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Civ 6 Gandhi religious victory question


Mar 20, 2007
I am playing Civ 6 (Rise and Fall) for barely a couple of days. I played hours and hours of Civ 4 and 5 till a few years back. Always aimed for Gandhi and culture victory in 4 and 5.

I used to then just build 3 cities and those grew into monster cities eventually. There was penalty to India civ for large number of cities and 3 seemed optimal number and suited my playing style well (I like to work with fewer cities).

Now my question is this to veterans of Civ 6 - what should be the optimal number for Gandhi for religious victory in Civ 6. I play with huge map size, lakes map type. My style is to avoid all combat altogether unless absolutely forced on me. I focus on building wonders, religion buildings (used to culture buildings in 4 and 5) and spreading religion (used to spread culture / religion in 4 and 5).

I am sure someone must be familiar with religious play with Gandhi. Thanks in advance for answering.

Welcome to Civ VI!

As faith generally scales with districts, one is better off founding as many cities as possible (typical for Civ VI). There is very little like the number of cities vs. population tradeoff in Civ V, so founding more cities allows for more Holy Sites, Shrines, Temples, and possibly worship buildings as well as projects to be run en masse.

Passive spread is quite weak in Civ VI--additionally, the AI can really invest in religion--so Religious Victory is most directly achieved via units and likely theological combat. Civilizations with strong faith economies can arbitrarily pivot mid-to-late-game to Religious Victory, but the AI is likely to have robust religious investment by then, and populous cities can take a lot of charges to convert.

If I am not mistaken, the only faith bonus Gandhi gets in RF is his leader ability, which has the greatest impact the earliest you can meet all the other founders and diminishes with delayed AI religious investment, distance, and time. It is probably easiest to aim for Exodus of the Evangelists in the Classical or Medieval Eras.

For more general Religious Victory strategies, I recommend this post from a recent thread "Need help winning a religious Victory."
Thanks so much. It helps! It is disappointing for me. But helps

I hate settling too many cities, and the great feature of Civ 4 and 5 was that it encouraged Gandhi to settle fewer cities and grow them really big which suited my style well. Now I have to work on different kind of gameplay.

I assume same logic applies to culture and science victories also. I was looking at Pericles - culture victory but I assume I need more cities for good chance at winning.

Will be grateful if you or anyone else can comment on optimal number of cities for Gandhi for religious victory on a huge map.

Thanks again.
I remember a game with Saladin where I had a whole basin to myself and 10 cities still did not feel like enough for Religious Victory, partly as Mvemba to the south kept generating aggressive apostles from other religions! And Arabia gets more direct bonuses to religion.

Civ V is really the odd one out, where the name of the game in VI is wide expansion. There are some civilizations that can work quite well with a handful of cities, but most of what you can do with 5 cities you can do much faster with 10 or 15, all the more on a map with lots of land like Lakes.

It could be fun to essentially roleplay India and religion. If possible, you may enjoy mods that add depth like Religion Expanded or look for TSL maps, as India traditionally gets some space set aside, but not a ton.
I hardly ever play for Religious Victory so I am not a great source of advice. But you should look at the results from GOTM 109- it was an Emperor level game for Religious Victory with Portugal on an Archipelago map. (Zombies, Monopolies and Barbarian Clans were also enabled but had little effect iirc).

Bottom line- all the top players were able to get RV in ~ 100 - 120 turns; most built only 3 or 4 cities, one player built only 2. The key seems to be to get your missionaries out as early as possible. (I played that game but was slow to get to RV at turn 215).

I think there is a general consensus that RV is by some measure the fastest victory type you can generally aim for, without that much regard for the civ used. You don't need many cities at all.
Thanks for the replies.

I too suspected after seeing civ's and leader's advantages and playing it for a day or two that the game is fundamentally diff from 4 and 5 as far as my playing style is concerned. And this pretty much ruins the game for me.

Will try one with 4 cities and if that seems to be too much of a handicap, then I will leave it.

Hope they restore this feature in 7.

Sanjay, as I recall, the best way to win a cultural victory in Civ4 was to build 9 cities. One needed 3 cities with temples to build the "cathedral" (or stupa or mosque or whatever the secondary religious building was), and the goal was to get 3 cities to Legendary status. Yes, those 3 cities were pretty tall, but they were supported by a network of smaller cities. In Civ4, the passive spread of religion -- that is, without missionaries -- was appreciably stronger than in Civ6. Civ4 had no religious victory, so the AI have no incentive to resist the spread of any given religion. Many times, players adopted the "Free Religion" civic and had no state religion at all. That permitted any and all religions to spread.

It is definitely true that Civ5 favored tall play, with 4 or fewer cities being frequently used. But that was the outlier -- both Civ3 and Civ4 favored having a core of 4-6 cities, surrounded by additional towns.

In Civ6, to build very tall cities, one must build some Neighborhood districts and have sufficient access to fresh water to farm and grow the population. You will need to spread your cities out, to have enough tiles for each city to build their Holy Sites, Theater Squares, and even Entertainment Complexes -- if you're going for a Cultural Victory. Look closely at the criteria for each victory condition; I'm not sure that you can build enough religious units (because active spread is a key part of Civ6) in just 3 or 4 cities to convert enough AI tribes to win a Religious victory. Faith is a yield, just as it was in Civ5, but the sources of faith usually require more than 3 fully built Holy Sites.
Oh yes! I remember now that we actually needed 9 cities in Civ4. It's been many years, but I think the way I handled it was - build first three cities as far apart as I could, and then build two satellite cities around each of these three to build basic structures and get my 3 cathedrals

Civ 5 I played definitely with 3 cities only. Gandhi had serious penalty for larger number of cities, and there was no need for 3 "temples" per "cathedral".

Well, let's see. Let me try civ 6 with 4 cities and see how far I get.

Thanks for reply.
Planktonic, I think your point speaks more to optimization. Especially with certain civilizations you can really pursue victory with very few cities, as you mention. Portugal on water maps, for instance, offers good odds of purchasing Holy Site buildings. On huge maps, with AIs who have any commitment to religion, I would caution more cities to build a faith buffer if you are unfamiliar.

Religious Victory while tedious offers interesting strategic trade-offs: founding/conversion, expansion, even diplomacy.

Let us know how it goes, Sanjay. And it is worth noting that Missionary Zeal is quite useful on maps with lots of land like Lakes.
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