Civilization VI: Best Civilisations Guide (Summer Update 2017)

By Marcello Perricone 21 Mar 2017 0

Civilization VI is an awesome game. It still has some ways to go to reach the heights of Civ V after it's expansions, but it's definitely on the right path.

With new Civilization games comes new civilisations, and so we must learn their eccentricities and best playstyles all over again. Due to the way Civilization VI was designed, it is harder to find civilisations good at only one thing -- gone are the highly specific niche focuses; every civilisation in this game can now put up a fighting chance against its rivals.


In order to help our readers get better at the game and figure out the best way to achieve exactly the goals, we build this neat little guide that singles out the best nations for each playstyle, meant to make your game better and allowing you to have much more fun with it. Check them out!


The classic bellic victory, Domination sees you conquering the world by strength of arms over your less fortunate civilizations. In Civ VI, you luckily don’t need to conquer an entire civilization; you just need to control all of the capitals to score the victory. As military might walks alongside a healthy economy and scientific progress, you elementarily need to pay attention to those instead of just spamming military units, and the best civilisations to achieve a domination victory are:


  • Early game: Tomyris of Scythia

One of the best traditional military factions in the game, Scythia is capable of crushing all other civs in the early to mid game. Their special Saka Horse Archer unit doesn't require horses to produce and has 4 Movement and +1 Attack Range, making it much more powerful than any similar rival. Even better, you get two of them each time one is trained. This allows Scythia to quickly build an unstoppable force of highly skilled cavalry archers, capable of moving fast and striking hard, steamrolling anyone in their way.

The fact that Scythia’s units gain a +5 Combat Strength attack bonus when engaging damaged foes and heal up to 50 bonus points upon defeating them guarantees the enemy forces dwindle at the same time Scythia maintain their own, pressing the advantage home and making it a formidable adversary.

It must be noted that in order to best use this civ’s ability, you need a map with lots of land -- the Saka Horse Archers are nearly useless on the sea. Make sure to also act before the mid-game, as modern units quickly close the technological gap between Scythia and everyone else. 

Teddy Roosevelt

  • Late game: Teddy Roosevelt of America

America really shines after the mid-game, meaning it must turtle at the start of a match. Their home defence ability gives them +5 Combat Strength in their home continent and helps them fend off incoming attacks, while their legacy grants them government bonuses twice as fast as any other civ, helping them build up prosperity. Once the modern area is reached, America’s unique military units can defeat any contemporary -- the Rough Rider land unit gains +10 Combat Strength when fighting on Hills and has a lower maintenance cost than other units, while the P-51 Mustang airplane has +2 flight range, gains +5 attack against fighters, and acquires experience twice as fast than normal. Make sure to invest in Science and Technology to be able to field those units as fast as possible.

Being quite versatile and late-game focused, America does not have many terrain restrictions and is easily one of the most adaptable civilisations in the game. Culture and science victories are also easily achievable, if properly pursued. 


Science victories are a staple of the Civ series, always leading to the space race meant to expand civilisation to the stars. Civ VI has a myriad of ways of accruing science progress, and the best civs for that are:


  • Saladin of Arabia

Advanced players looking for a less traditional path to a science victory will enjoy Saladin, which has the unique ability to mix technology and religion and achieve either victory. Arabia’s religious buildings boost the total science, culture and faith by 10%, while their bonus generates one additional unit of science per turn for each city that follows Arabia’s religion. This unique approach to faith and science is capable of generating an amazing payout, catapulting Arabia in front of its peers.

Needless to say, Arabia can pursue a religious victory just as well as they can a scientific one. 


  • Peter the Great of Russia

Russia is a weird civilisation, gaining major variable bonuses from tundra tiles and focusing on expansion. However, their added territory allows them greater flexibility when building districts, while their special ability generates extra +1 Science or Culture from trade routes to civilizations more advanced than them. In the hands of a skilled player, these bonuses can help boost science victory quite quickly, and make Russia into a powerhouse.

As long as you expand and settle in tundra as much as possible, Russia can achieve any victory condition in the game. 


Cultural victories can be challenging, as you won’t win until the number of tourists visiting your country is equal to the number of domestic tourists from all other civilizations combined.

In order to achieve that, you need loads of great people -- especially artists -- along with buildings, districts, and wonders that can house their works (sculpture, relics, and artifacts being the most valuable). Make sure to trade with other civs to spread your culture, pick culture-boosting policies, and always keep an eye on your opponents’ progress when you are pursuing a Culture victory.

qin hero

  • Passive: Qin Shi Huang of China

In an ironic turn from today’s communist China, Civ VI’s Chinese are all about attracting tourists and spreading their cultural dominance. The Great Wall of China -- once a wonder in past games -- is now a unique improvement only buildable by the Chinese. Each adjacent segment provides extra +1 gold,culture, and tourism, making walls not only strategically vital, but culturally too. A good perimeter around your empire can easily generate loads of culture in a manner unmatched by any other civilisation in the game.

Thanks to this unique improvement, all China needs is land enough to build as massive a wall as possible. As the game progresses and your civilisation expands, the wall should likewise get bigger and bigger, generating huge amount of resources while lending formidable protection to protect your empire. All in all, this might be one of the best gameplay styles for turtling players. 


  • Active: Gorgo of Greece

Relies on military might to generate 50% bonus culture from defeated units and a bonus +1 wildcard policy to change things up, Gorgo brings culture to Greece when she makes war. In a different strategy than other civs, Greece can successfully pair military and culture production, bolstering cultural output by focusing on military strength and attacking a lot -- Gorgo's Greece is much more aggressive than Pericles' Greece because of the Thermopylae bonus. Because every kill means Greece gains Culture, Culture is a little more stable. 

In addition, the Acropolis is a special district that provides extra +1 Culture from each adjacent wonder, district, and city center, greatly helping with Culture output .Once the classical era is through, though, Greece really loses the only unique unit it has, so a cultural victory is kind of it’s only standout option -- most other civs have unique units later in the game that crush Greece’s run of the mill roster. 


For the first time in the series, religion is a bonafide victory condition. In order to win, at least half of every civilization’s followers must subscribe to your beliefs -- it may sound simple, but holy wars are a thing, now. If you convert another leader’s cities, they can have a causus belli to kick your ass.

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  • Peaceful: Ghandi of India

Ghandi provides +5 bonus faith each turn from every civilisation met, as long as you’re not at war with them. In order to incentive less warfare, opposing nations suffer double war weariness -- a penalty to population growth and productivity -- for every turn spent at war with India, generating a massive drain and unrest and increasing the chances of spawning rebels, That side effect of engaging Gandhi can quickly cripple the economy and ravage an unprepared attacking empire.

Curiously, while you of course want to spread your own faith, Gandhi is tolerant of other religious beliefs, earning the follower bonus from every religion that has at least one convert in a city. That makes India a religious powerhouse that thrives on peace and punishes war, capable of generating immense amounts of faith and reaping rewards from different pantheons. 

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  • Belligerent: Philip II of Spain

If you want a less peaceful approach to religious victory, Phil’s your guy. His Inquisitors are extra effective and get one extra use in curbing other religions, and his armies get a bonus +4 combat strength when fighting civilisations who follow a different faith. This allows a more violent spread of religion that can roll in mass out of nowhere and take others by surprise -- after all, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Spain’s unique unit is the conquistador, which gets a +10 to combat strength when occupying the same hex as a missionary, apostle, or inquisitor. If one of those units is next to an enemy city when it falls, that settlement is automatically converted to Spain’s religion, adding an useful twist to any holy wars you may find yourself in. 


The sea is a harsh mistress, but damn, do I love it. Naval warfare is always a nice way to change the pace of a Civ game, and some factions are of course better suited to it than others. Elementary, only attempt the following in a map full of water -- you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of a desert with Queen Victoria.

civilization vi art leader victoria landscape

  • Expansionary: Victoria of England

England plays a less traditional military role in this game -- unlike Civ V, where control of the seas was achieved via a brute force approach with the Ship of the Line military units, the British Empire has a bigger focus on colonisation and reach this time around. The Sea Dog is a sneaky little unique ship capable of capturing enemy units, and it can not be seem on the map unless immediately adjacent to the enemy.

The Royal Dockyard District grants +1 extra movement points to every seacraft built in it, ensuring England always has a small but noticeable advantage over other seafaring civilisations. The District also removes the penalty for land units embarking and disembarking, giving Victoria a clear pathway to unload military troops into the ocean and colonise distant lands. The Redcoat unique unit gets +10 combat strength when fighting outside the continent where England’s capital is located, and the Pax Britannica bonus gives on free melee unit to every found or conquered city overseas, guaranteeing sovereignty in new colonies and culling rebellion on conquered opponents.

Elementary, England needs not only the sea, but also separate landmasses to be at the top of it’s game; a landlocked or Pangean map would nullify most of the British strengths. However, if that happens, a Culture victory would still be achievable due to the British Museum improvements that can be built on each city and then stuffed full of Culture, making that a not ideal but pursuable victory condition. 

CivilizationVI Norway Hardrada Hero

  • Aggressive: Harald Hardrada of Norway

Norway's unique bonuses allows its fleets to raid enemy tiles from the sea and removes penalties upon embarking and disembarking, creating a very aggressive Viking civilisation that excels at attacking from the sea (what a suprise). The berserker is a fragile but powerful unit capable of pillaging tiles and moving at the same turn, while the Viking Longship can heal itself in neutral territory and extend the longevity of the fleet. Played as a harassing and aggressive civ, Norway can be unmatched on domination.

Norway is extremely niche; the right map is essential to its success. Founding cities surrounded by forests next to the ocean can turn Harald into an absolute powerhouse, but without sea access, you won’t really get anywhere.

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What do you think? Did this help you find the civ you were looking for? Do you have any suggestion of nations we did not list here? Let us know in the comments below!



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