Deity 1 City Challenge Guide


Mar 15, 2011

i've been reading posts here for years, but never actually posted. Thought I'd give it a shot...not a beginner here w/ just shy of 3000 hours of Civ6 played. I've beaten the game on Deity doing 1 city challenges at least a dozen times with all victory types except domination/conquest.

I'm not going to say this doesn't take a good number of restarts to get the right conditions. On average, I'd say at least 10-15. Here is a list of criteria I consider:

1. Placement. Your city needs to be on a river and close enough to the ocean to have 1-3 water tiles available to build on. You'll want to look for features like thermal fissures, natural wonders (for high holy site adjacency bonus), as well as specific terrain types for key wonders (detailed below). Some high yield terrain tiles are also pretty important such as spices in woods, sugar on floodplains/marsh, etc. As far as resources go, it doesn't matter what type you have as long as you have 3 of them within 5 tiles of your capital, 1 of which is within 3 (for industry/corporation). My personal favorites are sugar, salt, honey, turtles, or tea. Last, you'll want to avoid having more than a few mountains in your city, especially in the first 3 rings. Its ok to have a couple outside of that, but still not too many...the 4th and 5th rings are very important.

2. Heros: Maui is by far the best for this challenge. His ability to create luxuries is invaluable. Himiko is a fair choice as well with Hercules as a last option.
3. Secret Society: Vampires are the best choice, but I have done it with both hermetic order and owls of minerva. Hermetic is too much of a gamble unless you're willing to reload after you see the result. Owls can do a decent job, but their benefits are somewhat wasted in a 1 city challenge unless you're playing a trade heavy civ like Mali, Portugal, etc. The extra policy slots are pretty handy though.

4. Wonders: Its not easy to get all of these, but the more you do, the better it will go. I will also discuss placement of certain districts that coincide with particular wonders. Building wonders you don't need wastes space, which you will need. Starting from the ancient era going forward...
a. Etemenanki: depending on your tiles is very helpful for early science. The only drawback is that it will limit your space near rivers for wonder placement. Still worth it if you have a fair number of marsh (especially sugar on marsh)
b. Oracle: very helpful for lowering hero recall cost as well as bumping your great person recruitment considerably.
c. Temple of Artemis: with the right resources in your city, this is a huge boon for growth/amenities.
d. Great Bath: more than anything, the faith provided by floods is great, but the housing is helpful.
e. Apadana: in a normal game, i don't even consider this wonder, however, with 1 city, it is a great source of envoys. If you have Himiko, I would skip this one.
f. Great Library: very hard to get, but if you have a shot, take it.
g. Petra: situational
h. Kilwa Kisiwani: This is the most important wonder for a 1 city challenge. It is essential considering you should/will own all city states by game end.
i. Forbidden City: Obvious reasons for this
j. Potala palce: Nice to have, but not necessary if you have the forbidden city
k. Big Ben: Again, obvious reasons for this
l. Oxford University: very important wonder, which you have to prepare for way in advance (great engineers to quick build), moving to this as early as possible in the tech tree
m. Ruhr Valley: Not essential, but depending on your terrain, it can be helpful'

Typically, I do manage to get around 10 of these wonders. Etamenaki and the great library being the most difficult. Additionally, there are several of these wonders that require specific district planning with your city placement. The campus needs to be placed in a spot where you have at least 1 flat plains/grassland near it, preferably 2. The industrial zone should be placed near enough to a river to support Ruhr Valley, and the commercial hub close enough for Big Ben. Use the government plaza to youre advantage with these districts. I'm sure there are guides out there on how to achieve the best adjacency bonuses. Its pretty critical in any game.
4. Districts: You will not be building them all. The entertainment complex, canal, Aqueduct, Encampment, and possibly the aerodome are not necessary. I try to build them in this order whenever possible: Holy Site, Campus, Government Plaza, Commercial Hub, Dam/Industrial Zone, Harbor, Diplomatic Quarter, Theatre Square, Spaceport. Sometimes I will build the water park if my amenities are low. I usually build the Preserve, but when I build it is situational. If I can benefit from it before getting Conservation, I will build it early. The preserve requires very specific placement in order for the vampire castles to get the most out of it. You'll want to place it on the 3rd ring on the corner so that your city gets 3 of the tiles for use, while the rest reside in your 4th ring. This will be where you place 2 or 3 of the vampire castles. Hard to describe, but it will make sense as you're playing. Also, my favorite religious belief to get is the one where your holy site also gives production equal to its adjacency value. If you can place your holy site in a way that gets you at least a 5 bonus, using the civic that doubles holy site adjacency along with this belief gives you an early +10 production. I've had holy sites with +22 adjacency bonus (very rare).

5. Great People: These are important in all games, but you're going to focus more on the ones you can actually get, which are great merchants, engineers, and admirals. Sure you may get a few scientists, but its typically steep competition. Try to get merchants that increase trade route capacity or offer envoys. For engineers, try and get the ones that give wonder production, increase district capacity, or increase housing/amenities. Admirals are just hit or miss and only a few of them will be relavant. As far as writers/artists/musicians, I don't bother trying to earn them. Trade for them if it helps you.

6. City States and Barbarian Camps: Absolutely essential to victory. You want as many city states as you can get, no matter which they are. The policies you can adopt for city states are the way to go. +1 gold from envoys (Medieval Faires), +2 to all yields per city state you own (Colonialism), +5% science per city state (Globilization), and +5% culture per city state (Social Media) are your bread and butter. Make sure you do as many city state quests as possible. This is primarily where all your resources will come from since you only have 1 city. Strategically plan to use the first envoy counts as two policy as often as you need. If you have this enacted when you find a city state first, it gives you 2 envoys. This may not seem helpful, but when you discover a barbarian camp first that turns into a city state, that also counts as you finding it first. After you unlock Vampires, all other barbarian camps are potential city states (assuming they aren't too close to another city state or your city). You'll want to nurture these...bribe them, buy their units, protect them if possible.

7. Religion: I mentioned a few things about religion so far, but in all honesty, if you don't get a religion it isn't the end of the world. If you do manage to get one, unless you are playing a heavy faith/religious based civ, try and go for beliefs that are self contained. As far as pantheons go...Lady of the reeds and marshes is an amazing boost if you have the right tiles in your city and paired with the Etemenanki, its killer. River Goddess, monument to the gods, or divine spark also work well. Considering you will hardly ever get the first couple religions, the two follower beliefs I hope to get are either Divine Inspiration or Work Ethic. You will end up having a pretty high population city, so I try to get Cross-Cultural Dialogue for some extra science. Worship and enhancer beliefs are that important unless you're trying to spread your faith.

8. Governments: Autocracy (no contest), followed by your preference of tier two (I personally go for Merchant Republic almost exclusively), Democracy. Depending on my housing, I may get Digital Democracy, but more often that not I just stay Democracy the rest of the game.

9. Vampires and the outer territory: This is where the vast majority of your production and food will come from. This is where the 4th and 5th tiers really matter. Placing the castles on the 4th ring allows you to have all side of the castle within your borders while not taking up a spot that could be worked in your city. The only exception to this is if you can place a vampire castle next to your corporation. I try to put the corporation on the 3rd ring when possible. This is als co the area where (if you have Maui) you can get many of the luxuries. The vampire castles can benefit from these as well. If you have tiles that provide science or culture, try and use the vampire castles accordingly. There are also a few improvements that work there as well. The ones I consistantly use are Cahokia Mounds, Solar Farms, Nazca Lines and Offshore Wind Farms. Even though many other city state improvements won't give your city any direct benefit, using the terrain to its max, ones like Alcazars, Mahaviharas, and many civ specific improvements are great bonuses for your vampire castles.

Finally, some strategy...

PLAN YOUR CITY. Take the time to put pins down for everything you plan to have. It may clutter up your view, but until you know where you want to put things through alot of gameplay, this is super important. This will also help you plan your historic moments. You'll be able to see which districts to build when and where for that +3 HM, as well as a variety of others. At this point I have them memorized, but the more you know them, the better chance to get that golden age.

I avoid early war as much as possible, and by early, I mean not until the Industrial Era. Regularly give the other Civs gifts of gold to keep them happy, try and satisfy their agendas. Get open borders with everyone (theirs, not yours), send delgations, embassies...whatever it takes. Sell your resources for money. Later in the game when you have a military, the only times I declare war are when someone settles too close to my city affecting my 5 rings, or to defend a city state (alwasys do this if possible)

This is not an easy game to win. It takes a lot of micro management, but its pretty satisfying to see your one city producing over 1000 science, culture, and gold and over size 50. Good luck!


Doomsday Machine
Jun 6, 2004
Zagreb, Croatia
Great writeup. I suggest taking Wilhelmina for this challenge, and look for starts with no mountains at all, on rivers, pref. more than one river. With her +2 riverside adjacency, you can plan your districs way more easily, being able to push them out of the first ring completely, often to the periphery (3th ring) and still maintain +4 (or higher) adjacencies.

Also what I noticed is that i started planting the commercial district lireally wherever. The +2 adjacency from riverside is just waste of a good riverside. I'd rather put it 1 off the river and then use the river for Big Ben.
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