Civilization 6 Leaders Guide: Base Game Leaders, Units, Improvements

If you’re new to Civilization, know that each civ and leader in the game has unique traits that set them apart from one another. The Civ 6 base game comes with a total of 20 different leaders — each with their own leader ability, civ ability, unique unit, unique improvement, and leader agenda.

We cover each of these factors for all 20 leaders in base Civ 6 below. We’ve further explained some of the details as needed, since the game itself isn’t always 100 percent clear about everything.

Keep in mind that all AI civilizations also have a “hidden” agenda, in addition to the default leader agenda. These are randomized with every game, so the only way to find them out is to increase your Diplomatic Visibility.

Looking for more leaders? We also have additional guides for the DLC and Rise & Fall civs! You can find those links just below this paragraph. We’ll update our guides with the upcoming Gathering Storm civs shortly, too!

America – Teddy Roosevelt

Leader Perk: Roosevelt Corollary – Units on Roosevelt’s home continent receive +5 Combat Strength. Cities with a National Park get +1 Appeal to all of their tiles. Roosevelt also gets the Rough Rider unique unit once Rifling is researched.

America Perk: Founding Fathers – All Diplomatic policy slots are converted to Wildcard slots.

Unique Unit: P-51 Mustang – Replaces the standard Fighter in the Atomic era. Gains +5 attack against other fighter aircraft, has +2 flight range, and earns 50 percent more experience.

Unique Unit: Rough Rider – Earns Culture from kills on the Capital’s continent. +10 Combat Strength when fighting on Hills. Has a lower maintenance cost.

Unique Improvement: Film Studio – Replaces the Broadcast Center and is built in the Theater Square district. Gives 100 percent Tourism pressure from this city towards other civilizations in the Modern Era.

Leader Agenda: Big Stick Policy – Builds as many Spies and as much Diplomatic Visibility as possible. Likes those who do the same. Dislikes civilizations that ignore espionage activities.

Arabia – Saladin

Leader Perk: Righteousness of the Faith – The worship building for Saladin’s Religion can be purchased by any player for only one-tenth of the usual Faith cost. Arabian cities get +10 percent Science, Faith, and Culture output.

Arabia Perk: The Last Prophet – Automatically receives the final Great Prophet once the next-to-last one has been claimed—assuming you have not earned one already. Arabia receives +1 Science for each foreign city following its religion.

Unique Unit: Mamluk – Replaces the Knight in the Medieval era. The Mamluk heals at he end of every turn, even after moving or attacking.

Unique Improvement: Madrasa – Replaces the University in the Campus district. It gives bonus Faith equal to the adjacency bonus of the Campus district.

Leader Agenda: Ayyubid Dynasty – Wants his Worship building in as many cities as possible. Likes civilizations that build it. Dislikes civilizations following other religions or those that wage war on civs that have his religion as their dominant religion.

Aztec – Montezuma

Leader Perk: Gifts for the Tlatoani – Luxury resources in Montezuma’s territory provide an Amenity to two extra cities. Military units get +1 Combat Strength when attacking for each different Luxury resource improved in Aztec lands.

Aztec Perk: Legend of the Five Suns – The Aztec can spend Builder charges to complete 20 percent of a district’s original cost.

Unique Unit: Eagle Warrior – Replaces the Warrior. This Ancient era unit has a chance to capture other military units by turning them into Builders.

Unique Improvement: Tlachtli – Replaces the Arena improvement in the Entertainment Complex. It provides one Amenity, +2 Faith, and a Great General point.

Leader Agenda: Tlatoani – Is happy with civilizations that have the same Luxury resources as he does. Dislikes those who have Luxury resources he doesn’t have. Will try to collect every Luxury resource available.

Brazil – Pedro II

Leader Perk: Magnanimous – After recruiting or patronizing a Great Person, 20 percent of its point cost is refunded.

Brazil Perk: Amazon – Rainforest tiles provide +1 adjacency bonus for Campus, Commercial Hub, Holy Site, and Theater Square districts. They also provide +1 Housing for Neighborhoods that are adjacent to them.

Unique Unit: Minas Geraes – Replaces the Battleship in the Industrial era. Stronger than the Battleship and is unlocked by the Nationalism civic.

Unique Improvement: Street Carnival – Replaces the Entertainment Complex district. Provides +2 Amenities and is cheaper to build. Unlocks the Carnival project which grants an additional +1 Amenity when underway and a variety of Great People points once completed.

Unique Improvement: Copacabana – Replaces the Water Park district. Provides +2 Amenities and unlocks the Carnival project. As per the Street Carnival, it provides an additional +1 Amenity when in progress and a variety of Great People points when completed. This cannot be built in a city with a Street Carnival and cannot be built on Reef.

Leader Agenda: Patron of the Arts – Will recruit as many Great People as possible. Likes civilizations that do not compete for Great People. Dislikes civilizations who get Great People.

China – Qin Shi Huang

Leader Perk: The First Emperor – When building Ancient and Classical wonders you can spend Builder charges to complete 15 percent of the original wonder cost. Builders spawn with an additional charge.

China Perk: Dynastic Cycle – Eurekas and Inspirations provide 50 percent of civics and technologies instead of 40 percent.

Unique Unit: Crouching Tiger – A Chinese Medieval era unit. Has a Range of 1 and high combat strength.

Unique Improvement: Great Wall – Builders can create the Great Wall. This provides an increase to Defense. Wall pieces provide bonus Gold if adjacent to other wall segments. Provides additional Culture and Tourism as you advance through the Technology Tree. Must be built along the borders of your empire.

Leader Agenda: Wall of 10,000 Li – Builds Wonders whenever possible. Likes civilizations that leave wonders to him. Dislikes those with more wonders.

Egypt – Cleopatra

Leader Perk: Mediterranean’s Bride – Trade routes to other civilizations provide +4 Gold to Egypt. Trade routes to Egypt from other civilizations provide +2 Food to them and +2 Gold to Egypt. Earn twice as many bonus Alliance Points when trading with Allies.

Egypt Perk: Iteru – +15 percent Production towards districts and wonders if they’re placed next to a River. Floodplains do not block placement of districts and wonders.

Unique Unit: Maryannu Chariot Archer – Replaces the Heavy Chariot in the Ancient era. Has +4 Movement when starting in open terrain.

Unique Improvement: Sphinx – Constructed by builders, the Sphinx provides +1 Faith, +1 Culture, and +1 Appeal. It gives an additional +2 Faith if built next to a wonder. Cannot be built next to another Sphinx. Can be built on Floodplains.

Leader Agenda: Queen of the Nile – Likes civilizations with powerful militaries and will try to ally with them. Dislikes civilizations with weak militaries.

England – Victoria

Leader Perk: Pax Britannica – All cities founded on a non-home continent get a free melee unit. After founding the city, constructing a Royal Navy Dockyard there grants an additional free melee unit. Gets the Redcoat unique unit when Military Science is researched.

England Perk: British Museum – Archaeological Museums hold 6 Artifacts instead of 3 and can support 2 Archaeologists at once. Once a Museum has 6 Artifacts it’ll automatically be themed.

Unique Unit: Redcoat – +10 Combat Strength when fighting on a continent other than your capital’s. Has no disembark cost.

Unique Unit: Sea Dog – Replaces the Privateer in the Renaissance era. Can capture enemy ships and cannot be seen unless the enemy unit is adjacent to it.

Unique Improvement: Royal Navy Dockyard – Replaces the Harbor District. Removes the movement penalty for embarking and disembarking. Must be built on Coast or Lake Terrain.

Provides +1 Movement for all naval units built in the dockyard. Gives an additional +2 Gold and +4 Loyalty when built on a foreign continent. Can’t be built on a reef.

Leader Agenda: Sun Never Sets – Likes civilizations that have a city on her home continent. Will try to expand to all continents. Dislikes civilizations on continents where she has no cities.

France – Catherine de Medici

Leader Perk: Catherine’s Flying Squadron – Catherine has +1 Diplomatic Visibility at all times. She receives a free spy (and a bonus spy capacity) when Castles are researched. All spies start as Agents with a free promotion.

France Perk: Grand Tour – +20 percent production toward Medieval, Renaissance, and Industrial era wonders. Tourism from all wonders is doubled.

Unique Unit: Garde Imperiale – A French Industrial melee unit that has +10 Combat Strength when fighting on your capital’s continent. Earns Great General points for killing units.

Unique Improvement: Chateau – Builders can construct this unique improvement for France. It provides +2 Culture and +1 Appeal. Provides a bonus of +2 Culture if next to a wonder and +1 Gold if next to a Luxury resource. Must be built next to a river.

Leader Agenda: Black Queen – Builds as many Spies and as much Diplomatic Visibility as possible. Likes those who do the same. Dislikes civilizations that ignore espionage activities.

Germany – Frederick Barbarossa

Leader Perk: Holy Roman Emperor – Gets an additional Military policy slot. +7 Combat Strength when attacking city-states.

German Perk: Free Imperial Cities – Each city can build one more district than usual.

Unique Unit: U-Boat – Replaces the Submarine in the Modern era. Is cheaper to produce and has +1 Sight and +10 Combat Strength when fighting in Ocean tiles. Can reveal other stealthed units.

Unique Improvement: Hansa – Replaces the Industrial Zone district and is cheaper to build. +2 Production when adjacent to a Commercial Hub district. Also gives +1 Production for each adjacent resource and +1 for every two adjacent district tiles.

Leader Agenda: Iron Crown – Will try to conquer as many city-states as possible. Likes those who don’t get involved with city-states. Dislikes Suzerains of city-states and civilizations that have conquered city-states.

Greece – Gorgo

Leader Perk: Thermopylae – Combat victories provide Culture equal to 50 percent of the Combat Strength of the defeated unit.

Greece Perk: Plato’s Republic – Gets one extra Wildcard policy in all governments.

Unique Unit: Hoplite – Replaces the Spearman in the Ancient era. The unit gets +10 Combat Strength if there is at lest one adjacent Hoplite unit.

Unique Improvement: Acropolis – Replaces the Theater Square district and is a cheaper alternative. Provides 1 Envoy when completed. Gets a +1 Culture bonus when adjacent to the City Center. Another +1 Culture bonus is available for each adjacent wonder and district. Must be built on a hill.

Leader Agenda: With Your Shield On It – Will never give up anything in a peace deal. Likes warmongers that do the same. Dislikes those who capitulate in a peace treaty or that have never been in a war.

Greece – Pericles

Leader Perk: Surrounded by Glory – Increases Culture by +5 percent for each city-state you are the Suzerain of.

Greece Perk: Plato’s Republic – Gets one extra Wildcard policy in all governments.

Unique Unit: Hoplite – Replaces the Spearman in the Ancient era. The unit gets +10 Combat Strength if there is at lest one adjacent Hoplite unit.

Unique Improvement: Acropolis – Replaces the Theater Square district and is a cheaper alternative. Provides 1 Envoy when completed. Gets a +1 Culture bonus when adjacent to the City Center. Another +1 Culture bonus is available for each adjacent wonder and district. Must be built on a hill.

Leader Agenda: Delian League – Likes civilizations that don’t compete for city-state alliances. Dislikes civilizations that do.

India – Ghandi

Leader Perk: Satyagraha – Gains +5 Faith for each civilization (including India) they have met that has founded a religion and isn’t at war. Opposing civilizations get double the war weariness when fighting a war against Gandhi.

India Perk: Dharma – Gets Follower Belief bonuses from all religions that have at least 1 follower in their cities.

Unique Unit: Varu – A Classical era heavy cavalry unit that gives adjacent enemy units -5 Combat Strength.

Unique Improvement: Stepwell – Builders can construct the unique Stepwell improvement. It provides +1 Food and +1 Housing. If adjacent to a Holy Site district, it’ll give another +1 Faith. Furthermore it adds an additional +1 Food if next to a farm. It cannot be built on Hills or adjacent to another Stepwell.

Leader Agenda: Peacekeeper – Likes civilizations who follow the same religion as him. Wants his cities to follow his dominant Religion. Dislikes anyone who tries to spread their Religion into his empire.

Japan – Hojo Tokimune

Leader Perk: Divine Wind – Land units get +5 Combat Strength on land tiles adjacent to the Coast. Naval Units receive +5 Combat Strength in shallow water tiles. Can built Encampment, Holy Site, and Theater Square districts in half of the normal time.

Japan Perk: Meiji Restoration – All districts receive an additional adjacency bonus from being next to another district.

Unique Unit: Samurai – A Japanese Medieval era melee unit. Doesn’t suffer from combat penalties when damaged.

Unique Improvement: Electronics Factory – Replaces the Factory. Provides +4 Production to all city centers within 6 tiles. Once Electricity has been researched, it also provides +4 Culture. This bonus can only apply once per city. For example, building four Electronics Factories within range of one city center will only provide the base +4 Production.

Leader Agenda: Bushido – Likes civilizations with a strong military and strong Faith or strong Culture outputs. Dislikes civilizations that are strong in military but weak in Faith or Culture.

Kongo – Mvemba A Nzinga

Leader Perk: Religious Convert – Nzinga can not build Holy Site districts, earn Great Prophets, or found a Religion. Instead, he gains all Beliefs of any religion that has established itself in a majority of his cities. He receives an Apostle each time he finishes a M’banza or Theater Square district. The Apostle will be of the city’s majority religion.

Kongo Perk: Nkisi – For each Relic, Artifact, and Great Work of Sculpture, Kongo gets +2 Food, +2 Production, and +4 Gold alongside the usual Culture benefit. Kongo also receives 50 percent more Great Writer, Great Artist, Great Musician, and Great Merchant points. By default, the palace has slots for 5 Great Works.

Unique Unit: Ngao Mbeba – Replaces the Swordsman. This Classical era unit gets +10 Combat Strength when defending against ranged attacks. It can move and see through Woods and Rainforest.

Unique Improvement: Mbanza – A unique district that can only be constructed in Rainforest or Woods. It replaces the Neighborhood district but is available earlier in the game and is cheaper to build. The Mbanza provides +5 Housing, +2 Food, and +4 Gold, regardless of the tile’s Appeal.

Leader Agenda: Enthusiastic Disciple – Likes civilizations that bring religion to Kongo. Dislikes those who have founded a religion but have not spread it to a Kongolese city.

Norway – Harald Hardrada

Leader Perk: Thunderbolt of the North – Allows coastal raiding of all naval melee units. Provides 50 percent Production toward all naval melee units.

Norway Perk: Knarr – Units gain the ability to enter Ocean tiles after researching Shipbuilding. Naval melee units heal when in neutral territory. Units don’t suffer from additional Movement costs when embarking and disembarking.

Unique Unit: Berserker – A Medieval era unit that gets 4 Movement if it starts the turn in enemy territory. +7 Combat Strength when attacking and -7 Combat Strength when defending.

Unique Unit: Viking Longship – Replaces the Galley. This Ancient era naval unit can pillage enemy coastal lands and capture adjacent civilians using the coastal raiding ability. Gets 4 Movement while in coastal waters.

Unique Improvement: Stave Church – Replaces the Temple improvement in the Holy Site district. Required to purchase Apostles and Inquisitors with Faith. Gives Holy Sites an additional standard adjacency bonus from Woods. Provides +1 Production to each coastal resource tile in the city.

Leader Agenda: Last Viking King – Will build a strong navy and likes civilizations that do the same. Dislikes civilizations that have weak navies.

Rome – Trajan

Leader Perk: Trajan’s Column – All cities start with an additional City Center building. In the Ancient era, this is a Monument.

Rome Perk: All Roads Lead to Rome – All cities you found or conquer start with a Trading Post. If the city is in Trade Route range of your Capital, it also starts with a road to it. Your Trade Routes earn +1 Gold for passing through Trading Posts in your own cities.

Unique Unit: Legion – Replaces the Swordsman. This Classical era unit can build a Roman Fort.

Unique Improvement: Bath – Replaces the Aqueduct district and is much cheaper. It provides fresh water from an adjacent River, Lake, Oasis, or Mountain. Cities that don’t yet have fresh water can receive up to six Housing. Cities that already have fresh water instead get +2 Housing.

The district must be built next to the City Center.

The bath always provides at least +2 Housing and +1 Amenity.

Leader Agenda: Optimus Princeps – Tries to grow his territory as large as possible. Likes civilizations who do the same. Dislikes civilizations with small amounts of territory.

Russia – Peter

Leader Perk: The Grand Embassy – Receives Science or Culture from Trade Routes to other civilizations that are more advanced than Russia. Peter gets +1 Science or Culture per 3 technologies or civics ahead.

Arabia Perk: Mother Russia – Founded cities start with extra territory. +1 Faith and +1 Production from Tundra tiles.

Unique Unit: Cossack – Replaces Cavalry in the Industrial era. It is stronger than base Cavalry and gets +5 Combat Strength when fighting in or adjacent to its home territory. If the unit still has Movement points after attacking, it can move again.

Unique Improvement: Lavra – Replaces the Holy Site district and is cheaper to build. Each time you expend a Great Person, your city border grows by one tile.

Leader Agenda: Westernizer – Likes civilizations that are ahead in civics and technologies. Dislikes civilizations that are behind in civics and technologies.

Scythia – Tomyris

Leader Perk: Killer of Cyrus – All units get a +5 Combat Strength bonus when attacking a wounded unit. Automatically heals up to 30 hit points after eliminating a unit.

Scythia Perk: People of the Steppe – Get a second light calvary unit or Saka Horse Archer each time you train one.

Unique Unit: Saka Horse Archer – A Classical era unit with 4 Movement and a Range of 1.

Unique Improvement: Kurgan – Constructed by builders, this tile improvement provides +1 Faith and +1 Gold. Gives +1 Faith for each adjacent Pasture. Cannot be built on hills.

Leader Agenda: Backstab Averse – Likes civilizations who establish long-term Alliances. Dislikes civs that backstab and declare Surprise Wars.

Spain – Philip II

Leader Perk: El Escorial – Inquisitors can Remove Heresy one extra time before expiring. Combat units get +4 Combat Strength against players following other religions.

Spain Perk: Treasure Fleet – Can form Fleets and Armadas earlier than other civilizations, as soon as Mercantilism has been discovered. Trade routes between multiple continents get bonus Gold when between you and other civilizations. When between your own cities you get bonus Food and Production. +2 Loyalty per turn in cities with a Mission improvement that is adjacent to the City Center that is not on your original Capitol’s continent.

Unique Unit: Conquistador – Replaces the Musketman in the Renaissance era. Has +10 Combat Strength when there’s a religious unit on the same hex. If this unit captures a city or is adjacent to a city when it’s captured, the city will automatically adopt the player’s Religion as the dominant Religion.

Unique Improvement: Mission – Builders can construct the Mission tile improvement which provides +2 Faith. If the Mission is on a different continent than your Capitol, it also provides +2 additional Faith. Build it next to a Campus to gain an additional +2 Science.

Leader Agenda: Counter Reformer – Likes civilizations who follow the same religion as him. Wants his cities to follow his dominant Religion. Dislikes anyone who tries to spread their Religion into his empire.

Sumeria – Gilgamesh

Leader Perk: Adventures of Enkidu – Can declare war on anyone at war with an ally without warmonger penalties. When at war with a common foe, both Gilgamesh and his allies share pillage rewards and share combat experience gains if within five tiles. Gilgamesh’s Alliances gain Alliance Points for being at war with a common foe.

Sumeria Perk: Epic Quests – After capturing a Barbarian Outpost, Sumeria gets a Tribal Village reward in addition to the usual Gold.

Sumeria only has to pay half of the usual cost to levy city-state units.

Unique Unit: War-Cart – This Ancient era unit is stronger than all other starting units. It suffers no penalties against anti-cavalry units and has four Movement if it starts in open terrain.

Unique Improvement: Ziggurat – Builders can construct the Ziggurat which provides +2 Science. If next to a River it also gives +1 Culture. It can not be built on Hills.

Leader Agenda: Ally of Enkidu – Is easy to befriend. Likes civilizations who declare themselves as friends. Dislikes anyone who denounces or attacks his friends.

Phew. That was a lot of different leaders and civilizations. But there are more to come! Firaxis has already released a bunch of other leaders through individual DLC packs, the Rise & Fall expansion, and the upcoming Gathering Storm expansion.

Check back over the next few days for those!

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Dillon Skiffington

Content Editor at Fanbyte, Dillon is currently trading in Elder Scrolls Online, waiting to play the Witcher 3 DLC, and flying across rooftops in Mirror's Edge: Catalyst.

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