[GS] Religion Victory – is it really this hard? Help!

Discussion in 'Civ6 - Strategy & Tips' started by Grivin, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. Grivin

    Grivin Chieftain

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    Longtime lurker here. Getting really frustrated by the religious victory.

    Quick context, I’ve been playing Civ since 1. Typically I play on immortal and win pretty easily. I’m not a god-tier player by any stretch of the imagination, but I get things done.

    But, I hadn’t gone for a religious win since Vanilla. I found it very clunky then, but a lot has changed since. So, I thought I’d give it a go.

    Basic set up, Russia, Immortal, Continents (using the detailed maps mod). I may have even tweaked things in my favour a bit by lowering the sea levels and adding a couple of extra city states.

    The problem –

    Turn 139 and I am in serious trouble.

    The world has just moved to the Renaissance (T136) and I am now in a Dark Age

    Tech-wise, I still only have 3 Medieval techs and am pushing for Military Engineering to find Nitre. I have 20 beakers per turn. I’m dead last, 4 out of the 6 civs are deep into Renaissance. I know I’ll never match Seondeok, but she’s producing 165.

    Culture, I’m producing 44 per turn (I have the faith building to culture Choral Music belief) but am still last. I’ve just had the feudalism wave and am pushing through Guild on the way to Theocracy. The best civs are producing around 64 culture per turn. I’m not quite sure why I’m so far behind here, although I have raised culture a lot lately.

    Faith, this is where I’ve put all my effort. I’ve still only had 5 apostles. 4 of which I still have, one I used to add the Mosque religious belief because he had useless promos, and we were in a +100% bonus to religious buildings phase from the World Congress. I’m producing 81.2 faith per turn, 3rd behind Indonesia with 114, and Poland with 258.3! Poland is sending streams of prophets my way.

    20190615110808_1.jpg
    Map Challenges

    It’s a good map, I got a lot of tundra to myself, including the Ubsunur Hollow tundra national wonder. But there are some issues. Mainly, I didn’t get horses, didn’t really get iron (had to forward settle India to get it), and the biggie, I only have access to one city-state, Muscat. I’m waiting to get to caravels just to be able to find the rest.


    I feel like I’ve done most of the ‘right’ things. I’ve colonized the edge of the tundra, building lavras with +6 or greater adjacency due to natural wonders, the dance of the Aurora (+1 from tundra) and forests.

    Normally I do an early conquest, but in this case I didn’t. I needed to push for that religion. And that wasn’t an understatement. I actually had to re-do a section of the game because Poland beat me to Dance of the Aurora. I know it’s cheating, but that felt game-defining.

    This seems lost. If so, where did I go so wrong? The map didn’t help, but I feel like it should have been winnable from there.

    If not, how can it be turned around from here, an era behind in culture and science, and producing 1/3 of Poland’s faith.
     

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  2. incroc

    incroc Chieftain

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    I would've settled two more cities on the north-east peninsula and two more up in the north. Just a lavra and pop 1 is worth it probably with good adjacency. Just buy shrines and temples in there.

    And don't build a harbor and a campus before the Holy Site is made.

    There's a lot of unchopped terrain in your territory. Use builders to harvest it to speed up your development.
     
  3. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    You are not going Dom and do not need to go wide for an RV.
    The secret is speed and getting a lot of faith but most of all getting good choices for your apostles.
    When you go for culture you should really concentrate on it, same with science and Dom.
    If you go to the GOTM forum and look at the RV’s there they will get them around 110-130 with 3+4 cities and a lot of clues to how are written there.
     
  4. Grivin

    Grivin Chieftain

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    Thanks guys, useful tips. I knew I could rely on you guys.

    I went for harbour and campus at those times to try to keep up a little with science and take advantage of the Russian trade routes. Also to get some eurekas. Since those cities couldn’t create much adjacency for the holy site it didn’t seem worth building them there until I start to get the bonuses to buildings. I gather this is the wrong approach!

    I’ve had two surprise DoWs already from India so have had to make sure I had units there against those elements.

    I definitely don’t chop aggressively enough.

    I also notice there hasn’t been a religious gotm at a level this high since vanilla, and even then it was Arabia, so no fighting for the religion. I will still look for the tips though, especially the Polish one
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2019
  5. Grivin

    Grivin Chieftain

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    Just following up on this with an AAR in case someone else comes through and finds this thread.


    Honestly, at turn 139 when I posted above, I thought this game was a lost cause. But, knowing that the AI usually managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, I decided to persist.

    As it turned out, I was 80 turns from victory.


    This is what I did from the above position –

    · Decided that if I couldn’t win on faith generation, I’d win on efficiency on faith spending

    · Built the large “death squads” of apostles, 5-6 and a guru

    · While I was waiting for them to be built, I used the first apostles, plus a couple of inquisitors (got the dark age bonus that allows an inquisition with one charge) to fight of a wave of Polish apostles in my own borders

    · Once complete sent the death squads en-masse. First to India, then Indonesia, then Poland. By the time I was attacking Poland I was using 14 apostles, and that was almost necessary, I lost a couple to their Debater promoted ones

    · While I was fighting Poland’s apostles in a crazy guerilla campaign, I also sent a horde of missionaries and a couple of apostles to convert the non-religious Koreans and Mapuche

    · In the end, the apostles from the Polish campaign went across and helped with one final Korean city, and the game was won.


    Things I did that helped

    · Biggest thing was being patient with building up the death squads. Just wait until you have a big squad that can sweep an entire civ in one campaign. It timed out well that my first one was ready right after India gave up on their third surprise war against me. The peace treaty gave me enough time to convert them without them being able to DoW me.

    · The Apostles from their first campaign were expired on charges, but became the front line of (expendable) troops against the Indonesians and particularly Polish. Happily a couple of them had the Martyr campaign

    · Getting the Moksha promotion where you get 2 promotions per apostle. That is HUGE, and I didn’t appreciate how useful it was going to be. You should get that ASAP in a religious game

    · Spreading wide to get those last few tundra locations. Not only did they help push my faith generation to nearly 300pt by the end of the game, they also secured a few luxuries, which I was able to trade for all the gold needed to build the shrines and temples there, as well as some of the buildings for eurekas.

    · After getting the buildings, they just went on to the holy site prayer project for the rest of the game


    Things I did that didn’t help

    · I built a substantial army and navy to defend against DoWs. As it was, India invaded me against our mountain border, which gave me the aforementioned chance to convert them during the peace treaty. But then nobody ever declared war on me again. By the time I moved on to Indonesia I had alliances with Indonesia, Poland, Mapuche and Korea (everyone except India). Indonesia asked me to stop converting their cities, but still renewed the alliance once mid-campaign. Poland never even asked me to stop, despite me massacring their apostles, and even voted to prevent an emergency against me when India blubbed to the World Congress about me converting their holy city.

    · I managed to eventually get my culture up to speed and caught up mostly with the rest of the world. Even science I got back a bit. But since I never went to war again, it didn’t really matter, although the deterrent effect of me having a big navy might have contributed


    Lessons learned

    1. Developing Governor Moksha to Patron saint (extra Apostle Promotion) is massive. Having a holy site next to a Natural Wonder doesn’t hurt either, to instantly get the +3 charges from the Pilgrim promotion. I never got the devastating pilgrim + proselytizer combo sadly.

    2. Going wide with Russia. Getting those little towns with the +6 or +8 holy sites was huge, especially since you’re running the +100% adjacency policy all game. But, that was a wide into existing space situation, I didn’t keep pushing wider and wider. I think 250-300 faith per turn is plenty, even when you’re being outmuscled by the AI (Poland was near 400 by the end), because they waste it on monks and other things.

    3. Death Squads. Build the group of 5-6 apostles. Don’t do any converting until you have that. And back them up with a guru. 2-3 if you really expect a fight. I churned through 2 gurus against Poland. You wind up badly hurting 3 apostles per kill. So depending on how open the terrain is, it can be one guru charge per apostle kill.

    4. Converting process, what you do is get your squad, keep them together, protecting the guru (very vulnerable to attacks). Move slowly through the enemy territory. I often moved units hex by hex as the movement AI is terrible and often got confused. Kill units first. Target the cities with holy sites first if there’s a genuine choice. But otherwise just methodically go through. If possible, take advantage of the ability to send some apostles home for healing and bring in fresh ones you’ve recruited during the campaign.

    5. Don’t stress about being behind on culture and science. Getting to Reformed Church for the Theocracy government and Simultaneum policy is everything. Once you’re there, it doesn’t really matter where you go after it. I don’t think I used any different policies after that

    6. Playing nice seemed to help. I never declared war on anyone, never even conquered a city. If someone had DoWd me while I was converting them it could have gotten very messy, but it simply never happened.


    Is it fun?

    Not really no.

    Religious victory still seems very clunky. The interface is terrible, ugly and inconsistent. I found myself having to search through the “cities containing this religion” chart, just to tell how many citizens in each city followed which religion. Why isn’t this on a tooltip. My religion Eastern Orthodoxy and the Indonesian one had the exact same colours on the map also, which made it very tedious to work out where I’d been and when a city had flipped back.

    The win itself is unsatisfying as it feels like the AI has no idea what the religious victory is. I guess Poland was trying to achieve it on some level when they sent apostles into my territory initially. But the fact that they didn’t even complain about me converting their cities, and actively defended my right to convert other civs? I never faced a single inquisitor, from any of the civs. So in the end, the entire victory felt like an exploit.

    And probably the biggest thing in the fun discussion. You don’t feel like you’re making a very good civ. You have to bend over backwards just to get the religion in the first place at Immortal or above, which means that you don’t get that early momentum that you're used to in other games. For me the joy of civ is making all the little decisions, making your cities better, enjoying the terrain, building districts, defending against your neighbours. You don’t get much of that gameplay in a religious game. Science and Culture basically challenge you to build the best civ possible, while Domination is the fun strategic game. Religion feels like the worst of all these worlds. Generating faith and just spending it on the weirdest units in the game.

    It’s tedious when they have an apostle in a city, because they can attack you and you can’t attack it back. You just convert the city and hope they are dumb enough to either attack you and kill themselves while you’re at the gates, or pop out afterwards and leave themselves open. A couple of times they actually expended all their charges in the city, and I just had to counter it again with a charge of my own. It’s not so much that it’s hard, you know the AI will screw it up, you just have to be ready for all types of screw up.

    The entire game you’re in a mindset of ignore everything except religion. Keeping just enough tech to avoid getting wiped off the map, and trying to keep up on culture enough to get to Reformed Church before someone has reached the moon. As it was, the final Korean cities I converted were building Spaceports. By comparison, the most modern building I’d built at that point was a coal power plant.
     
    Vlade Divac and Victoria like this.
  6. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Seems like you have got there, nice write up.
    Yep, depressing... go for smaller death squads earlier and mix with the odd conversion unit or squad and you will find you still own.
    It’s worse when they have an inquisitor....
    it is sort of the same as war..., wipe out their units first and the cities are dead meat.
    Wipe out their apostles first and their religion is dead meat.
    On high levels I often go straight to inquisitors and lets them waste themselves converting me and fighting others, then reconvert all my cities.
    Using inquisitors and missionaries keeps down the price of apostles... as does Holy Order
     
  7. Mozzington

    Mozzington Prince

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    Check out the youtube video by the spiffing brit for how to achieve a very quick religious victory.
     
  8. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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