The Babylonian people represent a civilization in Civilization VI. They are led by Hammurabi, under whom their default colors are light and dark blue. They are available with the Babylon Pack, which was released on November 19, 2020.
The Babylonians' civilization ability is Enuma Anu Enlil, which allows them to unlock full technologies whenever their respective Eurekas are triggered, at a cost of 50% of their per turn Science generation. Their unique unit is the Sabum Kibittum, and their unique building is the Palgum (which replaces the Water Mill).
Leapfrogging through the technology tree into the future by triggering Eurekas, Babylon under Hammurabi can unlock the secrets of the universe at a speed that can be matched by no others, while solidifying their foundational infrastructure for their early empire. A Science civilization with an intriguing gameplay twist, Babylon requires players to effectively strategize the Eureka flow from tech to tech; mastering Babylon is a sign of mastering Civilization VI on the whole.
Enuma Anu Enlil
This ability, although it can be summed up in two short sentences, is one of the most complex abilities in the game and definitely the hardest one to master; its ramifications are so wide and far-reaching that they shake up what you think you know about the flow of the tech tree. Among a long list of caveats that come with this ability, here is a few crucial ones that you should definitely know before starting your next Babylon game.
First and foremost, the 50% Science malus is applied at city level and all Science percentage bonuses are accrued additively. It is easier to process if you think of it this way: Normally, when you manage to accumulate an extra 50% Science modifier, your civilization will generate Science at the rate of 150% compared to normal. Now, if you move that modifier to Babylon, you may believe that their Science output will become 75% of what they would have, but no, their Science actually will return to normal, because percentage modifiers are added additively and not multiplicatively. Therefore, any Science percentage modifier you can get on Babylon is twice as powerful as a normal civilization. Keep this in mind: a 50% modifier in Science means Babylon's Science output will effectively be doubled. Below is a list of all the percentage modifiers:
- Amenities: It is hard to truly leverage this. Babylon, after all, is the most effective at a Domination game, which means your Amenity will be very low. However, if you plan for a true Scientific Victory, maybe don't go too wide with your empire, since your cities are likely to be populous with the Palgum, and focus on the happiness of your citizens. This can be further amplified by Ibn Khaldun, a Great Scientist.
- Pingala's opening title Librarian grants 15% Science to the city he is assigned to.
- Oxford University grants 20% Science to its parent city.
- The Amundsen-Scott Research Station grants 20% Science in all cities and 40% Science in ones with at least 5 Snow or Snow Hills tiles.
- The almighty Kilwa Kisiwani, arguably the most important source of Science on a large map with many scientific city-states. The power of this Wonder is described in great details in the Strategy section of its page. This is crucial for a serious attempt at a Scientific Victory as Babylon, so if this is the path you choose, play it on a large map with many city-states to increase the chance of having 2 scientific ones in the game.
- Communism grants 10% Science to every city.
- Geneva city-state, which gives 15% Science to all cities when the empire is at peace.
- Taruga city-state, which gives each city 5% Science for every type of strategic resources it owns.
Bonuses that grant a flat amount of Science to buildings, as expected, do not work this way. Take Albert Einstein for example, whose ability is to grant 4 Science to each Research Lab. His ability will be cut down to 2 extra Science per Research Lab if he is recruited by Babylon. Also, the Rationalism policy card grants Campus buildings a flat amount of Science, so it will not work in our favor either. The International Space Agency policy card does not work in our favor as well, since the extra Science is granted at empire level, not city level.
In addition, any ability that grants a flat amount of Science but is not per-turn generation is unaffected by this ability, including:
- Great Scientists Galileo Galilei, Charles Darwin, Janaki Ammal, Mary Leakey and Margaret Mead.
- Fez's Suzerainty bonus (this one is not important since Fez is still a terrible city-state one way or another).
When playing as or against Babylon, World Eras will be noticeably shorter due to the constant tech leaping, which means if you are in a Golden Age this age, it is overwhelmingly likely you will end up in a Dark Age next time (especially in the early game when you haven't started your conquest yet), since you won't have enough time to accrue enough Era Score and the threshold is raised against you. Plan accordingly with this in mind.
The tech leaping has a few other consequences that you will never encounter elsewhere besides when playing Babylon. First, as you may already know, you can complete techs without having their prerequisites as long as you can trigger the Eurekas for them. However, in order to manually select a tech to hard-research (in the traditional way with per-turn Science), you will need all of the tech's prerequisites. The interesting aspect happens when, let's say, you want to research tech A and have all the prerequisites for it (called tech B and tech C), but you don't have all the prerequisites for either B or C or both of them due to tech leaping. You can only start researching A by selecting it on the menu on the left hand side of the screen, below the world tracker. If you select tech A from the tech tree screen, however, the incomplete techs that are the prerequisites of B and C will be researched instead, so do pay attention to where you are clicking.
Furthermore, regarding unit upgrading path, just because you have unlocked an advanced unit does not mean you can upgrade a precursor unit into the advanced unit while skipping over all the intermediate units. For example, one strategy outlined below is the Spec Ops rush, but just because you have unlocked Plastics and can now train Spec Ops does not mean your Scouts can be upgraded straight into Spec Ops when you are missing either Machinery (to unlock the Skirmisher) or Rifling (to unlock the Ranger).
Ancient and Classical Era Eurekas
This is the signature bonus of Babylon, and also the one you need to play around the most in order to make Babylon competitive in any field. You will receive a huge malus in Science generation, a whopping 50%, but Eurekas will unlock full technologies instead of completing only a fraction of them. Since it is not possible to activate all Eurekas in the early game, you will have to make precise decisions on which tech needs to be hard-researched (at a speed of a turtle, pretty much) and which tech needs to be reserved for later possible Eurekas. A huge part of these decisions lies in the first 2 eras, as they will shape how your game is going to turn out. Of course, there cannot be any recommendation here, since each game, your starting location and your early exploration will dictate a lot of possible variations, but there are a few caveats you should keep in mind that can help you out a little bit:
- The first three techs you research in every single game should always be Animal Husbandry, Mining and Pottery, preferably in that order. These three opening techs do not have Eurekas, so you will always have to hard-research them, and they all provide the scientific basis for all other techs in the game, so it is best to get them out of the way as fast as possible. The reason why you start with Animal Husbandry, and then Mining, and always finish with Pottery is because Pottery does not provide any meaningful unlocks that allow you to trigger any Eureka, so it should always come last. Between Animal Husbandry and Mining:
- Animal Husbandry will have higher priority in every game if you are playing in Gathering Storm, even when you spawn next to a Mine-able resource. In Gathering Storm, Horses are not revealed at the beginning of the game, but only after researching Animal Husbandry, so basically this tech reveals Horses, adding an extra 1 Food and 1 Production to one of your tile in your Capital, which is huge this early on. You can then instantly build a Pasture there to unlock Horseback Riding and Horsemen, the premier military unit of the early game, granting you safety in defense and prowess in offense. Mining allows you to build Mines and Quarries, which unlock Wheel and Masonry, respectively, if you are able to build the Mine on a resource and not just on a Hills tile. Mining will only have the higher priority than Animal Husbandry if you have both a Mine and a Quarry resource nearby. Wheel is a not a great tech for Babylon, since their unique Water Mill is unlocked with Irrigation, and Masonry is only great because of the Pyramids, which you are not guaranteed to have a Desert tile to build it on.
- In versions before Gathering Storm, Horses are revealed at the start, so the question of Mining versus Animal Husbandry is more debatable, but again, it follows the same logic line as above, since Animal Husbandry leads to Horseback Riding, which is more likely to be useful than Mining leading to Wheel and Masonry.
- Since your Science is dreadful, it gives you more time and freedom to decide when and where to settle your Capital. Try to choose a location where you find resources that can be improved the most types of improvements, like Pastures, Farms, Mines and Quarries. Of course, the ideal situation that you find all 4 types is hard to come by, so prioritize Farm-able resources. Building a Farm on a Farm-able resource unlocks Irrigation and your extremely powerful unique building, the Palgum, which will give you a huge source of growth and Production in the early game. (Read more here.) For this reason, always settle your Capital on a river. If you are unlucky and spawn next to the coast, don't be cheeky and think it is worthwhile because it unlocks Sailing instantly, that is a terrible idea. Spend your time and move inland to find a river with a Farm-able resource, you are Babylon, there is literally no rush for settling.
- Exploration is crucial, since you unlock a lot of free techs just by wandering around, like Writing, Astrology, or techs granted by some Tribal Villages. However, don't build Scouts for this purpose, build your Sabum Kibittum instead, it is a much better and more long-term investment. (Read more here.)
- The three maritime techs located in the top branch of the tech tree are great candidates for techs you have to hard-research, Sailing, Shipbuilding, Celestial Navigation. Sometimes if you are very unlucky with the map generation, Astrology too. However, unless you are completely landlocked with no coastline in sight, it is strongly recommended there should be minimum one, maximum two coastal cities in your empire: at least one city so that you can build ships, put down a Harbor for an instant Lighthouse and a Trade Route, improve sea resources to trigger a Eureka, two cities if you want to unlock Cartography and Steam Power. If you find a spot where you can put down a city both on a coastline and a river, that is ideal, and there is no discussion to have there. However, in most situations, you will not have this ideal spot, so your two coastal cities will take a growth and Production hit, because they cannot build the Palgum. The easiest way to alleviate this is to send Trade Routes from those two cities back to the Capital. You will always guarantee to have at least 2 Trade Routes at this point, 1 from Foreign Trade, 1 from the free Lighthouse of your first Harbor.
Campuses, Theater Squares, and the Great Library
A huge pitfall inexperienced players often get caught in is to build Campuses in every city, regardless of their preferred Victory condition, but ignore Theater Squares almost completely unless they go for a Cultural Victory. Certain statistics can be of low priority when you go for a certain type of Victory ( Science in a Religious and Diplomatic game, Diplomatic Favor in a Domination game, etc.), but Culture unlocks Governor titles, Envoys, Governments, and a lot of powerful and game changing Policy cards, so it smooths out the path and accelerates the speed to all types of Victory. That idea will be a lot clearer when you play as Babylon, since building Campuses en masse is no longer a viable option.
Making Theater Squares the main District to build as Babylon has a lot of advantages. First, there are quite a few techs whose Eurekas depend on civic advancement. They are Stirrups, Castles, Banking, Scientific Theory, Sanitation, Radio, Combustion, Combined Arms, Computers, Telecommunications, and Robotics. Some of these techs are absolutely crucial to any civilization, since they either unlock a powerful Wonder, or a premier military unit of its era, or a project that leads to a Scientific Victory. Not to mention, empires with strong Culture can reach Globalization civic incredibly fast, which allows them access to the mighty International Space Agency policy card (and, for Babylon, unlocks Giant Death Robots). This card can help Babylon tremendously in completing late game techs whose Eurekas have to be triggered by Great Scientist or Spies, and Hammurabi's bonus towards Envoys, while not very strong, can be decent for Babylon to establish a diplomatic foothold with city-states. Also, Spies are almost exclusively unlocked by civics, with the sole exception of the Computers tech, whose Eureka is also triggered by civic development.
By no means you should completely ignore Campuses, you should have at least 2 of them, one of which should be adjacent to a Mountains tile, so you can trigger the Eurekas for both Printing and Astronomy, while triggering the Inspiration for Recorded History, the civic that unlocks the Great Library.
The Great Library is an extremely powerful Wonder in Babylon's hands, as it normally gives a free Eureka every time another civilization recruits a Great Scientist, but because of Enuma Anu Enlil, these Eurekas become full technologies. Unlike the trap that China falls into thinking that their slightly more powerful Eurekas will help pay off the Production and time invested into the Great Library, Babylon should absolutely build this wonder. Since you do not want to build a lot of Campuses, your Great Scientist point generation will be poor, so it is likely you will miss out on a lot of them. This wonder is most useful in the late game when many of the Eurekas are the same: "Boost though Great Scientist or spy", this is also the time when Babylon is relatively weaker than other pure Science civilizations, as everyone else will be building Campuses and having their Science multiply exponentially, while Babylon's tech advantage over the rest of the world evens out (if you are not going on a Domination path, that is). Overall, the Great Library will certainly grant you multiple free techs over the course of the game, which can be be even more valuable if the techs received are those whose Eurekas are required by civic advancement, as mentioned above. Thus for Babylon specifically, the Great Library is nearly as powerful as other universally powerful wonders such as Forbidden City or Kilwa Kisiwani.
Medieval, Renaissance, Industrial and Modern Era Eurekas
Mid-game Eurekas are a lot harder to trigger, and require much more calculations and investments. You cannot just trigger random Eurekas just for building an improvement you would want to build anyway like you did in earlier eras anymore. However, you can save a lot of time strategizing by just going on a full conquest mode in these eras, as the majority of the Eurekas in this period ask you to kill a unit with a certain unit type, build a number of buildings, or train a certain type of units, all of which can easily be completed by conquering neighboring empires. As long as you successfully claim some cities with some levels of infrastructure, you are good to go, free techs will flow in naturally. Aim for techs that unlock advanced units, and with your high Culture output from all your Theater Squares, you will have appropriate policy cards to train your army and demolish your enemies.
The most important Eurekas of these four eras are the ones that either unlock new military units or boost yields of your improvements or reveal new strategic resources. The ones that unlock new buildings and Wonders should be of lower priority, since you can always steal these from your defeated foes.
The only tech that cannot be triggering by conquering or having high Culture output from Medieval to Industrial is Education. If you are in a game against Scientific civilizations that build a lot of Campuses, there is a high chance you will never earn a Great Scientist, so this tech is a good candidate to be hard researched. In the Modern Era, Chemistry should also be hard-researched, since a lot of conquest means everyone else most likely hates you, so you cannot trigger the Eureka for this, regardless of the version you are playing in. For Radio, although it is heavily map generation dependent, the more territory you have from conquering, the more likely you will find a spot for a National Park, so it is not a big deal. You can also build a Settler to settle down a new city in a high Appeal area just to get this triggered. With all of this being said, there will never be enough emphasis on how crucial it is for Babylon to have a good Culture generation, as it solves a ton of problems that they may run into.
This makes the construction of Monuments Babylon's utmost priority when settling new cities, as triggering Eurekas is something Babylon can do irrespective of cities for the most part, while Inspiration are much harder to come by. +2 Culture at just 60 Production is nothing to scoff at, although it is worth noting that you should only prioritize building Monuments once you start conquering and your build order becomes a bit more lax.
Atomic Era and onward
There are not much in terms of strategies that can be discussed with Babylon from this point onward, since from Atomic Era, there are a lot of techs that can only be boosted with Great Scientists or Spies. The issue with Great Scientists has been mentioned above, you do not build a lot of Campuses, competing for them may be difficult. Espionage can technically help you, but it also depends a lot on who you are playing the game against. Most likely, at this point, Babylon is so far ahead in terms of number of techs unlocked, that unless you have some pure Science civilizations in the game like Korea, Maya, or Australia, there is a really high chance you cannot use your Spies to steal any tech from anyone. And just the fact you may have to wait for them to catch up with you in research to be able to use your agents really defeats the purpose of having a lead. If you are in the game with one of these Scientific civilizations, Cryptography and Nuclear Espionage policy cards may aid your espionage a lot. However, if there is no one who is more technologically advanced than you, there are still a few things that can help you smooth out your path to Victory as Babylon.
(For the following paragraph only, the term "boostable" will be used to describe techs that have a specific Eureka requirement, while "non-boostable" will describe techs that have to be triggered by espionage or Great Scientists.)
Since Medieval Era, it is highly suggested you become a warmonger, so there is no point in stopping now, especially considering other paths are incredibly difficult for you. Luckily for Babylon, all the techs that unlock new units in the last few eras are boostable, meaning you can fully upgrade your melee, ranged, heavy and light cavalry units to the end of the line, even the Giant Death Robot can also be unlocked easily as well (as long as, once again, you have a good flow of Culture, since Robotics is boosted by having the Globalization civic). Bombers and Fighters can also be unlocked by triggering the Eureka of Advanced Flight, helping you replace the outdated siege and ranged units. At this point, you are miles ahead of your opponents on the tech tree, Bombers and Fighters should be more than enough to finish your enemies. Overall, as a warmonger, the only thing you will have to go without is nukes, so you have to capture cities in the old-fashioned way, but your highly advanced units will have no problem tearing down the enemies' walls and charging right in. Just a proof to show that Babylon is actually quite bad at winning a Scientific Victory: every piece of infrastructure or project related to the Scientific Victory is locked behind a non-boostable tech, which they cannot reliably earn Great Scientists or use Spies for.
The most reliable unit progression for a Domination Victory: Crossbowman rush
A Domination Victory is a much better choice for Babylon, using their ability to grab vital techs that give them powerful units other civilizations would not have access to for a long time. The most efficient unit progression for Babylon would be the Crossbowman rush, since the Crossbowman is the premier military unit of late Medieval Era (detailed here), if you are able to get them in late Ancient, early Classical, that is the doom for most civilizations. First, construct 3 Slingers. Then, kill a barbarian or enemy unit with the Slingers to trigger Archery. Upgrade your Slingers to Archers (180 Gold for 3 Archers) to trigger Machinery (as detailed here). You can then try to upgrade these Archers into Crossbowmen (250 Gold each, 750 Gold in total) and use these units to shoot down enemy cities before they build Walls.
If they manage to build Walls then the process is a bit longer, but the gist is basically the same. After having 2 Crossbowmen, you will unlock Bombards from Metal Casting, but not yet have Niter to build them. An Aqueduct is required to boost Military Engineering, giving you access to Niter. You can build one Bombard (or two if you are generous), your enemies will most likely only have Ancient Walls with the city strike damage of an Archer (read more here), and your Bombard can blast Ancient Walls from 100% to 0% in one shot. The moment the Bombard gains the Crew Weapons Promotion, it will be unstoppable for a long time, especially if you heal it properly between fights. With your Crossbowmen and your Bombard, you can keep using your Warriors and Sabum Kibittum to deal the final blow to capture cities, both of which can be upgraded into Swordsmen if needed. All they need to do is to fortify on the frontline surrounding the enemy city to put it under siege, and strike at an opportune moment.
As you might have gleamed, this rush involves a lot of constructing and upgrading units, and here lies one of the caveats of Babylon: getting access to advanced techs early is only one part of victory; the other part is amassing enough Gold and Production. Unfortunately, Mercenaries comes rather late for you to take advantage of Professional Army, so you should instead build a Commercial Hub and a Harbor (with Ninu Ilu Sirum gotten a free Market and a free Lighthouse), so now you will have at least 3 Trade Routes to assist your financial needs, and an Industrial Zone (with an extra 2-3 free Production from the Workshop, depending on the game version you are playing) for your manufacturing needs. Considering Apprenticeship gives you both the Industrial Zone and a boost to Mine Production, you need to build 3 Mines as soon as possible. Remember to put your Industrial Zone next to the Aqueduct you would build to boost Military Engineering to gain the major adjacency bonus.
Of course, how important Culture is to Babylon cannot be emphasized enough, as it unlocks major policy cards that either helps you upgrade your units at a much lower cost, accumulate resources faster, lower the units' maintenance cost, or just build them a lot faster. Remember, you can combine policy cards with Magnus' Groundbreaker title; use your Builders to chop Woods and Rainforests to quickly train your expensive units.
Infrastructure focus by beelining Industrialization: An alternative
Note: After the December 2020 Update, certain Eureka conditions were made easier to achieve in Gathering Storm. Since the vast majority of players who own New Frontier Pass also own Gathering Storm, this section will only apply to the Gathering Storm expansion without detailed explanation for players who play without Gathering Storm. With that being said, the strategy outlined in this section can still be used even if the player does not own Gathering Storm, it is just harder to achieve, since the Eureka conditions are higher, so the timing will be less reliable.
The purpose of this strategy is trying to reach the Industrialization tech as soon as possible (preferably in the Ancient Era), giving all of your cities a huge Production that allows you to branch off to many other directions depending on what you want to do next. The key Eureka flow here will be reaching Apprenticeship first by building 3 Mines, then building 2 Industrial Zones, the first of which will give you a free Workshop (thanks to Hammurabi). The moment you finish the second Workshop in another city, Industrialization is unlocked, revealing Coal and unlocking Factory and Coal Power Plant. Even if there is no Coal in your territory (which is likely, considering you already have 2 cities at this point), you are the only one that is aware of Coal, so settle extra cities to take advantage of this. This strategy is a really powerful one, because it puts your infrastructure at such an advanced level that you can actually build your extremely expensive units in a reliable amount of time.
With this much Production early on, there are many routes that you can take, including unlocking advanced units for conquests, using the Production to build Wonders and Theater Squares for a Cultural Victory, or continue focusing on infrastructure for a Scientific Victory:
- Without having to do anything else, the "rapid industrialization" method allows you to train Men-At-Arms in the Ancient Era. All you have to do is to build 3 Mines, at least one of which is an Iron Mine.
- Musketman rush: The Musketman is a very powerful unit, with 55 Combat Strength, and if it is unlocked very early, it is practically unstoppable. After you finish Industrialization, you need to build a Quarry to unlock Masonry, then Ancient Walls to unlock Engineering, then an Aqueduct for Military Engineering, and lastly an Armory for Gunpowder. Since most of what you have been doing until now focuses on building up your infrastructure rather than expanding, there is a chance you do not have Niter in your territory. If so, after revealing Niter with Military Engineering, you choose for yourself whether or not to go down this path.
- Spec Ops rush: The Spec Ops is not an especially combat-oriented unit under normal circumstances, since their Combat Strength is very low for its era. However, when you can unlock it this early, it is both powerful and mobile without requiring any strategic resource. Building a Coal Power Plant unlocks Refining, which reveals Oil. Building an Oil Well unlocks Plastics, which allows you to train Spec Ops.
- Biplane rush: With Industrialization, you unlock the Ruhr Valley, a strong Wonder that gives another Production boost if you manage to grab it. Remember this Wonder is very competitive normally, but you will be the only one trying to go for it in this case considering how far you are ahead. It may take a while, but if you manage to chop Woods and combine it with Magnus, you can finish the Wonder in a reasonable amount of time. Finishing it will unlock Flight, which allows you to build Aerodromes and Biplanes. Remember that this is a viable unit rush method, but the Biplane will be the only air unit you can build, since it requires Oil and not Aluminum. Aluminum is revealed by Radio, whose Eureka is impossible to trigger in the early eras and must be hard researched. The bottleneck of this strategy is how fast you can build the Ruhr Valley, and how close cities are together on the map. The Biplane's main weakness is its limited range, so this strategy will not work if you don't have a next door neighbor where your planes can reach.
- Wonders and Cultural push: Every Wonder has a based Tourism value, starting at 2 and increasing by 1 for each era different between the era of the Wonder and the era the builder is in (this is based on the builder's current civic and tech research and independent of the world era). As you can see, with a huge Production foundation and the ability to quickly unlock Atomic Era techs, every Ancient Era wonder will yield 8 Tourism, Classical Era wonders yield 7, etc.
- No matter which route above you pick after your push for Industrialization and Production, you will have a huge lead in the Great Engineer race. For this reason, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus should be something you pay extra attention to. Also, Leonardo da Vinci, a Renaissance Great Engineer has fantastic synergies with Babylon. He gives 3 Culture for every Workshop, 6 with the Mausoleum, and that is huge especially with the innate hunger for Culture of Babylon. Also, he will unlock a Modern Era tech (2 Modern Era techs with the Mausoleum).
Bad Eureka timing: consequences and solutions
As outlined above, Babylon needs a good Eureka flow from tech to tech, a flow so delicate that it can be disrupted easily if there is a poorly timed Eureka popping up unexpectedly. For example, a Slinger can kill a Barbarian to grant you Archery before you get the chance to train 2 more Slingers, and now you have to waste Production to hard build Archers. Even if you have a lot of Gold and want to build more than 3 Slingers to upgrade to Archers, you cannot. The moment you upgrade your third Slinger, you will gain Machinery, thus making every other Slingers you may have upgrade to Crossbowman instead, which is much more expensive. Building 2 Harbors will unlock Cartography and Caravels, thus forcing you to hard-research Shipbuilding even when you do not really want to. The Eurekas that will lead you into this situation are the ones that unlock a new military unit, thus phasing out an older one, yet the older one is required to unlock another Eureka, so pay extra attention to those.
In the early game, what you can do in these situations is to find a city-state, become its Suzerain and levy its troops, these levied units will count towards the Eurekas that you need, although this is not recommended, since you want to use Gold to upgrade your units for conquest, so if you mess up, just add the tech that cannot be boosted to the list of hard-researched techs. In the mid game and later on, these earlier techs can be stolen from your enemies by your Spies, so that you can keep researching the ones from the era you are in, but piggyback off of your opponents' research for earlier techs.
Ninu Ilu Sirum
This is the main and more important bonus of this ability. As soon as you can construct their home District for the first time, you will receive a free Library, Shrine, Market, Lighthouse, Amphitheater, Arena, Workshop, Grove, Consulate, Ferris Wheel, or Hangar. Of those, the ones you should be thinking about most are the extra Great Prophet point from the Shrine, the extra Trade Route from the Market and Lighthouse, the extra Great Scientist point from the Library, and free Production from the Workshop. An extra Great Prophet point can be crucial in the race to claim a religion, since basically your first Holy Site will grant you 2 Great Prophet points instead of 1, similar to Byzantium. However, as Babylon, the route to claim a religion is actually a lot bumpier, since first, you have to be lucky enough to run into a Natural Wonder, since it takes you forever to research Astrology from scratch. Even if you are lucky enough to unlock Astrology early, you have way too many higher priorities in your build order: a Sabum Kibittum for exploration, a Builder for Eurekas, a Palgum for a lot of early Food and Production, an early Settler for a second city, 3 Slingers to unlock Archery and Machinery, and maybe a Monument for some early Culture generation, etc. Your plate is already so full that trying to find a space to stuff in a Holy Site may seem like a tall order. However, if you want to make certain sacrifices to get an early religion, that is by no means a terrible decision. As discussed many times before, you are a Domination civilization, and the Crusade belief aids that quest tremendously (and you can snipe that belief from other religious Domination empire, like Byzantium, Spain or Poland). If you have to replace anything in the list above with a Holy Site, the Palgum and the Monument can wait a bit longer. If you are unlucky with the Natural Wonder map generation, just ignore religion. Thanks to your tech leaping ability, you do not even need to research Astrology and still have access to techs after it.
The first Campus is also important, since it comes with a free Library. Since Babylon should not build a lot of Campuses, thus is not competitive when it comes to Great Scientists, this first Campus + Library can give you a headstart to earn one, so that you can unlock the infamously difficult Education tech. Invest your first three Governor titles in Pingala, so that he can earn Grants, if you establish him in the city with the free Library, you will be earning 4 Great Scientist points per turn, which is respectable. If you also have the Oracle in this city, the number will be 8 Great Scientist points per turn, and up to 10 if you run the Inspiration policy card. If you want to get the Eureka for Education, make sure to build this early. If you give other empires enough time to build multiple Campuses, you will never be able to compete with them with only 1 or 2 Campuses.
Production and Trade Routes are also important, so the first Industrial Zone, Commercial Hub and Harbor should come next. As crucial as Culture is to Babylon, they are not as important in the first two eras, when Eurekas are very easy to trigger, so the first Theater Square can be delayed a bit longer.
Free Envoy when completing a non-specialty district for the first time
In essence, Hammurabi's Babylon can receive a grand total of 6 free Envoys over the course of the game, when he builds the first Aqueduct, Dam, Neighborhood, Canal, Spaceport and Government Plaza. By no means this ability is enough to push Babylon toward a Diplomatic Victory, as earning only 6 extra Envoys over the entire course of the game is quite underwhelming. You should invest in militaristic city-states in the early game, as they help you build your expensive army, especially if those city-states help you directly in war, like Lahore or Akkad. Later, you should invest in cultural city-states or industrial city-states. Industrial ones are hit-or-miss, some are awesome, some are just purely awful, but cultural city-states are generally powerful, with only Vilnius and Mohenjo-Daro being either terrible or extremely situational.
Overall, Hammurabi's ability phases out of relevance pretty quickly, and it only feels impactful when you build these Districts in the early game, when you already have a lot of priorities you need to sort out first. A free building in Ancient/Classical Era feels great, but a free building in Medieval onward is just underwhelming, it all depends on how early you can get your infrastructure up, which makes Babylon's decision-making in the early game even harder than it already is.
The Palgum is a very nice upgrade to the rather underwhelming and underused Water Mill. Beside the 1 extra Housing and Production compared to the Water Mill, the Palgum provides 1 Food to all tiles next to a source of Fresh Water, including rivers, lakes and oases. The efficacy of this building is no longer heavily tied to random map generation like the Water Mill, since now you can seek out locations on a river where there are many Fresh Water sources, and grow your cities incredibly quickly. And don't underestimate the Production bonus, either. Extra 2 Production is huge in the Ancient Era, especially for a building that does not require another District slot. For comparison, the Workshop, a Medieval Era building, also provides 2 Production in Vanilla and Rise and Fall, while being almost 2.5 times as expensive as the Palgum and requiring the Industrial Zone.
Also, the Palgum is only one of the two City Center unique buildings, meaning it is not dependent on a specific type of District and can be built everywhere, as long as the city satisfies one very simple placement requirement. The Valletta city-state, therefore, has a powerful synergy with Babylon, since it allows them to instantly purchase the Palgum with Faith, making it easier for new cities to grow immediately after settling.
It is worth noting that the Palgum is unlocked with Irrigation rather than Wheel like normal. For most civilizations, this is barely a distinction, but because of the way Babylon's ability interacts with technology it ends up being unlocked much sooner, since you will nearly always spawn next to and prioritize improving Wheat, Rice, and Maize, thanks to your starting bias. Considering Babylon's outstandingly low Science per turn and the fact that they can easily catch up with their civilization ability, they are not under pressure of having to settle almost immediately after the game starts. Indeed, they can wander around for the first few turns looking for an ideal spot with a Farm-able resource to instantaneously unlock Irrigation and get their unique building up and running in no time. It is actually quite viable to start training a Builder to put down a Farm on a resource, then move on to build the Palgum immediately, so that your Capital will receive this huge boost of Food and Production; however, by doing so, you will have to forgo early exploration.
The Sabum Kibittum is an interesting unique unit. The stat that may jump out at you is its disappointing 17 Combat Strength - 3 less than the Warrior, which it does not replace, and less than any unit in the game with the exception of the Scout. However, it has some things going for it. First of all, it has 3 Movement - more than any melee unit all the way until the Atomic Era - as well as a Sight radius of 3. This makes it as effective, and slightly more survivable, than the Scout; additionally, it has the standard melee +5 Combat Strength bonus against anti-cavalry units, which makes it slightly better at dealing with Barbarians than, say, the Okihtcitaw, but still not a good choice at clearing the outpost: against a Barbarian Spearman, it only has 22 Combat Strength compared to the Spearman's Combat Strength of 25 plus extra Combat Strength from fortification. Finally, it has a whopping +17 Combat Strength bonus against all cavalry units, whether light or heavy. While not especially suited for conquest by itself, the combination of its unique traits makes the Sabum Kibittum an excellent defense against cavalry, even more so than the underpowered Spearman. Its bonus makes it almost as strong against cavalry, it is not only cheaper but available earlier as well, and its greater Movement allays the main flaw with anti-cavalry units: the inability to catch up with the cavalry it's meant to defend against. It could perhaps supplement an invasion and deal with pesky cavalry harassing your main army of Warriors and Archers, or use its Movement to snipe an irritating ranged unit.
Babylon especially wants to scout, and be on the lookout to claim as many Tribal Villages as possible to pick up some early Eurekas. Thanks to the reconnaissance prowess of this unit, there is virtually no reason for Babylon to build Scouts. At only 5 extra Production, you have a maneuverable unit that can clear Barbarians quickly and can even be used effectively in combat. Also, because of its classification as a melee unit, its relevancy can be prolonged into later eras. Overall, the Sabum Kibittum is just a better unit - and a far more worthwhile long-term investment - than the Scout. Not to mention, there is not a single technology in the game whose Eureka has to be triggered with a recon unit.
With that being said, despite being a more worthwhile investment than the Scout, the Sabum Kibittum should never be the heart of the Babylonian army. Due to its obvious weakness against melee and ranged units, dealing with this unit is very easy. Not to mention, Babylon is a civilization with the most rigid build order in the entire game; in the early turns of the game, they perpetually have way too many priorities on their plate to maximize the number of Eurekas unlocked. Mass training the Sabum Kibittum means you would have to let go so much progress in favor of a unit so inefficient at conquest, even if you have a horde of them. With their ability to unlock technologies at a ridiculous speed, especially with the popular and simple Crossbowman rush, there is virtually no reason for Babylonians to build more than one of this unit for the sole purpose of exploration.
Though it seems like Babylon is the premier civilization to go for a Scientific Victory, the reality is a bit more nuanced, mainly because every tech required for a Scientific Victory does not have specific Eurekas for Babylon to obtain, meaning even they are stuck researching it the old fashioned way. Coupled with the inherent Science penalty you also have, as well as the likely fact you have not built as many Campuses as a normal Science empire would, by the time you have researched said techs, other empires may catch up and essentially negated the head start Enuma Anu Enlil gives Babylon. Sometimes, you do not even need to wait until the late game to realize the Eureka mechanics may not always be in your favor, even as early as the Medieval Era onward, if you do not go on a conquest. Babylon's ability is powerful in the early game, but begin tapering off by the late game, and Hammurabi's ability is not even relevant at the time when Babylon needs to sprint hard for a Scientific Victory. Unlike other early game civilizations like Scythia, Macedon or China who can easily snowball from their early advantage, whether it is from conquering or from their own infrastructure, Babylon simply does not.
As outlined in great details above, Babylon excels in conquest. Contrary to popular belief, their civilization ability does not give them an edge in Science, instead it gives you an edge in techs, and these techs unlock new units far ahead of the world era. Given that the Gold and Production management needs to be on point when you produce expensive units, but once the Domination machine starts, it just cannot stop, because from conquering a lot of cities, you will naturally trigger Eurekas that give you even more techs. Babylon is a little bit different from other Domination civilization, since the beginning of the game is a bit rough, since you rely on these very advanced units, yet incredibly expensive to roll over your opponents, but once they start rolling, they will be nigh-unstoppable.
A Cultural Victory is also within reach. Despite having no direct bonus, the playstyle engendering from your civilization ability necessitates the mass construction of Theater Squares, which will make you quite competitive in earning Great People. Also, because you will be way ahead of everyone in the tech tree, you gain access to Wonders quicker. Of course, you will run into other pure Cultural civilizations, but one thing to keep in mind about them is that they most likely are very passive. If their Culture generation is too high for your Tourism to penetrate through, or if their recruitment of Great People is becoming a problem, you can always use your Bombards and aircraft to ensure that their people have to buy your blue jeans and listen to your pop music.
A prosperous Babylonian empire needs three things: Gold and Production in the early game to get their technologically advanced army up and running, and later, Culture to sustain their scientific lead. Their early Science generation is pitiful, which means they will take an exceptionally long amount of time to research the first three techs to improve their tile yields. Furthermore, their civilization ability asks for a rigid build order without any deviation with the only aim being to unlock as many Eurekas as possible. Anything you can do in the early game to harass them or to force them to go out of their desired build order can push them back a ton:
- When their Builders are done putting down 3 improvements, you can declare war just to pillage these improvements. Of course, you cannot undo the techs they already gained, but you force them to either train another Builder to repair these improvements or go without the extra yields. If you have to choose, improvements that grant Gold (Plantations) and Production (Mines, Quarries, Pastures) should have high priority.
- The most common unit rush of Babylon is the Crossbowman rush (detailed above), which requires three Slingers. Anytime you manage to kill just one of these Slingers can add a lot of pain to Babylon, since you force them to build Slingers again and again. If they use their Slingers to fight back your units, the moment a Slinger kills a unit, Archery will get triggered, and Babylon will be forced to expend even more Production to build Archers, since they cannot build Slingers anymore.
- The army you use to wage war on Babylon should comprise of a lot of melee units, since they are amazing at smashing ranged units. Beside the starting Warrior, a Sabum Kibittum for scouting, Babylon will exclusively train ranged units in the Ancient Era to actualize their rush. Melee units deal really well with both the Sabum Kibittum and ranged units. Anytime you can kill one of their units, their progress will be set back a lot, and they are the type of civilization that has to be ahead, since they are terrible at catching up.
Also, in the early game, it is suicidal to trade Gold to Babylon, especially if they ask for one-time Gold deal instead of Gold per turn. They are always starving for Gold in the Ancient Era to upgrade their units, so do your best to cut off their Gold sources and do not give them anymore than what they have.
The thing about Babylon is the more you play them, the more you realize there are only that many Eureka flows they can go on. Any deviation from such pre-defined paths will cause fractures in their plans, which will eventually cause their empire to succumb to outside pressure because of their innate low Science per turn. There are a few advanced units that they can rush effectively and there are ones they almost never use due to how the tech tree's Eureka system is laid out. These are some examples of advanced units Babylon will never field, since the Eurekas to reach these techs are very awkward:
- The Knight is unlocked by researching Feudalism. The Medieval Era is way too early into the game for Babylon to have a high Culture edge to get to Feudalism quickly.
- The Courser is unlocked by having a level 2 government, which poses the same problem as the Knight above.
- The Cavalry is unlocked by killing a unit with a Knight.
- The Tank is unlocked by excavating an Artifact.
The list goes on, but the obvious overall pattern is that they are all light and heavy cavalry units. Therefore, the advanced units you will have to deal with against Babylon are either naval units (so if you are on a water map, it is wise to be away from the coast), or melee and ranged units, with high damage but very slow. Also, the hallmark of a Babylonian "army" is that they only have two to three units but very advanced (like an Atomic Era unit on the Medieval battlefield sort of "advanced"). Settle in rough terrains and accumulate any layer of defense you can, and in the meantime try to be friendly with Babylon (just don't form a Research Alliance with them, or at least don't get the that Alliance to level 2). If you get attacked, amassing ranged units and put them inside defensible Districts to whittle down Babylon's units bit by bit. Remember, since they are limited by Gold and Production, every time you manage to kill one of Babylon's advanced units by focus fire, it costs them a huge fortune. Babylon's bonus will taper off later in the game, and that will be your chance to catch up.
As of version 126.96.36.199, Hammurabi's ability will not grant you the free building or Envoy if the first District of its type is conquered and not built by Babylon themselves. However, when they build it for the first time, the game will act as if they already built this type of District before, and thus will not give them the free building and Envoy then either.
Babylon rose from Mesopotamia: the land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, just southwest of modern-day Baghdad, around 2000 BC. At the time, the people weren’t known as Babylonians, but Amorites. A chieftain named Sumu-abum declared him and his people independent from the neighboring city-state, Kazallu, and founded the first Babylonian dynasty. But Babylon was a minor city-state until the rule of its most famous ruler, Hammurabi.
Hammurabi improved the infrastructure of Babylon and expanded its borders through a series of alliances, betrayals, and conquests. He ruled his empire with a set of laws collected in the Code of Hammurabi, laws that detailed how crime and punishment should be handled. They were incredibly specific and rational: most of us are familiar with the expression “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” from the code, but they also detail prices for theft (stealing an ox is punishable by paying thirty times the original price), medical malpractice, and other offenses. Significantly, the Code contains within it the assumption of innocence until proven guilty, an innovation at that time.
Even though Hammurabi was often away on military campaigns, he continued to rule from a distance, allowing him to maintain a personal touch with his rapidly expanding empire. By the end of his forty-two-year reign, he controlled all of southern Mesopotamia. The city of Babylon was established as the capital of this empire, and it became the heart of wealth and power in Mesopotamia.
Babylon declined after Hammurabi’s passing in 1750 BC. None of his successors had the same vision, alliances, or military prowess to hold together the massive empire (at least none of them were deified during their lifetimes like Hammurabi was—it was a lot to live up to). Hammurabi’s immediate successor, Samsu-iluna, saw the empire Hammurabi built begin to collapse. The Assyrians pushed back against Hammurabi’s expansions, and his successors failed to hold the borders, reducing Babylon to a smaller city-state once again.
For the next few hundred years, Babylon was overthrown, sacked, and conquered multiple times. Crop failures, a lack of a strong ruler, and outside conflicts hampered the city’s ability to regain a steady foothold even within their borders. The Hittites, Kassites, Chaldeans, Aramaeans, and finally, the Assyrians all claimed the land for a time. Under the Kassites, Babylon was able to find some prosperity again (under the name “Karanduniash”), particularly in the areas of math, medicine, and astrology. They held the city for over four hundred years, until it was taken over by yet another conqueror.
During the later part of Assyrian-ruled Babylon, amid Assyrian king Sennacherib’s reign, Babylonia was in perpetual state of unrest and rebellion, which Sennacherib reasoned could only be stopped by razing the city. The city burned. Sennacherib broke down the walls and ruined the city, destroying its religious temples and palaces. Sennacherib’s own sons were shocked by what he’d done and murdered their father in penance before helping to rebuild the city.
King Nabopolassar of Chaldea began building up the city once again in 612 BC. He started by making alliances, and then his son, King Nebuchadnezzar II, built Babylon to become one of the most beautiful wonders of the ancient world. In a flurry of architectural artistry, Nebuchadnezzar built the Etemenanki ziggurat and the Ishtar Gate. It’s said he also commissioned the Hanging Gardens of Babylon for his wife, although the location has never been confirmed.
Like many other regions around 500 BC, Babylon fell to Cyrus the Great of Persia. Under King Cyrus II and eventually King Darius I, Babylon was made the capital city of the 9th Satrapy, or province, as well as the administrative capital of the Persian Empire. It once again became a city that catered to scholars and artists alike. For two hundred years, the city prospered. However, over time, the city revolted, particularly after taxes were increased without significant structural improvements to show for the money.
Babylon saw the conquest of Alexander the Great, who once again brought wealth and knowledge to the city. For twelve years, the echo of past golden ages rippled through the region. Following Alexander’s passing and ill-advised division of his empire to multiple generals, combined with the “transfer” of part of the population, the city-state once more fell into commercial insignificance.
Despite the cycles of conquest, destruction, and later rebuilding, Babylon remained firmly rooted within our historical memory thanks to its periods of academic and architectural prominence. Regardless of whether the Hanging Gardens once resided in Babylon, the city still boasts other architectural marvels. Despite periods of conquest, Babylon was never wholly razed or sowed with salt. Instead, the conquerors, to a degree, allowed some aspects to remain. Pieces of the Ishtar gate, tablets, and even floor are still found at the ancient site, in present-day Iraq, waiting to be unearthed and, perhaps, built again.
- Main article: Babylonian cities (Civ6)
|Males||Females||Modern males||Modern females|
- The Babylonian civilization's symbol is based on the Lion of Babylon, an ancient symbol of Babylonian royalty.
- The Babylonian civilization ability is named after a collection of Babylonian tablets dealing with the astrological interpretation of a wide variety of celestial and atmospheric phenomena.
- Before the Babylonian civilization was added, the city of Babylon was a city-state added in Rise and Fall. After Babylon's release, it was replaced by Anshan.
- Babylon is the final civilization added to Civilization VI that has been playable in every standard Civilization game.
Win a regular game as Hammurabi.
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|1 Requires a DLC|