I actually think religion, after the "Religion Update", is one of the most well-rounded systems in Civ6. It is probably the "best" designed victory condition holistically, with a lot of diversity in both offense and counter-play alike. The religion cap is an important component in this because it enforces an early assymetry. Civs are sorted into 3 categories: Civs with an "offensive" Religion, fully pursuing a Religious Victory. Civs with a "defensive" Religion, only seeking to deny others a Religious Victory while gaining Religion-related perks relevant to their real agenda. Civs without a religion, who can still gain some of the benefit while paying none of the investment. The cap clearly defines the third group, and makes their relationships with Religion bearing-Civs unambiguously non-zero-sum. Otherwise you just have this wishy-washy malaise of "civs who have religions and those who don't yet". Perhaps more importantly, it is very good that the game has at least one HARD CHOICE that all players have to make very early. Pursuing a Religion almost always requires a very early (major) investment, further enforcing delicious assymetry between the 3 categories. While this choice is often made over a period of time (spying on GPP progress) rather than a split second, it's still the single biggest divergence point between early strategies, broadly speaking. I had a quite low opinion of Religion gameplay before the Fall 2017 update, including in Civ 5. The ability to block Religious units made most aspects of gameplay pointless against both an intentioned opponent and AI alike. Apostle -> Missionary Spam -> Inquisitor -> Apostle was also too bare-bones (albeit functional) of a combat triangle, barely above the strategy involved in the game of Risk. A variety of math in all of this was underbaked to boot. The Summer 2017 Update at least fixed Proselytizer. But then the Fall 2017 Update added the 3 huge missing pieces: Fixed the Layering problems by creating the religion layer. Added the Guru, adding meaningful tactics to religious combat (Formations + logistical choices on balancing Guru purchases with trips home to heal.) Made Missionary spread scale. Rise & Fall improved things a bit further: The religious golden age Dedication further separated the "all-in"s from the nots, and the 4 GPP/t provided a tempting middle-ground to the player on the fence in low-Religion games. Added the Religious Alliance, a very clear mechanism for "category 2" Civs to partner up. Added a potent Loyalty bonus for having a Religion, ...and an equally counter-potent penalty that gave significance to key border city conversions. Better designed Theocracy. ...and Gathering Storm fixed yet a few more things: Moksha is now decent. Players can now invest precious governor titles into Religion for non-trivial rewards. Meenakshi Temple adds more diversity to "category 1" Wonder options, and is arguably the most interesting. Rock Bands provide a more viable pivot from Faith generation to a late-game Culture victory than previous alternatives. World Congress provides a (limited) mechanism for condemning a runaway religious leader that does not require war. Grievances now enable all AI to react negatively to "category 1" religious extermination behavior, rather than just the target you are bullying. All that said, it's not perfect. A few rough edges still stand out: Pantheon balance is a little suspect. Most civs with Religion-focused advantages have ways of ensuring that they get a Religion, but a handful do not. These are consistently rated as some of the weakest Civs in the game. Astrology's boost's map randomness can be annoying. Some Follower bonuses do not give interesting dynamics with non-religious players, especially the ones that require Holy Sites/techs/buildings that "category 3" players have little interest in building. "Category 3" players who aren't Kongo have little actual interaction with the spread or acceptance of Religions, as they have no reward/incentive that matches what the mechanisms to do so cost. And as with most complex systems, the AI fails to live up to the full dynamics. Most of all, the "head start" design of higher difficulties is fundamentally at odds with any sort of first-past-the-post race. (This includes world wonders.) The player is forced to play a "category 3" non-religion route on deity as all but a handful of Civs.