The Gathering Storm expansion for Civilization 6 introduced a number new features to the perennial 4X strategy game, including Diplomatic victories, the World Congress, power resources, the concept of global warming, and a ton more. Of course, any Civ expansion is incomplete without the addition of new civilizations and leaders, and Gathering Storm does not disappoint on that front.
Among the new leaders is Eleanor, who served as duchess of the fiefdom of Aquitaine from 1137 to 1204. In addition, she was queen consort to both France (from 1137 to 1152) and England (from 1154 to 1189). Aquitaine covered much of what is now central and southwest France.
In Civ 6, Eleanor occupies a very unique place among all the leaders in that she can lead either France or England in any particular game. From the leader selection tab in the came creation menu, there are actually two different versions of Eleanor of Aquitaine, one for each of the countries she can preside over.
The bonuses for the French and English versions are the same as those led by Catherine de Medici and Victoria, respectively. It’s Eleanor’s leader ability and agenda that set her apart from them. In this guide, we’ll run down Eleanor’s advantages, disadvantages, and the best victory condition to pursue with her.
Civ 6 Eleanor of Aquitaine Agenda and Ability
Eleanor’s Leader Ability
Weather you’re controlling France or England, Eleanor’s ability remains the same. It’s called Court of Love, and it’s all about reducing the loyalty of nearby enemy cities. The official wording is this:
“Great Works in Eleanor’s cities each cause -1 Loyalty per turn in foreign cities within 9 tiles. A city that leaves another civilization due to a loss of Loyalty and is currently receiving the most Loyalty per turn from Eleanor’s civilization skips the Free City stem to join this civilization.”
There’s a lot of jargon in there, so let’s break it down. Loyalty is a mechanic introduced in Civ 6’s previous expansion, Rise and Fall. Each city exerts a Loyalty value to the surrounding tiles. There are many ways for a city to gain or lose Loyalty in the game that we won’t get into here, but if enough Loyalty is lost, a city will abandon its civilization and become a Free City.
Free Cities will join whichever civ is exerting the most Loyalty pressure after a set number of turns. With Court of Love, the Free City stage is skipped entirely, and will join Eleanor’s empire immediately. This is a great way to take over the cities of enemies without going to war with them, allowing you to maintain favorable diplomatic standing with the rest of the world.
Eleanor’s leader agenda is called Angevin Empire, meaning that the AI version of Eleanor, regardless of what country she’s leading, likes to be near cities with high populations. She also focuses more efforts to growing the population of her own cities. If you start a game and find yourself near Eleanor, make sure you push your population levels as high as possible to maintain good standing with her!
Winning With Eleanor of Aquitaine – Civ 6
Because of her leader ability, Elanor tends to favor non-violent paths to victory. Diplomacy victories are a good bet, as are Science victories. However, it’s Culture games where Eleanor really shines, especially when leading France.
The French country bonuses strongly favor Culture play in Civ 6. This is thanks to the Grand Tour, which ups the amount of Tourism you earn from Wonders. Additionally, the Chateau unique improvement generates even more Tourism once you research the Flight technology. Since you’ll be pumping out Great People, building Wonders, and attracting tourists in order to leverage Eleanor’s ability, you may as well lean into the Culture victory path.
Eleanor of Aquitaine – General Strategies
There are two main priorities you want to focus on with Eleanor: expansion and city growth. She’s all about abusing the Loyalty mechanic, and tempting new cities into her empire. For that reason, culture bomb civics and technologies should be priority targets. In the early game, you’ll want to push for culture generating buildings and districts, like Monuments, the Government Plaza, and the Ancestral Hall. You also want to push for Great People Points, artists and writers in particular, since Eleanor’s ability revolves around them.
Your border cities are going to be hugely important to winning because they’ll be the ones most likely to engage in Loyalty battles with opposing civilizations. Entertainment Complexes can be powerful in this regard thanks to the Bread and Circuses project. Once you notice enemy cities starting to degrade in loyalty, move your Great Works to the border cities and watch the Loyalty fall.
Once your empire becomes large enough, there will be no stopping you. You’ll be able to shift from a Culture game to a Diplomacy or Science game. You might even be able to manage a Domination victory depending on the cities you’re able to convert!
And that’s a quick rundown of how to play as Eleanor of Aquitaine in Civilization 6. Did this guide help you out at all? Let us know in the comments section!