The following guide is being constantly updated by ThinkingNut. ThinkingNut has been playing almost exclusively as China in Civ 6 since the release of the game in late 2016. He plays and wins on Deity difficulty in Single Player and Multiplayer. The guide has been updated for Rise and Fall and Gathering Storm .
Beginner's Mini-Guide To China
If you are fairly experienced at playing Civilization 6 but picking up China for the first time, here are my seven beginner's tips to make your learning curve easier. The idea is to maximise the productivity of your Builders, get as much value as possible from Eurekas and Inspirations, and protect your empire using Crouching Tigers and the Great Wall tile improvement. Note that these are general tips that work fairly well in all situations. When you get more experienced, learning to adapt these suggestions to your immediate environment will be key so that you leverage the maximum advantage as a China player.
- Prioritise rushing the Pyramids with Builder charges. Don't worry about the other Ancient to Classical Wonders until you are more experienced with playing as China.
- Get Ancestral Hall () for a free four to seven charge Builder in every newly founded city.
- Get Liang's () Guildmaster starting title as your first Governor title every game for the additional Builder charge.
- If you go into a Golden Age in the early to mid game, grab Monumentality as your Dedication to lower the Gold / Faith cost of your Builders and increase their mobility.
- Try to acquire as many Eurekas and Inspirations as possible to get the maximum value out of Dynastic Cycle.
- Get at least one Crouching Tiger when you unlock them to upgrade the Ranged Combat Strength of your city walls.
- Build Great Wall tile improvements if you need fast access to defensive terrain, but don't over-rely on them and neglect to build walled-up Encampments.
For more advanced, in-depth notes and strategies, please see below:
This section is intended to showcase the versatility of China's kit for all Victory types. Note that these strategies are not set in stone, and are general guidelines that are meant to be adapted to the circumstances of the game.
|Religious||Rushing Stonehenge, Oracle, Jebel Barkal and Mahabodhi Temple can give a religious edge. In choosing beliefs, a setup that has worked very well for me is the following: (Pantheon) Monument to the Gods, (Follower) Divine Inspiration, (Worship) Mosque, (Founder) Pilgrimage and (Enhancer) Holy Order. Grab these whenever possible, and feel free to improvise as appropriate.|
|Scientific||Dynastic Cycle, Great Library and, if the map permits, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus can help China gain a technological advantage as well as massive Production boosts toward Space Race projects.
Intelligence Agency and Royal Society from Government Plaza buildings would help here. Use spies frequently for stealing technology boosts. Dedications like Free Inquiry, Sky and Stars and Bodyguard of Lies all work well with Dynastic Cycle to net you even more Science. The Governor Pingala is a must-have. Also remember to use China's exceptional builders to rush Space Race projects.
In the late game, use China's plentiful builder charges to quickly cover your empire with all the renewable energy tile improvements - ie. solar farms, wind farms, offshore wind farms etc. This will efficiently and effectively help you power through the final stages of your Scientific Victory.
|Cultural||The early wonders, Dynastic Cycle and later Great Wall segments will give China a cultural edge. This will set her up to easily get very high Theater Square adjacency bonuses in the mid-to-late game. Plentiful builder charges will allow China to easily get many Seaside Resorts up and running after she researches Radio, thus giving her a further edge in the late game.
National History Museum is a must-have for Government Plaza buildings. For Dedications, take Pen, Brush and Voice, Wish You Were Here and Heartbeat of Steam (for more Wonders) whenever possible. Again, the Governor Pingala is a must-have. Interestingly, Reyna's level 3 title, Curator, also works well here although her other abilities are mostly Gold based.
The Curator title now belongs to Pingala, so it makes sense to get him instead of Reyna.
|Domination||Building a huge army early and then rushing Terracotta Army can provide a military edge. This will set China up for a mid to late game domination victory. If key strategic points throughout the empire need defending, the player can fortify Crouching Tigers on tiles with the Great Wall improvement, forts and/or encampments.
Warlord's Throne and War Department from the Government Plaza buildings will be helpful. For Dedications, To Arms! is your best bet. And of course, the Governor Victor will be helpful in defending key cities from being taken (or re-taken), and for bolstering loyalty in newly conquered cities. For policy cards, take Limitanei and Praetorium as necessary.
With the changes to Victor's Embrasure title, it is now possible to delegate your Production of troops to the city governed by Victor, and have your whole army come with out with a free promotion. As mentioned above, rush Terracotta Army and your army will have two free promotions possibly before any fighting has even begun! This can set up a Chinese army to be extremely deadly by the mid-game.
|Diplomatic||Beelining for the Apadana and then building as many Wonders in its parent city as possible can give China a diplomatic edge. This will maximise the two extra Envoys per Wonder bonus and allow you to more competently compete for Suzerainty of multiple city-states. Rushing Mahabodhi Temple is also helpful.|
|Score||Being a well-rounded civ, China should have no issue with overall scores.|
10% extra Eurekas and Inspirations are great all game, especially in the late game when both technologies and civics are far more expensive. The enhanced boosts allow for China to have great snowballing potential all game. But it would be counterproductive to wait too long for Eurekas and Inspirations because of the 10% extra. For the most essential tech or civic, plow through without delay.
This bonus proves its own worth if you are considering a Domination victory strategy. Every time you conquer a city, you (if the civilization is ahead of you) gain an Eureka or Inspiration. With Dynastic Cycle, this becomes even more valuable, allowing you to more easily keep up in technology and civics.
Last but not least, stealing technology boosts with spies in the mid to late game is even more valuable as China because the Eurekas get an extra 10% of the technology cost. This strategy gets better the higher you go in difficulty (in single player) because on Immortal and Deity, the AI will almost always be ahead of you in technology until possibly the mid-to-late game.
The First Emperor
Overview of ability
China's Builders get an extra charge, giving them a total of 4 instead of 3 charges. Combine this later on with the Pyramids, Serfdom and Public Works, and you can potentially have Builders with 7 charges (or 8 in Rise and Fall with governor Liang's Guildmaster title) - the highest number of charges per Builder in the game! They can also spend charges to rush the construction of Ancient and Classical Wonders.
Breakdown of Ancient and Classical Wonders
- How many Ancient to Classical Wonders should I attempt to rush in a standard game? The answer is it will depend on what victory type you are going for. The number will therefore vary from game to game. That said, a general tip is to be careful to strike a balance between early empire expansion and building Wonders. Don't get so focused on the Wonders that you end up with half the number of cities that everyone else has by the mid-game!
- Which Ancient to Classical Wonders should I go for? A. Always rush the Pyramids whenever possible. After that, go for the other Reliably good to Situational (more on this below) Wonders as appropriate. B. As all the Wonders in the game have specific map-based requirements, it would be in your best interests as a China player to learn the said requirements as well as you can. This then allows you to... C. Read the map quickly and accurately so that you can make strategic decisions about which Wonders to build based on what types of tiles and City-States are nearby.
Core = Pyramids. Grab it every game if possible. This is your top priority, consistently game-changing wonder that complements China's kit excellently.
Reliably good = Get these Wonders if you can manage to juggle your Production between these and general empire expansion. They will heavily reward you if you do.
Situational = Situationally great. Don't bother otherwise.
Avoid = Just don't bother.
|Pyramids1||Effects: +2 Culture, grants a free Builder and all Builders receive an additional charge. It must be built on a desert tile.
Has fantastic synergy with the already powerful 4 charge Chinese builder and China's unique ability to rush Ancient and Classical wonders with builder charges. It is by far the best Wonder in the game to complement China's kit, so prioritise this above all else.
If you are a beginner at playing China and don't know the Ancient to Classical Wonders very well, consider rush-building ONLY the Pyramids, and then focus on rapid early expansion (REX) of your empire while taking Ilkum/Serfdom. Another scenario that this strategy would be appropriate for is on a crowded map where your rivals are far too close for comfort. This strategy is simple, powerful and reliable. It turns China into one of the best REX civilisations in the game because of your powered up Builders.
The only slight downside to this strategy is that it falls off heavily by the late game, when presumably all improvable tiles have been improved. It would therefore be in your best interests to snowball your lead as much as possible before that happens.
Combine with Ancestral Hall, Liang, Serfdom/Public Works and the Golden Age version of Monumentality for maximum results. If going for a Science Victory, more Builder charges means more Production towards Space Race Projects when combined with Royal Society.
With the introduction of the new late game improvements in Gathering Storm (such as the Seastead, Wind Farm, Solar Farm etc.), Builders are very much relevant in the late to end game. Therefore, having the Pyramids is a great asset for that phase of the game, especially as China.
|Stonehenge3||Effects: +2 Faith, grants a free Great Prophet, and Great Prophets may found a religion on Stonehenge instead of a Holy Site. It must be built adjacent to Stone and on flat land.
Analysis: Reliably good.
It'll help you get a fast early religion - the benefits of which I will explain below. If the map conditions do not allow you easy access to this Wonder, a fast Holy Site and Shrine should hopefully get you your religion.
In the case of other civilisations, rushing Stonehenge is not recommended in the early game unless you are planning to go for a Religious Victory or build many Holy Sites in your empire. However, in China's case, simply grab Divine Inspiration (more on this below) for your Follower Belief and you'll have +4 Faith from all of your Wonders. Firstly, just Stonehenge itself will already grant you +2 Faith per turn, thus allowing you to quickly grab your Pantheon (take Monument to the Gods - more on this below).
By doing this, you get faster access (+15% Production) to more Ancient to Classical Era Wonders, which will, in turn, net you more Faith. This will not only set you up for a very comfortable religious mid-game (if you choose this direction), but you can use the massive amounts of Faith you gain in conjunction with the Golden Age version of the Monumentality dedication () to Faith-purchase Builders, Settlers and Traders. This will help you to 1. rush-build even more Ancient to Classical Wonders and 2. expand and improve your empire very quickly and effectively after you've been using the early game to build Wonders.
I honestly think the early investment pays itself off many times over as long as you commit to continually adding to your arsenal of Wonders throughout the game. Later on, when the Monumentality dedication is unavailable, you can always use your extra Faith to purchase Great People, units if you've built Grand Master's Chapel (), or Rock Bands () if you are aiming for a Cultural Victory.
Even if you are not planning to win a Religious Victory, having the extra Faith is useful because you can use it defend yourself against rivals spreading their religions to your cities. On Small to Duel-sized maps in Single Player, this is critical because the AI will more than likely win a Religious Victory if you completely neglect Religion. You will only need one to three cities in your empire to have Holy Sites. That way, most of your Faith will be from your Wonders, and you can have your other cities focus on other areas of the game. I cannot stress enough how powerful this can be because Shrines give +2 Faith, and Temples give +4 Faith; Wonders each grant +4 Faith ON TOP of their intrinsic bonuses, which is equal to one free Temple or two free Shrines! This offers flexibility to your play-style because you don't necessarily have to mass-build Holy Sites nor use the Scripture and/or Simultaneum Policy Cards to boost your Faith generation. It also frees up your Envoys for other non-religious oriented City-States if you so choose to.
Side-Note: This strategy - spamming Wonders in conjunction with the Divine Inspiration Follower Belief - is especially powerful for civilisations that get Production bonuses towards Wonders - eg. France and Egypt. But I feel that China utilises the Follower Belief best since our kit encourages us to get Wonders early and fast. Having our Faith generation ramped up early sets us up to snowball for the rest of the game. With France, their +20% Production bonus only kicks in with Wonders from the Medieval Era to Industrial Era. With Egypt, it is map-situational since their +15% Production bonus only applies if you build your Wonder next to a river. China is much more flexible in where we can build our Wonders, and we get our Production bonuses through rush-building with Builders right from the start of the game.
Suggestions for a defensive religious setup: Monument to the Gods (Pantheon); Divine Inspiration (Follower Belief); Synagogue (Worship Belief); Church Property (Founder Belief); and Defender of the Faith (Enhancer Belief).
Suggestions for a offensive religious setup: Monument to the Gods (Pantheon); Divine Inspiration (Follower Belief); Mosque (Worship Belief); Pilgrimage (Founder Belief); and Holy Order (Enhancer Belief).
|Great Bath|| Effects: +3 Housing, +1 Amenity from entertainment. Floodplains tile along the river containing this Wonder are now immune to Flood Damage. -50% Production and Food yields from Flood Damage. +1 Faith for every time a tile belonging to this city has been flooded. It must be built on a Floodplains tile.
Analysis: Reliably good.
One of the best Wonders. Having this Wonder available as early as the Pottery technology allows it to be built very early, so by all means, rush it with a second Builder, because it is worth it! It being in the game is an awesome indirect buff to China because we can rush-build it with our Builders, thus pretty much guaranteeing we will be the civilisation to get to it first in most games as long as there are Floodplains tiles near our capital. The fact that it operates as an Ancient Era version of a Dam allows our city (usually the capital, Xian) to grow in population quickly, safely and sustainably near rivers with a lot of Floodplains. The only part where it is worse than a Dam is that it does not prevent Food loss during Droughts.
But the most interesting, unique and, more importantly, powerful part of the Great Bath is its ability to grant +1 Faith for every time a tile belonging to this city has been flooded. Note that this includes times that a tile has been flooded PRIOR to the Great Bath being built, meaning you can potentially gain access to the Faith per turn as soon as you finish the Wonder. Also note that the Faith per turn per tile stacks with each flood occurrence, so it is possible to get +5 Faith per turn from each Floodplains tile or more in the mid-to-late game because of this Wonder. This is great for multiple reasons. First, in the early game, aside from the God-King policy, there is no reliable way to quickly accumulate Faith for the founding of a Pantheon unless you settle near a Natural Wonder that provides Faith in its tiles - and being able to do so is rare and unreliable. Constructing Holy Site(s) is another option, although that is slow and costly in the early game in terms of opportunity cost and inefficient if you are not planning to do much with a religion later on. That, or you can hope you meet a religious City-State and be the first to it for that initial envoy, although again, that is unreliable. As long as the tiles have been flooded at least once, the Faith per turn from the Great Bath quickly adds up, allowing you to rocket towards getting the Monument to the Gods Pantheon (+15% Production towards Ancient and Classical Wonders) that will further snowball you towards your other preferred Wonders. This can allow you to forgo God-King in favour of Urban Planning and get the best of both worlds: you getting that crucial extra +1 Production in your Capital in the early game while still having a means to earning Faith later on.
After the initial Pantheon has been founded, an ever-increasing influx of Faith has flexible and powerful utility for China. The most obvious path is propelling China towards a Religious Victory. The Great Bath has excellent synergy with the Divine Inspiration Follower Belief, after all.
Perhaps less obvious a strategy is that the Great Bath can also be used in incredible synergistic conjunction with the Golden Age version of the Monumentality Dedication to help you purchase Builders, Traders and Settlers with Faith at a 30% discount. In one of my games, I was able to purchase an 8-charge Builder (with the help of The First Emperor, Liang, Pyramids and Serfdom) every turn consecutively for 6-7 turns because of the massive amounts of Faith that was generated by my Floodplains tiles. This then had the snowballing effect of saving me massive amounts of Production and Gold in the mid game since I didn't have to hard build my Builders or spend Gold on them. It also guaranteed that my whole empire got its tile improvements quickly and cheaply.
Other than that, the bonus Faith can be used to purchase early Great People that China might not usually have ready access to since we prioritise Wonders over Districts in the early game. If that is a strategy you are prioritising, doing so in conjunction with grabbing the Oracle and Theocracy would be key. Or the Faith can be used with Grand Master's Chapel to buy yourself a huge land army with Faith. Or it can be handy late game when you want to buy Naturalists and Rock Bands with Faith to cement a Culture Victory.
All that said, be warned of three potential downsides to beelining for this Wonder in the early game. 1. The bonus Faith yields are dependent on the frequency of the city's Floodplains tiles being flooded, and this is entirely based on luck. Of course, you can always adjust the Natural Disasters slider to 4 when setting up the game to ensure as much flooding as possible, but how much Faith you get and when you get it will always be luck-based. 2. Since this Wonder is unlocked at Pottery, it goes VERY fast. So if you're going for it, be prepared to fully commit to building it because if someone else grabs it before you do, you'll end up with wasted Production which will SEVERELY set you back for the rest of the game. 3. Since this is such an early Wonder, by building it, you have to factor in the opportunity cost of not expanding your empire. So don't be surprised if you suddenly find yourself still at two cities when the other AI or human players have 4-6 cities already.
Overall, regardless of the general direction of your play style, the Great Bath should be able to repay itself many times over by the late game because of its scaling Faith generation and Dam-like benefits.
|Great Library||Effects: +2 Science, +1 Great Scientist point per turn, +2 Great Works of Writing and receive boosts to all Ancient and Classical Era technologies. It must be built on a flat land tile adjacent to a Campus with a Library.
Analysis: Reliably good.
One of the best Wonders. Its statistics make me speculate if it was designed specifically with China in mind. The +2 Science, +1 Great Scientist point per turn and +2 Great Works of Writing slots are nice, but its most powerful bonus lies in its ability to provide boosts to all Ancient and Classical era technologies. This means that in planning for the construction of this Wonder, speed is essential. You will want to beeline for Recorded History, construct the prerequisite Campus and Library, and then rush this Wonder with Builder charges. This has direct synergy with Dynastic Cycle because each of the multiple Eurekas you gain are more lucrative, and will thus net you even more Science than other civilisations which build the same Wonder. And since you have the ability to rush the Production of this Wonder, you'll finish it faster than other civilisations, thus ensuring that there will be more remaining technologies for you to boost before you transition into the Medieval Era.
The other chief reason why this is a Reliably Good Wonder is because of its accessibility. Its requirements - flat land adjacent to a Campus with a Library - are relatively easy to meet and not particularly map reliant. So by all means, rush this every game.
With Rise and Fall, the Great Library has gotten even better, thus making China's early game potential even stronger. It now receives an additional +1 Great Writer point per turn, and provides a random tech boost after another player recruits a Great Scientist. This is nice because the +1 Great Writer point per turn does help you eventually fill up those 2 Great Works of Writing slots, but you will still need to construct Theatre Square Districts and Amphitheatres to stay competitive for earning Great Writers. Its latter boost means that you'll be receiving a series of Eurekas for the rest of the game whether you're focusing on Science or not. This, again, has direct synergy with Dynastic Cycle as each Eureka is stronger for China. Overall, with this expansion's buffs to the Wonder, it is able to pay for itself many times over for the rest of the game, thus making it a top-notch investment in every game. Its flexible utility means that it is an excellent choice no matter which victory you are going for.
|Petra|| Effects: +2 Food, +2 Gold, and +1 Production on all desert tiles for this city. (Does not apply to Floodplains.) It must be built on a desert tile.
Analysis: Reliably good.
One of the best Wonders. This effectively turns desert hills and any other improvable desert tiles into great power tiles - this works synergistically with Great Wall tiles, and can, if you build strategically, grant many tiles that each yield +2 Food, +1 Production, +8 Gold and +4 Culture ( version only). More importantly, it sets you up for the rest of the game with a powerhouse of a city. You can use it to quickly build more Wonders, a lot of Districts, many Settlers and/or Builders or a huge army etc. It allows you great flexibility because of its superior Food, Gold, and Production. On the same note, Petra allows a player (but usually only China) to settle in desert-heavy areas which would otherwise be uninhabitable. In addition, if you can find a place for desert city, you will more than likely also have a place for the Pyramids.
Do note that in choosing an optimal city with lots of desert tiles, the city will have little to no yields until you build Petra. The gap between you settling the city and you building Petra will thus be the weak phase for that city and your early game in general. Depending on how contested the map is, it is therefore advisable to improve your "Petra city" only after you are able to build Petra. Doing so will reduce the effects of your weak phase. If there are a lot of desert hills in that city, the payoff is usually worth it by the mid to late game.
|Temple of Artemis||Effects: +4 Food and +3 Housing, and each Camp, Pasture and Plantation Improvement within four tiles provides +1 Amenity. It must be built on a tile adjacent to a Camp.
Analysis: Reliably good.
One of the best Wonders. The +1 Amenity from every camp, plantation and pasture within a 4-tile radius, assuming you strategically place this wonder to maximise its effectiveness, can be game-changingly massive in the early game. Build both this and the Colosseum for maximum synergy. Additional +4 Food and +3 Housing are extra bonuses that sweeten the deal further, and can allow you to quickly grow a city where growth would otherwise be difficult. This Wonder allows you to very quickly grow a city to 10+ population by around the Medieval Era while still supporting it adequately in terms of Amenities and Housing. Ample scouting is thus required.
|Colosseum||Effects: 6 tile ranged, area of effect +3 Amenities and +2 Culture. It must be built on a tile adjacent to an Entertainment Complex district.
Analysis: Reliably good.
One of the best Wonders. The requirement for this wonder (i.e. must be adjacent to an Entertainment Complex district) is relatively easy to meet, so, by all means, plan its optimal placement ahead of time and try to get this wonder every game.
The stats have now changed, and the requirements dictate that it has to be built adjacent to an Entertainment Complex district with an Arena. Despite the lowered Amenities and increased requirements, this Wonder is still very good because of the +2 loyalty. This can be the difference between you struggling to keep your cities happy and loyal on a crowded map or not. It also means that you can potentially settle cities further away from your Capital without having to worry as much about the resulting loyalty penalties. Furthermore, the +2 loyalty may be the deciding factor to you flipping a foreign city to join your empire in the mid-to-late game.
|Mausoleum at Halicarnassus2||Effects: +1 Science, Faith and Culture to all Coast tiles in this city. All Great Engineers have an additional charge. It must be built adjacent to a Harbour.
Analysis: Reliably good.
I think of this as the Petra of the sea! The +1 Science, Faith and Culture is a very good bonus if your city is surrounded by a lot of Coast tiles, and especially good if there are a lot of sea resources within the city's reach. Combine this with Liang's Fishery improvement to acquire extremely powerful tile yields. Later in the game, Offshore Wind Farms and Seasteads are also viable tile improvements. If the Auckland city-state is in your game, become its Suzerain for even more impressive yields.
An additional Great Engineer charge is very unique and useful in the mid-to-late game. I have always found particularly good utility from the Great Engineers that grant Production towards Wonders - Filippo Brunelleschi, for example. Having another charge on those is immensely helpful in helping me grab mid-to-late game Wonders like the Potala Palace and Big Ben. In the late game, if you are aiming for a Science Victory, having another charge on the Great Engineers who speed up Space Race projects (Sergei Korolev and Wernher Von Braun, for example) is game changing as it effectively doubles the value of their abilities. Another good thing about this Wonder is that the AI usually do not prioritise it, meaning that it should still be up for grabs in the Medieval Era.
|Apadana2||Effects: +2 Great Work slots and +2 Envoys per Wonder built in this city. It must be built on a tile adjacent to the Capital city centre.
This can be game-changingly useful ONLY if you're confident that the parent city will reliably be building multiple Wonders throughout the rest of the game. The +2 Envoys per Wonder is extremely powerful for winning over City-States, thus swinging political influence in your favour. This can be a game-changer especially if you're neck-to-neck in terms of military strength on a crowded map. Being the Suzerain of multiple City-States not only gives you all the usual bonuses of being a Suzerain, but effectively cements them as military allies or buffer zones if you go to war with a neighbouring rival. This Wonder is especially powerful in the hands of China as China can rush build multiple Wonders early on, thus having synergy with this Wonder's properties. Combine this with Merchant Confederation, Monarchy and Charismatic Leader for maximum synergy. Additionally, the +2 Great Work slots are a nice bonus if you're going for a Cultural Victory.
The reason why this isn't a core Wonder is because not every game will you have a city that is capable of massive amounts of Production AND fit all the map requirements of the Wonders you'll be going for. There is also the variable of desirable Wonders getting taken before you can build them, which makes this a Situational Wonder to grab. Not only that, but other Wonders might have higher priority, so that by the time you're ready to build the Apadana, you would have built most of your target Wonders, thus reducing its effectiveness. The last reason is that there will be games in which you might not be interested in wooing City-States, in which case this Apadana will not be needed.
This Wonder is very helpful if you want to win a Diplomatic Victory as China. Refer to "Victory Type General Strategies" section above for more details.
|Terracotta Army|| Effects: +2 Great General points per turn, all current land units gain a free promotion, and all Archaeologists from the owner may enter foreign lands without open borders. It must be built on Grassland or Plains adjacent to an Encampment with a Barracks or Stable.
|Jebel Barkal4||Effects: Awards +2 Iron, and provides +4 Faith to all your cities within a 6-tile radius. It must be built on a desert hill tile.
Awards +4 Iron per turn. The +4 Faith part stays the same.
The double iron or +4 Iron per turn can be essential if you do not have iron and plan to build Knights and Swordsmen. The +4 Faith in a 6 tile radius can be extremely powerful if you're pursuing a Religious Victory. It has excellent synergy with the Grand Master's Chapel and the Golden Age version of the Monumentality Dedication .
|Mahabodhi Temple|| Effects: +4 Faith and grants +2 Apostles. It must be built on Woods adjacent to a Holy Site with a Temple, and you must have founded a Religion.
The two Apostles can be useful if you found an early religion either by accumulating Great Prophet points or by grabbing Stonehenge. By making them perform the Evangelize Belief action, they can net your fledgling religion two Enhancer Beliefs faster than most other civilizations. In choosing beliefs, a religious offensive setup that has worked very well for me if I am going for a Religious Victory is the following: (Follower) Divine Inspiration, (Worship) Mosque, (Founder) Pilgrimage, (Enhancer) Holy Order. Grab these whenever possible, and feel free to improvise as appropriate.
|Oracle|| Effects: +1 Culture, +1 Faith, patronage of Great People costs 25% less Faith, and Districts in this city provide +2 Great Person points of their type. It must be built on Hills.
1 Culture and 1 Faith is tiny, even by early game standards. -25% Faith costs for Great Persons and +2 Great Person points from districts in the parent city are nice if you have an abundance of Faith, but Great Person points do not kick in until much later in the game since there won't be many districts in the city until later. Also, you'll have to balance the purchasing of Apostles and Missionaries and the purchasing of Great Persons if you are going for a Religious Victory. If you must get this, try to build it with Stonehenge, Jebel Barkal and Mahabodhi Temple to maximise its effects.
|Colossus||Effects: +3 Gold, +1 Great Admiral point per turn, +1 Trade Route capacity, and grants a Trader unit. It must be built on the Coast and adjacent to a Harbour. It cannot be built on a Lake.
The +3 Gold, extra Trade Route and a free Trader is nice and saves valuable Production time. The +1 Great Admiral point per turn is not bad, especially if you also build the Great Lighthouse to stack the points. However, it's not a priority, especially since neither human nor AI players will rush the Colossus early. Its usefulness is further limited by the fact that the player has to build a Harbor first, which requires a city to be settled near or on the coast, as well as a lot of valuable Production to be spent on the Harbor district, especially in the crucial early to mid game where Production should be directed to Settlers, Builders and other more valuable Wonders. The Colossus can be useful on a water-heavy map, but otherwise very much skippable.
|Great Lighthouse||Effects: +3 Gold, +1 for all naval units, and +1 Great Admiral point per turn. It must be built on the coast and adjacent a Harbour with a Lighthouse.
Extra movement means a more effective naval force. Nice for island maps where you plan on instigating naval warfare. The +3 Gold and +1 Great Admiral point is nice, and works well with the Colossus. If you are building this, build Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Colossus and Great Lighthouse as a trio on water-heavy maps. Useless otherwise.
|Hanging Gardens||Effects: Provides +15% growth in all cities, and +2 Housing (since the Summer 2017 Update). It must be built on a tile adjacent to a river.
There are far better uses of your Production in the early game - ie. getting the better Wonders, general expansion of your empire, building districts, training military units to fend off barbarians etc. The +15% growth is nice since it applies to all your cities, and the +2 Housing to this Wonder's parent city is not bad, but what it offers is comparatively minimal in contrast to the instantly powerful and game-changing Pyramids or a well-placed Petra. Even an early Commercial Hub on the said tile adjacent to a river would be more immediately useful for your empire. Ultimately, it's the heavy opportunity cost in China's critical early game that forces this Wonder under the category of "Avoid."
|Machu Picchu||Effects: +4 Gold. Mountain tiles provide a standard adjacency bonus to Commercial Hub, Theatre Square and Industrial Zone Districts in all cities. It must be built on a mountain tile that does not contain a Volcano.
The bonuses themselves are decent, but highly dependent on your empire having a lot of mountains in it to be actually worthwhile. Unfortunately, Builders cannot move onto mountain tiles, meaning that they are unable to spend charges to rush-build the Machu Picchu. This forces China to hard build the Wonder like everyone else, which is not optimal at all. I'd much rather spend my precious Production on other more accessible and, more importantly, valuable Wonders in the early game, or even general empire expansion.
1 Note that the Pyramids add one extra charge for all existing Builders as well. Therefore, if you have a choice when your Pyramids are near completion, shuffle your Builders so that you have as many of them left as possible.
2 Available only if you bought the Persia and Macedon Civilization & Scenario Pack.
3 If you want to collect Stonehenge, if you are playing at the Emperor difficulty level or above in single-player, try to shuffle your maps to get a good suitable position - near some Stone, close to a Natural Wonder and some city-states. The boost to Astrology from a Natural Wonder allows you to research the other techs you need to work tiles and produce military, and city-states alleviate the need for regular Production. If you do sacrifice early Production and expansion, you will lose the later Wonders.
4 Available only if you bought the Nubia Civilization & Scenario Pack.
Turns Needed to Complete a Wonder
Unless a Builder uses up its charges, it can only charge a Wonder once a turn. Once its charges are used up, you can move an additional Builder to charge the same Wonder again in the same turn. This way, you can rapidly rush a wonder by moving in a succession of 1-charge Builders and using their final charge. Because the source of your Builders for rushing wonders with doesn't matter, you can have your entire empire contribute towards the construction of a single wonder!
You can choose to complete as much portion of a given Wonder as you want. It takes 7 Builder charges to fully complete a wonder without any extra boosts. That said, if you take Monument to the Gods as your Pantheon, Autocracy as your early game government, and Corvee as your economic policy, you can boost the amount of Production that each Builder charge is worth. Monument to the Gods gives +15% Production, Autocracy gives +10% Production, and Corvee gives +15% Production - giving a potential total of +40% Production to Ancient and Classical Wonders. This can potentially boost each Builder charge's value to 21% of the Wonder's Production cost, thus allowing you to finish any Ancient to Classical Wonder with as low as five Builder charges BEFORE accounting for any direct input from the city! Therefore, if you don't plan on settling for a while, I would recommend stacking the bonuses to maximise your early game Wonder-rushing potential as China. This is particularly massive when you want to build wonders around new cities which do not yet have many tile improvements. For example, you settle a city in a desert-heavy area with very little initial Production and Food. For most other civilisations (with the possible exception of the Mali ), the city will take a very very long time to complete the Petra to make this city worthwhile. You may even be forced to settle the city away from the most desert-heavy areas so that you grab some meaningful Production and Food tiles to speed up the construction process. But as China, if you combine the above-mentioned modifiers, then have five 1-charge Builders chain-rush Petra within the same turn, you can complete the Wonder in this new, initially weak desert city in ONE turn BEFORE it has ANY tile improvements, Districts or their Buildings - thus instantly turning it into a powerhouse for the rest of the game. This is something only China can do.
Also of note is that if a Builder charge contributes more Production than is needed to complete a district, it overflows to the next thing you build, avoiding any being wasted.
This is a very situational and niche ability. You have to play on maps where land masses are narrow or snaky enough to isolate bodies of waters from each other for canals to be possibly relevant. I am thinking of maps with a balanced mix between water and land like fractal or shuffle maps. On most other land-heavy maps, canals are irrelevant since you will not be shuffling many ships around. On water-heavy maps, landmasses are too small that it is easy to go around them, or bodies of waters are already connected. (Read more about using Canals here) Even if you are in a situation where an early naval war is imminent and you need to re-position your ships, canals are a relatively huge cost to your early production. The Production can arguably be used more efficiently on maritime Wonders that can snowball your naval warfare, economy and/or exploration, (ie. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Great Lighthouse, Colossus) Settlers, Builders, or China's better Wonders (please see above). It is therefore a great pity that Builder charges cannot directly rush-build canals. This means that we have to hard build them until we get Military Engineers. And even then, having it as an option at Masonry is not going to help if aggressive neighbours declare war and come at you with embarked land troops. Producing naval units, or even defending land units like Archers and Spearmen and using Builder charges for the Great Wall tile improvement would be more reliable and viable in such a scenario. Even spending Production on Ancient Walls is a far better idea. I dislike the idea of relying solely on Galleys and and Quadriremes for defence because Galleys cannot attack disembarked land troops and Quadriremes have an attack range of 1, meaning that they cannot reach further inland troops.
That said, it is worth mentioning that the canals have scaled down costs during the early game, so building one in a crucial strategic area of your empire isn't too difficult. Also, they do provide more accessible and lucrative trade routes if you can position your trade routes through your canal(s). This can work well with early construction of a Harbour District (+1 Trade Route if a Commercial Hub has not been already built in that city), rush-building the Colossus (which provides a free Trader and +1 Trade Route capacity) and/or researching the Foreign Trade civic. This can work for your Traders and allow other civilisations to trade with you more efficiently.
Another benefit of unlocking Canals earlier is that it can provide adjacency bonuses to adjacent districts. This is useful on maps where land is scarce and maximising adjacency bonuses for districts like Industrial Zones, Commercial Hubs, Theatre Squares and Campuses can be tricky. Having Canals can somewhat solve this problem. Later on, this will help you get access to the +50% bonus in Policy Cards that require a minimum of +3 adjacency bonus (Rationalism or Grand Opera) or +4 adjacency bonus (Free Market). It should be noted that Canals grant +2 adjacency bonus to Industrial Zones, so it is highly recommended you always build these two districts beside each other.
But on the whole, I have found very little use for canals. They do not impact China's overall play-style much. Think of it as a highly situational buff that can provide a strategic logistical bonus in niche scenarios. It is definitely a positive buff for China, but one that is extremely limited in its potential application.
The Great Wall tile improvement operates as a Fort in terms of granting Combat Strength. Its superior value comes from the fact that it is unlocked three eras earlier at Masonry. It is much more accessible since it is constructed with Builder charges. This gives early game units a much bigger boost in defensive Combat Strength relative to their intrinsically lower Combat Strength.
In Gathering Storm, the Garrison promotion applies to Great Wall tile improvements, so it makes sense for primarily defending Ranged Units to grab this as their first promotion. This boosts the already formidable defensive power of the Crouching Tigers.
The only requirement it has is that the Great Wall needs to be built along the borders of your empire.
As for its second characteristic, the adjacency bonuses to Culture, Gold and Tourism - the Great Wall gets added utility in the late game on top of its still relevant defensive properties. The Tourism boost is useful late in the game if you're aiming for a Cultural Victory because you'll need every bit of Tourism you can get to surpass your rivals. Just remember that researching Castles will grant you the Culture, and Flight the Tourism. Also, the Tourism will only be in effect if your city is working that tile. That said, be prudent in building Great Wall segments - only build them along areas where you might be attacked. Building too many of them will sacrifice too many tiles which could have been used for Food, Production and/or Gold.
The only other tiles where you would want to build a lot of Great Wall segments are on ice or tundra tiles as you cannot build anything else on them. In that sense, otherwise low-yield tiles would at least have some value to them when worked by your cities. This also works on empty desert tiles that have been augmented by Petra, turning the already good tiles into great tiles. By extension of this point, if you can build Great Wall segments on Petra-augmented tiles which are also further powered up by natural Wonders, the yields from those tiles will become truly amazing.
With the advent of Rise and Fall's Golden Age system, the utility of the Great Wall is increased since constructing it early on for the first time grants an instant 4 Era Score. This, especially at the end of the Ancient and Classical Eras, when the prerequisite Era Score for a Golden Age is relatively low, can be the deciding factor between earning an early Golden Age or not. This can snowball China very hard into the middle to late game because of the Golden Age version of the Monumentality Dedication, which, if chosen, can improve China's already powerful Builders (more on this in the Dedications section below). So if you're a few points off getting a Golden Age, by all means, construct a Great Wall tile improvement on the outskirts of your empire. With your plentiful Builder charges as China, this investment is usually worth it.
With the Antarctic Late Summer Game Update, the Great Wall now grants +2 Gold as a base yield, with an additional +2 Gold for each adjacent Great Wall. It also gains +2 Culture for each adjacent Great Wall once you research the Castles Technology. It can only be pillaged but never removed by disasters.
This is a big buff, as you can get a +6 Gold and +4 Culture tile and two +4 Gold and +2 Culture tiles (not counting the base, unimproved yield(s) of that tile) very easily if you lay down at least three sections of the Great Wall in adjacent tiles. The economic benefits are now a legitimate force to be reckoned with, especially in the early-to-mid game if you haven't yet built many Commercial Hubs and Traders.
This will be an especially powerful combination if built on desert tiles in a city with the Petra Wonder, a Wonder which China already has an advantage towards getting through Qin's First Emperor ability. This, with some optimal placement, will yield multiple tiles with +2 Food, +1 Production, +8 Gold and +4 Culture. When worked by the city, this can easily launch your economy forward and allow you to fly through the civic tree quickly.
And because it can only be pillaged and not removed by disasters, this means that we get to save precious Builder charges in the early-to-mid game; charges which could be used elsewhere on Ancient to Classical Era Wonders and other tile improvements. Finally, since there is additional Culture per turn from the Great Wall, the amount of Tourism you can generate if the city works that tile is also proportionately more. This can always help you towards a Culture Victory.
The Crouching Tiger is a unique ranged unit that costs 160 Production, 20 less Production than the 180 Production Crossbowman and has +50 Ranged Combat Strength, relative to the Crossbowman's +40 Ranged Combat Strength. However, it has one less Range when compared to the Crossbowman. Its superiority in firepower is equivalent to one tech level or a Corps level higher, which is massive. This also means that in terms of raw, base damage output (if one were to take into account both Ranged Combat Strength and Melee Combat Strength), it is the most powerful unit in the Medieval Era, surpassing even the Knight by 2 damage. However, the reduction in Range means Crouching Tigers will be exposed to enemy melee units unless placed in defensive structures, which significantly inhibits their use. Crouching Tigers are therefore most useful in defensive wars, when placed in Encampments or City Centers. If neither is available or convenient, ad hoc Great Wall placement can also help the survivability of Crouching Tigers.
If you are using them on the front line, it is best to limit the exposure of individual Crouching Tigers to enemy melee or cavalry troops through adjacent friendly (melee) units. That, or another way is by placing them on tiles that give defensive bonuses (hills, forests, jungles, adjacent to rivers etc.). This will greatly enhance their survivability whilst allowing them to blast away with their superior firepower. Another tip if you plan on using Crouching Tigers on the front lines is to escort them with some Crossbowmen. This way, you can allow your Crouching Tigers to travel more safely to your destination while your Crossbowmen pick off any enemy units who threaten your Crouching Tigers. Yet another tip is to time your attacks so that you move your Crouching Tigers and fire with them on the same turn - they will do tremendous damage to all Medieval Era units (except for Knights). Of course, if you wage war on a rival who has pre-Medieval Era units, a well-coordinated attack with Crouching Tigers is unstoppable.
If you're planning to mass-produce Crouching Tigers, it is more efficient to adopt the Feudal Contract military policy card as the Crouching Tigers are classified as Medieval ranged units. The +50% Production that is granted with this policy card has synergy with the Crouching Tiger's already lowered base costs. A tip here would be to get your Builders to construct 6 farms early on in the game to get the Inspiration boost (improved with Dynastic Cycle), thus allowing you to get to Feudalism faster and therefore gain quicker access to the Feudal Contract military policy card.
One final note on Crouching Tigers: When you build your first one, all your city defences and encampments (providing that you've built Ancient Walls) will gain its +50 Ranged Combat Strength. This is because the Ranged Combat Strength of your cities and encampments is scaled to the Ranged Combat Strength of your strongest ranged unit. This, in conjunction with the Great Wall tile improvement and the Bastions policy card, gives China the potential to be the strongest defensive civilization in the game during the Medieval Era. It is a good idea, therefore, to build at least one Crouching Tiger as soon as you unlock it, even if you are at peace, so that you upgrade your cities' and encampments' ranged attacks.
Overall, the Crouching Tiger is situationally powerful on offence and reliably powerful on defence.
The reason for this is that, as mentioned above, the extra +10 Combat Strength from the Garrison promotion now applies to ALL tile improvements that give defence, and this includes the Great Wall as well, not just Forts and Districts as was previously in Rise and Fall . This makes Crouching Tigers much more dangerous and tougher to take down in the early game if it grabs that promotion and sits on a Great Wall tile. It will effectively have 60 Ranged Combat Strength and 50 Melee Combat Strength, forcing enemies to coordinate multiple attacks on the same turn to take it down. If they don't succeed in killing it quickly, the wounded Crouching Tiger can simply heal up through promotions and become even more dangerous. This is great because you can flexibly set up a very effective defenses in cities that haven't built walled-up Encampments yet with this Crouching Tiger and Great Wall combination. Of course, putting Crouching Tigers in walled-up City Centers or Encampments is always the safest choice for the Crouching Tigers, but with the changes to the Garrison promotion, they gain more reliable defensive options if they can move onto a Great Wall tile.
If you are planning to use Crouching Tigers offensively, I would advise going down the Volley -> Arrow Storm -> Suppression -> Expert Marksman promotion route, and then going back for Garrison. One reason is that I would much prefer getting Expert Marksman faster as it reliably doubles your damage per turn. The other reason is that there might not be as many districts for you to park your Crouching Tigers early on to gain the +10 Combat Strength from Garrison as the AI or human players haven't built many yet, making Garrison a very situational offensive promotion.
Grabbing a fifth promotion shouldn't be that difficult if you have managed to gain two promotions early on (one from Victor's Embrasure title and one from the Terracotta Army). And once you have Expert Marksman you can double your gained Combat Experience per turn when fighting, thus allowing you to get future promotions relatively quickly.
This section will recommend what policy cards work best in synergy with China's kit. As such, the recommended play style is intended to revolve around empowering Builders and Spies, constructing Wonders and bolstering military defence.
And of course, it must be said that these cards are not necessarily what is best for all circumstances. So, by all means, adapt as necessary.
|Builders and Great Wall tile improvement||Cards: Ilkum, Serfdom and Public Works.|
|Dynastic Cycle||Cards: Machiavellianism, Cryptography and Nuclear Espionage.
Analysis: This is purely to boost the potential of our Spies. Please refer to the section "Dynastic Cycle" for more details. The general idea is to steal as many boosts to technology as possible to make use of our Dynastic Cycle ability.
|Wonders||Cards: Corvee, Gothic Architecture and Skyscrapers.
Analysis: Get +15% Production towards constructing Wonders. This complements our Wonder building play style well. Note that Corvee only applies to Ancient and Classical Era Wonders, Gothic Architecture only applies to Medieval and Renaissance Era Wonders, and Skyscrapers only applies to Industrial Era Wonders and beyond. It is therefore advisable that when constructing Wonders, you check which Era they belong to and match them with the corresponding policy card. This is so you guarantee you are applying the +15% bonus. Also note that as soon as you research the civic that unlocks the next card, the original card will automatically be made obsolete. For instance, if you research Divine Right, Corvee will be made obsolete by Gothic Architecture. Therefore, if you are a few turns away from finishing an Ancient or Classical Era Wonder, you might want to delay completing research of Divine Right until you have successfully built the said Wonder.
With Gathering Storm, the three above policy cards have been streamlined so that each one is inclusive of the parameters of the one that came before it. Ie. Gothic Architecture now applies to Ancient and Classical Wonders as well, and Skyscrapers now applies to ALL wonders. This is good for us as China players since we don't have to actively delay the researching of more advanced civics in order to keep the +15% Production bonus active for the construction of a particular Wonder. So feel free to upgrade whenever the next card is available.
|Crouching Tigers||Cards: Feudal Contract, Wars of Religion and Twilight Valor ().
Analysis: As mentioned before, Crouching Tigers are categorised as Medieval ranged units, so if you plan on building many of these, grab Feudal Contract to make their relatively low costs even lower. This is great in the scenario of you being attacked as you can crank out many Crouching Tigers very quickly to defend yourself.
This complements Qin's First Emperor ability very nicely. As mentioned above, combine Autocracy (+10% Production towards all Wonders), Monument to the Gods Pantheon (+15% Production towards Ancient and Classical Wonders) and the Corvee Economic Policy (+15% Production towards Ancient and Classical Wonders) to get +40% Production. This effectively increases the value of each Builder charge to 21% of the Wonder's cost, allowing you to rush any Ancient or Classical Wonder within 5 turns.
All other governments are situational.
I highly recommend Ancestral Hall because it helps us expand horizontally after we have focused on early game Wonders. It also grants a free 5-7 charge Builder in newly founded cities, which makes it more valuable when playing as China. All other Government Plaza Buildings are situational.
|Liang||Her starting title, Guildmaster, gives China unmatched 5 charge Builders in the early game.|
|Victor||The two titles to look out for are Garrison Commander and Embrasure. Garrison Commander is great with defending Crouching Tigers, and Embrasure has great synergy with the Terracotta Army Wonder to get you double promoted troops.|
I highly recommend the Golden Age version of Monumentality because it grants extra +2 Movement for our already exceptional Builders and makes them cheaper to purchase via Faith and Gold. All other Dedications are situational.
When facing against China (both in single and multiplayer), simply invade her with as much military might as you can muster in the early game while she is preoccupied with building Wonders. If she cannot snowball off the early game, she will be crippled for the rest of the game.
Playing as China in Multiplayer
Since expanding quickly and playing aggressively is the general strategy in Multiplayer games, here are my three suggestions when playing as China.
- For Wonders, prioritise the Pyramids and the Terracotta Army (the latter only if you have a sizeable army amassed already).
- All other Production should be channelled towards general empire expansion and infrastructure improvement. As human players are generally more aggressive and less predictable than the AI, focusing too much on Wonders in the early game will more than likely lead you to getting rushed by enemy forces and defeated.
- Because of the above, no matter how friendly other players are to you, make sure you prepare well in advance Great Wall tile improvements and fortify with defending troops near your empire's borders.