Religion is a returning feature in Civilization VI, but its role has been greatly expanded both in scope and in importance, becoming the focus of a new victory condition. A Religion is a system of spiritual Beliefs (manifested by game bonuses), founded by a Great Prophet, and spread among the population of cities around the world. Religion is primarily based around Faith, which you can gain through various means including buildings, Wonders and others.
- 1 List of Religions
- 2 Pantheon
- 3 Founding a Religion
- 4 Mechanics
- 5 Religious Victory
- 6 Strategy
- 7 Gallery
List of Religions
- Main article: List of religions in Civ6
- Main article: Pantheon (Civ6)
As in Civilization V: Gods & Kings, Pantheons are the first signs of spiritual development in a civilization, and a stepping stone towards a Religion. Pantheons worship a number of minor gods, usually related to nature and natural phenomena, and provide minor bonuses, usually based on terrain. In a major departure from the previous game, Pantheons are now considered separate from Religions, and a civilization's Pantheon will not get overwritten by foreign Religions converting your cities.
You need to establish a Pantheon, by acquiring 25 Faith, as a first step towards founding a full Religion. For more detailed information, as well as list of Pantheon Beliefs, visit the main article.
Founding a Religion
How to found a Religion
As in Civilization V, in order to Found a Religion first you need to attract a Great Prophet. Once he is obtained, a civilization which has already adopted a Pantheon may use him to found a Religion in any Holy Site district or the Stonehenge wonder, if you've built it. The city to which these belong will then become the Holy City for the new Religion, and all cities with a Holy Site converted to it (that means that half of its Citizens +1 will immediately stop being atheists and adopt the new Religion). Also note that establishing a Religion in a city already converted to a different Religion will overwrite the other Religion! After all, the words of a real Prophet will always trump those of a mere earthly Missionary or Apostle.
Note that Great Prophets are not obtained through simple accumulation of Faith, as it was in Civilization V: Gods & Kings. You will need a source of Great Prophet points, such as a Holy Site. The number of Religions possible is still limited (and will be smaller than the number of players in the game on anything except a Duel map), so you will need to race the others if you want your own Religion. Chances can be improved by rushing a Shrine and enacting Holy Site Prayers in your Holy Site, to improve the number of Great Prophet points per turn.
If you attract a Great Prophet before establishing a Pantheon, you'll still need to found a Pantheon before you can use your Great Prophet to found a Religion. This can occur if you manage to build the Stonehenge wonder before accumulating enough Faith to adopt a Pantheon, or if you're lucky enough to earn enough Great Prophet points without a Holy Site, and before the Religion limit is reached. This can happen on occasion, since the resource for obtaining a Pantheon is Faith, while the one for obtaining a Great Prophet is Great Prophet points. These may be obtained by sources other than a Holy Site: Revelation and the Exodus of the Evangelists Golden Age effect in Rise and Fall.
Note also that accumulation of Great Prophet points does not stop once a player acquires a Great Prophet. However, it is not possible to attract another one, even if the necessary number of points is acquired. The unused Great Prophet points will be converted into Faith with a 1:1 exchange rate.
Players must choose a symbol for their new Religion. The symbols of the main 'real' Religions come with their respective real names, which cannot be changed. There are also custom symbols which come without a name, and a custom name must be entered.
Finally, you have the opportunity to choose two Beliefs for your new Religion.
- Main article: Beliefs (Civ6)
The total number of Religions that can be founded is determined by map size, by half the default number of players plus one:
- Duel: 2
- Tiny: 3
- Small: 4
- Standard: 5
- Large: 6
- Huge: 7
Adding extra players via Advanced Setup will not increase the maximum number of Religions. Once the limit is reached, no further Great Prophets may be recruited, and the Revelation policy card will become obsolete.
Great People cannot be captured in Civilization VI, so the first players to attract Great Prophets will be the ones who get to found Religions - you won't be able to capture another player's Great Prophet and use it to found a Religion of your own.
In single player games, Gilgamesh, Gorgo, Pericles, Qin Shi Huang, Trajan, Teddy Roosevelt, Victoria, Alexander, and John Curtin specifically ignore Religion. They will only go for it if they get a major advantage towards it (e.g. starting next to a natural wonder). In addition, Gandhi, Philip II, Saladin, and Jadwiga will specifically aim for an early Religion. Peter is also prone to acquiring an early religion as the Lavra is his unique district.
Religion manifests through the cities in the world which have adopted it. Although not every single bonus conferred by religious Beliefs depends on sheer numbers, most of them are typically compounded by having as many cities in the world as possible following that Religion, and inside each city - as many Citizen followers as possible. An objective is therefore to spread your Religion far and wide. This is also the path towards the Religious Victory!
City Majority Religion
In each city's Details panel there is a Religion tab, where you can check how many of the city's Citizens are religious; that is, they have converted to a particular Religion via any of the means used to spread it. Once more than 50% of the Citizens convert to a particular Religion, it becomes the city's Majority Religion and the relevant bonuses kick in. If no Religion is predominant then there will simply be no Majority Religion.
Each city maintains a tally of the cumulative pressure exerted on it by each Religion throughout the game, either through active effects such as religious unit intervention or passive pressure from nearby cities and/or Trade Routes. Each city also maintains an atheist/pantheon pressure.
Citizens of Specific Religion (or Atheists) = Population * Specific Pressure / [ Sum of all Religious and Atheist Pressures]
The actual number of citizens is rounded to the nearest integer.
When a city grows, +50 Religious Pressure is added to its majority Religion; if there is no majority Religion then +50 is added to the atheist/pantheon pressure. Since atheist/pantheon pressure is never eliminated and has no external influence it is always a multiple of 50. When a city shrinks due to starvation, production of a Settler, or having been captured, all pressures remain constant.
The Majority Religion of each city may change constantly: the city will almost certainly start as an 'atheist' city (that is, no Religion will have any Followers there), then it will acquire a Majority Religion, then it might convert to another Religion, go back to the first one, become 'atheist' again... Unlike military conquest, these changes won't have any lasting effect on either the city or its population, besides possibly the Tier 3 Religious building which may get constructed at some point in its Holy Site and remain there once and for all, regardless of further conversions. Note, however, that if the city founder has adopted a Pantheon, it will hold fast in this city ever since its foundation, regardless of what Majority Religions may convert the city later.
Conversion by Religious Pressure
Each Religion spreads its influence automatically thanks to the natural contacts between people living in nearby cities and sharing their spiritual views. This effect is known as "Religious pressure."
Religious pressure values for each city are calculated cumulatively for all other cities with Majority Religions within 10 tiles. The following pressures are exerted by those neighboring cities in the following way:
- No pressure if the city does not have a Majority Religion.
- +1 Pressure exerted by the Majority Religion of the city.
- +2 Pressure exerted by the Majority Religion of the city if it also has a Holy Site.
- +4 Pressure exerted by the Majority Religion of the city if it is also the Holy City.
- Potentially affected by modifiers (religious beliefs or Governors).
Further steady religious pressure is exercised by each Trade Route ending in the city (if its city of origin has a Majority Religion, of course). 0.5 pressure is applied per turn by each such route, regardless of how far the origin city is.
Pressure per turn is quite a weak effect in Civilization VI and considered passive. The impact of pressure is more pronounced in the early stages of the game where total pressure values are small and subsequently small changes can introduce Religions to your civilization's or other's cities quite easily.
Conversion with Religious units
For more widespread conversion and in pursuit of Religious Victory a more active approach to pressure is required. Enter the agents of Religion: Missionaries and Apostles, each of which can engage in proselytizing trips to foreign (or domestic) cities. This action, called 'Spread Religion', has limited charges (three by default without any special effects or promotions), and after using the last charge the unit disappears. You can easily tell how many charges they have left based on how many characters are visible on the unit's tile. The strength of the spread is equal to the current Religious Strength of the unit times 2. Note that this strength diminishes if the unit is injured, so you shouldn't attempt to Spread Religion with units which have been badly damaged in Theological Combat - you will simply waste their potential.
Missionary and Apostle spreads also have the effect of eliminating other religious pressure in a city by 10% and 25% respectively. This is unaffected by damage and can prove to be more effective than the respective increase of the pressure of their own Religion by a specific amount. This does not affect atheist citizens, however, and so converting a city with a large atheist population can, perhaps unintuitively, require considerably more effort.
Note that a city of a given Religion will only purchase religious units of that Religion! So, if your cities with Holy Sites have been attacked and converted to other Religions, be careful not to purchase your units and discover they are of the wrong Religion!
Conversion with Non-Religious units
Another unit available to aid in converting the masses includes the Rock Band with the Religious Rock promotion, which converts the majority Religion of that city to the Religion founded by the player.
Some civilizations have a perk to aid in converting other players. These include:
- Byzantium's ability, Taxis, allows you to spread your Religion every time you kill a non-Barbarian unit.
- India's Dharma ability adds +100% Religious pressure from Trade Routes.
- Spain's Conquistador converts cities to Spain's majority Religion if it captures a city or is adjacent to the city when it is captured.
- Poland's leader, Jadwiga, converts other cities to Poland's religion if the opposing city's territory is claimed via a Culture Bomb. This ability carries over into all methods for Culture Bombing such as Burial Grounds (or Warrior Monks in Gathering Storm), activation of Great Engineer Mimar Sinan, or the World Congress's Border Control Treaty.
- Main article: Lens (Civ6)
- Main article: Theological combat (Civ6)
The final way to spread a Religion is when the agents of two different Religions clash in a contest of faith, called Theological combat. The winner will receive extra Religious pressure in nearby cities, while the loser will lose such pressure.
- Main article: Loyalty (Civ6)
With Rise and Fall, Religion now affects city Loyalty. A city you own following your Religion will have an extra +3 Loyalty, while a city you own that does not follow your Religion will lose -3 Loyalty.
- Main article: Victory (Civ6)#Religion
In Civilization VI it is possible to win the game by becoming the most dominant Religion in the world. This is done by having 50% of every extant civilization's cities following your Religion. To clarify, you need to reach 50% of each civilization's cities, and each civilization that you do this with counts as one point towards the victory, so if you are playing a game with only four civilizations and one of them only has two cities, if you convert one of those cities, then you would be 1/3 of the way to achieving this victory, even if the other civilizations have several more cities.
Religion is a game mechanic that you might choose to ignore without necessarily suffering. The one exception being a particularly strong religious opponent on the path to Religious Victory without it being particularly apparent. On the other hand, the bonuses obtained throughout the game for investing early in Holy Sites and Great Prophet points may reap long term rewards, as well as presenting an opportunity for your own Religious Victory.
Defending Against Religious Victory
If an opponent is particularly strong religiously there are primarily three forms of religious defense against them:
- Having at least one counter Religion (your own, or imported) for which you can build Inquisitors to maintain and counter the religious pressure of the attacking civilization. This is the simplest tactic: just maintain 3-4 Inquisitors hidden in your cities, and wait for the enemy agents to spend themselves converting your cities, then go out and "cleanse" them. But to implement it you depend on your access to Inquisitors, and in case of an "imported" Religion you have to wait for the civ founder to initiate an Inquisition - otherwise you don't have access to Inquisitors!
- Engaging in successful Theological Combat with attacking units, utilizing groups of units that can retreat to heal at Holy Sites. This can always be performed regardless of diplomatic status. However, you always risk encountering a religious force which is simply too strong for you! The AI is fully capable of initiating an assault with 4-5 Apostles, supported by other units and an appropriate Policy setup (Theocracy and Religious Orders). On the upside, the defending party always gets an extra bonus around cities following their own Religion.
- Using military units to condemn foreign religious units in or near to your cities. This prevents their religious spread and strengthens your own pressure. Each unit purchased by the opposition also increases the cost of further units. However, this can only be performed whilst at war with the attacking civilization.
- Another important factor when defending against a Religion is your cities´ Population. A city is more difficult to convert the more people it has, and since Inquisitors give such an edge when converting your own cities you can maximize your Growth to turn the opposing Religion's sweeping ground into a hard terrain to convert. This will force the Religion's founder to wastes his Apostle charges on little impact, which weakens his power overall and buys you time to build up a counterattack. This is specially effective with religious civilizations who boast good Food bonuses, like Gandhi's India or the Khmer.
Seeking Religious Victory
An ideal religious campaign depends heavily on the layout of cities and Religions in those cities. Spending faith to build units to defend contested borders of cities is akin to attrition and should be avoided. If you also plan to conquer nearby cities of foreign Religions then converting them ahead of time is wasteful when they can be quickly converted afterwards with a simple Inquisitor's spread. The list below provides some common play strategies:
- Acquire Faith to purchase necessary units. As a rule of thumb, target an amount of Faith per turn at least equivalent to the number of turns taken at Standard speed.
- Target religious city-states, such as Jerusalem or Yerevan, with your Envoys for increased Faith output and Suzerain bonuses. Yerevan's bonus is especially strong, allowing you pick the strongest promotions (Translator, Proselytizer, and Debater) for your Apostles.
- Focus on Apostles. They are much more valuable than Мissionaries; their promotions are often significant and their ability to kill foreign religious units in foreign territory is often worth more Religious Pressure than that achieved from simple Missionary spreads. The main strategy most Religious victory plays use is of sending Missionaries to the more isolated zones without much religious activity (as they still count towards making your Religion majoritarian at other civs) while you send the more expensive Apostles into mainland zones of theological combat and religious pressure.
- Use the last charge of an Apostle only to eliminate a Religion or when the Proselytizer promotion will give it a large impact. Instead, keep the unit around and use it in theological combat.
- Build multiple units to function as attacking groups. Not only does this provide flanking bonus in Theological combat and extra strategy viability when in the offensive, but it allows for distribution of combat damages. A single Guru can heal up to six surrounding units with a single charge.
- Try to target strategic cities for conversion. Those with Holy Sites and that which can afterwards be defended and used to progress towards the destruction of a Religion are most important. Religious units can only be spawned from Holy Sites with an accompanying Religion, so eliminating these often leaves time to move around the map and convert other cities unhindered (possibly with cheaper Missionaries). A Religion eliminated with no remaining units cannot be resurrected. Position is to also be noted when taking into account a city's value, as cities connecting landmasses act as both platforms from which to send and retreat your religious units against other religious civs, as well as a pressuring stronghold that will slow down the enemy Religion's advances and allow for protection of your progress in entire continents.
- Related to the point above, if you can, make sure your units are in favorable locations before engaging in theological combat - that is, cities that are following your Religion. If you are in an enemy city following a heathen Religion, you should attempt to convert it to your Religion before attacking any units, as this can turn the battle hugely in your favor. This is specially important when dealing against Inquisitors, as they get extra bonuses from holy and allied land, so if they are deprived of those their 75 base strength leaves them weak and easy to target.
- For a city to convert to your Religion, you need to convert a particular number of Citizens. The bigger the city is, the more conversion power this will require. This is why it's advantageous to target mostly smaller cities if your goal with a particular civilization isn't to completely wipe out its Religion. You will save Spread Religion charges, do it much more quickly, and avoid creating bad relationships with the AIs you convert.
- Don't be concerned about Religious Pressure per turn emanating from cities. Compared with the effect of one-time spreads and Religious Combat victories the impact is marginal. Trade Routes are completely negligible for the same reason, and any pressure from them can be willfully ignored, unless they come from India. There is only one case when pressure could present a problem: when you've effectively wiped out a Religion by converting all its important cities (the Holy City and all cities with Holy Sites), but have left some other cities alone. If you haven't completely wiped out all followers in the important cities, but just barely "tipped" them, then the incoming religious pressure from the cities you've left might be just enough to re-convert an important city, so that its owner can purchase an Inquisitor. At this point, your opponent can undo all of your hard work in just 10-15 turns. This is why you should be careful with civilizations which are traditionally strong in Religion, such as Arabia and Spain.
- Avoid letting your religious units die or be condemned by an opposing civilization's military, via rapid retreats.
- Allowing foreign units to waste charges on your cities with the intention of removing their religious pressure afterwards with an Inquisitor is sensible as long as the foreign aggression remains controllable.
|Civilization VI Religion |
|Default Religions||Buddhism • Catholicism • Confucianism • Eastern Orthodoxy • Hindu Dharma1 • Hinduism • Islam • Judaism • Mahayana Buddhism1 • Protestantism • Shaivism1 • Shinto • Sikhism • Taoism • Theravada Buddhism1 • Vajrayana Buddhism1 • Zoroastrianism|
|Pantheons||City Patron Goddess • Dance of the Aurora • Desert Folklore • Divine Spark • Earth Goddess • Fertility Rites • Fire Goddess • God of Creation (Atum)1 • God of Craftsmen • God of Healing • God of the Forge • God of the Open Sky • God of the Sea • God of War • God of Watery Abyss (Nun)1 • Goddess of Festivals • Goddess of the Harvest • Goddess of the Hunt • Initiation Rites • Lady of the Reeds and Marshes • Monument to the Gods • Odin1 • Oral Tradition • Religious Idols • River Goddess • Religious Settlements • Sacred Path • Stone Circles|
|1 Specific scenarios only
Added in the Gathering Storm expansion pack.