The Owls of Minerva are one of four Secret Societies in Civilization VI, exclusive to the Secret Societies game mode, introduced in the Ethiopia Pack. They are a secret group of high-placed and wealthy individuals. They focus on government, trade, and espionage.
A conversation with a new acquaintance turns to symbols: an eye in a pyramid, a two-headed owl, a serpent biting its own tail. “These are the signs by which we know each other,” he says to you. Later, he invites you down through tunnels below the city to a velvet-draped room full of figures in cloaks and animal masks, and who you think you recognize as some of the richest and most important people in your empire – and beyond. “Join us,” offers a woman in an elaborate moth mask, her voice dripping with wealth and privilege.
The rites have been performed. You have recited the names of the founders and their lineages and memorized the signs of the Owls. It is astounding how many there were, all around you, all this time. Your finance minister hides a tattoo of a two-headed owl on his ankle; a silk merchant idly draws an eye on his open palm. Now you are of the Owls.
Similar to the other Secret Societies, Owls of Minerva membership lasts the entire game. Once joined, players will unlock a new Governor with four unique titles. This Governor operates on an international scale, thus granting bonuses to the entire empire without being assigned to a city.
Owls of Minerva membership grants access to an extra Economic Policy slot and extra Envoys to city-states with each Trade Route sent there. It also allows construction of the Gilded Vault, a new building with all the benefits of a Bank, but also grants Gold adjacency bonus as Culture as well. It also grants an additional Trade Route for cities with a Harbor. Furthermore, members will have an extra Wildcard Policy slot, extra Spy capacity, and bonuses to defensive Spies.
The Owls of Minerva's base chance of sending an invitation after you send an Envoy to a city-state is 80%. However, as with other societies, this chance will get slightly smaller with every other civilization that joins this society (meaning "popular" societies will be less likely to send you an invitation).
|Promotion Title||Unlocked by||Effect|
|Initiation||Send an Envoy to a city-state (80% chance).||+1 Economic Policy slot. Each Trade Route sent to a city-state grants 1 Envoy there.|
|Ritual||Reach the Medieval Era.||Allows you to construct the Gilded Vault building, a powerful replacement of the Bank.|
|Indoctrination||Reach the Industrial Era.||+1 Wildcard Policy slot. +2 Spy capacity. Your cities gain +4 Loyalty per turn and +1 Amenity when your Spy is in their territory.|
|Master Plan||Reach the Atomic Era.||Whenever an offensive spy mission is successful, you also gain half of the Gold, Faith, Culture, and Science that the targeted city earned that turn. Earn 3% of your Gold treasury as Gold per turn (up to 1000 Gold per turn).|
The Owls of Minerva are the most consistently useful of the Secret Societies. Trade Routes, Policy slots, Envoys and Spies are all excellent boons towards achieving any type of victory, and these bonuses do not rely on luck, unlike the Hermetic Order's Ley Line. They are also generally the easiest to join, as you may receive an invitation any time you send an Envoy to a city-state, giving you far more opportunities than the required actions of the other Secret Societies.
An incredible component of the Owls of Minerva is how good their Initiation bonus is. Gaining an Economic Policy slot when you would otherwise only have 1 can be a powerful jump-start to your empire in the early game. Their ability to generate Envoy can also get you a potentially unbeatable head-start on any city-state whose Suzerainty you may consider vital to your game-plan, as long as those city-states are within your Trade Route range.
Afterward, you will gain access to the Gilded Vault, a powerful replacement in its own rights, and even more impressive if you think about how underwhelming the standard Bank it replaces is. This building allows each city to have a maximum of 2 Trade Route and even grants extra Culture, as if doubling the number of Trade Route is not enough! (Read more here.) Your Indoctrination bonus basically doubles your Spy capacity, since except for Catherine de Medici, everyone only has 2 Spies in Industrial Era, and basically gives you a free Forbidden City. These two bonuses make this the most impressive second-tier promotion out of all 4 Secret Societies, since it has massive versatility and an unlimited scope of application. Last but not least, their Master Plan bonus is not quite as impressive as the other 3, since it relies on progress made by other civilizations, and a bit extra Gold at this point of the game is welcome but not game changing; however, your empire has benefited a ton from the previous bonuses, so this is not really a big deal.
As previously mentioned, Owls of Minerva is a thoroughly reliable and versatile Secret Society that any civilization going for any Victory can pick up and feel great about. However, the most notable two leaders that love this society more than anyone is Rough Rider Teddy (when you have his Persona Pack) due to the fact that he loves sending Trade Routes to city-states (and America appreciates the extra Wildcard policy slot), and Catherine de Medici, because no one loves espionage more than her. Tamar is also an excellent leader to pick the Owls of Minerva, since her ability to generate free Envoy will almost be unmatched as long as she focuses on spreading her Religion to city-states and have an extensive Trade Route network with them. If a city-state has Tamar's Religion, every Trade Route she sends there will give her 2 Envoy without having to invest a real starting Envoy.
Politics often looks like chaos. Bumbling leaders can make stupid mistakes that risk the safety and security of entire nations, and too often choices seem to be made based upon the most short-term goals. There is little wonder, then, that people might dream about a world where this is not so. Rumors of shadowy organizations that pull the strings of power for good or (more often) ill have persisted for centuries. We are drawn to such beliefs as they give us a sense that there is structure underlying seeming chaos (and, for the conspiracy theorist, a feeling of importance in being let in on the secret), even if that secret truth can seem hostile. Like someone solving a puzzle, there is a sense of pleasure in putting together pieces that seem to fit… even if, in truth, the pieces never quite fit just the way we would like them.
Many of these conspiracy theories arose around the time of the Enlightenment. As new ways of thinking swept over Europe, they clashed with church and royal authorities. New groups of people (men, almost always) formed with the stated goals of applying rational thought to what had been unquestionable before. These groups – the Freemasons, the Illuminati (a Bavarian group), and others – were often made up of powerful but non-noble men: merchants, landowners, and others. They were often victims of repression by reactionary forces, as church and crown both found themselves less than thrilled about having their legitimacy questioned by a bunch of “free thinkers.” After the French Revolution – when a king was not only deposed, but executed, the panic over secular political/philosophical societies grew profound, and in the course of the 19th century, reached a fever pitch, especially when combined with the rise of Communist and Socialist groups. It was a tension that was to persist, with these societies challenging traditional authority and in turn facing accusations of treason, impiety, and the like. The Owls of Minerva here – named after the Bavarian Illuminati – seek to represent not the historical intellectual societies, but its popular culture referent: this feared cabal of powerful men lurking behind the scenes of temporal politics.
|Civilization VI Secret Societies |
|Hermetic Order||Neophyte • Adept • Magus • Aiwass|
|Owls of Minerva||Initiation • Ritual • Indoctrination • Master Plan|
|Sanguine Pact||Taste • Rising Hunger • Voivode • Endless Night|
|Voidsingers||Melody • Chorus • Canticle • Symphony|