Religious Victory for the Diplomatic Warmonger

King Phaedron

Oct 9, 2017
A lot of people seem to be put off or don't bother with religious victory. I've only gone through CIV 6 twice now, but I already have a good feel as to what is and is not going to work, so here it goes.

The 4 Major Strategies for Religious Victory: (Regardless of belief or civilization choices)

1. The Obvious: Build lots of holy sites and commission lots of missionaries. Send them everywhere. This should be done asap in the early to middle game. The Missionaries also serve as scouts and explorers.

2. That One Useful Apostle: Save your game and commission an Apostle. Reset unless it has the promotion available that allows him to remove existing religious presence from cities. Apostles are expensive and should not be used to spread religion, UNLESS they have the one and only good promotion for doing so.

*There is a belief that lets you choose from all available promotions. While this is definitely useful, keep in mind that Apostles are expensive.

3. The Diplomatic Warmonger: Except for domination and nearby expansion, War is not about conquest. It's about power. Destroying the enemy units so that building them was a waste of time, Crippling your opponent and obtaining massive gains through pillaging. Capture a bunch of cities. Use Inquisitors to convert the captured cities, and then return them at the end of the war, so that you don't generate grievances.

4. Peaceful Religious Victory: Build the government Plaza and Ancestral Hall in a city with good population and production potential. Use the +50% production when building settlers card, along with the +50% you get from Ancestral Hall, and appoint Governer Magnus with the Provision promotion.

Now build lots of Settlers, send them to dumb locations. Convert them with cheap missionaries, and give these cities to the AI later in the game when you have many cities and are ready to give them to everyone. Give each AI enough converted cities so that the majority follow your Religion.

Since you also get a free builder with every new city, there isn't much of a downside aside from production costs to excessive settling. You kill two birds with one stone by getting most of your builders this way, sending them back to your actual cities, since there's no point in using them to develop throwaway cities.

Going for Religious Victory on Multiplayer is almost certainly a tactical mistake. Players are smart enough to launch inquisitions and reconvert their cities with inquisitors, and will do so much faster then you are able to convert all of the necessary cities in every civilization in order to win.


Norway is a Good Civilization for Religious Victory on a water map. This is what I did. Make lots of coastal cities with Holy Site and Harbor. Beyond that, mostly build Encampments and Industrial zones. Between the bonus from Shipyard and Stave Church, you wind up with a lot of production.

I get the Choral Music belief so that all Shrines and Temples are giving +Culture equal to +Faith. This way you never have to build more then 1 Theater Square (for Eureka's, Inspirations, and pesky artifacts that appear in your land) Use the +50% Faith from all religious buildings card, and since +Culture is equal to faith, you wind up with a massive amount of Culture and Faith. A church of Norse Mythology is basically a Theater, recounting the epic tales of old. That card gives additional +50% for Pop 10 and Adjacency 3.

A lot of good pantheons were already taken, so I chose River Goddess. If you have a lot of rivers, the +2 housing and +2 amenity from Holy Sites is really good, especially as you will be building the Ancestral Hall instead of the Audience Chamber. But there are lots of coastal cities that won't have access to rivers.

Try and get the Meeting House, Pagoda, or Stupa. Extra faith and production, amenity, or housing. With this setup you can forego building Water Parks and Entertainment Districts for most of the game, if at all.

Use the +100% Harbor Adjacency Bonus to generate gold from all those coastal cities with Harbors. Build the harbor next to the city, and next to water resources where possible. Appoint Governor Reyna with Harbor Master promotion to your best city. It will get +12 Harbor Adjacency which will be very powerful once you get the +12 production Shipyard built. Your gold and Shipyard production will be very strong.

For Medieval Golden Age, Pick Free Inquiry. (Always do Exodus of the Evangelists for Classical Golden Age) The +Science you get from Harbor Adjacency bonus will be very powerful. I was able to forego building Campus districts, only built two of them.

Use Longships to pillage and gain advantage early on. Use warfare and inquisitors to spread religion, because Norway has a bonus to pillaging, so make sure to do lots of pillaging.

Train Swordsmen and Beserkers early on, Melee units. Start with Autocracy, and switch into Oligarchy when building Ancestral Hall, coinciding with your first major war if possible. After that, switch to Classical Republic and Beeline Merchant Republic. Stick with Merchant Republic, and later Theocracy.

You want Oligarchy for completing Ancestral Hall, so that when going to war, you can Wildcard +4 combat strength to all of your Melee and Naval Melee units. Plus Generals/Admirals and +10 Beserker bonus, and your army is going to be near unstoppable.


Did I miss anything? Has anyone achieved Religious Victory on Diety yet?
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Sep 19, 2014
*There is a belief that lets you choose from all available promotions. While this is definitely useful, keep in mind that Apostles are expensive.

It's a City State (the almighty Yerevan, breaker of limited promotion options, mother of all city-states), not a belief. The difference between playing religious with and without Yerevan is ridiculous.

You're a bit misguided on the use of Apostles. They're more expensive than missionaries but they're more efficient and make up for the cost. You need to consider that the cost of religious units increase each time you buy one, so if you focus on missionaries, they will get less and less cost efficient. You also didn't mention our lord and savior Moksha, blessed be his name. It's heresy to talk about religious victory without mentioning Moksha. Most of Moksha's promotions are defensive in nature and therefore useless but his last promotion (Apostles trained in the city receive one extra promotion) is powerful and basically double the efficiency of an apostle, making then an even better option. Combine that with Yerevan and you won't ever even consider a missionaries focused strategy again.

Moksha+Yerevan allow you to build super apostles, focused on the Proselytizer (Religious spread eliminates 75% of existing pressure from other Religions in the target city) and Translator (Religious spread is triple strength in cities of other civilizations). There's two ways to do this:

  • Combine Proselytizer+Translator in one apostle. That give you the strongest spread you can get. You will convert large cities with one spread.
  • Use Proselytizer and Translator in separated apostles, both combined with Orator (Can spread Religion 2 extra times) or Pilgrim (Gains 3 extra spreads when moving adjacent to a natural wonder for the first time) if you have a natural wonder nearby. I prefer to do this because the Proselytizer often convert even large cities with one spread by itself, so I use it for larger cities, while I use the Translator on smaller cities and to finish the conversion if the Proselytizer don't convert with one spread (using the Proselytizer twice on the same city is a waste). I get more charges using both promotions in different apostles like that, so it's more efficient than combining both.
You didn't mention religious combat, which is by far the best way to spread religion, converting several cities at once. This is another reason Apostle are way, way better than missionaries, you get free, powerful regional spreads through religious combat. If you send only missionaries out there, they not only won't be able to use religious combat to spread your filth... I mean, religion, you also risk getting then killed, what set you back considerably, mostly if you will be using only missionaries to undo the damage. Between your Proselytizers and Translators, buy some Debaters (+20 Religious Strength in Theological Combat) combined with whatever you prefer. Don't use the last charge of your Debaters, you want them around for religious combat. Send your apostles in groups, always with a debater for protection. It's also good to have a Guru around, for healing. You can boost the combat strength of your units using a tier 2 religious alliance (+10 Religious Strength against non-ally Religions), Theocracy (+5 religious strength), the Religious Order policy (another +5) and anything else that boost units but don't specifically say "military units", like Diplomatic Visibility's combat boost and the government plaza's tier 3 building War department (All units heal up to 20 hit points when they eliminate a unit).

If you do a good job focusing on holy sites to increase your faith, it doesn't take long to start buying Apostles every 1-2 turns and keep that up, even with the cost increase. By then you will already be buying more apostles than you will ever need. You can mix some missionaries later, as the cost of Apostles increase, to convert small cities or finish cities that Proselytizers didn't convert in one spread.

Even without Yerevan, it still better to invest on Moksha and use Apostles. It won't be as efficient as picking always the best promotion combos but Apostles still powerful even if you can't always get Proselytizers and Translators. Just getting one here and there is already powerful enough. Yerevan is overkill. Without Yerevan you can have an increased use of missionaries but Apostles still the backbone of a religious victory.
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