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The Pros & Cons of All 20 Civilizations in Sid Meier's Civilization VI


Stuff you should read first

DISCLAIMER:
Believe it or not, I am open to suggestions. I know I'm a pretty good civ player, but certainly I don't know everything. This is a work in progress, so I'd actually really like to hear what you think so I can make my ratings more accurate.

DISCLAIMER 2: 
This is your one warning, below I try to be funny, with limited success. It's a civ guide, give me a break.

GLOSSARY:

Putting this first so you know my abbreviations ahead of time...

CA - Civ ability 
LB - Leader bonus
UA - Unique ability/bonus (pertaining to both items mentioned above)
UI - Unique infastructure
UU - Unique unit
GR - Goodness Rating
VR - Versatility Rating

THE GRADING SYSTEM

It's not that hard to figure out, so you can probably skip this. This is here if you're interested in my rationale.

Okay so basically I'm going to grade each civ like this...

For the aptly named "goodness rating", there are 7 possible points for both UA's, 4 possible points for the UI, and 2 possible points for the UU... that's 20 points total! Woah math!!

I put different point values on each component to parallel their impact on the game. The UA's are usually in effect from the start, so they get the most points allotted, while the UU usually is only in use for a short period of the game, so it gets the least.

But you see, besides the GR, I am also going to rate each component on its versatility. My method here is a little more unbiased, every component is good for something , I give one point to the abilites and infastructure for each ADDITIONAL victory condition (religious, science, domination, cultural) that they assist towards... if they are only good for one thing, they get no points, if they're good for all 4, they get 3. The UU can earn one additional point if it's good for anything besides military, *spoiler* only two of them get it. So that makes 10 possible points for versatility.

Gold helps out with everything except religion (opposite of real life, I know) so gold boosters automatically get at least 2/3 VR. Production boosts automatically get 3/3.

Finally, I calculate the total civ rating by adding the GR to half the VR.
(I'd rather have a civ that is really good at one thing than a civ that is really average at everything. You can only win one way in one game.)

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE...
I'm going to award bonus points at the end for reasons... you'll see

Breaking Down America

Oh America, we're so glad you're at least not ♥♥♥♥ anymore. The +1 sight will not be missed.

Civ ability - Founding Fathers

Earn all government legacy bonuses in half the usual time.

Pretty useful, actually. I recall getting a 25% bonus to wonder production from the autocracy gov't thanks to this ability and being like "ohh yes I am going to take ALL the wonders, ♥♥♥♥ YOU EGPYT". Also I'm a big fan of percent bonuses to anything, because they can lead to some ridiculous results.

GR - 5/7

And since it can help with absolutely any victory condition (just pick your gov'ts wisely)...

VR - 3/3

Leader bonus - Roosevelt Corollary
Units receive a +5 Combat Strength on their home continent. +1 Appeal to all tiles in a city with a National Park. Gain the Rough Rider unique unit when they research the Rifling technology.

There is a lot to this one... I like the +5 combat strength for the home continent, it's what "manifest destiny" from Civ 5 SHOULD have been. The national parks bonus is very late game, but obviously helpful for culture. The extra UU is just another small addition to this UA.
On pangea this is godlike for obvious reasons, but you can also get screwed over in the map generation. For that reason I'm going to give it a just above average score.

GR - 4/7

Military bonus with additional culture flavor (or other way around, I don't care)

VR - 1/3


Unique infastructure - Film Studio
+100% Tourism pressure from this city towards other civilizations in the Modern Era.

Double tourism is pretty much as good as it gets when you're going for a cultural victory, but it's late game and I prefer unique districts over other UI, so I'm deducting one point.

GR - 3/4

VR - 0/3


Unique unit - P51 Mustang
Gains +5 attack against fighter aircraft, has +2 flight range, and gains +50% experience.

Ah, I remember looking through the unit list of civ 5 thinking "OH BOY I HOPE THEY GAVE AMERICA THE P51 BECAUSE THAT'S MY FAVORITE PLANE" like the windowlicker that I am. I was disappointed to see that I got the B17 instead... but then I saw that Japan got the zero and I was like "WTF JAPAN GETS THAT OVERRATED PIECE OF ♥♥♥♥ BUT MURICA DOESNT GET THE P51".
In civ 6, I am disappointed to find that the P51 suffers the same way the B17 did, it's too late game to really make a difference... Still giving it a point for being the p51 though.

GR - 1/2

VR - 0/1


CONCLUSION:

America, despite being one of the world's most prominent scientific and industrial powers, is a little ♥♥♥♥♥ cultural civ (because you know other countries are so enchanted by our fatass people and reality show presidential elections) but hey, it's pretty good.

Total GR - 13/20
Total VR - 4/10

Civ Rating - 15/25

Breaking Down Arabia

Congrats Arabia, you get to be the new Babylon or Korea... you son of a ♥♥♥♥♥.


Civ ability - The Last Prophet
Guaranteed Great Prophet if the second-to-last Great Prophet is chosen. +1 Science for each foreign city following Arabia's religion

You get a free religion for jerking off the whole early game. Also you get more science because WHY NOT?

GR - 6/7

Obviously a science and religion bonus, but since this lets you focus on any victory type early game, knowing you're going to get religion... it actually gets full points.

VR - 3/3


Leader bonus - Righteousness of the Faith
The worship building for their Religion can be purchased by any player for just one-tenth of the usual Faith cost. This worship building is enhanced to add 10% to the Science, Faith, and Culture output of Arabian cities.

mmmm those percent bonuses.... but also... ♥♥♥♥ you arabia. Knocking off points because it allows your enemies to get your faith building as well.

GR - 5/7

This worship building is enhanced to add 10% to the Science, Faith, and Culture output of Arabian cities

VR - 2/3



Unique Infastructure - Madrasa
+1 Science, Bonus Faith equal to the adjacency Science bonus of its district.

Small bonus to science, potentially substantial bonus to faith if you combo with poilcies that double campus adjacency bonuses.

GR - 2/4

Faith + Science

VR - 1/3


Unique Unit - Mamluk

heal at the end of every turn

Do I really need to comment here

GR - 2/2

VR - 0/1


CONCLUSION:

As much as it pains me to do this, Arabia is getting a bonus goodness point... Science victory is the easiest victory to get, and Arabia is one of the best at getting it. However, I'm also taking away a VR point because Arabia is really confined to focusing on religion and science, not one or the other either. Both.

Total GR - 16/20
Total VR - 5/10

Civ Rating - 18.5/25

Breaking Down the Aztec

The Aztec are fun, and I feel special because I get to play them a few months early.

CA - Legend of the Five Suns
Spend builder points to complete 15% of district construction.

Remember to train a builder before any district. there's almost no reason not to, almost. Combo this with policies that allow you to train builders faster and/or give them more charges,. For example, with the feudalism policy you can complete 75% of any district in 5 turns, which is great for upstart cities. Here's the thing though, this ability is much more powerful on longer games (marathon, epic) than shorter games (quick, online). The reason is that 5 turns on Marathon is insignificant compared to 5 turns on online... Hell, you can often complete entire districts in less time on online speed. I'm still going to give it 5/7 because it combos so well with the UU, but keep what I just said in mind when setting up your game.

GR - 5/7

Works with any district

VR - 3/3


LB - Gifts For The Tlatoani
Units get +1 combat strength for each unique luxury resource. Luxury resources provide amenities to 3 more cities than usual.

I like this because as you conquer more lands, your army gets stronger. The amenities thing alright too.

GR - 5/7

Technically the amenties bonus would help you with any victory, but this ablity is obviously geared to military victory.

VR - 0/3


UI - Tlachtli
+2 Faith, +1 Great General Points
The problem with this building is that it is built in the Entertainment Complex. Sure, by the end of the game your cities will be large enough to accomodate that, but if you're going for a military victory (which you definitely should be) I think it would be much better to focus on Encampments and Industrial Zones early on. Also the Aztec already get an amenities boost, so having to build an Entertainment Complex is counterintuitive to the benefit of that ability!

GR - 0/4

Military, faith

VR - 1/3


UU - Eagle Warrior
Stronger than the warrior, turns defeated enemies into builders.

This unit, along with the no warmonger penalties for ancient era wars, is why the Aztec are so much fun to play. Play your cards right, and you will have tons of builders to rush districts with!

GR - 2/2

VR - 1/1


CONCLUSION:
The Aztec took a big hit from the lack of a decent UI but I'm going to let it stand because the UI can really provide a critical boost and the Aztec just dont have it.
The VR is also apparently high for an obviously military-focused civ, but when you break down their components, you see the Aztec have a very viable strategy of using their UU to gather builders to rush districts for any victory you want.

Total GR - 12/20
Total VR - 5/10

Civ Rating: 14.5/25

Breaking Down Brazil

In civ 6, great people have become essentially their own little world wonders.
And now that great people are world wonders, Brazil is the mother-♥♥♥♥ing Egypt of great people. Because that's just what everyone wanted, another civ 5 Egypt.

CA - Amazon
Theater Square, Holy Site, Neighborhood, Campus, and Commecial Districts all get adjacency bonuses from rainforest.

This ability can be very good if you play like a ♥♥♥♥♥ and set the map generation to "wet" and "hot" to produce more rainforest... like I may have... but it suffers from the overdependence on rainforests.

GR - 3/7

The commercial and housing bonuses are universally good alone.

VR - 3/3


LB - Magnanimous
20% of great person points are refunded when you earn or patronize a great person.
Okay, so maybe when we get more leaders it won't be Brazil itself that's the new Egypt, because the real ♥♥♥♥♥ ability is the leader bonus. But for now... of course it's good and completely versatile.

GR - 6/7

VR - 3/3


UI - Street Carnival
Replaces entertainment district. Unlocks carnival project that gives Great Engineer, Writer, Artist, and Musician points.

Unique districts are inherently the best form of UI because all unique districts do not have population requirements. This means you can build them in any city as long as you have space. The carnival project is great because you know Brazil just needs more great person points! It loses a point because I don't use projects that often, generally you don't need that many entertainment districts anyway.

GR - 3/4

The carnival project is very culture focused, but I'm giving it one VR point for the great engineer points.

VR - 1/3


UU - Minas Geraes
Stronger than battleship which it replaces. Unlocked with nationalism.

Usually, I would be like "it's not that useful because late-game yadda yadda" but not for this. It's unlocked by the nationalism perk on the civics tree, so when I did my culture focused play through as Brazil I ended up unlocking it before I even had frigates. 80 ranged combat strength with a range of 3, all while my contemporaries were still using sails.

GR - 2/2

VR - 0/1


CONCLUSION:
Pedro is an ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.

Total GR: 14/20
Total VR: 7/10
Civ Rating: 17.5/25

Breaking Down China

"China!" - Donald Trump

CA - Dynastic Cycles
Eurekas and inspirations give 60% boosts instead of 50%

This is a solid ability that keeps China competitive in tech and culture throughout the game. You definitely want to focus on getting these boosts though, like when I play China I try to rush for the great library (which combos well with the LB) and for great scientists.

GR - 5/7

VR- 1/3


LB - The First Emperor
Builders get 1 extra charge and can expend charges to complete 15% of ancient and classical wonders.

If you have been reading consistently up to this point, you should know I hate an Egypt. Fortunately, they only get to be Egypt for the first two era but during that time they are very powerful! If you can't get Stonehenge as China, barring having nowhere to put it, you're doing something wrong. Each builder can complete 60% of the wonder over the course of 4 turns, thanks to the extra charge which lasts throughout the game.

GR - 6/7

VR - 3/3

UI - Great Wall (improvement)
Gives bonus defense, gold, culture, tourism

Personally, I didn't find these to be that useful, in fact it was often hard to find a good place for them.
Since this is clearly geared towards a culture victory, I just can't compare it to massive culture boosters like the film studio and give it the same rating. Although, it is fairly early game which is nice.

GR - 2/4

Small gold boost is still a gold boost.

VR - 2/3


UU - Crouching Tiger Cannon
Unlocks at machinery, 30 melee strength, 50 ranged strength, 1 attack range

I don't like this unit, not because it's bad necessarily but because it seems kinda stupid and unnecessary. I guess the devs were paying homage to the fact that China had gunpowder first, but this game is a rewrite of history so who cares? To be fair, you can unlock infantry before you get gunpowder too, and I've already explained Brazil's UU... anyway, I haven't gotten too much combat use out of this unit in game, but from what I have done, it was okay. Personally, I'd rather have the extra range of crossbowmen than the extra damage of the crouching tiger, considering they both have the same defensive strength and unlock at the same time. However it doesn't replace anything so it's kinda just there if you want it.

GR - 1/2

VR - 0/1

CONCLUSION:
China is a very solid civ to play with, and its LB is absolutely a kick in the nuts to other player's early game strategies. That's why, along with Pedro, Qin is one of the two most obnoxious AI in the game. Yay....

Total GR - 15/20
Total VR - 6/10
Civ rating - 18/25

Breaking Down Egypt

The eponym to my jokes about wonder ♥♥♥♥♥s... is actually not as much of a wonder ♥♥♥♥♥. As much.


CA - Iteru
+15% production towards districts and wonders if next to a river. Floodplains do not block placement of districts and wonders.

Haha, no more +20% to wonders in general you stupid ♥♥♥♥♥. I like this ability because I feel like it's a lot more reasonable, and it gives Egypt access to floodplains (pretty critical to being Egypt) which other civs can't build on for whatever reason...

GR - 5/7

VR - 3/3


LB - Mediterranean's Bride
Your Trade Routes to other Civilizations provide +4 Gold for Egypt. Other civilizations' Trade Routes to Egypt provide +2 Food for them and +2 Gold for Egypt.

I like the name of this ability, because it kind of flaunts the fact that Cleopatra is a ♥♥♥♥♥, but I'm not too fond of the ability itself. The AI in this game are so obnoxious that I usually avoid trading with them, rendering it useless for me, personally. You might find it more useful, but I still don't think it's as good as other abilities in the game.

GR - 3/7

Gold boost.

VR - 2/3


UI - Sphinx
Gives faith and culture when next to a Wonder.

It's okay. I can't think of something insightful to put here for everything, okay?!

GR - 1/4

VR - 1/3


UU - Maryannu Chariot Archer
23 melee strength, 33 ranged strength, 2 range, 4 movement when starting in open terrain

This son of a ♥♥♥♥♥ costs more than twice the heavy chariot which it replaces (140 production vs 65 production). It's just a jacked up archer.

GR - 1/2

VR - 0/1


CONCLUSION:
It's nice to not feel compelled to ban Egypt from online matches anymore. Wonder whoring honestly isn't even that good of a strategy anymore! Get stonehenge and the forbidden palace and you're good.
Egypt gets a bonus VR point because the reason the LB lost one VR point was that it didn't help with faith, but since the UI gives bonus faith I want to give it back.

Total GR - 10/20
Total VR - 7/10

Civ Rating - 13.5/25

Breaking Down England

England is no longer dependent on playing archipelago, at least
CA - British Museum
Museums have double aritifact slots and can support two archaeologists.

This is a confusingly culture-oriented bonus for a civ who is otherwise very expansionist. In a different civ, I think it would be good, but I just don't think it works for England. Another reason it loses points is that you don't get archaeologists until later in the game, so you can't really argue it helps England keep up with culture as that is more dependent on early game actions.

GR - 2/7

VR - 0/3


LB - Pax Britannica
Get a free melee unit when you settle on a continent other than your home continent. Unlocks redcoat UU with military science.

The redcoats are good, the other part of the ability is just okay... I do like the synergy within the ability of getting redcoats for settling cities.

GR - 4/7

VR - 0/3


UI - Royal Navy Dockyard
Ships built in cities with this district get bonus movement, bonus gold for dockyards on other continents and great admiral points.
This is the saving grace for england, providing a decent bonus for expansionist empires, but what's really good is that, being a unique district, you can build it in every eligible city regardless of its population size.

GR 4/4

Gold boost

VR - 2/3


UU - Sea Dog
Can capture enemy ships

Potentially very dangerous.

GR - 1/2

VR - 0/1


CONCLUSION:
Sorry, England, but you should really blame your CA for this... it's just out of place IMO.
Bonus 2 points to versatility for obvious military + culture focus, but none of the components had both in them.

GR - 11/20
VR - 4/10

Civ Rating: 13/25

Breaking Down France

Catherine De Medici is definitely the best Italian French leader choice. Definitely. But let's not get into that.

CA - Grand Tour
+20% Production toward Medieval, Renaissance and Industrial era Wonders. Tourism from wonders of any Era is doubled.

♥♥♥♥ing ♥♥♥♥♥.

GR - 5/7

VR - 3/3


LB - Catherine's Flying Squadron
Has 1 level of Diplomatic Visibility greater than normal with each of the Civilizations she's met. Receives capacity to build an extra Spy with the Castles Technology.

I really don't use espionage that much, so originally I gave this 1/7 but immediately someone brought up that the extra level of diplomatic visibility lets you see hidden agendas, which is useful for making friends. I'm still only giving it 2/7 because I don't make friends >:(

GR - 2/7

VR - 3/3


UI - Château
Gets bonus gold and culture from adjacent luxuries and wonders. Must be build next to rivers.

It's kind of obnoxious that it must be built next to rivers because that is where a lot of wonders require you to build them. Also I'd rather have a commercial district on any river tile than this.

GR - 1/4

VR - 2/3


UU - Garde Impériale
65 Strength, replaces nothing. Bonus strength when fighting on home continent, gets great general points from kills.

Very good. Next.

GR - 2/2

VR - 0/1


CONCLUSION:
I'm taking two point aways from versatility and putting them on goodness... because we all know France is very strong as a culture civ, even if most of it's abilties are technically helpful for any victory.

Total GR - 12/20
Total VR - 6/10

Civ Rating - 15/25

Breaking Down Germany

I'm very pleased that Germany turned out to be a lot better than I imagined from the reveal trailer.

CA - Free Imperial Cities
Build one more district than the population limit would usually allow.

Germany can easily develop the most well-rounded cities thanks to this ability and the fact that its UI is a unique district. Population is usually the biggest limitting factor for developing cities, because often you find that you want to build another district but can't. This ability remedies that issue very nicely, and German cities often end up being "do-all" cities like in civ 5 with access to more districts. The downside here, is that districts take a lot of production and sometimes you have slots open that you either don't know what to do with or just can't afford to build.

GR - 5/7

VR - 3/3


LB - Holy Roman Emperor
+7 combat strength vs city states and their units. Extra military policy slot.

This ability is definitely better than I thought it would be. When I first heard this, of course I thought of Genghis Khan from civ 5 (speaking of which, why the ♥♥♥♥ isn't he in this game?). In civ 5, the mongol's ability sucked because taking city states usually wasn't worth it; However, now that the global happiness penalties are gone and that you no longer need city states for the world congress, taking a few of them is absolutely a great way to expand your empire in the early game... just don't go crazy because you're going to want some of the bonuses they give later on. Also, if you plan out which city states will live or die ahead of time, your enemies will waste envoys on those ill-fated places while you get the upper hand in becoming the suzerain of the ones you want.

I think the devs were thinking of the mongols too, since they felt it was necessary to tack on the extra military policy slot. That extra slot is very useful throughout the game, and it's also the only thing that makes me take the double xp for recon units at the start of the game, since the bonus against barbarians is often required to defend yourself.

GR - 5/7

"integrated space cell" and "military research" are military policies for a science victory. You can also argue that policies like "bastions" (increases defense) and "retainers" (amenities from garrisons) increase versatility, maybe even to full VR, but I'm just going to call it at one point.

VR - 1/3


UI - Hansa
Unique district, replaces industrial zone. Gets +1 production from all adjacent resources, and +2 if adjacent to a commerical district.

My favorite UI in the game. First, you should know by now I love unique districts. You already get an extra district from the CA, but now you also can always get an industrial zone in every city regardless of populaton! The adjacency bonuses can add up pretty well, you still get the bonus from mines and quarries so mines and quarries over resources grant +2 production instead of 1. Fun fact, districts get adjacency bonuses from the districts of other cities, so if you combine the commercial hubs and hansas of two cities, you get +4 production per hansa.

GR - 4/4

VR - 3/3


UU - U boat
Gains +1 Sight and +10 Combat Strength when fighting on Ocean tiles. Cheaper to produce.

Pretty useful for late game. Considering that submarines for some reason can torpedo people on land, it is actually good for covertly covering land forces.

GR - 1/2

VR - 0/1


CONCLUSION:
Germany is one of the strongest civs in the game. You can use the Hansa to build large forces and blitzkrieg the ♥♥♥♥ out of your enemies' little friends, setting yourself up to take down bigger game. But you can also use that extra production and Germany's CA to create cities capable of doing anything. If you noticed I haven't complained about Germany being OP like I did with Arabia, it's because Germany takes more skill to unlock its mighty potential, while Arabia gets ♥♥♥♥ like a free great prophet for doing NOTHING.

Total GR - 15/20
Total VR - 7/10

Civ Rating 18.5/25

Breaking Down Greece

Everyone hated playing against Alexander in civ 5 because he was such a ♥♥♥♥♥ about city states. Pericles retains the "I MUST HAVE ALL CITY STATES" mentality, so he's still a ♥♥♥♥♥, but at least he doesn't get anything to help him do it.


CA - Plato's Republic
Extra wildcard policy slot
This is easily the easiest ability to get use out of... and holy ♥♥♥♥ is it really useful. It makes it so that you can get both +1 production per city AND +1 gold and +1 faith for the capital (or so that you can get a bonus against barbarians and double xp for recon units if you're a wierdo). It makes it so that you can rush the "mysticism" civic and start getting +2 great scientist or great prophet points well before anyone else is able to (suck on that, Pedro). It makes it so that you will be able to take that one extra policy that can change the course of the game. I love this ability, it used to be the only 7/7 ability in this guide, but I deducted a point because Plato's Republic isn't incredibly powerful like the ability that got 7/7. (There can be only one 7/7)

GR - 6/7

VR - 3/3



LB (Pericles) - Surrounded by Glory
+5% culture per city state you are suzerain of

Becoming Suzerain of city states is such a pain in the ♥♥♥ now. I wish this ability reduced the time it took to get envoys, because often I find myself being outcompeted for city states at higher difficulties. But still, percent bonuses are always good, and even being suzerain of one city state can give you a bit of an edge.

GR - 3/7

VR - 0/3


LB (Gorgo) - Thermopylae
Combat victories provide Culture equal to 50% of the Combat Strength of the defeated unit.

Gorgo's abilty is potentially much better than Pericles in the early game, and I'd rather have the head start

GR - 4/7

Gorgo's VR actually gets -1 points. You see, in order to use Gorgo's LB effectively, you HAVE to play militaristically, but it doesn't really give you any direct military benefits. If this LB gave an advantage in battle along with the culture bonus, it would get 1/3, but since it doesn't, it gets -1/3

VR - (-1/3)


UI - Acropolis
+1 culture from adjacent districts instead of +1/2, additional +1 from City Center. Must be built on hills.

I love unique districts because they expand how utilitarian a city can be. The Acropolis negates this partially by forcing you to build it on a hill. First time I played greece, I set up all of my wonders around one tile, expecting to put down one hell of an Acropolis... except that the tile wasn't a hill. I know that it was my fault for not knowing, but I'm still taking a point.

GR - 3/4

VR - 0/3


UU - Hoplite
+10 combat strength if there is an adjacent hoplite unit.

Sounds cool on paper, but my personal experience with it has just been "meh". It essentially has the same strength as swordmen, but swordmen still get a bonus against it for being an anti-calvary unit.


GR - 1/2

VR - 0/1


CONCLUSION:
Greece's CA is super awesome, but I don't like that the rest of it's components force you into a cultural victory. I also wish Gorgo had a military boost instead of a culture-from-military boost. Regardless, Greece is one of the strongest picks for a culture victory, but keep in mind that a cultural victory is very hard to get, especially relative to the science victory.

Total GR (Pericles) - 13/20
Total GR (Gorgo) - 14/7
Total VR (Pericles) - 3/10
Total VR (Gorgo) - 2/10

Civ Rating (Pericles) - 14.5/25
Civ Rating (Gorgo) - 15/25

Breaking Down India

*Insert mandatory joke about Ghandi and nukes here*

CA - Dharma
Receives Follower Belief bonuses in a city from each Religion that has at least 1 follower.

I don't like this ability because when I go for religion I absolutely want every other religion purged from my cities, and I don't like having to accomodate for something I don't want.

GR - 2/7

Depends on what follower bonuses you get

VR - 3/3


LB - Satyagraha
+5 Faith for each civilization (including India) they have met that has founded a Religion and is not currently at war. Opposing civilizations receive double the war weariness for fighting against Gandhi.

This is better, mostly for the second part. Who honestly plays Ghandi like real Ghandi would? I want to strike fear and misery into my enemies' hearts. I want their children to tire from sleepless nights spent tormented by the thought of their fathers and brothers dying by my hand... only to find their worst nightmares come true the next morning. I want them to weep in their mothers arms as my forces roll into their cities and destroy everything they've ever known!

GR - 4/7

Faith + military

VR - 1/3


UI - Stepwell
Provides Food and Housing. Bonus Food if built adjacent to a Farm, and bonus Faith if built adjacent to a Holy Site.

The extra food and housing is very useful, as population greatly improves the productivity of a city.

GR - 3/4

VR - 3/3



UU - Varu
Adjacent enemy units get -5 combat strength

A line of these things can easily overwhelm an enemy force.

GR - 2/2

VR - 0/1


CONCLUSION:
Hey, I want to apologize for what happened back there... you know when I was talking about the LB. I don't know what came over me, but trust me, I'm fine now. I swear.
Seriously though, I think it's hilarious that both India's LB and UU specialize in psychological warfare. The LB drives the enemy population into anarchy, and the UU strikes fear into enemy units. India is a true religious civ, it makes people adopt your peaceful ways... by force! (and manipulation)

Total GR - 11/20
Total VR - 7/10

Civ Rating - 14.5/25

Breaking Down Japan

Am I the only one who's really happy they removed the zero?

CA - Meiji Restoration
Districts get extra adjacency bonuses from other districts

This ability is good because it provides a small boost to basically everything. Combo with policies that double adjacency bonuses for maximum effect. However, what I don't like about this ability is that it reduces the flexibility of city planning for Japan, but not that much.

GR - 5/7

VR - 3/3


LB - Divine Wind
+5 Combat Strength for land units on the coast and for naval units in shallow water. Build Encampment, Holy Site, and Theater Square in half time.

This is great, especially the boost to the holy site which gives Japan a leg up in the race to grab the great prophets.

GR - 5/7

VR - 2/3


UI - Electronics Factory
+4 Culture after researching Electricity. +1 Production.

+4 culture late game for each one you build is really meh. At first I thought the culture bonus extended to nearby cities like the production bonus, but it isn't. The 1 extra production is multiplied by the fact that the bonus spreads to nearby cities, but it's still also meh.

GR - 1/4

+1 production still gives it full VR

VR - 3/3


UU - Samurai
No combat penalties for damage. 45 Combat Strength, unlocked at military tactics.

Basically it has the same bonus that every Japanese unit got in civ 5 and the fact that it unlocks at the same time as pikemen while being +3 stronger is great. Your enemies will not have any comparable front line infantry.

GR - 2/2

VR - 0/1


CONCLUSION:
Japan is a solid civ, and I think it has the highest VR of any civ I have graded so far, which is very fitting considering all of the boosts you get for different aspects of your civ. Clearly you get more bonuses towards faith, culture, and military, but the CA provides bonuses to production, gold, and science as well. This is a civ you can feel confident going for any victory you want.

Total GR - 13/20
Total VR - 8/10

Civ rating: 17/25

Breaking Down the Kongo

I've looked at lot of other people's simplistic "tiered" lists of civs, and saw that most of them put the kongo low on their lists. This is why merely listing civs from best to worst doesn't work. As you can see from my gradings, all civs so far have fallen in the range of 13-19, with most gravitating around 15. (I am going to do actual statistical anaylsis after I've finished all of them) With most civs actually being fairly balanced, people are forced to find excuses to rank one civ over another in their lists or tiered lists. For example, people put the kongo low on their lists because it's easy to "justify" by pointing out that the kongo can't win a religious victory, even though that doesn't matter because there are three other ways to win the game (besides score).

CA - Nkisi
+2 Food/Production +4 Gold from each relics, artifact, sculpture. Double points for great writers, artists, musicians, and merchants. Palace has slots for 5 great works.

Ah yes, the Kongo is renowed worldwide for their writers, artists, musicians, and merchants. I mean, they did in fact make lots of sculptures for their king, so the bonus from sculptures and palace bonus makes sense. Also there were a lot of great merchants in the kongo... slave merchants (especially after they started selling slaves to Portugal) but still, merchants. Okay, my personal beef with this ability aside, I think this ability is excellent. Though it definitely takes some time and effort to really get going, those double points give you quite a head start, and the gold, food, and production bonuses will carry you to the end.

GR - 6/7

VR - 3/3


LB - Religious Convert
Can't build holy sites, or gain Great prophets. Gain's all bonuses from the majory religion. Recieves an Apostle for that religion each time a Mbanza or Theatre Square district.

This ability doesn't suck because you can't found a religion, in fact I kind of like not feeling pressured to found a religion so that I can focus on other things. No, this ability is just kinda lame, with only some subpar bonuses.

GR - 2/7

Takes away a possible victory

VR - (-1/3)


UI - Mbanza
Replaces neighborhood, can be built earlier, gives +5 housing regardless of appeal, +2 food, and +4 gold. Can only be built on rainforest or woods.

This is why the Kongo don't suck. This gives your cities a significant population boost over your opponents, which allows your citizens to utilize more tiles and make your cities a lot more powerful. I would honestly give it 5/4 if it didn't require you to build it on rainforest or woods, so keep in mind if you do spawn in an area with lots of trees, this is going to be your best friend. (or in my case, my only friend)

GR - 4/4

VR - 3/3



UU - Ngao Mbebe
+10 Combat Strength when defending against ranged attacks. Can move and see through Woods and Rainforest. Doesn't require iron.

Not needing iron is pretty good as it is, the rest of its abilities just push it one point higher.

GR - 2/2

VR - 0/1


CONCLUSION:

The Kongo doesn't suck. In fact, it's one of the better civs out there. It's also ironically MORE versatile than many other civs thanks to it's bonuses to food, production, and gold.

Total GR - 14/20
Total VR - 5/10

Civ Rating 16.5/25

Breaking the ♥♥♥♥ing ♥♥♥♥ out of Norway

Remember how in the last section I said that most civs were fairly balanced? Well, guess what, Norway just ruined everything. Unless of course your definition of "balanced" is "COMPLETE AND UTTER GARBAGE."


CA - Knarr
No movement cost for embarking and disembarking. Units can sail on ocean tiles after discovering shipbuilding. Naval melee units can heal in neutral territory.

This is one of the few redeemable aspects of Norway, yet it's only slightly useful if you are playing on a map with a lot of water.

GR - 3/7

VR - 0/3


LB - The Thunderbolt of the North
Naval melee units can perform coastal raids. Grants the "Viking Longship" UU.

Hey, hey, did you know that every civ has units that can pillage coastal riles? They're called "naval raiders" and they consist of the privateer and submarines. Sure, no other civ will be able to do this early-game because they have to wait for the privateer... BUT JUST HOW MANY COASTAL IMPROVEMENTS ARE THERE GOING TO BE EARLY GAME? Also this begs the question of "JUST HOW HELPFUL IS COASTAL RAIDING ANWAY?". You get a little bit of gold and maybe some other goodies. That's it. Congratu-♥♥♥♥ing-lations. This awful ability only got saved from being the 0/7 ability because it also gives you a UU that I would grade 1/2.

GR - 1/7

It doesn't really give you access to gold that other civs can't obtain (raiding coastal tiles), it just lets you access it earlier with early game naval melee units. So I don't think it deserves the 2/3 VR rating that gold boosts get.

VR - 0/3



UI - Stave Church
+1 faith for each adjacent woods tile. Replaces temple.

At max benefit, this gives you +6 faith tops, but only if your district is completely surrounded by woods. That's it. It's not even early game for a religious bonus, as all of the great prophets will probably be taken by the time you get temples, so good luck if you didn't get a religion. Finally, you are going to have a lot of faith if you take the time to build a lot of temples. Period. The stave church is hardly a boost.

GR - 0/4

VR - 0/3


UU - Beserker
40 combat strength, +7 when attacking, -7 when defending, only costs one movement to pillage, 4 movement speed when starting turn in enemy territory.

I haven't used this unit before because I haven't actually played Norway (I know, I'm terrible), but I have fought against it and it was incredibly easy to counter with ranged units. The extra movement speed does help it run down your exposed units though, so be careful. To be fair, part of the reason I devastated Norway was that Norway sucks and they were way behind me in everything. I guess you can use them effectively if you aren't a suicidal imbecile like the AI is, but be prepared to get rekt by ranged units (as they only have 33 strength, which is less than swordmen, when defending against attacks) or run down as soon as knights come out. (48 strength vs 33 on defense)

GR - 1/2

VR - 0/1


CONCLUSION:
Yes, I haven't played Norway before, but do I really need to? I mean, let me know if I'm missing something here, but basic logic defeats almost all of Norway's abilites in most situations save for a few. Like obviously, playing on a water map is one situation that makes Norway slightly less useless, and also if maybe your enemy decided to put all of his/her improvements on the coast early in the game for some reason.
So there you have it, a civ that is almost completely trapped in going for a military victory with bonuses that are only effective on water maps. If you want anything other than a military victory on a water map, literally any other civ is a better pick. Not only that, but Japan and England are arguably better choices for military victories on water maps, meaning Norway isn't even the best at the only thing it does well.

It does get one single VR point for having an awful faith boost along with its awful military boosts.

GR - 5/20
VR - 1/10

Civ Rating - 5.5/25

Breaking Down Rome

Rome holds a special place in my heart because they are the first civ I played as when I got this game.

CA - All Roads Lead to Rome
All cities start with a trading post, and new cities in trade route range of your capital will automatically have a road going to them. Trade routes going through your cities earn extra Gold.

This is not a stunningly powerful ability, but it is very useful. In a playthough as Rome, a brand new city I established was almost immediantly attacked by a force from the Kongo. I only had one scout there, but thanks to that handy-dandy road I could move my forces from my capital to defend the city very quickly. You also get roads to captured cities, which allowed me to once again move my troops efficiently in the subsequent invasion and conquest of the Kongo. The gold bonuses you get aren't amazing, but trust me, they add up over time.

GR - 4/7

For the gold boost

VR - 2/3


LB - Trajan's Column
Get a free building in your city center when founding a city

Again, super useful. You don't need to choose between "scout or monument" early game because you already have a monument, an instant headstart on culture. Personally, I just like knowing I'm going to somewhat keep up with culture while I focus on more expansion.

GR - 4/7

Usually you get a monument, but it can be other city center buildings once you unlock them

VR - 3/3


UI - Baths
+2 Housing and +1 Amenity. Replaces Aqueduct.

It kind of confuses me that they replaced the aqueduct for Rome, since Rome is kind of known for buildings aqueducts, right? I digress, this unique district doesn't have the same inherent bonus that other unique districts get because you could already build the aquaduct in any eligible city regardless of the population. But +2 housing and +1 Amenity over the normal aquaduct is still, just like everything else so far, useful but not exciting.

GR - 2/4

VR - 3/3



UU - Legion
+5 strength, doesn't require iron, costs more (110 base production vs 90 for swordmen), can build forts or remove resources/improvements with one build charge

The legion, in my humble opinion, is the best unique unit in the game not just because it is strong, but because incredibly formidable in a critical period of the game for a substantial amount of time. You get it early enough to truly impact the game, but not so early that you won't be able to mass produce them. You don't even need iron to start pumping legions out, although that is weird because they certainly look like they're clad with quite a bit of metal. What makes the legion extra useful, is that only unit more powerful than the legion before knights are unlocked is the japanese samurai. Pikemen technically have 1 more combat strength, but legions get bonuses against them for being anti-calvary units. I wouldn't even say that knights mark the end of the legion, as you will have far more legions available when knights make their appearance. The worst case scenario is that you have to build a bunch of forts and hold out until you can upgrade to musketmen.

This is the personal experience with the legion that drove me to rate them so highly, but feel free to skip
The legion carried me to victory. Starting only with 4 legion, I steamrolled the Kongo. But America and Sumeria wanted the lands I took too, so they both sent almost everything they had at me. I only needed two legion to build forts in a chokepoint to hold off America, but the rest of my empire was being overrun with seemingly infinite Sumerian warcarts. Yes, warcarts are easily killable by basic swordmen, but the enhanced survivability of the legion cannot be underestimated when you are outnumbered by such a ridiculous amount. The loss of even a single unit is significant in such a scenario, and I didn't lose anything.
Both eventually made peace, and I used that time to regroup and then steamroll the fractured Sumerians. Meanwhile, I had to hold off America again in the same spot because they were trying to convert my cities. The age of the legion ended only after conquering all of Sumeria and about half of America when I upgraded to musketmen, but by that time, I had already won the game. None of the civs on the opposing continent could keep pace with that much expansion in such a short amount of time, and I don't believe I could have gotten as far as I did with basic swordmen (I wouldn't even have iron until after I took the Kongo).

TLDR: I love the legion

P.S. You get one build charge per legion, but I'm pretty sure boosts to builder build charges also effect legion. When I fact checked myself before writing this, I was confused to see they had one charge because I'm sure I could use them twice. I think it was because I had the pyramids but I didn't notice at the time.

GR - 3/2

Can clear forests for production

VR - 1/1


CONCLUSION:
Rome is a very inviting civ to play, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is new to the game but also just to anyone who hasn't played them yet. The free infastructure keeps you competitive in the race to grab land, and even if the best spots are claimed by rivals, you can use your legion to take them for yourself. Don't stop expanding, and Rome will never fall.

Total GR - 13/20
Total VR - 9/10

Civ Rating 17.5/25

Breaking Down Russia

This is one of the ranked lists I came across when searching for reference points.
https://mic.com/articles/157321/civ-6-best-civs-and-leaders-ranked-which-civilization-will-bring-you-to-sweet-victory#.lSucaLTFK
Reading this list, I was geniunely surprised to see Russia in the number one spot. Their rationale was this: "In a game where cities are unpacked from their center, a Civ that gets all those extra tiles when it founds a city is seriously overpowered" Civ 6 is definitely all about building wide, so I thought maybe they were on to something. I decided Russia would be the first Civ to try Immortal with (I've been mostly testing things out with Emperor, especially for the sake of this guide). I won, but I definitely didn't feel overpowered. So now I'm back to see just how OP is Russia really?

CA - Mother Russia
Gain extra tiles upon founding a city, +1 faith and production from tundra tiles

Read @Braggi's comment for a much better take than what I originally put here.

"Having more tiles allowes you to use the best of 9, more good or special tiles than best of 6, subtle boost. Early cities are more versatile switching between several outputs.
After the patch you can only chop wood you control.

Tundra gave lots of plain tiles to explore - fewer dense rainforest or hillsides that cripple speed. Bottom line? Way better chance to discover bonus villages, nature wonders or get first encounter with city states. Enormous starting boost.
Being usually top or bottom - less directions to control and defend midgame."

Thank you for your well thought out response.

GR - 6/7

VR - 3/3



LB - Grand Embassy
When trading with other civs, get +1 science for every three techs that civ is ahead of you and/or +1 culture for every three civics.

They didn't even mention this in the article above, and it's pretty clear why. In my playthrough, this ability gave me +6 culture from 2 trade routes to Greece while I was going for a science victory. That's it, and it's definitely not going to make up for the fact that I'm at least 9 civics behind. I promised one UA would get 0/7. Grand Embassy is that UA.

GR - 0/7

This will give you culture when you're going for science, science when going for culture, and both when going for faith or military. It still sucks, but it gets full VR points.

VR - 3/3


UI - Lavra
Unique district, replaces holy site, add one tile to your border every time you expend a great person in a city with a lavra

Why did the devs think Russia needed something else to give it more tiles? Originally I took away a point because it's stupid and it doesn't deserve to have the same score as the other great UI... but being able to build a holy site in every city is still great.

GR - 4/4


VR - 0/3



UU - Cossack
+5 strength, can move after attacking

It's very good, but I've never really used the base unit, calvary, extensively in any of my games. Comparing it the other units of its time though, it is hard to beat, you can use hit and run tactics even after it is outclassed.

GR - 2/2

VR - 0/1


CONCLUSION:
To answer the question posed in the intro: No, not really... but it sure isn't bad either!

Russia gets a bonus 3 VR points because it is generally the first civ to a pantheon/religion (thanks to the lavra and CA) giving it a jump start on any victory it wants.
Thanks again to Braggi for pointing this out to me

GR - 12/20
VR - 9/10

Civ Rating 16.5/25

Breaking Down Scythia

I have been annoyed with Scythia's leader bonus from the moment I learned what it was

CA - People of the Steppe
Receive a second unit each time you train a light cavalry unit or Saka Horse Archer.

Synergy bonuses are saved for the conclusion, I'm grading this ability in its own right. There are three light cavalry units in the game that you can build, the horseman, the cavalry, and the helicopter. Make sure you have the required resources, because you will be able to field a super-mobile army in the classical, industrial, and atomic eras very quickly. This ability isn't hard to understand so let's move on.

GR - 5/7

VR - 0/3


LB - Killer of Cyrus
All units receive +5 Combat Strength when Attacking wounded units. When they eliminate a unit, they heal up to 50 HP.

Who thought this was a good idea? Who thought that it was fair to make a civ whose entire army gets bonuses attacking wounded units AND gets to heal HALF THEIR HEALTH every time they get a kill? Like, why? WHY? Needless to say, if you are fighting against Scythia, you better hope you are either way ahead of them in tech or outnumber them by a ridiculous amount (preferably both) because Scythia's army is inherently superior to any comparable army. Earlier I gave the ability "Plato's republic" 7/7 and said no other ability could get 7/7, well I changed my mind. Plato's republic is really good for its utility, but Killer of Cyrus is raw power and I think it deserves to be the 7/7 with a 0/3 VR.

GR - 7/7

VR - 0/3


UI - Kurgan
+1 Faith, +1 Gold. +1 Faith for each adjacent Pasture

This UI is good because it is really early game, and you can certainly get a lot of bonus faith and to a lesser degree gold if you spam them, but that also takes a lot of effort. It's a respectable UI, but it's definitely not the reason people play Scythia.

GR - 2/4

VR - 2/3


Saka Horse Archer
4 movement, 15 melee strength, 25 ranged strength, 1 range

Several people have vouged to me that this is a really good unit. I have only played scythia through the Early game so I'll take their word for it.

GR - 2/2

VR - 0/2


CONCLUSION:
Scythia gets 2 bonus GR points from the synergy between the UU, the CA, and the LB. The CA lets you spam a ridiculous number of both the UU and horsemen to act as your front line. Then, considering your entire horde has the stupidly powerful boosts from the LB, you can overrun just about anyone. The way Scythia's bonuses have broken down here is really conducive to understanding how Scythia works... it's all about the horde, individually they might not be the best components (except the LB) but together they form what is easily the most powerful civ in the game.

Also... there is a hidden bonus to Scythia, an exploit with the UU and the CA.
I don't want to explain it, but I am acknowledging that it exists so you can look it up if you really want to be THAT guy.

GR - 18/20

VR - 2/10

Civ Rating - 19/25

Breaking Down Spain

NEW CRUSADE NOW!

CA - Treasure Fleets
Traders between continents get extra yields. Spain can also combine ships into fleets earlier than other civs.

The first part of the this ability is super dependent on the map generation, the other part is potentially very powerful but I also don't like the new fleet/army system. I'm going to mod it out of the game as soon as I find one.

GR - 4/7

VR - 2/3


LB - El Escorial
Combat bonus against units of civs following other religons. Inquisitors can remove heresy one additional time.

When you are playing Spain, imagine yourself as the single most aggressive Jehovah's Witness ever.
"KNOCK KNOCK"
"who's there?"
"JESUS!"
*proceeds to kick door down and murder everyone inside*

GR - 5/7

VR - 1/3


UI - Mission
Tile improvement* bonus faith on other continents and science from adjacency to campus districts.

Not a unique district, don't trust everything you read on the internet kids.

GR - 1/4

VR - 1/3



UU - Conquistador
Musketmen replacement, bonus for being accompanied by a religious non-combat unit like a missionary, and converts conquered cities to Spain’s religion instantly

Great for kicking ♥♥♥ and praising Jesus.

GR - 2/2

Helps spread religion

VR - 1/1


CONCLUSION:
DEUS VULT!
Taking a VR point and putting it on GR, because Spain is very powerful when you focus and both faith a military.
I'm also giving another bonus GR point because I faith and military just blend so well together. Many many many times have I started wars just to wipe out enemy religious units with my military units. Spain arguably the best for faith+military.

GR - 14/20

VR - 4/10

Civ Rating: 16/25

Breaking Down Sumeria

Look, I'm just going to rush through this one today because I don't feel like doing it tomorrow!
Also I've been working on a graphic that I want to be able to finish.

CA - Epic Quest :
Every time you capture a barbarian outpost, you get a Tribal Village reward.

Gives you a pretty good headstart, but don't expect this ability to carry you all the way, as the bonuses become less significant and the barbarians become harder to find.

GR - 5/7

VR - 3/3


LB - Adventures with Enkidu:
When fighting a joint war, Sumeria shares pillage rewards and combat experience with the closest allied unit within five tiles.

This isn't the worst ability in the game but it is my least favorite. Just like in real life, in civ 6 I'm always flying solo... not because I choose to be that way but because EVERYONE HATES ME!

I'M SORRY I DIDN'T SPAWN WITH A HUGE ARMY LIKE EVERYONE ELSE DID, CLEOPATRA
I'M SORRY I CAN'T GIVE YOU MY RELIGION RIGHT AFTER I FOUNDED IT, MVEMBA
I'M SORRY I'M JUST BETTER AT THE GAME THAN YOU TWO, PEDRO AND QIN
I'M SORRY I'M TERRIBLE AT LIFE, MOM

GR - 2/7

VR - 0/3


UI - Ziggurat
+1 science, +1 culture if next to a river. Can't be built on a hill.

It's only good because it is available right from the start of the game.

GR - 2/4

VR - 1/3


UU - Warcart
Replaces chariot, suffers no penalties against anti-calvary units, available from start of game

Great for taking out barbarian encampments, and remains formidable until swordmen come out. If you building enough of these, you can wipe another civ

GR - 2/2

VR - 0/1


CONCLUSION:
One of the earliest civs in history is fittingly very good at the start of the game. It would be much better if they would replace the LB with like... anything else. Personally, I think adventures with enkidu should be related to improving relations or bonuses for city states, instead of forcing you to work with the people you are trying to defeat! I'm giving a bonus GR point for synergy between the warcart and the CA. When you play Sumeria, i'd recommend building a warcart first so that you can start raiding encampents, then either a settler or a builder so you can start building ziggurats before they become useless.

GR - 12/20

VR - 4/10

Civ Rating - 14/25