The Polish people (or Poles) represent a civilization in Civilization VI. Their default colors are dark red (#790002) and pink (#E47574), and they are led by Jadwiga. They are available with the Poland Civilization & Scenario Pack, which was released on December 20, 2016.
The Poles' civilization ability is Golden Liberty, which allows them to claim all surrounding tiles when they build an Encampment or a Fort in their territory and changes one of their government's Military Policy Card slots into a Wildcard slot. Their unique unit is the Winged Hussar, and their unique building is the Sukiennice (which replaces the Market).
Complex and versatile, Poland led by Jadwiga is definitely a challenge to play properly, especially for new players. They possess a lot of bonuses but overall quite discombobulated and require good decision making to effectuate.
The unique features of Poland and its leader allow you to pursue a wide variety of victory conditions, though you have a good incentive to incorporate religion into your strategy. Golden Liberty brings back the "Culture Bomb" of Civilization V and allows you to steal territory from your opponents, making city placement less crucial for the Poles as long as you build Encampments and Forts strategically. You can steal tiles up to 3 tiles away from the City Center, but cannot steal tiles with completed districts or Wonders (tiles with districts or Wonders under construction can still be stolen, the unfinished structures will be destroyed in the process). When combining with Jadwiga's unique ability, this also allows you to instantly convert enemy cities, thus saving you from having to spend Faith on Missionaries and Apostles. This combo makes Crusade an almost must-have belief for Poland, as you can capitalize on this advantage by waging wars against your neighbors, converting and capturing their cities one by one and edging closer to a Religious Victory (or a Domination Victory). Winged Hussars are an absolute menace in Medieval Era, especially you can unlock them early on the Civic tree, as they can push back enemy troops and clear a path for the rest of your army to advance on a city. After making peace with your opponent, build Encampments and Forts to convert any cities near the one(s) you captured, reorganize your forces, and go to war with your opponent again if you need to spread your religion to more of their cities, and if you're worried about the warmonger penalties, wait until you've discovered Diplomatic Service and can declare a Holy War. (For more information on how to use Winged Hussars, read below).
An understated side of Golden Liberty is that it converts one Military policy slot into a Wildcard one. This gives Poland, along with Greece, access to a Wildcard slot from the very beginning of the game. Although not as strong as Greece's ability, it allows Poland to effectively race for an early religion by discovering Mysticism and running Revelation afterward. In contrast, other civilizations have to discover Political Philosophy to run a Wildcard policy, which slows their discovery of a religion and may cost them the opportunity to add the beliefs they desire to it. This is very powerful especially for a civilization with Religious power, since it almost guarantees you will have a leg up in the race for a Great Prophet.
If you prefer a more peaceful approach to victory, you can play to Jadwiga's other strengths. Build Holy Sites and Theater Squares in all of your cities and focus on maximizing your Faith and Culture generation - later on, you can use your accumulated Faith to patronize Great Artists, Musicians, and Writers, whose Great Works will generate vast amounts of Tourism for you. You can earn even more by adopting the Reliquaries belief, building the Mont St. Michel (and later, the Cristo Redentor to reinforce religious Tourism), and purchasing many Apostles to send to other players' lands - even if they don't convert a single city before they're defeated, their free Martyr promotion will give you Relics that will provide you with additional Gold, Culture, and Faith for the rest of the game. To make the most use out of your Apostles, consider using all of their charges except for one, then feed them away to gain a Relic. Also, consider taking up the Monastic Isolation belief if you also want to have a backup in Religious Victory path. Another often overlooked method to gain Relics is via trading other empires for it. Though the trade may be initially costly, Poland's buff to Relics is well worth it over the long run.
In the later eras, keep a few Military Engineers on hand to build Forts for protection from aggressive neighbors and steal their territory if they settle dangerously close to your cities.
Important note on Victory paths with Poland
The pitfall of most inexperienced players or ones who have never tried Poland before is the lack of focus. Since Poland's bonuses are all over the place, trying to maximize all of them at once can backfire horribly. Let's compare Poland to other civilizations which are also considered versatile: Cree and Japan. Regardless of which path they are going, Cree will always want to send Trade Routes and Japan will always want to put down districts close to each other to maximize yields. The difference here is, for Poland, in order to choose a path over another, you have to commit hard to it. Want Relics? You have to build Mont St. Michel and have high Faith output. Want to rush with the powerful Winged Hussars? You have to focus on generate Culture. On the side, you can easily be distracted because you may also want some Science output because who doesn't need Science, or put down some Commercial Hubs because everyone loves Gold and because of the Sukiennice, or even to put down Encampments to claim a bit of land and increase Strategic Resource stockpile. And that is how most players fail, since they try to do too many things as Poland, and then nothing truly comes to fruition. Out of the three districts above that supply neither Culture or Faith, you only want a few Commercial Hubs for your Gold income and your unique building, you do not really need the other two. Unlike other versatile empires, Poland urgently needs you to commit and stick to one path, as any path requires a lot of build-up and investment. You can win a Domination game from Medieval Era onward solely by an early unlock of the Winged Hussars without getting a single Relic the entire game, or win a Culture Victory without building a single Fort or Encampment to claim land, and it is perfectly fine. There are two main paths for Poland: Domination/Religion (these two go hand in hand) and Culture, where Culture is less reliable than its counterpart. If you fail in one of these two paths, the switch to the other Victory path is not as smooth as playing Cree or Japan.
Regardless of whether you plan on playing more offensively or defensively, you should develop Polish cities for commerce. Build Commercial Hubs in every possible city, then fill them with Sukiennice and enjoy the extra Gold (from domestic trade) and Production (from foreign trade). Be sure to augment your Trade Routes via policy cards to provide further boosts. Some, like Triangular Trade, are good for both types of routes, while Market Economy only impacts international routes. If you're aiming for a Culture Victory, international trade will speed you along by further increasing your Tourism output. In Gathering Storm, the University of Sankore has good synergy with this building since it makes domestic Trade Routes even more powerful for Poland.
While Harbors (with Lighthouses in the expansions) can also increase your Trade Route limit in cities without Commercial Hubs, they do not provide the same bonuses the Sukiennice does. Building and developing Commercial Hubs should therefore be a much higher priority.
With its mighty lance, high mobility, and intimidating stature, it's easy to understand why enemies want to flee from the Winged Hussar. It has higher Combat Strength than any of the other units of its era, and its ability to push back the enemy lines makes it a powerful weapon if Poland decides to go on the offensive. A force of 2-4 Winged Hussars can drive enemy units away from a besieged city and allow other Polish units to attack it without fear of retaliation. It's also great at clearing barbarian outposts, since it can force the defending unit off the tile and capture the outpost in one fell swoop.
The Winged Hussar is superior to the Knight in conquest and becomes available in the same era, making it effectively pointless to train Knights when playing as Poland. Note as well that the Winged Hussar is unique in that it becomes obsolete with Rifling, before its upgrade is available, so train as many of them as you need before researching this tech.
When attacking, if the Winged Hussar deals more damage than it takes, it can push the enemy back to 1 of the 3 tiles behind the enemy, not just strictly the tile directly behind. This unique dislocation mechanic allows for really cool tactics. You can go around the enemy lineup and break it by pushing a unit (most ideally a ranged or siege unit) towards your line of defense, push enemies out of their fortifications and take them for your own, push Barbarians out of their camps or force enemies to embark (if they have the required technologies for it, if they don't, they will take extra damage) or push enemies out of escort formation to steal or kill civilian units. The possibility is endless. (The possibility for messing up is also there though, since a lot of times players will forget about the knockback and send the Winged Hussars straight into enemies' line or firing range of City Centers and Encampments.)
One more uniqueness of the Winged Hussar is that they are unlocked on the Civic tree, making early Culture generation essential for Poland. Try to pump out as many new cities as you can, all of them will build Monuments as the first objective, go for a Pantheon that supplies Culture (or Religious Settlements in Gathering Storm), appoint Pingala with the Connoisseur promotion immediately and beeline straight for Mercenaries after Political Philosophy. The only civic detour you should take on the religious branch is for Mysticism, so that you can unlock the Revelation policy card. If you want to go a step further, pick Choral Music as your Follower Belief, instead of Reliquaries, since the Domination path for Poland is much more secure than Culture relying on Relics anyway (unless you are determined to go down the Cultural path, then take Reliquaries, but still, you do need to reach Mercenaries as fast as possible, ideally before other civilizations unlock their Knights). Science and Campuses do not matter too much for Poland at this point, once you start conquering, Science will naturally pour in.
If you are playing Poland for the first time, Domination with a Religious backup is a sound choice, and it is the easiest one to pull off, as long as you accumulate Culture early on, pick up Crusade belief and avoid detours and distractions, once the Winged Hussars come and start conquering, they will give you everything you need, whether it is Science or Gold, as detailed above.
Culture Victory is within reach as well, but a lot trickier. Out of the three civilizations that make use of Relics, the Kongolese have really impactful and powerful Relics the entire game but have trouble generating them reliably, the Khmer have normal Relics but can have a ton of them, Poland is somewhere in between. The problem with this route is Mont St. Michel is a must, and it is a Medieval Era Wonder. The Enlightenment Civic comes right after in Renaissance Era, which will cut religious Tourism in half, so you do not have a few eras like the Khmer to accumulate religious Tourism for a quick Cultural Victory. Of course, you can back it up with regular Tourism from Great People and Theatre Squares, but Drama and Poetry is a detour on the Civic tree, as it is not required for the all important Mercenaries Civic, meaning your timing push with the Winged Hussars will be pushed back and most likely, not as effective. This route is recommended when you already have a feel with this civilization, but not when it is your first playthrough. Again, it is all about commitment to a path when it comes to Poland, as it is versatile but not flexible.
The most salient feature of Poland’s topography is the extensive plain that stretches from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Carpathian Mountains to the south. Unfortunately for Poland, that plain served as the gateway for invasion—from Europe at the western borders and from Asia to the east. Poland also had the inconvenience to lie between Germany and Russia, who (for more than a millennium) cast covetous eyes on its rich lands and resources. Despite this, Poland managed to hold its own, and was once itself the biggest bully on the block.
According to semi-legendary accounts, Mieszko ruled the Polanie tribe from the fortified settlement of Gniezno. When marauding Magyars threatened the Wislanie tribe of Krakow, with whom Mieszko had close ties, he united both tribes—and in doing so, founded the Piast Dynasty. Mieszko converted to Christianity after Roman Catholic missionaries from Bohemia preached the spiritual and practical benefits, and was baptized in 966. Despite some debate, even most skeptical scholars now accept this date as the beginning of Poland.
A series of strong (or strong-arm) successors to Mieszko slowly converted the pagan Poles, established a firm dynastic grip, and dragged reluctant Poland into the broader European culture. Mieszko's son Boleslaw established a purely Polish-Catholic ecclesiastical organization, and his secular authority was recognized by the Germanic Holy Roman Emperor. This led to Boleslaw’s coronation in 1025, making him the first "King of Poland."
Poland soon stretched from the Baltic to the Carpathians, loosely establishing its historical borders by 1100. However, the death of Boleslaw III in 1138 brought complications to the century-old kingdom. With no tradition of primogeniture, Poland was divided among Boleslaw's several sons. The resulting fragmentation led to continuous internal conflict and external pressures throughout the next few centuries.
Wladyslaw, a minor duke of Piast lineage, spent his life reunifying the realm and was crowned King Wladyslaw I for his troubles. In defending Poland, Wladyslaw waged crusades against the pagan Lithuanians and Mongols, as well as a war to expel the self-righteous and greedy Teutonic Knights. Wladyslaw was succeeded by his even more able son, who began his reign as Casimir III and ended it as Casimir the Great. He would not only secure his father’s gains through astute diplomacy and brief, victorious warfare, but make Poland a center of culture, learning, and trade. Casimir more than doubled the size of the kingdom, reorganized the nation's economy and legal system, and provided the impetus for the establishment of Poland’s first university. Under Casimir’s liberal rule, Poland became a haven for the dispossessed and persecuted; Germans settled in the cities, Armenian and Slavic refugees in the rural lowlands, and thousands of Jews moved in and flourished. However, having no male heirs, Casimir the Great was the last Piast king, dying in 1370.
Casimir's designated successor was his nephew Louis I of Hungary (where Louis spent most of his time). His death in 1382 resulted in the recalcitrant Polish nobles crowning his youngest daughter Jadwiga king of Poland. Her marriage to Jogaila, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, also made him a Polish king—after he converted to Catholicism and took the good Polish name Wladyslaw II. The two co-kings ruled until her death in 1399, when it became far less confusing to deliver messages to the (sole) King of Poland.
Wladyslaw II brought the Poles into the conflict in 1401. They came to the aid of the Lithuanians, who were locked in a vicious war with the Teutonic Knights. At Grunwald in July 1410, after one of the most ferocious battles of the Middle Ages, his combined Lithuanian-Polish force won a victory so overwhelming that the Teutonic Order was virtually annihilated, with most of its leaders killed or captured.
The Jagiellonian monarchs would spend the following decades at (mostly victorious) war with their covetous neighbors—the resurgent Teutonic Knights, the Duchy of Prussia, the kingdoms of Bohemia and Hungary, the Grand Duchy of Moscow, and, to the south, the Ottoman Turks and the Crimean Tatars. The latter launched no less than 75 separate incursions between 1474 and 1569. They all just never seemed to learn. Overall, Poland’s kings were able to maintain its borders and influence throughout the dynasty.
More significant and enduring than all those victories were the social and scientific advances under the Jagiellonians. In 1505, the Nihil Novi Act transferred most legislative power from the monarch to the Sejm, a parliament composed of the Polish nobility—a stumbling step towards democracy. Protestant Reformation movements, notably that led by John Hus of Bohemia, made inroads into Polish Catholicism and resulted in the establishment of laws promoting religious tolerance. Renaissance ideals evoked an urge to promote Polish arts and culture by the Jagiellonian kings Sigismund I and Sigismund II. And in 1543, an epochal work claiming a heliocentric model of the solar system was published by the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.
Spurred by rampant nationalism, "democratic" precepts, and (a few) concerns about foreign intentions, in June 1569 the Sejm passed an act establishing the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a unified federal state with an elected monarch—governed primarily by the nobility, through local assemblies and a central parliament. The childless Sigismund II, last of the Jagiellonian dynasty, accepted and signed the act. Although this is credited with instituting a period of stability and prosperity and the spread of Western culture to areas such as the Ukraine and western Russia, the Commonwealth found itself repeatedly embroiled in conflicts with Russia, Sweden, the Ottomans, Cossacks, and other unruly neighbors.
The toll of these wars—notably Poland-Lithuania’s involvement in the Great Northern War, coupled with a succession of weak elected kings—left the nation desperately in need of internal reform. During the middle years of the 18th Century, the Sejm moved to implement commercial, military, social and educational reforms. This effort included the Commission of National Education in 1773, the first state-sponsored education system in Europe, and taught all those peasants to read the Scriptures for themselves. Shortly thereafter, the Polish peasants began to agitate for more rights, and perhaps even a little taste of democracy themselves.
By this time, the Bible was no longer the most common Polish reading material. In the previous centuries, under various high-minded monarchs, a distinctly Polish culture evolved and flourished. Polish authors cranked out all sorts of moody literature and poetry, like the works of Krasicki and Jan Polocki. Although Polish culture was profoundly affected by Germanic, Slavic, Latin and Byzantine threads, a distinct character arose in its architecture, art and dance. But where the Poles really excelled was in music, compelling in its timbre and tone, tempo and texture. Later world-famous Polish composers such as Chopin built their reputations, in part, on the great works of Mielczewski, Oginski, and Szymanowska.
Poland grew wealthy due to its export of agricultural goods. The Commonwealth was by far Europe’s largest producer of grain. As agrarian advances spread, Poland became a major exporter of fruit, spices, herring, fabrics, timber, beer and wine. All this produce was barged along the Vistula, Bug, and Neman rivers to Baltic ports such as Gdansk for shipment on to Flanders and the Netherlands. Overland routes ran deep into the Holy Roman Empire. To keep track of all this wealth, the Sejm had created the zloty as the national currency in 1496. During his reign, Poland's last king King Stanislaw August Poniatowski standardized the zloty in the wake of financial reforms … just in time for the Commonwealth to cease to exist.
Given that all this public spending on reform had emptied the treasury (and thus a way to pay the military), and that the nobles were understandably hesitant to put their lives and fortunes on the line, Poland’s neighbors weren't dissuaded from intervening. In 1772, the First Partition occurred when Russia, Austria and Prussia occupied portions of the country. Following the short Polish-Russian War, Prussia and Russia executed the Second Partition, which stripped Poland of so much territory as to leave it incapable of supporting itself economically or militarily. In 1795 the Third Partition by Austria, Russia and Prussia ceded the nation’s last holdings to these powers and independent Poland ceased to exist.
Following the last partition, Poland disappeared from the pages of history … almost. The Grand Duchy of Poland was resurrected by Napoleon as a free client state of the French Empire. Following Bonaparte’s defeat, it was ripped apart again by Prussia, Austria and Russia. After World War I Poland was reconstituted as a free nation, but had to fight a two-year war against the infant Soviet Union to maintain that freedom. Come 1939, it was divvied up between the erstwhile allies Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Reborn once again, it was Communist occupied behind the Iron Curtain. But in the 1990s, Poland was one of the first to take advantage of the rusted curtain to throw off Russian rule, becoming a free nation once more. If nothing else, the Polish people are persistent in their pursuit of self-rule.
- Main article: Polish cities (Civ6)
- The Polish civilization's symbol is a white eagle with a crown, which also appears on the Polish coat of arms and the Order of the White Eagle.
- The Polish civilization ability is named after a political system in which all nobles were afforded extensive legal rights and privileges.
- Poland is also playable (as the "Polish Nobility") in the Jadwiga's Legacy scenario, in which it is led by Stanisław Potocki.
You Are A Terrible Person
Playing as Poland, destroy another civilization’s incomplete wonder by initiating a Culture Bomb