs Cavalry Combat
Melee vs Cavalry on open ground means that Melee is at a slight disadvantage. Cavalry in both 1v1 and group situations on open ground will dominate against Melee. While both will suffer damage when either of them attack. When Melee has the disadvantage and lower health, the Melee cannot safely retreat from Cavalry and will get chased down. When Cavalry has the loer health and therefore the disadvantage, Cavalry can retreat further away and be out of reach of Melee and gets a free turn of healing. For Melee since retreating is not an option on open ground, healing is the only option for survival in denying Cavalry an easy victory, but Melee cannot easily pin down Cavalry on open ground to secure their advantage and win.
When it is 1 on 1, melee and cavalry share in the characteristic that whoever attacks first will have the upper hand. But again, on open ground, Cavalry is the only of the two that can capitalize on the advantage, and press the attack while Melee is limited to standing still and healing.
In a large group, with both melee and cavalry against each other, Melee would do well to form a line to prevent from getting flanked by multiple Cavalry for bonuses.
When Melee and Cavalry are on rough Terrain, there remains an advantage in favor of Cavalry, except specifically when they are on hilly AND forested terrain where the movement cost is 3. When the terrain cost for movement is 3, the 4 movement cavalry completely loses any mobility advantage it had and the fully promoted Melee would have an advantage due to the Elite Guard promotion. Otherwise they will be fighting on equal terms.
In a large group scenario, where both Melee and Cavalry are fighting on rough terrain, whichever group manages to surround and flank one of the units and take it down will have the upperhand. Focusing down low health units in this type of engagement becomes the key.
For both groups, the inclusion of any range unit into the mix will give the group with ranged units a slight advantage over the group without ranged.
In terms of Melee vs Cavalry, Melee would have an easier time by forcing the Cavalry to fight at a location that they choose. Outside of rough terrain this includes attacking the City of the Cavalry player. Because Cities are static and can’t move, attacking their City forces the Cavalry player to come and fight and they will not be able to safely move back and heal, since they would risk losing the city.
In terms of these engagements, Melee has a strong advantage over Cavalry if the side that uses Melee have Support Units to help them take the City. Once the Melee group takes the City with the help of Support Units, the fight swings in favor of the Melee again by having a defenders’ advantage where they can hide their lowest health unit inside the city to heal for massive bonuses and rotate it out with other injured units.
If there were two armies, and one had Ranged units plus Cavalry and Support units, while the other army had Ranged units plus Melee and Support Units, the Army with the Melee units with support units and Ranged Units will have an advantage in the early eras while Support Units mainly only give bonuses to the Melee Units to take down cities. In the later eras, when support units such as medics heal all units and engineers benefit all units, the army with Cavalry and support with Ranged units will be superior. This can be seen in the dominance of Tanks and later Helicopters and how they make Infantry Obsolete.
It can be said however that in pursuing a Dominance Victory type, maps with a more open terrain and more flat land will favor a more cavalry focused army while maps with a more rough terrain will favor a more melee focused army. It can also be summarized that the cavalry unit type gets better and better as the game progresses while the Melee unit type is most effective early on and loses their edge over Cavalry unit types once the Medic comes out.
Choosing which units to build should depend more on the map and the terrain and the era that one is in based upon these considerations for Civ 6.
The only exceptions to this rule is playing as Civs who have very good Unique units such as Rome, Scythia, Aztecs, and Sumeria, where they have a clearly superior choice in their unit list. But even so, depending on the map and the era, their success and the potential of their success might be limited due to these factors if they aren’t used in the proper conditions.
Unit Management: Same Type Combat
When compositions of armies are largely the same, whether it be mostly ranged or mostly melee or mostly cavalry, the victor will be determined by the following factors.
– Knowing how to properly maximize damage by attacking with the lowest health units first and hitting harder with higher health units later to deal more damage to finish off enemy weakened units.
– Knowing how to properly minimize damage to their troops by using a combination of tactics such as pulling low health units back, healing them after pulling back or healing them when they are low, and knowing when to save or use promotions to heal in the middle of a fight.
– Knowing and understanding how to use the terrain or cities to maximize the advantage of an army.
Finally and this should be obvious…
– The side with the better tech level, upgrades, promotions, bonuses, and policies that affect the Strength of their units will have an advantage.
Unit Management: Army Composition and Planning
Knowing how to make the most effective army is very important. It is not as simple as making as many of one type of unit as you can. Obviously if you have MORE it is a good thing and makes you stronger, but there is a number that gives diminishing returns once you reach this number of a certain unit, and that number is 6.
In most scenarios, having 6 of a certain unit in a fight is about the maximum effective number because in general that is how many you can attack a single unit with at once. If you completely surround an enemy with your own and they are all the same kind of unit such as melee or cavalry, it is usually the maximum effective number. Having a 7th Melee unit will not allow you to do more damage to that one unit. With that said, 6 being the maximum of any given unit, usually it is a lot less than 6 of one unit that you should aim for. Think of it this way…
In a lot of cases such as attacking a city or fighting an army, the terrain won’t allow you to completely surround them. Some places will have mountains or lakes in the way that will make even 6 of the same units to be ineffective. If you are going to maximize your effectiveness, typicially having 6 is already overkill and it won’t make you stronger because you won’t be able to bring all 6 of the units into a fight on the same turn.
When you fight in a war with an enemy, when you have to attack their units head on with your own, the key is that first 1-2 turns of the fight. Whoever hits the hardest on those first 1-2 turns will usually end up winning. When choosing what to make you have to keep this in mind.
Say if there is a narrow chokepoint that you have to go through in order to attack someone. You want to do as much as possible and you know from scouting them that they have a narrow choke point that allows for 2 units to move through. This means that at most 2 close ranged units will be allowed to engage on the front line IF the fight were to occur there. You might be able to bait the enemy out a to fight you where more than one of your close ranged units can hit them, but if they have it their way, they will reduce you to fighting them when only 2 of your units can hit them from that range. Meaning you will at least need 2 close ranged units, whether it would be 2 melee units, a melee and a cavalry, or some other combination. I MIGHT consider bringing an extra melee or an extra cavalry to allow one of these front units to pull back and heal while you replace it with a fresh unit and maintain the pressure. Outside of that you might be able to engage with 2 ranged or 2 siege units from behind your front line. That means that you will likely need 4 units that are really strong to break through that choke point and whatever else you have will be their reinforcements for after they have broken through, but the key to winning is to break through at that choke and your key 4 units will be 2 ranged and 2 close ranged units best suited for the job. Making sure you bring everything you can to help those 4 units in the fight as possible is how you maximize your effectiveness, through support units like Generals or battering rams and siege towers. To be safe, you might have 3 ranged and 3 melee with 2 support units. And that is already a very strong composition. However that is one “front”… or one place where you might be attacking.
If you are at war with multiple enemies you might need more than that to hold off multiple directions leading to your cities. If you are attacking multiple enemies at once you need to take that into account and decide what you want to bring into that fight. And the KEY is to plan this out ahead of time by planning out your build order so you can have what you want by the time you want it.
If you want to end up with 3 archers and 3 horseman before you go and invade somebody, then you need to ask yourself questions like what order do I build them in?
Later there might be consideration for “how to make them even more effective in combat?” Are there policies that you can switch to or government types that can help you?
When making the best possible army for any situation, you have to consider a lot and plan for a lot and then go about making it become reality. THEN you fight and you have to be good at using those units using the things I’ve talked about regarding combat to help you win that fight.
Army composition is important because it helps you decide WHAT units to make and WHY you need them. It tells you WHEN is this army most effective and HOW you use it to get the most out of it.
Because it can say a lot, scouting enemy army composition can be a very telling sign of their level of experience, what is possible from the army they are making, and what you need to do and make in order to be able to handle them in a fight.
This stuff is complicated to explain but once you play a lot of games you tend to get a natural feel for it. It’s more based on experience than anything else. While after all this discussion you might think Cavalry is strictly speaking better than most other units… there have also been enough talked about to show you how Cavalry can be dealt with, and how you can use other unit types effectively to win and/or have a big advantage.
Unit Management: Purchasing with Gold
Work in Progress
Unit Management: Attacking Cities
Work in Progress
Tech Management: Choosing your Research Path
Unless you are playing a Civ that has a very clear or niche style in the game that relies on a specific unit or tech, choosing what to research when can be not very obvious.
Just like producing things from your cities, because researching something takes time, it is always best to think ahead and understand what each tech will give you several turns from now. When choosing between techs and deciding which to choose first, base that decision around what you are planning to do in the game and what the current situation is in the game.
Rushing Techs by disregarding all other tech and only focusing on researching the minimum required tech to reach a certain tech on the tech tree is ill advised if you are foregoing certain early tech such as mining or irrigation when you have resource tiles near you that can be improved using these early techs. The bonus towards your overall growth as a civilization when you obtain these resources can’t be ignored. Even in multiplayer rushing a tech is still situational.
That said, there is a difference between Rushing a tech by ignoring all other techs the entire game to get to a really late game tech, or skipping through 1 or 2 techs to reach one that can help you immediately. Let’s use Japan and Rome as an example. If both were to rush tech towards their unique units, Rome would stand to lose less from doing so because Legions are earlier on the tech tree and Rome would not be ignoring as many other techs by researching all the way to Legions first. In Japan’s case, Samurai are unlocked in the Medieval Era. If you only researched what is required to reach Samurai as Japan all the way into the Medieval Era, you are giving up so many of the early techs for so long that it would actually slow down your early development overall.
With that said, let’s go back to Rome for a minute.
Legions replace the Swordsman in the Classical Era on the Tech Tree for Rome. In this case it is a tier 3 research with 2 other researches as its requirement. If Rome wanted to reach Legion and be very capable of using it to attack other civs, it would be advisable for the Roman player to choose to also research things along the way that are applicable along the way. If Rome for example had a luxury resource such as Truffles on his Empire at the start, even though his game plan is to reach Legions as soon as possible, his overall empire would be in much better shape by that time if he researched Animal Husbandry and improved the tile with Truffles. Another reason to consider not rushing a tech directly is that there are other techs such as Writing that unlocks districts like Campuses that can significantly help in the progress of your research.
In Rome’s case specifically, there are 4 techs that are optional that could be considered for research before Rome reaches Iron Working. Pottery, Irrigation, Animal Husbandry, and Writing. These are all good techs along the way to CONSIDER getting as Rome because they could give Rome a significant boost in the earlier part of the game before he starts to make large amounts of Legions. But things such as Masonry and the Wheel that are very expensive to research that do not directly help Rome reach Legions could be skipped to reach Legions faster. In other words, the cheaper the tech is, the more relevant the tech is based on what you have around you, the more you should consider getting it first before reaching your desired tech that happens later on. But the more expensive techs that happen later along the way towards that tech you want can be skipped so that you can reach your desired tech sooner.
In Japan’s case, since Samurai arrive so late (Medieval), I would not skip over any tech in the Ancient Era. And when in the Classical Era, while Currency and Mathematics are the only required tech to reach Military Tactics which unlocks Samurai, I would consider getting Horseback Riding or Iron working before doing those required techs for Samurai if you were to expect a war before you can reasonably get to Samurai. Skipping Horseback Riding or Iron Working to reach Military Tactics sooner would get you Samurai sooner, but if someone like Rome is about to hit with you an army, it would be better to reach a tech such as Horseback Riding at that time to keep yourself safe as you make some Horseman to defend yourself.
In choosing anything to research there should be a reason for why you are getting it.
That said, because of how research works, you can’t skip any of the techs for too long before you are going to have to go back and get them because they will be required for important later techs. In this way you can think of the Tech Tree as all necessary, but the ORDER in which you obtain them is what will significantly influence your game and outcome. This is why the main concern when choosing a tech to research is to focus on what you can apply or use right away because you can argue that you can use ALL the techs in the game and that they all have a purpose, so your job is to choose which of the techs are most useful to you NOW or SOON. The Sooner you can do something using a technology that you unlock the sooner you get VALUE out of it.
Think of Techs as the blueprints for cool things in the game. Reaching a Tech is obtaining a blueprint for building something cool in the game, BUT if you don’t build that thing and all you have is the potential to build it, it doesn’t really help you. For example, just because Japan unlocked Samurai on turn 45 for example, if he can only make 1 samurai every 28 turns at that point in the game, it’s really not going to help Japan at that point to unlock Samurai so early. If it takes him 28 turns just to make a Samurai, even though he unlocked their potential at turn 45, the first Samurai would actually appear on turn 73, which is much much later. However, if he waited to unlock Samurai and focused on getting up his city and getting production related buildings up like Barracks or a few mines up, when he reaches Samurai a bit later, like on turn 60, he can actually make them maybe once every 10 or 12 turns, which means the first Samurai would appear on turn 71 or 72, which might even be sooner than if he rushed down the tech tree and got Military Tactics and unlocked Samurai the first chance he got, because in that case he would be neglecting his growth. If he focused on his growth and reached Samurai at the proper time, he would be more ready to support them and he could make them fairly reasonly quickly. In the first case, the second samurai would likely appear in maybe 23 turns because of his population growth… so on turn 96 the tech rusher would get his second Samurai, while the growth oriented player that developed his cities, would likely be able to make his second Samurai in 10 turns, which would mean on turn 81 or 82 he could have 2 Samurai. This is only accounting for making Samurai out of one city, if the player developed multiple cities, it is likely he can make 3 or 4 Samurai before the first player even has 2. It is not WHAT you have in this game that matters, it is HOW MUCH you have that matters. If germany had rushed the entire game toward building a tank because in his mind the tank is the strongest unit in the game for example. His one tank would come out so late in the game that most other players would likely have battleships, bombers, helicopters, and tanks of their own. The one tank player would not be able to compete with the rest of the world because he had focused on UNITS when in actuality the game’s CORE MECHANICS like I had introduced earlier in this guide is around CITIES. If you have strong CITIES you can have more UNITS.
Which brings me to the final point. When choosing your research decisions, think more along the lines of “What do I need to research now to help my city grow and develop in the next 10 or 20 turns?” “What military do I need in the next 10 or 20 turns to keep my empire safe, or which do I need to win a war?”
Tech Management: Choosing your Civics Path
Choosing your Civics Path is kind of tricky because it has less to do with “teching” and more to do with RIGHT NOW or the Next 30 Turns. If you think in terms of NOW or the near future, which policies will help you most? Choose those and then be ready to switch them.
For example, in the early game I might switch to Ilkum to get the 30% bonus to making Builders, but then once I have my Builder, I will be making a Settler to expand to a second City, so even though I will still be making Builders later, right NOW I need to make a Settler, so I will choose to switch over to Colonization as my policy to get the 50% bonus towards Settler production.
It is important to choose the policies that will help you the most right NOW. Sure later, you might want something to help you make more Units for war, but if right NOW you need to fight off barbarians, then right NOW you need the policy for that more than the policy for war.
Policies should fit with your situation and it can be difficult to manage. One key advice is to consider using gold to unlock the ability to switch policies or even government types when it becomes important to do so.
It is important to note that culture gives you access to policies, by having enough culture you can progress towards unlocking policies. Choosing which to “research” is not as clear cut because you have to unlock them but you might not use them right NOW. You have to plan ahead when choosing which to unlock and just like science, unlocking a policy does not help you, actually using that policy and using it’s effect by DOING something with it is the VALUE that you get out of the policy.
I have found that by building a monument in your cities, if you are expanding fairly well and even conquering other cities at a decent pace, that is all the culture you will ever really need to “keep up”. Going for a theater district would help but it is totally not necessary in order to keep up with the policies that your empire will need. You produce enough culture from monuments to keep getting you the policies you need in a timely manner.
If you produce a lot more culture than everyone else for example, and you obtain the higher level policies, a lot of the later policies won’t actually be helpful to you if you get them sooner. For example, you can get a policy to help you build more Industrial or Modern melee and ranged units. When all you have are Medieval and Renaisance units unlocked through science, that future policy will have no effect on your Empire and having it earlier gives you no VALUE. Staying current and keeping pace with what you need RIGHT NOW is important when it comes to Policies and getting ahead in most cases won’t help too much.
There is of course an exception, and that is trade. Trading is trading throughout the game. All policies regarding trade can help with this aspect of the game and by unlocking the later ones sooner if you apply those policies it can help you a great deal.