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Every Civilization 6 leader, their unique stuff, and strategies for playing

FRANCE / EGYPT / GERMANY  •  INDIA / SUMERIA / NORWAY  •  JAPAN / AZTECS / KONGO  •  BRAZIL / GREECE / SPAIN  •  CHINA / ARABIA / AMERICA  •  SCYTHIA / ROME / ENGLAND / RUSSIA

HOJO TOKIMUNE (JAPAN)

Bonuses

  • Land units get large combat bonuses on coastal tiles, and naval units get the same bonuses in shallow waters
  • Builds districts faster along coasts
  • Samurai: A medieval sword unit that fights just as well when beat up as it does at full health
  • Electronics Factory district: Grants a large amount of production to all cities with their center within six tiles

Who was he?
With Hojo as head honcho, the spirit of Bushido allowed Japan to just say “No” to the Mongol incursions of the 13th century, roughly 200 years before the ubiquitous Sengoku period portrayed in almost every videogame about samurai. As shikken (effectively a regent for the shogunate), he introduced Zen Buddhism to Japan, and was instrumental in the creation of the samurai warrior code known as Bushido. His was one of the only countries to be attacked by the Mongol hordes, but never successfully conquered by it.

Strategies
Like the real world nation of Japan, Civ 6’s rendition encourages building a dense, urban core of multiple cities along the coast, leaving room for those late game electronics factories to spike your production capacity into the stratosphere. You’ll need to plan your land use well, since you won’t have as much overall space to work with as other civs. So be sure to commit to one or two victory paths fully and only build the districts and improvements you need. Your samurai will be hard to stop during the medieval era, so if you need to conquer some troublesome rivals, that would be the ideal time to do so.

MONTEZUMA (AZTECS) 

Bonuses

  • Luxury resources spread amenities (that’s basically Happiness for you old school Civ players) to two additional cities beyond the one whose territory they lie in
  • Can expend builders to speed up the construction of districts
  • Eagle Warriors: Early game melee unit that converts defeated enemy units into builders (acquiring captives for slave labor and human sacrifice was a common cause for war in the Aztec Empire)
  • Tlachtli: A temple which generates faith and Great General points

Who was he?
Called Moctezuma in his native tongue, the ruler on which Civ 6’s leader is modeled is actually the first Moctezuma, who ruled until about 30 years before Columbus stumbled onto the Caribbean—not to be confused with Moctezuma II, who fought the Spanish under Cortés. During Moctezuma I’s time, the Aztec Empire was really an alliance of three, powerful city-states. He saw his own city, Tenochtitlan (present day Mexico City), rise to prominence over the others.

Strategies
Similar to Hardrada, Montezuma is all about religion and/or warfare. Ideally, you should use one to assist you with the other, regardless of which victory path you choose. Early aggression against a carefully-chosen neighbor is definitely worth your while, allowing you to win some free laborers while also weakening rival militaries. Use these workers to build up your urban centers faster than your enemies, and you can potentially enter the mid-game with one of the most developed societies on the map.

MVEMBA A NZINGA (KONGO) 

Bonuses

  • Can’t build holy sites or found a religion, but gets the founder bonuses of any religion that exists in a majority of his cities
  • Bonus food, production, and gold for artifacts and great works of art
  • Generates extra Great Artist and Great Merchant points
  • Ngao Mbeba: A medieval melee infantry unit with high defense against ranged and no sight or movement penalties in forest or jungle
  • Mbanza district: Available early on and provides food, gold, and housing

Who was he?
Better known by his westernized name, King Alfonso I of Kongo, Mvemba ruled during the period of early European colonization in sub-Saharan Africa. His victory over his half-brother to become king proved the effectiveness of European-influenced styles of warfare over the more traditional tactics of the region. Upon being crowned, he went to great lengths to convert the Kongolese to Catholicism, building many schools and increasing the region’s economic power and political significance in the process.

Strategies
Kongo is actually a great choice for a pacifist culture or science run, as you want to encourage as many other civs to spread their religion to you as possible. At the same time, the Ngao Mbeba is probably one of the best mid-game units available, especially in its favored terrain types, so getting a head start on a domination victory using warpaths your opponents won’t anticipate or be able to counterattack you through is very viable.