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.
China is a strong, versatile civilization, yet quite complex to master in terms of its gameplay. It has arguably the strongest timing push in terms of rush-building Wonders in the Ancient and Classical Era. This will set the pace for the rest of the game in terms of which direction it wants to go and how fast it gets there.
The Chinese civilization ability increases the Science and Culture bonuses from Eurekas and Inspirations (respectively) by 10%, allowing them to discover key technologies and civics more quickly once they trigger these. The key is to decide which victory condition to pursue early on, and then beeline techs and civics that will unlock units, Policy Cards, and Wonders which will help achieve it. This ability will also help the Chinese avoid falling too far behind in their civic development if they choose to focus on technological development, or vice versa.
The First EmperorEdit
Under Qin Shi Huang, China can use its Builders' charges to expedite the construction of Wonders from the Ancient and Classical Eras. Each charge so expended provides 15% of the Wonder's Production cost, so a Builder with 6 charges will be able to cover 90% of the Production needed for a Wonder in 6 turns.
Aside from its obvious benefit of giving the Chinese a good shot at building early Wonders on even the highest difficulty levels, this ability is instrumental in determining their path to victory. Wonders such as the Oracle, Stonehenge, the Great Library, the Colosseum, Alhambra, and the Terracotta Army provide potent benefits that can give the Chinese a leg up in the early game, so once they've set a long-term goal, they should focus on building the Wonders and developing the districts that will best help them achieve it.
Researching Masonry and building the Pyramids should always be at the top of China's agenda, as this will help optimize the effectiveness of their Builders. Ilkum, Serfdom, and Public Works should be slotted as soon as they are unlocked - the latter two, in conjunction with Qin Shi Huang's leader ability and the Pyramids, will give Chinese Builders an unparalleled 7 build charges. In Rise and Fall, their Builders can have up to 8 charges if trained in a city to which Liang has been assigned as a Governor, and these can be put to particularly good use in pursuit of a Science Victory by building the Royal Society and sending Builders to every city that has a Spaceport. Each fully-charged Builder China expends will provide 16% of the Production needed for the requisite projects, allowing them to reach Mars or an exoplanet in record time.
When selecting governments, Autocracy plays well to a Wonder-focused approach in the early game, and Communism (or, in Gathering Storm, Synthetic Technocracy) will be very helpful if China is aiming for a Science Victory. Religion does not necessarily have to be part of the Chinese strategy, but if it is, they benefit from choosing beliefs that provide additional Production and either Science or Culture (depending on what their victory of choice is). If they choose Monument to the Gods as their pantheon, its bonus to Wonder construction will stack with those of The First Emperor, Autocracy, and Corvée, all of which combined will allow Chinese Builders to pay 21% of a Wonder's Production cost with each build charge.
In Gathering Storm, The First Emperor has the added benefit of allowing Qin Shi Huang's China to build Canals after researching Masonry. Apart from offering an even better incentive to beeline Masonry, however, its usefulness is limited.
China's unique unit becomes available at the same time as the Crossbowman, compared to which it has a lower Production cost, less Range, and more Ranged Strength. Crouching Tigers require no resources to train and provide a strong defense against Medieval and Renaissance units, so the Chinese will want to train several of them to protect their empire after researching Machinery. After earning some promotions and being upgraded to Field Cannons and Machine Guns, they will form the core of a powerful army if China decides to launch a late-game offensive.
China's unique improvement provides highly potent military, economic, and cultural benefits. Any units stationed on a tile with a Great Wall receive the same Defense Strength bonus they do from a Fort, and adjacent Great Wall segments provide the Chinese with additional Gold and Culture (after researching Castles), which translates to a Tourism bonus after researching Flight. Its placement restrictions encourage the Chinese to found cities close together and develop their Culture, which will allow them to expand their empire's borders quickly and line its perimeter with Great Wall segments. By keeping them manned with Crouching Tigers and more advanced ranged units, China can build a virtually impregnable defense, and one that will spur them toward a Cultural Victory if they've been focusing on developing Theater Squares, building cultural Wonders, and attracting Great People to fill their Great Work slots.
As explained above, Science and Cultural Victories are the easiest paths for the Chinese to follow. They have no abilities that directly aid with the other victory conditions, though they can pursue them easily enough with the proper setup and the right kinds of Wonders (as detailed in the in-depth guide).
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)
- A Chinese city appears in the Civilization VI announcement trailer.
- The Chinese civilization's symbol is a head of a Chinese dragon that faces to the right.
- The Chinese civilization ability references an important political concept in Chinese history.
- China is also playable in the Path to Nirvana scenario.
Elixir of Immortality
Win a regular game as Qin Shi Huang