If you're looking for a great non-violent art and music-loving leader to lead your civilization to a Cultural Victory in Sid Meier's Civilization 6, this guide is for you. Each of the leaders listed not only has a powerful Culture bonuses, but also offers flexible options if you need to pivot away from the Culture victory condition.
If you've been away from Civilization games for a while and are coming back to Civ 6, or if you have no idea what you're doing, you might need a little nudge. This guide is for you. Here are some of the very best civilizations to choose if you're looking to score a Culture Victory. And, even if your best-laid plans don't pan out, each of these options also offers enough flexibility to pivot to another victory condition if you need to.
1. Greece (Pericles)
Greece's Unique Bonuses and Abilities
- Plato's Republic: One extra Wildcard policy slot in any government
- Surrounded By Glory: +5% Culture per city-state you are the Suzerain of.
Greece's Unique Units and Buildings
- Hoplite: This Ancient Era unit replaces the Spearman and has +10 Combat Strength if there is at least one adjacent Hoplite unit.
- Acropolis: This replaces the Theater Square District and provides +1 Culture from each adjacent Wonder, +1 Culture from each adjacent District, and +1 Culture from each adjacent City Center.
Both Pericles and Greece's other Leader, Gorgo, have very powerful perks that make pursuing both Culture and Domination victories appealing. However, Pericles's Surrounded By Glory bonus means that Culture is no-brainer as a first choice.
The Acropolis and the Suzerain bonuses give Greece the strongest passive Culture perks in the game. As long as you can protect your city-state friends, you'll cruise towards that Culture victory.
Second Best Victory Condition: Domination Victory
While Gorgo's Greece is much better suited for a Domination victory, Pericles's Greece still also gets the powerful early game Hoplite and the invaluable Wildcard policy slot that allows a Domination victory to be a not-too-shabby option if the opportunity presents itself. You'll need a decent standing army to defend your city-state friends, so you aren't likely to be defenseless anyways.
That said, Culture should definitely be your first choice. Greece's Culture perks are too good to pass up!
2. France (Catherine de' Medici)
Leader: Catherine de' Medici
France's Unique Bonuses and Abilities
- Catherine's Flying Squadron: France gets extra information from every civilization met, and researching Castles provides an extra Spy.
- Grand Tour: France gains a bonus to constructing mid-game Wonders and gains extra Tourism for each Wonder constructed.
France's Unique Units and Buildings
- Garde Impériale: This unique unit gets a bonus for fighting on the starting Capital's home continent and generates Great General points per kill.
- Château: This unique tile improvement must be built adjacent to a river and provides Culture, with bonuses for being built near Wonders.
Catherine of France is an interesting civilization to play because the extra information allows France to refocus at a moment's notice. A Culture victory is a natural fit because of France's affinity for Wonders in the mid-game, and the Château can really slingshot France ahead of the Culture pack.
The only downside to France is that city placement has a fairly large reliance on a proximity to rivers to be truly effective. Otherwise, France just gets a great spread of defensive bonuses, knowledge bonuses, and Culture bonuses.
Second Best Victory Condition: Science Victory
Because France is a great overall civilization, has a nice defense, and can predict incoming attacks with a slightly better spy network than the rest, Science is a perfect secondary victory condition. Science requires the long game – so being able to use spies to predict enemy movements and potential attacks makes France better than most to actually make it to the end game for Science.
Plus, your spies can always steal Technology, make Science even stronger as a fallback.
3. America (Teddy Roosevelt)
Leader: Teddy Roosevelt
America's Unique Bonuses and Abilities
- Founding Fathers: Earn all government legacy bonuses in half the usual time.
- Roosevelt Corollary: America's units receive a +5 Combat Strength on their home continent. Also, add +1 Appeal to all tiles in a city with a National Park and gain the Rough Rider unique unit when you research the Rifling technology.
America's Unique Units and Buildings
- Rough Rider: This Modern Era unique unit earns Culture from kills on the Capital's continent. Each Rough Rider gains +10 Combat Strength when fighting on Hills and has a lower maintenance cost than other units.
- P-51 Mustang: This Modern Era air unit replaces the Fighter and gains +5 attack against fighter aircraft, has +2 flight range, and gains +50% experience.
- Film Studio: This building replaces the Broadcast Center and provides +100% Tourism pressure from this city towards other civilizations in the Modern era.
America is a bit of toss up between Culture and Science victories, but the balancing act is slightly tipped in the strong defense. America gets massive Culture bonuses via the Roosevelt Corollary and the Rough Rider unit.
Due to America's military prowess, it isn't too hard to defend against oncoming Domination-focused civilizations in the Modern Era – but you will have to survive until then. This means that a turtle gameplay style is usually pretty beneficial as you hole up and dive right into Culture and Science to advance to the Modern Era as fast as possible.
Second Best Victory Condition: Science Victory
Culture is a great primary option for America, both Science and Domination are a pretty reasonable secondary options. While you might be tempted to steer towards Domination, I'd suggest that Science is the preferred second option because America's military might is often best used as a defensive deterrent rather than an offensive option. As we know, turtling is key for Science victories.