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. Religion is primarily based around the Faith stat, which you can gain through various means including buildings, Wonders and others.
- Main article: Pantheons (Civ6)
As in Civilization V: Gods & Kings, Pantheons are the first development of a religion in a civilization. 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, 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 stepping stone towards founding a full Religion. For more detailed information, as well as list of Pantheon Beliefs, visit the main article.
Creating 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 the first city converted to it (that means that half of its Citizens +1 will immediately stop being atheists and adopt the new Religion)..
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.
Note also that accumulation of Great Prophet points does not stop once a player acquires a Great Prophet! However, he or she will be unable to attract another one, even if he acquires the necessary number of points. This may become a source of confusion when tracking other players' progress in the Great People screen, where you will see players reaching and far surpassing the necessary number of points - this is not a bug, it simply means that they already have attracted a Prophet,and you should simply disregard their progress.
As before, players must choose from available symbols for their new Religion. The symbols of the main 'real' religions come with their respective 'real' names, which you cannot change. There are also custom symbols which come without a name, and you have to invent your own custom Religion name.
Finally, you have the opportunity to choose two Beliefs for your new religion.
Beliefs SystemEach religion is attributed with Beliefs, which are in fact gameplay bonuses. There are four types of belief and each religion can have only one of each type:
- Founder Belief - this belief can be impacted by followers in any civilization, but will only ever apply to the founder of that religion.
- Follower Belief - provides some bonus for any city following this religion, regardless of civilization.
- Worship Belief - grants a specific Tier 3 worship building that can be constructed in the Holy Site. Each Belief/building provides different bonuses; but again they work for any civilization whose city adopts this particular religion. All worship buildings can be bought with Faith. Only one worship building can be built per Holy Site and cannot be changed even when that religion is no longer dominant in that city.
- Enhancer Belief - designed to offer bonuses making religious pressure stronger or Missionaries and Apostles cheaper, helping the spread of the religion. Its effects also exclusively apply to the founder of that religion
Of the two Beliefs initially assigned, first one to choose is a mandatory Follower Belief, and the other may be either a Founder Belief, a Worship Belief or an Enhancer Belief. Later, you may add two additional Beliefs to your Religion using an Apostle's Evangelize Belief action. This will destroy the Apostle, so you'll need to sacrifice two Apostles to have the maximum number of Beliefs allowed. You may add these Beliefs whenever you wish - that is, there is no time limit to this possibility, and the limited number of Religions that can be created ensures that you will always have some Beliefs to choose from.
All Beliefs are unique, chosen from a common pool, and can be assigned to only one Religion. That means that later-founded Religions cannot choose Beliefs which have already been assigned to earlier Religions. Thus, the more Religions are founded, the fewer Beliefs there will be to choose from and if you are late at Founding your Religion, your choice will be more limited.
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: the Revelation social policy, or in Rise and Fall - the Exodus of the Evangelists Golden Age effect.
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, Gilgamesh, Gorgo, Pericles, Qin, Trajan, Roosevelt, Victoria, Alexander and Curtin specifically ignore religion. They will only go for it if they get a major advantage towards it (IE: Starting next to a natural wonder). In addition, Gandhi, Philip, Saladin, and Jadwiga will specifically aim for an early religion. This allows a religion to be more easily achieved on higher difficulty levels.
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, creation of a settler or having been conquered 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 effected 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 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!
The Religion Lens
The special Religion Lens allows you to visualize the religious battleground of the game. Call it from the Lenses menu option, or by pressing 1. Additionally, every time you select a Religious unit this Lens will turn on automatically.
Here you will see each city with its territory colored in the color of its Majority religion (the territory of those without a Majority religion remains blank). This is especially useful for Theological combat, as is described elsewhere. Additionally, you will see colored circles emanating from each city, representing its Religious pressure; and colored arrows pointing towards it from all nearby sources of Religious pressure. The 'thicker' the arrows, the stronger the pressure. Thus you can grasp at a glance what pressure is exercised where, and what you need to do to convert a particular city.
Under each city's name there is a special Religion tab, where all current religions are present which have converted Citizens. Clicking on the tab expands it and you can see the particular division - how many citizens each Religion has.
Of course, you can also see additional information about Religion from the City Details tab.
- Main article: Theological Combat (Civ6)
The final, most dramatic way to spread a Religion is when the agents of two different religions clash in a contest of faith. Find more details about this exciting new feature in the above article!
There are twelve default religions in the game, and some leaders have a preferred religion that the AI will choose if possible:
|Religion||Leaders that prefer this religion|
|Buddhism||Hojo Tokimune, Jayavarman VII, Seondeok|
|Catholicism||Catherine, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Frederick Barbarossa, Jadwiga, Matthias Corvinus, Pedro II, Philip II, Robert the Bruce, Wilfrid Laurier|
|Hinduism||Chandragupta Maurya, Gandhi, Gitarja|
|Islam||Mansa Musa, Saladin, Suleiman|
|Eastern Orthodoxy||Peter, Tamar|
|Protestantism||Harald Hardrada, Kristina, Teddy Roosevelt, Victoria, Wilhelmina|
|Taoism||Qin Shi Huang|
In addition to the above, there are also twelve icons for "custom religions" for which a player will be asked to type in a name. AI leaders will never found a custom religion; if they have no preferred religion or theirs is already taken, they will randomly choose from one of the default religions.
All icons of the religions of the game appear to have little stars along the outlines of these icons.
Beliefs are the practical expressions of the divine powers. Similarly to Pantheons, they take the form of gameplay bonuses and can increase yields of particular gameplay elements (buildings, districts, etc.), allow access to new ones, or modify game mechanics. However, unlike Pantheons, they work only in the cities which currently follow their particular Religion, even inside the empire of the Religion's founder.
There are four main types of Beliefs in the game. Upon founding a religion you must choose a Follower Belief, followed by a belief from one of the three remaining groups. Evangelizing your religion with an Apostle (up to 2 times) will allow you to pick again from the remaining group of beliefs.
These benefit any city that that follows the religion, regardless of who its Founder was. Players which haven't Founded a Religion will mainly benefit from this type of Beliefs.
|Choral Music||Shrines and Temples provide Culture equal to their intrinsic Faith output.|
|Divine Inspiration||All world wonders provide +4 Faith.|
|Feed the World||Shrines and Temples provide Food equal to their intrinsic Faith output.|
|Jesuit Education||May purchase Campus and Theater Square district buildings with Faith.|
|Religious Community||Shrines and Temples each provide +1 Housing.|
|Reliquaries||Relics have triple yield of both Faith and Tourism.|
|Warrior Monks||Allows spending Faith to train Warrior Monks, medieval land combat units with a unique promotion tree. May only be purchased in a city with a Temple in its Holy Site.|
|Work Ethic||+1% Production for each follower.|
|Zen Meditation||+1 Amenity in cities with 2 specialty districts.|
These allow any city that follows the religion to build (or use Faith to purchase) Tier 3 worship buildings in its Holy Site districts. Note that each Holy Site may contain only one worship building, which stays there permanently. If the dominant religion in the city changes later, and the new one has a different Worship Belief, you won't be able to replace the worship building that already exists there.
Unless your early strategy is already set, it's often a good idea to wait to see what's most convenient: Mosques are pointless unless going for a religious victory, but an early choice of Stupas may turn out unwise if you easily garner a lot of luxuries later on.
|Cathedral||+3 Faith; 1 slot for religious art|
|Dar-e Mehr||+3 Faith; +1 additional Faith for each era since constructed or last repaired|
|Gurdwara||+3 Faith; +2 Food|
|Meeting House||+3 Faith; +2 Production|
|Mosque||+3 Faith; Missionaries and Apostles +1 Spread Religion charge|
|Pagoda||+3 Faith; +1 Housing|
|Stupa||+3 Faith; +1 Amenity|
|Wat||+3 Faith; +2 Science|
These benefit only the civilization that founded the religion. Their benefits may be slightly weaker than other Belief types, but they will work for each foreign city converted (as well as domestic ones), or for each Follower in foreign cities, potentially increasing the benefits far beyond other Belief types.
|Church Property||+2 Gold for each city following this Religion.|
|Cross-Cultural Dialogue||+1 Science for every 5 followers of this Religion in other civilizations.|
|Lay Ministry||Each Holy Site or Theater Square district in a city following this Religion provides +1 Faith or +1 Culture respectively.|
|Papal Primacy||Type bonuses from City-States following your Religion are 50% more powerful.|
|Pilgrimage||+2 Faith for every city following this Religion in other civilizations.|
|Religious Unity||+1 Envoy at each city-state when it first adopts this religion, in addition to any envoy from a city-state quest.|
|Stewardship||Each Campus or Commercial Hub district in a city following this Religion provides +1 Science or +1 Gold respectively.|
|Tithe||+1 Gold for every 4 followers of this Religion.|
|World Church||+1 Culture for every 5 followers of this Religion in other civilizations.|
These aids the spread and defense of the religion. Again, mainly the Founder of the Religion will benefit.
- 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 (the Theocracy government and the Religious Orders policy). 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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, and do it much more quickly.
- 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. 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 |
|Rise and Fall • Gathering Storm • New Frontier Pass|