The Chinese civilization ability is "Dynastic Cycle," which allows Eurekas and Inspirations to provide an extra 10% of the cost of technologies and civics. Their unique unit is the Crouching Tiger, and their unique tile improvement is the Great Wall.
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 has excellent synergy with wonders that give extra policy slots (ie. Alhambra, Forbidden Palace, Potala Palace and Big Ben), therefore allowing China to fuel powerful spy-oriented policies like Machiavellianism, Cryptography and Nuclear Espionage without having to sacrifice other aspects of her gameplay. This setup allows for what I'd like to call the Sling-Shot-Teching strategy - if going for a science victory, constantly utilise spies to steal technology boosts from your rivals. This effectively allows your rivals to do most of the hard teching for you. This strategy is strong all game, but especially so as you approach the Information Era as most of the technologies in that era cannot be boosted unless by a spy or Great Scientist. 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.
For multiplayer games, it helps if you are well versed in the available technologies. (Civics research tends to be more monotonic.)
In Rise and Fall, the boosted amount for all civilisations has been reduced from 50% to 40%. However, the bonus 10% from Dynastic Cycle has remained the same. This means that China has had a buff as 10% of 40% is 25%, whereas before 10% of 50% was 20%.
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 7 charge builders running around the map - the highest possible number of charges for builders in the current game! 4 base charge Builders are multi-purpose, and will be a great asset in every game no matter the starting and surrounding locations. At a basic level, 4 charges means that China can expand both horizontally and vertically quicker than other civilizations. Getting faster and more plentiful tile improvements early on means a boost to Food, Production and Gold in the early game. This will set you up for the rest of the game. This cannot be understated, for 4 charge builders may mean the difference to you getting an extra city to grab that much-needed luxury resource just before it is taken by a neighbouring rival, or it may be the deciding factor to you having more overall cities to work with by the time everyone's territory has covered the map. An extra charge can be used not just for tile improvements, but clearing out more forests and rainforests, which is, in the early game, massive Production boosts to further put you in the lead.
All this works well with the Dynastic Cycle ability of China, because early on, technologies like Irrigation, Masonry and Horseback Riding are all dependent on you constructing specific tile improvements - farms, quarries and pastures, respectively. Similarly, the Inspirations of early civics like Craftsmanship and Early Empire are dependent on tile improvements and relatively high early-game population (which is, again, dependent on a high number of Food-providing tile improvements). As China's improved Builders can net you more of these, this means that there is a knock-on effect of China grabbing more quickly and easily the Eurekas and Inspirations in the early game that are dependent on the construction of tile improvements. This will help you establish an early lead with both the technology and civic trees and set you up for a comfortable mid to late game.
On the subject of tile improvements, if you are facing a threatening swarm of barbarians early game, or if a neighbouring civilization declares war against you, you can also use the extra charge of your Builders to lay down Great Wall segments (more details on this in the section "Great Wall"). This will give you a massive defensive boost in the early game if the situation demands it.
China can also use Builder charges to complete Ancient and Classical era Wonders. 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. It takes 6 Builder charges to get 90%. 6 charges may be sensible when the remaining 10% only require 1 or 2 turns to complete and when you need your Builders elsewhere.
Builder and Wonder, which one is more valuable? At early game, each Builder costs 50 Production while an Ancient Era wonder costs at least 180 Production. Chinese Builders start with 4 charges before any further boosts, which means each charge costs 12.5 Production. Each charge completes 15% x 180 = 27 . Therefore, it is always better to use a Builder charge whenever possible. The bonus is particularly massive when you want to build wonders around new cities which do not yet have many tile improvements.
For the same reason, China has a unique advantage in rushing Petra, Colosseum, Great Library and the Pyramids since desert tiles do not provide growth or Production until Petra is built. All four wonders happen to be some of the strongest Wonders in game. The only drawback to this is that not every map will fulfil the requirements of Petra and the Pyramids, making this part of Qin's ability reliant on getting a favourable map.
To rush wonders around newer cities, make sure you move Builders and Settlers together (along with your escort military units), bearing in mind that movement in the early and mid game is slow in general.
Breakdown of Ancient and Classical Wonders
China is a nice Wonder collector. Below is a list of Ancient and Classical Wonders and notes for competitive play, compiled in order of usefulness (in the opinion of a player who primarily uses China when playing the game). Competitive play aside, you should look up their effects and see what you personally like.
The last questions you might be asking yourself is: How many and which 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, there are three general tips: 1. Always rush Petra, Colosseum, Great Library and the Pyramids whenever possible. 2. If you can meet the map requirements and am confident that you still have enough room and time to expand your empire afterwards, go after the Great to Situational wonders as appropriate (more details below). 3. 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!
Core = Grab these every game if possible. These are your top priority, consistently game-changing wonders.
Great = Useful to have, but not essential. These are your consistently good wonders.
Situational = Situationally great. Don't bother otherwise.
|Pyramids1|| Effects: +2 Culture, grants a free Builder and all Builders receive an additional charge. It must be built on a desert tile.
Analysis: Core. One of the best Wonders. 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. Prioritise this wonder over all else.
|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: Core. 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 Core Wonder is because of its reliability. 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 great because it means that you are no longer forced to construct Theatre Square district(s) to get your Great Writer points so that you can eventually be able to fill those 2 Great Works of Writing slots. The Wonder now automatically does that for you, making its usage much more flexible no matter what victory strategy you're aiming for. 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.
|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: Core. One of the best Wonders. This effectively turns desert hills and any other improvable desert tiles into great power tiles. Petra allows a player (but usually only China) to settle in desert areas which would otherwise be uninhabitable. In addition, if you can find a place for desert city, you will 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 settle your "Petra city" as close to you being able to build Petra as possible. Doing so will narrow the weak phase. That said, if you feel that city location is in imminent danger of being taken by a rival, just go ahead and settle it as quickly as possible. 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: Core. 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. 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: Core. 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 core, in my opinion, 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 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.
|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.
Analysis: Great. The +15% empire-wide growth is helpful for eventually getting more citizens to work more tiles and, in the late game, become specialists inside districts. This is especially good for cities that lack plentiful sources of Food and are struggling to grow in population size. And while the Hanging Gardens do provide +2 Housing, that only applies to the city it is built in. That said, the only potential drawback to faster population growth is the hard cap of insufficient Housing and the soft cap of insufficient Amenities. If you can work around these caps, the Hanging Gardens is a legitimately useful wonder to build. A synergistic combination is build this alongside the Colosseum and the Temple of Artemis ().
In the late game, this Wonder has great synergy with the Communism government and the Communist Legacy policy card because higher population cities will potentially pump out even more Production as long as you station a governor in them. In such a scenario, be sure to utilise the Collectivisation policy card when you switch over to Communism. That way, you can selectively rebase your trade routes to your highest Production cities. By setting them all as domestic trade routes, you can thus manually boost the population growth of the said key cities. This will further synergise with the government bonuses and the bonuses of Hanging Gardens.
|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 Capital city centre.
Analysis: Situational. 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.
|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 Iron, and provides +4 Faith to all your cities within a 6-tile radius. It must be built on a desert hill tile.
Analysis: Situational. The double iron 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 you're pursuing a religious victory.
|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: Situational. Useful only if you're absolutely sure you will be going for a Religious Victory. It'll help you get a fast early religion. Pair this with the Follower Belief of Divine Inspiration (more on this below), and you'll have +4 Faith from all of your Wonders. This will set you up for a comfortable mid-to-late religious game.
|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.
Analysis: Situational. 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 setup that has worked very well for me 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.
Analysis: Situational. 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.
|Mausoleum at Halicarnassus2||Effects: Grants a free Great Admiral. All Great Admirals can use their retirement ability an additional time and Great Engineers have an additional charge. It must be built adjacent to a Harbour.
Analysis: Situational. A free Great Admiral and an additional Great Admiral and Great Engineer charge works awkwardly with China's kit. Unless you're on a water-heavy map and have constructed a Harbor already, this wonder's usefulness is limited if you are not planning on grabbing many Great Admirals and/or Great Engineers. This wonder effectively locks you into a very niche strategy of building many Harbors and Industrial Zone districts to maximise its potential. That said, if you are playing on a water-heavy map and need empowered Great Engineers and navies, this Wonder would be exactly what you would want.
|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.
Analysis: Situational. The +3 Gold, extra Trade Route and a free Trader is nice and saves valuable Production time. The +1 Great Admiral point per turn works synergistically with Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. 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 harbour district 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 harbour 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.
Analysis: Situational. 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 in synergy with Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. If you are building this, build Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Colossus and Great Lighthouse as a trio on water-heavy maps. Useless otherwise.
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.
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.
As discussed earlier, it is not worthwhile to use city Production on Ancient and Classical Wonder. If your city has a lot of Production, it should be used to perform regular Production, such as producing more Builders. If your city is new and Production is low, then using city Production on Wonder wastes Production turns even more significantly.
To construct Wonders and maintain regular Production in parallel, you need to switch to Wonder construction to allow Builder charging; after charging the Wonder, switch back to regular Production to keep up with game progress. I have been able to successfully build two Wonders and Ancient Walls at the same time this way, making this a powerful early-game mechanic if used appropriately.
Charging Classical Era Wonders Mid to Late Game
The Production cost of Builders increases as you advance through the tech and civic tree. Nevertheless, it is still more efficient to use Builders to charge Wonders instead of building them directly. That is because as you progress through the tech tree, you will receive the Serfdom policy card from the Feudalism civic, which adds 2 Builder charges. Assuming you have obtained the Pyramids at this point, that is 7 charges per builder. It takes 1-3 turns at a Production center (likely your Capital Capital, with further unit Production boost from city-states) to build a Builder with Serfdom. Therefore, a few Builder charges are really cheap compared to the valuable Production turns that you can spend building other essential buildings. Another way to look at this is that Builder charges are applied in parallel to regular Production. Parallel Production is more efficient.
Later Wonders To Watch For
The First Emperor bonus no longer applies for Wonders after the Classical Era. Nevertheless, since you are likely in a Wonder collection mode when you play China and also since you are likely to have extra Production capacity due to extra Builder charges, here is a list of later Wonders to watch for. Where appropriate, remember to use Gothic Architecture and Skyscrapers to speed up construction of wonders by 15%.
The key here is to see how you can create combinations with the wonders. The best possible example of a combination is to build Petra on a city with many desert hill tiles, then use this city as your primary Production city to build all of your desired future wonders (shown below). Of particular note is that you can further improve the Production capacity of this city later on if you can build Ruhr Valley. These are just two examples of wonder combinations, and depending on your map, the possibilities are many.
Do note that all the following Wonders are situational in their usage, so it would be counter-productive to try and build all of them as that is far too much Production spent on Wonders. That said, getting Alhambra, Forbidden Palace, Potala Palace and Big Ben every game is highly recommended because of how flexible their bonuses are.
|Hagia Sophia||Medieval||(Religious Victory only) +4 Faith and Missionaries and Apostles can use Spread Religion 1 extra time. It must be built on flat land adjacent to a Holy Site, and you must have founded a Religion.|
|Alhambra||Medieval||(Highly recommended) +1 Military Policy Slot, +2 Amenities, +2 Great General points per turn and provides the same defensive bonuses as the Fort improvement. It must be built on Hills adjacent to an Encampment.|
|Mont St. Michel||Medieval||(Religious Victory only) Apostles gain the Martyr ability in addition to a second ability you choose normally. +2 Faith and 2 Relic slots are a bonus. It must be built on Floodplains or Marsh.|
|Kilwa Kisiwani||Medieval|| +3 Envoys. When you are the Suzerain of a City-state this city gains a +15% boost to the yield provided by that City-state. If you are the Suzerain of 2 or more City-states of that type an additional 15% boost is given to all your cities. It must be built on a flat tile adjacent to Coast.
Note: If struggling with gaining enough Envoys, appoint and promote Amani as necessary.
Note 2: Avoid this if you are not interested in wooing the City-states of your particular game.
|Forbidden City||Renaissance||(Highly recommended) +1 Wildcard Policy Slot and +5 Culture. It must be built on flat land adjacent to a City Centre.|
|Potala Palace||Renaissance||(Highly recommended) +1 Diplomatic Policy Slot, +2 Culture and +3 Faith. It must be built on a Hill adjacent to a Mountain.|
|Venetian Arsenal||Renaissance||Receives a second of the same naval unit whenever you train one and +2 Great Engineer points per turn. It must be built on the coast and adjacent to an Industrial Zone. It cannot be built on a Lake.|
|Big Ben||Industrial||(Highly recommended) +1 Economic Policy Slot, +6 Gold, +3 Great Merchant points per turn and doubles current treasury. It must be built on a River adjacent to a Commercial Hub with a Bank.|
|Ruhr Valley||Industrial||+30% Production in the city; +1 Production for each Mine and Quarry in this city. It must be built along a River adjacent to an Industrial Zone with a Factory.|
|Oxford University||Industrial||+20% Science in the city, +3 Great Scientist points per turn, +2 Great Works of Writing slots and awards 2 randomly-chosen free technologies when completed. It must be built on Grasslands or Plains adjacent to a Campus with a University.|
|Hermitage||Industrial||(Cultural Victory only) +3 Great Artist points per turn and +4 Great Works of Art slots. It must be built along a River on a non-desert and non-tundra tile.|
|Bolshoi Theatre||Industrial||(Cultural Victory only) +2 Great Writer and +2 Great Musician points per turn. +1 Great Work of Writing slot and +1 Great Work of Music slot. Awards 2 randomly-chosen free civics when completed. It must be built on flat land adjacent to a Theatre Square.|
|Cristo Redentor||Modern||(Cultural Victory only) +4 Culture. Tourism output from Relics and Holy Cities is not diminished by other civilizations who have researched The Enlightenment civic. Doubles Tourism output of Seaside Resorts across your civilization. It must be built on Hills.|
|Eiffel Tower||Modern||(Cultural Victory only) All tiles in your civilisation gain +2 Appeal - Great for increasing the number of suitable coastal tiles for Seaside Resorts, and for increasing the effectiveness of your Neighborhood districts. It must be built on flat land adjacent to a City Centre.|
|Broadway||Modern||(Cultural Victory only) +3 Great Writer and +3 Great Musician points per turn. +1 Great Works of Writing slot and +2 Great Works of Music slots. 1 Free random Atomic era civic boost - has synergy with Dynastic Cycle. It must be built on flat land adjacent to a Theatre Square.|
|Estádio do Maracanã||Modern|| +6 Culture and +2 Amenities for all cities in your empire. It must be built on flat land adjacent to an Entertainment Complex with a Stadium.
Note: An all-round great Wonder that works well in every situation. Not essential, but extremely useful to have in the late game.
|Sydney Opera House||Atomic||(Cultural Victory only) +8 Culture, +5 Great Musician points per turn and +3 Great Works of Music slots. It must be built on the coast, adjacent to land and a Harbour. It cannot be built on a Lake.|
First of all, Great Wall segments are great for accessible defence, and can be built by Builders once you've researched Masonry. Occupying units instantly receive +4 Defense Strength and automatically gain 2 turns of fortification, giving a total of +10 Defense Strength. This can be further augmented to +13 Defense Strength if it is built on a hill tile. With strategic placement on tiles adjacent to rivers, assuming you force melee attackers to cross rivers to get to you, you can grant the defender an additional +5 Defense Strength for a grand total of +18 Defense Strength. This is a solid bonus at all stages of the game, but especially great in the Ancient to Medieval Era as no other civilisation (aside from the Romans with their Roman Fort) has access to Forts yet. To illustrate my point, below is a table that details the % increase in Defense Strength for Ancient to Medieval Era units when they move onto a tile with a Great Wall segment (disregarding hills and rivers). For sake of reference, they will all instantly gain the before-mentioned +10 Defense Strength. Also, for simplicity's sake, I will not be including their combat bonuses against other unit-classes, nor will I be including situational Combat Strength increases from promotions.
|Unit||Era||Base Melee Defense Strength||% Increase|
The bonus +10 Defense Strength is the same as a normal Fort, but without having to research Siege Tactics, which is a technology from the Renaissance Era; instead, Chinese Builders can build Great Wall segments as a tile improvement with their plentiful charges in the Ancient Era. This makes the Great Wall much more accessible than a Fort because it comes three whole Eras earlier AND you can lay down 4-7 of them per Builder without having to build an Encampment, Barracks or Stable, Armory and Military Engineer. Even then, Military Engineers can lay down a maximum of only two Forts per Engineer. This also makes the Great Wall more accessible than the Roman Fort as the Roman Fort only becomes available when the Romans build their Legions in the Classical Era. Even then, the Legions can only build one Roman Fort per Legion.
If you are facing an early push (whether it be from a neighbouring rival or barbarians) at a place where your military is thin, Great Wall segments can be built on-demand to provide defensive combat bonuses. Personally, I have found good use of the Great Wall tile improvement at all stages of the game. Putting one or two down and then fortifying it with units may be the difference between stopping a barbarian horde or not. It also helps when facing against a threatening neighbour at any stage of the game. It can also be placed in newly captured cities to help them not get recaptured. The defensive combat bonus makes Crouching Tigers more flexible. A 1 Range unit is typically only useful in Encampments and City Centers, but Great Wall segments allow them to approach the front line more safely. Overall, the Great Wall tile improvement allows you to run a smaller defending army. It makes the value of each military unit more efficient because of its defence-giving properties. This is useful all game, but especially so in the early game when you are focusing your Production on Wonders instead of military units.
One final note on the defensive bonus of the Great Wall - it does not count as a Fort despite giving the same defensive properties, so the +10 Combat Strength bonus from the Garrison promotion of Ranged units does not apply.
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.
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 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.
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.
Vanilla Policy Cards
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. When combined with the four policy card giving Wonders, Alhambra, Forbidden Palace, Potala Palace and Big Ben, you will have even more options for policy cards and thus ensure that your play style is flexible regardless of your circumstances.
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.
|Crouching Tigers||Card: Feudal Contract.
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.
With Rise and Fall, a special mention must be made to Dark-Age policy cards. These are only available if you enter a new Era in a Dark Age. It should be noted that some of these have powerful synergy with China's kit and/or her Wonder building, defence-focused play style. However, they all come at a cost. The following table explains this in more detail, and offers potential ways to avoid or ignore the penalties to these cards.
|Twilight Valor||Classical to Renaissance Era||Effects: All units gain +5 Combat Strength for all melee attacks, BUT cannot heal outside your territory.
Analysis: This is relatively easy to use, because it practically gives our defending troops a free Combat Strength bonus. Just make sure you fight within your empire. Combine it with the Great Wall tile improvement, the governor, Victor, and your Crouching Tigers will shred enemies to pieces.
|Isolationism||Classical to Industrial Era||Effects: Domestic routes provide +2 Food and +2 Production, BUT cannot train or buy Settlers nor settle new cities.
Analysis: Again, this is relatively easy to use. Simply grab all available land with the help of Ancestral Hall (more on this below in the section "Government Plaza Buildings"), and then reroute your trade routes to domestic cities. This works well in helping China get extra Production which she can use for building Wonders. Keep an eye on your treasury though, as domestic trade routes provide a lot less Gold.
|Robber Barons||Industrial to Information Era||Effects: +50% Gold in cities with a Stock Exchange. +25% Production in cities with a Factory, BUT -2 Amenities in all cities.
Analysis: This is slightly trickier to juggle than the above two Dark-Age policies as an empire-wide -2 Amenities is quite a hit. That said, the bonuses are fantastic, and especially good for Wonder grabbing in the late game as China. Grab this if your cities can still stay at least Content. Build many Zoos and Stadiums to counterbalance this. Beeline for Estadio Do Maracana as the Wonder gives +2 Amenities for all cities, effectively canceling out the penalty. With the extra Gold and Production, this should not be too hard to accomplish.
|Elite Forces||Industrial to Information Era||Effects: +100% combat experience for all units, BUT +2 Gold to maintain each military unit.
Analysis: This is actually easy to use because Levee en Masse effectively cancels out the penalty. The bonus is especially good for China because of our Great Wall tile improvement. We can fortify our armies on Great Wall tiles, support them with cheap Supply Convoys and Drones (more on this below in the "Communism" section of "Governments") and quickly rack up combat experience as we successfully defend ourselves. This bonus is also adaptable because our defensive troops, over time, can quickly grow so strong through their promotions that they can reverse their roles and attack any invaders with deadly efficiency.
|Collectivism||Modern to Information Era||Effects: Farms +1 Food. All cities +2 Housing. +100% Industrial Zone adjacency bonuses, BUT Great People Points earned 50% slower.
Analysis: This has great synergy with the Communism government bonuses and the Collectivization and Five-Year Plan Economic policies. Use the extra Production for building late game Wonders. As there is no way to avoid the penalty, simply take this if you are not interested in the currently available Great People or if you are confident that you will hit your Great People targets regardless of the penalty.
This section will recommend what governments work best in synergy with China's kit. My recommendations are Autocracy, Monarchy and Communism. The recommended play style is intended to revolve around boosting Production, accumulating highly populated cities, constructing Wonders and bolstering military defence. I specifically chose Governments with many Military policy slots to complement the defensive play style. I feel it is necessary, especially at higher difficulties, because the current meta of Civilisation 6 is for barbarians, AI's and human players (in multiplayer) to invade early and frequently. Then you have all the civilisations which are geared well for early domination - for example, the Scythians, Macedonians and Sumerians in Vanilla Civilisation 6 and the Zulus and Mongolians in Rise and Fall. These civilisations can quite easily steamroll over China if she is unprepared. So although it is tempting to go for as many Economic and Wildcard policy slots as possible with Merchant Republic and Democracy, this has, more often than not, led to me being conquered, especially on Immortal and Deity difficulties. A more economically conservative, defensive play style is therefore suggested here. This play style is intended to keep us safe so that we can build our Wonders undisturbed.
It should also be noted that in the case of China, we have potentially a lot more economic options early on than other civilisations because of our capacity to rush Ancient and Classical Era Wonders. And it is because we are able to grab so many Wonders by the Medieval Era that we can snowball our economy and build even more Wonders, especially the ones that provide extra policy slots - Alhambra, Potala Palace, Forbidden Palace and Big Ben. Basically, our Wonders (and with Rise and Fall, our Governors and Government Plaza Buildings) offset our relative lack of Economic, Diplomatic and Wildcard policy slots from our Governments at all stages of the game.
All that said, it would be wise to adapt as necessary to the situation. This is only one possible way to play China. For example, if you want a Religious Victory, Theocracy might be more suitable. If you want a Culture Victory, Democracy might be more suitable. If you want a Domination Victory, Fascism might be more suitable. This is only a general guideline.
Side-note: The original intention in suggesting this particular set of governments was to synergise with China's kit and in-game play style. The unintended side-effect of adhering to this play style is that it has congruences with China's real life history, economy and politics. So if you are looking to role-play as real life China, by all means, go this route.
|Autocracy||1||Effects: Capital Capital receives +1 boost to all yields. The Legacy bonus is +10% bonus Production to all Wonders, with +1% Production for every 20 turns on Standard speed.
We still keep the initial +10% bonus Production to Wonders, but the Legacy bonus has been changed from extra Production for Wonders over time to an additional +1 boost to all yields in the Capital Capital if we adopt Autocratic Legacy.
Analysis: This fits China's early game well. +1 boost to all yields in the Capital Capital will help you with training Builders and military units. More importantly, it provides +10% Production to Wonder construction. This will serve us well in the Ancient and Classical Era as we will be building a LOT of Wonders. It can be argued that since we can already rush Wonders with Builders, the +10% Production to Wonder construction is a bit of an overkill. I would disagree with this since there are simply so many useful Wonders in the Ancient and Classical Era, and also because China is heavily reliant on getting early game Wonders to snowball the rest of her game. For example, the +10% extra Production may be the difference between us being able to grab four instead of three of our Core Wonders. As such, the legacy bonus of Autocracy (+1% Production towards Wonders for every 20 turns on Standard Speed) is great for complementing our Wonder building play style for the rest of the game.
It should also be mentioned that Autocracy gives us two military policy slots. This is useful as China can be vulnerable to large scale invasions early on by barbarians or neighbouring rivals because we are spending so much Production on Wonders and less on military units. The double military policy slots can thus shore up this potential weakness, and be filled as appropriate with Agoge, Discipline, Conscription, Maneuver, Limes, Bastions, Veterancy and/or Maritime Industries. This synergises with the Great Wall tile improvement and bolsters our military defence while we build our Wonders.
By getting access to Autocracy, we also unlock Charismatic Leader and Diplomatic League, although I have personally found little use for this in the early game as I am usually so busy rushing Wonders and using Ilkum, Colonization and/or Corvee.
With Rise and Fall, we unlock the Wildcard policy Autocratic Legacy when we build our tier 1 Government Plaza building. Personally, I have found little use for this. There are so many other more valuable cards at this stage of the game and only one Economic policy slot and one Wildcard policy slot from Autocracy.
|Monarchy||2||Effects: +50% Production toward defensive buildings. +1 Housing for each level of wall. The Legacy bonus is 20% bonus influence points towards Envoys, with +1% for every 10 turns on Standard speed.
The initial bonus influence points towards Envoys has been buffed from 20% to 50%. The Legacy bonus has been changed from extra influence points over time to an additional +1 Housing per level of wall if you adopt Monarchic Legacy.
Analysis: Monarchy continues the theme of bolstering defence, building Wonders and provides a new theme of highly populated cities. In that sense, the more defensively you play, the more room you give your population to grow. This complements the Great Wall tile improvement, and gradually gives capacity for higher populations. This also gives the player the option to cheaply get Housing without sacrificing a tile for an Aqueduct. The legacy bonus is a nice bonus since you won't have that much room for Economic, Diplomatic or Wildcard policy cards. That way, you can use the increased bonuses from City-States to help shore up the lack of options in your policies.
The best part about picking Monarchy is that you also unlock Gothic Architecture by researching Divine Right. This complements our Wonder building play style well while still offering us more policy slots both in peace and in war.
With an extra military policy slot and diplomatic policy slot, you have many additional options. Get Chivalry if you want Knights. Get Professional Army if you want to upgrade Archers to Crossbowmen. Get Feudal Contract if you want fast access to Crouching Tigers. Get Charismatic Leader and/or Merchant Confederation if you want to synergise with the Monarchic bonus to influence points and gain Gold from Envoys. China is exceptionally strong in the mid-game with these options, and can defend herself with relative ease as long as she prepares in advance. This will allow her to focus on building her target wonders.
You can double the Housing bonus by adopting Monarchic Legacy, a Wildcard policy unlocked by building a tier 2 Government Plaza building. Unfortunately, as with Autocratic Legacy, I am usually using other, more valuable cards at this stage of the game - Gothic Architecture and Serfdom, for instance. Also, as the Legacy bonus has more than doubled from the original and starting 20% Legacy bonus to 50%, this makes Monarchy much better as you will see more tangible progress in gaining Envoys.
|Communism||3||Effects: Land units gain +4 Defence Strength. The Legacy bonus is +10% to all Production in all cities, with +1% for every 20 turns on Standard speed.
The +4 Defence Strength to land units has now been replaced with +0.4 Production per Citizen in cities with Governors. The Legacy bonus has now changed from extra Production in all cities over time to an additional +0.4 Production per Citizen in cities with Governors if we adopt Communist Legacy.
Analysis: Communism is the ultimate expression of our established themes of boosting Production, building Wonders, bolstering defence, and getting highly populated cities. The empire-wide +10% boost to all Production is great not only because we get extra Production toward late game Wonders, but because we can quickly build late game Production-oriented buildings like the Factory and Power Plant. This will grant us more Production, thus forming synergy within Communism's own bonuses. The Legacy bonus of +1% Production every 20 turns is the icing on the cake to give extra Production.
The +4 Defence Strength to all our Land units is also great since this bonus applies no matter what terrain our Land units are on. This has further synergy with the Great Wall tile improvement, thus granting Chinese armies stationed on Great Wall tiles on hills a total of +17 Defence Strength!
The policies that are unlocked with the Class Struggle civic help us do all of the above more efficiently. Collectivization is great for further nudging up the population of cities; and with more Citizens, you can work more tiles and/or employ more specialists to boost your late game yields. Five-Year Plan grants even more Production which you can use for Wonders and Science for faster technological research. Patriotic War and Defense of the Motherland augment our already strong defensive potential. These two policies respectively give our troops better support and negate war weariness from combat within our empire. An example combination of military policies that I have found extremely effective on defence is Patriotic War, Defense of the Motherland, National Identity, Logistics and (if you grabbed Alhambra) Levee en Masse.
Once you unlock the Wildcard policy Communist Legacy by building your tier 3 Government Plaza building, you can have potentially +0.8 Production per Citizen in cities with Governors. This gives you further incentive to grow the population sizes of your highest Production cities, as more Citizens equate more Production. Feel free to use Collectivization to help you do this. Because of how potentially powerful this is and as we have now more available policy slots, I take Communist Legacy whenever it is unlocked.
It is also worth noting that both Patriotic War and Defense of the Motherland have received indirect buffs. Patriotic War was buffed due to the addition of new and better late game support units, the Supply Convoy and the Drone. The Supply Convoy and Drone work synergistically with the Logistics Military policy. They ensure that your troops are fast, resilient and, in the case of your siege-class units, have better range. Defense of the Motherland was buffed due to the new loyalty system. With the difference in war weariness levels from Defense of the Motherland, enemy rivals face the additional danger of lowered loyalty in their border cities, making it harder to hold onto them, especially so if they are in a Dark Age.
I have toyed with these, and although it could be argued that every one of the nine buildings can be appropriate in the right situation, here is my take on buildings which have more synergy with China's kit than others.
|Ancestral Hall||1||Effects: +50% Production towards Settlers. New cities receive one free Builder. Awards +1 Governor Title.
Analysis: This fits very well with the fact that our Builders get an extra charge. Because we prioritise Wonders in the early game, by the mid game, we are often behind with grabbing land. This building is the answer. It allows us to very quickly and efficiently expand horizontally. Pair it up with Colonization or Expropriation for +100% Production towards Settlers. Similarly, using Ilkum, Serfdom or Public Works in conjunction with grabbing the Pyramids means that each new city spawns a FREE 5-7 charge Builder! This will save you a surprisingly large amount of Production in the mid-game which you can use elsewhere.
|Intelligence Agency||2||Effects: +1 Spy and Spy capacity. All Spy Operations have a higher chance of success. Awards +1 Governor Title.
Analysis: This fits very well with our Dynastic Cycle ability. Please refer to my comments in the "Dynastic Cycle" section above regarding stealing technologies with spies as China. This building is an all-round buff to that strategy - an extra spy, AND all spy missions get improved success rates for the rest of the game? This is great not just for offensive spy missions, but counter spying as well, especially when you want to safeguard your governors from being neutralised.
|Royal Society||3||Effects: Builders gain the ability to use all their charges to provide bonus Production to a District Project. Once per city per turn. Awards +1 Governor Title.
Analysis: This also fits very well with our improved Builders, and as such, works exceptionally well if you are going for a Science Victory. They now can enjoy relevancy throughout the entire game, and can be used to hasten the Production of Mars modules or any other District projects to get more Great People in the late game. This is similar to Qin's The First Emperor ability, but for District projects instead of Ancient and Classical Wonders. Note that the higher the charge count per Builder, the more Production it will contribute to the project. This is where China can shine in the late game because she can potentially churn out 8-charge Builders with Liang, Pyramids and Public Works. If going for a Science Victory, spending Chinese Builders on Mars Modules is essentially a +100% Production (or even higher, depending on the capabilities of your city) towards the Modules. This means that you will only need to build the Spaceport District in one city as you won't ever be behind in Production of Mars Modules in relation to your Science.
Do note that when you use a Builder to hurry up Production of a District project, it consumes the Builder unit irrespective of how many charges it has. It is therefore advisable to "queue" multiple Builders on tiles adjacent to the District so that you can consistently rush build once per turn.
Finally, as the mechanic of rush building District projects is similar to Qin's The First Emperor ability, parallel production is possible here. This means that you can potentially avoid sinking a single turn of your city's Production into building Mars Modules, and instead have your Builders, Great Scientists and Great Engineers do all the work.
All governors are situational in their usage. That said, here are my top three picks for possible synergies with China's kit.
|Liang||Liang's starting title, Guildmaster, gifts all Builders built in the city she is governing an extra charge. This gives China the ability to pump out 5-charge Builders, 6 with Pyramids, and 8 if adding on top of that Serfdom or Public Works. This is huge in the early to mid game, and still extremely useful in the late game. More charges means potentially more rushing of Ancient to Classical Wonders, and of course, more improved tiles. I appoint her as the first governor of every game I play as China simply because of how well her starting title works with China's kit.
The rest of her promotion tree is useful, but somewhat situational. Infrastructure and Zoning Commissioner are great in every game because every city will eventually build its core City Center buildings and Districts. It would be wise to station her in the city you are planning to build your Government Plaza in so that you get the +30% bonus to Production towards it and its respective buildings as well. As for Aquaculture, Amusement and Parks and Recreation, get these if you are near a coastal area with sea resources and you want more food and/or more Amenities for your city. These are nice to have in the mid to late game, but not necessarily of the highest priority.
|Pingala||Pingala, unlike Liang, is not a must-have in the early game. In fact, I would argue that the most appropriate time to get him is when you are ready to concentrate on Science and/or Culture. This will usually be in the mid game when the frenzy for grabbing land has subsided somewhat, and you can afford to focus on Campuses and Theatre Square Districts. In such a scenario, Researcher and/or Connoisseur will help you out. His strongest title, in my opinion, is Grants. This can work exceptionally well if you appoint Pingala to the city which generates the most Great People points. This means that all the Great Person point generation in that city will be doubled. This works great with netting more Great People in general, but in China's case, especially well with Great Scientists as most of their bonuses revolve around Eurekas, thus synergising splendidly with the Dynastic Cycle ability.
As for his level 3 titles, Arm's Race Proponent and Space Initiative, I rarely get to use them as the game has usually been decided by the time I get to nukes or Mars modules. That said, if the game has reached that stage, these titles can be the deciding factor to getting faster access to nukes or being the first to win the Science Victory.
|Victor||Victor's synergy with China is relatively straightforward. Redoubt, Defense Logistics and Embrasure can make a city with walls already much harder to capture. The true synergy lies, however, in combining Garrison Commander with the Great Wall tile improvement and the Crouching Tiger. The title grants any unit defenders within the city's territory an extra +5 Combat Strength. This means that a single Crouching Tiger sitting on a Great Wall tile improvement on a hill has 48 Combat Strength on melee defence, and 55 Ranged Combat Strength, which is massive in the early to mid game. And this is before factoring in promotions! It also helps that Victor, unlike the rest of the governors, can be operational within three turns of appointment/reassignment instead of the usual five. This makes his usage in the scenario of a surprise attack much more effective.
From personal experience, I have rarely found use for Security Expert and Air Defence Initiative, but I can see how they can be useful as further insurance against enemy spies, aircraft and ICBMs respectively.
Ultimately, Victor's addition to the game further augments China's already powerful defensive capabilities to new heights.
As with Wonders, Governor Plaza Buildings and Governors, everything is situational at the end of the day. That said, here are possible synergies that I have found when playing with Dedications as China. Note that I will be reviewing the following Dedications in a Golden Age context so that we consider specific elements of their fullest potential.
|Pen, Brush and Voice||Effects: Gain +1 Era Score each time you trigger an Inspiration. +1 Era Score for constructing a building with a Great Work Slot. If chosen at the start of an Golden Age, Inspirations provide an additional +10% of civic costs. Each city receives +1 Culture for each specialty District.
Analysis: This is great for aiding a Cultural Victory. The synergy comes from the fact that picking this in a Golden Age allows Inspirations to provide an additional +10% of civic costs, thus doubling the bonus of Dynastic Cycle.
|Free Inquiry||Effects: Gain +1 Era Score each time you trigger an Eureka. +1 Era Score each time a Great Person is earned. If chosen at the start of a Golden Age, Eurekas provide an additional +10% of technology costs. Commercial Hub and Harbour District's Gold adjacency bonus provides Science as well.
Analysis: This is great for aiding a Science Victory. The synergy comes from the fact that picking this in a Golden Age allows Eurekas to provide an additional +10% of technology costs, thus doubling the bonus of Dynastic Cycle.
|Monumentality||Effects: Gain +1 Era Score each time you construct a new specialty District. If chosen at the start of a Golden Age, +2 Movement for all Builders. May purchase civilian units with Faith. Builders and Settlers are 30% cheaper to purchase with Faith and Gold.
Analysis: This is great no matter the intended direction of your game. This will allow our already augmented Chinese Builders to move onto a hill, forest or rainforest or move across a river AND be able to improve the destination tile on the same turn. And of course, it allows them to move to and from cities much more speedily. Later into the game, if extra mobility is desired, you can combine this Dedication with Logistics for another +1 Movement. Combine this with Ancestral Hall for maximum results. As for the reduced purchasing price, this is just a simple and powerful buff no matter how you look at it.
|Heartbeat of Steam||Effects: Gain +2 Era Score for each Industrial or later building constructed. If chosen at the start of a Golden Age, +10% Production towards Industrial Era and later Wonders. Campus District's Science adjacency bonus provides Production as well.
Analysis: This is a very useful Dedication from the Industrial Era onwards.With our tendencies to focus on Wonder building as China, this has very straightforward and welcome synergy to our play-style in the late game. Combine with Skyscrapers for additional synergy.
|Sky and Stars||Effects: Gain +1 Era Score for each Aerodrome building constructed. Gain +1 Era Score each time a Great Person is earned. If chosen at the start of a Golden Age, unlocks the Eurekas for Advanced Flight, Nuclear Fission and Rocketry if in an Atomic Era. If in an Information Era, it unlocks the Eurekas for Satellites, Robotics, Nuclear Fusion and Nanotechnology. +100% Combat Experience earned by all Air units.
Analysis: The Golden Age version of this Dedication can be very useful for China in the Atomic Era or Information Era if pursuing a Science Victory. This has great synergy with China's Dynastic Cycle ability. If you are going for Air units, grab Their Finest Hour from the Suffrage civic to complement this.
|Bodyguard of Lies||Effects: Gain +1 Era Score for each successful offensive Spy operation. If chosen at the start of a Golden Age, Spies take no time to establish presence in a rival's city. Time to complete all offensive missions reduced by 25%.
Analysis: This has great synergy with Dynastic Cycle (please refer to the above section "Dynastic Cycle" where I write about stealing technology boosts as China) and the Intelligence Agency (please refer to above section "Government Plaza Buildings"). This is allows China to transition smoothly from a Wonder-rushing and land grabbing early game into an espionage-heavy mid-to-late game.
Vanilla Civ 6 Notes
Overall, China is a solid, versatile and well-rounded civ. Early Wonder rushes and 4 charge Builders are fun and unique. Attempt to grab the Pyramids, Petra, Colosseum and Great Library every game, but do not panic if you are not able to do so. China's kit functions very well even if you skip a Core Wonder. Although they are useful, missing them is not the end of the world. After the initial Wonder rush phase, China will use the bonuses from its early Wonders, extra tile improvements and enhanced Eurekas and Inspirations to keep its overall Production and Science at the top level. China has a situationally powerful offensive military unit in the Crouching Tiger, but its true strength lies in its ability to play defensively with the protection of Great Wall segments, Forts, Encampments, City Centres and tiles that give defensive bonuses. This Wonder building, Builder oriented, defensive play style is complemented by Autocracy, Monarchy and Communism.
In terms of victory types, China is well poised to pursue any type of victory except for early Domination. One can focus on general development and wait to see if a Science, Religious, mid-to-late game Domination or Cultural Victory is more attainable. Spies can be of great use for stealing enhanced technology boosts and pillaging Spaceports without starting offensive wars deep into enemy territory, which is difficult in Multiplayer games. That is again where Wonder building comes in. The Wonders (listed above in the "Later Wonders To Watch For" section) that give extra Policy slots will allow China offset the lack of Economic, Diplomatic and Wildcard policy slots in her governments. These same Wonders and extra policy slots allow for China to be extremely flexible and adaptive in its play-style, as well as to become a mighty late-game powerhouse to be reckoned with. Lastly, if China can grab Petra with a city with many desert hill tiles, that city is primed to grab the later wonders (as mentioned above) with relative ease as it will have superior Production capabilities.
It must be noted, however, that as far as the mechanics of the civilization's kit go, China is not the easiest of civilizations to pick up and immediately be played at its full potential. Relatively newer players will find that a base threshold of game knowledge is required to play China well, especially with regards to wonder prioritisation, wonder placement, wonder combinations and which wonders (especially the ones from the Ancient to Classical Era) are best under which circumstances. However, the 4-charge builders and Dynastic Cycle are relatively easy to use as they are passive bonuses that work well and reliably in any game - this does make the learning curve easier. The Great Wall segments and the Crouching Tiger will be useful as defence in case China is attacked, making the overall experience of playing China to be the following - Easy to pick up, but hard to master.
Having said that, once you are acquainted with the art of building the appropriate Wonders in the appropriate situations, you will find that China's kit is very flexible regardless of different map types and victory strategies. There will be more on this in the section "Victory Type General Strategies." The main source of this flexibility is her ability to choose and rush Ancient to Classical Era Wonders. For instance, if you start on a water-heavy map, go for Colossus, Great Lighthouse and Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. If you start near a desert heavy area, Pyramids and Petra would be your best options. If you find your cities in close proximity to each other, getting Colosseum would be ideal. If you start near a food-scarce location, get Hanging Gardens. This list is by no means exhaustive as the possibilities are many. The point is that because of the rich diversity of Ancient to Classical Era Wonders, China has the option of grabbing the appropriate Wonders to gain an advantage no matter the circumstances.
Rise and Fall Expansion Notes
The main and only direct buff was to keep the 10% bonus of Dynastic Cycle. This means that Eurekas and Inspirations are now 25% more lucrative as China instead of 20%, as everyone else gets 40% instead of 50% as boosts.
The indirect buffs are many. In terms of Ancient and Classical Wonders: First, there is the addition of the Temple of Artemis as a new Ancient Wonder, which ensures that by building it, one city will potentially be a powerhouse of happy people for at least the early and mid game. This lessens the workload of the Colosseum and allows for its potential placement to be more flexible. Secondly, the buffs to the Great Library mean that China can now build it without having to worry about necessarily building Theatre Square Districts to fill out those 2 Great Works of Writing slots, AND she will receive periodic Eurekas for the rest of the game.
The addition of the Government Plaza and its respective buildings has also been very kind to China. Ancestral Hall reduces the key weakness of China falling behind in the mid game on land grabbing because she usually has focused so heavily on Wonder building in the early game. The free Builder in every new city and potential for +100% Production (Colonization included) towards Settlers synergises very well with Qin's The First Emperor ability, allowing China to expand horizontally efficiently and effectively. Intelligence Agency is a straight up augmentation of China's already strong espionage potential, and synergises extremely well with the improved Eurekas from Dynastic Cycle. Royal Society allows China to keep her powerful Builders relevant in the late game, and allows them to rush Production of Mars Modules and/or any other District projects to crank out Great People extremely quickly.
The implementation of the Governor system has also been generous to China's play style. Liang's starting title, Guildmaster, is a must-have in every game as it works beautifully with The First Emperor ability, allowing China to get 5-charge Builders straight out of the gate. This further augments her early game ability to rush Wonders and snowball the game from there. Pingala's level 2 title, Grants, can work extremely synergistically with a city that has built the Temple of Artemis because the city has the ability to grow its population much more than normal and thus have the capacity for building many more Districts than its counterparts. This will result in a massive influx of Great People points that can be then doubled by the appointment of Pingala in that city. Victor further consolidates China's defensive capabilities at all stages of the game, and most of his titles (Redoubt, Defense Logistics, Embrasure and Garrison Commander) work extremely well with China's Crouching Tiger and the Great Wall tile improvement. This will make any attacker think twice before attempting to invade.
Dedications complete the bag of indirect buffs for China. The Golden Age versions of Pen, Brush and Voice, Free Inquiry, Sky and Stars and Bodyguard of Lies all synergise with Dynastic Cycle. Similarly, when in a Golden Age, Heartbeat of Steam complements China's Wonder-building play style, and Monumentality is straight up amazing when combined with Serfdom/Public Works, Pyramids, Ancestral Hall and Liang's Guildmaster title.
In conclusion, the overall flavour of China's kit has not changed. Rather, it could be said that the possibilities of every aspect of her kit have been greatly augmented instead of being pushed into any particularly new direction.
Victory Type General Strategies
This section is intended to showcase the potential adaptability of China's kit to 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 an early edge. In choosing beliefs, a setup that has worked very well for me is the following: (Follower) Divine Inspiration, (Worship) Mosque, (Founder) Pilgrimage, (Enhancer) Holy Order. Grab these whenever possible, and feel free to improvise as appropriate.|
|Science||Dynastic Cycle and Great Library can help China maintain a lead.
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.
|Cultural||The early wonders (especially Terracotta Army), Dynastic Cycle and later Great Wall segments will give China an edge. 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.
|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 as necessary.
|Score||Being a well-rounded civ, China should have no issue with overall scores.|
When facing against China (both in single and multiplayer), here are a few tips that can shut her down, or at least, slow her progress:
1. In the early game, try to invade China with as much military power as you can muster. The reasons for this are three-fold:
- She will most likely be dedicating a large amount of her Production and Builder charges towards the construction of Wonders, and if she hasn't gotten around to constructing Great Wall segments, she'll be relatively vulnerable to a large-scale invasion. Civilisations that are geared well to exploit this are early-game, military-focused civilisations such as the Scythians, Sumerians and Macedonians.
- The defensively powerful Crouching Tigers do not become available until China reaches the Medieval Era, so attacking before they can be built maximises your chances of success against China.
- Capturing Builders from China is a great way to impede her momentum. When you capture a Chinese Builder, they will become yours and, assuming they haven't been used yet, they will retain their original 4-charges, making them extremely valuable assets for you instead. Additionally, by capturing Chinese Builders, you will effectively axe her main strength - rush-building Wonders in the Ancient and Classical Era with said Builders. This will further set her back for the remainder of the game.
With Rise and Fall, attacking China in the early game has become potentially much harder if she stations Victor in a key city, and especially so if she adopts Twilight Valour in the Classical Era. That said, it will potentially be also more lucrative because Liang will make any Builders built in her governed city get an extra charge, so capturing these said Builders will be even more to your advantage.
Unfortunately for China, she has new early-game counters with the Rise and Fall expansion. The Mongolians and Chandragupta (the alternate leader of India) can potentially overrun China before she can set up defensively. China would do well to be extra wary when facing off these civilisations, especially if they are close neighbours.
2. In the mid game, you have two options: Attack China before she can snowball further OR rapidly expand your empire to grab land before she can.
- In the scenario of attacking China, try to position your ranged units so that they can outrange the 1 Range Crouching Tigers. This way, by weakening to taking them out, you'll have a much easier time of broaching the Great Wall segments that'll usually be erected on the borders of China's empire. It will also be prudent to use the Great Wall segments for YOUR benefit. As soon as you eliminate the original defender of that tile, station a durable unit there and it'll gain +10 Defense Strength (an additional +3 if also on a hill tile and +5 if you can force melee attackers to cross rivers to get to you). This will make it easier for you to repeal any counter-attack from China's troops.
- In the scenario of you expanding your empire, it will be most effective if you can forward settle your cities as much as possible to block off China from expanding. This is her other weak point in the mid game, because since she rush-built most of her desired Wonders, she will have had less time and resources to expand her empire. The time gap between her finishing her Wonders and her expanding is YOUR window of opportunity to block her off.
At this point of the game, be very cautious of any walled city that is stationed with Victor. His titles, combined with China's Crouching Tigers and Great Wall tile improvements, will make that city a nightmare to take. This will be especially so if, again, she adopts Twilight Valour. Instead, see if you can avoid such cities and invade newly founded cities by China. If she has taken Ancestral Hall as her tier 1 Government Plaza building, every newly founded (and therefore, less well-defended) city will spawn a 5-7 charge Builder. This will mean taking that city will yield even better spoils for you if you can capture the Builder along with the city.
That said, Ancestral Hall also means that China's capability to expand horizontally in the mid-game has substantially increased, which will narrow your window of opportunity to block her off with your own well-positioned cities. The loyalty system will also punish you if you settle too far out now, so an aggressive, militaristic approach to shutting down China will be more advisable at this stage of the game.
In my opinion, the only civilisation that could potentially pose a military threat to China in the Medieval to Renaissance era is the Zulu. Their ability to make corps and armies earlier, combined with the +5 bonus Combat Strength from Shaka's leader ability for all corps and armies, makes them a terrifying sight to behold if they manage to catch China unprepared.
3. Assuming all other factors being equal, if China has been left alone to freely build her Wonders and make use of her Dynastic Cycle ability, she will be extremely powerful economically, advanced technologically and influential culturally in the late game. It will be hard to shut her down at this point, since combined Armies stationed on Great Wall segments are extremely difficult to dislodge. Again, you have two options: Nuke her OR steal boosts and/or Great Works with spies.
- Nuking is a viable strategy here because it effectively negates Great Wall defensive bonuses as well as wiping out any defending troops in an instant. There are no ways to stop a nuke at this point of the game's development.
- Because China has such a powerful snowballing ability with her Dynastic Cycle, she will most likely be ahead scientifically and culturally. In this scenario, using spies to steal boosts and/or Great Works will be very viable since you will be able to free-ride on her progress without doing as much of the hard work yourself. This will allow you to more easily catch up to her or even surpass her at this late stage of the game.
Consider getting Intelligence Agency to improve your chances of conducting successful spy missions against China. In addition to stealing technology boosts from her, neutralising her established Governors is a great way to slow her down.
If you are considering waging war on her at this point, neutralising Victor wherever he is stationed in her cities will be of high priority, as this will significantly reduce her defensive capabilities, and thus make your war against China easier.
With the Rise and Fall civilisations, Korea stands out as a serious potential rival to China in terms of teching Science. Its entire gear is set up for gaining massive amounts of Science, so the above suggested nuking strategy would work exceptionally well for Korea against China.
AI Qin's Agenda
Lastly, be wary of the Qin's agenda: Wall of 10,000 Li. The AI likes to hoard as many Wonders as possible for himself, so if you're in a position where you do not want to upset him, avoid building Wonders and focus on other aspects of general development.
China has contributed much to civilization: paper, the bell, the fishing reel, gunpowder, the compass, the bulkhead, playing cards, the oil well, woodblock printing, silk, the list of Chinese inventions goes on endlessly. China has also given civilization great religions (Confucianism, Taoism, Faism, Yi Bimoism, and others) and great philosophies (mohism, legalism, naturalism, neo-taoism and so forth). Chinese authors such as Shi Nai’an and Wu Cheng’an, artists such as Han Gan and Ma Yuan, composers such as Wei Liangfu and Cai Yan enriched civilization beyond measure. Moreover, China introduced the concepts of slavery, monogamy, espionage, subversion, propaganda, urbanization, lingchi (“death by a thousand cuts”), and more.
The so-called Warring States period (c. 475 BC to 221 BC) saw ancient China composed of seven kingdoms – Qi, Qin, Zhao, Yan, Han, Chu and Wei – at odds with each other … seriously at odds as they fought incessantly. Eventually, the king of the Qin, Ying Zheng, managed the task of unifying China, conquering the last enemy (Qi) and thus proclaiming himself Qin Shi Huang (loosely, “first emperor of Qin”). During his glorious reign, besides burning books and burying alive scholars who disagreed with him – for the Warring States period had given rise to the Hundred Schools of Thought, a distressing collection of liberal philosophies and free thinking – the Qin undertook an extensive road- and canal-building program and even began construction of the Great Wall of China to keep the barbarians out (as it turned out, a futile effort). Although he sought mightily for the fabled elixir of immortality, Ying Zheng didn’t find it – obviously – and he died in 210 BC. He was interred in a massive mausoleum near Chang’an, built by 700 thousand “unpaid laborers” and guarded by the famed Terracotta Army. The Qin Empire lasted only a few years longer.
In 207 BC Liu Bang, a peasant rebel and born troublemaker, aided by the ambitious Chu warlord Xiang Yu, toppled Qin Shi Huang’s inept successor from the throne and established – after doing away with his ally – the Han dynasty. Interrupted only briefly by the Xin dynasty, the Han ruled over an age of linguistic consolidation, cultural experimentation, political expression, economic prosperity, exploration and expansion, and technological innovation. It was a good time, made even better when Emperor Wu shattered the Xiangnu Federation in the steppes and redefined China’s traditional borders. Han traders ventured as far afield as the Parthian Empire and India; Roman manufactured glassware has been found in Han ruins. The Han emperors also scattered agricultural communes of ex-soldiers across the western expanses, so anchoring their end of the Silk Road.
The rise of the commander Cao Cao meant the decline of the Han emperor. In 208 AD Cao Cao abolished the Three Excellencies, the emperor’s top advisors, and took for himself the post of Chancellor. In 215, Cao Cao forced the emperor Xian to divorce his empress and take Cao’s daughter as wife. With prognostications and heavenly signs indicating that the Han had lost the tianming (“Mandate of Heaven”), Xian abdicated his throne in December 220 in favor of Cao Cao’s son, Cao Pi. Pi proclaimed the Wei dynasty … and unified China promptly fell apart.
For 60 years following the Yellow Turban Rebellion – imaginatively labelled the “Three Kingdoms Period” by sinologists – three kingdoms were contenders to rebuild the centralized empire of the Qin and the Han. The three – the states of Wei, Shu and Wu – never quite managed the task; it was left to the Jin to accomplish. Sima Yan forced Cao Huan to cede him the throne of Wei. Following brilliant campaigns, the Wei overran Shu (263 AD) and Wu (279 AD). But the Jin dynasty was seriously weakened by the family squabbles of the imperial princes, and soon enough lost control of the northern and western provinces (henceforth the empire was known simply known as the Eastern Jin), leading to the period labelled the Sixteen Kingdoms (again named by those clever sinologists), which lasted until 439.
Despite some consolidation – brought about by rivers of blood – it was not until 589 that the whole of China was together again under one ruler, the short-lived Sui dynasty. It was followed by the Tang dynasty, which managed to stay on the throne of a unified (more-or-less) China until 907 AD. The Tang was much like the Han administration, emphasizing trade and diplomacy, bringing stability and prosperity. Thus it was that religion and culture flourished. The Grand Canal project begun by the Sui was completed, the Silk Road reopened, and the legal code revised; among other steps, the latter effort expanded the property rights of women and instituted competitive imperial examinations for bureaucrats, along several other innovations. Taxes were standardized based on rank, and the first Chinese census undertaken so everyone paid. Brilliant poets such as Li Bai and Du Fu celebrated the age, setting high standards for Chinese literature for centuries.
But the Tang Empire was struck by a century of natural disasters; floods on the Yellow River and along the Grand Canal followed by widespread droughts brought devastating famine and economic collapse. Agricultural production fell by half, and as usual desperate people turned elsewhere for leadership. Beset by endless rebellions, in 907 the former salt smuggler risen to military governor, Zhu Wen, deposed the last huangdi (emperor) of the Tang. Thus was ushered in the period of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (the label pretty much says it all) which ended around 960 AD. In the next four centuries, five dynasties would rule reunified (again) China: the Song, Liao, Jin (again), Western Xia and Yuan (established by Kublai Khan after the Mongols slipped past that Great Wall). Each contributed its own technological discoveries, philosophical insights and social advances to the tapestry of civilization. But it is the Ming dynasty that captures the imagination.
Throughout the core of China, there was significant resentment to Mongol rule, exacerbated during the 1340s by famine and plague and marked by numerous peasant rebellions. Obviously, the tianming had been withdrawn from Kublai’s descendants. The poor-peasant-turned-rebel-leader Zhu Yuanzhang (known today as the Emperor Hongwu) proclaimed himself emperor of the Ming in 1368 after capturing Beijing. He’d come a long way; according to legend Zhu was the youngest of seven or eight brothers, several of whom were sold to raise money for the starving family. After the Yellow River flooded out his village and plague killed all his remaining family, he took shelter in a Buddhist monastery, which was destroyed by a Mongol army retaliating against Zoroastrian rebels. Thus, Zhu came to join the rebel movement himself, rising to its leadership by the age of 30. Vengeance begat vengeance.
The Ming dynasty ushered in a glittering age for China. Once secure on the throne Tatzu (an alliterative name for a complex person) instituted a number of policy initiatives. Among the first, a move to limit the advancement and influence of eunuchs in the imperial court, where several had enjoyed great power under previous dynasties (perhaps some of the empire’s later woes could be blamed on their return to influence – establishing a virtual parallel administration). In the social order, four classes were recognized, each with its own rights and obligations: gentry, farmers, artisans and merchants. Later Ming emperors granted ever more benefits to the merchant class, viewing their efforts as generating wealth and taxes for the empire. Besides fighting off the Mongol threat again, wars with Korea and Japan used up a lot of that wealth. And then a cycle of natural disasters struck yet again. By 1640, masses of peasants – starving, unable to pay their taxes, and unafraid of the oft-defeated imperial army – were in rebellion. When it was all sorted out, the Qing (or Manchu) dynasty ruled.
And it did so fairly effectively until the Europeans started making waves. Although the Polos and other occasional visiting traders and adventurers had made their way through China’s back door, the Portuguese arrived by sea in the guise of Jorge Alvares in 1513. Soon enough they had conned the Ming emperor into granting them a trading “enclave” in Macau, with the first governor there taking up his duties in 1557. Meanwhile, under the Qing the economy and government – which wisely tended to avoid foreign adventures – were stable. A high level of literacy, a publishing industry supported by the government, growing cities, and a pervasive Confucian emphasis on peaceful exploration of the inner self, all contributed to an explosion of creativity in the arts and philosophies. Traditional arts and crafts such as calligraphy, painting, poetry, drama and culinary styles underwent a resurgence.
But those annoying outsiders continued to meddle. By the early 19th Century, Imperial China found itself vulnerable to European, Meiji Japanese and Russian imperialism. With vastly superior naval forces, better armaments, superior communications and tactics honed in fighting each other, the colonial powers sought to dictate to the Qing government, dominate China’s trade, and generally do whatever they liked. In 1842 China was defeated in the First Opium War by Great Britain and forced to sign the infamous Nanking Treaty, the first of many “unequal treaties.” A series of such trade treaties ruined the Chinese economy by 1900. Japan, which had quickly modernized and joined the colonial fray, forced China to recognize its rule in Korea and Taiwan. While the Qing remained nominal rulers, the European powers, including Russia, divvied the entire country up into exclusive “spheres of influence.” The United States, meanwhile, unilaterally declared an “Open Door” policy in China.
It was all too much. In 1899 the populist Yihetuan (“Militia United in Righteousness”) launched the Boxer Rebellion in an effort to return China to its own devices. Unfortunately, they lost. In the crushing peace treaty of 1901, the “Eight Nations” (those who had been attacked by the Boxers) forced the execution of all in the Qing government who had supported the Boxers, provided for the stationing of foreign troops in the capital, and imposed an indemnity greater than the annual national tax revenue. The nation plunged into growing civil disorder; in response the Dowager Empress Cixi called for reform proposals from the provincial governors. Although wide-sweeping and innovative, even if successfully adopted, it was too late. In November 1908 the emperor died suddenly (likely from arsenic poisoning), followed the next day by Cixi. In the wake of insurrections and rebellions, in 1912 the new Dowager Empress Longyu convinced the child-emperor Puyi to abdicate, bringing over two millennia of imperial rule in China to an end. And China descended into another period of contending, bloody-minded warlords.
In the 1920s, Sun Yat-sen established a revolutionary base in south China, and set out to unite the fragmented nation. With assistance from the Soviet Union (themselves fresh from a socialist uprising), he entered into an alliance with the fledgling Communist Party of China. After Sun's death from cancer in 1925, one of his protégés, Chiang Kai-shek, seized control of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party or KMT) and succeeded in bringing most of south and central China under its rule in a military campaign known as the Northern Expedition (1926–1927). Having defeated the warlords in south and central China by military force, Chiang was able to secure the nominal allegiance of the warlords in the North. In 1927, Chiang turned on the CPC and relentlessly chased the CPC armies and its leaders from their bases in southern and eastern China. In 1934, driven from their mountain bases such as the Chinese Soviet Republic, the CPC forces embarked on the Long March across China's most desolate terrain to the northwest, where they established a guerrilla base at Yan'an in Shaanxi Province. During the Long March, the communists reorganised under a new leader, Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung).
The bitter struggle between the KMT and the CPC continued, openly or clandestinely, through the 14-year-long Japanese occupation of various parts of the country (1931–1945). The two Chinese parties nominally formed a united front to oppose the Japanese in 1937, during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), which became a part of World War II. Following the defeat of Japan in 1945, the war between the Nationalist government forces and the CPC resumed, after failed attempts at reconciliation and a negotiated settlement. By 1949, the CPC had gained control over most of China and on the 1st of October that year, Mao Zedong established the People's Republic of China.
Emerging triumphant over the Nationalists shortly after World War II, the Communist government spent the subsequent sixty years consolidating power, modernising infrastructure, and improving the lives and education of its vast population, a process which included a number of massive missteps, including the disastrous "Great Leap Forward" and the bloody "Cultural Revolution" which did great harm to its ancient culture. In the past 38 years since Deng Xiaoping's successful economic reforms, China has emerged as a major world power, an economic behemoth which will soon dwarf all other economies including the once unstoppable United States.
China is not without its difficulties, however. Much of its energy is expended simply supporting its huge and growing population base. Pollution is becoming a major problem as more and more factories are built, and more and more automobiles are clogging the bigger cities. Tibet - which depending upon your point of view is either a captive nation or an integral part of China - remains an open wound and major political distraction for China. None of these are insurmountable, though, and China stands poised to dominate the 21st century.
- Main article: Chinese cities (Civ6)
- The Chinese civilization's symbol is a head of a Chinese dragon that faces to the right.
- Qin Shi Huang's background is some houses beneath a hill overlooking a part of the Great Wall of China.
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