In Sid Meier's Civilization 6, the Science Victory is often the most difficult to achieve because it just takes so damn long to fully complete the space race. You'll need a ton of technology researched, a ton of Science to research it quickly, and a good way to keep yourself safe while you dump resources into research.
It may seem like a daunting task, and it is, but the Science Victory is so worth it in the end. Plus, in large games, the likelihood of reaching a Science Victory tends to go up since games will last longer.
Each of the civilizations listed below have been chosen based on their likelihood of allowing you to actually reach the end game in a good enough spot to achieve this victory condition in Civilization 6.
1. America (Teddy Roosevelt)
Leader: Teddy Roosevelt
America's Unique Bonuses and Abilities
- Founding Fathers: Earn all government legacy bonuses twice as fast.
- 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, and is an all around strong civilization. Saying that America is great for a Science victory might seem controversial because it doesn't have any direct bonuses, but Science relies on a quick advance to the Modern Era and a good defense. America has both.
America's early game is relatively weak, but as soon as you can hit that Modern Era you really take off. So, that means that you're already going to be investing heavily in Science and technology advancements from the start.
Once you can start building Rough Riders and P-51 Mustangs, America gains a powerful ability to turtle because these already-powerful units get an additional home-turf advantage from the Roosevelt Corollary bonus. Since a Science Victory typically favors turtling, getting a strong early defensive military will allow you to comfortably invest in Science in a big way.
Second Best Victory Condition: Culture Victory
Science is awesome, but very slow – so Culture is possibly an even better option for America. While you might be tempted to steer towards Domination due to the quick advance to a Modern military, I'd suggest that Culture is the preferred second option to take advantage of the powerful Culture bonuses offered to America by Film Studios.
2. Arabia (Saladin)
Arabia's Unique Bonuses and Abilities
- Righteousness Of The Faith: The worship building for Arabia's Religion cost very little Faith to build and produces bonus Science, Faith, and Culture.
- The Last Prophet: When the next to last Great Prophet is claimed, Arabia automatically receives the last Great Prophet if they haven't already received one.
Arabia's Unique Units and Buildings
- Mamluk: This unit replaces the Knight and heals at the end of every turn even if it moved or attacked.
- Madrasa: This Medieval Era building replaces the University in Campus Districts and provides more Science than a University and provides Faith based on Campus Adjacency Bonuses.
Saladin's Arabia packs a powerful hybrid punch of Religion and Science and nothing shows this off better than the Madrasa. Because the Madrasa gives both Science and Religion, and so does the Righteousness of the Faith, Arabia doesn't have to necessarily commit to one victory condition for a very long time.
The real argument for Science is that Arabia is simply unmatched in the space race. The strong bonuses to research and Science mean that it is seriously tough for other civilizations to compete – especially when Religion is such a persistent factory due to Arabia's awesome ability to always have a religion founded every since game.
The toughest part of the space race is fending off wars, since those can seriously deplete resources. Fortunately, the Mamluk unit helps give you a little extra bang for your buck in the early and mid game.
Second Best Victory Condition: Religious Victory
Arabia's other powerhouse is Religion. Once Arabia is up and running with Marasas and worship buildings, the amount of Faith you'll generate is overwhelming. While Science is a very tough victory condition to achieve, you can pursue it while simultaneously pursuing a Religious Victory. You can even focus the entire game on Science, and then only switch at the end to Religion and still have a viable path to victory.
3. Germany (Frederic Barbarossa)
Leader: Frederic Barbarossa
Germany's Unique Abilities
- Free Imperial Cities: Each of Germany's cities can build one more district than usual (exceeding the normal limit based on population).
- Holy Roman Emperor: Germany gets an additional Military Policy slot and gains +7 Combat Strength when attacking city-states.
Germany's Unique Units and Buildings
- U-Boat: This cheap Modern Era naval unique unit gains +1 Sight and +10 Combat Strength when fighting on Ocean tiles.
- Hansa: This unique District replaces the Industrial Zone District. It provides +1 Production from every 2 adjacent district tiles, +2 Production from each adjacent Commercial Hub, and +1 Production from each adjacent resource.
This might seem like an odd choice to put in the Science list rather than the Religion list, but hear me out. The bonus District granted from Germany's Free Imperial Cities bonus cannot be underestimated! It doesn't matter what any other civilization throws at you, you can deal with it by making an extra District. Need religion? You got it. Need a military? You got it. That bonus slot gives Germany loads of flexibility.
And flexibility and versatility are required for the Science Victory because you need to last for hundreds of turns to get that victory condition. Germany's strong military presence can act as a wartime deterrent or an early domination strategy to overtake neighboring city states for their resources and land (and extra District slots).
Plus, the Hansa bonuses to Production mean that you can always comfortably make use of those extra Districts to stack up Science bonuses and get the Science machine up and rolling until the end of the game.
Second Best Victory Condition: Domination Victory
The District and Production bonuses are great for Science, but they also can do double duty of helping to overwhelm you enemies with just more stuff. The additional Military Policy is invaluable when pursuing Domination and the U-Boats are ideal for sea combat. The perks for Domination don't end up being quite as strong for as long as Science, but this is a solid second option.