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The Mayan people (or Maya) represent a civilization in Civilization VI. Their colors are light blue and teal, and they are led by Lady Six Sky. They are available with the Maya & Gran Colombia Pack, which was released on May 21, 2020.

The Mayans' civilization ability is Mayab, which prevents their cities from gaining extra Housing6 Housing from being adjacent to fresh water or coast, but grants them additional Housing6 Housing and Civ6Gold Gold from Farms, as well as Amenities6 Amenities from Luxury Resources adjacent to the City Center. Their unique unit is the Hul'che (which replaces the Archer), and their unique District (Civ6) District is the Observatory (which replaces the Campus).


Ideal Maya Cities Layout (Civ6)

The maximum number of cities surrounding the Capital within 6 tiles and their suggested tile allotment

Masters at building a clustered empire surrounding the Capital6 Capital and unlocking secrets of the universe through Civ6Science Science, the Maya returns to Civilization VI in a dominant fashion. Led by Lady Six Sky, the Maya presents an interesting new challenge on how to build a tall empire in a game that favors going wide.

Mayab Edit

For the Maya, rivers are not exactly your best friend. They do not receive any Housing6 Housing from Fresh water, so settling next to a River only brings you destruction from Floods. Of course, you do not have to run from it either, but settle just one tile away from rivers, far enough to avoid Floods but close enough to benefit from the extra Flood yields.This is incredibly helpful on Disaster setting 4, even more so in Apocalypse mode. Settling one tile away from rivers also creates a perfect spot for your Aqueduct, a district that you will want to build in every single city as the Maya, as it will always provide the maximum number of Housing6 Housing and a major adjacency bonus for your future Industrial Zone. When putting down a city, it is important to keep this in mind and always look for a spot where it is possible to construct your Aqueduct. An extra note, the City-state Mohenjo Daro does not benefit the Maya at all, since they do not receive any Housing6 Housing from Fresh Water.

When putting down cities, you would like to avoid Coast, Tundra or Desert, and try to look for an area with a lot of flat Grassland or Plains tiles, ideally with Plantation resources as well. These flat land tiles will be improved with Farms later, which are the source engine for the Maya to build up their tall empire, since each Mayan Farm provides 1.5 Housing6 Housing, triple the Housing6 Housing amount provided by a regular Farm. Plantation resources are just a cherry on top, since Plantations give major adjacency bonuses to the Observatory, which will translate into a huge amount of Civ6Science Science boost.

The two specialty districts you should absolutely build in every single city of yours are the Observatory and the Industrial Zone, together with the Aqueduct, which is a non-specialty district. You can slide a Dam in as well, if you can create a spot for your Industrial Zone to be adjacent to both the Aqueduct and the Dam, but overall, the Aqueduct is more important, since it provides more Housing6 Housing, cheaper and gives your Industrial Zone the same amount of bonus Civ6Production Production. All of this leads to the next point: Military Engineers. In Gathering Storm, this unit is strong but rather forgotten by most players, but you should not forget about it when playing as the Maya. Since the Maya do not have a lot of incentives building Encampments, you should still have at least one, so that when you unlock Armory, you can train Military Engineers to haste the Civ6Production Production of engineering districts. A fully developed Encampment gives you 4 Era Scores, not to mention it will raise your Resource Stockpile cap by 30, which is valuable for every Civ6Science Science focused empire, since you will have to burn resources to power up your buildings later in the game. For the non-Domination-focused Mayans, one Encampment is enough. The Encampment should be built in the Capital6 Capital, since it is in the middle of your compact empire, Engineers trained there will have an easier and faster travelling time, not to mention your Capital6 Capital is most likely your biggest city with the most available district slots. As with every other civilizations, Commercial Hubs and Harbors are also crucial to sustain your Civ6Gold Gold income, so getting them in every city after the Observatories and Industrial Zones is recommended.

A bonus that is often forgotten about is the bonus Amenities6 Amenity when settling next to a Luxury Resource. This bonus also applies if you settle directly on top of a Luxury Resource. However, if the spot is adjacent to multiple Plantation Resources, it is better to settle nearby and save that spot for your Observatory.

Ix Mutal Ajaw Edit

This is the most complicated aspect of the Maya to master, considering it heavily relies on map generation. The maximum number of cities that can settle within the radius of six tiles around the Capital6 Capital is 12; however, this number should be treated as a guideline, since any of these cities can be in Tundra, Snow or Desert tiles where you cannot build Farms, or one of the cities in the inner ring is already too close to the Coast to settle another city in the outer ring in that direction. The minimum number of additional settlements you should have is 6, shaping like an equilateral hexagon whose side is 6 tile each, surrounding your Capital6 Capital. In the beginning of the game, after settling your Capital6 Capital, you should send your Warrior and Scout to survey the 6 tile radius around your Capital6 Capital, ideally 8-9 tile radius since you want to see the land you can grab for the cities in the outer ring as well, immediately put down 6 map pins marking the City Center placement for the 6 cities in the outer ring. This will establish clearly for you the area you have to work with and where the bonus/malus boundary is. Despite going tall instead of wide, your first Government Plaza building should still be the Ancestral Hall, as your goal is not to train many Settlers, but you have to pump them out quickly to claim land. Land and location are the two utmost importance and the crux in Maya gameplay, losing out on this may force you to go into unwanted conquest, which eventually will cost more than just a few Settlers.

When beginning the settling process, always remember to put down the six cities in the outer ring first, as this will allow you to claim all the land that can benefit from your leader ability. If you want to cram more cities into the inner ring later, that is up to you, but in the early game, claiming all the land within six tiles of your Capital6 Capital is of utmost importance. If you stumble upon a City-state or an unwanted neighbor that block a potential location for one of your cities in the outer ring, you may want to consider a war. Early wars are often expensive but you are aided with your Civ6StrengthIcon Combat Strength bonus around your Capital6 Capital, your strong Hul'che and your Observatory as a catch-up mechanic just in case things do not go as planned. Things are a little bit more complicated when that city does not directly block your spot, but is settled just outside the 6-tile ring so that when you capture that city, you still have to raze it and build another Settler to put down a new city just to avoid the 15% yield penalty. Obviously, it is still up to you to make the call, even if you are down with a city with 15% yield penalty in order to save the Civ6Production Production on a Settler, but more often that not, it is preferable to go to war if it is a city of another civilization and let it go if it is a City-state. Nearby City-states are easier to be the Suzerain of, and they start with Ancient Walls, which make it incredibly tough to take down with just Hul'che and Warriors. Therefore, instead of putting a city in the outer ring, in the land area next to that particular City-state, move into the inner ring and put down your city there instead. Of course, now you will have a city that is a bit too close to your Capital6 Capital, but since you do not have a city in the outer ring in that direction anymore and the City-state is outside of the six tile radius, this city still has plenty of room to grow. If the city is from another civilization, go hamper their process, your Observatory will be more than enough to make up for lost time in infrastructure thanks to its Civ6Science Science output. The only other civilization in the game with as much Civ6Science Science potential as you is Korea, and if they are in your game as your next door neighbor, you should definitely take them down, as they have next to none in terms of early game defense.

The biggest downfall of any empire with little land area comes in Industrial Era, when you suddenly realize you lack plenty of important late game Strategic Resources; the two most important ones for Maya are Coal (Civ6) Coal and Aluminum (Civ6) Aluminum. This is why the Ancestral Hall is definitely the tier 1 Government building you should go for, and not the Audience Chamber just because you are building a tall empire. You need to build a few extra Settlers to claim land to secure these Strategic resources, the two most important are Coal (Civ6) Coal, for the huge Civ6Production Production power spike in Industrial Era, and to move Magnus with Vertical Integration to the Capital6 Capital as soon as possible, and Aluminum (Civ6) Aluminum for the Lagrange Laser Station later. Oil (Civ6) Oil and Uranium (Civ6) Uranium are good, too, obviously, but if you have to choose, consider the other two Resources with a little bit higher in priority. Your new settlements are most likely in subprime positions where you cannot build Farms to gain Housing6 Housing and with the 15% yield penalty, but it should not matter. The only point of these cities is to provide you with a steady source of Strategic resources, they do not need to produce anything, and they will come with a free Builder from your Ancestral Hall to improve these resources, which is very handy, since you do not have to spend Civ6Gold Gold on buying one.

Industrial Era should be a major spike in Civ6Production Production for every empire who wants to be viable from this point onward, as this is the time when Coal (Civ6) Coal, Factory and Coal Power Plant are unlocked. You should build the Factory in every single city of yours, cities within the 6 tile radius of your Capital6 Capital are a must, other cities are optional, depending on whether or not these cities are required to be major players in your empire, but most of the time, they are not necessary. At this point of the game, you should grab Magnus and his Vertical Integration title and put him in the Capital6 Capital, turning it into a massive Civ6Production Production hub that will guarantee building everything in just a few turns. For this reason, you should build 2 Spaceports, 1 in your Capital6 Capital and 1 in the city with the highest Civ6Production Production outside the Capital6 Capital, to benefit from both Magnus and Pingala's Space Initiative.

A Wonder that will make a strong combo with this ability is the Colosseum. This is one of the best Wonders in the game, and it is even better if built in the Capital6 Capital of the Maya due to the compact nature of their empire. The Jebel Barkal works in the same fashion as the Colosseum, but provides Civ6Faith Faith instead. Civ6Faith Faith is not exactly the most useful yield for the Maya, and this Wonder should only be considered if you decide to go on a Religious path.

Observatory Edit

Considering how important Civ6Science Science and the Campus are in Civilization VI, just having a permanent 50% discount on building Campus alone is really impactful. The Mayan Observatory, instead of gaining adjacency bonuses from Mountains, Reefs, and Geothermal Fissures, gain a Major bonus from each adjacent Plantation and a Minor bonus from each adjacent Farm or District (Civ6) District. This is the true winning condition of the Maya, since they will race towards a Scientific Victory in a pace that can be matched only by a few other civilizations. Since the Maya has tier 2 starting bias towards Plantation Resources and tier 1 bias towards Grassland and Plains, it is quite simple to get an Observatory with at least +4 Civ6Science Science adjacency in every city, since just 1 Plantation and 5 Farms surrounding an Observatory will give it +4 already. This district is also a good reason why the Maya is not afraid of waging early wars to claim land around their Capital6 Capital, since its Civ6Science Science potential will help you tremendously in catching up in scientific advancement. The raw potential of this district even eclipses the Seowon, since it is easy to get it up to the starting adjacency bonus of the Seowon, and it scales upward dramatically with each adjacent Plantation. 

Hul'che Edit

With higher Civ6RangedStrength Ranged Strength than the Archer and a bonus against wounded units, the Hul'che is similar to the Pítati Archer with part of Tomyris's leader ability. However, its use case generally differs from that of the Pítati Archer or the Scythians' ranged units in that it is best used for fending off early aggression and capturing cities of enemies who settle within the Maya homeland, rather than as a tool for early aggression itself. To this end, the Hul'che also receives Lady Six Sky's bonus of +5 Civ6StrengthIcon Combat Strength within 6 tiles of the Mayan Capital6 Capital, which can result in the Hul'che rivaling the Crossbowman when firing on injured enemies close to the Capital6 Capital! Generally speaking, Hul'che are best used in pairs or trios, with one Hul'che delivering the initial blow and the rest killing or severely wounding the target with their enhanced Civ6RangedStrength Ranged Strength.

Despite the in-game description stating that the Hul'che receives +5 Civ6StrengthIcon Combat Strength when fighting wounded units, the bonus only applies in the form of Civ6RangedStrength Ranged Strength on offense without extra Civ6StrengthIcon Combat Strength on defense when it gets attacked by a wounded unit.

Victory Types Edit

Obviously the Maya is heavily skewed towards a Scientific Victory with their unique Campus and its absurd Civ6Science Science output, also their high Civ6Production Production from their clustered cities. The Maya can technically compete for other Victory conditions as well, but each has its own drawback. The Hul'che can be an effective Domination vessel for snowballing, but conquered cities most likely will receive a 15% penalty to all yields if they are not close to the Capital6 Capital. High Civ6Production Production allows the Maya to construct Wonders quickly for a Cultural Victory, but a compact empire means there will be less space for cultural improvements. Diplomatic Victory is not out of the question either, high Civ6Production Production means they can complete World Congress projects faster to compete for Diplomatic Victory points. This is especially easily in Apocalypse mode. Religious Victory often demands a wide empire with a lot of Holy Sites, since cost of purchasing with Civ6Faith Faith scales rather quickly, so it is more reasonable to go on this path if the map is not too large, and the Jebel Barkal is highly recommended in this case.

Counter Strategy Edit

The Maya is a solid civilization with very few exploitable weaknesses, since during the time they need to reinforce their infrastructure (Ancient and Classical), they basically have a unique Archer which is almost as strong as a Crossbowman (and the Hul'che is not even more expensive than the regular Archer!) when defending close to the Capital6 Capital, so trying to invade them is almost impossible. The key to unravel a Mayan empire is to harass them with fast-moving Light Cavalry units, most likely your Horsemen at this point of the game. The amount of Housing6 Housing each Mayan city starts with is pathetic, and they have to build up a lot of Farms and Plantations, meaning they will rely on (and will train a lot of) Builders. Use your Horsemen to quickly steal their Builders and immediately retreat before they get blown up by just a team of Hul'che. If it can be safely done, they can pillage their Farms and Plantations just to add extra pain. Remember, in order for the Observatory to gain adjacency bonuses, Plantations and Farms have to be built, with those two improvements pillaged, this district is so much worse than the regular Campus since they cannot gain adjacency bonuses from anything else other than a minor bonus from adjacent districts.

Civilopedia entryEdit

The early Mayas rose in the Yucatán Peninsula and established city-states between 2000 BC and 250 AD. These city-states were governed and ruled by divinely-blessed rulers, and ranged from both small settlements to metropolises, such as the city-state known today as El Mirador. The city-states were never united politically in the same way as other Mesoamerican cultures, but they still shared a common language and culture. They competed with as much as they relied on each other for growth and the projection of power.

The Mayas chose a unique (and rather brave) place to settle. The Yucatán Peninsula wasn’t good for the kind of agriculture that most other civilizations practiced. Rather than settling around river valleys, the Maya built in tropical rainforests, with thin soil atop limestone foundations. A lack of a river meant that transportation was difficult, and finding drinking water problematic. But adversity can often lead to innovation. Where the water was too saline, the early Maya learned how to filter water through the limestone to make it drinkable, and where the jungle was too dense, they created raised earthen mounds on which to grow crops. One of the most important developments the Maya made was the creation of their written language, which consisted of glyphs.

Maya glyphs were designed to fit within individual blocks and read almost like comic panels, going left, right, then down below the first left one, and so on. These glyphs were a mixture of pictographic and phonetic characters, rather like modern-day Japanese. The Maya were avid record keepers, and their script remained in use up until the arrival of the Europeans in Mesoamerica.

While most of their books (codices made of tree-bark) were burned during the Spanish conquest, their monuments, or “stelae,” survive. As the Maya dated their stelae with their Long Count calendar, we can use them to identify historical dates from quite far back.

By 250 AD, the Maya began strengthening their power in major cities such as Calakmul, Palenque, Tikal, Bonampak, Kaminaljuyu, and Copán. In this era, there were over 40 Maya cities, with populations between 5,000 and 50,000 people. As these cities grew, the Maya thrived. They built ball courts for popular games, constructed massive pyramids (which grew ever more massive thanks to the Maya’s layered building methods), and educated a scholarly elite.

Maya pyramids were created differently from Egyptian ones. Rather than using only bricks, they started with a base foundation of limestone and mortar. They then covered this with plaster, which was then painted. Any time they wanted to make improvements, they simply had to throw on some more limestone, cover it again, and paint it. There was no need for lengthy, complicated renovations, and they didn’t have to worry about structural issues. These pyramids were usually places of worship. These temples, known as “k’uh nah’, had multiple rooms, each dedicated to a deity.

Maya cities were sprawling and made up of these temples, palaces, and ball courts, all of which were set around central plazas. The cities could have multiple plazas and then the other structures grew outward from them. Art frescos and sculptures adorned the wealthier areas. Art was created for the royal court, or at least, created to be about them. Art was also used to commemorate important moments in their history. Recent advances in radar technology has revealed the extent of these cities; whereas before archaeologists assumed that the Maya were a largely dispersed people, coming together only at temple complexes, new studies have revealed strikingly large settlements, sprawled out over the jungle.

Maya life wasn’t all monuments, math, sports, and science. Military campaigns were frequent, whether it be to establish rule, to take control over trade routes, or to send a message to an enemy city-state. Combat and the subsequent battles were important enough to be memorialized and glorified in art and hieroglyphic engravings. To be a good ruler, a Maya also had to be a good warrior. They were expected to lead battles and be good tacticians. The kings and societal elites who were defeated were captured and subsequently sacrificed. Such sacrifices were rare, though, and for the most part, the Maya focused on other kinds of sacrifices: drops of blood on paper burned as an offering, for instance.

By the 900s, the Maya declined in both power and population, and some cities were entirely abandoned. But this decline turned out to be just another revolution in the cycle of rise and fall, and, by the 1100s, new cities were forming, particularly along the Caribbean and Gulf coast.

One of the most powerful of these cities, Mayapan, was, when the Spanish arrived by accident (literally – they were shipwrecked) in 1511, in yet another state of collapse. Following the first contact, the Spanish sent three more expeditions to the Yucatán and took over the Aztec capital in Tenochtitlan in 1521. From there, they turned south to modern-day Guatemala and began their conquest of Central America. By 1697, the Spanish defeated the last Maya city, Nojpeté.

Although the Maya cities were gone and the Spanish tried to erase elements of the Maya culture, the Maya continued to persist in small villages, where they maintained their traditional life. Even after the conquest, some of these practices continued, especially food culture and crafts. Today, the Maya are still around, and the language, tzolk’in ritual calendar, and other elements of Maya society thrive.


Main article: Mayan cities (Civ6)


Males Females Modern males Modern females
Bound-stone Jaguar Twelve Baby Macaws Spearthrower Owl Batzek
Smoking Squirrel Star House Stokes-the-Sky Great Flower
Scroll Serpent Lady White Quetzal Eighteen Rabbit Lady Green Quetzal
Moon Jaguar Baby Jaguar Cauac Head Lady Shield
Shield Skull Lady Skull Jaguar Smoke Earth Shark
Turtle Tooth Scroll-in-hand Tree Branch Rain God Binding-K’inich
Lord Chocolate Waterlily Hand Moon Centipede Heart of Wind Place
Bird Claw Eveningstar Smoking Frog Yohl Ik'nal
Storm Sky Shell Star Moon Zero Bird Bird Jaguar
White Hilly Gopher Lady Crocodile Monkey Star Full Flower


  • The Maya civilization's symbol could be the head of the Feathered Serpent, a prominent supernatural entity found in many Mesoamerican myths. Given that the icon has ears, it could also be derived from the many jaguar heads which decorate the structures at Chichen Itza, consistent with Mayan worship of many jaguar deities.
  • The Mayan civilization ability is the Mayan name for the Yucatán Península.



Civilization VI - First Look- Maya - Civilization VI - New Frontier Pass

Civilization VI - First Look- Maya - Civilization VI - New Frontier Pass

First Look: Maya

Related achievementsEdit

Steam achievement The stars are right (Civ6)
The stars are right
Win a regular game as Lady Six Sky
Probably a reference to a famous exchange from the 2000 movies w:The Road to El Dorado
Steam achievement Court of Itzamna (Civ6)
Court of Itzamna
As the Maya found a settlement adjacent to 4 luxury resources
Itzanma is a Mayan creator deity. He is said to reside in the sky and owns many treasures of Earth.

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