Civilization 6: The best civilizations and leaders in the game

Building an empire from scratch is extremely difficult. But building one that will stand the test of time is almost impossible. So, which Civ can help you do that?

Ever since the first Civilization game came out in 1991, it has defined 4X gameplay elements and achieved great success. And, as the latest installment in the series, Civilization VI doesn’t disappoint.

In the final version of the game, with all of the new expansions, you can play 46 different characters. As expected, some are better and stronger than others. So, let’s dive right into this guide for the best Civilisations in Civ 6 and see which one can help you get that win.

Civilization VI: Gameplay

For those of you playing Civilization VI for the first time ever, we wanted to do a quick recap of the gameplay and explain how it works. Civ 6 is a turn-based strategy game where you compete against AI opponents. The goal of the game is to grow your own civilization from a small settlement and eventually control the entire planet.

The game is based on 4X elements:

  • Explore
  • Expand
  • Exploit
  • Exterminate

One of the improvements you’ll see in Civ 6 is a new Civics tree that will help players who are pursuing Cultural victories. Also, in the latest installment, the AIs have new agendas that can influence your interactions.

Best Civilizations in Civ 6 ranked from weakest to strongest

The following 20 Civs will help you conquer every capital in the game and help ensure your victory.

Norway — Harald Hardrada

Harald Hardra of NorwayBattling in the open water has never been easier than with Norway. The leader is Harald Hardrada, the last Viking king, whose special ability is the Thunderbolt of the North. With it, Hardrada can make all of his naval units perform coastal raids.

Norway’s unique building is the Stave Church and its unique unit is the Berserker. Now, the problem with choosing Norway is that it’s only good for conquering coastal cities. But since other Civs don’t get any incentives from the game to build cities close to the water, you actually won’t have much to conquer.

Sumeria — Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh of Sumeria

In Civ 6, until founded cities have walls, they can’t attack but must have open borders. So, if you want to pillage huge cities when you first start the game, Sumeria should be your number one choice. Gilgamesh’s special ability is Adventures with Enkidu. With it, you can share combat experience and pillaging rewards with your nearest allied unit.

Sumeria’s unique building is The Ziggurat, which provides Culture and Science if you build it near a river. But keep in mind that you won’t be able to get these points if you build it on a hill. Also, this Civ’s unique unit is the War Cart.

Kongo — Mvemba a Nzinga

Mvemba a Nzinga of Kongo

Next up in our ranking, we have Kongo’s infamous leader, who wants to spread Christianity in his empire. If you choose Kongo, you will be able to produce gold and food much faster than usual. But you will also have to focus only on a Cultural Victory.

The unique infrastructure from Kongo is Mbanza and the building is Ngao Mbeba. With the building, you can see through forests and jungles and you won’t get a penalty when moving through them. Your special ability will be the Religious Convert.

Rome — Trajan

Trajan of Rome

Now, Rome might not be the most exciting Civ in the game, but it still has a lot to offer. For example, the leader’s ability is called Trajan’s Column, and you can use it to grant all cities one building in their city center.

What’s more, the unique unit of this Civ is Legion, which is slightly more expensive than a swordsman but is also stronger. When you unlock the Engineering Tech, you’ll get access to Rome’s unique building, the Roman Baths. With it, you can replace aqueducts and get more housing and amenities.

Aztecs — Montezuma I

Montezuma I of Aztecs

Since the Aztecs can distribute their amenities however they want, including them on our list was a no-brainer. In fact, the Aztecs have a faster building time compared to other Civs and they can build cities in places that are off-limits to most.

Their unique unit is the Eagle Warrior, which converts all defeated enemies into builders. The unit works on everyone except Barbarians. Also, the Aztecs’ unique building is Tlachtli, which provides amenities, faith, and Great General points. On the other hand, you can use Montezuma’s special ability to exploit luxuries and increase your military power.

Japan — Hojo Tokimune

Hojo Tokimune of Japan

Japan is a Civ with pretty unique units, buildings, and abilities. If you choose Japan, you’ll be able to see the true difference between Civ 6 and the previous versions — the unpacked city. With the unpacked city, you have to devote a special tile to every single district and wonder you produce.

Japan’s unique building is the Electronics Factory, which supplies Production and Culture to all nearby cities. Also, you can use Tokimune’s special ability, the Divine Wind, to give bonuses to land units when they’re near a coastline. You can also use it to give bonuses to naval units when they’re on land.

England — Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria of England

If you pick England as your Civ, you’re bound to have a blast with it. The Civ has two unique units — Redcoat and Seadog. If a city has a wonder you fancy, you can use Redcoat to seize it. Just make sure you’re using it when you’re on a different continent because it won’t work otherwise.

Queen Victoria’s special ability is the British Museum. It will give you more slots in the museum for artifacts. What’s more, with the British Museum, you can produce more archeologists.

Egypt — Cleopatra

Cleopatra of Egypt

The key to winning Civ 6 with Egypt is building next to a river. In fact, with Cleopatra’s special ability, Eteru, you can make wonders and build districts much faster than when you’re near one. Also, if you put their unique infrastructure, the Sphinx, close to a wonder, you will get bonuses for Faith and Culture.

Egypt’s unique unit is the Chariot Archer which is faster compared to some other units in Civ 6. In the early stages, you can use it to deliver one-hex ranged attacks on your enemies. Since Cleopatra can buff trading routes, you’ll be able to earn a lot of gold.

Spain — Philip II

Philip II of Spain

Going for Dominant and Religious victories has never been easier than with Spain. Phillip II has a special ability, called El Escorial. He can use it to give his unit a combat bonus when they’re fighting enemies of different religions.

But the real reason Spain made it onto our list is its unique unit — the Conquistador. You can combine your Conquistadors with missionaries, inquisitors, or apostles to conquer cities more powerful than yours if they have a different religion. Spain’s special ability is the Treasure Fleet that you can put on trading routes to get extra yields.

India — Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi of India

India is an amazing Civ to run when the time for Theocracy comes. Since India can produce more Faith than any other Civ in the game, you’ll be able to buy military units at a cheaper price.

Gandhi’s special ability is Satyagraha, which will give India a Faith boost for every country you meet that’s not at war. Also, because of him, your opponents will get Happiness penalties if they go to war against you. You can also rely on your unique infrastructure, the Stepwell, to provide housing and food for your Civ.

France — Catherine de Medici

Catherine de Medici of France

Do you want all of the intel on your opponents in the game? Would you also like to trade that intel for a price with your allies? If so — choosing France as your Civ in a multiplayer game is a must. Catherine’s ladies-in-waiting will give you information on your enemies after every turn. And once you’ve explored the Castles, you can get an extra spy.

With France’s special ability, the Grand Tour, you can easily produce wonders in the middle of the game. Also, you will get a bonus every time you use the Imperial Guard to fight enemies in Europe.

Brazil — Pedro II

Pedro II of Brazil

If you choose Brazil as your Civ, you’ll be able to build cities with big populations near rainforests. And with Brazil’s special ability, you will get extra bonus points when placing cities there. Brazil’s leader, Pedro, has a special ability called the Magnanimous. He can use it to get back the points he lost when recruiting Great People.

You can only unlock Brazil’s unique unit, Minas Geraes, through the Nationalism Civic. But when you do, you can use it to improve your defense and get a good ranged attack.

Sparta — Gorgo

Gorgo of Sparta

Since Greece is divided into two Civs, giving you more options to play, we had to include it in our ranking. First up, you can play Sparta, lead by Gorgo. She was a powerful Spartan queen and you can use her to play more aggressively than if you chose Pericles.

With Gorgo, you’ll get Culture every time you defeat an enemy’s unit. Sparta and Athens share their unique buildings, infrastructure, and abilities. If you play your cards right in the Ancient and Classical eras, you can pursue any kind of victory in Civ 6.

Athens — Pericles

Pericles of Athens

If you want to play Pericles, your best bet would be to focus on a Cultural victory because of his special ability. He gives more Culture to Greece with allied state cities compared to Gorgo.

Greece’s unique unit is the Hoplite, which will give you a bonus every time there is another Hoplite close to you. Also, this Civ’s unique building is the Acropolis that will replace your Theatre District. It will also give you more adjacency bonuses, as long as you build it on a hill.

America — Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt of America

Where America stands out compared to all of the Civs in the game are its two unique units. In addition to the Civ’s unit, which is the P-51 Mustang, you can also take advantage of Roosevelt’s unit, the Rough Riders. With it, you will get a combat bonus every time you fight on your home continent or on a hill.

But with the P-51 Mustang, you can do more damage in a fight because the aircraft has a greater range. America’s unique building is the Film Studio that will give you a big cultural bonus. However, you can only get the bonus in the Modern era.

Arabia — Saladin

Saladin of Arabia

Due to the opportunity to pursue both a Religious and Science victory, we had to include Arabia in our ranking. With his unique ability, Saladin can lower the cost of building a religious object. Also, he will give you a bonus output of Culture, Faith, and Science.

You should also take advantage of Arabia’s unique building, the Madrasa, as it gives you more Science than any university it replaces. The Civ’s unique ability is the Last Prophet, which you can use to establish any religion in the game.

China — Qin Shi Huang

Qin Shi Huang of China

If you want to build a massive empire in Civ 6, choosing China is the way to go. Huang’s special ability will allow you to use builders more than once. Also, you can use them to hasten the construction of Classical and Ancient wonders.

China’s unique infrastructure is the Great Wall, which gives you defense and gold early in the game. You can use it later in the game to improve your Culture and Tourism.

Scythia — Tomyris

Tomyris of Scythia

Since it’s getting down to the wire in our ranking, it’s time to talk about one of the biggest underdogs in the game — Scythia. If you have your heart set on a Dominant victory, Scythia will provide just that. Tomyris’ special ability will allow you to get a bonus each time your army attacks a wounded unit.

But where Scythia towers over other Civs in the game is its special ability — People of the Steppe. When you’re building a light cavalry or Saka Horse Archers, you’ll be able to make two units instead of one.

Germany — Frederick Barbarossa

Frederick Barbarossa of Germany

Coming in second place in the best Civ 6 Civs ranking is Germany — a Civ that can get you any type of Victory you want. Since Barbarossa gets an extra military policy and a combat boost, he is a true asset in the game.

Germany’s special ability is Free Imperial Cities, which you can use to add one more district in each city than their population would allow. Also, its unique unit is Hansa, which you can use to replace industrial zones and get a production bonus.

Russia — Peter the Great

Peter the Great of Russia

If you want to have vast territories, a strong unit, and the chance to pursue any Victory type, you should choose Russia in Civ 6. With Peter’s special ability, you can receive Culture and Science from different trade routes.

You should also take advantage of their unique unit, the Cossack. With the unit, you can replace the cavalry to increase your attack stats. What’s more, the unit can move immediately after an attack, making you an unstoppable force.

But it’s Russia’s special ability that will secure your win in Civ 6. For every city your Civ establishes, you will get an extra tile. If your tiles are close to a Tundra, you will receive extra points for Faith and Production.

Those were all of the best Civ 6 Civs we recommend you choose. We hope you’ve found this ranking helpful and you can use it to score yourself a victory in this amazing game.