The Koreans' civilization ability is Three Kingdoms, which increases the Science yield of Mines and the Food yield of Farms placed adjacent to their civilization's unique infrastructure. Their unique unit is the Hwacha (which replaces the Field Cannon), and their unique district is the Seowon (which replaces the Campus).
Often described as one of the most newbie friendly civilizations to play, Korea is also a pure Science civilization whose entire gameplay revolves heavily around a centerpiece, the Seowon. Backed up by an outrageous amount of Science gained from their Seowons, Korea will always be a threat when they are present in the game.
Seowon / Three Kingdoms Edit
These two bonuses are grouped into one section, since the Seowon is undoubtedly is centerpiece of Korea's power, and their civilization ability is just an extension of this unique district.
Also make sure to build the Seowon away from other districts (including City Centers and Aqueducts), each of which will subtract 1 from its base Science yield of 4. The only exception is the Government Plaza, whose own built-in bonus cancels the penalty.
Even though its base Science yield of 4 is not described as an adjacency bonus, it does still benefit from adjacency bonus modifiers like the Natural Philosophy policy, allowing for an even bigger early-game tech lead (though at the cost of a valuable policy card slot). When possible, the Golden Age Dedication "Heartbeat of Steam" should be picked: combined with Natural Philosophy, your Seowons can produce up to 8 Science and Production.
In Gathering Storm, the power level of the Seowon is significantly hampered even though there is no direct nerf to this district. The regular Campus is now the easiest district to give a high starting adjacency bonus, due to major bonuses next to Reefs and Geothermal Fissures and many curvy mountain ranges on the map (thanks to new map generations). On certain map types (most notably, Primordial, where Mountains and Geothermal Fissures appear in huge numbers), the Seowon even pales somewhat when compared to its counterpart, since its Science is capped at 4 and can only scale downward.The Seowon is Korea's greatest utility, being cheaper than a normal Campus and getting a +4 Science tile bonus as a start. Placement consideration should be rather straightforward: Seowons hate being built next to other districts and love being surrounded by Farms and Mines, as it loses its tile bonus when adjacent to other districts that would normally provide adjacency bonuses while Mines receive a +1 Science bonus if they are adjacent to a Seowon, and Farms gain bonus Food, which will speed up your cities' growth. Seowons can also be built only on Hill tiles, which limits their placement options. When settling new cities, look for locations with hills so that you can make use of the Seowon. Settling cities and building as many Seowons as you can will allow you to gain a considerable Science lead against other civilizations.
Seondeok's leader ability gives +3% Culture and +3% Science to all cities with an established Governor for each promotion that governor has. This further boosts the amounts of Science Korea will be producing from the Seowons. The Culture boost also supports a Science-focused game as you will be focusing on building and improving Seowons and might overlook Theater Squares. Pingala (especially if you are playing with Gathering Storm) is an exceptional starting Governor for Korea. Since Hwarang no longer gives Science and Culture according to the presence of Governors in cities but to the number of titles after the nerf, there is no point in appointing as many Governors as you can. As the matter of fact, it is often better to focus your titles on the Governors you need, since Governors like Moksha or Victor may be rather useless to Korea in the majority of your games. By focusing your titles on a few Governors also, you can garrison your Spies more effectively against Neutralizing Governors and Steal Tech Boost missions.
The Hwacha, Korea's unique unit, replaces the Field Cannon and is unlocked with the Gunpowder technology. It is cheaper than the Field Cannon, but has reduced Combat Strength and cannot attack on the same turn it moved. It can give a very good defensive bonus to Korea, as the Hwacha is unlocked an era earlier than the Field Cannon.
The Hwacha is an average unique unit, neither weak and forgettable nor outstanding and memorable. It has the same Ranged Strength as and lower Combat Strength, Production, and Gold maintenance costs than the Field Cannon, and is available an entire era earlier. It also, like a siege unit, cannot attack after moving unless it has at least 2 Movement left. This restriction can be bypassed if it starts its turn next to a Great General, but the Koreans' lack of incentives to build Encampments make them unlikely to earn Great Generals, so they will most likely be limited to using the Hwacha as a defensive unit.
The earlier availability of the Hwacha, however, can work to Korea's advantage. The Koreans' bonuses to Science output allow for unparalleled technological advancement, so if they have strong Production potential in their cities and/or a lot of extra Gold, they can potentially surprise their neighbors with a legion of Hwachas at their doorstep. Both players who play as and against Korea tend to overlook how early the Hwacha can be unlocked, so a surprise war with this unit can yield a good result.
The thing about Science generation is that it takes quite a while to establish a lead, and this lead will get wider and wider with time. This means the sooner you address Korea, the less significant of a lead they will have over you. The Ancient Era is for sure the weakest point of Korea, as they have not had enough time to get a Science lead, and they need this time to build up their infrastructure, not to mention they have no defensive mechanism against invasion. Even if you cannot take their cities, just forcing them to build units to defend themselves is a win in itself. If you spawn far away from Korea and there is nothing you can do to slow their advance, remember they are most likely to attempt for a Science Victory, and are miles ahead of anyone on the Tech tree. At this time, your most precious weapon will be espionage. Send your Spies over to steal their Technologies, pillage their Industrial Zones and bankrupt them with Siphon Funds missions. When you have high enough Diplomatic Visibility, you should be able to see where they assign which Governor, and try to remove Pingala and Magnus as soon as you can. When promoting your Spies, the most important promotion that at least one of your Spies should have is Rocket Scientist, to stop them from completing Space missions. If you are so unlucky that none of your Spies has this promotion, there are also a lot of Diplomatic Policy Cards that boosts the power of your Spies who are on an offensive mission.
Victory Types Edit
Korea is often considered to be a newbie friendly civilization, as their bonus revolves heavily around a centerpiece, the Seowon, and the Seowon is so easy to be handled even by new players. Obviously, Korea is the only pure Science civilization in the game, but following this traditional route may lead to an expectedly dull and passive gameplay, which is often associated with Korea's playstyle. The outrageous Science lead you have on everyone else in the game will redound to always having access to more advanced units, meaning the wars you instigate are much likely to be in your favor. A Domination Victory can easily be assured, especially if you hate a passive gameplay and an endless series of "Next Turn" clicks.
The Korean peninsula’s fate has long been one of struggle. Myriad dynasties rise, fall, and rise again on a landmass roughly the size of Great Britain. The influence of foreign empires, both supportive and belligerent, provide a constant uncertainty looming over the horizon.
The earliest known Korean state was Gojoseon, a prosperous kingdom rich with natural resources and bountiful agriculture. Gojoseon was founded by the (likely apocryphal) Dangun Wangeom in 2333 BCE. According to legend, Dangun was the child of the god Hwangung and a very tenacious she-bear who had persisted against all odds in a trial of hardship and survival. Gojoseon would eventually collapse into a collection of warring states in 108 BCE.
The rise of a truly Korean identity began with the Three Kingdoms in 1st Century BCE. The largest was Goguryeo, to the mountainous north. Silla held the southeast lands bordering the east coast, while Baekje claimed the southwest lands bordering the Yellow Sea. There were other smaller states, such as Buyeo or Gaya, but the three kingdoms were the ones able to consolidate their power. By the 6th Century Silla had conquered many of the smaller states, Goguryeo developed a martial reputation (pressing its famed cavalry against its neighbors’ borders), while Baekje prioritized farming and good trade relationships with both China and Japan.
Silla’s appetite for conquest eventually spread to its neighbors. Though the smallest kingdom, Silla’s shifting alliances helped them avoid the fate of a kingdom such as Gaya, playing Goguryeo and Baekje against one another. Ultimately, Queen Seondeok’s alliance with the Tang Dynasty of China (detailed elsewhere) sealed the fate of the Three Kingdoms. By the late 7th Century, Silla alone ruled the Korean peninsula, ceding northernmost lands to the Tang Dynasty. Although Confucianism spread under Silla’s rule, Buddhism truly flourished, with many temples and monasteries built during their reign.
Unfortunately for Silla, their traditional “bone-rank system” was their downfall. Somewhat analogous to the concept of “royal blood,” bone-rank was a caste system determining a person’s societal rank based upon the status of their parents. Though a person could not climb above their birth rank, they could find themselves demoted—a frustration that ultimately led to civil war and the kingdom’s decline.
The emerging kingdom of Goryeo (the source of the name “Korea”) took advantage of Silla’s descent, ruling Korea from 818 CE until 1392 CE. Technology saw an exponential rise in Goryeo’s time. Metal movable-type printing existed in Korea almost 200 years before Guttenberg’s printing press, making printed texts accessible to the Korean populace. Despite Goryeo’s rapid advancements, there was constant political turmoil—and worse, the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty’s invasions in the 13th Century. Over the course of three decades, the Koreans endured six Mongolian invasions. The Goryeo dynasty eventually made peace, but in doing so became a client state to Mongol Yuan China.
By the mid-14th Century, the Mongol Empire was in a state of disarray. Goryeo regained its independence, mostly, with the exception of northern territory held by remnants of the Yuan Dynasty. When word arrived in 1388 that the Chinese Ming Dynasty planned to take this land for itself, Goryeo General Choi Young ordered General Yi Seong-gye to conquer it preemptively, despite Yi’s objections. General Yi famously marched his army to Wihwa Island, then promptly turned back to overthrow General Choi and the king.
Yi Seong-gye renamed himself Taejo, declared himself king, and created the Joseon Dynasty in 1392. Korea’s political fortunes waxed and waned over the centuries, but its scholarly advances continued unabated (such as “Hangul,” a Korean phonetic alphabet, and improvements upon movable type). Confucianism succeeded Buddhism, the Manchu threat succeeded the Jurchen threat, and Silhak (“Practical Learning”) educational reforms succeeded the increasingly esoteric pedagogy of Neo-Confucians.
Despite periods of unrest, internal power struggles, and foreign invasion, Korea maintained a state of relative stability until the late 19th Century, when Japan invaded Korean territory to fight wars with China and Russia. Japan’s temporary occupation became an extended occupation, and finally an annexation of the peninsula. Much to Korea’s dismay, they remained a Japanese colony from 1910 until the end of World War II. In the war’s aftermath, the country split into (Communist) North and (capitalist) South Korea in 1948. The two newly formed countries fought a war in 1950 that saw China and Russia allied with the North, and a United Nations Coalition allied with the South. After a terrible three years, North and South Korea agreed to an armistice (but not peace) in 1953. As of 2017, the two countries have remained in state of deferred war for over half a century.
- Main article: Korean cities (Civ6)
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- The Korean civilization's symbol is the taegeuk with four trigrams, which appear on the South Korean flag.
- The Korean civilization ability references the period during which Korea was divided into the kingdoms of Baekje, Silla, and Goguryeo (later Goryeo).
From Peonies to Doricheon
Win a regular game as Queen Seondeok