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This is a list of the various civilizations and their leaders appearing in the Civilization series of games. Originally the differences between the sides were purely aesthetic, but starting with the third game in the series, the nations began to get unique units or qualities, then V additionally gave each civilization a radically different, game-changing ability to distinguish them from their competition. Therefore these entries will go into more detail about civs that appeared in later games.


A note on Leaders: In II, every civilization had a male and female leader at minimum. In cases where a historic ruling lady couldn't be found, either a similarly famous female, mythical figure, or completely made-up character was used. The mythical and completely fabricated characters are denoted with an asterisk. Additionally, leaders and civilizations from Colonization and Revolution are not listed.

No real life examples related to these civilizations, please.

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Added in Civilization


Leaders: Abraham Lincoln (I-IV), Franklin D. Roosevelt (IV), Eleanor Roosevelt (II), George Washington (IV-V), Theodore Roosevelt (VI)
Unique Units: F-15 (III), Navy SEAL (IV), B-17 (V), Minuteman (V), P-51 Mustang (VI), Rough Rider (VI)
Unique Buildings: Mall (IV), Film Studio (VI)
Ability: Manifest Destiny (V), Founding Fathers (VI)

One of the youngest civilizations, America is a former British colony that achieved independence in the 18th century with the help of figures such as George Washington, commander of the colonial army and first president of the United States. In the century that followed it concentrated on expanding westward while pursuing a foreign policy of isolation, but as the country grew, deepening divisions over the issue of slavery resulted in a civil war in the 1860's, which was resolved under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln. As the country continued to expand and industrialize, leaders such as Theodore Roosevelt began taking a more active role in world affairs, which culminated in America's involvement in two World Wars. Following Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration, which brought America out of the Great Depression to help defeat the Axis Powers, America suddenly found itself one of two superpowers, and spent the latter half of the 20th century waging a global Cold War against the Soviet Union. With the USSR's collapse, today the USA stands as the world's premier economic and military power.

While Civ III and IV emphasized America's modern military hardware and economic ability, its treatment in V backtracks a bit, and is modeled after America's days of exploration and land-grabbing. Its Manifest Destiny ability gives its units extended vision to better spot opportunities or danger, as well as a national discount on purchased land tiles. The Minuteman, while no stronger than a normal musketman, can move effortlessly through rough terrain, giving America an edge during the late Renaissance/early Industrial ages, while the B-17 Bomber demolishes cities and shrugs off opposing aircraft during the Atomic Era. In general, America's a late-bloomer Boring, but Practical faction.

In Civilization VI, America has a unique blend of civic, cultural and military bonuses. Its Founding Fathers ability lets America convert a diplomatic policy slot into a wildcard policy (allowing for a boost in whatever area they wish for), and gets additional Diplomatic Favor per turn with each wildcard slot. Meanwhile, its Film Studios produce additional tourism pressure during the Modern era. Theodore Roosevelt's leader bonus increases the tourism appeal of cities with Natural Parks, but also gives all American units a combat boost when fighting on their home continent, which when combined with his Rough Rider cavalry and the P-51 Mustang fighter means that America can vigorously oppose any rivals' attempts to disrupt a Cultural Victory. Teddy's unique agenda makes him a good neighbor, so long as you settle on his continent peacefully - but if you start picking fights with other civs or city-states in his part of the world, you'll be on the receiving end of that "Big Stick" of his.

  • America Takes Over the World: Certainly possible in games like Civ IV and V, where America's unique units help out in a late-game Domination Victory, but subverted in Civ VI, where Roosevelt's leader bonus and special unit encourage America to stay on its home continent.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The F-15 in Civ III. In that game, the only way for a country to get a golden age is for its unique unit to win a battle. So if you're America, not only do you have to wait until the Modern era to get a golden age, you have to wait for an opponent to get to the Modern era, then get in a dogfight with you.
    • In VI, the Rough Rider is this in spades. It's not a bad unit per se, but it doesn't come into the game until Rifling, and no other unit "upgrades" to it; this means that you cannot convert your older (and experienced, and already built) heavy cavalry units into it, but have to build it the hard way. Also, the technology required to build the Rough Rider is very close to the one required to build the Tank, to which the Rough Rider upgrades, meaning that the Rough Rider actually has a very limited window of opportunity to be useful.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • In V, America's "Manifest Destiny" ability isn't very flashy, but that extra tile of sight range is vital for scouting or ranged units, and similarly the Minuteman's ability to ignore difficult terrain is quite useful.
    • In VI, their "Founding Fathers" ability converts their diplomatic slots into wildcard slots, and gets them a bit more diplomatic favor per turn. While it does provide a minor boost early game, America with the right governments (particularly Digital Democracy in the future era, which will net you 7 of them) and wonders (Potala Palace and Forbidden City) can start to have considerable sway in world affairs. This also lets America be a bit more flexible with its policies, allowing them to invest more into their strengths.
  • Bully Hunter: In Civ VI, Teddy Roosevelt's unique agenda makes him hate warmongers or leaders who pick on city-states on his home continent. Also, he was a Great White Hunter who said "Bully!" a lot.
  • The Cameo: John F. Kennedy makes one in the intro to Civ 4's Beyond The Sword expansion, despite not being a playable leader.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Washington in V absolutely hates warmongers, and will attack you if you conquer too many people even when he's a continent away.
  • Cool Plane: The P-51 Mustang, B-17 Bomber, and F-15 Jet Fighter!
  • Egopolis: In V America's leader is George Washington. Their capital, as always, is still Washington DC, causing this.
  • Glory Seeker: Roosevelt's Rough Riders in VI, which earn Culture upon defeating enemy units in combat on America's home continent, thus encouraging you to get in some fights.
  • Graceful Loser: In Civ VI Roosevelt sadly congratulates the player if he’s conquered, saying their empire will go far instead of America.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade:
    • While Washington is, arguably, a "hero", in V he says things like "You have mistaken our love of peace for weakness", and "Your wanton aggression leaves us no choice." Even if he's attacking you out of the blue and you've been entirely peaceful up to that point. He's also an expansive leader, which means he might start coveting your lands, proving that nobody's totally free from dickish behavior in Civilization.
    • Eleanor was well-known as the First Lady during FDR's tenure. In II she is the female leader for America before Franklin's inclusion in IV.
  • Home Field Advantage: Teddy Roosevelt's leader bonus in VI gives all American units a minor combat bonus when on their home continent.
  • Irony: America is known for talking about freedom. In Civ V, Washington usually picks Order as his ideology, i.e. communism.
  • Magikarp Power: Kind of a given for a civilization that's just over two hundred years old. America's special units will start to appear around the late-Renaissance/early-Industrial era, and its special abilities tend to let it hit its stride during the late game.
  • The Mall: America's unique building in Civ IV, which on top of the normal benefits of a Supermarket provides additional gold as well as extra happiness from the special trade goods produced from the Broadway, Hollywood and Rock n' Roll wonders.
  • Manifest Destiny: The name of America's unique ability in Civ V, which gives all its land units extended sight range, and its cities a discount on purchased tiles. So America will usually know where the best city spots are before its neighbors, and can snap up real estate before a rival expands onto it.
  • Misplaced Accent: For some reason, George Washington in V has a modern Southern accent reminiscent of Bill Clinton rather than anything from the 18th century.
  • Navy SEALs: America's unique unit in IV, a Marine with additional first strike capacity and the ability to heal every turn.
  • No Indoor Voice: Averted with Teddy Roosevelt. In contrast to many examples in fiction where he's deafeningly loud, this version has a historically accurate depiction based on existing audio of his speeches. Hearing his high, reedy voice coming out of such a big man can catch a first-time player unaware.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: In V, Russia's Krepost gives it the same discount on purchased tiles as what America gets from its special ability, while the Shoshone's ability to gain eight extra tiles around newly-founded cities gives them a similar benefit for free. The only unique advantage America has is that line-of-sight bonus to its land units.
  • Reluctant Warrior: One of Teddy's lines from VI.
    Roosevelt: I wanted to avoid this, you know. But your idea of peace left me no choice.


Leaders: Montezuma II (I-IV), Nazca* (II), Montezuma I (V-VI)
Unique Units: Jaguar Warrior (III-V), Eagle Warrior (VI)
Unique Buildings: Sacrificial Altar (IV), Floating Gardens (V), Tlatchli (VI)
Ability: Sacrificial Captives (V), Legend of the Five Suns (VI)

The Aztecs migrated into modern Mexico around the 12th century, building their capital of Tenochtitlan on an island in Lake Texcoco. Originally vassals of a larger power, the Aztecs forged a Triple Alliance with the city-states of Texcoco and Tlacopan, overthrew their masters, and under Montezuma I came to dominate central Mexico. Their religion required constant human sacrifice, leading to staged "Flower Wars" that provided captives for this purpose during lapses in real conflict. As can be imagined this did nothing to endear the Aztecs' subjects to their new overlords, and when the Spanish arrived in 1519, the conquistadors found no shortage of allies willing to turn against Montezuma II. A combination of misplaced religious awe, a sizable technology gap, Montezuma II's incompetence, and foreign illnesses spelled the end of the empire.

One of the more infamous factions of Civilization, the Aztecs are exactly as aggressive and bloodthirsty as their history suggests, and few things are more dreaded than finding out you have Montezuma as a neighbor. In Civ V their Jaguar Warrior is an early game danger that excels at jungle warfare, and combined with their Sacrificial Captives ability, which grants the Aztecs culture points for slain enemies, you have a civilization that has little reason not to kill you. On the other hand, this warmongering tendency can make the Aztecs international pariahs by the late game, and there's always the chance they'll pick a fight with the wrong rival. If you're the one leading them, remember: if you aren't acting like a genocidal maniac, you're not playing them right.

In Civ VI, Montezuma's leader bonus lets luxury resources provide amenities in extra cities, and more dangerously gives all Aztec units a combat bonus that increases the more luxuries the Aztecs have in their empire, which combined with Montezuma's "Tlatoani" agenda will drive him to aggressively expand until he controls all the luxuries on the map. To help stave off war weariness, the Aztecs can build Tlachtli ball courts in their entertainment districts, which provide additional faith and Great General points in addition to amenities. Their civilization's special ability lets Aztec builder units rapidly speed up district construction, which synergizes nicely with the Eagle Warrior's ability to enslave defeated foes as workers. The net result is an empire that will probably be waging war from the very beginning of the game, and if left unchecked can develop into an unstoppable juggernaut.

  • Badass Boast: One of Montezuma's war declarations in V is nothing but "Ximicacan, Ximicacan, Ximicacan!" ("Die, die, die!")
  • Blood Knight: Their priests gotta make the sun rise, after all. In Civilization V, Montezuma is elated when you declare war and considers it humiliating and disappointing to be signing a peace treaty.
    Montezuma: (when attacked) Excellent! Let the blood flow in raging torrents!
    Montezuma: (signing peace treaty) Curses! I will sacrifice ten thousand citizens to expiate this humiliation!
  • Blood Sport: The Mesoamerican ball game played in those Tlachtli courts.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Even other aggressive leaders like Shaka Zulu or Genghis Khan generally won't attack you if you're on their good side. Montezuma has no such qualms.
  • Crutch Character: The Aztecs in V have shades of this. Their special unit and ability are very powerful, but those Jaguar Warriors will be obsolete by the Medieval Age, when other Domination-happy civs like the Mongols, Japanese or Zulu will be hitting their stride.
    • Magikarp Power: However, if the Aztecs settled near lake tiles, then their Floating Gardens can help their cities to grow to incredible sizes, rivaled only by the Inca, which can make them an extremely powerful late-game scientific civilization - and unlike other science civs, their huge culture generation should protect them from cultural civs such as France or Polynesia.
  • Cultured Badass: Their ability in V allows them to do this, earning points towards unlocking Policies while waging war.
  • Dirty Coward: Montezuma in V has gained a bizarre reputation for being the most cowardly, as in, he'll be inexplicably "afraid" of the player. Even if the player has never declared war or captured any cities from anyone and has strictly fought barbarians for 200 turns.
  • Disc-One Nuke: In V, the Jaguar Warrior replaces the standard Warrior, which is the first military unit you can build in the game. It's otherwise the same except that it gains a movement bonus in jungles and forest and is one and a half times stronger when they fight there. If that's not enough, they heal themselves when they kill an enemy unit. This is one of the main reasons why the Aztecs are so deadly in the early game, but they can remain a threat for the entire game since they pass along these upgrades when they are promoted to a higher-tech unit.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Montezuma's agenda in Civ VI is Tlatoani - basically he will like civilizations if they share the same luxuries and will hate them if they have luxuries he doesn't have. Guess how frequent that latter is and how you will be threatened with your citizens being slaves to him.
  • Human Sacrifice: Alluded to in their "Sacrificial Captives" ability in Civ V.
  • Jerkass: Montezuma is generally regarded as one of the hardest leaders to win over, or to work with if you do get him on your side. He has been known to publicly denounce you and declare war while you're his ally. Slightly justified in V where his unique ability is earning culture upon destroying enemy units.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: While Montezuma is certainly a very confident person in his warmongering, he's also very likely to be afraid of someone more dominant and powerful than him. If you've somehow managed to make Montezuma afraid of you and admit to you about how woefully outmatched he is compared to your empire, then you're certainly doing a very good job.
  • Large Ham: Montezuma in V.
  • Life Drain: Jaguars in V regain health whenever they kill an enemy unit.
  • Made a Slave: The Eagle Warriors in VI can do this to defeated enemies, turning them into Builder units.
  • Magikarp Power: In VI, each luxury the Aztecs control gives a 1-to-1 direct boost to unit damage. For example, the Eagle Warrior unique unit has a base attack of 28, where its upgrade to swordsman has an attack of 36. All it takes are 8 luxury resources to make an Eagle warrior equal a swordsman. Likewise, an Aztec swordsman with those 8 luxuries has an attack of 44. The more luxuries you have as an Aztec player, the stronger your armies and navies are until all your basic units will utterly outclass all the unique units of the other civs.
  • Mega City: Floating Gardens double the food output of lakes. Accordingly, it's easy to kickstart growing your cities early on, even before other potential megacity-builders like the Inca or India can catch up.
  • Not the Intended Use/Emergent Gameplay:
    • Despite Montezuma's aggression-focused ability and borderline-psychotic AI, the Aztecs are in fact well-suited for pursuing peaceful scientific victories with their Floating Gardens, which synchronize well with the Freedom ideology and the various specialist bonuses it entails. A handful of gigantic, specialist-filled cities surrounded by jungles can pump out science faster than most other civs and easily gain a tech lead over all but the most science-focused civilizations.
    • Before Brave New World changed Cultural Victories, the fact that killing grants culture, which feeds your acquisition of social policies, meant it was theoretically possible to warmonger into a Cultural Victory.
    • In IV, Montezuma has the Spiritual trait and starts with Mysticism, which means a religious victory via the Apostolic Palace is just as viable for him as it would be for the usual suspects like Isabella or Justinian. If such a victory involves a Holy War or two, all the better; nobody expects the Aztec Inquisition!
  • Obviously Evil: In V, Montezuma stands over an altar, face eerily underlit by torches, clutching a sacrificial dagger. More than that, he doesn't even pretend that he's not a bloodthirsty warmonger.
    Montezuma: Opening our borders will make it easier for me to drag your people to the sacrificial altars. I'm sure it will benefit you in some way as well.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Gain culture by winning battles.
  • So Much for Stealth: If Montezuma is building and expanding his cities towards your own, start getting your army ready, because he will attack you.
  • Unstable Equilibrium:
    • The abilities of V's Jaguar Warriors are some of the few that actually carry over from upgrading the unit on the field, so stockpiling a bunch of Jaguars for upgrading is a necessity if you plan to continue being a warmonger in the late-game. Brave New World made this easier with the "Holy Warriors" Religion bonus that lets you purchase pre-Industrial Era units with Faith.
    • In VI, Montezuma's ability to give units a combat bonus that increases the more luxuries he has in the empire means that once the Aztecs start expanding, it will only get harder and harder for someone to stop them.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Very easy with them in V, while VI gives them more bonuses to take the edge of war weariness.
  • Worthy Opponent: If you're a warmongering Civ and somehow don't get into a fight with the Aztecs right away and instead pick fights with other Civs, then they'll usually leave you alone, either waiting patiently until you're ready or being outright afraid of you.


Leaders: Hammurabi (I-IV), Ishtar* (II), Nebuchadnezzar II (V)
Unique Unit: Bowman (III-V)
Unique Buildings: Garden (IV), Walls of Babylon (V)
Ability: Ingenuity (V)

One of the oldest known civilizations, the city of Babylon had stood in the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) since the 24th century BC. By 1727 BC the old Sumerian civilization had faded away, but under Hammurabi the city-state of Babylon flourished as a center of trade, science and culture, reunifying the surrounding region. More than that, Hammurabi left behind a legal code with explicit crimes and specific punishments that was used for over a thousand years. Though the Babylonian empire went through a decline, Nebuchadnezzar II led it into a renaissance in 605 BC, expanding into Syria and creating wonders like the famed Hanging Gardens. After his death, Babylon declined once more, falling to Cyrus II of Persia in 539 BC, Alexander the Great in 331 BC, until eventually the city and its achievements were reduced to so much rubble.

Babylon was a pioneer in writing and mathematics, and in Civ V it appropriately gets a powerful early-game bonus to science. Its Ingenuity ability gives Babylon a free Great Scientist when it discovers Writing, and produces future Great Scientists more quickly, boosts which allow the civilization to edge out almost every other rival in the science race. Babylon was also lousy at making friends, and built its city walls extra-thick to deter invaders; as such, its unique units and buildings are above-average archers and city defenses, useful for preventing early-game rushes. Nebuchadnezzar tends to focus on his defenses and developing his cities as he pursues a Science victory, but while he has no great dislike of warmongers, he also can hold a grudge and is difficult to befriend in general.

  • A God I Am Not: Nebuchadnezzar. "Those fools outside say I'm a god, but that seems unlikely."
  • Composite Character: A lot of Babylon's city names for their empire are borrowed from the Akkadians; Babylon spent a lot of its time as a part of someone else's Mesopotamian empire during its lifespan, but the Akkadian empire has yet to become its own civ in this game.
  • Death Seeker: He never acts suicidal, but if defeated, Nebuchadnezzar will remark "It is over. Perhaps now I shall have peace, at last."
  • The Eeyore: Even Nebuchadnezzar's trade proposal is a gruff, grumpy, "It seems you do have a reason to be here after all: to trade with me." Perhaps he's been having bad dreams lately...
  • God Empress: Ishtar, Babylon's female leader in Civ II.
  • Guttural Growler: Nebuchadnezzer's Akkadian is borderline Black Speech.
  • The Smart Guy: One of the only two civs in V that has a science boost as their main ability.
  • Stone Wall: Their Unique Building is "Walls of Babylon," which gives a much larger boost to a city's strength and HP than normal walls. Combined with their stronger-than-average archers, Babylonian cities can be a real pain to conquer, particularly in the early game. However, because the Archer obsoletes early and doesn't carry its advantages over on upgrade, it doesn't do anything for offence.
  • Technicolor Fire: For whatever reason the braziers flanking Nebuchadnezzar's throne are emitting eerie green flames.
  • Zerg Rush: While in other versions of Civ the Babylonian Bowman is primarily a defensive unit, in Civ IV it gets an attack bonus against melee units, which combined with Hammurabi's Aggressive trait means that Babylon is a viable early-game spammer.


Leaders: Mao Zedong (I-IV), Wu Zetian (II, V), Taizong (III-IV, Chinese version only), Qin Shi Huang (IV, VI)
Unique Units: Rider (III), Chu-Ko-Nu (IV-V), Crouching Tiger Cannon (VI)
Unique Buildings: Pavilion (IV), Paper Maker (V)
Unique Improvement: Great Wall (VI)
Ability: Art of War (V), Dynastic Cycles (VI)

People have been living in China for over eighteen millennia, while the history of the civilization stretches back at least six thousand years. Qin Shi Huang unified China's warring states in the second century BC, establishing the first of several imperial dynasties that would rule China for much of its history—Wu Zetian stands out for being the sole female who managed to take the throne. Chinese inventions include the crossbow, paper, and gunpowder, and at the height of its power the country sent out exploratory "treasure ships" as far as East Africa only to find that the rest of the world had little to offer. But eventually China fell prey to foreign domination, the Mongols in the 13th century, and various European powers in the late 19th century. Following World War II, Communist leader Mao Zedong retook control of the country and transformed its economy and society, albeit at a staggering human cost. Today China has become one of the world's major economic powers, and the question is whether the country will be content with its traditional regional preeminence or feel the need to assert itself globally.

China has been famed for its generals and strategists since ancient times, particularly during the legendary Three Kingdoms period, so its Art of War ability in V both churns out Great Generals faster and makes them twice as effective. The civilization was using the Crossbow centuries before Europe figured it out, and the Chinese variant is a full-on Automatic Crossbow. Instead of libraries, China has Paper Makers that provide research as normal, cost nothing to maintain, and even generate a profit thanks to market receipts and festivities, which will help China fund its army and technological development.

Since China was building great empires before most other cultures had gotten the hang of building cities, it's no surprise that in Civ VI it gets powerful boosts to construction, science and civics. China's "Dynastic Cycle" ability improves the effectiveness of Eurekas and Inspirations, while its leader bonus lets you build canals much earlier than anyone else (upon researching Masonry), gives Builders an extra charge, as well as the ability to help rush Ancient and Classical era Wonders. To defend its borders, China can build Crouching Tiger cannons a full era before anyone else has access to gunpowder siege units, as well as Great Wall tile improvements that provide extra defense, gold, and later culture and tourism. Qin Shi Huang takes full advantage of China's strengths to build as many Wonders as possible, and woe to anyone who dares to rival his empire.

  • Automatic Crossbows: The Chu-Ko-Nu. In its most recent incarnation, the unit does less damage per shot than an ordinary Crossbowmen but can attack twice per turn, a trait that carries over to any unit it upgrades into.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • In V, the Paper Maker isn't any more effective at helping research as a normal Library, but the fact that it's able to run at a profit means you'll have some extra gold in your pocket - or be able to support more units in your army.
    • In VI, builders having 4 uses instead of 3 for everyone else means you'll probably need to spend less time or money replacing them, which can go to other uses.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: While Wu Zetian can be friendly, she's also very deceptive and disloyal, and quite willing to backstab a "friend" if it suits her purposes.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Civ IV "Oracle Slingshot." Start building the Oracle wonder as soon as possible, but hold out on completing it until you research Archery and Metal Casting, then choose Machinery as your free technology. This gives you Cu-Ko-Nu at a time when your neighbors probably aren't done with the Ancient era techs.
  • The Great Wall: A recurring Wonder that became a uniquely Chinese improvement in Civ VI.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Qin Shi Huang's agenda, "The First Emperor," makes him dislike anyone who beats him to completing a Wonder or who builds more Wonders than he can.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: As mentioned above, his agenda will make him angry to civilizations with more wonders than him. Since building wonders are crucial, expect him to get angry at you.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: Another nice thing about the Chu-Ko-Nu in IV is that it deals bombardment damage to stacks of enemy units.
  • Stone Wall: In Civ VI, China's unique unit and improvement are both geared towards holding its borders while the civilization churns out Wonders.
  • The Strategist: In Civ V, China's "Art of War" ability makes its Great Generals more effective and appear faster. A few are even named after Three Kingdoms generals like Zhang Fei, Cao Cao, Zhuge Liang, and of course, Sun Tzu.


Leaders: Ramses II (I-II, IV-V), Cleopatra VII (II-III, VI), Hatshepsut (IV)
Unique Units: War Chariot (III-V), Maryannu Chariot Archer (VI)
Unique Buildings: Obelisk (IV), Burial Tomb (V)
Unique Improvement: Sphinx (VI)
Ability: Monument Builders (V), Iteru (VI)

This five-thousand-year-old culture astride the Nile river valley in North Africa boasts the only Wonder of the ancient world that survives today, the Great Pyramids. Egypt was first unified around 3000 BC, and thanks to its advanced agriculture, writing and mathematics was able to build magnificent monuments and tombs in the name of its pharaohs. Ramses II the Great, who reigned from 1279-1213 BC, not only established many public works projects, but also negotiated history's first recorded peace treaty with the Hittites. Hatshepsut, who ruled two centuries earlier, distinguished herself by deciding that she was the pharaoh, while Cleopatra VII famously died trying to ensure Egypt's independence from Rome in 30 BC. Egypt spent most of the common era as part of foreign empires until 1922, and though recent turmoil in the Middle East has rocked the country, Egypt, like its pyramids, endures.

Given its long, long history of making great monuments, it should come as no surprise that Egypt's special ability in Civ V gives it a bonus to building world wonders. The Burial Tomb is a maintenance-free replacement for the Temple, but invaders can raid them for extra cash, making Egypt a tempting target for pillaging neighbors. Fortunately, Egyptian War Chariots don't require horse herds, so any Ancient Era invaders have a swarm of early cavalry to contend with.

True to history, Egypt in Civ VI excels at creating great monuments along rivers, and its "Iteru" ability lets it build city Districts on flood plains and construct Wonders faster if they're next to a river, while floods do no damage at all to Egyptian lands. Its Sphinx improvements produce additional culture and faith, as well as additional bonuses if built next to such Wonders. Egypt's Maryannu Chariot Archers can help defend its empire in the early era, while Cleopatra's "Queen of the Nile" agenda will drive her to form alliances with powerful neighbors as extra insurance against attack. On the other hand, her leader bonus "Mediterranean's Bride" means that other civilizations get additional gold and food from trade routes with Egypt, so her rivals may find it more beneficial to coexist with Egypt than to try to conquer it.

  • Adaptational Nationality: On top of the Race Lift below. The historical Cleopatra ruled Egypt, but was a Greek both genetically and culturally and considered herself such. Her native language was Kione Greek (in fact it was the official language of her entire dynasty's court, though unlike previous rulers she did at least bother to learn the Egyptian language in between learning Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Parthian, and others, and she dressed and lived as a Hellene. Civilization's Cleopatra dresses in Egyptian garb and (in the sixth game) speaks the Egyptian language.
  • Blue Blood: There is of course no in-game effect, but Egypt's Maryannu Chariot Archers are crewed by noble sons.
  • Butt-Monkey: Not only does Egypt's unique building encourage foes to attack them, but it's one of the few civs in V with achievements earned both for doing something as them (rush a wonder with a Great Engineer) and for doing something to them (pillage a city with a Burial Tomb).
  • Defiant to the End: While most leaders in Civ V are gracious in defeat or saddened, Ramesses II keeps up the smack talk instead.
    Ramesses II: Strike me down and my soul will torment yours forever – you have won nothing.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Cleopatra's eyes tend to wander...
  • God-Emperor: Ramesses II, like all Egyptian Pharaohs.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power:
    • The Egyptians' passive ability is a +20% construction speed bonus when the construct in question is a Wonder. It sounds redundant since it's just faster buildings, but remember: every World Wonder you build is one that the other players can't get anymore, which to some civs can be a huge pain in the neck if they rely on a specific World Wonder for their strategy. Egypt is also a prime candidate for a Culture Victory, which a lot of World Wonders heavily contribute to, so stealing the right ones out from under the other players' noses will heavily cripple them while rapidly boosting your own score and resources. The cherry on top is that this bonus also applies to all-important National Wonders such as the National College or National Intelligence Agency.
    • Those Burial Tombs that make Egypt a popular raiding site give up plenty of goodness for their owner too: they're the only Temple that generates happiness for free as well, and they cost no upkeep. A religious-focused Egypt can be the happiest place on earth.
  • Loophole Abuse: The War Chariot in Civ V doesn't require a supply of horses to build, allowing Egypt to build up a huge army of them and steamroll the early competition.
  • Magikarp Power: Gathering Storm for VI gives a small but significant update to Egypt's repertoire: immunity to flood damage. Which means they still get all the benefits of a flood (the increasing tile yields, adding food, production and others) without any of the drawbacks of a dam that stops flooding but halves fertilization gains. Over time, any flooding river they use will become richer and richer with no downtime for repairing damaged buildings.
  • Manipulative Bitch: How Cleopatra plays in Civ VI, charming and manipulating stronger civs to keep Egypt safe.
  • Master of None: In V, the Egyptians have three unique things: fast Wonder building, a unique Temple that provides extra Happiness, and an upgraded chariot archer. Unfortunately, these three things are basically three completely different strategies; the first suggests that Egypt should build tall and focus on Wonder spamming and cultural growth, the second suggests that Egypt should build wide and focus on Religion spreading, and the third suggests that Egypt should build a bunch and go for an early rush to knock out a neighbor, and all three of these tie up quite a bit of production and social policies at crucial stages. Most guides actively recommend ignoring or making little use of at least two of your abilities.
  • Misplaced Accent: An odd case with the Egyptian units in IV and Ramesses himself in V speaking in Egyptian Arabic, a dialect of Arabic languages rather than an actual Ancient Egpytian dialect.note  Ramesses would have spoken Middle Egyptian, the prestige language of Egypt at the time.note  Cleopatra in VI does speak Middle Egyptian... but in real life she spoke Koine Greek, being a member of the Greek Ptolemaic Dynasty.note 
  • Piñata Enemy: In V, their Burial Tombs replace standard Temples, and have no maintenance cost. However, anyone who conquers a city with a burial tomb will get twice as much gold as from a standard city. There's even an achievement for doing this.
  • Proud Merchant Race: Cleopatra's ability in Civ VI makes trade routes more lucrative for both Egypt and its trade partners.
  • Race Lift: Cleopatra was 100% Greek (inbreeding saw to that), and probably had a skin tone lighter than most Greeks (themselves lighter than Egyptians) and on par with Western Europeans, considering she was royalty and probably rarely went out into the sun (fair skin was considered feminine and beautiful by Hellenic standards). For some reason, the games portray her with quite dark features, like an actual native Egyptian.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Ramesses II in the SNES port of Civ I.
  • The Rival: In Civ VI, Cleopatra is Qin Shi Huang's most likely competitor when it comes to Wonder races.
  • Robbing the Dead: Implied when an enemy captures an Egyptian city with Burial Tombs.
  • She Is the King: Hatshepsut and Cleopatra are both ruling ladies to take the position of Son of Ra.
  • The Sphinx: Egypt's unique improvement in Civ VI, which astonishingly is the Sphinx's first appearance in a proper Civ game.


Unique Units: Man O'War (III), Redcoat (IV, VI), Longbowmen (V), Ship of the Line (V), Sea Dog (VI)
Unique Building: Stock Exchange (IV)
Unique District: Royal Navy Dockyard (VI)
Ability: Sun Never Sets (V), British Museum (VI, pre-Gathering Storm), Workshop of the World (VI, post-Gathering Storm)

Jolly old England. This small island off the coast of northwest Europe mixed a blend of cultural influences - Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and French - into the largest empire the world has ever known. Following the usual medieval wars, plagues and crusades, England rose to prominence in the mid-1500s under the rule of Queen Elizabeth, who ushered in a golden age of arts and literature, defended her country from Spanish conquest, and revitalized England's navy to make it the world's greatest sea power. Over the subsequent centuries England built an empire that stretched from North America to Asia, and by Queen Victoria's reign in the 19th century, British possessions included India, Australia, and a swathe of Africa "from Cape Town to Cairo." This empire gradually eroded due to the stress of maintaining it while fighting two world wars, but modern England is still an economic and naval force to be reckoned with, and today English remains the international language of trade.

England is a late bloomer faction, but when it hits its stride the rest of the world takes notice. In Civ IV the English Redcoat has an edge against other late-Renaissance Riflemen, while its Stock Exchange similarly outperforms the normal Bank, giving the country the military and economic strength to kick arse and take names. But it's in V that England really comes into its own. The Longbowman's incredible range of 3 tiles can't be matched until Industrial-era Artillery, the nation's Sun Never Sets ability increases the speed of England's naval units (and gives the civ an additional Spy), while the Ship of the Line is an improved version of the normal Frigate. With these strengths, England can lock down control of the seas and conquer lands anywhere.

In vanilla Civ VI, England's "British Museum" ability doubles the number of artifacts and archeologists its Archeological Museums support, which will certainly help with a Cultural Victory, but England also has all the tools needed to forge a mighty naval empire. Its Royal Navy Dockyard gives naval units a movement boost and generates additional gold on other continents, while the Sea Dog is an improved Privateer that can terrorize the mid-game sea lanes. In Gathering Storm, meanwhile, England can enjoy getting an additional amount of iron and coal whenever they're mined, fitting for the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. On top of that, Military Engineers receive an extra two charges, powered buildings grant additional yields, and Dockyard buildings allow additional resource storage. Queen Victoria's "Pax Britannica" ability provides a free garrison unit, which can later include the famous Redcoat, in newly-founded or newly-conquered cities on distant shores, and her unique agenda compels her to ensure that the sun never sets on the British Empire.

  • Cold Sniper: In Civ V, the Longbowman's 3-tile range cannot be matched until the Industrial era introduces Artillery.
  • The Empire: In Civ VI, Victoria's agenda is to get cities on every continent, and she dislikes anyone in a land she hasn't expanded into yet.
  • Jerkass: Queen Elizabeth in V, while not likely to war with other nations, has a very high hostile rank in her AI (higher than most warmongering leaders like Genghis Khan in fact!), so most of the time you're going to end up on England's bad side for absolutely no reason.
  • I Shall Return: In Civ IV when Victoria is defeated she proclaims England will ascend again.
  • Last Stand: Upon greeting Winston Churchill in Civ IV, he'll assure you that if you declare war on England, "we will fight you on the beaches, we will fight you in the cities... well, you get the idea."
  • Lightning Bruiser: In Civ V, Ships of the Line are plenty terrifying without the extra movement that England's UA grants. Combine Sun Never Sets with the Exploration policy tree, and the Great Lighthouse if you can get it, and you'll have a flotilla of devastatingly powerful ships capable of crossing entire oceans in a single turn and pulverizing anything too close to the coast.
  • Magikarp Power: In most games, England tends to start out fairly weak, only to become one of the best lategame powerhouses for a Domination Victory thanks to their economic or naval bonuses.
  • Proud Merchant Race: In IV, in addition to the aforementioned Stock Exchange, two of England's three leaders have the Financial trait, allowing them to print even more money.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Also in IV, England's unique unit, the Redcoat, is especially unique in that it's the only UU which replaces the Rifleman, which is also conveniently the unit that every single pre-Rennaisance infantry unit upgrades to. With enough gold (and you're England, so gold is your specialty), you can turn your army from a hodgepodge of ancient and medieval units to state-of-the-art almost instantly after you get the Rifling tech, and doing so will give you an edge over everyone else's gunpowder units, to boot.
  • The Spymaster: Civ V gives England an extra Spy to steal technology, see what enemies are planning, convert city-states to your cause, exert religious pressure (with a reformation belief in your religion) or just wrest more votes for you in the World Council.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: One of their specialties.


Leaders: Napoléon Bonaparte (I, IV-V), Jeanne d'Arc (II-III), Louis XIV (II, IV), Charles de Gaulle (IV), Catherine de Medici (VI), Eleanor of Aquitaine (VI)
Unique Units: Musketeer (III-V), Foreign Legion (V), Garde Impériale (VI)
Unique Building: Salon (IV)
Unique Improvement: Château (V-VI)
Ability: Ancien Régime (V, pre-Brave New World), City of Light (V, post-Brave New World), Grand Tour (VI)

France has been home to Celtic and Germanic tribes since Roman times, but its modern history stretches back to 843 when the Treaty of Verdun established three successor kingdoms to Charlemagne's Holy Roman Empire; today's France grew from the western portion. Over the medieval period, France consolidated under a series of royal dynasties, fighting off foes like the British, Vikings and Germans, as well as unruly nobles at home, until by the 14th century, France was the dominant power of Europe. In 1643, the French monarchy reached its greatest glory under the "Sun King" Louis XIV, but less than a hundred years after his death, the liberal ideals of the French Revolution would turn Europe upside-down. From the ashes of the old order, Napoleon led France's armies to nearly conquer a continent, and even after his defeat France remained a world power. Despite the ravages of two world wars, today France retains its status as a great nation of high culture, and has put aside its rivalry with its old foe Germany to form the core of the European Union.

Paris has long been one of the world's great cities of culture, and in Civ V, France's City of Light ability doubles the Tourism theming bonuses from museums and cultural wonders built in the French capital, making the civilization perfect for a cultural victory. But anyone expecting a bunch of Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys is in for a rude awakening: French Musketeers are faster than Musketmen in Civ IV and more powerful than their equivalent in Civ V, while France's Chateau improvement can be thought of as a Fort that can be built next to luxury resources, providing both defense to garrisoned units as well as bonus culture, gold and tourism. Napoleon may play to his country's strengths and focus on culture, but he's a bold and expansive leader with an eye for exploiting his neighbors' weaknesses.

True to real life, France in Civ VI hits its stride in the mid-game, and its "Grand Tour" ability lets it produce Medieval, Renaissance and Industrial-era Wonders faster. The same ability lets all French Wonders produce twice as much Tourism as normal, which combined with the Chateau's ability to pump out even more Culture when built next to those Wonders makes France a natural for a Cultural Victory. This is not to say the French are a bunch of Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys, however - the Garde Impériale is an elite gunpowder unit that gains combat bonuses when on France's home continent and produces Great Generals faster, while France's ability to progress through the Civics trees quickly means that it'll be fielding Corps and Armies earlier than its competitors. Catherine de Medici's superior spy network will let her know exactly what her rivals are up to, and when is the best time to project French power.

  • The Chessmaster: Following in on the footsteps of Enrico Dandolo and cementing the reputation of Italian nobles as, well, Machiavellian, Catherine is the second Italian-born leader with a focus on underhanded or indirect tactics. In her attack line, she actually berates the player for not knowing she would attack.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Napoleon in V is infamous for this. He has a very high deceptiveness score and a very low loyalty score, which means regardless of how he acts towards you in person, he will attack you if he thinks you're weak.
  • Crutch Character: Napoleon was this in vanilla Civ V, with Ancien Régime essentially being Civ IV's Creative trait, but with a hard-wired expiration date, unlike every other civ's Unique Ability.
  • Cultured Badass: Usually have a bonus to their culture and their military.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Chateau UI in V has to be placed next to a luxury tile, and its very useful bonuses to defense, gold and culture will make you want to have as many of them as possible. However, since you cannot have two of them next to each other, you will have to carefully think about how to improve each tile in order to maximize your cultural production.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Implied in France's unique building in Civ IV. The Salon produces all the scientific benefits of an Observatory, but also provides its city with a free Artist.
  • Historical In-Joke: France's original ability in V, Ancien Régime, gave it additional culture each turn until the invention of Steam Power. One of Napoleon's famous quotes is that a steam-powered ship would never catch on.
  • Misplaced Accent: Napoleon in V speaks modern French, without his Corsican accent. Nicely averted with Catherine de Medici in VI, who was Florentine (Tuscan) by birth and speaks French with an Italian (Tuscan) accent, as well as sometimes switching to Italian outright.
  • The Musketeer: A recurring French unique unit, a superior Musketman.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: If sufficiently irritated (or pleased), Catherine de Medici might switch from French to her native Italian.
  • Skewed Priorities: Most leaders, when declared war upon, tell you they'll resist, they'll destroy you, you're a monster, etc. Catherine reacts by saving face regarding her spymaster credentials, saying not even Nostradamus could predict that. Likewise, when she declares war upon you, instead of laying out real or imagined reasons for war or plain and simply threatening you, she says you're demented if you didn't see that coming.
  • The Spymaster: Catherine De'Medici in Civ VI. Her "Flying Squadon" ability gives her a bonus to espionage and diplomatic access, while her "Black Queen" agenda drives her to dig up as much information and use as much espionage as possible.


Leaders: Frederick the Great (I, IV), Frederick Barbarossa (II, VI), Maria Theresa (II), Otto von Bismarck (III-V)
Unique Units: Panzer (III-V), Landsknecht (V), U-Boat (VI)
Unique Buildings: Assembly Plant (IV), Hanse (V)
Unique District: Hansa (VI)
Ability: Furor Teutonicus (V), Free Imperial Cities (VI)

Even before becoming a unified country, Germany sent shockwaves through Europe around 10 BC with the crushing defeat of the Roman legions attempting to conquer the barbarians beyond the Rhine and Danube rivers. Like its neighbor France, modern Germany grew from the Holy Roman Empire, but unlike its brother Germany had more difficulty consolidating. Though a major medieval power, internal struggles between its component fiefdoms, as well as disputes with the Pope, kept it from becoming a strong monarchy, and by 1500 the German people were divided among domains such as Austria and Prussia. But after the Napoleonic Wars and rising nationalist sentiment, Prussia's prime minister Otto von Bismarck led a campaign to subdue Austria, humble France, and unite the Holy Roman Empire's successor states into the German Empire in 1871, suddenly upsetting the continental balance of power with a military-industrial powerhouse. Following the tragedy of World War One and the horrors of World War Two, today's Germany has renounced militaristic expansion in favor of economic production, and alongside its historical rival France forms the heart of the European Union.

In Civ V, Germany is a military juggernaut with a touch of class. Its barbarian past is recognized by its Furor Teutonicus ability, giving Germany a discount on military upkeep and a chance to recruit barbarian units after defeating them, allowing it to quickly build up a military in the early game. In the late game Germany's modern military might is embodied in the Panzer unit, which will outmaneuver and outgun any enemy armor unfortunate enough to stand against it. But the medieval and Renaissance-era Germanic states were capable of trade and diplomacy as well, so instead of a bank Germany can build a Hanse, generating extra trade route income from friendly city-states - useful if you plan on conquering other empires, who you probably won't be trading with.

Germany in VI is an industrial powerhouse that can gobble up city-states and quickly churn out a huge amount of units to overwhelm its rivals. Its "Free Imperial Cities" ability gives Germany an additional District in its settlements such as the Hanse, that gives more production than a normal Industrial District as well as more bonuses if placed next to a Commercial Zone. With these production bonuses Germany can quickly field a gigantic army, and should they need to take the fight from land to sea they can rely on their U-Boats, a special naval unit that is both stronger when fighting in the ocean as well as significantly cheaper to produce than the submarines of other civilizations. As in real life, Frederick Barbarossa will focus on adding city-states to his Holy Roman Empire through force, and his leader ability gives Germany an additional Military Policy slot and German units an attack bonus against city-states. If you want to stay on his good side, it's best to keep your distance from his future conquests.

  • The Alliance: As of October 2013, Germany in V can build the Hanse, which acts as a bank with a bonus of boosting production for every trade route they have with citystates.
  • Composite Character: Since what we think of as "Germany" is more or less a modern idea, many takes on Germany throughout the series are different amalgamations of their past. In V Germany's distant past of Teutonic tribes is merged with Bismark's modernism, and in VI it's largely based on the Holy Roman Empire (which itself was represented as an entirely separate civ in IV).
  • Dark and Troubled Past: As mentioned in No Swastikas, German history during the Third Reich is barely touched, but is mentioned in different places throughout the games.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Their ability in V, Furor Teutonicus, gives a fair chance of earning additional gold and an extra unit when clearing out a barbarian camp. With a little luck, an early-game Germany can have a small army composed entirely of barbarian recruits.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: Barbarossa in VI if you start palling it up with city-states in his sights.
    Barbarossa: I destroy my enemies, and, if you help them, you too.
  • The Empire: In VI, Barbarossa always tries to conquer as many city states as he can to absorb them into his Holy Roman Empire.
  • Germanic Efficiency:
    • The Assembly Plant in IV is a replacement for the standard Factory that gives an even bigger boost to production if the city has access to coal.
    • The Hanse in BNW grants bonus production for every city-state trade route.
    • In VI the Hanse replaces the industrial district and grants more production, and Germany's special ability allows all their cities to construct one more district than their population limit would normally allow.
  • Graceful Loser: Barbarossa's response if the player conquers him in VI: he reluctantly wishes you well, and offers up his ceremonial mace.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Frederick Barbarossa's agenda in Civ VI is Iron Crown. He likes civilizations who doesn't deal with city states, and hates those who are suzerain to city states or have conquered them. Considering how easy or "natural" it is to gain favor with city states due to the questing system, it would be very hard to avoid his anger.
  • Mega City: In VI, they can build an extra district, so you can potentially have a city that expands tremendously compared to others.
  • No Swastikas: As noted on the main page, Hitler and the Nazis are virtually unseen in the series, though a lot of references to fascism exist if you go "Autocracy."
  • Sore Loser: "Inconceivable! I, Otto von Bismarck - Duke of Lauenburg, Prime Minister of Prussia, and First Chancellor of Germany - I have been defeated by the likes of YOU!"
  • Tank Goodness: While anyone can build tanks, German Panzers are both stronger and faster than anyone else's.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Barbarossa in VI likes to spell out his titles to the player, for example when you first meet him or when he sends you a delegation.
    Frederick Barbarossa: We have sent a diplomatic envoy to you. Treat them as you would treat me, the Duke of Swabia, King of Burgundy, King of Germany, King of the Romans, King of Italy, and Holy Roman Emperor.
  • We Have Reserves / Zerg Rush: The Landsknecht in V is a pikeman at half price, meaning they can quickly be constructed or be cheaply bought. When coupled with Germany's reduced land maintenance, they can overwhelm enemies with sheer numbers. In October 2013, Landknechts were moved to a policy tree and buffed, and Germany was given the Hanse building in exchange.
    • In VI Germany gets the U-Boat, a replacement for the submarine that is both stronger when fighting in the ocean was well as significantly cheaper to produce. Coupled with their generally high productive capabilities due to the Hanse district, Germany can very quickly produce a very large army and navy.


Leaders: Alexander the Great (I-V), Hippolyta* (II), Pericles (IV, VI), Gorgo (VI)
Unique Units: Hoplite (III, V-VI), Phalanx (IV), Companion Cavalry (V)
Unique Building: Odeon (IV)
Unique District: Acropolis (VI)
Ability: Hellenic League (V), Plato's Republic (VI)

The record of Greek history begins in 778 BC, when the settlements on the Peloponnese came together to hold the first Olympic Games. Ancient Greece existed as a collection of city-states such as Athens, Sparta, Corinth and Thebes that shared a common culture but retained their independent identities. These poleis were forced to band together against the Persians in the 5th century BC, and afterward the major Greek powers of Athens and Sparta set about creating the rival Delian and Peloponnesian leagues with their neighbors, but it wasn't until Alexander of Macedon came to power in 336 BC that Greece was unified under a single leader. Alexander the Great's conquests spread Greek culture as far east as India, but his empire didn't survive his death, and afterward Greece fell back into infighting and became part of foreign empires until 1829. Few other civilizations can match Greece's contributions to art, science, and literature, and thanks to Athens' experiments with something called "democracy," Greece could be considered the grandfather of the modern world.

Greece's Hellenic League ability makes it Civ V's master diplomat, able to effortlessly build and maintain alliances with city-states. This allows Greece to generate more culture, faith, food, and free military units than any other nation, giving it a substantial boost throughout the game as well as a good shot at a Diplomatic victory. One might be tempted to knock Greece out early, but there's a problem with that strategy, namely Alexander the Great. Greece's leader is a born conqueror with access to Hoplite infantry and Companion Cavalry, superior Classical Era units that he's more than willing to use to build an empire.

Greece in Civ VI is a well-balanced civilization whose "Plato's Republic" ability grants it a bonus wildcard social policy slot, though it can also generate a lot of culture thanks to its Acropolis improvement, as well as its leaders' abilities. Pericles' "Surrounded by Glory" bonus magnifies Greek culture output based on how many city-states it is suzerain of, while Gorgo's "Thermopylae" bonus generates culture from defeated enemy units. Unsurprisingly the two will have very different play styles, with Pericles focusing on building a new Delian League while Gorgo sends her Hoplites into battle for the glory of Sparta, but however it generates that culture, Greece can use its mastery of civics to pursue whatever victory it feels like.

  • A God Am I: Occasionally Alexander goes into a Heroic BSoD and exclaims "How could this be? I am Heir to the Gods!"
  • The Alliance: In V, Greece's "Hellenic League" ability makes city-state influence degrade at half the normal rate, letting them get the most out of city-state quests or gold donations.
    • In VI, Pericles gains a 5% boost to his culture for every city state that he is the suzerain of. Naturally, his agenda has him trying to form alliances with as many city states as possible.
  • Decomposite Character: In VI, there is a split between Greece and Macedon.
  • Friendly Enemy: Alexander the Great hopes that you will be a good friend, a deadly enemy, or maybe both at once! He's programmed to be very expansionist, but he probably won't betray you, so long as you don't share a border with him. If you do go to war with him, he maintains the cheery attitude, and if you're the declarer says "Indeed? I too grow tired of peace, let's do this." (in Greek.)
  • Graceful Loser: "You have defeated me, and in doing so earned yourself a place of honor amongst the gods. Well done!"
  • Hair-Trigger Temper:
    • Pericles' agenda in Civ VI is called Delian League. He likes civilizations who align with city states... as long as they aren't the city states he is aligned with. He hates it when you compete with him. This can be difficult to avoid when city states naturally gain influence with you due to your actions.
    • Gorgo's agenda in Civ VI is called With Your Shield Or On It. She only asks for peace during a peace treaty and not giving up anything else, and likes civilizations that do the same thing. In turn, she hates it when civilizations give up other things for a peace treaty as well as civilizations who have never been to war. If you're relatively peaceful, she will get angry at you even at early turns.
  • Historical Beauty Update: Strangely enough inverted in Civ III, where the famously handsome Alexander is portrayed as scrawny and unattractive.
  • Jerkass: Alexander is loathed by the fandom for his hostile, expansionist ways and his willingness to bribe every City-State under the sun. If you have Alexander on your continent you will wind up having to fight with him at some point.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Gorgo gains culture upon winning any battles, and her "With Your Shield Or On It" agenda makes her never give up items in a peace treaty and despise any civilization that does.
  • The Power of Friendship: In V, Greece is the only civilization that can form a permanent alliance with City-States (so long as Alexander has the Patronage tree unlocked and the City-State shares Greece's dominant religion). This means that it can be extremely easy to build up and maintain a network of allied City-States feeding you faith, culture, happiness, and units right from the Classical Era through to the endgame.
    • Continued in VI, where Pericles gets a significant bonus to his culture output for every city state that he is the suzerain of.
  • Zerg Rush: While not as pronounced as the Huns, the Greeks in V have two unique units that are both very strong and come very early. Most civs can't match their Classical Era army until they research Iron Working, and even then they have to hope they have a source of iron for swordsmen.


Leaders: Mohandas Gandhi (I-VI), Indira Ghandi (II), Asoka (IV), Chandragupta (VI)
Unique Units: War Elephant (III, V), Fast Worker (IV), Varu (VI)
Unique Buildings: Mausoleum (IV), Mughal Fort (V)
Unique Improvement: Stepwell (VI)
Ability: Population Growth (V), Dharma (VI)

India is another one of those ancient, river valley civilizations - its first known cities date back to 2500 BC, while the earliest religious texts of Hinduism are almost as old. By 500 BC India had developed into a number of states, and though Ashoka the Great led the Mauryan Empire to nearly unite the subcontinent (and converted to Buddhism after seeing the resulting body count), his empire didn't last long after his death in the 3rd century BC. India went through a number of dynasties, including its golden age under the Guptas from 320-540 AD, but soon it came into conflict with Muslim invaders from the west, eventually ending in its conquest by the Mughal Dynasty in 1526. Muslim rule was supplanted by English rule in the mid-19th Century, and for a time India was considered the "jewel of the British crown." This changed following World War II, when Mahatma Gandhi led a nonviolent resistance movement that resulted in India's independence. Today the country stands as the world's largest democracy, a rising economic power, and an exporter of both traditional Indian culture and "Bollywood" films alike.

India is the world's second most populous nation, but is only a third the size of the United States, and its unique ability in V reflects this. Population Growth means India gets double unhappiness from its number of cities, but only half as much from population, encouraging it to develop "small but tall." Between that, its powerful but slow War Elephants, and its culture-producing Mughal Forts, India tends to be a defensive civilization that quietly pursues a Cultural Victory.

In Civ VI, India is a Faith-focused civilization whose "Dharma" ability grants it the follower beliefs of every religion represented in its cities, while its "Satyagraha" leader ability grants India a Faith boost if it maintains peaceful relations with other religion-founding civs. Its Stepwell improvement, in addition to providing food and housing, generates more Faith when placed next to a holy site, so obviously a Religious Victory is going to look attractive to India. Memetic Mutation aside, Gandhi isn't going to send his Varu war elephants on any campaigns of conquest, his "Peacekeeper" agenda keeps him from taking any action that would brand him a warmonger and makes him despise anyone who earns such a title. It's just that he tend to roll the hidden agenda of "Nuke Happy", and if Gandhi gets drawn into a war, and he has nuclear weapons, well... don't mistake India's pacifism for weakness. Chandragupta has no qualms about war whatsoever, though. He trades Gandhi's bonus to faith with the ability to declare a war of territorial expansion much earlier than other leaders, and his units get a strength and speed bonus during such a war. He is much more likely to treat faith output as an incidental bonus and use it to purchase units once the appropriate tier 2 government building is unlocked.

  • And Now For Something Completely Different: One update to Civ VI introduced Chandragupta, who is the opposite of Ghandi policy-wise, letting India go on the offense with declarations of territorial expansion.
  • Ascended Glitch: The "Nuclear Gandhi" characterization arose from a programming error in the original Civ, where the transition to democracy - about the time nukes became available - interacted weirdly with Gandhi's pacifism to make him a hyper-aggressive nuclear psycho. To honor this, in Civ V Gandhi's "use of nukes" rating is 12 out of 10, while in VI his AI has a preference for the "Nuke Lover" secret agenda, which makes him like to build and use nuclear weapons as well as approve of other civilizations that use nukes.
  • Badass Pacifist: Of course. To quote Gandhi himself in VI:
    "There is no shame in deterrence. Having a weapon is very different from actually using it."
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Despite infamously being known to be nuke happy in the early games of Civilization, the Gandhi AI in V is designed to be relatively friendly and is one of the easiest AI to befriend. Thus being said, if you're thinking of pissing Gandhi off one way or another (particularly being a warmonger), please remember that their words are backed with NUCLEAR WEAPONS! AI Gandhi's public agenda in VI prevents him from declaring war if doing so would brand him a warmonger, but he is programmed to prefer to have the aptly named "Nuke Lover" as his second, secret agenda.
  • Composite Character: A combination of ancient India (The War Elephants), the Mughal Empire (their Mughal Forts), and modern India (their unique ability that allows them to have highly crowded cities, and their leader, Ghandi).
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Due to the Population Growth unique ability in Civ V, India will be much more efficient if it focuses on maintaining a small number of densely populated cities rather than many small ones. This also applies to a lesser extent in IV, where Gandhi's leader bonuses are especially handy for running a specialist economy to produce large numbers of Great People.
  • Grandfather Clause: An comparatively modern figure, deep in the Small Reference Pools, was a common choice for leaders in the earlier games, but they were progressively phased out for earlier, more obscure, or more historically solid leaders. Gandhi, however, has stuck around, largely due to his popularity.
  • Irony: Despite the name of its unique ability in V, India does not have a bonus in food growth and thus population.
  • Jerkass: In the early games, as soon as Gandhi has the technology available to make Nukes, expect atomic fire raining from the skies in a few turns. In later games, he will be pissed at you for not being peaceful OR (in computer logic terms) having nukes... and use them as reason to denounce and declare war on you.
  • Joke Character: Most civilization's unique units give their owners a substantial military advantage of some sort. India's Unique Unit in IV is the Fast Worker - not a worker that works faster, but a worker that gets an extra movement point.
    • Lethal Joke Character: That extra movement point is actually very useful, allowing it to immediately start improvements on rough terrain (while all other workers have to burn a turn moving onto it), or to just get to new locations faster. The fact that workers don't become obsolete also means that the unit will always be useful, while other unique units are only usable for a certain time frame.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Chandragupta's ability, Arthashastra, turns his entire army into these: for ten turns after declaring a War of Territorial Expansion, his forces enjoy +2 movement points and +5 points of Combat Strength.
  • Mad Bomber: Nuclear Gandhi
  • Magikarp Power: India's unique ability in V makes it relatively difficult for them to expand their empire, but will have lower penalties for overpopulated cities. This makes India more vulnerable to be conquered early game since their cities will not be well-defended. However, once late game kicks into the game, they will have enough population in their cities to be well-defended and excessively happy with few cities thanks to their unique ability (as more population means better city defense). This is especially true for Gandhi AI when he will also build nukes as well.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Gandhi in the first game under Democracy.
  • Series Mascot: Gandhi, since he has been in every game in the series as the leader of India and also due to the aforementioned Memetic Mutation.
  • War Elephants: One of their specialties.


Leaders: Genghis Khan (I-VI), Börte (II), Kublai Khan (IV)
Unique Units: Keshik (III-VI), Khan (V)
Unique Building: Ger (IV), Ordu (VI)
Ability: Mongol Terror (V), Örtöö (VI)

The nomadic riders of Mongolia had prompted China to construct the precursor to the Great Wall as early as the 7th century BC, but when a chieftain named Temujin came to power in 1206, the Mongols went from a nuisance to the greatest contiguous empire in history. Taking the title of Genghis Khan, "universal ruler," he reformed the Mongols into a disciplined army, united the tribes, and started conquering. Within a hundred years, Mongol holdings and vassal states spanned from China and Korea in the east to Russia and Persia in the west; Western Europe was only spared invasion due to a succession crisis, and it wasn't until the Mongols fought the Mamluks of Egypt that they found a foe that could beat them in battle. Though the Mongols were unbelievably brutal when expanding, their rule was enlightened in some respects, with a merit-based bureaucracy, a legal code that was tough but fair, and religious freedom. The Mongol Empire eventually dissolved into infighting and various Khanates that gradually faded away, but few other peoples can boast of making such an impact on world history.

As you can imagine, Genghis Khan is up there with Montezuma in terms of people you don't want to share a continent with. The Mongol Terror ability gives all Mongol units an attack bonus against city-states' units or settlements, as well as a movement boost to Mongol cavalry. Keshiks, the Mongols' horse archers, excel at picking apart foes caught in the open, while the Khan is an improved Great General that can keep up with Mongol riders while healing them. The result is a civilization that can gobble up city-states for an early boost in resources, then launch a medieval blitzkrieg. Still, picking on too many city-states will cause the rest to declare war, so the Mongols require balance and strategy to make the most of their strengths.

Genghis Khan is even more effective in VI, with most of his abilities geared for mounted warfare. He has a start bias for horses, ensuring that his Mongol Horde ability will have plenty of units to boost. This ability also gives cavalry units the chance to add defeated cavalry units to his own army. His Örtöö ability automatically builds a trading post in the destination city as soon as the trade route starts, allowing for the quick establishment of a vast trading network to fund his military. These posts also increase diplomatic visibility in the destination civilization, which further increases his combat effectiveness. The Keshig unique unit is a medieval horse archer with the ranged attack and mobility that implies. It can also ferry non-military units in an escort formation, sharing its speed with them, whether they’re great generals or siege towers to help with conquest, or workers repairing the improvements your cavalry pillaged afterwards. The Ordu replaces the stables, and in addition to the experience bonus from stables, gives all cavalry units trained in that city +1 movement. These all add up to one basic plan: trade, build up wealth and a network of spies, build loads of cavalry and run over the map knocking down cities until your Mongol empire is as large as it was historically.

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Khans replace the standard great generals. They have 5 movement compared to the standard 2, letting them keep up with mounted units, and make adjacent units heal much faster.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Mongol Terror gives all of your units bonus damage against City-States and any units they might control. In theory, this sounds like a great way to grab land early on or throw a wrench in the plans of City-State dependent civs like Greece or Siam. However, declaring war on, let alone capturing a City-State is one of the worst diplomatic penalties you could possibly incur, and therefore overzealous warmongering will leave you bereft of any allies for the rest of the game. It does, however, punish players who think they can hide behind their allied City-States as their meat shields.
  • Blood Knight: Think Aztecs with Horse Archers.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: It's been reported by many players that Genghis Khan tends to make a Declaration of Friendship almost immediately after he's signed a peace treaty - and it's usually a fairly genuine one, at that. It seems he views you as a Worthy Opponent.
    • And in VI, he gets the ability to recruit any defeated cavalry units.
  • Face Death with Dignity: As you are about to wipe him of the map, Genghis Khan merely decides to await his execution, resigning himself to his fate.
  • Four-Star Badass: They don't get normal Great Generals, they get Khans, who not only grant better bonuses, but are significantly faster, which is especially important for the Mongols given their speciality in mounted combat.
  • Graceful Loser: Genghis Khan. "With my destruction, nothing now stands in your way. Remember me as you crush your enemies and conquer the world!"
  • Healing Factor: Khans make adjacent units heal 15 additional HP per turn (or 1 in Vanilla). For reference, units have 100 max HP (or 10), and heal 10 (or 1) per turn outside of friendly territory and 20 (or 2) inside friendly borders, meaning you can easily tank a city-state's bombardments.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Keshiks. Replacing Knights, they have a total of 5 movement and a ranged attack, which, when you consider that non-mounted units have only 2 movement for most of the game, lets them perform hit-and-run attacks with impunity. If that wasn't enough, they also gain experience and generate Khans 50% faster. They slip from "major threat" to "nuisance" later in the game, however, when their ranged-combat specific upgrades become useless after promoting to melee units.
    • In fact, it's not uncommon for Mongol players to simply leave their Keshiks un-upgraded and continue using them as auxillary siege units alongside newly-built Lancers and Cavalry. The same goes, ironically, for the Keshik's predecessor unit, the plain Horseman, which while much weaker and lacking a ranged attack, can keep up with the newer models and retains the ability to capture cities after the Keshiks have shot its HP to zero, so keeping at least one or two in your army is also a good idea.
  • Horse Archer: One of the deadliest in history, and the deadliest in this game as well.
  • Proud Merchant Race: Genghis' ability to instantly build trading posts in VI is a reference to how he reconnected the Silk Road. Despite being a conquerer from a society of nomads, he knew not to mess with the merchants, and this ability lets you have a far-reaching trade network much faster than anyone else. This allows you to chain trade routes to distant locations fast, and the trading posts give you vital diplomatic intelligence.
  • The Spymaster: Surprisingly, yes. Genghis Khan in VI gets a lot of diplomatic visiblity on his rivals easily, and his units gain a ton of combat strength for doing so. The real-life Khan was known for carefully scoping out his enemies before engaging, so this is even in-character.
  • Undying Loyalty: Much like Shaka Zulu, if you managed to get on his good side, he will remain by your side for the rest of the game.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Horses are to the Mongols what iron is to the Romans. Better hope you have them in your territory or else those Keshiks and Gers aren't going to do you much good.


Leaders: Julius Caesar (I-IV), Livia (II), Augustus Caesar (IV-V), Trajan (VI)
Unique Units: Legion (III, V-VI), Praetorian (IV), Ballista (V)
Unique Building: Forum (IV)
Unique District: Bath (VI)
Ability: Glory of Rome (V), All Roads Lead to Rome (VI)

The empire for the western part of the globe, Rome was founded in the 8th century BC and would continue to exist in some form for over two thousand years. After becoming a republic, Rome began expanding its rule into the rest of Italy, eventually bringing it into conflict with the rival Mediterranean power of Carthage, which it finally defeated in 146 BC. In the unrest that followed a general named Julius Caesar took power as a dictator, and his successor Octavian formally declared Rome an empire. At the height of its power in 117 AD, Rome controlled North Africa, Western Europe, southern England, the Balkans, Anatolia, and the coasts and river valleys of the Middle East, but the empire eventually stagnated and fractured. The western half finally fell to barbarian invaders in 330 AD, while its eastern portion would continue as the Byzantine Empire. Rome had an incredible impact on western history thanks to its achievements in law, engineering, language, and tactics, so much so that medieval Europe was largely concerned with trying to match its predecessor, much less surpass it.

Rome has always been an all-around solid faction, balancing aggressive expansion with domestic achievements. In Civ V, the Legion is a tougher variant of the Swordsman unit that can also construct roads and forts, allowing Rome to quickly build an infrastructure to fuel its expansion, and its Ballista provides the firepower to take cities in the Classical era. But Rome isn't just about conquest, and its Glory of Rome ability allows its cities to more quickly construct any buildings also present in the national capital; so long as Rome itself stands, the Roman Empire will be the envy of the world. With this early-game strength and enduring organizational skills, its easy to establish a new Pax Romana.

In Civ VI, Rome can easily build an infrastructure to support a mighty empire. Its "All Roads Lead to Rome" ability provides free roads and trading posts in Roman cities on top of additional trade route income, its leader ability gives Roman settlements a free building in their city centers, and its Baths provide extra housing and amenities compared to a normal Aqueduct. This lets Rome spend less time connecting its empire and more time expanding its borders, which is where the famous Legions will come into play. Emperor Trajan's "Optimus Princeps" agenda drives him to control as much territory as possible, and while he'll approve of others' attempts to do the same, this doesn't mean his rivals can keep lands he considers properly Roman.

  • Badass Boast: When Rome declares war, Augustus Caesar says (in Latin of course, roughly translated), "My treasury is emptying and my soldiers are growing bored. Therefore you must die."
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Praetorian unique unit of IV, which replaces the Swordsman, is a melee unit that has the same Strength as a Maceman while being significantly cheaper to build, outclassing every other Ancient-era melee unit on an open field (even the Axeman) and allowing Rome to stay competitive even against medieval-era armies.
    • The Legion in VI is a better swordsman, but more importantly, it doesn't require access to iron, meaning that it's exceedingly easy to do the quick research to unlock them and begin rolling out Legions who can easily crush anything they meet and beat groups of warrior 3 to 1, while other nations scramble to finding iron.
  • The Empire:
    • Both Julius and Augustus Caesar in IV share the "Imperialistic" leader trait, which provides incentives for both peaceful expansion and conquest. Their secondary traits each also synergize well with an expansionist playstyle.
    • Rome's unique ability in V is geared towards imperialism: they build stuff faster in their satellite cities if it's already been built in the capital. They are one of the few civs that can go tall and wide at the same time.
    • Trajan's agenda in VI is "Optimus Princeps" where he will not respect nations who do not control large territories.
  • The Engineer: Their unique unit, the Legion, can both build roads and forts in V and fortifications in VI.
  • The Glory That Was Rome: Since the introduction of Unique Units in III, the Romans have always had some form or another of the exalted legions as theirs.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: One consistent theme with Rome has been a balance between a strong military and a well-developed infrastructure, and its bonuses are typically broad enough across the board not to lock it into one particular victory condition.
  • Nothing Personal: When someone calmly tells you "My treasury is emptying and my soldiers are growing bored. Therefore you must die.", it sorta means they aren't really doing this out of any ill will against you...
  • Stealth Pun: In IV, Julius Caesar's greeting to you when you first meet him is "Welcome to Rome. Care for some salad? I made it myself."
  • Stone Wall: Legions in "VI" lean towards this, they aren't fast (although they aren't slower than any of the non-cavalry units) and do pack quite a punch on the offensive (due to being stronger than swordsman) but where they really shine is holding the line against superior numbers. With a base strength of 40 they already have the edge against almost anything on the same level as them and when they plop down their instant build fort under them they gain the standard +4 combat strength that a fort brings as well as instantly gaining 2 turns worth of Fortification for another +6. This means that the strength 35 Swordsman and Horseman your opponents are sending against you are attacking strength 50 Legions... who will usually have a terrain advantage since you're defending and get to choose where your cities are being placed.
  • The Stoic: Augustus Caesar in V. Everything he says, including a declaration of war or the announcement of his total defeat, comes out bored and monotonous. His body language isn't more vivid either: he sits on his throne and occasionally waves a hand as he speaks. It's possible that this is him after the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Up until Civ VI, all of Rome's unique units depend on iron, so getting an iron source early in the game (or multiple sources in V) can make or break them.


Leaders: Josef Stalin (I, IV), Vladimir Lenin (II), Catherine the Great (II-V), Peter the Great (IV, VI)
Unique Unit: Cossack (III-VI)
Unique Buildings: Research Institute (IV), Krepost (V)
Unique District: Lavra (VI)
Ability: Siberian Riches (V), Mother Russia (VI, pre-Gathering Storm), Russian Winter (VI, post-Gathering Storm)

Russia has always stood apart from the rest of Europe, due to geography, religion, and history. The Grand Duchy of Moscow broke free of Mongolian subjugation in the late 1400s and quickly began absorbing other Russian principalities, but while Western Europe was moving into the Renaissance, Russia was consolidating under a particularly brutal incarnation of feudalism. Tsar Peter the Great led a modernizing effort in the late 17th century, and Tsarina Catherine the Great brought some reforms and glamor to the Russian aristocracy in the 18th century, but Russia remained a large but backward nation with deep social divisions due to its history of serfdom. A civil war during the end of World War One allowed Vladimir Lenin's communists to terrorize the rest of the country into submission as they pursued revolutionary reforms, and his successor Joseph Stalin refined these practices to make the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics both a modern power and a totalitarian nightmare. For most of the 20th century the USSR waged a global Cold War against the United States of America to see which ideology would prevail, but its economy couldn't maintain the competition, and it turned out that communism couldn't survive without the threat of force. Since the USSR's dissolution in 1991, Russia faces the challenge of democratizing in a country with such a long history of authoritarianism.

The Russia of Civ V is modeled after its expansion during the late 1700s under Tsarina Catherine. The Krepost, which replaces the Barracks, provides both the usual experience bonus to military units as well as a discount on purchased land tiles, allowing Russia to expand early and quickly. Taking these lands from Russia in the Renaissance era will prove difficult, as the Cossack, Russia's replacement Cavalry, receives a combat bonus against damaged targets. And you can expect to fight a lot of Cossacks, since Russia's Siberian Riches ability not only boosts the production bonus of strategic resources, but doubles the supply of Horse, Iron and Uranium resources. As for Catherine the Great herself, she's a leader who's easy to befriend but incredibly hard to make peace with - and don't let her smile fool you, she's not about to let your friendship get in the way of Russia's national interest.

In vanilla Civ VI, Russia can grow to an enormous size without even trying. Its "Mother Russia" ability takes the sting off of tundra tiles by letting them produce Faith and Production, and more importantly gives all newly-founded Russian cities extra territory. Meanwhile, the Russia of Gathering Storm are well defended from any foreign threat with their "Russian Winter" ability; while enemy units inside Russian borders take damage during a blizzard, the Russians themselves are completely immune. Their unique Lavra district is an improved Holy Site that also generates Great Writers, Artists and Musicians, and when such Great People are expended it adds even more territory to the empire. This lets Russia invest in things other than territorial acquisitions, but if it's still lagging behind her neighbors, Peter the Great's "The Grand Embassy" ability lets Russia gain Science and Culture from more advanced trade partners. True to life, Peter is a Westernizer favorable towards more advanced nations, and has no tolerance for backwards thinking.

  • Camera Abuse: Make an insulting offer in Civ IV and Catherine will slap the player's POV.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Catherine, to the extent that in Civ IV she was the only leader who could be bribed to declare war on another civ she was on Friendly terms with, and in V won't hesitate to declare war against someone she'd made a Declaration of Friendship with.
  • Cossacks: A recurring Russian unique unit. As of Civ VI they hit harder than normal Cavalry and can move after attacking.
  • Good-Looking Privates: Catherine's depiction in Civ IV is as a young woman in a Russian officer's uniform.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Catherine in V. "We have been defeated. That makes me your captive. I suppose there are worse fates." (flirty look)
  • Historical In-Joke: You get an achievement in V for being the first civ to discover Horseback Riding as Catherine the Great. Given a particularly salacious slander about how she died, it's a subtle way of Getting Crap Past the Radar.
  • Misplaced Accent: The real-life Catherine was raised German, but speaks perfect Russian in Civ V.
  • Power-Up Letdown: "Mother Russia" helps tundra tiles suck less, but there's still little reason to go out of your way to settle on a bunch of permafrost.
  • Pretty in Mink: Catherine the Great wears a purple cape trimmed with ermine.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Russia's unique ability in VI, Mother Russia, is very similar to the Shoshone's unique ability in V, which gives their city more territory.


Leaders: Shaka Zulu (I-VI), Shakala* (II)
Unique Unit: Impi (III-VI)
Unique Building: Ikhanda (IV-V)
Unique District: Ikanda (VI)
Ability: Iklwa (V), Isibongo (VI)

The amaZulu are South Africa's largest ethnic group, and rose to prominence in 1787 when a chieftain named Shaka transformed the tribe into a regional power. Shaka's reforms included a more centralized state, new weaponry, a new military organization, and new tactics that allowed the Zulu to carve out an empire in southeast Africa. His successors would fall victim to infighting and alternatively ally with, betray, and battle the Boer Dutch and English settlers encroaching on Africa at the time. Though the Zulu were able to give the British Empire its worst defeat at the hands of an African opponent at the 1879 Battle of Isandlwana, at the end of the Anglo-Zulu War they were defeated, divided, and eventually absorbed as a British colony.

The Zulu can be thought of as Africa's version of the Aztecs, a civilization that is built for war. Their Impi have always been faster than normal Spearmen, but in Civ V they're capable of making a ranged attack with javelins followed by a melee strike in the same turn. The Ikhanda is a Barracks that gives early-game Zulu units access to unique promotions granting bonuses flanking, attacking on open ground, and surviving ranged attacks, and if that wasn't enough their Iklwa special ability both halves army maintenance costs and lets Zulu units earn promotions faster. Some of these strengths diminish in the mid-game when gunpowder units are introduced, but the challenge for the Zulu's foes will be surviving that long.

Civilization VI captures Shaka Zulu’s innovative historical military training techniques by allowing the Zulus to form corps and armies one civic earlier than usual, and stronger. Whenever a basic unit conquers a city, it gets upgraded to a corps or army if the appropriate civic is unlocked. Sticking around in the city also automatically increases its loyalty, making it much less necessary to mess around with governors to keep newly-conquered cities from rebelling. Their Ikhanda unique district provides housing and allows corps and armies to be trained as soon as they’re unlocked. Other civilizations need a late-game encampment building for this. Their unique Impi unit replaces the pikeman and can be built more cheaply, maintained more cheaply, and gets and experience bonus so it can be promoted more quickly.

  • Blood Knight: Shaka's exactly as hostile and war-prone as Montezuma, in fact. In V, his war theme isn't a Dark Reprise; it's downright a cheerful Bragging Theme Tune.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: His war theme, "Shaka the Unshakeable", has plenty of lyrics extolling his virtues and why you should be very afraid of him. While most other civilizations have dark, dramatic war themes, his is upbeat and cheerful-sounding, as if he's excited to be waging war against you.
  • Confusion Fu: The Impi unique units in V can either attack from melee, range, or both.
  • Crutch Character/Magikarp Power: The Zulus in V fits into both areas. They have a weak early game, very strong midgame (more or less thanks to the Ikanda unique promotions and the Impi), but a very weak lategame. Many players who play the Zulus will use the medieval era mid-game spike to start conquering their neighbors, because once the Zulus have access to gunpowder units, they can no longer access to the Ikanda unique promotions. Thus being said, the Zulus can still have a strong late game Domination presence providing if they find a religion quickly and grab the Holy Warriors belief (which allows recruitment of pre-industrial units) and keep the Ikanda unique promotions. In addition, their Iklwa unique ability with half the maintenance cost for melee units is still useful late-game, as it allows the Zulus to free up their gold production for something else.
  • Defiant to the End: Defeat Shaka in VI and he'll respond with an impressive Badass Boast:
    True, you ended my reign. But I will live on in your nightmares.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Not the V gameplay, but befriending Zulu himself. Shaka is considered to be one of the hardest leaders to befriend (he has one of the lowest willingness to declare friendship ratings). At the same time however, if you do manage to befriend Shaka, he will end up being one of your most loyal allies, even if you are a warmonger.
  • Fusion Dance: Due to how "Formations" work in VI, this is effectively Shaka's new gimmick: merging identical units together to make a stronger one. (Since the old Stack of Doom technique does not exist in VI, this is the best way to make use of an abundance of units). He gains the ability to do so way sooner than his rivals, around the Middle Ages, and the Corps or Armies Shaka makes are stronger than those made of other civs.
  • Gender Flip: The Zulus' female leader in II, Shakala, is a fictional gender-flipped version of Shaka. This leads to the unusual situation where the gender flip and the original person are present at the same time.
  • Lightning Bruiser: In V, any Impi with all three unique Ikhanda promotions. In addition to attacking twice in one turn, they can have: an additional movement point, increased defense against ranged attacks, and a significant flanking bonus. You do not want to piss off the Zulus.
    • And in VI, any Corps or Army unit made by Shaka will be given +5 Combat Strength, and that's on top of how much stronger those are than singular units. A Zulu Army unit will easily annihilate cities and enemy units on a tech parity.
  • Scary Black Man: Shaka, very much so.
  • Undying Loyalty: While getting Shaka to befriend you borders on a Luck-Based Mission, he is actually one of the most loyal leaders in V should you pull it off, unlike many other warmonger civs (*cough*cough*Napoleon*cough*cough). Friendly Shaka is extremely unlikely to backstab you, and will immediately come to your aid if you go to war with another Civ.
  • Zerg Rush: Remember the special ability the Zulus get in V? Remember the entry in Lightning Bruiser? Combine these two and you have hordes of screaming spearmen overwhelming your enemies. In VI, the Zulu change units of theirs that conquer cities into corps or armies, can build corps or armies faster with their Ikandas and their Impi warriors can be built faster and are cheaper to maintain; all unique abilities, units and districts they have are focused on a Zerg Rush.

Added in Civilization II


Leaders: Dido* (II, V), Hannibal (II-IV)
Unique Units: Numidian Mercenary (III), Numidian Cavalry (IV), African Forest Elephant (V), Quinquereme (V)
Unique Building: Cothon (IV)
Ability: Phoenician Heritage (V)

According to legend, Carthage was founded in the first millennium BC by the princess Dido, who gave up co-rulership of Tyre to start her own domain in modern-day Tunisia. Carthage developed into a powerful trading empire that outlasted its Phoenician forebearers, and by the 3rd Century BC it controlled much of North Africa's coast, southern Spain, Sardinia, Corsica, and contested Sicily. But this inevitably brought it into conflict with the rising power of Rome, resulting in a series of wars starting in 241 BC. The first was a loss, and while the renowned Carthaginian general Hannibal led his famous pachyderm assault force over the Alps to deal Rome a crushing defeat during the second conflict, Carthage was forced to agree to a harsh peace. The Third Punic War ended in 146 BC after a three-year siege, and the capital of this empire that once rivaled Rome was annihilated.

Carthage has an interesting mix of abilities. Its Phoenician Heritage gives every Carthaginian coastal city a free harbor, helping it build trade routes and keep its empire connected without relying solely on roads, but the ability also lets Carthage's armies cross over normally-impassable mountains once a Great General has been created. Likewise, the Quinquereme allows Carthage to dominate the Ancient seas, while the African Forest Elephant will strike fear in the hearts of enemies and produce those Great Generals faster. By land or by sea, nowhere is safe from Carthage's might.

  • Badass Boast: Dido's war declaration in Civ V: "Tell me - do you know how my army numbers, my trains of elephant or fleets of ship? No? Well, you'll soon find out."
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Dido's high deceptiveness rating earns her a reputation for one of the most backstabbing leader.
  • Intangible Man: Sort of; their ability to pass through mountains is effectively this game's equivalent of wallhack.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: They receive unique bonuses to both their economy and military ability, but their income isn't as strong as specialists like Morocco, Portugal, and Arabia, while they also lack the power of warmongers like Mongolia or the Zulu.
  • Loophole Abuse: African Forest Elephants, their version of the Horseman, can be made without Horses. This is incredibly handy as Elephants have a "fear aura" around them that lowers opposing melee damage by 10%, and it stacks with other Elephants. Combined with having more attack power than the Horseman, a group of Elephants is all you need to overwhelm early land units, including Spearmen, who are normally the go-to unit for countering mounted units.
    • A lesser known gimmick of Carthage, after getting a Great General to allow passage over mountains, is to build roads on the mountains. This equates to instantly-passable tiles that only the Carthaginians can use, which gives any of their mountain-based cities a massive defensive advantage.
      • This can also be used as an obscene sneak attack route into other civs protected by mountains, should the Carthage player be bold enough to bring Workers along with their army. It's definitely rare, but sending a herd of elephants tumbling down the mountainside of a city's "safe" zone is as effective as it is hilarious.
  • Not the Intended Use/Emergent Gameplay: Strangely for a Domination-oriented civ, Carthage has a dirty little tactic that can win them a Science victory. The free Harbors they get with each city form City Connections with the capital for added Gold gain, and with the "Messenger of the Gods" Pantheon belief the connections will also produce Science. With clever city placement and appropriate measures to combat unhappiness, an expansion-happy Carthage can become a huge scientific competitor on par with Babylon while at the same time landlocking any nearby civs. And should another civ somehow jeopardize the Science victory? Now Carthage has a large number of cities from which to produce a military, allowing them to bury the violator in elephants and warships.


Leaders: Boudicca (II, IV-V), Cunobeline (II), Brennus (III-IV)
Unique Units: Gallic Swordsman (III-IV), Pictish Warrior (V)
Unique Buildings: Dun (IV), Ceilidh Hall (V)
Ability: Druidic Lore (V)

The Celtic tribes migrated into Europe around 1300 BC, spreading from Germany into France, Spain and the British Isles. This would later make them one of Rome's deadliest enemies: the Celtic chieftain Brennus sacked Rome in 390 BC, the Iberian Celts allied with Carthage during the Second Punic War, and in the 1st Century AD the Queen Boudicca led the united tribes of Britain in her campaign of revenge against her Roman former captors. Despite this fierce resistance, the Celts were gradually overcome by Rome's legions and absorbed into its empire, with only Ireland remaining a "purely" Celtic nation - at least until Christianity was introduced. The Celts' legacy includes languages in Great Britain and France, influences on art and music throughout Western Europe, and legends of the mysterious druids.

The Celts capitalize on the introduction of Faith and religions in Civ V's expansions. Their Druidic Lore ability generates additional Faith from unworked forests surrounding their cities, allowing them to start a religion almost at the start of the game, long before anyone else. The Celtic replacement for the Spearmen, the Pictish Warrior, gets a combat bonus outside friendly territory, can pillage at will, and generates more Faith when it kills something. The Ceilidh Hall, which produces Happiness in addition to the Culture of a regular Opera House, allows the Celts to more easily pursue a Cultural Victory, but with all that Faith there's no wrong way to play them. Boudicca will usually focus on spreading her religion and keeping her people happy, but she knows how to fight, is nearly impossible to intimidate, and doesn't forget a grudge.

  • Action Girl: Boudica all the way. Unlike the other rulers (male or female), she is not at all interested in looking pretty, she's interested in looking like she could gut you like a fish. She's usually fondling a sword and is wearing very utilitarian, unflattering clothing. In Civ V the first thing she says is to warn you that "nobody better try rushing me."
  • Composite Character: The Pictish Warriors Boudica gets are not of the same Celtic tribe she came from. She's getting help from multiple Britons it seems.
  • Demoted to Extra: Boudica is only a Great General in VI, with the Celts no longer playable.
  • Graceful Loser: Boudica. "I take some small pleasure that it was you who bested my people on this field of battle. Another time, I would have proudly called you my peer."
  • Green Thumb: In V, they receive bonus faith per city as long there is an unimproved forest tile next to the city. The bonus is doubled if there are 3 adjacent unimproved forests.
  • Hypocrite: Boudica will denounce you if you try to convert any of her cities into your religion, but will gleefully convert your cities to hers.
  • Interface Spoiler: In V: if you see someone create a pantheon within 10 turns of the game, you can be certain that the Celts exist somewhere in the game, as they are the only civilization that can naturally gain faith without buildings.
  • Jerkass: Boudica is known to not only declare war against many civilizations, she's also a backstabber and converts all your cities to her religion.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Pictish Warriors can freely pillage tiles and have a combat bonus in enemy lands, making them well suited to early aggression.
  • Religious Bruiser: They have a strong emphasis on early religion, what with their ability and their Pictish Warriors earning additional faith whenever they kill an enemy.


Leaders: Tokugawa Ieyasu (II-IV), Amaterasu* (II), Oda Nobunaga (V), Hojo Tokimune (VI)
Unique Units: Samurai (III-VI), Zero (V)
Unique Buildings: Shale Plant (IV), Electronics Factory (VI)
Ability: Bushido (V), Meiji Restoration (VI)

In 594 AD the regent Prince Shotoku helped unify Japan under a single state, and while he brought many Chinese religious and philosophical influences into the new regime, these would gradually mix with Japan's native Shinto and strong clan system to create something unique. In 1185 the Minamoto clan established the first shogunate, a feudal government run by the samurai warrior class that existed parallel to the imperial dynasty. Japan eventually fell into clan-based infighting during its Warring States Period, but in the 16th century the warlord Oda Nobunaga began the process of reunifying Japan, a goal realized by his successor Tokugawa Ieyasu. The Tokugawa Shogunate froze Japanese society and closed its borders for two hundred years, but when the Americans forcibly opened the country in 1853, the Japanese realized that if they did not modernize, they would be subjugated like China. The rapid Westernization of the Meiji Restoration gave way to militant nationalism and imperialism, and ultimately led to Japan's devastating defeat during World War Two. But Japan rose from the ashes, undergoing a miraculous economic recovery so that today it stands as an advanced democracy while retaining its distinct national identity.

In Civ V, Japan is a military powerhouse, plain and simple. Its Bushido ability means that all Japanese military units will fight as if at full strength no matter how damaged they are, Samurai are some of the best units of the pre-Industrial age, and Japan's signature Zero fighter plane will rule the skies until jet aircraft are created. All this gives Japan the edge during mid- and late-game expansion, allowing it to easily pursue a Domination victory. When there's not fighting to be done those Samurai can also build Fishing Boats, which generate Culture for Japan, and Oda Nobunaga will occasionally go for a Diplomatic Victory, but for the most part Japan is all about showing the rest of the world what it means to be a real warrior.

Japan in Civ VI is a unique blend of military, industrial and cultural might. Its "Meiji Restoration" ability gives city districts adjacency bonuses when placed next to each other, encouraging a compact and productive empire, while the Electronics Factory is more productive than a standard Factory and generates Culture as well. The famous Samurai are peerless Medieval-era warriors who fight at full effectiveness even when damaged, and Hojo Tokimune's "Divine Wind" leader ability grants all Japanese units a combat bonus on coasts or shallow seas, as well as full immunity to hurricanes; at the same time, hurricanes in Japanese borders do double damage to enemy units. But Hojo is no coarse barbarian - his ability also lets Japan build military, cultural and religious districts in half the usual time, and his adherence to the codes of Bushido means he only respects other nations if their skill at arms is matched by their faith and refinement.

  • BFS: Nobunaga carries three giant katanas with him to the diplomacy screen!
  • Call to Aquaculture: What do samurai do when they're not fighting a war? They can become fishermen!
  • Canon Foreigner: Sort of. Japan's only available on the SNES version of Civ I.
  • Crippling Overspecialization:
    • In IV, the civilization as a whole suffers from this — Tokugawa's leader traits are both focused on providing bonuses to combat units, which looks good on paper and comes in handy when he's at war but essentially gives no bonuses that help with building an infrastructure to support his armies in peacetime.
    • In V, Zeroes. They are slightly stronger than fighter planes, and have a bonus against them... except fighter planes are not common units, as anti-air guns can stop bombers without using oil and are very ineffective at anything but interception. Improved slightly with the October 2013 patch, as they no longer require oil.
    • In early versions of V, Japan also had similar problems dealing with peacetime to the ones they had in IV, with no unique buildings and Nobunaga's unique trait only applying to combat. They've since been given culture and production advantages on aquatic maps to compensate (see "Call To Aquaculture" and "The Engineer").
  • Critical Existence Failure: Samurai in VI are the only units that fight at full power no matter how much damage they've taken, while in V, all of Japan's units share this ability.
  • Cultured Warrior: Powerful samurai to shred enemies on land and Zeroes to act as high-mobility anti-air, all coupled with bonus culture from improved sea resources and atolls. In VI, their agenda has them liking civilisations with strong militaries, culture and faith, and despising civs that are only strong militarily without corresponding strength of culture and faith.
    Hojo Tokimune: To follow Bushido is to train the mind, the body, and the soul... but can your people do so?
  • The Engineer: Post-October 2013 patch, Samurai in Civ V can freely build fishing boats. Coupled with Japan's new bonus to culture from fishing boats and atolls, Japan now has advantages even when not at war.
  • Graceful Loser: Nobunaga. "You are much smarter than I thought."
  • Hidden Elf Village: Tokugawa, true to history, is a strict isolationist, and it takes ridiculous amounts of bribery to get him to even open his borders. If Japan is one of the rival empires in IV, you should probably just consider them an enemy and forget diplomatic measures - it's a lot cheaper.
  • Implacable Man: Their Bushido ability allows them to deal full damage no matter how injured their units are.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Japan in VI possesses bonuses suitable for all victory types: adjacency bonus to Faith and cheaper Holy Sites for a Religious Victory, adjacency bonus to Culture and cheaper Theater Squares for a Cultural Victory, adjacency bonus to Science for a Science Victory, and additional Production and Combat bonuses for a Domination Victory.
  • Japanese Politeness: Oda Nobunaga may be a jerk, but he still adheres strongly to honorable mannerisms signature of a Samurai.
  • Jerkass: Oda Nobunaga in V. He not only has a habit of denouncing leaders and declaring war, he also has a good habit of backstabbing leaders as well.
  • Katanas Are Just Better:
    • Played straight in III. The best time to be playing the Japanese is during the Medieval Era in that game. Once you get access to the Samurai, you can hack and slash your way through any and all other Civs using a pure Samurai force, until the gunpowder era finally renders them obsolete.
    • Played somewhat straight in IV, as well. Instead of replacing knights, samurai instead replace Macemen, who are the best melee units in the game. Against other melee units, the samurai's strong attack and First Strikes make them damn near unstoppable. Against knights, which serve as the medieval cavalry unit and are immune to first strikes, it's a whole 'nother story. Better hope you brought some yari—err, pikemen with you.
  • Magikarp Power: Japan in V is one of the best late-game civilizations for a Domination Victory thanks to the Zero unique unit and their unique ability. However, they get crushed easily early-game.
  • One-Hit Point Wonder: There is an achievement in V for killing an enemy with a unit at 1 hp as Japan.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • IV's version of Tokugawa was based more on Toshiro Mifune than the historical figure himself.
    • Hojo Tokimune in VI has a far closer appereance to Motoya Izumi's potrayal of him in the Hōjō Tokimune taiga miniseries than any of his few historical depictions.
  • Samurai: A Japan without Samurai would be like a Gandhi without nukes.


Leaders: Xerxes (II-III), Scheherazade* (II), Cyrus the Great (IV, VI), Darius the Great (IV-V)
Unique Unit: Immortal (III-VI)
Unique Buildings: Apothecary (IV), Satrap's Court (V)
Unique Improvement: Pairidaeza (VI)
Ability: Achaemenid Legacy (V), Satrapies (VI)

The Iranian Plateau has seen its share of empires over the course of history, from the Medians to the Parthians to the Khwarazmians to the Timurids, but one of its most celebrated was the Achaemenid Empire. By 550 BC, a Median vassal named Cyrus II turned against his master, then played the rival powers of Lydia and Babylon off each other to forge a new empire through a mixture of diplomacy and military might. This was further expanded by successors such as Darius I, and at the height of its power the Achaemenid Empire stretched from modern-day Iran to Egypt and the Balkan coast. Though ended by Alexander in 330 BC, the Achaemenids left behind a legacy of just governance that allowed a centralized authority to peacefully rule a diverse mix of peoples and faiths.

Ancient Persia was pretty progressive for its time, and Civ V rewards rulers who can live up to the standards of Cyrus the Great. Persia's Achaemenid Legacy ability means that its Golden Ages last 50% longer, and during one all units receive a bonus to movement and combat. In the early game the Persian Immortal gives the nation an edge thanks to its ability to heal twice as fast as normal Spearmen, while in the mid-to-late game the Satrap's Court, which replaces a Bank, produces both additional gold and more happiness. The end result is an empire that can focus on internal development while remaining competitive on the battlefield, and if Persia decides to expand it may well be greeted as liberators.

In Civ VI, Persia gains a focus on consolidating its own empire and quickly assimilating foreign cities right into it. Its Satrapies ability means that internal trade routes automatically gain +2 gold and +1 culture, with Persian roads one level more advanced than normal, with their Pairidaeza improvements spitting out further culture and gold, with bonuses when built next to Holy Sites, Commercial Hubs, Theatre Squares or City Centers, and when advancing through the technology civics tree. Cyrus himself, however, is always looking at opportunities to expand, and his Fall of Babylon ability means that his forces get +2 movement for 10 turns upon declaring surprise wars, while said wars hit Persia with less warmongering penalties and weariness than other civs, and he takes no growth penalties in cities he occupies. Their Immortal unique units, which replaces the Swordsman, are given a range attack along with strong defensive strength, meaning that they can quickly overwhelm any foe. All in all, Persia is an expansionist civ that can easily bring any hapless city into its ever-growing empire.

  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: The Immortals in VI replaces the swordsman and is given a ranged attack, while retaining the swordsman's Melee defence.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Encouraged as a gameplay mechanic in VI, as Cyrus's Fall of Babylon means that you are rewarded for springing surprise attacks on your enemies. Much of his dialogue is even along the lines of "I'm sure we'll be good friends... for now."
  • Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: In VI, Cyrus poses like this on his diplomacy screen if you've denounced him. Given that you're probably denouncing him because of his deceptiveness...
  • Cultured Badass: In Brave New World, the Great People abilities were switched around so that only Great Artists could initiate Golden Ages. This doesn't slow Persia down as much as one would think, since the tech that grants Great Artists (Guilds) is only one detour away from the path to Civil Service, which most Persia players want to get anyway for Chichen Itza and to upgrade their Immortals to Pikemen. Combined with the military boost Persia gets while in a Golden Age, it's quite easy for Persia to pursue both Domination and Culture victories simultaneously.
    • Cyrus keeps this up in VI; he gets extra culture from Persia's unique ability and improvement. This actually synergizes with his warmongering; through early trade routes and/or Pairidaezas, he will likely reach Political Philosophy before his neighbors, allowing him to take Oligarchy for the strength boost it will give his Immortals and leverage it before the others can catch up. Like in V, Persia in VI can easily go for Domination or Culture victories.
  • The Good Kingdom: Life in Persia is pretty damn good. Trade routes to the world, wealth, religious tolerance and generally good public happiness are known to have been many of their popular features throughout ancient history. This is reflected in their trait for V, where they get more golden ages that last longer, and everyone's so buzzed during one that they all get extra movement points and fight harder in battle.
    • Continued in VI, where interior roads are of a higher quality than normal for your era and internal trade routes boost gold and culture, something you normally only get from external trade.
  • Healing Factor: In V, the Immortal replacement for spearmen heals twice as fast as a standard unit. This carries over when the spearman is upgraded.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Golden Ages are a nice bonus for all civs in every game, but prior to Civ V, they were usually too brief or infrequent to build a whole strategy around. However, Persia's special ability in V increases the length of their Golden Ages by 50%, and gives all their units a movement and combat bonus when they're in one. Combined with Chichen Itza (the wonder that gives another 50% increase to GA length) and the Freedom ideology, which offers another such stacking bonus, the Persians can stay in a cycle of consecutive Golden Ages for 50 turns or longer!
  • Insufferable Genius: Darius in V loves talking about how much smarter and better he is than you. Considering how nice life is in Persia he may have a point...
  • Take Over the World: In VI, Cyrus's ability Fall of Babylon, reduces the penalty for declaring surprise wars and grants all units +2 movement for ten turns allowing you to quickly conquer and expand before the enemy can mount an effective defence.
  • Weirdness Coupon: Fall of Babylon means people won't get as annoyed at you for doing a surprise attack on someone. Given Cyrus's history, it may well be because, well, it's Cyrus. It's what he does.


Leaders: Sitting Bull (II, IV), Sacagawea (II)
Unique Unit: Dog Soldier (IV)
Unique Building: Totem Pole (IV)

The Sioux consist of seven nations spread across the northern part of the Great Plains of North America, who would meet each summer for religious ceremonies and to settle intertribal issues. These archetypical Indians in tipis and feathered headdresses traded with French merchants in the 16th century, but focused on their old conflict with the Pawnee, until in the 19th century the encroaching United States became the Sioux's greatest threat. A combination of continued white settlement, broken treaties and starvation sparked the Dakota War in 1862, which saw the Sioux driven out of Minnesota. From 1866 to 1868 Chief Red Cloud led a campaign that ended in a treaty granting the Sioux control over central Wyoming, but the later discovery of gold in the Black Hills, and the subsequent rush of settlers, sparked the Great Sioux War of 1876-77. Despite the efforts of leaders such as Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, and the victory at Little Bighorn, the Sioux and their Cheyenne allies were defeated, and the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 marked the last major armed conflict between the natives and their invaders.

In Civ IV Sitting Bull was given command of a generic Native American civilization representing every tribe in North America, so that a Lakota leads a faction that includes a special unit from the Cheyenne and a distinctive structure from the Haida. Sitting Bull is already a Protective leader who grants archery and gunpowder units free promotions to make them better at defending cities, but the Totem Pole gives archers even more experience points, resulting in an civilization that is very hard to invade, or very hard to dislodge if it takes one of your cities. The Dog Soldier replaces the Axeman, and while lacking the latter's raw strength, receives a whopping 100% combat bonus against other melee units. All in all, picking a fight with the Native Americans may be more trouble than it's worth.

  • Composite Character: Imagine a "Native European" civilization where Napoleon leads Hakkapeliitta to defend his Hanse and you'll realize how weird Civ IV's portrayal of "Native America" is.
  • Injun Country: All of them. A game mod puts a bit more effort into it, including every Native American civilization using their own native names.
  • Stone Wall: The Civ IV Civilopedia boasts that "Troy can't hold a candle to the Native American Empire."


Leaders: Isabella (II-V), Philip II (II, VI)
Unique Units: Conquistador (III-VI), Tercio (V)
Unique Building: Citadel (IV)
Unique Improvement: Mission (VI)
Ability: Seven Cities of Gold (V), Treasure Fleet (VI)

Carthage and Rome colonized and competed for the Iberian peninsula during ancient times, while the Dark Ages brought Visigoth and later Moorish invaders to the region, but in the 8th century the Spanish got sick of this and started fighting back. The struggle between the Christian and Muslim kingdoms of Spain remained a stalemate until the 1469 marriage of Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragaon created a power couple capable of completing the Reconquista. By 1492 the Muslims were out of Spain, the Spanish Inquisition was making sure everyone was a proper Catholic, and an explorer named Christopher Columbus had found new lands to conquer overseas. The Spanish quickly began expanding into the New World for God, glory and gold, becoming the first truly global power and building an empire that spanned the Americas, Caribbean, and eventually the East Indies. European conflicts, imperial overreach, and independence movements gradually cost Spain her colonies, but the fact that Spanish is the world's second most popular language shows the impact this nation had on history.

As befitting Spain's status as a explorer and colonizer, in Civ V its Seven Cities of Gold ability grants hefty bonuses for both discovering and controlling Natural Wonders, encouraging the nation to seek out and grab the best real estate. Aiding this goal is the Conquistador, an improved Knight that can not only see further, fight cities effectively, and defend itself while embarked, but can also found new cities on other continents. To help defend these lands, Spain also gets the Tercio, combining the strength of the Musketman with the anti-cavalry bonuses of Pikemen.

Like England, Spain in Civ VI excels at developing into a naval empire, but its focus is on faith, not culture. Its "Treasure Fleets" ability improves the yield of trade routes between continents and lets Spain create fleets earlier than its rivals, but King Philip II isn't content with mere treasure and wants to unite the world under Spain's religion, by force if necessary. His "El Escorial" leader bonus improves the effectiveness of Inquisitors and gives Spanish combat units a bonus against enemies of the faith, and his "Counter-Reformer" agenda makes him quite antagonistic towards anyone trying to spread a foreign religion into his lands. Spain's Conquistadors get a further combat bonus when stacked with a religious unit and can actually convert cities they help capture, while the Mission improvement generates additional faith, more if built on another continent than Spain's capital. The other nations of the world will either bow to the One True Faith or feel Spain's wrath.

  • Awesome, but Impractical: Phillip's +4 combat strength to your units when they're fighting someone with a different religion than yours sounds pretty good... until you realize that, for the bonus to apply, both you and your opponent must have a religion, and those religions must be different. Religion isn't much sought after in multiplayer games, so this bonus will rarely apply in such a context; and in single-player, some AI opponents never try to found a religion, and you won't get the combat bonus if you convert them to yours. Unless someone else converts the enemy you're planning to fight, there's not much you can do.
    • Spain's bonuses in general seem contradictory, both pushing her towards and pulling her away from a Religious Victory. To win such a victory, you must convert at least half of everyone's cities to your religion... but you need your opponents to follow a different religion than yours if you want to get a combat bonus against them, and your unique unit (the Conquistador) gets a decent combat bonus if it shares its space with a religious unit... which ties up said religious unit and prevents it from spreading your religion.
  • Blood Knight: Not quite as aggressive as the likes of the Aztecs or Zulu, but Spain makes up for that in its emphasis on religion, and if you dare have a different religion than they do, they're often programmed to hate you.
  • Bold Explorer: Encouraged by Spain's "Seven Cities of Gold" ability in V, which doubles the output of Natural Wonders. In VI, this is replaced by a focus on settling or conquering on continents you did not start out on.
  • Church Militant: Many versions of this civ focus on both military strength and religion, unsurprisingly.
  • Flaunting Your Fleets: It wouldn't be Spain without the Spanish Armadas, so in Civ VI they gain the ability to combine naval units into an Armada much sooner than everyone else. So during the Renaissance, watch out.
  • The Fundamentalist:
    • Isabella's relations with you in Civ IV depends on whether or not she shares your faith. If she does, you'll have to actively work to tick her off. If she doesn't, she will devote her life to your destruction.
    • Philip II's "Counter-Reformer" agenda makes him like anyone who shares his religion and hate anyone who tries to convert his cities to another faith.
  • Graceful Loser: Isabella in V. "...very well. This is, without a doubt, God's will, and I must bow to it."
  • Large Ham: A bit more understated than Gilgamesh, but it's there.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Their Unique Ability in V gives them a massive amount of gold if they are the first to discover a natural wonder, and doubles their tile yields. It will either provide a huge advantage, or do nothing at all.
  • Master of All: The Spanish Tercio in Civ V is stronger than a Musketman but also shares the Pikeman's Anti-Cavalry bonus, making it the dominant military unit of the Renaissance era.
  • No Blood for Phlebotinum: Scouting around and snapping up Natural Wonders is the key to getting the most out of Spain in Civ V. If there are no Natural Wonders available in neutral territory (they often show up inside the limits of a city-state) then it's time to prepare your conquistadores for some conquistadoring.
  • Power Up Let Down: The Conquistador is a more expensive knight replacement, and since knights are one of the main unit types (if not the main unit type) in Middle Ages warfare, having to spend more production on them hurts. What does Spain get for that extra production? Some minor special abilities that are already obsolete the moment Conquistadors start rolling out.
    • To elaborate, the Conquistador's bonuses are: extra vision range, better defense when embarked, no penalties when attacking cities, and the ability to found cities on other continents. All of these would make the Conquistador a good exploring unit... if it didn't come out in the early-mid game, when the time for exploration is already finished. The ability to found cities on other continents is especially useless: the technologies required to cross oceans and to build Conquistadors are in different branches of the tech tree, and so, by the time you can finally set sail towards other continents, all the good land will already be settled; and even if you manage to found a city on decent land, it will be a very small, easy-to-capture one.
  • Pretty in Mink: Isabella of Spain wears a red dress heavily trimmed with ermine in V.
  • Religious Bruiser:
    • In V they get no inherent religious ability (though Isabella is still programmed to spread her faith around as much as possible). However, if you take "One with Nature" as your pantheon (which grants +4 faith for every Natural Wonder you control), that gets doubled to +8', a huge boost over whatever else anyone could get, and a lot of Natural Wonders also produce faith points on their own, which get doubled too! With a little luck, a properly-specced Spain can produce ten times as much faith points as anyone else in the world and swarm the earth with their religion.
    • In VI, Phillip II is aggressive with religion as his leader ability boosts all his military and religious units against any civilization not following his religion and despises anyone who try to spread their religion to his cities. A common strategy is to have your own religion, attack enemies, then make the local religion your own via inquisitors, which Spain also specializes in.
  • The Spanish Inquisition: Spain in VI has more effective Inquisitors than other civs, but you really ought to have expected that.


Leaders: Cnut the Great (II), Gunnhild* (II) Ragnar Lodbrok (III-IV)
Unique Unit: Berserker (IV)
Unique Building: Trading Post (IV)

"Viking" is more a job description than an actual civilization - when the people of northern Europe wanted loot, had overpopulation issues, or were just feeling bored and violent, they'd get in their longships and go on a viking, or overseas raid. This was particularly prevalent during the Viking Age of 800-1050 AD, when Norse raiders sailed up the Seine to threaten Paris, sacked monasteries on the British Isles, and generally made life difficult for anyone near a body of water. But the Vikings also went on trading expeditions, and started settlements in Russia, Iceland, Greenland, and a distant western coast they called Vinland nearly five hundred years before Columbus "discovered" the New World. Eventually the Vikings converted to Christianity and developed into kingdoms like Denmark and Sweden, but the Scandinavian reputation as fearsome seaborne warriors persists to this day.

Fittingly, the Vikings' unique unit and structure in Civ IV are about making them more effective naval invaders. The Berserker replaces the Maceman and starts with the Amphibious promotion, allowing it to attack from transports or across rivers without penalty, while the Trading Post replaces the Lighthouse and gives Viking ships a free Navigation promotion, letting them move faster. Add to this Ragnar's Aggressive and Financial traits, and the Viking's neighbors better invest in a strong navy and coastal defenses.

  • Horny Vikings: Ragnar's even depicted with one of those ceremonial and stereotypical Viking helmets.
  • Obviously Evil: Ragnar's greeting dialogue not-so-innocently asks if your civilization has "any undefended coastal villages".
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Denmark in V and Norway in VI each have a similar theme, including the Berserker unit.

Added in Civilization III


Leaders: Abu Bakr (III), Saladin (IV, VI), Harun al-Rashid (V)
Unique Units: Ansar Warrior (III), Camel Archer (IV-V), Mamluk (VI)
Unique Buildings: Madrassa (IV, VI), Bazaar (V)
Ability: Trade Caravans (V, pre-Brave New World), Ships of the Desert (V, post-Brave New World), The Last Prophet (VI)

The arid Arabian Peninsula has been an important trade center since ancient times, but for most of its history it was a sideshow to foreign empires' struggles over the Middle East. This all changed when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) brought a new religion to the region, uniting the Arabs under Islam through conversion and conquest. His followers created the first Caliphate in the 7th century, expanding out across North Africa to Spain in the west, and eastward through Iran into northwest India. This was followed by the Abbasid Caliphate which shifted its capital to Baghdad, where the arts and science flourished under wise leaders like Harun al-Rashid. At the height of its power the Caliphate was both astonishingly wealthy and far more advanced than medieval Europe, with achievements in chemistry, mathematics, astronomy and medicine that the Christian kingdoms wouldn't match for centuries. But internal religious conflicts, the difficulties of running such a vast domain, and external foes eventually brought down the empire - the Mongols' sack of Baghdad in 1258 was not only the Caliphate's death blow, but a tremendous loss to science and culture. Arabia was subsequently taken by the Turks and later Europeans, and today faces the challenge of matching its past glory in a world that seems interested only in its oil supply.

As befitting a people situated on the nexus of three continents, the Arabs are exceptional traders, and with their Ships of the Desert ability in Civ V, their Caravans have extended range, and also are more likely to spread their religion. The Bazaar is one of the best buildings in the game, boosting overall city income like a Marketplace, granting bonus gold from trade routes, oases and oil, and improving the yield of luxury resources near cities. In the Medieval era the Arabs' Camel Archer dominates the battlefield thanks to its improved mobility and ranged damage, while in the late game the Arabs' doubled oil supply can fuel further conquests or be leveraged through trade.

The Arabs in Civ VI are a religious civilization, but one more sophisticated than conquest-happy Spain. Its "The Last Prophet" ability ensures that Arabia will always found a religion, so it has no reason to rush to generate a Great Prophet, and its Madrassa produces more Science than a University as well as additional Faith. Saladin wants to see Arabia's religion spread to other cities, but while his "Righteousness of the Faith" leader ability lets Arabia's religious building boost his cities' Science, Faith and Culture output, it also lets said building be constructed for only one-tenth the normal cost, a discount that applies to other civilizations as well. Arabia's neighbors thus have an incentive to tolerate its evangelizing, but if they don't, that's where the feared Mamluk heavy cavalry comes into play.

  • Arab Oil Sheikh:
    • In III, Abu Bakr's Modern era portrait has him standing in front of several oil wells in the desert.
    • Part of the Arabs' ability in V. Their oil resources provide double, and their unique "Bazaar" building gives them extra gold from oil.
  • Composite Character: More like "Composite Geography." In VI, the capital of the Arabian Empire is Cairo, better known as modern-day Egypt's capital. This is because Egypt's lands have changed many hands over the years, terminating in "Arabian Egypt" which to this day has its own Arabian dialect. (Arabia's famous intercontinental trade routes are also factored into VI's Egypt, but while Cleopatra gets more money directly, Saladin gains different benefits).
  • Healing Factor: The Mamluk in VI heals itself every turn, regardless of whether or not it attacked.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Their Camel Archers in V are similar to Mongolian Keshiks. While they lack the additional movement and faster experience gain / general production rate of Keshiks, they have higher stats on both offense and defense.
  • Horse Archer: Camel Archers in V. Their high mobility and ranged attack make them very effective at hit-and-run tactics.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Arabia in V is notable for having bonuses to reach different kinds of victory - Domination and Diplomatic - but their bonus to commerce and religion mean you are also likely to become rich and have many friends, which can be useful to secure Research Agreements and reach a Scientific Victory. The only victory road they have no bonus to is Cultural.
  • Pet the Dog: Defeat Arabia in Civ V and Harun al-Rashid declares that his palace is yours, but he hopes that you'll take good care of the peacocks.
  • Proud Merchant Race: In V Arabia's "Ships of the Desert" ability gives its Caravans extended range and a greater chance of spreading its religion, while the Bazaar improvement is a Marketplace that doubles the yield of nearby luxury resources for foreign trade.
  • Religious Bruiser: With its bias on desert terrain, Arabia in V can obtain the "Desert Folklore" pantheon to acquire a religion quickly. Given that trade routes from Arabia have a boost into spreading their religion, Arabia can achieve a dominant power in faith.
  • Reluctant Warrior: When Saladin declares war in VI, he'll state that "It is a shame that we must resort to violence, it is not the custom of kings to kill kings."


Leaders: Theodora (III, V), Justinian I (IV)
Unique Units: Dromon (III, V), Cataphract (IV-V)
Unique Building: Hippodrome (IV)
Ability: Patriarchate of Constantinople (V)

As it waned, the Roman Empire split itself in two for administrative purposes, and though the western half would fall to barbarians in the 4th Century, the eastern Roman Empire would continue for another thousand years. From its majestic capital of Constantinople, strategically situated on the waterway separating East from West, the so-called Byzantine Empire continued Roman traditions of art, trade, religion and learning. Under the power couple of Justinian I and Theodora, in 555 AD the empire regained control of not just Greece and Anatolia, but the Italian peninsula and much of the North African coast. Despite such periods of resurgence, the Byzantines gradually lost ground to eastern invaders, while relations with their fellow Christian domains in Europe eventually ended in the Great Schism of 1054, forever separating the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453, but even in its death the Byzantine Empire shaped history - the tide of refugees fleeing west helped start the Renaissance, while the loss of a Christian-controlled passage east led Europe to search the seas for new trade routes and discover a new world.

Byzantium was the heartland of Orthodox Christianity, and its ability in Civ V, Patriarchate of Constantinople, allows it to choose an additional belief when founding a Religion, further customizing it towards whichever victory it seeks. When piety is not enough, the Byzantines' special units allow them to dominate the early game - the Dromon uses Greek Fire to annihilate any ships foolish enough to oppose it, while the Cataphract is a slower but stronger Horseman able to make use of terrain and more effectively attack cities. Through faith and Roman arms, the Byzantines will once more rise to glory.

  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Theodora in V is one of the easier leaders to befriend. It's just that in the long run being friends doesn't mean very much to her.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Theodora in V have a habit of doing this a lot.
  • Gorgeous Greek: Theodora is depicted like a Femme Fatale in V.
  • Greek Fire: Dromons replace Triremes as the earliest military ship. They have a useful ranged attack, and a hefty bonus against enemy ships. As a bonus, they also follow the ranged ship upgrade path instead of the trireme's melee path, so their promotions remain useful forever.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Religion is a customizable tool in Civ V, and Byzantium's religion is extra-customizable, so they can be geared for whatever victory type you want. Though they gain no bonus faith to help them generate a religion, once they do, it gets an extra belief from any of the possible categories. Select two founder beliefs and you get double benefits from spreading it around; you want extra money and extra happiness for every believer, you got it! Or you could select two enhancer beliefs and watch as your religion practically auto-spreads around the continent. Make it so your religion generates loads of extra faith and select "Holy Warriors" to blow it on instantly buying an army using faith points instead of money. Make it so you can use all three faith-built buildings at once, then combine with a reformation belief so they all generate free tourism too for a tourism blast! Or use "Just War" and "Defender of the Faith" together at once to ensure that everywhere your religion is, you have a combat bonus, offense or defense. The possibilities are almost endless.
  • Mighty Glacier: A mild example in Cataphracts: they have lower movement than horsemen, but are stronger and have a smaller penalty against cities.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Justinian I's diplomacy theme, which contrary to popular belief is not Deus Iudex Iustus. Theodora's diplomacy music in V sounds like one as well. Subverted in that it's actually Greek, though still ominous.
  • Reclining Reigner: Theodora is always seen lounging on her sofa.


Leader: Mursilis I (III)
Unique Unit: Three-Man Chariot (III)

We don't know much about the Hittites beyond what their enemies and trading partners wrote about them. Around 2000 BC they migrated south to establish kingdoms in modern Turkey and Syria, but in 1595 BC King Mursili (or Murshilish) launched a raid against the contemporary power of Babylon. By 1299 BC the Hittites were a major empire, able to fight the Egyptians to a standstill at the Battle of Kadesh and keep control of the Levant. Part of their success was due to hardware such as three-man war chariots, which were nearly enough to rout the Egyptians in themselves. More importantly, the Hittites were one of the first peoples to move out of the Bronze Age, and were forging iron weapons as early as the 14th Century BC. This edge would only last so long, however, and the Hittites were eventually broken and conquered by invaders such as the Assyrians by 1100 BC.

In Civ III the Hittites are considered an Expansionist and Commercial civilization, though oddly enough their starting technologies don't bring them any closer to Iron Working than any other given civ. Their unique unit is the Three-Man Chariot, fully twice and strong and tough as a normal Chariot - which is to say that it's a 2/2/2 unit rather than a 1/1/2 unit.

  • Demoted to Extra: In V, which only features them in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario, and VI, which includes Hattusa as a city-state.


Leaders: Pachacuti (III, V-VI), Huayna Capac (IV)
Unique Units: Chasqui Scout (III), Quechua (IV), Slinger (V), Warak'aq (VI)
Unique Building: Terrace (IV)
Unique Improvement: Terrace Farm (V-VI), Qhapaq Ñan (VI)
Ability: Great Andean Road (V), Mit'a (VI)

In the 12th Century the Inca were a pastoral society, but in 1438 they began expanding out from the city-state of Cusco. Under the leadership of their Sapa Inca, Pachacuti-Cusi Yupanqui (literally "earth-shaker"), the Inca subdued their neighbors through conquest and assimilation, creating an empire they called the Tawantinsuyu, "four parts together." Two generations later the Inca Empire reached its greatest extent under Huayna Capac, stretching along the Andes Mountains through modern Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, held together by marvelously-engineered networks of roads linking its cities and fortresses. But in 1526 the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro arrived during a time of civil war and a smallpox epidemic, and within fifty years the Inca Empire was destroyed, its wealth plundered and its people made colonial subjects stripped of their former culture.

The Inca can turn mountains and hills from marginal terrain to prime real estate. Their Great Andean Road ability allows Inca units to ignore the movement penalty of passing over hills, and not only halves the maintenance costs of all land improvements, but makes any improvements on hills free of upkeep. On top of that, the Terrace Farm can be constructed on hills to improve food yield, moreso if it borders a mountain. The Inca replacement for the Archer, the Slinger, may not be quite as tough, but will automatically withdraw from the first foe to try and catch it in melee. All in all, the Inca are uniquely suited for taking the high ground, and their foes better remember that those hills aren't going to save them if the Inca are feeling aggressive.

In VI, the Inca return in Gathering Storm, and are once again the undisputed masters of the mountains. The Terrace Farms make their return, allowing the Inca to get food from hills much earlier than their competitors, and gets additional food from adjacent mountains as well as production from adjacent aqueducts or sources of fresh water. Their "Mit'a" Ability lets its citizens work mountains, which get +2 production as a base yield and +1 food for each adjacent Terrace Farm, which means Incan cities can quickly dwarf their neighbours. Pachacuti's Unique Ability is "Qhapaq Ñan", and favours a more isolationist playstyle - Domestic trade routes gain +1 food for every mountain tile in the trade route's original city, and gain access to the Qhapaq Ñan improvement once Foreign Trade is unlocked. This improvement allows Incan units to move right through mountains even during the ancient era, while other civs have to wait until the industrial era to be able to match that. The Inca's unique unit is the Warak'aq, their version of the Skirmisher, and not only is it stronger at ranged combat, but it can attack twice if they have enough movement points. In terms of agenda, Pachacuti's "Sapa Inca" means that he appreciates those who stay away from the mountains, but those that choose to settle near them will eventually have to fight off Incan expansion.

  • Badass Boast:
    • When he attacks: Resistance is futile! You cannot hope to stand against the mighty Incan empire. If you will not surrender immediately, then prepare for war!
    • When he is attacked: Declare war on me?!? You can't, because I declare war on you first!
  • Hidden Elf Village: Their abilities and improvements in VI encourage this playstyle, unless your neighbours have gotten themselves some nice mountainside real estate.
  • Mega City:
    • In V, the unique Terrace Farm improvement gives a city bonus food based on how many mountains it is adjacent to, speeding early game growth. Since Incan players are wont to settle in hilly terrain anyway, this means that they can create some truly gigantic cities throughout the game.
    • In VI, these bonuses apply both to mountain adjacency and the mountains themselves, giving the Inca a huge early-game advantage.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The Inca are able to thrive where everyone else would starve, walk through rough terrain like it's nothing, and can (with a social policy) have completely maintenance-free roads between their cities, resulting in free money from the city connections. (Or, in VI, where roads are free, they can instead build mountain tunnels and have roads go through THEM, letting them use a wall as an avenue.) An Incan game is likely to prioritize completely different things than a normal civ.
  • Powerup Letdown: Slingers have the chance of withdrawing if a melee unit gets up close to them, which is awesome in wars... but not so much when you are escorting a civilian, at which point the enemy will easily capture your civilian.
  • Suffer the Slings:
    • In V, the Slinger. It deals the same ranged damage as the Archer, and while it may be weaker, the trick is catching it...
    • In VI, the Warak'aq is stronger, and can attack twice. Instead of being a weaker Archer, it's a replacement for the Middle Ages-tier Scouting unit, the Skirmisher.


Leader: Hiawatha (III, V)
Unique Units: Mounted Warrior (III), Mohawk Warrior (V)
Unique Building: Longhouse (V)
Ability: The Great Warpath (V)

Tradition has it that in the mid-16th century the legendary Chief Dekanawidah convinced the warrior Ayonwentah to set down his arms and help forge an alliance between the tribes of the Lake Ontario region: the Onondaga, Seneca, Kanien'gehaga (or Mohawks), Cayuga, Oneida, and later the Tuscarora. Together they formed a league named "the people of the longhouse," or Haudenosaunee, called the Iroquois Confederacy by outsiders. Even though they had no written language, the Confederacy operated under an oral constitution that settled matters affecting the whole nation while allowing individual peoples and tribes to govern themselves. In the 1600s the People of the Longhouse were able to leverage Dutch firearms earned through the fur trade to expand and assimilate other tribes, which brought them into conflict with the French, which drove them into an alliance with the British. This ultimately ended with the Confederacy fighting alongside the British in the American Revolution, and after their allies' defeat in 1783, the natives' territory was ceded to the Americans. Some from the Confederacy migrated into Canadian lands provided by the English, others held out as best they could against the new American nation.

If the Inca rule the uplands of Civ V, the Iroquois rule the woodlands. The Mohawk Warrior gets a combat bonus in such terrain, and doesn't even require Iron resources to be recruited. More importantly, the Iroquois' Great Warpath ability means that they treat forests and jungles within their territory as roads (and later railroads!), allowing them to link cities and build trade routes using nothing but the terrain generated by the map. Further encouraging the Iroquois player to abstain from logging is the Longhouse, a replacement Workshop that increases the production yield of forests. If the Iroquois look after their forests, the forests will look after them.

  • Adaptation Name Change: Not just "Ayonwentah" into "Hiawatha", but the whole civilization's name. "Iroquois" is actually a bit of an epithet given by their enemies; it might be a corruption of a Huron word for "snake", or a French-Basque term for "killer people." The Civilopedia apologizes for this, but explains that "Haudenosaunee" wouldn't fit on the game screen.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: Their unique ability, "The Great Warpath", only works if the unit traverse into forests but not when they exit the forest—units noticably end their movement once they move into rough terrain or rivers. Their longhouse also removes the scaling factor that most workshops have in favor of one additional production for each forest tile. This is great when there are plenty of forests to work on, but completely detrimental to cities that don't.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Iroquois ability to treat unworked forest and jungle as roads is great... until the endgame when you are missing out on mountains of food because you haven't worked half of your tiles.
    • Sadistic Choice: Because of this, the player can have the choice of keeping forest tiles or chopping them and converting them into farms, thus losing the forest tiles forever. It's either losing production for more food or vice versa, and because the longhouse no longer gives a percentage production bonus like the workshop does, it can really be a tough decision.
      • This is somewhat alleviated in Brave New World when internal trade routes are introduced, allowing food to be sent from one city to another.
    • When it comes to their unique building, this is both subverted and played straight:
      • It is subverted because they retain 1 food they get from forests. Interestingly, this puts them in the middle ground, allowing them to grow a bit more while still putting emphasis on production. With any other civilization, cities working on mines will have better production but have a harder time growing, while cities working on lumber mills will have far less production than the Iroquois.
      • It's played straight because they still need forests to make this strategy work.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Hiawatha's AI in V has one of the highest expansionist flavors in the game; it's not uncommon for him to "covet your lands" even if your cities are some considerable distance away from him. Fortunately, his Nice Guy tendencies mean he'll be far more likely to befriend you than invade your territory, unlike fellow expansionists such as Montezuma or Shaka.
  • Green Thumb: Their unique building lets them get extra production hammers from forests; with enough green territory around them the Iroquois can become an industrial powerhouse!
  • Home Field Advantage: While everyone else is trudging through the rough terrain, the Iroquois are zipping right through the woods to surround the invaders.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Much like the Inca (although not to the same extent), the Iroquois can thrive in areas other civs struggle in. They won't generate as much food as the Inca but they are able to move through forests and jungles easily creating a natural defense against expansionist civs, they can generate tremendous production once they gain access to their Longhouses and their Mohawk warriors don't require Iron, unlike the Swordsmen they replace, meaning that if they Iroquois need to get aggressive early on to get the forests they require, they can do that to.
  • Nice Guy: Hiawatha is one of the easiest leaders to befriend for non-warmongering civilizations.


Leaders: Wang Kon (III-IV), Sejong (V), Seondeok (VI)
Unique Units: Hwach'a (III-VI), Turtle Ship (V)
Unique Building: Seowon (IV)
Unique District: Seowon (VI)
Ability: Scholars of the Jade Hall (V), Three Kingdoms (VI)

Korea was first unified in 668 AD, when the Kingdom of Silla conquered its two rivals after securing an alliance with the Tang Dynasty of China. This kingdom eventually declined so that Korea fell into another warring states period, but the country was reunified in 1392, when a general ordered to launch a pre-emptive invasion of China decided he'd rather stay home, founding the Choson/Joeson Dynasty in a mostly bloodless coup. This golden age of Korean history saw the legendary leader Sejong the Great, who in 1420 assembled the greatest scholars in the realm under the "Hall of Worthies," or Chiphyonjon, and later helped introduce the first written Korean language. A proponent of neo-Confucianism, benevolent social programs, as well as gunpowder weaponry, Sejong even found the time to publish a farmer's handbook detailing modern agricultural techniques. After his reign, Korea entered five hundred years of isolation as "the Hermit Kingdom" until a modernized Japan annexed it in 1910. Following World War II and the end of its occupation, Korea found itself divided between American and Soviet spheres of influence, leading to the Korean War of 1950, which ended in a stalemate. Today South Korea is a thriving democracy, one of Asia's strongest economies, and a technological innovator, while North Korea is... not.

In Civ V, Sejong just wants to study in peace and quiet, and is fully prepared to blow your face off if you bother him. Korea's Scholars of the Jade Hall ability grants bonus Science for any city specialists and Great Person tile improvements, as well as a technology boost whenever a scientific Wonder is constructed in the nation's capital. While Seoul works to become the scientific capital of the world, Korea's special units keep invaders from interrupting - the Hwach'a is as souped-up Trebuchet that lacks a bonus against cities, while the Turtle Ship exchanges the Caravel's ability to cross oceans with an enormous increase in firepower, making both exceptional defensive units. All said, Korea can be considered a Babylon that blooms in the mid-game and isn't as dependent on Great Scientists.

Korea is just as scientific in VI as it was in V. Seondeok’s leader ability gives +10% science and culture in all cities with an established governor. Their Seowon unique district replaces the campus and must be placed on hills, which luckily are in Seondeok's start bias. It gets a large flat adjacency bonus of +4, something most other civs might match once per game if they're lucky. This bonus diminishes with every adjacent district, however, which is why it’s a good thing Korea also has the Three Kingdoms ability, which gives Farms +1 food next to a Seowon, and mines +1 science. The Koreans once again have their beloved Hwacha, which is nearly as strong as a field cannon while being cheaper to maintain and available slightly earlier on the tech tree. It can’t move and attack in the same turn, much like bombard units, so its best use is still keeping other people from bothering you while you’re trying to study.

  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Korea under Seondeok in VI not only gets a hefty bonus in Science, but in Culture as well. This allows Korea to be ahead in both the Technology tree and the Civic tree.
  • Insufferable Genius: Seondeok's agenda in VI has her respecting technologically advanced nations while dismissing nations that are behind technologically.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Hwach'out for those hwach'a!
  • Nice Guy: Sejong in V is arguably the easiest leader to befriend. His AI is programmed to be a peaceful and friendly leader no matter the player's current style of play, as Sejong is not overly competitive, does not like declaring war yet is friendly to both peaceful and warmonger nations, and is very willing to forgive past transgressions. He's also a very loyal ally to have who will practically never backstab his friends.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Seondeok's appearance in VI looks more closer to Yoo-won Lee's portrayal of her in Queen Seondeok rather than any of her real life portraits.
  • Powerup Letdown: The Cannon the Hwach'a upgrades to is actually weaker, apart from regaining the bonus against cities. Meanwhile, the Turtle Ship lacks the Caravel's ability to withdraw in the face of a melee attack and does not regain it when upgraded to Ironclads.
  • The Smart Guy: Along with Babylon, a common trait of Korea across the series is a significant boost in science as their unique ability.
  • Stone Wall: From the late Medieval to early Industrial eras, Korea is particularly hard to attack by land or sea, but the advantages its Unique Units have come at the cost of being effective on the offence.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Seondeok's response to a player denouncing her has shades of this.
    Seondeok: Korea has done nothing to deserve your vile insults! But now, perhaps we shall.


Leaders: Smoke-Jaguar (III), Pacal II (IV-V), Lady Six Sky (VI)
Unique Units: Javelin Thrower (III), Holkan (IV), Atlatlist (V), Hul'che (VI)
Unique Buildings: Ball Court (IV), Pyramid (V)
Unique District: Observatory (VI)
Ability: The Long Count (V), Mayab (VI)

The Maya have lived in the jungles and highlands of the Yucatan Peninsula for some four thousand years, forming a number of city-states that alternatively traded with and warred against each other. At their height around 250-900 AD, the Maya produced their famous stepped pyramids, complex calendar, and elevated roadways linking their cities. But toward the 9th century the civilization entered an as-of-yet unexplained decline, and many of its southern cities were abandoned. The unexpected upside of this was that when the Spanish entered the region in the 1500s, the dispersed nature of the Maya slowed efforts at colonization and conversion. Some seven million Maya continue to dwell in Central America and continue their cultural traditions; they were tickled about the whole "2012 Doomsday" scare, knowing firsthand that just because something ends doesn't mean that nothing continues afterwards.

The Mayan Long Count calendar is a game mechanic in Civ V: once Theology is researched, it replaces the standard Gregorian calendar, and every bak'tun (394 years) the Maya will receive a free Great Person. The Maya created this calendar thanks to their advances in astronomy and mathematics, and set many religious rituals to it; as such, the Mayan Pyramid replaces the normal Shrine and produces Science in addition to Faith. For defense the Maya get the Atlatlist, a replacement Archer that is available right from the start of the game. Combined, the Maya are a civ with a unique dual emphasis on faith and science that's particularly resistant to early-game rushes.

  • Alternative Calendar: In V, the Maya get this as an aspect of their unique ability. When you research the Theology tech, it replaces the Gregorian Calendar with the Mayan Long Count. This isn't just cosmetic; you get a free Great Person every bak'tun (394 years) once you research Theology.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Inverted in V - their unique shrine replacement, the Pyramid, not only gives double the normal faith, but it provides a boost to science as well.
  • The Eeyore: One of Pacal's greetings is asking if you have a message for him from the gods; "I can feel their icy breath upon my neck!"
  • Evil Laugh: Pacal's reaction to the player declaring war on him in V.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Pacal must get a lot drag walking around dressed like that.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: They don't excel too much in any one area; their pyramids give them better-than-average faith and science, they get archers early to prevent rushes, and their Long Count requires them to get just one of each type of Great Person every time it kicks in, so they can't overspecialize. Their primary power is in their flexibility. More science means more good things in general, more faith means they can probably develop a religion (which is a customizable tool in Civ V, with many uses) being able to pick and choose Great People means they can adapt to changing times.
  • Mayan Doomsday: Referenced in a few lines in V, as well as an Achievement that requires you to nuke somebody in 2012. In VI, Lady Six Sky's debut coincided with the Apocalypse Mode, so there may still be a bit of that there...
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: In VI, the Maya do not get any extra housing from settling near fresh water sources, but farms give out a full 1 housing each instead of the usual 0.5, so they don't need to settle near fresh water, freeing them up to take advantage of that bonus for settling a city center next to amenities. Their farms also give out a gold bonus. Their Science District, the Observatory, also gets science bonuses from nearby farms and plantations, making them a unique Agricultural/Science hybrid.
  • Necessary Drawback:
    • In V, they automatically get free Great People every so often according to their calendar, but doing so drives up the opportunity cost of getting that type of Great Person again the normal way.
    • In VI, cities within 6 tiles of the Mayan capital receive +10% to all yields, but cities outside that 6-tile range receive -15% to all yields, encouraging the Maya to build tall. Packing your cities closer together also gives the Maya less room in which to build Farms, from which they get bonus Housing and Gold.
  • Nice Hat: Pacal's headdress certainly qualifies.
  • The Smart Guy: While not directly focused on science like Babylon and Korea, their Pyramids mean that they will almost always be ahead of the pack in tech. Especially if they use their first Great Person to produce an Academy somewhere near their capital.


Leader: William of Orange (III-V), Wilhelmina (VI)
Unique Units: Swiss Mercenary (III), East Indiaman (IV), Sea Beggar (V), De Zeven Provinciën (VI)
Unique Building: Dike (IV)
Unique Improvement: Polder (V-VI)
Ability: Dutch East India Company (V), Grote Rivieren (VI)

The Netherlands consist of a stretch of flood-prone coastal lowlands situated between Germany and France, and over much of its history the country would be either controlled or contested by its neighbors. But in the 16th century, after Protestantism had taken hold in the Low Country, its inhabitants faced increasing persecution by its Spanish Hapsburg rulers. William van Orange, though a Catholic himself, believed in religious freedom strongly enough to lead a rebellion, and despite his assassination the Dutch Republic gained independence in 1648. The Dutch golden age that followed saw not just the flourishing of art and science, but the rise of the Dutch as a global trading power, and its East India Company became the world's first multinational corporation. Though eventually eclipsed by other naval powers such as the English, today the Netherlands remain a major economic center, a founding member of the European Union, and the headquarters of the International Court of Justice.

Unlike Civ V's other commercial civs, the Dutch are based on trading resources, not just producing a lot of them. The Dutch East India Company ability allows the Netherlands to retain half of the Happiness from luxury resources it trades away, making even one-for-one resource swaps attractive deals. The Dutch navy once rivaled the Portuguese and sunk the Spanish Armada, and its Sea Beggars not only capture ships like Privateers, but heal quickly and can better conquer coastal cities. Finally, the Dutch have long mastered techniques to get the most out of soggy terrain, and their Polder improvements allow them to generate food, production and gold from marshes or flood plains.

The Dutch in VI acknowledge the country’s cultural heritage, as well as its mercantile history. Wilhelmina’s Radio Oranje ability gives culture on all foreign trade routes and loyalty for all domestic ones. The Grote Rivieren ability gives all Campuses, Theater Squares, and industrial zones a bigger adjacency bonus if next to a river, allows harbours to claim all surrounding tiles when built, and +50% production to the constructions of dams and flood barriers. Polders are back, and while they have extremely fiddly placement requirements, the results are worth it, since they provide food, gold and production. If other civilizations aren’t willing to be friendly trading partners, their coastal cities aren’t safe from de Zeven Provincien, a Renaissance-era ranged naval unit with a bonus against cities and districts.

  • Break the Haughty: If William in V declares war on you and you defeat him, he goes from laughing in your face while declaring his intention to wipe you off the map, to breaking down at his desk and begging God to have mercy on his subjects.
  • Crutch Character: East India Company in V is extremely powerful during the early stages of the game, but as soon as happiness-boosting ideologies and policies start to come in, it becomes largely useless as most other leaders won't need to trade resources with you anymore.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: While every civ can capture enemy naval units with the Privateer; the Dutch instead use the superior Sea Beggar.
  • Nice Guy: William happens to be one of the friendliest leaders in V for non-warmongers.
  • Parasol of Prettiness: Wilhelmina has one and likes to flaunt it around during diplomacy screens.
  • Popular History: In V and VI, the Dutch have Polders which provide food. As soon as the Dutch learn Economics in V, every single Polder goes from having food crops to 100% tulip crops, a reference to the Dutch tulip bubble (in gameplay terms, the tulips just add a production and gold bonus and still provide the same food as before). This is partially driven by Rule of Cool or Rule of Cute since the rainbow-coloured polders look more interesting. Meanwhile in VI, Wilhelmina's background on her diplomacy screen is a field of tulips with windmills in the distance.
  • Proud Merchant Race: East India Company gives the Dutch extra freedom when it comes to selling luxury resources, as they can retain some of their happiness even after giving away luxury resources—a very important commodity before the Industrial Era.


Leaders: Osman I (III), Suleiman (IV-VI), Mehmed II (IV)
Unique Units: Sipahi (III, V), Janissary (IV-VI), Barbary Corsair (VI)
Unique Building: Hammam (IV), Grand Bazaar (VI)
Ability: Barbary Corsairs (V), Great Turkish Bombard (VI)

After the collapse of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum at the hands of the Mongols in the 13th century, the Byzantine Empire attempted to recapture lost territory in northern Anatolia, but ran into unexpected resistance from the Turkish successor kingdoms. Sensing weakness, prince Osman I began pushing back, seizing territory throughout Anatolia, and his successors would take up his name and expand into the Balkans. Surviving not only crusader forces at Nicopolis but the attentions of Tamerlane, in 1453 Ottoman forces captured Constantinople, which Sultan Mehmed II made the capital of his new empire. At the height of the Ottomans' glory under Sultan Suleiman the Magnificient in the 1500s, the empire and its vassals stretched across North Africa, the Middle East, Persia, Turkey, and into Hungary. But despite its riches and military power, the Ottoman Empire declined over the centuries, stagnating and bleeding territory until it was dissolved by the Allied Powers after losing in World War One. Today the Republic of Turkey is a secular democracy that plays pivotal roles in both European and Middle Eastern politics.

The Ottomans didn't gain all that territory by asking nicely for it, and boast powerful military units and abilities. Their Janissary slave-soldiers were rightly feared musketmen as early as the 1440s, and in Civ V get both a combat bonus when attacking and heal themselves upon defeating a foe. The Turks also have a long cavalry tradition, and their Sipahi lancers have superior speed and vision compared to their contemporaries. Finally, Suleiman built up a huge navy during the 1500s using former pirates based out of North Africa, and so the Ottomans' Barbary Corsairs ability reduces naval maintenance and allows their ships to potentially capture foes' vessels. By bullet or lance, by land or by sea, the Ottoman Empire should be rightly feared during the Renaissance era.

Suleiman makes his return in VI, and the Ottomans are once again geared towards rapid expansion. Their "Great Turkish Bombard" ability lets them build siege units in half the time, and with +5 combat strength against district defences. Ottoman-controlled cities not founded by them don't lose population when conquered, and get +1 Amenities and +4 Loyalty, making consolidating gains much easier. In terms of naval power, their Barbary Corsairs are Privateer replacements that can commit coastal raids without sacrificing movement points. The Janissaries make their return, and are stronger musketmen that can be built at a quicker pace; the only downside is that building them in Ottoman-founded cities consumes population. Meanwhile, the Grand Bazaar is the Ottoman's version of the Bank, which grants them additional strategic resources worked by the city and amenities from luxury resources. Suleiman himself has the "Grand Vizier" leader ability, and allows him to use his own unique governor, Ibrahim. Ibrahim can be used domestically for extra production to your military, but where he really shines is that he can be stationed in the cities of other Civs. He can either be used to foster alliances and give your allies some needed help, give your units combat strength bonuses against an enemy, or stop a certain Civ from exerting loyalty pressure onto you completely. Suleiman's "Lawgiver" agenda means that he'll expand rapidly, but also makes sure that their amenity and loyalty levels are good; he'll see anyone who fails in these areas as the next target of Ottoman rule.

  • Dual Wielding: Though their incarnation in V is a melee unit, the Sipahi of Civ III was a mounted pistolier.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Their special ability in V:
    • In the vanilla game, Ottoman ships have a chance of converting barbarian naval units.
    • With the expansions' revamped naval combat, every civ can capture naval units with the Privateer's "Prize Ships" trait. The Ottoman fleet extends that perk to every naval melee unit.
    • And in Civ VI, conquered cities generate more loyalty and get a free Amenity to make the city much more productive and friendly to your rule than most conquered cities are.
  • Evil Vizier: Ibrahim in Civ VI is one of the classics, though he's more focused on helping you overthrow other nations. Clever use of this governor can have you wiping out your opponents one city at a time while maintaining relatively good relations abroad by lowering your grievances.
  • Life Drain: Janissaries in V heal half of their maximum health whenever they kill an enemy unit. Coupled with their 25% higher strength when attacking, they form a dangerous backbone for the Ottoman land army.
  • Master of All: In Civ IV, Janissaries get a 25% combat bonus against melee units, archers, and cavalry. Their only "weakness" is other gunpowder infantry, which is to say that they fight at even footing then.
    • The Grand Vizier Ibrahim in VI is a governor who acts like this. Other governors have an overall focus geared to stuff like defense, money, expansion, etc. Ibrahim is meant to be able to be used in as many ways as he has skill promotions. He can boost military production, be re-positioned near the frontlines to make nearby fighters stronger, be stationed in other capitals to reduce their grievances, and so on. He only takes three turns to establish himself, too, so he can shift gears quickly. If Ibrahim has any one focus, it's probably just "conquest in general."
  • More Dakka: Their bonuses to siege units in VI will mean a lot of cannons.
  • Musical Nod: Also possibly a Genius Bonus - Suleiman's War Theme in Civ V contains brief snippets from both Beethoven and Mozart's "Turkish March"es.
  • Pirate: The Barbary Corsairs! In V this ability extends to their whole navy, who can take over enemy vessels! On an archipelago map they can consume enemy navies to bolster their own numbers. In VI, the Barbary Corsair is a unique pirate ship that can raid the coasts with no movement point cost.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn:
    • This is the specialty of Sipahis, a replacement for lancers. With increased movement, vision range, and the ability to pillage without expending movement points, they excel at darting in, ruining a few tile improvements, and escaping to outside enemy range.
    • Their Barbary Corsairs in VI can pillage without sacrificing movement.
  • Siege Engines: Their specialty in VI gives the Ottomans easy production of more powerful siege weapons. The ability name, "Great Turkish Bombard," refers to a type of massive cannon they once created, but instead of a unique unit, players gain access to better siege weaponry in any age in general. Plenty of other civs have better mainline fighters, but this ability gives the Ottoman Empire better straight-up conquest options.
  • Vizier With Good Publicity: One of Ibrahim's promotions in VI is lowering grievances with the target Civ, meaning that they'll turn a blind eye to your conquests.


Leaders: Henry the Navigator (III), Joao II (IV), Maria I (V)
Unique Units: Carrack (III-IV), Nau (V)
Unique Building: Feitoria (IV)
Unique Improvement: Feitoria (V)
Ability: Mare Clausum (V)

In the early 11th century the King of León granted his vassal Afonso Henriques the fiefdom of Portugal as reward for his efforts during the campaign against the Muslims of Iberia, and within a few decades Portugal was recognized as an independent kingdom. Portugal remained separate even after the rest of the peninsula consolidated under Spain, and once the Reconquista was completed, turned its attentions to the sea. With patrons like Prince Henry the Navigator, Portuguese sailors charted the first sea route around Africa to India, and by the 16th century Portugal had the colony of Brazil in the New World, as well as trading posts along the African coast, India, Taiwan, Japan and Timor. Portugal was content to rake in the dough for the next couple hundred years, but in 1807 Napoleon's attentions forced its royal family and government to spend a few years in exile in Brazil, and the empire began a gradual decline. Revolution and radicalization in the early 20th century led to a military coup and the Portuguese Colonial War from 1961-1974, but two years afterward democracy was restored, and today Portugal is a part of the European Union.

Portugal's famous trade routes with other nations made them a huge economic powerhouse for their time, and in Civ V its Mare Clausum ability doubles the value of its trade routes with other countries. Furthermore, the Portuguese Nau is a faster Caravel that can uniquely perform trade missions with foreign cities and city-states for bonus gold and experience, encouraging the country to explore new lands and cash in. Finally, the Feitoria is a unique improvement that can be built on a city-state's coast, granting Portugal a share of nearby luxury resources - whether the city-state wants to or not.

  • Bold Explorer: Much like Spain, if you want to have a chance, you need to explore as much as possible as Portugal. Unlike Spain, however, your focus aren't natural wonders and conquest, but luxury resources (the more you have, the more powerful your Mare Clausum ability is), and other civs to trade with.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Portugal in V, if well played, is an economic powerhouse, and one of the strongest diplomatic civs in the game. However, they don't have any kind of bonus towards any other victory route.
  • The Empire: One of the more subtle and even insidious versions of mercantile imperialism is on display in V: using trade bottlenecks to make sure that if any foreign lands try to export their goods, they have to go through your hands first. This takes the form of the feitorias, which force city-states to give you access to their luxuries, even if they don't like you.
  • Proud Merchant Race: Their trade route income from having different resources than the trade partner is doubled. Additionally, their caravel replacement, the Nau, can perform a trade mission which gives gold and experience dependent on their distance from the capital: the farther, the better.
  • Pretty in Mink: Maria I wears (at least in the concept art) an ermine-lined cape.
  • You Have GOT To Be Kidding Me: Maria I's reaction in Civ V upon declaring war on Portugal.


Leader: Gilgamesh (III-IV, VI)
Unique Units: Enkidu Warrior (III), Vulture (IV), War-Cart (VI)
Unique Building: Ziggurat (IV)
Unique Improvement: Ziggurat (VI)
Ability: Epic Quest (VI)

The ur-civilization - literally, Ur was a Sumerian coastal city and at one time its capital. The Sumerian Empire was forged from the city-states of ancient Mesopotamia somewhere around 3000 BC, and stands as the first known civilization, the first with a written language, and the first with a standing army. The Sumerians built great metropolises of baked clay bricks, canals, and mountain-like ziggurat temples, recording the deeds of both great kings and humble farmers on cuneiform tablets. Though subjugated by the Akkadians in 2334 BC, Sumeria revolted after the Gutians took over around 2250 BC, and enjoyed a golden age until 2004 BC. Eventually the Sumerian Empire fell apart and was succeeded by the Babylonian civilization, but while many cultures have come after them, none came before them.

Sumeria in Civ VI can build a Ziggurat to generate Science and Culture next to a river, but other than that the civilization is based around getting into fights and having a glorious time of it. Its "Epic Quest" ability gives Sumeria the benefits of entering a tribal village when its units clear a barbarian camp, while the War Cart is an Ancient-era powerhouse that can steamroll the opposition no matter how many spears they throw at it. Gilgamesh likes anyone who forms a long-term alliance with him, an attractive offer to Sumeria's neighbors thanks to his "Adventures with Enkidu" ability, which lets Sumerian units share combat experience and loot from pillaging with nearby allies. The same ability also lets Gilgamesh declare war without a warmonger penalty if an enemy is already at war with an ally, and he has no tolerance for anyone going after his friends.

  • Ambiguously Gay: The civilopedia in VI adopts a sarcastic tone when describing Enkidu as Gilgamesh's "companion", reflecting real-world scholarly debate about the nature of their relationship.
  • Bash Brothers: Gilgamesh in VI is the embodiment of the trope, and his unique traits encourage it as a strategy, granting bonuses for forging alliances and warring against common foes.
    Pete Murray: Some people are fast out of the gate in Civ. The Aztecs, for example, and the Scythians, are two Civs that bring a lot of hurt early. But Sumeria is something else entirely. When humanity wakes at the Dawn of Time in Civ, Gilgamesh has been up for half an hour already, has made you breakfast, built a Ziggurat, hitched up the War Cart, and is ready to go.
  • Blood Knight: Gilgamesh, as seen in his war declaration.
    Gilgamesh: Why do I fight? Because I can... because Inanna demands it. Now you will know the power of Sumer!
  • Bully Hunter: Gilgamesh gets tribal village bonuses for destroying Barbarian camps. Nothing he loves more than beating the crap out of some bandits.
  • Camera Abuse: Make an insulting offer to Gilgamesh in Civ IV and he'll perform a Neck Lift on the player's POV, bringing you in close for a Death Glare and curt headshake before tossing you back.
  • Demoted to Extra: In V, which has Ur as a city-state and the civ itself playable in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario (with Harun al-Rashid playing the role of Gilgamesh).
  • Disk One Nuke: The War Cart in VI is a heavy chariot that is cheaper, requires no tech whatsoever to unlock, no horses to build, less production to make, and has all around better stats.
  • Large Ham: Fitting for a leader whose story is an epic...
  • Pyramid Power: Stepped pyramids, at least - Ziggurats function as Courthouses in Civ IV but can be built earlier on the tech tree, while in VI they're useful tile improvements that boost science.
  • The Smart Guy: In Wonders of the Ancient World they share Babylon's trait of being able to get a free Great Scientist when they discover writing, and in VI they can build Ziggurats that boost science by a bit, giving them an early-game advantage.
  • True Companions: With his allies, as seen in Gilgamesh's agenda-based disapproval message.
    Gilgamesh: If you harm my friends, you will face the might of Uruk; this I promise you.

Added in Civilization IV


Leaders: Zara Yaqob (IV), Haile Selassie (V)
Unique Units: Oromo Warrior (IV), Mehal Sefari (V)
Unique Building: Stele (IV-V)
Ability: Spirit of Adwa (V)

Ethiopia may be the cradle of humanity itself, and is certainly one of the oldest civilizations. The Kingdom of Axum was founded around the 4th century BC, and became both a major trading power as well as the first Christian nation in Africa, under the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Axum eventually declined, and in 1270 the Solomonic Dynasty took over the monarchy, stressing legends of Ethiopia's ancient connection to King Solomon of Israel. This lineage was forced to accept Portuguese assistance against Islamic invaders in the 1500's, leading to religious strife between the local church and Catholic missionaries. By 1855, Ethiopia stabilized under new rulers, and while the rest of the continent would soon be gobbled up by Europeans, Ethiopia remained independent during the Scramble for Africa. Then in 1935, when Emperor Haile Sessalie was in the middle of his reform efforts, fascist Italy invaded the country, which the League of Nations opted to do nothing about. Sessalie was restored to power after World War II, only to die in prison in the 70's after a Communist coup. In 1991 a democratic resistance was able to take power, and today Ethiopia faces the usual socio-economic and governmental challenges so many African countries are plagued with.

In Civ V, Ethiopia is a religious civ with significant defensive buffs. The Stele replaces the Monument, generates additional Faith, and can be built right at the game's start, allowing Ethiopia to get a religion going earlier than anyone but the Celts. As befitting a culture that resisted colonialism and conquest for so many centuries, Ethiopia's Spirit of Adwa ability gives all of its units a combat bonus when fighting a bigger nation, while Mehal Sefari riflemen get stronger the closer they are to the national capital. As might be expected, Emperor Sessalie has a particular dislike of warmongers.

  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Spirit of Adwa gives Ethiopian units a combat bonus when they're at war with a civilization that controls more cities than them.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Their default colors in V look almost identical to those of the barbarians. Cue players accidentally moving to attack Ethiopia's scouts only to cancel declaring war at the last minute, or confusion while you're playing as Ethiopia as to why "your" units are making off with one of your workers.
  • Home Field Advantage: Pray you don't have to fight Ethiopia's special unit on their own soil.
  • Modest Royalty: True to his real-life counterpart, Haile Selassie does his best to keep the Bling of War to a minimum, with just a green suit, sash, and some medals.
  • Nice Guy: Selassie is one of the easiest leaders to befriend.
  • Stone Wall: Their Unique Ability in V gives a hefty 20% boost to combat ability against enemies with more cities than them. Towards the middlegame, their Rifleman-replacing Mehal Sefaris ramp this Up to Eleven with a scaling power bonus increasing the closer the unit is to Ethiopia's capital. But the very things that make Ethiopia so strong on the defence also make them weak on the attack, because going on the offensive far from the capital means Mehal Sefari won't benefit from their unique bonus, while capturing and puppeting or razing enemy cities will mean that they'll eventually have more cities than the foe, disabling the Unique Ability.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: It's no guarantee, but their ability and special unit certainly make it harder for some big bully to take down Ethiopia.

    Holy Roman Empire 
Holy Roman Empire

Leaders: Charlemagne (IV)
Unique Unit: Landsknecht (IV)
Unique Building: Rathaus (IV)

On December 25, 800, Charlemagne, King of the Franks, was crowned Emperor of the Romans by the Pope in gratitude for liberating Rome from the Lombards. This was more than a symbolic gesture, reflecting as it did the fact that Charlemagne had united most of the Christian population of Western Europe under his rule within a state which covered more territory than any other since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. His reign also sparked a brief revival of cultural and economic growth that some historians have dubbed the "Carolingian Renaissance." The unity of his empire scarcely outlived Charlemagne himself, however, as his descendants violently contended against one another for the right to wear the Imperial crown for the better part of a century. Ultimately, the form the Holy Roman Empire would take for almost eight and a half centuries was crystallized by the coronation of Otto I, a German prince, in 962. While never particularly centralized or stable politically — with what little chance of true unity as existed being shattered with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 that ended the Thirty Years' War and conclusively broke the power of the Emperor over the princes — the Holy Roman Empire provided a framework to unite widely different people groups under a single common identity, in particular serving as a forerunner to the modern German state.

In Civilization IV, much like its Roman counterpart, the Holy Roman Empire is well-suited to building and maintaining a large, stable empire, although not quite as skewed towards aggressive conquest. Charlemagne's Imperialistic and Protective nature allows him to claim, fortify, and garrison vast expanses of territory quickly, while his Rathaus unique improvement, replacing the Courthouse, slashes city maintenance costs, freeing up valuable commerce that can be redirected to other areas of interest. The Landsknecht, meanwhile, is a replacement for the Pikeman equally adept at carving bloody swathes through both mounted and melee units practically with impunity, making a well-balanced Holy Roman army in the medieval era a force not easily dealt with, whether on offense or defense.

  • Composite Character: See Germany's entry; since what we think of as modern "Germany" was the Holy Roman Empire for a while there's a lot of crossover in the series between the two.
  • Expy: Charlemagne's appearance is obviously patterned off of The Burger King.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: To a degree. While Charlemagne's leader traits and the Holy Roman Empire's unique units and improvements lack focus on a particular specialization, a shrewd player can build a strong, prosperous, well-defended empire that can easily adapt itself to many paths to victory.
  • Stone Wall: Especially in the medieval era, the Holy Roman Empire's strengths work best when defending behind a fortified position.


Leader: Suryavaman II (IV), Jayavarman VII (VI)
Unique Unit: Ballista Elephant (IV), Domrey (VI)
Unique Building: Baray (IV), Prasat (VI)
Ability: Grand Barays (VI)

In the 8th century, Prince Jayvaraman II returned from his education in Java and began building a new state out of the remains of the Kingdom of Chenia in southeast Asia. This Khmer Empire spread rapidly through modern Cambodia and Laos, but subsequent successors would spent half a century squabbling for power. Things stabilized in 968, and in 1113, Suryavaman II expanded the empire into Burma and Thailand, and built the Angkor Wat temple complex as a Hindu shrine and monument to his reign. Jayavarman VII rose to power in 1181 as a powerful military leader, but upon crowning himself king, turned his focus inward, overseeing an era of massive infrastructure projects such as temples, highways, and hospitals.

The Khmer entered a decline in later centuries, coming into conflict with former allies until a Thai splinter state rose up in 1350 and absorbed their former masters by 1431. Still, the Khmer left behind a legacy of public works projects such as aqueducts and temples, most famously the aforementioned Angkor Wat, now a World Heritage Site whose representation also appears on the Cambodian flag as a reminder of the nation's glory days.

In Civ IV, the Khmer are an Expansive and Creative civilization under Suryavaman II, meaning their cities and borders grow faster than average. The Baray plays to these strengths, providing health to cities like a normal Aqueduct, as well as a bit of extra food. To defend their borders, the Khmer have a Ballista Elephant, which is just as effective against cavalry as an ordinary War Elephant, but able to automatically engage such units even if they're hidden in a stack with other targets.

Civ VI's Khmer have more of a religious bent, with food generation as a side-benefit. Their civ and leader bonuses (Grand Barays and Monasteries of the King) make Aqueduct and Holy Site districts more versatile, and their unique Temple (the Prasat) gives a bonus to Missionaries. The Ballista Elephant returns in the form of the Domrey, an enhanced Catapult that can move and fire on the same turn, as well as exert zone-of-control over enemy units.


Leader: Mansa Musa (IV, VI)
Unique Unit: Skirmisher (IV), Mandekalu Cavalry (VI)
Unique Building: Mint (IV)
Unique District: Suguba (VI)
Ability: Songs of the Jeli (VI)

West Africa has played host to a number of empires, most of which are quite obscure indeed to anyone who isn't either a native of the region or a professional historian, but one managed to make it into the annals of European and Islamic historians. Despite its brief existence, the mansas of the Mali Empire were, in its heyday around the 13th to 14th centuries, among the wealthiest men on Earth, controlling vast gold mines and the main artery of trade between the Mediterranean and Sub-Saharan Africa. When their most famous ruler, Musa I, made his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324 with a thousands-strong entourage and literally tons of gold, the donations and alms he made along the way single-handedly destabilized the economies of Egypt and Arabia. Mansa Musa also encouraged the spread of learning within Mali's borders, financing mosques and universities such as the Sankore Madrassa in Timbuktu, which would become one of the premiere centers of scholarship in the Islamic world.

In Civilization IV, Mali's reputation as a center of wealth and learning is reflected in its leader Mansa Musa's Financial and Spiritual nature. Its unique building, the Mint, boosts production like a Forge while also providing bonus income. To defend its vast coffers, Mali has the Skirmisher, a beefed-up Archer with an extra first strike attack.

In Civilization VI, Mali's vast wealth is again their main focus, allowing them to obtain huge amounts of gold with ease. Their Sugaba district replaces the Commercial Hub and receives adjacency bonuses from nearby Holy Sites, instead of just from rivers (but not Harbors), and also discounts all gold and faith purchases in the city they're built in. Their unique unit, the Mandekalu Cavalry, replaces the Knight and protects nearby land traders from being plundered, while also gaining gold for defeating enemy units and ignoring zone of control. Mansa Musa's leader ability, Sahel Merchants, grants Mali a permanent free trade route upon entering a Golden Age and gives international trade routes bonus gold for all the flat desert tiles in their starting city. Mali's civ bonus, Songs of the Jeli, gives desert tiles adjacent to city centers bonus food and faith, allows mines to generate gold, and enables the purchase of Suguba buildings with faith. However, this comes at a cost: mines are less productive, and Mali suffers a 30% production penalty towards constructing units or buildings. For Mali, gold isn't just useful for the occasional investment: it's their most valuable resource.

  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: In VI, Mali can get a nice bonus towards a Diplomatic Victory by simply buying diplomatic favour from other civs. In fact, this trope is probably your only way to keep in the game; that dip in production means those discounted gold purchases are much more important to Mali than they are to other civs.
  • City of Gold: In VI, Mali can get rich by barely even trying.
  • Intrepid Merchant: The Mandekalu Cavalry in VI protects any nearby trader units, so those merchants can waltz right through barbarian lands rather safely.
  • Loves Only Gold: In VI, Musa's "Lord of the Mines" agenda means that he will strive to rule the richest empire in the world, and respects others who do the same. That being said, his quotes with regards to his agenda make it seem like he believes that having money is a sign of divine favor...
  • Magikarp Power: In VI, Mali's desert start focus and production penalties make them very vulnerable to early game invasions. Once they get their banks rolling though, they can buy their way out of any invasion and towards victory.
  • Money Multiplier: Their Suguba districts in VI get extra money from adjacent Holy Sites, rivers and districts, while their mines sacrifice a bit of production in exchange for +4 gold. On top of that, international trade routes net more money depending on how many desert tiles the origin city has.
    • The Mint building in IV, a unique replacement for the Forge, gives the city an extra 10% Gold generation.
  • Proud Merchant Race: Mali has one major focus: getting obscenely rich. In VI, every aspect of Mali is geared towards getting more gold in any way they can.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Other civilizations have bonuses that help them generate culture, or research, or conquer, but the ease with which Mali can accumulate wealth allows it to fund its research or culture without difficulty, or field a huge army. The overall usefulness of a fat bank account in Civ IV means that Mali usually does quite well in a given game. In VI, they can even get discounts for outright purchases and their lowered production towards buildings and units encourages them to simply buy them with gold outright.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Songhai in V. Not only are they both empires situated in Sahelian Africa who built their economy off the gold-salt trade, but Songhai ended up conquering and succeeding Mali in history. City names are even shared between both nations (for example Timbuktu/Tomboctou).
    • In terms of gameplay mechanics, the incarnation of Mali in VI is one to V's Venice, both having a crippling production debuff (Indirectly, in Venice's case) but also a massive bonus to gold, encouraging them to purchase units and buildings instead of building them.
  • Thirsty Desert: Averted in VI, with desert tiles adjacent to city centres providing both faith and food.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Mansa Musa, as revealed in his quote when sending the Malinese delegation.
    Mansa Musa: Please accept these simple gifts of indigo cloth, kikeliba tea, and one hundred porters carrying sacks of gold dust.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Those Mandekalu units in VI get gold depending on the strength of the unit they kill.

Added in Civilization V


Leader: Ashurbanipal (V)
Unique Unit: Siege Tower (V)
Unique Building: Royal Library (V)
Ability: Treasures of Nineveh (V)

The Sumerians may be the first civilization, but the Assyrians were among the first conquering empires. When the Sumerian and Akkadian civilizations collapsed, their remnants coalesced into Babylon in the south and Assyria in the north. Founded in 1813 BC, the Assyrian empire had a rocky start, quickly falling under the dominion of rivals like Babylon, collapsing into civil war, seeing a resurgence in the mid-14th century BC where it finally conquered its rival, only to fall into a dark age afterward. By the end of this, Assyria had transformed into a warrior culture, and in 911 BC a "Neo-Assyrian" empire was born. At its height in 671 BC, Assyria stretched from the Nile across northern Arabia to the Caucasus Mountains and Asia Minor, the largest empire the world had seen. Assyria gained a reputation for ruthlessness due to its policy of deporting the populations of conquered countries, but the famed emperor Ashurbanipal was also a great patron of learning and scholarship, who just happened to be willing to gain said knowledge through military means. Assyria didn't last long after his death in 627 BC, but Ashurbanipal left behind a Royal Library full of such treasures as the Babylonian creation myth and The Epic of Gilgamesh.

Assyria is set up as an interesting military/scientific hybrid due to its Treasures of Nineveh ability, allowing it to steal a technology known by another civ when Assyria captures one of their cities. Aiding this is the Siege Tower, an absolutely devastating melee siege unit that grants nearby units an attack bonus against cities. Once the enemy city has been plundered, any great works of writing may be stored in a Royal Library, which not only increases an Assyrian city's research, but provides an experience bonus to military units if its Great Work slot is occupied. So let your enemies waste their time on non-military technology - you'll steal it anyway when you conquer them!

  • Cultured Badass: If you don't want to conquer everything in sight as Assyria you can play the culture game quite well; all of their Royal Libraries are slotted for Great Works of Writing, potentially giving them more culture slots than anyone else. Plus, a slotted Royal Library will grant extra experience points to soldiers trained in that city; Cultured Badasses on an individual level!
  • Foil: To Babylon, gameplay-wise. While Babylon gets a science boost and extra thick walls, Assyria gets a powerful siege engine and the ability to take other civs' tech. Fitting, since the two were real-life rivals.
  • Genius Bruiser: Ashurbanipal is a warrior who is very proud of his library of stone tablets. Assyria was the Genius Bruiser of the ancient world too: they developed iron weapons long before anyone else, giving them a huge bonus over their bronze-using rivals, and they made sure those weapons did not go to waste.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Assyria's unique building, unit, and ability can set them up to pursue basically any kind of victory outside of a diplomatic one; they can easily squish cities with their Siege Towers; maintain a tech advantage with Royal Libraries and Treasures of Nineveh, or even go down a cultural route with their bonus Great Work Slots.
  • Power Copying: Their unique ability lets them steal tech from cities they conquer. As well, since their unique building needs a great work of writing to activate its bonus, and they tend to focus on military strength rather than culture, you'll mostly be stealing the great works of writing you place in your cities from other civilizations.
  • Zerg Rush: They aren't quite as rush-y as the Huns, but their Siege Towers are almost as good as the Hun's battering rams and can be acquired pretty early. If you beeline their development you can produce several of them and conquer and destroy many enemy cities in the early game, and those early conquests will provide you with free tech to make up for overspecializing. Early-game Assyria can have a lot of momentum if it remains conquest-focused.


Leaders: Charles V (III), Maria Theresa (V)
Unique Units: Hussar (III, V)
Unique Building: Coffee House (V)
Ability: Diplomatic Marriage (V)

The Ostmark was designated as the eastern borderlands of the Holy Roman Empire in 976 and given over to the Babenburg dynasty, but it wasn't until the Hapsburg family took over three hundred years later that Austria rose to prominence. From the 14th to the 18th century, the Hapsburgs grew in power and influence, at times being elected the Holy Roman Emperor and expanding into Hungary after defeating the Ottomans. In 1748 Maria Theresa became Austria's first female ruler and its last Hapsburg ruler, and though derided by the male leaders of Europe, brought political stability and prosperity to her country. Following the Napoleonic Wars, Austria became a major player in the German Confederation, then was defeated by its erstwhile ally Prussia, and finally evolved into the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1867 in order to survive rising Hungarian nationalism. Austria-Hungary's competition with Russia and Serbia over the Balkans caused the spark that ignited World War One, and Austria briefly became a republic afterward until being annexed by Nazi Germany. Following the Second World War, Austria was given its sovereignty with the stipulation that it would remain neutral during the Cold War, and today is a member of the European Union with a commitment to peaceful conflict resolution.

The Hapsburgs famously ruled territory all over Europe thanks to the strategic use of weddings, and as such Austria's Diplomatic Marriage ability allows it to simply buy a city-state it's been allied with for at least five turns. As might expected, this makes a Diplomatic Victory quite attractive to this civilization, but don't mistake Austria for some meek pushover - its Hussar cavalry are fast-moving and have an increased flanking bonus, making them excellent scouts and flankers. Instead of building windmills, Austria can construct its famous Coffee Houses, which don't give quite as much bonus production but help churn out Great Engineers faster; coffee has served as the heart of negotiation and inspiration for far longer than you may think. Through diplomacy, build your nation; through coffee, make it great.

  • The Assimilator: Austria is the only civilization that can completely annex a city-state (Venice can only puppet them). As such, a well-funded Austrian can spread like wildfire during the mid-to-late game, snatching enemy alliances from under their noses and eroding their ability to control the World Congress.
  • Dummied Out: Austria actually debuted in Civ III, but due to the limit on how many civs could be in the game, one had to monkey around with some files and replace an "official" civ with it.
  • Misplaced Accent: Ironically enough, Austrian leader Maria Theresa averts the mistake absolutely every other such game makes. She speaks in a proper Viennese (Austrian) German dialect, rather than (German) High German.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Apparently the power of coffee inspires Austrian citizens to become Great Engineers.
  • Nice Guy: Maria Theresa is quick to make declarations of friendships with other leaders and can prove to be a trustworthy ally throughout the entire game (provided that you're not a warmonger).
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: They can simply outright buy a city-state into their empire, permanently, thanks to a diplomatic marriage and a huge dowry. A rich Austria is a large Austria.


Leader: Pedro II (V-VI)
Unique Units: Pracinha (V), Minas Gereas (VI)
Unique Improvement: Brazilwood Camp (V)
Unique District: Street Carnival (VI)
Ability: Carnival (V), Amazon (VI)

Brazil was claimed by the Portuguese in 1500, after a fleet headed towards Africa's Cape of Good Hope got blown off course. Other nations' holdings in the region were attacked and absorbed, and by the 17th century Brazil was Portugal's largest and most lucrative colony thanks to its brazilwood forests, mineral resources, and other luxuries. In 1808 the Portuguese government formed a capital-in-exile after fleeing Napoleon, and the prince-regent João announced in 1815 that Brazil was a kingdom the equal of Portugal. He left in 1821 after appointing his son Pedro as Brazil's regent, but a year later the country declared its independence, which was recognized by Portugal four years later. Under Emperor Pedro II, from 1831 on Brazil enjoyed a fifty-year golden age as it won three wars, progressed in every cultural and economic category, and abolished slavery, but Pedro II was deposed in a bloodless coup in 1889, and Brazil entered a long period of military, oligarchical, or socialist dictatorships. In 1985, following protests demanding direct elections and the ruling elites' doubts that the dictatorship was helping the nation, Brazil became a democracy, and today the country is South America's premier regional power and a powerful economy poised to take its place on the world stage.

That's the dry history of Brazil, anyway; the country is also one of the hottest tourist destinations on the planet, thanks in part to its yearly Carnival festival. Its special ability in Civ V means Brazil throws one of these instead of a usual Golden Age, doubling Tourism bonuses and producing Great People 50% faster, making the civilization perfect for a Cultural Victory. This doesn't mean that Brazil has to be peaceful, however - its Pracinha infantry uniquely earns points towards a Golden Age whenever it defeats an enemy, giving Brazil an excuse to get involved in some late-game wars. Finally, Brazil can get the most out of jungles with its Brazilwood Camps, which earn gold and later culture from such terrain.

In Civ VI, Brazil can build Street Carnival and Copacabana districts and throw celebrations that generate additional Amenities and Great People points, which synergizes nicely with Pedro II's "Magnanimous" leader bonus allowing Brazil to recoup 20% of the cost of recruiting or patronizing a Great Person. Beyond the culture game, Brazil's "Amazon" ability provides districts with adjacency bonuses if built next to rainforests, while the Minas Gereas is a powerful battleship that will either dissuade distractions from all these festivities or give Brazil an excuse to throw some victory parades.

  • Age Lift: Pedro II is much younger in VI compared to V, where he is already an old statesman.
  • Blessed with Suck: Brazil's start bias is in jungles, which means that in Civ V they're stuck in marginal terrain they can't make good use of until the Medieval era and, even worse, have a chance of being nextdoor neighbors to the Aztecs. The "blessed" part comes from their ability to convert those jungle tiles into brazilwood camps - by default they give you gold and culture, and with the right upgrades even science, too, since they preserve the jungle itself.
    • This is lessened in Civ VI, where the "Amazon" ability makes rainforests useful right from the get-go.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Playing Brazil requires a fair amount of knowledge and skills. Not only do you have to keep your production levels up while surrounded by jungle to build vital wonders, but you also have to balance your population growth against happiness levels to ensure you can get to those precious ages, all the while keeping up a steady production of Great People to fill your great work slots. The result, though, is a late-game cultural powerhouse that can blow pretty much every other civilization out of the water in terms of tourism generation and Golden Ages and win the game in a handful of turns.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Pedro II's agenda in Civ VI is Patron of the Arts. He is focused in getting Great People and hates it when other civilizations recruit them. Great People are quite valuable especially when focusing on a culture victory, so it is always expected to see him be angry at you.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Brazil's focus on Great People gives it an edge when going for a Cultural Victory, but Great People are so useful in general that they help up on any victory path.
  • Life of the Party: The focus of the nation, if not its leader. Emperor Pedro II in Civ V is always working hard at his desk.
  • Magikarp Power: In V the jungle start makes it difficult for Brazilians to grab hold of early game wonders. However, once they have access to Brazilwood, their late game power begins to spike, and all those rainforest tiles become the most diversely useful terrain in the game.
  • Nice Guy: Pedro is one of the easiest leaders to befriend in civ V. In Civ VI... Not so much.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Their war theme in V converts a well-known Bossa Nova piece, "Chega De Saudade" ("No More Yearning"), into a bombastic if not ominous military anthem.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Sorry about all your dead soldiers, but we were looking for an excuse to throw a party.


Leader: Harald Bluetooth (V)
Unique Units: Berserker (V), Norwegian Ski Infantry (V)
Ability: Viking Fury (V)

As the Viking Age wound down around 936 AD, King Gorm the Old began forging the Kingdom of Denmark, which was fully unified by his son Harald Bluetooth, the first Christian king of Denmark who also expanded into the rest of Scandinavia. By 1016, King Canute/Cnut controlled not only Denmark, but also Norway, parts of Sweden, and even England, which sent monks over to aid the conversion process as Canute paid a Danegeld for all those sacked monasteries. From 1397 to 1523, Denmark was part of the Kalmar Union that included Norway and Sweden, but around the Thirty Years' War the kingdom's power began to wane. During the Napoleonic Wars, England's concerns over Denmark's trade with France led to war, the destruction of Denmark's navy, and bankruptcy. Though neutral in World War II, the country was occupied by Nazi Germany, but Denmark nevertheless managed to save its Jewish population and scuttle its navy so the enemy couldn't use it. Following the war, Denmark became a member of both the United Nations and NATO, later joined the European Union, and today is a thriving economy and progressive innovator of wind power.

Don't expect Denmark to get any sort of improved windmill, however, its incarnation in Civ V is built around attacking from the sea. Its Viking Fury ability not only increases the movement speed of embarked troops, but lets them land and move in the same turn, and pillage at will. The Berserker is a fearsome shock trooper that's faster than a Longswordman and starts with the Amphibious promotion, perfect for raiding foes from the seas in the Medieval era, destroying their infrastructure before they even know what's hit them. The units can later be upgraded to Norwegian Ski Infantry, which get a combat bonus in and move twice as fast through snow, tundra or open hills. Unsurprisingly, Harald Bluetooth likes to go for a Domination Victory, and though hard to get on your side, will rarely betray an ally - especially a fellow warmonger. All said, if Denmark's in the game, everyone else better look to their coasts!

  • Adaptational Personality Change: Harald Bluetooth is best known for being the first Christian king of Denmark, and the Civilopedia entry mentions the fact. Yet in game his iteration appears to be taken from before he converted, since he makes mention of the Norse Pantheon in his diplomatic dialogue with nary a mention of Christianity in sight.
  • Affably Evil: Downplayed. Harald isn't necessarily evil so much as he's a warmonger and conqueror. Nevertheless, Harald remains quite cordial to the player, if not just enthusiastic. He's also a very loyal ally to have, owing to his high loyalty score.
  • Blood Knight: Harald himself, albeit with more shades of Spirited Competitor than leaders like Montezuma - upon meeting the player for the first time, he excitedly refers to them as "new challengers" and judging by his dialogue seems to simply prefer war to diplomacy as a natural means to settling disputes (which is reflected in his tendencies - he is quick to become Hostile and declare War, but surprisingly average when it comes to forgiveness). When you declare war, he even congratulates you on your Viking-esque boldness... while in the same breath "lamenting" having to kill you.
  • Bootstrapped Leitmotif: Harald's diplomacy music is actually a remix of a theme that first appeared in Civilization IV's Viking scenario.
  • Decomposite Character: They and Sweden are this to the Viking civilization from past Civilization games. Denmark is themed to Viking Age Scandinavia while Sweden is themed to the time long afterward to early modern Scandinavia.
  • Horny Vikings: Aside from the horned helmet itself, Harald Bluetooth is presented this way with his winged helmet and greeting you on his longship while talking about pleasing the old gods. In real life, Harald was a Christian convert who more or less had done away with the old Norse customs.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Harald is a very aggressive leader, and you'll likely see him declare war on you more than a few times. Despite this, he remains a great ally, owing to his high loyalty score, his high tolerance for fellow warmongers, and the fact that he's surprisingly forgiving when it comes to past transgressions.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Berserkers have 3 move compared to the usual 2, pillage at no cost, and can transfer from sea to land nearly instantly. Sadly, the higher speed isn't kept when upgraded.
  • The Münchausen: When he meets the player for the first time, he (in the text) offers to regale them with tales of his many exploits.
  • Rage Quit: Manage to best Harald and he'll chuck his helmet over the side of his longship and storm off. A few beats later, and splash.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: A specialty of berserkers. They can sail in from the fog of war, quickly embark on the shores of a weak city, ruin tiles, and then have movement left over to capture workers or pick off units. Other Danish melee units can similarly pillage at will.
  • Sore Loser: Ironically for someone who is enthusiastic for war, he doesn't really take his loss well, accusing the player for having Loki's favor and throws his helmet into the water as he Rage Quit from the leader screen.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Denmark is essentially Civilization V's version of the Viking civilization from earlier games—it retains the Berserker unique unit and focus on naval warfare.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman:
    • Denmark isn't usually seen as one of the best civilizations in the game... but on a map with a lot of water, he's one of the few civilizations that can pull off an amphibious invasion with aplomb. He's also extremely good at taking down Polynesia, since they can easily make hit-and-run attacks, tearing up Moai all the while.
    • As mentioned below, the Norwegian Ski Infantry's distinct advantage in snow and tundra tiles are a Useless Useful Ability due to the lack of snow and tundra tiles - unless you're playing on a Ice Age map. Due to the overwhelming presence of snow and tundra tiles to be found on those kinds of maps, suddenly the Norwegian Ski Infantry's unique ability becomes almost downright game breaking due to the massive combat bonus those kinds of tiles give to them, alongside the free movement bonus. They become even more dangerous if the map happens to be an Archipelago-themed map, to which the Danish's unique ability is at it's best.
  • Undying Loyalty: Despite his warmongering nature, Harald's easily one of the best allies you can have, as he has a Loyalty rating of 7.note  He's somewhat difficult to befriend being a warmonger, but if you get on his good side, you'll have an alliance that will last you the entire game.
  • Useless Useful Ability: The Ski Infantry's combat bonus in snow and tundra terrain is nice and all, but those only exist at the top of the map and rarely have anything worth fighting over. Averted when it comes to hill terrain, although induces Fridge Logic instead (skiing on sand dunes and jungle hills?).
  • We Will Meet Again: Harald decides that "Ragnarok is upon us, it is the only explanation" for his defeat, and says he'll see you soon in Asgard.


Leader: Attila the Hun (V)
Unique Units: Battering Ram (V), Horse Archer (V)
Ability: Scourge of God (V)

The Huns were a group of nomadic horsemen who migrated out of Mongolia, crossed into Europe around the 4th and 5th centuries, formed a confederation with other tribes, and proceeded to pillage everyone else they came across. A warlord named Rua was the first to forge them into a force to be reckoned with, leading a campaign into the Eastern Roman Empire, but it wasn't until his death and the rise of his son Attila to power that the Huns reached their greatest infamy. After compelling tribute from the Byzantines and conquering the Balkans, Attila led the Hunnic horde into Gaul, sacking his way to Orleans until a combined Roman-Visigoth force managed to defeat him at the Battle of Catalaunian Plains. Undaunted, Attila focused his attention on Italy proper, taking cities in northern Italy before reaching Rome itself. Whether due to the threat of Byzantine reinforcements or the words of Pope Leo I, Attila turned back, and proceeded to suddenly die of a nosebleed on his wedding night in 453. After his death, the Hun Confederacy dissolved into civil war, and within a few decades its remnants began to migrate back to Central Asia, so that the Huns vanished from history as suddenly as they appeared.

If it's worrisome to be next to the Mongols, Aztecs or Zulu at the start of a game, it's terrifying to have Attila for a neighbor. The Huns are the ultimate rush faction, highly aggressive and capable of knocking out another civilization before turn 50. Their Scourge of God ability lets the Huns start with Animal Husbandry, see any horses on the map, get more production out of Pastures, and raze cities at double speed. The Huns' special units are early game powerhouses, a Horse Archer that doesn't require horses to build and lacks the Chariot Archer's rough terrain penalty, and more frighteningly a Battering Ram capable of pulverizing city defenses. This is mitigated by the fact that these strengths are made obsolete fairly quickly, cold comfort for those who fell to the Scourge of God before reaching the Classical Era.

  • Always Chaotic Evil: If you aren't attacking everyone in sight, as soon as possible, with as much as possible, you aren't playing the Huns correctly.
  • Battering Ram: Instead of spearmen (the first early-game melee unit that's better than a warrior) they get this. Just two of them are able to practically annihilate enemy cities without support; they count as melee units so they can take over cities directly instead of merely softening them up for other units like all other siege engines.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Attila the Hun's Chuvash is... very broken. Not only do most of his sentences have poor grammatical syntaxnote , Attila's actor is definitely not a native speaker of the language as he pronounces most of the words incorrectly. As Long as It Sounds Foreign might also apply here.
  • Bring It: His response when attacked is roughly "Now what is this?! You ask me to add your riches to my great avails. The invitation is accepted."
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Don't expect Attila to be loyal to you as sooner or later, he will launch a sneak attack with his entire horde of horse archers and battering rams into your borders regardless of his disposition.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Battering Ram can One-Hit Kill most cities, but can only attack cities.
  • Crutch Character: Attila the Hun is a nightmare in the Ancient/Classical era, but once everyone else moves past that era, he'd better hope he's grabbed enough land to keep up.
  • Fragile Speedster: Atilla needs to expand and conquer fast early-game because his unique units become obsolete fairly quickly.
  • The Horde: Their extra pasture production, boost towards the technology needed to build their unique unit, and lack of need for horses to build their unique unit, means that they can train huge amounts of Horse Archers very quickly, meaning their armies will mostly be huge masses of men on horses charging at their enemy. The only reason they can't be considered a Horde From the East is because of the random geography and starting locations.
  • Horse Archer: Like the Mongolians, they've got 'em, just a bit earlier in the tech tree. They function similarly to the chariot archers but do not require horse herds to create and do not suffer from the Chariot's weakness of losing all its moves upon entering rough terrain. A few of these supporting their battering rams can pick apart anyone attacking the rams, and together they can wipe out enemy civilizations pretty quickly.
  • Interface Spoiler: Aside from their capital, the Huns borrow their cities' names from other in-game civilizations. Founding cities in the first few turns often helps reveal who you'll be dealing with even before formally meeting anyone.
  • Jerkass: It's generally agreed that Attila is a much bigger asshole than Montezuma.
  • Large Ham: To make up for his broken language, Attila will always shouts at the highest voice available, from his introduction, his proposal, but especially when he chose to attack you.
  • Not the Intended Use: Aside from the doubled city-razing rate, the Huns' unique ability actually doesn't give them direct combat bonuses like the Mongols' does. Instead they get a production bonus from pastures and an early tech advantage, which can just as easily be used to wonder-spam or fuel peaceful expansion as it can be used to Zerg Rush.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Less looting and much more focus on burning. The cities they raze burn down at double speed, which is very useful for getting rid of the trash cities that are eating up your happiness points and reducing the downtime between conquests. You need only capture enemy capitals to conquer the world—the rest need to go!
  • Zerg Rush: Neither of their unique units require strategic resources and are fairly cheap, meaning that it's easy to raise up a massive army of horse archers and battering rams and send them straight to the nearest city. Additionally, Attila excels at bumrushing his neighbors early on with said units, in the spirit of the original phrase.


Leader: Gajah Mada (V), Gitarja (VI)
Unique Unit: Kris Swordsman (V), Jong (VI)
Unique Building: Candi (V)
Unique Improvement: Kampung (VI)
Ability: Spice Islanders (V), Great Nusantara (VI)

Indonesia consists of a three-thousand-mile stretch of some eighteen thousand islands that have seen hundreds of city-states, kingdoms and empires over the centuries. For hundreds of years a number of Buddhist and Hindu domains rose and fell: the hegemonic confederation of Srivijaya, the kingdom of Singhasari, one of the few domains able to repulse a Mongol invasion, and most successfully the Majapahit Empire, which gained control of most of the archipelago under Queen Gitarja and Prime Minister Gajah Mada. The 13th century saw Islam become the dominant religion of the region, borne not through conquest but through trade and tolerance, giving rise to the sultanates of Mataram and Banten. But European colonial empires were soon attracted to these "Spice Islands," and in 1749 they were claimed by the Dutch East India Company. Dutch rule lasted 150 years until Imperial Japan invaded Indonesia during World War II, after which Indonesia declared independence, which international pressure forced the Netherlands to accept. Today Indonesia remains the world's premier supplier of spices like nutmeg and mace, and is working towards democracy following Cold War turbulence.

In Civ V, Indonesia can be thought of as a nautical version of Arabia, a religious/mercantile hybrid. It has access to three exclusive luxuries - Nutmeg, Cloves and Pepper - and its Spice Islanders ability spawns more of these resources around the first three Indonesian cities founded on another continent. The Candi building can be built regardless of water sources, unlike the Garden it replaces, and produces additional Faith when other religions are present in the city. To protect its wealth, Indonesia has the Kris Swordsman, which randomly receives a potentially powerful (or detrimental) promotion after its first battle. Combined, Indonesia is a civilization that encourages expansion, will always have luxuries to keep its people happy or for trade, and actually benefits from religious "conflict."

Civ VI further emphasizes Indonesia's reliance on coasts and islands. Its Great Nusantara ability encourages building districts on the coast, and its Kampung tile improvement allows them to gain even more benefit from ocean resources. The Jong is a highly mobile Frigate that can quickly ferry land units, whether they're peaceful settlers or invading armies, from island to island. Gitarja herself connects Indonesia's naval strength to religion with her Exalted Goddess of the Three Worlds perk; naval units can be purchased with faith, and religious units can embark from land to sea and back again with no penalty to movement, allowing Indonesia to quickly spread its faith across the ocean.

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Invoked by Gitarja as soon as she meets you: "Those who thought us weak litter the ocean floor."
  • Composite Civilization: Indonesia is basically a combination of modern Indonesia (based on the city names) and Majapahit (as Gajah Mada refers to his civ as 'Nusantara', which is what the Majapahit called the archipelago that would become Indonesia). Makes sense, because the name 'Indonesia' hasn't been conceived during his era.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Their Kris Swordsman unit in V has the Mystic Blade promotion. When it first enters combat, the ability will change to one from a list, and ranges from excellent (Large defense boost and rapid healing, ability to attack twice coupled with extra movement, fully heal on kills) to fairly good (large boost to attack with a penalty on defense, act as a Great General, much stronger flank attacks) to completely negative (penalties to attack and defense, loss of health for every turn spent in hostile territory). Depending on your luck, you can either have an army of demigods or a force so incompetent that you have little hope of defeating anyone equal in tech without some sort of other advantage.
    • Four-Star Badass: One of the possible Kris upgrades allows the swordsman to double as Great General, making them the only such unit that still fights personally.
  • Melting Pot: Their Candi building gives +2 faith for every religion with at least one follower in its city. As trade routes exchange religious pressure, Indonesian cities will have at least 2 religions represented, and often 3 or more.
  • Settling the Frontier: Their unique ability actively encourages Indonesian settlers to set up shop on far-flung islands and archipelagos to gain access to unique luxury resources. The Indonesians are the only empire that can actually gain happiness when settling a new city.


Leader: Ahmad al-Mansur (V)
Unique Unit: Berber Cavalry (V)
Unique Improvement: Kasbah (V)
Ability: Gateway to Africa (V)

Morocco saw Phoenician and Roman settlers in ancient times, and Arab conquerors in the 7th century, but in 740 its native Berbers revolted to establish their own kingdoms on the Islamic world's frontier. This golden age ended in the 900's when the Fatimids moved into the Maghreb, leading to centuries of conflict and successions of Berber dynasties. Starting in 1554 was a line of Saadi rulers who managed to preserve Moroccan sovereignty from powers like the Ottomans, Spain and Portugal, and the Arab-Berber sultan Ahmad al-Mansur was able to foster national unity, plunder the Songhai Empire, and usher in an age of peace, culture and construction. After his death and a time of unrest, the Alouite family led 150 years of modernization, reform and religious tolerance, but in 1912 Morocco was divided into French and Spanish protectorates. Decades of unrest and revolts ended when Sultan Mohammed V negotiated for Morocco's full independence in 1956, and today the country remains a liberal Muslim nation with close ties to the West and a strong economy.

A cultural/mercantile civilization, Morocco's Gateway to Africa ability grants it bonus gold and produces culture from trade routes to other civs or city-states, allowing it to pursue a Cultural Victory through routine economics. Though its start bias is in deserts, Morocco is able to get the most out of this terrain with its Kasbah improvement, which produces food, production and gold from such tiles, as well as providing the same defensive benefits as a Fort. Continuing this defensive theme is Morocco's special unit, Berber Cavalry, which get a hefty combat bonus in both deserts and within Moroccan borders. Ahmad al-Mansur is well aware of his country's strengths, and focuses on culture and defense while building good relations with other leaders - you can't trade when you're at war, after all.

  • Friend to All Living Things: Their gameplay encourages this: everyone who trades with Morocco gets more gold than with a similar trading partner of equal resource diversity, so everyone's more likely to send caravans to Morocco than someone else. And civs are less likely to declare war on trading partners because a big chunk of their income will vanish as a result. Therefore both the AI and human players are unlikely to attack Morocco unless things are really sour between them, like being neighbors to the Huns or Aztecs or something. Plus, Ahmad al-Mansur is programmed to be a pretty friendly guy.
  • Home Field Advantage: Their Berber Cavalry unit has two promotions unique to it: one gives a large bonus when fighting in friendly territory, and the other gives a smaller bonus fighting in desert (where Morocco is likely to settle cities, given the fact that their Kasbah improvements make the normally terrible tiles more than acceptable). The gist of this is that while Berbers can easily crush invaders, they're rarely any better than a standard cavalry when invading enemy lands.
  • Modest Royalty: Ahmad al-Mansur isn't in a lavish castle like Harun al-Rashid, or a throne like a lot of other rulers, or even on the field of battle suited up for combat; he's dressed as a simple (if affluent) tradesman and his background is a desert camp with a beautiful night sky.
  • Nice Guy: Ahmad is quite easy to get along with, and quick to make declarations of friendship.
  • Proud Merchant Race: They get bonus gold and culture for every unique civilization they have a trade route with, and the foreigners get extra gold out of it too, so Morocco's likely to be the target of a lot of foreign trade caravans.
  • Stone Wall: As if the Berber Cavalry wasn't enough, those Kasbah improvements mean Morocco is going to have a lot of forts dotting its deserts. Being Improvements, they don't move, so they don't help on the attack.


Leader: Casimir III (V), Jadwiga (VI)
Unique Unit: Winged Hussar (V-VI)
Unique Building: Ducal Stable (V), Sukiennice (VI)
Ability: Solidarity (V), Golden Liberty (VI)

Poland's history is one of alternating progress and repression. Boleslaw I was crowned King of Poland in 1025, and the Piast dynasty would continue to expand and secure the country's borders while squaring off against pagan Lithuanians, Mongols, and The Teutonic Knights alike. The last Piast king, Casimir III the Great, turned Poland into both a center of learning in Eastern Europe and a haven for persecuted Jews, Armenians, and more. The Jagiellon Dynasty that followed made a step towards democracy in 1505 by placing legislative power in a parliament of nobles, and in 1569 formed the federal Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with elected kings and a focus on local assemblies. But Poland's successes threatened its neighbors, so that in 1772 the country was divided among Austria, Prussia and Russia. It was briefly liberated by Napoleon, and finally restored after World War I, only for Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia to again divide the country during World War II. After the conflict Poland was "freed" as a Soviet satellite and suffered terribly, yet was also said to be the least repressive of such Iron Curtain puppet states. But in the 1980s the Solidarnosc (Solidarity) labor movement began contesting the Communist Party's right to rule, and after the collapse of the USSR led Poland back into democracy, so that today the country is a part of NATO and the European Union.

In Civilization V, If Poland has anything close to a specialization, it's cavalry - the Ducal Stable makes pastures produce gold and gives mounted units an experience boost a la the Barracks, while the Winged Hussar is a fantastic replacement for the Lancer that among other things can push back enemy units after winning a combat. Other than that, Poland doesn't have a dedicated play style; instead its Solidarity ability provides it with a free social policy each time Poland advances to a new era, allowing it to better pursue whatever victory its leader feels like. Casimir III is equally likely to declare war, focus on culture, or go for Scientific or Diplomatic victories, and you'd better believe he'll be fielding a lot of cavalry.

Poland is available as paid downloadable content in Civilization VI. The Winged Hussar returns, along with its ability to push back enemies units it defeats in combat. Poland's Golden Liberty ability causes its Encampments and fort improvements inside Polish territory to expand Poland's territory, even if doing so takes away territory from other civilizations. This allows Poland to peacefully expand, as well as destroy enemy wonders. Golden Liberty also gives replaces one of Poland's Military Policy slots with a Wild Card Policy slot. Jadwiga's unique ability, Lithuanian Union, converts any city that loses territory to Golden Liberty to the religion Poland founded and also improves the value of relics and holy sites. The Sukiennice provides bonus yields to Poland's trade routes.

  • Hartman Hips: Jadwiga has very broad hips, contrasting with her apparent youth.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Poland's unique ability in V, which grants them a free social policy each time they enter a new era makes them one of the most flexible Civs around. While no specific policy is extremely powerful, the ability to greatly accelerate into any policy tree available makes Poland viable for just about every victory type... at the cost of having to rely entirely on policy bonuses without having any other ability to back them up.
  • Knockback: Winged Hussars provide a rare Turn-Based Strategy example.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Winged Hussars. They have a significant boost in strength and movement compared to the standard lancer, and have a unique promotion called Heavy Charge. If the hussar deals more damage in combat than they take, the defending unit will be pushed away one tile. If the tile they would be pushed to is occupied or impassable, then the unit will take heavy damage instead, often killing it instantly.
  • Mounted Combat: Their specialty, not quite to the same extent as the Mongols, but close. Ducal Stables provide gold as well as production bonuses on pastures, and they act as an additional Barracks for mounted units. Winged Hussars start with a free promotion. Combined with all the regular experience buildings plus the Brandenburg Gate, you can pump out Hussars that start with Blitz or March, no warfare required.
  • Powerup Letdown: Winged Hussars being more powerful and mobile than standard Lancers means they take the "upgrade" to Anti-Tank Guns, which are much less mobile, even harder. While Anti-Tank Guns upgrade to Helicopter Gunships that are even faster than Winged Hussars, the loss of being able to move after attacking takes away from its flexibility. At least Heavy Charge is kept on upgrade.
  • Religious Bruiser: In VI, Poland's ability to instantly, subtly and almost uncounterably convert nearby cities to their religion guarantees them a few turns of benefits. Combine this with an aggressive, fast-spreading religion that provides bonuses to nearby Polish troops and Poland has a very effective means of waging war on its immediate neighbors.
  • She Is the King: Jadwiga's title was "king of Poland" and she is referred to as a king in her opening narration. Yes, a king.
  • What the Hell, Player?: In Civ VI, using Golden Liberty to destroy another civilization's wonder by claiming the tile the wonder is being built on nets you an achievement titled "You Are A Terrible Person".
  • Wings Do Nothing: Winged Hussars. Nobody knows what they do other than just look cool, but they definitely look cool.
    • They actually served a purpose - since they were part of the saddle (not the armor, as it's commonly believed), they prevented rider from being lassoed away (which was tactic commonly utilized by - amongst other - Tatars). The fact that they indicated Badass Army won't hurt either
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Just like the Mongols, they need horses for both their Unique Unit and Unique Building. The Poles aren't completely crippled without horses, but you'll still want to prioritize them.


Leader: Kamehameha (V)
Unique Unit: Maori Warrior (V)
Unique Improvement: Moai (V)
Ability: Wayfinding (V)

Polynesia is a roughly triangular section comprising 60% of the Pacific Ocean, with its three corners approximately at New Zealand, Easter Island, and the Hawaiian Islands. The Polynesian peoples who live on the many island chains within this triangle all share a common set of cultural, linguistic, and genetic similarities; modern historians and anthropologists believe that all these populations descend from a single group starting from Southeast Asia that expanded outward rapidly, settling Easter Island sometime in the mid-to-late first millennium, Hawai'i around 500 AD, and New Zealand in 1000 AD. Their skills as navigators are well-attested, allowing them to maintain an active web of communication and trade networks between islands even over thousands of miles. While no one island ever managed to dominate the entire region by itself, a number of islands and island chains served as hubs for great seafaring empires, such as Samoa, Fiji, and Hawai'i. Today the Polynesian people are minorities in their own post-colonial homelands, including the largest population, the Maori of New Zealand, but they continue the cultural traditions that helped them settle so far and make them exceptional sailors.

True to their real-life counterparts, the Polynesians are a seafaring people, reflected by their trait, their usual starting location and AI Polynesia's preference for naval units. The Wayfinding ability allows Polynesian units to not just embark on coasts, but cross oceans from the very start of the game, meaning that when other civs start exploring the world in the mid-game they'll liable to come across well-developed Polynesian colonies already occupying the best lands. The Maori Warrior is Polynesia's early-game special unit with the ability to demoralize enemy troops, while instead of a special building, Polynesia can build Moai on coastlines, producing additional culture that increases with adjacent Moai. King Kamehameha is a pretty mellow leader who focuses on keeping his people happy, but he has little tolerance for warmongers, and will have built up a navy worthy of his far-flung empire.

  • Blade on a Stick: Kamehameha carries one and threatens you with it when he becomes hostile.
  • Composite Character: Technically speaking, there was never a single Polynesian nation, which is reflected by their appearance in game. Their leader and language is Hawaiian, their unique units are Maori Warriors (from New Zealand), their unique tile upgrade is the Moai (Easter Island Heads) and their city names are picked from across the Pacific.
  • Crutch Character: Their unique ability is extremely useful for mobility and exploration early in the game, but peters off and becomes nearly irrelevant by the Renaissance. On the other hand, it does mean that you'll manage to meet every civilization before anybody else, allowing you to found the World Congress and get an early start railroading your resolutions through.
  • Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: Useful for getting an extra bit of culture out of your coasts, but you can fall prey to the same fate of Easter Island if you build so many that you neglect your food supply or production.
  • Fragile Speedster: Being able to cross oceans at the start of the game is fantastic for early expansion, but also becomes obsolete when everyone else hits the Renaissance.
  • Loophole Abuse: While their Unique Ability in V can be irrelevant when everyone hits the Renaissance, their ability to cross ocean at the start gives great advantages. Like obtaining extra ruins, meeting city states, searching natural wonders, and setting cities in places that no one else can reach.
  • Magikarp Power: In Brave New World, the Visitor Center and Hotel converts culture into tourism. The technology comes late, but when it hits it's easy to win the game solely through the tourism power of your Moai improvements.
  • Morale Mechanic: The Maori Warrior's haka reduces any adjacent enemy's combat effectiveness by 10%, and retains this ability when upgraded to subsequent units. You'll want to build a lot of these guys.
  • Nice Guy: Kamehameha is a loyal leader to non-warmonger nations and likes to make declaration of friendships quickly.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: King Kamehameha looks a lot like Dwayne Johnson — also known by his ring name of "The Rock" — whose mother is incidentally from a Polynesian (specifically Samoan) Wrestling Family.


Leader: Pocatello (V)
Unique Units: Pathfinder (V), Comanche Riders (V)
Ability: Great Expanse (V)

The Shoshone tribes dwelt in America's Great Basin region, comprising the modern states of Utah and Nevada as well as surrounding lands as far as Washington. They migrated, divided into subgroups, and competed with rival tribes until being ravaged by smallpox in the late 18th century. Shortly afterward the Shoshone had peaceful interactions with the Lewis and Clark Expedition and white frontiersmen and traders, but tensions rose when settlers began arriving on Shoshone lands "acquired" through the Louisiana Purchase. The Eastern Shoshone cooperated with the whites and supplied scouts to the US Army in exchange for uniquely being able to choose which lands they would settle, while the Western Shoshone were able to peacefully coexist by virtue of living on inhospitable terrain the settlers didn't want. But the Northern Shoshone resisted, and beginning in 1860 chiefs like Pocatello and Bear Hunter began raiding farms for food and attacked wagon trains and telegraph lines in an attempt to dissuade further incursions. When the Americans mustered a force to counter-attack, Pocatello led his tribe in retreat to later surrender to reservation life, while Bear Hunter was killed in the Bear River Massacre. Today 12,000 Shoshone remain on reservations in Wyoming, Idaho and Nevada.

Continuing a theme of Native American civs being hard to invade, the Shoshone's ability provides their units with a combat bonus within their own territory, as well as a substantial increase in the territory around newly-founded cities. Besides this defensive theme, the Shoshone have a phenomenal scout unit in the form of the Pathfinder, which both fights as well as a Warrior and also lets the player select what bonus they receive for exploring ancient ruins. For cavalry, the Shoshone have Comanche Riders, which are both faster and cheaper than usual, the better to patrol their vast territory. Pocatello plays to these strengths, emphasizing defense and expansion without going to war, which isn't to say you'll have an easy time if you try to grab his lands.

  • Army Scout: Their Pathfinder is a unique scout that's as strong as a Warrior and lets the user manually select what bonus they get when they find an ancient ruin. This means a Shoshone player can personally decide what early bonuses they get, which can make their early game very strong.
  • Disc-One Nuke: At potentially Gamebreaker status. If that Pathfinder is able to grab lots of ruins, the Shoshone can get a substantial lead on their rivals - extra settlers, culture, religion, technology, whatever they want.
  • Home Field Advantage: Their units fight 15% stronger on home territory, and since their cities start with 8 extra tiles around them, they have a lot of extra home territory to be stronger on.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: They're better at scouting than anyone else and grab lots of extra tiles when they found cities. Scouting and land-grabbing are also the specialties of America in Civ V, but they do it better, so this has lead to some jokes that they're the "real Americans" or "leveled-up Americans."


Leader: Ramkhamhaeng (V)
Unique Unit: Naresuan's Elephant (V)
Unique Building: Wat (V)
Ability: Father Governs Children (V)

The kingdom of Sukhotai seceded from the waning Khmer Empire in the mid-thirteenth century, and under its third king Ramkhamhaeng became a regional power stretching from Burma, Laos and the Malay Peninsula, often thanks to territories voluntarily joining his empire. A hundred years later a new Thai domain, the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, captured Sukhotai, took the Khmer capital of Angkor, and became the first people called Siamese. Conflicts with neighboring Burma led to Ayutthaya's sacking in 1569 and a devastating attack in 1767, but that same year a new capital was founded near present-day Bangkok that became a great trading center and the foundation of the next Siamese state. Uniquely for a Southeast Asian country, Siam was able to avoid colonization thanks to shrewd (if costly) treaties with and concessions to Western powers, but was drawn onto the Japanese side of World War II. The internal strife that followed heralded half a century of military coups, dictatorships, brief periods of parliamentary democracy, and mass protests; Thailand's last military coup was in 2006, and the country is still going through political turmoil.

If Greece is best at maintaining alliances with city-states, Siam is able to get the most of such arrangements, as its Father Governs Children ability boosts the food, culture or faith acquired from city-states by 50%. This makes a Diplomatic Victory an obvious goal, but there's really no wrong way to play the civilization; a Domination Victory can be attractive thanks the powerful Naresuan's Elephant special unit, one of the heaviest hitters of the Medieval Era, while the Wat produces culture alongside the normal scientific boost of a University, making those victory types viable as well. Ramkhamhaeng is less likely to go for a military victory than the other options, but certainly will not tolerate anyone picking on his city-state allies.

  • The Alliance: They receive larger benefits from befriending or allying with citystates than any other civilization.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Don't let those placid gardens in his palace fool you; Ramkhamhaeng is very tempermental and won't hesitate to dump war elephants on you if you're in his way.
  • Hypocrite: Even though Ramkhamhaeng hates warmongers, he will not hesitate to declare war on you.
  • Jerkass: Ramkhamhaeng is notorious for being quick to pounce at opportunities to denounce you, even while you're his ally. If Siam's around and someone denounces you first, you can expect Ramkhamhaeng to follow suit afterwards.
  • Mighty Glacier: Naresuan's Elephant is very strong, but has lower movement than the basic knight.
  • The Smart Guy: Their unique building is a university that also increases culture, and their peaceful nature is conducive to a science victory.
  • War Elephants: Naresuan's Elephant is a knight replacement; like the other elephants, it is slow and doesn't require horses. This one is the strongest in melee combat, and has a bonus against enemy mounted units.


Leader: Askia Mohammed (V)
Unique Unit: Mandekalu Cavalry (V)
Unique Building: Mud Pyramid Mosque (V)
Ability: River Warlord (V)

Perhaps one of the more obscure civilizations in the game, the Songhai were a major power in their heyday, and controlled Western Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. Breaking off from the ailing empire of Mali after Mansa Musa's lavish pilgrimage to Mecca destabilized the gold market, the kingdom of Gao went on to reconquer much of that empire, capturing the great trade hubs of Timbuktu and Jenne. Though this made the new empire wealthy, its politics were unstable - Muhammad I Askia earned his name by usurping power from his predecessor in 1493, while his own son deposed him in 1528. Despite Askia's efforts to build a bureaucracy, tax code and education system capable of supporting the Songhai Empire, after his death a succession of lesser leaders struggled for power, until the country was conquered by musket-wielding Moroccans led by Ahmad al-Mansur in 1591.

The Songhai were better at taking money than making money, and in Civ V are made for pillaging. Their River Warlords ability triples the amount of gold received from capturing barbarian camps or rival cities, with the added bonus of letting Songhai units fight better while embarked. On top of that, their Mandekalu Cavalry lack the Knight's penalty to attacking cities, making them exceptional lighting-fast attackers of the Medieval Era. Askia was also a pious leader, and thus can build Mud Pyramid Mosques to generate both faith and culture without costing any upkeep, but true to life is highly aggressive and keen on accumulating gold through conquest. Songhai's foes think they're safe behind their rivers and seas - prove them wrong.

  • BFS: That's an impressive greatsword you have there, Askia.
  • Cool Boat: War Canoes! All of their units get amphibious promotions that allow them to fight over rivers better and see farther when swimming across the ocean.
  • Foil: Much like how Assyria counters Babylon, Songhai can be seen as one to Egypt. Both are African nations that have a special cavalry unit, a faith-producing building, and an ability that relates to plundering. However, Egypt is a largely passive civ that hates losing its cities, while Songhai is an aggressively expansive civ that loves taking over cities.
  • Obviously Evil: Askia is literally conducting diplomacy with you in front of the burning city of his previous victims.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: In case the burning castle behind Askia wasn't a clue, these guys are really good at plundering their enemies; they get triple the gold from destroying barbarian camps and conquering enemy cities.
  • Religious Bruiser: Their Mud Pyramid Mosque building gives Culture in addition to Faith, and costs nothing to maintain like a temple would. This allows them to afford a larger army while still having useful infrastructure.
  • Scary Black Man: Askia, if that giant sword he's carrying and the burning city behind him didn't trip off any warning bells.


Leader: Gustavus Adolphus (V), Kristina (VI)
Unique Units: Hakkapeliitta (V), Carolean (V-VI)
Unique Building: Queen's Bibliotheque (VI)
Unique Improvement: Open Air Museum (VI)
Ability: Nobel Prize (V-VI)

During the Viking Age, the Swedes both pillaged the settlements of the Baltic Sea and also founded the state of the Kievan Rus' in the 9th century, before unifying under a single king in the late 10th century. For much of its history Sweden was a junior partner of the Danish-led Kalmar Union, but in 1523 Gustav I rebelled and was elected king of an independent Sweden. In the 17th century the country became a great power under King Gustavus Adolphus, who balanced diplomacy with the other Nordic states, modernized Sweden's military, and defended Protestant states during the Thirty Years' War. Though the elite Caroleans were some of the best soldiers of their era, the Great Northern War of 1700-1721 saw a Russian-led coalition prevail through sheer numbers, and after the Napoleonic Wars and other conflicts with Russia, Sweden began a tradition of neutrality, sitting out both World Wars while quietly helping Denmark smuggle Jews to safety. Today Sweden is a successful democracy known for its high standard of living and progressive government programs.

If Denmark represents early Scandinavia in Civ V, Sweden represents the Nordic countries once they've settled down somewhat. Its Nobel Prize ability makes Sweden perfect for a Diplomatic Victory, allowing Sweden to gain huge amounts of influence with city-states by gifting Great People to them, which the country and its partners will produce 10% faster if they sign a Declaration of Friendship - a bonus that stacks for Sweden the more such treaties it signs. But just because the country is good at diplomacy doesn't mean Sweden has forgotten its Viking heritage, and its Hakkapeliitta lancers and Carolean riflemen make Sweden a military powerhouse during the late Renaissance and early Industrial eras. Gustavus Adolphus is quite willing to declare war on other civilizations, and his emphasis on training will make Sweden's army particularly dangerous.

  • Beware the Nice Ones: See Historical In-Joke below. If Sweden decides to fight, it's not going to be easy.
  • Bookworm: Kristina will rarely bother to glance up from her book in her leader screen.
  • Decomposite Character: They alongside Denmark (in V) and Norway (in VI) are this to the Viking civilization from past Civilization games. Denmark/Norway is themed to Viking Age Scandinavia while Sweden is themed to the time long afterward to early modern Scandinavia.
  • Elite Army: Hakkapeliitta are designed to be used in small numbers, since they only gain a hefty combat bonus if they're sharing the same tile with a Great General.
  • Friendly Enemy: Sweden likes making friends…but it's not afraid of combat either, and Gustavus Adolphus isn't above attacking his neighbors for more land if he needs it. Moreover, when you declare war on him, he laughs and cheerfully tells you about how happy his main general will be.note 
  • Friend to All Living Things: Encouraged.
    • In V, anyone who has a declaration of friendship with Sweden produces Great People 10% faster. Sweden also gets this bonus... and it stacks for each additional friend. On larger maps with more civs, the bonus can easily ramp up to 50 or 60% - as much as or more than Babylon's bonus to Great Scientist production, but for every type of Great Person. Furthermore, they can gift Great People to citystates for a whopping 90 influence, when 60 is the minimum needed for an alliance. This makes them extremely good at winning a Diplomatic victory.
    • In VI, Sweden gains more bonuses to Diplomatic Victories. While most diplomatic favour is earned through Great People, having Sweden in the game also makes the Nobel Prize a world event, one of which is the Peace prize, which encourages good relations with as many people as you can.
  • Four-Star Badass: Thanks to Hakkapeliitta, your Great Generals can keep pace with other fast-moving calvary units.
  • Healing Factor: One of their unique units, the Carolean, starts with the March promotion, which makes them heal every turn, even if they moved or attacked. For every other infantry unit, this is only available much later. When coupled with Medic promotions to increase the rate of healing, an army of Caroleans can be nearly indestructible.
  • Historical In-Joke: Despite being mostly friendly, the A.I for Gustavus seems to focus heavily on military training. As such his heavy emphasis on military training means the Swedish military units will be among the best trained in the game. Once they decide to open up the can of whoop-ass it will be not be fun to be on the receiving end. Much like in real life.
  • Sprint Shoes: The main purpose of the Hakkapeliitta lancer replacement. While normally no stronger than the standard, they allow Great Generals to match their movement if they begin their turn stacked with them and receive a slight boost while stacked.
  • Throw the Book at Them: Kristina will very nearly do that when denouncing you. She will then restrain herself and hug the book like it was a child... that she was about to throw at you.


Leader: Enrico Dandolo (V)
Unique Units: Merchant of Venice (V), Great Galleass (V)
Ability: Serenissima (V)

The Most Serene Replubic of Venice was founded in 726 AD, when the city revolted against the Byzantine Empire and elected the first of 117 doges to lead the city-state. Built on a cluster of islands in a lagoon on the Adriatic Sea, Venice was one of the greatest ports of the medieval world, and in the 12th century built up a navy capable of dominating the Mediterranean, snapping up coastal cities and islands from the ailing Byzantines to become a wealthy and enlightened mercantile republic. The machinations of Doge Enrico Dandolo saw Venice's rival city of Constantinople sacked during the Fourth Crusade, but after the Byzantine Empire collapsed, Venice inherited both some of its lands and its conflict with the Ottoman Turks. The Venice-led armada's victory over the Turks at the 1571 Battle of Lepanto marked the high point of Venetian power, and afterward the republic went into a steady decline, surpassed by the Atlantic naval empires and rising continental powers until Venice became part of Italy in 1866. Still, Venice holds the record as the longest-lived democratic republic in history, one famed (or infamous) for its mix of vibrant trade, masterful diplomacy, and shrewd political intrigue.

Venice is utterly unique in its playstyle - its ability forbids it from founding new cities, and at most it can puppet captured territories, making it much more reliant on its capital than other empires. To offset this, Venice has double the number of trading routes as other civs, and during the Medieval era its Great Galleass will be more than enough to protect the city's naval interests. Instead of normal Great Merchants, the city-state creates Merchants of Venice, which uniquely can be used to puppet city-states without conquest. As might be imagined, Venice must carefully balance diplomacy, trade, and expansion to survive, ensuring it remains rich enough to keep pace with the other empires, and maybe encouraging its rivals to spend so much time fighting each other that they don't notice how one coastal city is quietly surpassing them.

  • The Chessmaster: Enrico is portrayed this way, and in the game it is generally the best way to play, bribing your friend into attacking your enemy is much more effective as Venice than openly attacking them yourself.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Enrico, who is tied with Montezuma and Attila for the lowest loyalty, and has the second highest deceptiveness. Also encouraged for the player to do this while playing as Venice.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Venice can't even build settlers and can only puppet other cities in exchange for having double the amount of trade routes and being able to buy things in puppeted states.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: As previously stated, Venice's special unit is the Merchant of Venice. When you mouse over the unit's icon, it shows their name as the "Venetian Merchant of Venice"
  • Difficult, but Awesome: A bad Venetian player will get conquered in the Ancient Era, while a skilled one will have a near-impossible to take Venice with plenty of city-states to serve as meat shields.
  • Glass Cannon: A well-played Venice can rake in Gold at an utterly absurd rate, allowing them to outright purchase whatever buildings and units they need, and the ability to outright buy City-States is amazing. On the flip side however, somehow losing their capital to another Civ is a death knell for Venice; this costs them all their trade routes and thus ruins their massive Gold buffer, forcing them to gather units from the purchased City-States in an all-or-nothing bid to take back the capital... which, if the offending Civ can actually conquer Venice in the first place, probably isn't going to happen.
  • Hegemonic Empire: Aside from their capital, the only cities in the Venetian Republic are other city-states that their merchants have essentially bribed into being Venetian puppet-states.
  • Land of One City: They only get one city, their capital, though they can gain more through conquest or through their unique Great Person.
  • Obviously Evil: The designers made an effort to make Enrico appear as sinister as possible, to play up his Manipulative Bastard reputation.
  • Magikarp Power: Venice can have a very problematic early game (particularly if you are dealing with a lot of barbarians and bloodthristy sociopaths like the Huns and the Aztecs) and will hinder their ability to fully develop their city. Thus being said, they have a stronger late game edge late game thanks to their unique Merchant of Venice Great Person unit where they can "purchase" city-states and make them puppet states to "deny" other civilizations potential votes for Diplomatic victory (Diplomacy has one of the bigger importance late game). Not to mention that Venice will be well-defended late game wise since they'll be more focused on population growth. They also get twice the number of trade routes. Internal trade routes give immense growth or production bonuses to a city, but most civs have to use half of their trade routes just to keep their finances in the black, and choose between growth, production, or surplus gold for the other half. Venice has two more "halves" to work with which is an immense advantage later in the game.
  • Proud Merchant Race: To offset having only one city, Venice gets double the amount of trade routes a civilization normally receives. This allows them to buy whatever they need.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: See above. They are generally weaker overall than other civilizations, but they can simply buy their way to victory using their insane amount of trade routes.
  • Skill Gate Character: In single player games, Venice is a godly civilization thanks to its double trade route allowing players to quickly earn lots of gold either to pay money for city state alliances, quickly purchase desired buildings in puppeted cities or use it to convice a leader to declare war on someone thus allowing Venetian players to quickly score an easy diplomatic victory even in deity level difficulty. However, in multiplayer, their unique ability directly detriments the civilization to the point of being a Joke Character. Their inability to found other cities meant that neighboring players actually get twice the amount of cities they usually have. Their double trade route is also easily countered as not only can they simply declare war on them and plunder all of their hard earned trade routes but also embargo Venice as well as the city states to prevent Venice from trading with anybody but themselves completely nullifying their signature ability. Because of all the weaknesses, whenever a player has randomed Venice, they are allowed to reshuffle their leader of choice.

Added in Civilization VI


Leader: John Curtin (VI)
Unique Unit: Digger (VI)
Unique Improvement: Outback Station (VI)
Ability: Land Down Under (VI)

Discovered by the Dutch and claimed by the British, Australia was first settled in 1788 with the founding of Sydney as a penal colony, and from there more settlements appeared all across the continent. Despite the early period being characterised by bloodshed with wars against the Aboriginal nations and colonial uprisings (with one such rebellion in 1808 actually succeeding), the seven colonies grew steadily up until the discovery of gold in 1851, leading to a major population boom and at-the-time progressive social reforms that carried on throughout the rest of the 19th century. A combination of cultural development, the aforementioned social reform and geographical isolation meant that Australia peacefully achieved independence in 1901. After a quiet first few years, Australia saw itself in both World Wars, where their soldiers gained a reputation for being unruly but brave. The post-war years saw Australia hit its stride, with increased political presence, cities such as Sydney and Melbourne becoming amongst the richest and most metropolitan in the world, and most importantly major economic growth, which saw the nation be virtually unscathed during the Global Financial Crisis. Today, Australia is a young, vibrant and rising power with a seemingly bright future ahead of it.

In VI, Australia is represented during their wartime years under the leadership of John Curtin, who lead the nation during the later years of World War II. Despite spanning an entire continent, 90% of Australians today live near the coast while the large farms are inland, and their Land Down Under ability reflects this well. Coastal cities get extra housing, districts built on tiles with high appeal get extra yields, while pastures trigger culture bomb effects. Australia also gets to surround said pastures with their Outback Stations, getting food and production bonuses from both adjacency and improving technology, allowing it to turn barren deserts into thriving metropolises. Despite seeming like a tempting target, the Australians are also more than capable of either raising up a defence or building up a liberating force in a hurry - their Citadel of Civilization leader bonus grants them double production civ-wide for either 10 turns (in a defensive war) or 20 turns (when liberating a city), and their Digger units get combat bonuses fighting on coastal tiles and outside their territory. Curtin himself also follows the Perpetually on Guard agenda, and will form defensive pacts, support those who liberate and work against those who occupy. All-in-all, Australia is a late-game bloomer that can both foster the growth of its major cities while keeping (and upholding if necessary) the peace of the world.

  • The Alliance: John Curtin's Agenda means that he'll form a lot of these, or at least defensive pacts.
  • Awaken The Sleeping Giant: An explicit gameplay mechanic. Starting a war with Australia causes the entire civilization to double its production for 10 turns, giving them a perfect opportunity to get an army together.
  • Bully Hunter: Combined with The Cavalry; Australia triggers its impressive production bonus by getting dragged into other people's wars and liberating cities. This makes them surprisingly effective at opposing expansionist civs and rescuing their own allies. Curtin's agenda also has him form defensive pacts with friendly nations and look fondly upon liberators, while being more guarded against empires occupying cities.
  • Cattle Baron: Australia's unique ability allows them to claim land around built pastures and build stations around them.
  • Defiant to the End: Defeat Australia, and Curtin will angrily tell you that the ideals of his nation will outlast any empire you could ever build.
  • The Great Wall: Outback Stations will link their fences together, eventually forming a barrier that may extend across the whole of Australian territory. This has no real effect on gameplay, but might be a subtle reference to the film Rabbit-Proof Fence.
  • Land Down Under: Of course. It's even the name of their UA.
  • Loophole Abuse: Since their Leader Ability is triggered by defensive wars, Australia players can take advantage of this against any civs that are suzerain to a city-state: declaring war on such a civ will prompt their allied city-states to declare war on you, which counts towards the ability. Just like that, you can get another ten turns of double production.
  • Magikarp Power: Much like the other colonial civs, Australia starts off fairly weak. Once they research Guilds, they get access to Outback Stations which grant them extra food and production bonuses which increase over time, while their Digger units get combat bonuses on both foreign territory and coastal tiles (the latter of which makes them excellent defenders considering Australia's coastal bias). The boosts in food and production from both their Outback Stations and their Ability can turn Australia into a late-game scientific powerhouse with sprawling metropolises.
  • Palm Tree Panic: Cities on coastal tiles give +3 housing, and the Australians have a starting bias by the beaches.
  • Promoted to Playable: Australia has the dubious distinction of existing in some form or another as a campaign-restricted nation since at least Civilization II before reaching a fully playable state, often showing up in the World War II scenario for each iteration of the game, as well as a city state in Civilization V complete with the Sydney Opera House which was mechanically impossible for the Australian city state to build.
  • Not the Intended Use/Emergent Gameplay: Prime Minister Curtin's ability gives Australia a whopping production boost of 100% for 10 turns after his civilization is attacked. If you have a decent army and yet irritate other - even and especially weaker - civs enough for long enough, they will likely attack you, thereby giving you all those bonuses. And you will be able to defend yourself while out-producing and out-Wondering them all.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Or at least the Australians think so. Specifically, tiles with high beauty give better yields when districts are built upon them.


Leader: Wilfrid Laurier (VI)
Unique Unit: Mountie (VI)
Unique Improvement: Ice Hockey Rink (VI)
Ability: Four Faces of Peace (VI)

Canada is a Civilization optimised for making the most out of tundra tiles. Its Unique Ability, "Four Faces of Peace", prevents Canada from declaring surprise wars, but also prevents other Civilizations from doing the same, buying them some room in the early game. Canada benefits from solving international disputes, and thus get double the diplomatic favor from fulfilling emergency declarations; and if the world stays peaceful, winning World Games and Canada's tourism can earn them the diplomatic favor they need. Their unique unit, the Mountie, is a light cavalry unit that can found National Parks, so stockpiling faith to purchase Naturalists is no longer necessary. On top of that, Mounties get +5 combat bonus for fighting near said parks, which goes up to +10 when those National Parks are Canadian-owned, making them a great defence force. The Ice Hockey Rink is Canada's unique improvement, and it gets amenity and culture adjacency bonuses from tundra and snow tiles, additional tourism and culture upon researching Flight, food and production upon unlocking Professional Sports, and even more culture when adjacent to a Stadium. Wilfrid Laurier's ability, "The Last Best West", makes settling the colder regions of the world more attractive by allowing farms to be built on tundra, doubling resource extraction in snow and tundra tiles, lumber mills in tundra provide extra production, and camps in those same tiles provide extra food; these tiles can also be purchased at half the price, so a well-funded Canada can balloon in size very quickly. Laurier's agenda, "Canadian Expeditionary Force", also sees him get involved in as many emergencies as he can, and he'll approve of other leaders who do the same. Canada is a civ that can get large by snapping up lands that much fewer civs are interested in, cultivate them greatly, maintain expansive amounts of land and resources, and can become a major player in diplomacy and tourism.

  • Ascended Meme: Canada was up there with Georgia in terms of requests for a proper civ; now, both are finally in the game.
  • Canada, Eh?: The stereotypes are all there: Snow, Mounties, Hockey, and being "Nice".
  • Canadian = Hockey Fan: Those Ice Hockey Rinks, of course.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Those emergencies aren't gonna solve themselves. Laurier will get involved in as many of these as possible, and can enjoy more diplomatic sway on the world stage as a result. Anybody who consistently refuses to get involved in emergencies can look forward to icier relations with Canada, as well.
  • Grim Up North: Averted. They can purchase tundra tiles for cheaper, build farms and thus can let their cities grow, get double resource extraction from them, and can use them to build hockey rinks for a whole bunch of bonuses.
  • Nature Hero: Mounties; not only can they found National Parks, they get combat bonuses from them, as well, giving Canada an extra boost towards a culture victory.
  • Nice Guy: Laurier's lack of ability to declare a surprise war means they won't destroy you early on unlike other civs unless you get into an emergency as the target. He's also one of the easier leaders to get along with because of that. His agenda is easy to meet, as it only requires you to participate in an emergency or a scored competition, which are common in the mid to late game.
  • Promoted to Playable: Several Canadian cities existed as City-States beforehand.
  • Switch to English: True to history, Laurier speaks both English and Quebecois French.


Leader: Poundmaker (VI)
Unique Unit: Okihtcitaw (VI)
Unique Improvement: Mekewap (VI)
Ability: Nîhithaw (VI)

The Cree, or Nehiyawak in their own language, are Canada's largest First Nation with traditional territories ranging from the West Plains to Northern Ontario on the Hudson Bay. Beginning as a group of tribes united by a common language, the Cree were some of the first indigenous peoples encountered by European settlers in Canada, with lucrative trade between the two groups becoming common. Unfortunately, as Canadian settlements grew the newfound strain on resources and available land led to conflict between the Cree and Canadian people which culminated in the collapse of the Cree "Iron Confederacy" and the relocation of the Cree Nations to reservations. Today the Cree people are making a comeback, reclaiming their native language, history, and customs thanks to the tireless advocacy of the Cree and Canadians alike.

The Cree are one of the most flexible Civilizations in VI. Poundmaker’s Favourable Terms ability gives shared visibility with all alliance types, and bonus food and gold on trade routes for pastures and camps at the destination. Even before they can get visibility from alliances, their Okihtcitaw scouts will be very useful, with the same strength as a warrior and a free promotion to get them moving through rough terrain faster. Mekewaps are an amazing improvement that provide food, gold, production and up to two housing, allowing for large, productive cities much quicker. The Nihithaw civilization ability will get your economy and land expansion a head start, as it grants the ability to make trade routes and a free trader unit when you research pottery, which also gives Mekewaps. Additionally, Whenever a Cree trader first moves onto a neutral tile within three tiles of a Cree city Centre, it adds it to your territory. Given the flexibility of the alliance system, and the fact that every victory type benefits from gold, production, and population, there is no wrong way to play the Cree, and any victory is open to you.

  • The Alliance: Poundmaker's agenda and ability encourage him to make a lot of these.
  • Army Scout: The Okihtcitaw is a unique scout that's as strong as a Warrior and starts with a free promotion, giving them an early edge in exploration.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Mekewap unique improvement may not have the same flair as a lot of others, but it does provide a base amount of production and housing, and can also provide gold or food depending on adjacent resources making it one of the most utilitarian improvements in the game.
  • Egopolis: One of the city names is Pihtokahanapiwiyin, which is Poundmaker's Cree name.
  • Mega City: With the housing added by the Mekewap unique improvement, Cree cities can have massive populations, even without neighbourhood districts.
  • Nice Guy: Poundmaker is incredibly easy to befriend and highly loyal, making him a potential ally throughout the entire game.
  • Proud Merchant Race: Encouraged, as their Nihithaw ability grants them ownership of any unclaimed tile a trader passes through within three tiles of a city centre. They even give you a free Trader and an extra Trade Route capacity when you research pottery. If you don't have a ton of trade routes going, you aren't playing the Cree right.

    Eleanor of Aquitaine 

Leader: Eleanor of Aquitaine
Special: May be leader of either France or England, with all unique units or buildings therein.
Ability: Court of Love (VI)

A first for the Civilization series, Eleanor of Aquitaine is a ruler who can be selected as the leader of either England or France due to her strong connection to the royal families of both. Her unique ability, Court of Love, inflicts a loyalty penalty on other civs' cities for every Great Work stored in her own ones nearby. Moreover, if such cities lose enough loyalty to rebel, they immediately flip to her control with no "Free City" stage in between, making her able to conquer with love, peace and art rather than war.

  • Disaster Dominoes: She could easily inflict this on any of her neighbors who failed to keep her in check. Once she successfully cause one city to rebel, the city's population would add to the loyalty pressure exerted from Court of Love, which leads to more cities rebelling. Eventually, the loyalty pressure, plus the yields she gain from the new cities, becomes so overwhelming that her neighbors are essentially defeated.
  • Magikarp Power: As Court of Love requires Great Works in order to be utilized, Eleanor doesn't have much going for her in the early game unlike Victoria and Catherine. Most of her early turns will be spent attracting Great People for their Great Works, which can leave her vulnerable in other areas. However, once she has amassed enough Great Works (and gain access to other means of applying loyalty pressure), she could inflict such a huge amount of loyalty pressure to nearby cities that nothing, short of open warfare, could stop it from rebelling and joining her.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She can be played this way, causing rebellions in foreign cities nearby through her Court of Love ability and gaining control over them, while still remaining friendly with the civilization she took it from. Furthermore, it is difficult, if not impossible, to get her AI to accept a Cultural Alliance (since it nullifies all loyalty pressure from her cities), which may not bode well for you if you enter a Dark Age and she's your closest neighbor.
  • Meaningful Name: Or meaningful Red Baron nickname, anyways: Judge of the Court of Love. It sounds harmless until she's sentencing your cities to become hers without so much as hurting a fly in your lands.
  • Meet the New Boss: "...the same as the old boss." This trope is mentioned by name in one achievement for flipping a city to Eleanor from *another* Eleanor. Since there's two of them (one French, one English, with different hairstyles even) this is entirely possible even without allowing copies of civs.
  • Nice Girl: Eleanor is very easy to befriend, especially when she's your most immediate neighbor, since her agenda makes her like civilizations with high population cities nearby; a natural progression for most players.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Prior to Eleanor's release in Civ VI, one of England's abilities was easy Great Works theme bonuses and extra space to store them. This would have been unbelievably powerful under Eleanor, so all that was shifted to Kristina in Sweden, and replaced with a bunch of industrial bonuses.
  • Princess Classic: She has the look down to a T, especially as the ruler of France. Her behaviour though can both play it straight or avert it.
  • Red Baron: Judge of the Court of Love.
  • Velvet Revolution: Her Leader Ability allows her to take over neighbouring cities through sheer cultural appeal. Cities that hit zero loyalty as a result of Eleanor's pressure become hers instantaneously. This means no warmonger penalties, no diplomatic grievances (since they joined voluntarily, they do not count as militarily occupied), and no damage to the city's population or infrastructure.


Leader: Tamar (VI)
Unique Unit: Khevsureti (VI)
Unique Building: Tsikhe (VI)
Ability: Strength in Unity (VI)

Georgia is a small nation nestled in the Caucasus along the Black Sea coast. Settled since the Paleolithic, Georgia truly came into its own during the 12th and 13th centuries when, guided by the hyper-competent monarchies of David IV, Demetrius I, and Tamar who saw a golden age of Georgian art, culture, religion, and commerce despite the growing chaos around them. Although this golden age came to an end with the Mongol Invasions, Georgia maintained its unique bearing even under the rule of foreign empires. Today Georgia is a young, but stable and growing democracy in Central Asia that is eager to recall its glory days.

Georgia encourages you to make friends with every city state you can find and spread your religion to them. Tamar’s leader ability doubles your faith output for 10 turns after you declare a protectorate war, which is only possible when someone attacks one of your city-state allies. Spreading your religion to city states means that any envoy you send to them counts double, and an evangelist Tamar will soon be rolling in city-state bonuses. Georgia’s Strength in Unity ability allows you to make a normal age dedication during a golden age as well as getting the golden age bonus. Being able to increase your era score during a golden age means you’ll be able to keep the golden ages rolling. The Tsikhe and the Khevsur both lean for defensive play. The Tsikhe is a replacement for the renaissance walls that is cheaper to produce and provides faith. Khevsurs are a melee unit partway between a swordsman and a musketman, which get a combat strength bonus in hills and completely ignore the movement penalty from them. Settling in hills will make medieval conflicts very one-sided.

  • Bully Hunter: Gets a whopping double faith bonus when declaring protectorate wars in defense of city-state allies, allowing for a variety of options depending on how the game has gone.
  • The Clan: The Khevsur unique unit is this, being a distinct ethnic group who serves Georgia as elite warriors.
  • Historical In-Joke: While by no means particularly warlike or unpleasant in game terms, Tamar talks and acts very standoffish when conducting diplomacy. Given that a sultan once sent a diplomat to tell her she'd be forced to either convert to Islam and marry him or remain a Christian and be his concubine, though, she may have just come to expect this kind of rapey threat...
  • Insult to Rocks: Tamar's denunciation quote:
    Tamar: To call you a thoughtless cur is an insult to curs.
  • Jerkass: Tamar has a rather unpleasant personality, to say the least. Even friendly interactions result in sarcastic or demeaning comments from her. Then again, she seemingly expects at least as much as she gives in terms of unpleasantness...
    Accepting a declaration of friendship: "I thought this a cruel jest, but upon reflection, I note your sincerity."
    Agreeing to a trade deal (including trades she initiated, gifts, and alliance proposals): "It pains me to agree, but I must."
  • Nice Girl: Her unpleasant personality aside, Tamar is actually very easy to befriend and a loyal ally. This is due to her agenda preferring civilizations that fortify their cities with walls, which most players are very likely to do early. She'll even give you a genuine compliment with no hint of sarcasm or insults.
    Tamar: I appreciate the walls you build for your people. You have a Georgian spirit.
  • Religious Bruiser: Georgia combines both religious and martial focus, and benefits strongly from evangelism to city-states.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: Having the ability to take the normal age dedication on top of the golden age bonus means Georgia has the potential to snowball into a win very early on. However, this makes both establishing a religion and getting a golden age at the very start absolutely vital to Georgia's success.

    Gran Colombia 

Leader: Simón Bolívar (VI)
Unique Unit: Commandante General, Llanero (VI)
Unique Improvement: Hacienda (VI)
Ability: Ejército Patriota (VI)

Gran Colombia are a military powerhouse designed for sweeping their way across the map. Their "Ejército Patriota" ability grants +1 Movement to all units - even civilian units like Settlers and Builders - and allows units to be promoted without ending that unit's turn. Their unique unit, the Llanero, gains bonus combat strength for each adjacent Llanero, and combined with their staggering movement speed, a group of Llanero can be a terrifying prospect. They also gain a unique Great Person, the Commandante General, and Bolívar's "Campaña Admirable" ability grants him one at the start of each era, letting him come flying out of the gates. While Bolívar is off liberating every civ in sight, his unique Hacienda improvements provide bonus Gold, Production, and Housing, to help fuel the war machine.

  • Composite Character: Like the original Gran Colombia, this civilization is a combination of the modern Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama, and it shows in-game (names of the cities, the civilization theme, the name of the abilities and comandantes generales, etc)
  • Four-Star Badass: Commandante Generals are like an even better Great General, because they do not have their combat bonuses tied to units from a particular tech era. If you do choose to retire them, they all bestow a unique and powerful benefit. The wiki entries for each of them notes how they were all outstanding military commanders.
  • Lightning Bruiser: +1 Movement for every single unit is enough to qualify them as this. The power of the Llanero, backed up by the Commandante General, is just the icing on the cake.
  • Promoted to Playable: Bogotá was a City-State in V, and Bolívar was a Great General in VI prior to Gran Colombia's addition.
  • Zerg Rush: The Llanero is built for this: it has a low maintenance cost, a movement range of 6 thanks to Gran Colombia's unique ability, and gains bonus combat strength for each adjacent Llanero. The ideal war strategy is to build a bunch of them and send them all forward in one group.


Leaders: Matthias Corvinus (VI)
Unique Units: Black Army (VI), Huszár (VI)
Unique Building: Thermal Bath (VI)
Ability: Pearl of the Danube (VI)

In VI, Hungary is a mid-game power that can quickly turn the tide of any war and make themselves a feared juggernaut with the help of all their allied City-States. Their "Pearl of the Danube" ability greatly encourages river settlement, as anything being constructed across a river from a city centre is built in half the time, so Hungarian cities can get some quick infrastructure going. Their unique building, the Thermal Bath, replaces the Zoo and grants +2 Amenities, +2 Production and additional amenity and tourism for every geothermal fissure within the city. Hungary's main strength, however, is its military: Corvinus' "Raven King" ability makes levying city state units much more attractive by providing two envoys to the CS in question, +2 movement and +5 combat strength for as long as they're used, and can be upgraded completely free of charge. Hungary's own army is nothing to be scoffed at, either; their Black Army is a light cavalry unit that gets +3 strength for each adjacent levied unit, and this unit upgrades into the Huszár, which gets +3 strength for each active alliance. Matthias' "Raven Banner" agenda means that, compared to other leaders who will often rush to conquer their neighbouring city-states, he will instead make the most of his suzerainty and will levy units as often as he can, and is fond of other leaders doing the same.

  • The Alliance: A big priority for Hungary, whether it be with other major civs or city-states.
  • The Cavalry: Their usage of mercenaries can make or break wars, and can be upgraded with no costs to either gold or resources.
  • Healing Spring: Those Thermal Baths, while they don't provide health bonuses, certainly make the cities happier and more productive.
  • Hired Guns: Matthias (and any good Hungary player) will prioritise the use of this. It's noted that his Black Army and Hussar units were historically mercenaries as well.
  • Mounted Combat: Both of their unique units are cavalry. Their default unique unit is the Huszár which acts as a light cavalry unit that gains bonus combat strength for each active Alliance. The Black Army unique unit is exclusive to Corvinus, and are knights that gain bonus combat strength from nearby levied units.
  • Promoted to Playable: Budapest was a city state in earlier games. Interestingly, the capital of Hungary is not Budapest but Buda (historically accurate for Matthias' time), with its other constituent cities Pest and Óbuda being founded later with no chance of unification.


Leader: Mvemba a Nzinga (VI)
Unique Unit: Ngao Mbeba (VI)
Unique District: Mbanza (VI)
Ability: Nkisi (VI)

Kongo was founded sometime around 1390, and eventually became one of Africa's greatest kingdoms. By the time the Europeans came across them, they were a highly developed state rich with trade and goods. The Portuguese also found a valuable ally in Mvemba a Nzinga, who took on the name Alfonso I, converted to Christianity, and later adopted it as the state religion after a vision helped him win a battle against his brother. Even with disagreements with European powers over religious practice and the slave trade (slaves were sold under Kongolese law), the Kingdom of Kongo prospered up until 1857, when it became a vassal and then a subject of the Portuguese empire. Today, Kongo's successors are a group of African states with varying degrees of prosperity.

In Civ VI, the Kongolese are unique in that they can't build Holy Sites. However, Mvemba a Nzinga's Religious Convert leader ability means that they get all the benefits of any foreign religion that has spread to their cities, and whenever they build a Theater Square or Mbanza (a replacement of the Neighbourhood), they are given a free Apostle, allowing them to pick and choose which bonuses to keep and defend themselves from religions of less value to them. The Nkisi ability also means that they get food, production and gold from relics, artefacts and sculptures in addition to culture, as well as 50% great person points and extra slots for great works in Palaces. Their aforementioned Mbanza districts come much earlier than Neighbourhoods, and automatically provide a set amount of housing, food, and gold no matter the appeal, but can only be built in woods and rainforests. The Kongolese, however, aren't pushovers and know the forests well, and their Ngao Mbeba unique unit suffers no sight or movement penalties in forested areas, doesn't require iron, and can shrug off onslaughts of ranged attacks. The end result is an unorthodox civ that can grow rapidly in the middle of rainforest, spit out culture and gold thanks to different religions and use both its military and terrain to defend itself.

  • Annoying Arrows: the Ngao Mbeba has an inheirent +10 bonus to defense against ranged attacks, and like all other melee units can be promoted to have another +10 after just a few battles. This makes them capable of shrugging off many, many arrows from the contemporary archers and crossbowmen, and even cannon fire.
  • Ascended Extra: Kongo was previously an NPC city-state in V.
  • Cultured Badass: Mvemba a Nzinga's trait is Religious Convert, meaning that his civilization prefers to adopt someone else's religion rather than start their own. To compensate, though, they have HUGE boosts to Culture. Their capital palace has many slots for Great Works and they get extra money and even food for Great Works of Art or Relics.
  • Easy Evangelism: Most leaders want nothing to do with your religion if they have founded their own. Not only is it impossible for Nvemba to build holy sites or found religions, but Mvemba will actively welcome the words of your missionaries and apostles and from that point on any cultural center or Mbanza built in said city will spawn an apostle for your religion under his control. Conversely; If you have founded a religion and not spread it to him he will equate it to a lack of passion on your part.
  • Ghibli Hills: Any Mbanza is made out to be this, and Kongo has a starting bias towards rainforests in general.
  • Nature Hero: The narrator emphasizes how the Kongo people know the dense woods and rainforests as their home, the Mbanza - their neighbourhoods - can only be built on (rain)forests and the Ngao Mbeba moves just as fast through rainforests as other units do on flat land. Whether or not they're actually heroic depends on whether or not you're at war with them.
  • Proud Merchant Race: Kongo's Nkisi ability lets them earn Great Merchants 50% more quickly than they normally would.


Leader: Alexander the Great (VI)
Unique Unit: Hypaspist (VI), Hetairoi (VI)
Unique Building: Basilikoi Paides (VI)
Ability: Hellenistic Fusion (VI)

Macedon's rise from a small kingdom on the periphery of the great Greek states of Athens and Sparta to a far-flung empire in the span of two reigns is legendary. When the 4th Century BC rolled around, the ascension of Phillip II saw the conquest of their neighbours and the consolidation of their new power, but it was his son, Alexander, who took Macedon to new heights. Founding and leading a federation, he took on Greece's ancient rival Persia and completely conquered them, pushing on until reaching the Indus river. However, a Pyrrhic victory stopped Alexander's conquest, and he himself died in 323 BC in Babylon. Alexander's empire partitioned into several warring factions, and when the Romans annexed Macedon 148 BC, few shed a tear.

In VI, Macedon is a civ built to wage war from the very start and keep going. Alexander's Leader Ability To World's End means that his cities never suffer war weariness, and capturing a city completely heals all nearby units. Their first of two unique units, the Hypaspist, gain an additional +5 strength when besieging districts, and their Hetairoi get an additional bonus when paired with Great Generals, as well as getting points for said generals whenever they defeat an enemy, along with starting with a free promotion. All that focus on military doesn't necessarily mean that Macedon will be left behind in other areas: their Hellenistic Fusion ability means that they get technological Eureka moments whenever they capture a city with a Campus or a in Industrial Zone, and civic Inspirations if the city has a Theater Square or Holy Site. All in all, once the classical era hits, Alexander has both the means and the will to make the world Macedonian.

  • Always Chaotic Evil: Due to Alexander's agenda of disliking peace, expect Macedon to be constantly attacking everybody for the entire game. Also encouraged in-game for the player to do the same when playing as Macedon, due to their powerful military bonuses when on the offense and the fact that war weariness on their citizens is non-existent.
  • Badass Bookworm: Macedon's unique building the Basilikoi Paides, generates bonus science whenever a non-civilian unit is produced. Fitting for a student of Aristotle.
  • Blood Knight: His agenda, Short Life of Glory, favours civilizations that are a war and dislike civilizations who are a peace.
  • Decomposite Character: After spending every previous game as a leader of the Greeks, Alexander's native Macedon became a separate Civ for the first time in VI in part because of Macedon's murky status in the Greek World.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Alexander is usually depicted as a charismatic, handsome young man with charming speech. Who will then stab you in the back (or front) and take all your stuff.
  • Forever War: His "To the World's End" trait makes it so his cities never suffer war weariness...EVER. Unlike every other civ, he can sustain being enemies with everyone until the cows come home.
  • Jerkass: Alexander is an even bigger one in VI, as now he has an agenda of disliking civilizations at peace along with his extremely territorial play style. Whether you are neighboring countries or not, expect to never be on friendly terms with Alexander.
  • Power Copying: Their biggest impetus to keep conquering constantly is because they get tech and civic boosts for every district in enemy cities they conquer. They can't steal techs outright like Assyria in V, but they get the next-best thing and there's no limit to how often they can do it.
  • Take Over the World: In keeping with the ambitions of Alexander, Macedon is perfectly suited to waging war and conquest.
  • Young Conqueror: Alexander's ability, To The World's End, allows Macedon to wage war for much longer by reducing how much War Weariness they accumulate.


Leader: Kupe (VI)
Unique Unit: Toa (VI)
Unique Building: Marae (VI)
Unique Improvement: Pā (VI)
Ability: Mana (VI)

The Maori are based around being unconventional; their "Mana" unique ability gives them the Sailing tech and ocean exploration right off the bat, and those embarked units are stronger and faster, allowing the Maori to sail to and settle any choice land relatively unharmed. Any unimproved woods and rainforests in Maori territory get additional production, with extra benefit as they advance through the civics. Fishing Boats provide extra food and trigger culture bombs, giving the Maori an incentive to stick to the coasts. As a tradeoff, however, they cannot harvest resources or recruit Great Writers. To combat this, the Maori can build the Marae, which replaces the Amphitheater; while it can't hold any Great Works, it gives extra faith and culture to any passable features in the city, and later tourism upon researching Flight, and is completely free to keep. In order to either expand or defend themselves, the Maori can recruit the Toa, a Swordsman replacement that doesn't require any resources to own, and can reduce the combat strength of any other units adjacent to it. On top of that, the Toa can build the Pa, a fort which not only gives any occupying units +4 defensive strength and two turns of fortification, but also heals any Maori units fortified in that tile even after moving or attacking. Kupe's ability is "Kupe's Voyage", which sees the Maori starting the game in the ocean and giving them extra leeway in picking a site for their first city. To compensate for the slightly later start, they get an additional +2 science and culture per turn before their capital is founded, and once they've settled, get both a free builder and extra population. The Palace also gives extra housing and amenities. Kupe himself will look after the forests, and chastise those who exploit them.

  • Angry Dance: The Toa have the "Haka" ability, which causes any non-Maori adjacent unit to drop in effectiveness. Kupe himself does a rather vicious haka if you get into war with him.
  • Born Under the Sail: The truest example in the game - the Maori start the game in the middle of the ocean, which they can traverse at any time. They can also grab extra tiles by building Fishing Boats.
  • The Dreaded: The Toa for enemy units, due to their Haka.
  • The Engineer: The Toa have a build charge, with which they can build a Pā. A Māori unit ending their turn in one gets healed for 10 HP, and the healing ramps up if they fortify on it.
  • Gender Is No Object: A Toa unit has women as well as men fighting in its force as well as in its Historical Achievement art.
  • Large Ham: Kupe. In particular, he won't hold back at showing off his Haka dance at the player during his displeased animations.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Kupe can keep up with competitors without even founding his first city, gets an extra boost in infrastructure when he does, can get tourists to flock to his civilization without any works of writing at all, and can be nice and productive by leaving nature be.
  • Nature Hero: The best way to play the Maori is to not interfere too much with the natural world, and instead focus mainly on the ocean.
  • Never Learned to Read: The early Maori did not have a written language and instead relied upon oral tradition to keep their stories alive, hence why they don't earn Great Writers (but get a lot of culture from their surroundings).
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To Polynesia from V, but with a more specific focus. Their unique units are practically the same.


Leader: Lautaro (VI)
Unique Unit: Malon Raider (VI)
Unique Improvement: Chemamull (VI)
Ability: Toqui (VI)

Mapuche is a collective term referring to the aboriginal peoples of Chile and Argentina who share certain cultural practices and traditions. The Mapuche have a history of repelling larger empires, first holding off the Inca at the the Battle of the Maule, and then later resisting the Spanish Conquistadors who sought to claim the rich resources of Chile. While the Mapuche proved to be tenacious and adaptable, the Spanish ultimately succeeded in their conquest of Chile and drove the Mapuche into the fringes of Chilean territory.

The Mapuche in VI are a cultural and martial Civilization which focuses on the new loyalty mechanic. The Toqui Civilization Ability means all units trained in a city with an established governor get 25% more experience in combat, and also get a flat +10 combat strength against any civ currently in a golden age. The Swift Hawk Leader Bonus causes any enemy unit killed in its own territory to generate unrest against that civ, meaning that protracted wars against the Mapuche come with the inherent risk of losing cities to rebellion.

  • The World Is Just Awesome: The Chemamull Unique Improvement can only be built on "Breathtaking" appeal tiles and generate culture worth 75% of the tile's appeal. They also provide tourism upon researching flight, meaning Mapuche can easily bloom into a dominant cultural civ by the late game.
  • Undying Loyalty: Lautaro's Spirit of Tucapel Leader Agenda means he tries to generate this in his own people, and respects other civs that do likewise.


Leader: Harald Hardrada (VI)
Unique Units: Berserker (VI), Viking Longship (VI)
Unique Building: Stave Church (VI)
Ability: Knarr (VI)

Norway rose to prominence during the early Viking Age when Norwegian raiders, merchants, and settlers carved out a massive sphere of influence which now includes Scotland, Iceland, the Faeroe Islands, Ireland, and England. However, Norway was not just a hub of warlords and explorers, but also an early center of religion and culture in Scandinavia with the royal court backing many of the famous Icelandic skalds. While much of its history was spent struggling with its sister nations of Denmark and Sweden, Norway today is a thriving global center of commerce, science, and culture with some of the highest standards of living in the world.

In Civilization VI Norway is primed to forge a massive naval empire with the unique Viking Longship providing unmatched coastal strength and speed, and Berserker unique infantry ravaging enemy holdings like nobody else can. However, Harald also excels in religion with the Stave Church unique building providing extra faith based upon nearby forest tiles, and extra production on coasts to hasten the making of even more Viking raiders.

  • Ascended Extra: Norway were playable in the "1066: Year of Viking Destiny" scenario in V, as a reskinned clone of Denmark, but VI promotes them to a fully-fledged civ.
  • The Berserker: Their special land unit.
  • Blood Knight: Harald loves to fight, even when you declare war on him.
  • Glass Cannon: The Berserker's already-respectable combat strength is boosted even further when attacking, but penalized a like amount when defending.
  • Large Ham: Harald Hardrada when he's declaring war, appropriate of the last Viking king himself.
  • Lightning Bruiser: All of Norway's units ignore additional movement costs from embarking and disembarking, making them perfect for performing quick surprise attacks from the sea.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: But of course. Harald's special ability allows all of his naval melee units to pillage coastal tiles.
  • Religious Bruiser: While mostly focusing on domination and military conquest, Norway's unique building is a temple replacement that gets more faith when it's built next to woods, giving them an edge for a religious victory as well.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Norway's abilities is basically a mixture of Denmark and Polynesia's special abilities from V.
  • Worthy Opponent: Harald respects leaders with a strong navy, but hates those with a weak one.


Leader: Amanitore (VI)
Unique Unit: Pitati Archer (VI)
Unique Improvement: Nubian Pyramids (VI)
Ability: Ta-Seti (VI)

Nubia once dominated the Nile's Great Bend, one of the centers of trade of their time and their abilities help their cities grow large and prosperous. Their unique ability, Ta-seti, provides bonus production to mines built over strategic resources, as well as bonus gold to mines build over luxury resources. Their unique improvement, the Nubian Pyramid, provides adjency bonuses to districts it is built next to. Queen Amanitore was famous for the construction projects she presided over and this is represented thorugh her ability Kandake of Meroë, which increases district production speed. While Nubia's large cities may make a tempting target for rival Civilizations, Ta-Seti also provides bonus production and increased combat experience for ranged units, including the Pitati Archer, which is stronger and faster than the archers of other civilizations.

  • Badass Boast: Amanitore has them to spare, the best being when she declares war: "We have arrows, finely honed. We shall deliver them freely to your throat."
  • Bling of War: The Nubian Pitati archer models are bedecked in golden earrings and bracelets.
  • Construction Is Awesome: One of the main focuses of the civ is building, and Amanitore admires leaders with well built cities.
  • Elite Army: Nubia's archers earn promotions more quickly than other units, and Pitati Archers are stronger and faster than normal archers to begin with.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Nubian archers were famous for this, having been rumored by the Persians to target the eyes of their foes and it shows in the game with their greater range.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Nubia's Pitati archers are both stronger and faster than normal archers.
  • Promoted to Playable: Nubia used to be only represented by their city Meroe, which served as one of the Egyptian cities.
  • Pyramid Power: Nubian Pyramids gain a wide array of yields from adjacent districts, and they speed district production if built next to the city center.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Amanitore has her moments, though she keeps it classy even then. Per example "As predicted, you know only how to take. Come, then—choose the manner of your defeat."
  • Shining City: Nubia is one of the best civs for making these, due to both Amanitore's agenda and the Nubian Pyramids.


Leader: Dido (VI)
Unique Unit: Bireme (VI)
Unique District: Cothon (VI)
Ability: Mediterranean Colonies (VI)

Phoenicia in Civilization VI is a composite of maritime power and political power—often combining the two. Its unique "Cothon" district is an easier-to-build Naval Yard, and the Bireme an easier-to-build Galley. Where it gets interesting is its ability to increase trade route capacity for every Government Plaza building they produce (including the plaza district itself), letting them get their finances up and running as quickly as they get their governors and government. Phoenicia's cities on the same continent as its capital are always 100% loyal and cannot be pressured into joining other civs, plus their Settlers are aquatic and can cross over onto islands or other continents, letting them spread around almost as quickly as the Maori. If loyalty becomes a problem on a distant land, that's not a problem either, as Phoenicia's final ability lets them relocate their capital to any city with a Cothon built. The seeds for an intercontinental mercantile empire are easily sown with this Civ and can be leveraged into a late-game powerhouse.

  • Composite Character: Phoenicia appears to be Civ 6's version of Carthage; it inherits its leader and unique building from its colony. With its unique ability to change its capital, the capital can even be set to Carthage if you so choose.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Dido is dressed in a bright purple tunic which straddles the line between tasteful and alluring. A given for the queen of Phoenicia, the empire where the association of purple with wealthy, noble and powerful originates.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To Carthage from earlier Civ games. It trades the War Elephants for Biremes, and the ability to cross mountain tiles is given up in exchange for more sea power.


Leader: Robert the Bruce (VI)
Unique Unit: Highlander (VI)
Unique Improvement: Golf Course (VI)
Ability: Scottish Enlightenment (VI)

Scotland's history has been one of struggle, be it against the Romans, the Vikings, or their on-again off-again rival to the south. It was during one such of these conflicts where Scotland first came into its own under Robert the Bruce who secured Scottish sovereignty from England and set Scotland on its modern path. Despite all of this conflict, Scotland has developed a rich, unique culture which flourished during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries concurrent with its new status as an industrial powerhouse.

Scotland in Civilization VI has the potential to be a scientific and industrial powerhouse with happy cities gaining huge bonuses to science and production while generating extra great person points. The unique Golf Course improvement generates both gold and culture and also provides a free amenity to ensure its host city stays nice and happy. However, Scotland is perfectly capable of defending itself with Robert's Bannockburn leader bonus allowing for early wars of liberation as well as doubling production and granting extra movement to all units during the first turns after war is declared.

  • Awaken The Sleeping Giant: Like Australia, Scotland gets doubled production under certain cassus belli, specifically Wars of Liberation. However, they also get +2 movement on all units as well, meaning that anyone who wants to take Scottish cities by force had better be ready to defend them tooth and nail lest Scotland take back what they lost, with interest besides.
  • Badass Bookworm: The Scottish Enlightenment Civ Ability gives Scotland the means to be the preeminent scientific and industrial power in the game, provided their cities remain happy.
  • Berserk Button: Robert's leader agenda means he'll never declare war on his immediate neighbors, unless they break a promise to him. In a similar vein, warring on one's neighbors is sure to tick him off.
  • The Clan: The ever-famous Highlanders appear as Scotland's unique unit, a stronger replacement of the ranger which gets even stronger when in forests.
  • Martial Pacifist: Robert hates warring on his borders and will avoid it when possible, but god help you if he decides to take back what's his.
  • National Stereotypes: Scotland gets golf courses as its unique improvement.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: They may not look like it at first, but they are in fact a more specific version of the Celtic civilization from past games. The precedent for this status is from the portrayal of the Celts in V which shifted their cities to those of the six modern Celtic Nations complete with Edinburgh as the capital.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Robert is an interesting subversion, focusing on production and science and hating those who war on their neighbors. However, he is perfectly capable of declaring wars of aggression, he warns that you'll dine on your own teeth when you attack him, and his denouncement speech has him threatening to brain you with an axe.note 


Leader: Tomyris (VI)
Unique Unit: Saka Horse Archer (VI)
Unique Improvement: Kurgan (VI)
Ability: People of the Steppe (VI)

Scythia was a region of Central Eurasia in classical antiquity, occupied by the Eastern Iranian Scythians, encompassing parts of Eastern Europe east of the Vistula River and Central Asia, with the eastern edges of the region vaguely defined by the Greeks. The Ancient Greeks gave the name Scythia (or Great Scythia) to all the lands north-east of Europe and the northern coast of the Black Sea. The Scythians – the Greeks' name for this initially nomadic people – inhabited Scythia from at least the 11th century BC to the 2nd century AD. Scythia was a loose state that originated as early as 8th century BC. Little is known of them and their rulers. The most detailed western description is by Herodotus, though it is uncertain he ever went to Scythia. He said the Scythians' own name for themselves was "Scoloti". The Scythians became increasingly settled and wealthy on their western frontier with Greco-Roman civilization.

Scythia's leader in Civilization VI is Tomyris, a legendary warrior-queen who led her armies to defend against an attack by Cyrus the Great (see Persia above), defeating and killing him in 530 BC (although this is debatable since Herodotus mentions that this was only one of many stories relating to Cyrus' death).

In-game, Scythia is a military-focused civ specializing in early mounted combat, much like the Huns and Mongols. Whenever the Scythians build a horseman or Saka Horse Archer, they receive a second one for free, letting them build a massive number of fast units in an alarmingly short time. Scythian units receive a strength bonus when attacking wounded opponents, and heal slightly after victorious combat.

  • Action Girl: Tomyris is the only female leader to don a full armor in Civilization VI, and the only female leader alongside Greece's Gorgo to get a combat-focused bonus.
  • Armour-Piercing Question: Upon defeat in Civ VI Tomyris states that she will be remembered while looking down away from the camera, then she looks up and asks “Will you?”
  • Artistic License – Religion: The lore of the game claims that Scythians were animists, having "all the usual ones – sun, moon, war, death, hunting and so forth – one would expect of unenlightened pagans". While its arguably true to some degree the Scythian gods are poorly understood and its highly likely that the pantheon covered by Herodotus didn't include a moon, death or hunting god. Go to Scythian Mythology for what we know so far.
  • Ascended Extra: It was possible to encouter a Scythian tribe (either friendly or barbarian) in III.
  • Broken Bird: Upon meeting you, before pleasantries such as "Hello", "Nice to meet you", "I am Tomyris", etc., Tomyris shouts at you that she will repay treachery with blood. After that, she smiles, saying that you two will be friends IF you are a true friend.
  • Bully Hunter: Tomyris has a strong dislike of leaders who launch surprise attacks against other civs, so be careful not to draw her wrath while you're conquering your neighbors.
  • Coup de Grâce: Tomyris' units get a bonus when fighting wounded units.
  • Hordes from the East: The resident one in the original release of VI, where neither Attila's Huns nor Genghis Khan's Mongols are featured.
  • Horse Archer: The Saka Horse Archers are this. In an odd example, you are not required to have Horses to build the units.
  • Life Drain: Tomyris' bonus allows units to heal 30 HP whenever they kill an enemy.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Early on, their incredible bonuses to light cavalry can make for fast and devastating attacks using Horsemen and Saka Horse Archers. And even though the Saka Horse Archer becomes obsolete rather quickly, the ability to get a second light cavalry unit never does, which means that Scythia will also get a free helicopter when building one in the late game.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: Her reason for, in her words, repaying treachery with blood.
  • Not the Intended Use:
    • In Scythia, when you train a light cavalry unit or a Saka Horse Archer, you gain an extra one. While normally this would mean an extra military unit to use, you could also "sell" this extra unit for gold. With good production, you could spawn many light cavalry units (which can go up to Modern era with Helicopters counting as light cavalry) and sell them for easy gold. However, this was patched out a month after release.
    • As per Religious Bruiser below, their various combat bonuses apply to the metaphorical "theological" combat of apostles, missionaries, and inquisitors, allowing them to spread their power through religion very effectively.
  • Religious Bruiser: They're able to build primitive Faith-generating tombs called Kurgans at the start of the game, but what REALLY qualifies them for this is their civ's natural ability to heal units after a successful combat. This even extends to their religious units like Apostles, which normally can only heal when retreating to a Holy Site. Which makes Scythia a shoe-in for religious victories as well as military ones.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Scythia without horses isn't nearly as threatening as Scythia with horses. Thankfully (for them), they get a bias towards starting near pasture tiles.
  • Zerg Rush: Much like the Huns, they're perfect for bumrushing your enemies early on.


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