[NFP] Diety Sub-200 Victory Strategies


Jul 31, 2022
Hey everyone, there's been plenty of discussion about how the AI in this game isn't the best, and while that is true, I think it's been very fun to play the game with the goal of winning as fast as possible on diety. When you play the game through this lens, the unique civs that have super strong abilities become a lot more fun when you're trying to play optimally to get your time down as much as possible; the more different the abilities of the civ you play means your playthrough from civ to civ is going to be a lot more unique!

Getting a time down under 200 turns on diety is somewhat of an arbitrary measure, but it's a nice round number that actually somehow works for all of the victory conditions and it takes a lot of good play and thinking in advance to be able to win as fast as possible.
Obviously, religion is going to be a lot easier than science or domination and I don't particularly find that win condition very interesting so we'll just ignore it.

I am assuming NFP with Heroes (awesome), Monopolies, Barbarian Clans, and Secret Societies on, Standard size with regular amount of city-states. I am trying not to cook the settings too much. Stuff like city flipping and pillaging strats with Babylon or Norway, etc let you get super low times but it feels a bit cheap in my personal opinion. Let's also ignore stuff like selling and reselling the resource limit to the AI to drain them of all of their gold.

(Peaceful) Early Expansion
No matter what victory condition you go for (outside of dom), the early game is all about expanding as fast as you can. To get be as quick as possible, I think getting a strong holy site in the early game is massive, along with getting a classical era Golden Age. As others have said before, Monumentality is stupidly strong and having a good faith economy will allow you to buy those Settlers and Builders, and having a strong holy site will allow you to run Work Ethic essentially giving you a free industrial zone! The era score minigame can be a bit of a pain sometimes, but getting an early hero and beating the horsehocky out of barb camps helps quite a bit. You may have to do something purely for era score, like levying City-State troops, settling on tunda/desert or buying a quadreme, but it'll be worth it if you can get monumentality. Hercules is by far the best for letting you plant down the holy site/campus/govt. plaza for free, which also gives you era score, but Himiko is great as well for getting those early suz on city-states. I try to aim for at least 10-11 cities by turn 100; the more the better.

For governors, Magnus seems to be the best to go for first, the promotion that lets you keep population after building settlers is massive, and you can start cranking them out with Ancestral Hall (chop this out) and later faith buying them with monumentality. Getting Pingala later allows you to actually appreciate the population you've gained in your capital, and at that point you'll want to do the world tour with Magnus anyway to chop out key infrastructure and wonders across your empire. Pingala seems to be worth it for civs that can grow tall quickly (especially the Khmer). Amani first can be worth it if you find a city state with a strong bonus (for example, Kandy which gives you a relic for every natural wonder you find can be hilariously good if you get them early enough, or Kumasi for the massive culture boost in the early game).

1.) Science
Getting a science victory under 200 turns has been the most difficult for me to do so far. I just recently got a game finished with Pericles on turn 193 (and it would've been faster if I had gotten a better tech tree at the end:crazyeye:)
As someone else on this forum mentioned before, I've actually had the best success with the "non-science" civs like Greece and the Khmer than compared to science/production civs like Korea or Germany. Culture in the early game is obviously the best so you can get to Political Philosophy and start expanding quicker, but I've noticed that in the later game culture is massively important too. Getting to the Globalization civic as soon as possible allows you to slot in International Space Station card which can easily add over 1000 science per turn, making any extra science you get before that nice, but a little moot. It also lets you get to some other important things like the Amundsen-Scott Research Station wonder, Communism for it's 10% science boost and the Collectivization card for the giant internal trade routes, and Synthetic Technocracy for it's huge boost to city projects. Growing crazy by only building campuses or industrial zones tends to put you behind too far in culture, in my experience.

The way I've done it is to build a monument and a campus in every city as early as possible. Some of your expands may not have a good campus spot, so those should be the cities that make a Commercial Hub and market for the trade route capability. Some cities will need to build theaters squares as the amphitheater culture can be quite important. As the game goes on and you start getting as much raw gold as you can from the AI, you can start buying Universities and Research Labs in your cities that won't have the time/production to crank them out normally. Switching out Magnus from city to city is optimal if those cities have enough chops to bust out monuments/campuses. You should be slotting as many specialists in your campuses as possible.

In terms of wonders, I've found that the critical ones to get are Oracle, Colosseum, and of course the extremely powerful (and relatively unknown to more casual players) Kilwa Kisiwani. Kilwa Kisiwani's boost to suz'ing at least 2 science and 2 culture city-states will net you 15% boost to science/culture across your whole empire, and it can make your campuses and theater squares even stronger the more you suz with. Barbarian Clans mode will mean that some city-states will exist more than without that mode on, and you can usually find a few city-states chilling in the polar regions where they are safe from the AI. Himiko works amazing here as well for the massive amount of envoys she can give you. On first impression, you may think that Merchant Republic is the best 2nd tier government to go for, but Monarchy is by far worth it just to get the +50% envoy generation to work in tandem with Kilwa.
Oracle is for the massive boost to great people generation (which works wonders with Pingala) and the AI tends to not build it, Colosseum can give you a great amount of free culture and amenities but takes a bit of planning and chops to get since the AI will build it in a reasonable amount of time.

I think the other wonders that are nice but not necessary per-say are Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Oxford University, and Amundsen-Scott Research Station. Mausoleum is used mostly for it's extra charge to Great Engineers; this can be extremely nice with Leonardio da Vinci, giving you extra culture with workshops which you can activate twice can net you +6 culture per workshop. Oxford University is obviously nice for it's science, but it's 20% science boost only works in one city, so if you can't build it in your capital or 2nd/3rd city it may not be worth it. Still, the AI tends to not build it so I can be easy enough to chop out. Amundsen-Scott takes the most forward planning by far, and you may even want to settle a city in the tundra just to get it (otherwise there is an extremely low chance you have a snow tile next to a campus in a city). It's empire-wide science boost can mean the difference between 1-turning or 2-turning the late-game techs. Pyramids are obviously amazing to get but most likely impossible in the vast majority of games (unless you are Qin Shi Huang). Ruhr Valley is nice if you have a city with a lot of mines, but I don't find it very necessary.

In terms of the science victory projects, most people here have mentioned buying spaceports through the governors but with Heroes mode on it's a lot easier to use Hercules to insta-build the spaceports. Ideally, you'd get Himiko, Hercules, and Sinbad at some points throughout the game, as these are the heroes with the best economic benefits, but of course that won't happen every game. Anansi is fairly decent too for rushing through early game civics. After that, it's not too bad to do the Moon Landing and Mars Colony in your capital with Pingala's promotion. Make the Royal Society and start pumping out builders in a Liang city (or faith buy them beforehand with Monumentality) and adding production to the space projects as necessary. Any chops you have remaining for the Lagrange projects are amazing, although I don't expect to have a ton of them with all the wonders you'd have built before. You should be winning before any Great Engineer or Scientist that directly effects spaceport projects is able to be recruited in the game.

A couple of different civs seems fun for this victory condition. Most people know that Khmer are fudging bonkers in this game, they grow so large and have a guaranteed amazing Holy Site, but for this wincon the Prasat seems the most important. The culture it provides per population is what will allow you to get through the civic tree quickly, without even really needing many amphitheaters. Pericles can do something similar, if not even better. In my game, I was getting +50% culture bonus or more thanks to my city-state suzes, which is just insane (this is in addition to the free Wildcard slot and the cheap Acropolis:rolleyes:). I think China is underrated by many people too, the workers can bump out wonders so quickly and the extra charges go hand-in-hand for spaceport projects, not to mention that the Great Wall can provide a lot of culture itself. Japan with their cheap holy sites and theater squares and their extra district yields in general make them just amazing at everything. Korea still seems great at it, just by using their easy campus to get it out of the way, and spend the free time getting culture infrastructure up and running.

2.) Culture
Culture seems a lot easier to get depending on what strategy you use. There looks to be quite a few ways to go about it! My quickest time here has been a blazing-fast turn 141 victory with Ethiopia.

A lot of people know how strong Monopolies and Corporations mode can be for this. Getting a monopoly can net you like, 100% tourism increase with a foreign civ, which can be absolutely insane. If you stack that with Open borders and having a trade route, which each provide 25%, then you have a huge tourism modifier! Tile improvements which provide tourism are also very, very strong. Rapa Nui is great for this, but any civ with a unique improvement that provides tourism is also huge, especially depending on how spammable the tile is. Ethiopia's Rock-Hewn Church is pretty awesome for this, but Kampungs, pairidaezas, and chemamulls are potentially great as well. You will need a good enough of a science game so that you can beeline Fight after getting Kilwa's tech ASAP. Compared to the science victory getting to Globalization, reaching Flight is a lot less of a hurdle, but It's still something to plan for.

A pretty fun way I won this which doesn't get as much attention was with the founding religious belief Reliquaries. Most people know how strong work ethic is, but if you're set on getting a culture victory, then reliquaries can be absolutely bonkers. Tripling the tourism you get from relics is very strong, and you don't need to be lucky and find a relic from ruins, you can reliably get them thanks the Heroes and Voidsinger's cultists.
In my Ethiopia game, I won the culture victory purely through Reliquaires + Monopolies + Open Borders/Trade Routes + Tile Improvement Tourism. I think I had a few great works, but not too many (a lot were brought from the AI). I didn't even build a Rock Band at all. You should be winning before Rock Bands are useful.

A more "normal" way to go about this victory would be to go for National Park tourism, in addition to any of the sources of tourism I mentioned above. This is something I haven't played around much with myself, so I'd love to hear any strategies about this, especially related to any cool things specific Civs can do. Canada seems fun for being able to use Grandmaster's chapel to faith buy Mounties for the very cheap national park charges. Maybe I'm wrong, but Rock Bands feel like they come way too late and are just too slow.

Overall to me the culture victory seems a bit less specialized than the science victory is, which makes it feel like the most "I'm doing generally well playing peacefully and expanding as much as possible". There are less specialized wonders and heroes you need to get for this mode, outside of the always-good Oracle, Colosseum and Kilwa. Most civs tend to have unique bonuses for this victory condition than any other as well. Would love to hear any strategies here!

3.) Domination
Early game domination feels a bit different than playing peacefully. I tend to forward settle the opponent early-game, send them a trade route for the road, then get to Oligarchy and start beating them with Swordsmen/Man-at-Arms and Archer support. I tend to go Pingala for the early culture then get Victor with my third governor point so loyalty doesn't become an issue. Getting a religion can be hard and it seems optional, but the fastest victory I had with it involved an early-game work ethic holy site and tithe for the useful gold income. I got a turn 180 victory with Gaul this way.

A lot of the boomers here give Civ 6 a bad wrap for having 1UPT. The whole "carpet of doom" argument saying that war becomes a slog when you have to amass a huge army of units which get bogged down in all the movement and micro. IMO, the problem with this argument is that playing war in this game well actually encourages you to use less units. You want to have a main army of a few units that don't die, because they will get promotions over time allowing you to output much more damage per tile you are on. Not only does this lessen the micro but it means you actually have to pay attention and strategize your units positioning and healing, as well as allowing your home cities to keep working on infrastructure to keep the science, culture, and gold income flowing. Even having a strong enough of a faith game will let you use Grandmaster's Chapel to let you faith-buy units to make Corps and Armies.

Getting the religious governor's promotion that lets your units heal in 1 turn in the city he's placed in is very strong for playing through domination quickly. Early and mid-game, Melee units definitely are the strongest, despite their slow speed. Oligarchy's boost + being able to use Battering Rams/Siege Towers to break through walls is massive. At least in my experience, horse units simply can't break through walled cities. The AI is not great at war, but it seems they know enough to fire on catapults/trebuchets. Later on, this changes a bit once Bombards and Observation Balloons come online, having 3-ranged Bombards to shoot at cities away from City-shot and Crossbowmen range is absolutely massive. Still, it seems quicker to get Musketmen and plow through cities with Siege Towers. If Akkad is in your game, getting them is absolutely gamechanging for allowing your melee units to ignore walls completely, especially those very annoying Renaissance Walls. Late game, Bombers are amazing provided your cities are in range enough to actually use them; otherwise, tanks will plow through literally everything and have high speed, but hopefully you are winning more before you have to use them too much.

IMO, I think the NFP was great for adding in a lot of fun civs with unique paths to domination victory. Byzantium renders all of what I said above moot with their Tagmas being able to completely ignore city walls (there have been some crazy fast victories combining Byzantium with Arthur). Babylon is fun for tech-leaping and it encourages you to think critically about what eurekas you need and timing them well so your have the gold/units prebuilt on the right turn. Gran Colombia's blazing-fast units and unique generals allow you to do some crazy things you wouldn't normally get away with, like moving and shooting with siege units on the same turn. Gaul is super fun for their Gaesatae being spammable and not being punished for it with their early game culture and production focus, and unlocking Man-at-Arms early is obviously extremely strong. You really get a feeling of playing a strategy specific to that civ, and it pulling it off successfully and quickly can be rewarding.

Personally, I haven't had as much luck finishing the game quickly with the horse-based civs. Mongolia's doubled intel bonus is pretty strong, but Keshik's upgrading into Field Cannons is super awkward. The Knight and Cavalry replacements tend to just get bogged down in walled cities. I'm curious how players of these civs solve this in a timely manner. Is it simply a matter of having the right mix of Melee units in addition to the horses? Or am I underrating trebuchets?
I'm curious to try a more aquatic map with naval warfare, something like Indonesia's Jong seems very fun and powerful. Even some of the non-war focused civs have some fun and strong unique units. I would love to try a Domrey rush with Grandmaster's Chapel. Vietnam's Voi Chien also looks bonkers.

As many others have said, Man-at-arms feels like they come a litttttttle too early in this game. I'm not sure how those civs with Swordsmen replacements fair nowadays, I'm guessing you really have to push your advantage in the early game with Legions/Hypaspists/Immortals etc.

Overall though, I find war in this game quite fun, and doing it under 200 turns can be quite a challenge. Vampires help a lot and the AI building walls or not can make a big difference (save for Akkad being in your game). I typically play on continents as well, which involves crossing an ocean which of course takes some planning to do timely. I've mostly gotten victories just above the 200 turn mark but starting on a strong start with a good war civ can make a huge difference. Making sure you keep your science high for new units and culture high for policy cards and getting Corps/Armies is a unique balance to consider, and you can play the city-growth game a bit more casually when you don't have to worry about specific wonder or national park placements quite as much.
I haven't experimented enough with combining earlier war to use as a springboard for a science/culture victory later, so that's also something I'd like to hear about!

4.) Diplomacy
By far the victory condition I'm the least acquainted with, I have heard it's very possible to do under 200 turns on diety, but it seems quite luck-based in terms of needing the game to give you emergencies to do early enough. Guessing the AI's vote is easy enough to do, although you will need to balance your victory points, as I've heard it's optimal to time the victory to building the Statue of Liberty to win the game instantly when it's built. The AI will start turning on you in the world congress once you cross a certain threshold of points. Would love to hear any strategies on this!

Anyway, these are just my general thoughts about doing the different victory conditions quickly, and what has worked well for me. Would love any feedback as well as any fun or civ-specific strategies to win the game quickly:)
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