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"I wish to remain an eternal enigma to myself and to others."
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Ludwig II (25 August 1845 – 13 June 1886), sometimes called the Swan King, the Fairy Tale King, or the Mad King, was king of Bavaria from 1864 until his death. He was known for his extravagant personality and deep fascination with art and architecture, commissioning multiple lavish palaces (most notably Neuschwanstein Castle) and being an avid patron of the great German composer Richard Wagner. He leads the Germans in Civilization VI.

Bring wonder and beauty to an otherwise dull world with the Swan King, Ludwig II.


King Ludwig, they call you mad, but your madness is the madness of dreams, of poetry and fairy stories. You imagined that the world could be otherwise, that we could build an enchanted kingdom where all seemed tedious and mundane. Oh Swan King, the world has need of your castles and knights, your dragon-haunted mountains and mystical grottoes. Come again, and give us new dreams.


Ludwig's unique agenda is Eternal Enigma. He likes civilizations who do not maximize the number of District Districts in their cities and dislikes those who do.

His leader ability is Swan King. All wonders, finished or not, receive 2 Culture Culture from each adjacent District District, and all Culture Culture adjacency bonuses generate Tourism Tourism after researching Castles.

Detailed Approach[]

With Ludwig, build as many districts as a city can have, which, with Germany’s civilization ability is one more than everyone else. Then, place wonders all around your district - even if you do not finish them they will bring you Culture Culture. The Hansa unique district will help their completion with its extra Production Production. By the Modern Era, you have protection if any jealous rivals try to steal your wonders -- for then your U-Boats, the swans of the modern era, will surely thwart their invasions. Unlocking Castles is the lynchpin in Ludwig’s pursuit for a Culture Victory with it providing Tourism Tourism to every district that provides Culture Culture - including unfinished wonders.


Ludwig II is voiced by David Lütgenhorst. He speaks Modern German with a Bavarian accent.


Codename Quote (English translation) Quote (German) Notes
Agenda-based Approval You know well how to treasure the forests and lakes of your homeland. Euer Sinn, der weilet wohl vorlieb bei Wald und Seen Eurer Heimat.
Agenda-based Disapproval You order your cities like a ledger: here is where the scientists go, that zone is for poets. Banality. (lit. "You organize cities like registers: here's where the scientists go, there's where the poets go. How banal!") Ihr ordnet Städte wie Register: dahin gehen die Wissenschaftler, dorthin die Poeten. Wie banal!
Attacked Villain! You are as despicable as that Count Telramund! As that Fafnir! (lit. "Shameful villain! Despicable as Telramund, as Fafnir!") Schändlicher Schurke! Verachtenswert wie Telramund, wie Fafner! The characters referenced here are from the Wagnerian operas Lohengrin and Siegfried.
Declares War Have at you, then! We shall write new legends of this day! (lit. "Well then, have fun! We will write new legends about this day.") Na dann, viel Vergnügen! Wir werden neue Legenden über diesen Tag schreiben.
Defeated Perhaps we may meet on the way between the Wood and the World. (lit. "Maybe we'll see each other again, on the way between forest and world.") Vielleicht sehen wir uns wieder, auf dem Weg zwischen Wald und Welt.
Greeting I am Ludwig of Bavaria, King of these lands and the embodiment of the Swan-Knight of legend. (lit. "I am Ludwig of Bavaria, king of these lands. The Swan Knight's old legend lives in me anew.") Ich bin Ludwig von Bayern, König dieser Lande. Des Schwanenritters alte Sage lebt in mir erneut.
Quote from Civilopedia I wish to remain an eternal enigma to myself and to others. Ein ewig Rätsel will ich bleiben mir und anderen. This is one of Ludwig II's most famous quotes.


Delegation: I have sent to you one hundred swans- I have sent to you fifty sw- Excuse me, I have not tied them down well. I have sent you a swan.

Accepts Player's Declaration of Friendship: I wholeheartedly accept your friendship. Now can I be alone?

Rejects Player's Declaration of Friendship: What do I need of friends, when I have music and art?

Requests Declaration of Friendship: Let us be companions! So long as we do not have to meet often. And you will have to wear a mask.

Player Accepts Declaration of Friendship: Fantastic. Please go away.

Player Rejects Declaration of Friendship: Too bad. Please go away.

Denounced by Player: That’s… that's not very nice of you.

Denounces Player: My code of chivarly commands me to condemn you as a villain and a traitor. There. You are condemned.
[Note: "Chivalry" is spelled incorrectly in the subtitles.]

Too Many Troops Near His Border: The firey heart of chivalry beats in my soldiers' chests as they gaze out upon your massing troops. I beg you do not tempt them into absolutely glorious acts of derring-do!
[Note: "Fiery" is spelled incorrectly in the subtitles.]

Invitation to Capital: Come, and see the swan grotto. See the towers and spires of my home.

Invitation to City: Sing me the songs of your lands! Do you have swans?

Civilopedia entry[]

“The Swan King” of the Catholic kingdom of Bavaria, Ludwig was a strange character. His reign was not a profitable one for his kingdom – it was under Ludwig that Bavaria lost its independence to Germany, but he himself was less interested in politics than in making the fairy tales of the region come to life. His projects and palaces were realms of imagination – or madness.

Bavaria is the largest, but not most powerful, of the German states. Long a Catholic holdout in a greater Protestant region, Bavaria was influenced from an early time by a Roman presence. In later years, Bavaria was a powerful elector in the Holy Roman Empire and was home to the Wittelsbach monarchy (from 1214) – a dynasty that competed in the Empire with the Hapsburgs in Austria, a competition that on many occasions led to outright war. It should be noted that Bavaria and Austria are more similar in language, culture, and religion than the Prussian north.

In the modern period, Bavaria played its rivals in Austria against the rising star of Prussia, to a fair degree of success, though in the end, they were forced to capitulate and join the German Federation under Prussian dominance – this is how Bavaria became a part of Germany today.

Today, Bavaria is a land of wealthy farmers, slightly conservative in outlook, with a strong Catholic bend. It is also the symbolic home of much of German folk culture – one cannot help but dream a bit, standing in the shadows of the Alps.

And that is where we come to “Mad” Ludwig. Ludwig was born into Bavarian royalty (his mother, notably, was a Crown Princess of Prussia) into what was an elite and relatively cold family. From a young age, he was surrounded by myth; from walking in the Alps to his childhood home at Castle Hohenschwangau, a Gothic-style fantasy castle devoted to Lohengrin, the Knight of the Swans, to his fascination with Wagner. Knights, dragons, nixies, and fairies ruled in young Ludwig’s life, even when, at age 19, he himself came to rule Bavaria.

Ludwig’s sexuality is also worth noting here. He was gay and had several affairs with his guards – indeed, a shared sexuality was another reason why Wagner and Ludwig were sympathetic (Ludwig did not, though, share Wagner’s antisemitism).

Ludwig’s loyalty to the Alps, and his friendship with the Austrian royalty, moved his sympathies in that direction, which was diplomatically unwise; when Prussia defeated Austria, Bavaria was pulled into the former’s diplomatic orbit and eventually forced into unification with Germany, though, as befitted Bavaria’s size and power, it was permitted its own army and a great deal of independence.

This forced abdication of Ludwig’s political ambitions enabled his fantasies to take flight. The 19th century was an era of nationalism, where various countries, new and old, were invested in discovering, embellishing upon, and, at times, fully inventing their own particular national cultures. For Ludwig, castle construction (as well as serving as Wagner’s patron) was a key part of this – his Neuschwanstein. This was a castle inspired by the Swan Knight legends that formed a part of Ludwig’s early life – the story of a knight that arrives in a swanlike boat to defend the honor of the innocent but must never be asked his name. It also is a monument to absolute monarchy, and the divine right of kings in combination with nationalism – the majesty of kings derives from the spirits of the land. But this was not his only project – he planned a replica of Versailles and another Gothic castle on “wild, romantic” Falkenstein, and built a French-styled castle at Linderhof and a magnificent apartment in the Bavarian castle of Munich.

Castles are wonderful. But also expensive. Ludwig fell deep into debt, so much so that his administration decided that he was mad. He was seized, but the day after, as he was awaiting transportation, he and his doctor were found dead in a lake on his royal grounds. The death was ruled a suicide (and, in the doctor’s case, a murder), but forensic evidence, for what it was worth at the time, did not seem to indicate this, implying something darker. The end is perhaps fitting; Ludwig was often quoted as saying, “I wish to remain an eternal enigma to myself and others.”





Leader Spotlight- Ludwig II - Civilization VI- Leader Pass

Leader Spotlight: Ludwig II

Related achievements[]

Partial Completionist
Partial Completionist
Win a regular game as Ludwig II.
In his lifetime, King Ludwig II was not able to finish his Neuschwanstein Castle.

See also[]

External links[]

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1 Requires DLC

R&F-Only Added in the Rise and Fall expansion pack.
GS-Only Added in the Gathering Storm expansion pack.