Civilization VI is here. The whole of human history, its nations and leaders, arrive. But who are they and what can they do? We’ve gathered them all here, including those released as post-launch DLC, along with their vital stats and trailers.
Civilization VI made our list of the best strategy games on PC.
Civilization 6 Khmer
- Leader: King Jayavarman VII, who ruled the Khmer Empire (in modern Cambodia) from 1181-1218. His 'Monasteries of the King' leader ability enables Khmer to grab adjacent territory, as well as bonus Food and Housing, when Holy Sites are built on a river.
- Unique unit: the Domrey, a ballista mounted on an elephant. The Domrey is stronger than the Catapult it replaces, exerts zone of control, and - excitingly - can move and shoot on the same turn. That's a powerful recipe for early warfare.
- Unique building: The Prasat, which replaces the Temple and provides a Relic Great Work slot. Additionally, any Missionaries produced here will generate a Relic when killed in religious combat.
- Special ability: Grand Barays. Khmer's unique ability grants bonus Food when farms are built adjacent to Aqueducts, and Aqueducts provide both Faith and an Amenity.
A third civ joins the game with the ability to steal tiles, and with a powerful move-and-fire siege weapon, too. There's every reason to make the most of this in the early game with a bit of warmongering, but don't neglect Faith output - a religious victory is an obvious play for Khmer.
Civilization 6 Indonesia
- Leader: Dyah Gitarja, a Javanese queen regent. Her prime minister was Gajah Mada - Indonesia's leader in Civ V - alongside whom she pursued a massive expansion of her empire. Her leader ability, modestly entitled 'Exalted Goddess of the Three Worlds', grants bonus Faith to coastal cities and allows her to purchase Naval units with Faith at a discount. It also eliminates the movement cost for religious units to embark or disembark.
- Unique unit: the Jong, which replaces the Frigate. It is faster, gains extra combat power if it’s in a formation, and confers its movement speed to all units in said formation.
- Unique tile improvement: the Kampung, which provides Housing, Production and Food for each adjacent Fishing Boat, and can be improved through further tech research later in the game.
- Special ability: Great Nusantara. Indonesia's unique ability will cause coastal tiles to provide minor adjacency bonuses for certain districts, while Entertainment Complexes will also grant an extra Amenity if they are adjacent to a coastal tile that isn't a lake.
Do you play on Archipelago maps? Do you like winning? Look no further. Indonesian cities will absolutely thrive near the coast, and strong cities enable you to pursue practically any strategy. That said, you're missing an opportunity if you don't invest heavily in Faith: the Jong makes an ideal escort unit to spread your Missionaries all over the world for a religious win, but for the more martial-minded among you, you can invest Faith in your navy to dictate what happens on the water.
Probably don't pick Indonesia on Pangaea maps.
- Leader: Kandake (Queen) Amanitore. Nubia make their debut in the Civilization franchise under Amanitore, who ruled the ancient Kushitic Kingdom of Meroë at a time when its builders were flourishing; more than two hundred Nubian Pyramids were built around her reign. Appropriately, her leader ability - Kandake of Meroë - is all about production. It gives +20% production towards all districts, which rises to +40% if there is a Nubian Pyramid adjacent to the city centre.
- Unique unit: Pitati Archer. Is both stronger and faster than the Archer it replaces. If you're in a belligerent mood, abuse Ta-Seti to spam these early, go barbarian hunting, and enjoy a deadly army of experienced ranged units. If you start with lots of luxury or bonus resources, upkeep is solved (see Ta-Seti).
- Unique tile improvement: Nubian Pyramid. Provides faith, and gives bonuses based on adjacent districts, or food if adjacent to a city centre. Can only be built in deserts, desert hills, or floodplains. Requires Masonry.
- Special ability: Ta-Seti. Nubia get +50% production towards ranged units, and all ranged units get a +50% bonus to experience gain. Also, all Mines give +1 production if built on strategic resources, and +2 gold if built over luxury or bonus resources.
After some basically incidental bonuses with Germany and Russia, Civ VI finally gets a pure production-focused faction. Beeline to Masonry, get those Pyramids up, and enjoy a borderline stupid +40% production bonus to every single district you'd like to build, not to mention some extra food to grow your city. Pyramids are limited to deserts, but your start bias should enable you to get at least three powerful cities up and running early doors. A strong army of high-ranked ranged units should be equally easy to develop, and that's a lead that'll be hard to rein in.
- Leader: Alexander the Great. Finally. It didn't feel like Civ without Alex - he's been in every game in the series and rightly so, as perhaps the most successful general the world had yet seen at his time. Predictably, Macedon under him is one of the strongest military civs in the entire game: his unique ability is To The World's End, which reduces war weariness, so Macedon can stay at war for longer. Additionally, Alex, like Teddy, has his own unique unit: the Hetairoi replaces the Horseman, and comes with a free promotion.
- Unique unit: Hypaspist. Macedon's unit replaces the Swordsman and gets bonus combat strength when besieging districts, plus extra support bonuses.
- Unique building: Basilikoi Paides, which loosely translates to 'royal page school'. Produces science whenever its host city trains a non-civilian unit, and gives additional bonuses when training specific military units. Judging from the video, it looks like you can build these in encampment districts.
- Special ability: Hellenistic Fusion. Whenever Macedon captures a city, they get various bonuses according to the districts it has - a eureka moment toward a civic is shown as an example of this in the Macedon announcement video.
Wow, that looks strong. Warmongering civs often have to stop kicking tail to catch up on science or culture, or just because of war weariness, but with Macedon and Alex, you keep your foot on the gas for way longer. If you're not killing everything in sight for at least as long as your UUs are relevant, you're doing it wrong.
- Leader: Cyrus II, also called Cyrus the Great. Through a series of brilliant campaigns and surprise invasions, Cyrus established the Achaemenid empire - the largest the world had ever seen until the conquests of Alexander the Great. His ability is Fall of Babylon, which grants bonus movement to all Persian units after declaring a surprise war. Cyrus also gets reduced diplomatic penalties for surprise wars.
- Unique unit: Immortal. Persia's famous elite infantry replace Swordsmen. Immortals get a ranged attack, but unlike most ranged units, also have strong melee defence.
- Unique improvement: Pairidaeza, or Persian Gardens. Provides culture, gold and appeal, with bonuses for adjacent districts and city centres. Their yields increase over time as you advance through the tech and civics trees, so build them up early to become a cultural or economic power by the end-game.
- Special ability: Satrapeha. Persia gets a free trade route when Political Philosophy is researched, and receives bonuses to internal trade routes.
- Leader: John Curtin, Australia's 14th prime minister and its leader during most of the Second World War, when he defended the nation from the Japanese and unified its many states, putting the country on firm footing to recover after the war. His ability is Citadel of Civilisation, which grants Australia bonus production at the start of a defensive war, or whenever it liberates a city.
- Unique unit: Digger. The affectionate nickname for Australian troops in the 20th century, Diggers replace Infantry. They get bonus combat strength when fighting outside friendly territory, or on land tiles adjacent to water.
- Unique improvement: Outback Station. Unlocked with the Guilds civic, and upgraded with Steam Power and Rapid Deployment, Outback Stations provide food and production, with bonus food for adjacent pastures. In addition, new pastures will trigger a 'culture bomb' effect, and will steal adjacent tiles from other civs and city-states. In the video above, it looks like this will only occur when a pasture is built next to an existing Outback Station.
- Special ability: Land Down Under. Cities get extra housing when built on coastal tiles, and campuses, commercial hubs, holy sites and theatre squares get additional yields when built on tiles with charming or breathtaking appeal.
This is the first time Australia are 'officially' added to a Civilization game. They don't have a confirmed release date or price yet, but if they cost the same as Poland, expect them to go for £3.99, or $4.99 US. You can learn more at the announcement here.
- Leader: King Jadwiga, also called Hedwig, Poland's first female monarch. Crowned 'king' because it was 1384 and 'queen' meant consort back then, and the Polish lords who hated her intended husband wanted to make clear that she should rule. Her ability is Lithuanian Union; if you founded a religion as Poland, it will become the majority religion in any rival city whose territory you steal through Golden Liberty. Jadwiga also gets bonus gold, culture and faith from relic great works, and extra Holy Site adjacency bonuses.
- Unique unit: Winged Hussar. If it does more damage than its opponent when attacking, it pushes the enemy unit back a tile. Enemies who can't retreat take additional damage.
- Unique building: Sukiennice, or Cloth Hall. Provides bonus production from foreign trade routes, and bonus gold from domestic ones.
- Special ability: Golden Liberty. When you complete an encampment or fort in friendly territory, it will claim nearby tiles, even if they belong to a rival civ. It looks like this will destroy enemy Wonders rather than claim them for yourself, which is still a pretty horrid result for your opponent. One of Poland's military policy slots is also turned into a Wildcard slot.
Poland are Civ 6's first paid DLC, and are available to purchase now. You can pick them up on Steam for £3.99, or $4.99 US.
Civilization VI America
- Leader: Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States. He gives America a combat bonus for fighting on the home continent and gives a bonus to national park’s cultural output. He also has his own unique unit, the Rough Riders, a special type of cavalry that get combat bonuses in hills, give culture for kills on the home continent and are cheap to maintain.
- Unique unit: P-51 Mustang. A superior fighter aircraft that does extra damage and has better range.
- Unique building: Film Studio. A big cultural bonus exclusive to the modern era.
- Special ability: Founding Fathers. Lowers the time it takes to gain government bonuses.
Our first ever Civ 6 Let's Play featured your man Teddy:
On the flipside if you want to know how you should be playing, here's our America strategy guide.
Civilization VI Arabia
- Leader: Saladin, first sultan of Egypt and Syria. His ability, righteousness of the faith, lowers the cost of his religion's faith building and gives it bonus output of faith, science and culture.
- Unique Unit: Mamluk. A unique horse unit that replaces the knight, it always heals at the end of each turn, even if it moved, attacked or took any other action.
- Unique building: The Madrasa. Generates more science than the university it replaces and also provides faith via an adjacency bonus.
- Special ability: The Last Prophet. Arabia always receives the final prophet gotten in a game, if they didn't already have one. This allows them to always found a religion.
Civilization VI Aztecs
- Leader: Montezuma I, the 15th century leader of the Aztecs. Gifts for the Tlatoani makes luxuries give amenities to extra cities and each luxury exploited in their territory increases military power of units.
- Unique unit: Eagle Warrior. Replaces the Warrior unit with a more powerful version and turns defeated enemies into builders. Doesn’t work on Barbarians.
- Unique building: Tlachtli. Provides faith, amenities and Great General points for a well-rounded building.
- Special ability: Unnamed so far, it allows them to speed construction of districts with builder units.
Aztecs are a timed Civilization VI pre-order bonus, releasing for free to everyone on January 19, 2017 if you don't pre-order.
Civilization VI Brazil
- Leader: Pedro II, who reigned for 58 years during the 19th century. His special ability, Magnaminous, lets him get back points for recruited Great People.
- Unique unit: Minas Geraes. Unlocked through Nationalism Civic, this unit has improved defense and better ranged attack.
- Unique infrastructure: Carnival, a unique district. Replaces the entertainment complex and lets the city build a special project that turns production into amenities. Once it's done, Brazil gets extra Great People points.
- Special ability: Rainforests give special adjacency bonuses.
Civilization VI China
- Leader: Qin Shi Huang, Emperor of China in the 3rd century BC. Allows builders to be used an extra time, and they can be used to hasten construction of Ancient and Classical wonders.
- Unique unit: Crouching Tiger Cannon. Has high power and a single-hex ranged attack, while not requiring special resources to be build.
- Unique infrastructure: The Great Wall. Now a time improvement rather than wonder, it provides defence and gold at the beginning of the game, culture and tourism later on. Builders must be expended to make each segment.
- Special ability: Dynastic Cycles. Gives the Chinese more benefits from Eureka and Inspiration events, special happenings based on your actions that give bonuses towards technologies.
Civilization VI Egypt
- Leader: Cleopatra, who honestly we hope you’ve heard of already. She buffs trade routes, making ones that go out give more gold and ones that come in give the originator food, while also giving even more gold to Egypt.
- Unique unit: Chariot Archer. Faster than most units in the early eras with a one-hex ranged attack.
- Unique infrastructure: Sphinx. This tile improvement gives faith and culture, with bonuses when next to a wonder.
- Special ability: Eteru. Makes districts and wonders build faster next to rivers.
Civilization VI England
- Leader: Queen Victoria, who ruled from 1837-1901. We’re yet to find out her special ability.
- Unique units: Seadog and Redcoat. The former is a powerful naval unit while the latter is a musketman with free disembarkation and combat buffs when not on the home continent.
- Unique infrastructure: Royal Navy Dockyard. This gives bonuses to all ships built here, extra gold for other dockyards and produces great admiral points.
- Special ability: British Museum. Gives more slots to museums for artifacts and makes them produce more archaelogists.
Civilization VI France
- Leader: Catherine de Medici, a 16th century queen who held the title for 12 years. Her special ability are ladies-in-waiting, giving additional info on civs you meet. She also gets an extra spy once Castles are researched.
- Unique unit: Garde Imperiale. Replace the Musketmen, have a bonus for fighting on the home continent and get Great General points on kills.
- Unique building: Château. Built on rivers with adjacency bonuses for Wonders while providing culture.
- Special ability: Grand Tour. Makes it easier to produce mid-game wonders - think castles rather than hanging gardens or internets - and gives bonus tourism for wonders, making cultural victories more effective.
Civilization VI Germany
- Leader: Frederick Barbarossa, who was the Holy Roman Emperor in his time. He gets an extra military policy, plus a combat boost vs. city-state units.
- Unique unit: U-Boat. Costs less to produce and gets extra power while fighting in the ocean.
- Unique infrastructure: Hansa. Replaces the industrial zone and gets bonus production if next to commercial hubs, resources or additional adjacent districts.
- Special ability: Free Imperial Cities. Germany gets one more district in each city than their population would normally allow.
And here's us trying to take over the world as Germany:
Our armies continue to suffer glorious defeats in part two.
Civilization VI Greece
- Pericles, the first time Alexander the Great hasn't lead the nation in a Civ game. He gives Surrounded by Glory, giving Greece more culture per allied city state.
- Gorgo, a Spartan queen and, yes, the one from 300 played by Lena Headey. She gains culture every time she defeats a unit, allowing her to be more aggressive.
- Unique Unit: Hoplite. Gets a bonus when near other Hoplites and generally acts as a great early game spear unit.
- Unique building: Acropolis. Replaces the Theatre District and benefits more from adjacency bonuses, but must be built on a hill.
- Special ability: Plato's Republic. This gives them an extra wildcard slot in any government, giving more access to policies.
Civilization VI India
- Leader: Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement during the country's colonisation by Great Britain and icon of pacifism. His unique ability is Satyagraha, which gives India a faith boost for each country the player meets that is not at war and has founded a religion. Opposing civs suffer happiness penalties for fighting wars against Gandhi.
- Unique Unit: Váru. If you decide to completely disregard everything this civilization's great leader stands for, here's a massive stampy elephant that reduces combat effectiveness of all adjascent enemy units.
- Unique infrastructure: Stepwell. This unique improvement provides food and housing. It produces more food if built next to a farm, and faith if built by a holy site.
- Special ability: Dharma. Allows the player all the follower beliefs of every religion present in their cities.
Civilization VI Japan
- Leader: Hojo Tokimune, a 13th century regent of the Kamakura shogunate. His ability, Divine Wind, gives land units bonuses near coasts and naval units bonuses on coasts.
- Unique unit: Samurai. Unlocked by the mid-game Military Tactics tech, this unit fights at full strength even when damaged.
- Unique building: Electronics Factory. Replacing the basic factory, it provides culture and production to all nearby cities to its tile, not just the city that owns it.
- Special ability: Meiji Restoration. Buffs districts based on the number of adjacent districts, causing their cities to be tightly packed at their most effective.
Here's how the Japanese actually play out across 150 turns:
That's all from the pre-release version of the game.
Civilization VI Kongo
- Leader: Mvemba a Nzinga, also known as King Afonso I, Nzinga is most famous for his attempts to spread Christianity across his empire. He also increased activities with Portugal in a bid to modernise the empire. His unique ability is Nkisi - Relics, Artefacts and Great Works of Sculpture produce food, production and gold for their city in addition to the usual culture and tourism. You also generate Great Merchants and Great Artists twice as fast.
- Unique Unit: Ngao Mbeba. This unit, which replaces swordsman, grants a defence bonus vs. ranged attacks. They can also see through forests and jungles, and have no movement penalty for moving through them. You don't need iron to build them.
- Unique infastructure: M'banza. This unique district replaces neighbourhood and can be built earlier in the game. As well as providing housing, it also provides food and gold.
- Special ability: Religious Convert. As a religious convert, a Mzinga cannot build Holy Sites. Instead, he can use the Founder belief of any religion that's established itself in a majority of Kongo's cities. Kongo also gets a free Apostle every time a Theatre District or M'banza is built - the Apostle follows the city's majority religion.
To see how Kongo look in action, we've got this fine pre-release Let's Play:
There's six more episodes of that on our YouTube channel, if you want more.
Civilization VI Norway
- Leader: Harald Hardrada, the last Viking king. His ability is the Thunderbolt of the North, making all his naval melee units able to perform coastal raids. He also gets the Longboat, which can heal in neutral territory and benefits from the coastal raiding buff.
- Unique Unit: Berserker. Pillaging is cheaper and attacking is buffed, but they're far worse at defense.
- Unique building: Stave Church. A buffed-up temple with an extra bonus to faith when next to forests.
- Special ability: While unnamed, Norway's special ability as a nation allows all their units to embark, and means that the Shipbuilding research lets their units cross ocean. Prepare your defenses.
Civilization VI Rome
- Leader: Trajan, the 13th Emperor of Rome was known as a great soldier. Trajan's Column is his ability, granting all cities one free building in the city center.
- Unique Unit: Legion. More expensive than a swordsman, but stronger. Also functions as a military engineer that can only build a limited number of times. They can build roads and forts.
- Unique building: Roman Baths. Replaces Aqueduct and provides more amenities and housing. Unlocked with the Engineering Tech.
- Special ability: All Roads lead to Rome. All cities start with a trading post, and any new city in range of your Capital will automatically have a road going to them. Trade routes going through your cities earn extra gold.
If you want to know how you should be conquering the world, here's our Rome strategy guide.
Civilization VI Russia
- Leader: Peter the Great, conqueror of much of Europe to turn it into the Russian Empire. His ability, the Grand Embassy, allows him to receive science or culture from trade routes to more advanced players.
- Unique Unit: Cossack. Cavalry replacement with increased attack stats and ability to move after attacking.
- Unique building: The Lavra. Great people used in a city with this building will give an extra tile to the city's culture border.
- Special ability: Russia get extra territory with each city founded. They also receive additional faith and production from Tundra tiles.
Civilization VI Scythia
- Leader: Tomyris, who defeated Cyrus the Great of the Persian empire in 530 BC. Her armies get a bonus when they attack wounded units and heal a little when they defeat an enemy.
- Unique unit: Saka Horse Archer. A powerful horseback unit that carries a mobility bonus and, somehow, doesn't require a horse resource to build.
- Unique infrastructure: Kurgan. Provides faith and gold, and gets a bonus for being built near pastures. Can't be built by a mountain, or next to another Kurgan.
- Special ability: People of the Steppe. Create two units instead of one when they build light cavalry or Saka Horse Archers.
Civilization VI Spain
- Leader: Philip II, who was king of the massive Spanish Empire for 48 years. His El Escorial ability, gives his units a combat bonus when fighting opponents from other religions and allows his inquisitors to remove heresy from one extra tile.
- Unique Unit: Conquistador. These get a significant bonus when there's an apostle, an inquisitor or a Spanish missionary on their hex. If they're adjacent to a city as it's captured, they will also automatically convert it to your religion.
- Unique infrastructure: Mission. This unique improvement provides faith, and gives bonus faith if built on a different continent to your capital. It also gives bonus science if built next to a campus.
- Special ability: Treasure Fleet. Putting these on trade routes between continents grants extra yields, and you can combine ships into fleets much earlier than other units.
Civilization VI Sumeria
- Leader: Gilgamesh, nobody's even sure if he was real, but if he was he had massive biceps, that much is for sure. Adventures with Enkidu is his leader ability and it lets his units share pillage rewards and combat experience with the nearest allied unit within five tiles.
- Unique Unit: War Cart. It's a strong cavalry unit that suffers no penalty versus Spearmen or other anti-cavalry units. It also gets bonus movement points if it starts its turn in open terrain.
- Unique building: The Ziggurat. It provides Science and Culture when adjacent to a river, but can't be built on hills. Like the War Cart, The Ziggurat is available from the beginning of the game, potentially making Sumeria one of the strongest early-game civs.
- Special ability: Epic Quest. Whenever you capture a Barbarian outpost, you also get a tribal village reward.
That's everything in the base version of the game - check back soon for the inevitable DLC additions.