Sid Meier's Civilization VI

Sid Meier's Civilization VI

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Brian Mar 13, 2018 @ 11:24am
Religion is a useless waste of resources
Civ 5 used to have a pretty decent religion system, nothing elaborate or fancy, but easy to understand and moderately useful. Civ 6 has a system that is both convoluted (missionaries vs apostles vs gurus vs inqusitors, etc) and seemingly harmful to focus on.

For the first 5 or 6 games of Civ 6 I played, I ignored religion completely. I'm glad I did, because when you don't spend any time on it, you economy, military, science and culture go through the roof. However, when you spend time building holy sites, their buildings, and devote civics and governors to religion, literally everything else starts sucking, hard.

And what is the upside to grinding your economy and science to a halt? Some very negligible bonuses in the form of beliefs? Other nations like you slightly more (which wasn't hard to achieve in the first place)?

In my opinion, making religion a core pillar of the game was a huge mistake. It's like in Skyrim when they put crafting in the same category of choices as combat. You don't want to have to choose between being able to swing a sword and being able to make a sword. It should be an add-on, not an either/or decision. Likewise, religion should be a fun mini-game off to the side, not the focus of your civ to the exclusion of others (especially with such "Who gives a crap?" bonuses). That would allow people who put in a little work, or who gun for religious civics, to get a little edge and a fun "convert other cities" mini-game. But the amount of time and energy needed to construct and maintain holy sites is way out of proportion.

I've tried playing 3 seperate games now focusing on religion. I even chose Poland because they are especially good at it. All 3 times, it waffled between boring and frustrating. Now, I'm sure there is some min/max way of making religion worthwhile, if you know the awesome super duper strategies. But my point is, an entire system of Civ shouldn't need a mastery-level of understanding in order to be fun and useful. It should be fun and cool right out of the box, and once you understand the system better, that should allow more fine control of it. Religion is not fun "out of the box" and if it can be easily ignored with no repercussions (indeed, it's beneficial to ignore it), what's the point?
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Showing 1-15 of 28 comments
Sugam Mar 13, 2018 @ 11:47am 
If you dont know how to use religion then you probably should avoid it. Ill take my free early 20 wrokers/settles/traders/monks though while I steal other cities tiles and enhancing key resources in my area with an easy massive food buff. The rest you proclaim is just your opinion, including fun. Some people have fun by challenge of skill, for an example.

granted, you should never just focus or always focus on one thing, its realy depends on your start location, map size, civs/players, ect..
Last edited by Sugam; Mar 13, 2018 @ 11:51am
Salma Hayek Mar 13, 2018 @ 11:58am 
Since Rise and fall there is the late game government plaza building that allows to buy units with faith so that makes it way more valuable. Spending faith for missionaries/apostles probably only makes sens if you go for a religious victory in most cases but holy districts are relevant in any game.
gimmethegepgun Mar 13, 2018 @ 12:12pm 
Originally posted by Brian:
Civ 6 has a system that is convoluted (missionaries vs apostles vs gurus vs inqusitors, etc)
I'm sorry but how in the world is 4 units "convoluted"?
Cosmic Fox Mar 13, 2018 @ 12:56pm 
Why in heck does it matter? Religion is not the only way to play. Not to mention it works perfectly if you know what you are doing. I suggest watching videos or paying attention to tutorial more. Religion is a pain in the backside but it certainly is worth the effort! Some people just like to complain.. :D
Harris Mar 13, 2018 @ 3:00pm 
Religion might be overwhelming at first, but it is actually useful and can be used as a supportive tool for everything else.

It's units are pretty straightforward - missionaries to spread religion, apostles to improve your own religion and launch inquisition and spread religion better, inquisition to remove presence of other religions and gurus to heal units from theological combat damage.

Some bonuses are better than others. For example, Defenfer of the Faith is +10 to your forces on defence inside your turf. Due to how the game's mechanics work that +10 means insane difference to what damage you deal to enemy units and what damage you receive in return.

Focusing on religion is not harmful if you really know what you're doing and picked a civ accordingly. You need a souce of strong faith income. For Poland it is to spam relics which yeild you lots of faith but lots of gold at the same time, complimenting your military. Russia is able to generate lots of faith from tundra and probably has no rivals in terms of faith output (if the terrain's good).

So it's not useless. But if you put your eggs into a single basket then it's not gonna work out for you.
Ser Smiles Mar 13, 2018 @ 3:21pm 
in civ 5 religion was mostly pointless other than slight productivity buffs, faith was never needed as you would never win off of it, in 6 yore religion actually carries weight now that there is a win condition
Brian Mar 13, 2018 @ 4:27pm 
My point is that nothing you can achieve with religion isn't totally outstripped by spending resources elsewhere.

Not to be a jerk, but no one has actually grappled with my points.

1. if you need to be an expert at something for it to work correctly (no other Civ 6 system is like this), it's not a well-designed system.

2. if you can spend resources elswhere for a lot more gain (totally unbalanced), it's not a well-designed system.

3. if the only reason to gun for something is a certain victory condition (and not because it's useful in its own right), it's not a well-designed system.

I'm not saying religion is unplayable or broken. I'm saying it's comparatively unbalanced and poorly designed. And because of that, it's not fun.
Red Dragon Mar 13, 2018 @ 5:10pm 
1. I think the religious UI is badly designed (not well-enough explained) and what the religious units can do is fairly badly explained but once you figure it out the system itself is not badly designed, especially now that religious units are on their own unit layer.

So your point 1 is fair enough, but the obvious solution is to explain the system better in-game, not to remove it. Moreover, as you yourself say you can ignore this system and still have a great time, just like you can ignore spies and national parks and theming boni in your museums for your first playthroughs and even beyond if you so wish.

Isn't that even in some sense part of the beauty of the game - mechanics that are harder to master and exploit for those who like added layers of complexity, without forcing others to become proficient in them just to play and enjoy the game?

2. That is plainly not true. Religion has some outrageously great boni (e.g. defender of the faith), which is why some specific perks are actually banned in competitive multiplayer play.

3. The assessment that religion is not worth it unless you commit to a religious victory is not true for at least three reasons I can think of off the top of my head:

1) Pantheons and religions confer significant boni that can to some extent augment any other victory condition you decide to go for.

2) The Rise and Fall mechanic of early golden ages makes faith incredibly valuable, since the first two golden ages let you buy settlers and builders with faith, which almost borders on so great that it's almost broken.

3) The best defense against a potential religious victory of someone else is having *some* defense on your own. It's just like the culture victory; even a half-assed investment protects you quite decently to buy you time but comitting zero resources to tourism is dangerous.
Last edited by Red Dragon; Mar 13, 2018 @ 5:17pm
Martin (Banned) Mar 13, 2018 @ 5:28pm 
I like the lightning attacks.. only reason i tend to have a religion, plus I get to call it something stupid. Unlike the rest of the game where I have to use exactly whats on the tin.

Only thing of import that I've noticed, is the the apostles and inqusitors do alot more damage attacking within your own religious areas. And are rubbish in open ground.

I also seem to be unable to ever get more than one upgrade for a single apostle that gives the + to religious debator. I've never had more than one debator in any game, since the religion patch. Prior to it, I used to get 4-5 of them.

I do still feel that the religion patch was really just a massive religion nerf in disguise and the R&F expansion is exactly the same but for economy/warfare. The loyalty system is abit hit n miss, even when you know how it works, religion can be as well.
Last edited by Martin; Mar 13, 2018 @ 5:30pm
gimmethegepgun Mar 13, 2018 @ 5:54pm 
Originally posted by Martin:
Only thing of import that I've noticed, is the the apostles and inqusitors do alot more damage attacking within your own religious areas. And are rubbish in open ground.
Apostles don't get anything for attacking within your own territory. They (and all other religious units) get a defensive bonus when attacked in territory with their own religion, but they don't get anything on attack for it.
Inquisitors are practically worthless outside of your own territory though.
rcuajunco Mar 13, 2018 @ 6:21pm 
Religion can help every victory type win faster, when used properly. Faith is strongest in the ancient and medevil era, those bonuses are no joke, and faith can be used to buy warrior monks. You can also use faith to buy workers, settlers, and traders during golden eras. Faith is used to buy great people early and late game can be used to buy national parks, combined with early religous tourism can rush a culture victory.

But for the classic expand and spam military strategy, building holy sites will slow this strategy down, unless you have alot of territory to expand too and no nearby neighbors to conquer in which case faith should be used to expand to more city sites.

Certain civs just plain suck at using faith such as rome, and korea while the religous centric civs abuse faith for huge leads in the ancient and medevil eras.
Freyaldo Mar 13, 2018 @ 6:25pm 
You don't have to go full blown religion. 1-2 cities can be enough.

If you spread your religion wisely (if you finnish stonehenge first, or grind those great person points ), and upgrade your religion wisely, you can choose between gold per 2 poulation, or even bonus culutre/science, no need to try to win religion.

try to keep that apostle with +20 combat, move it back and forth when near death to own holy city to recover.

If you're lucky enough, you can kill an enemy missionary, you may neautralise 1 religion already (easier on marathon)

Also giving your religion a 30# range boost as a late upgrade is amazing, in some case 2-3 extra cities push the same city constantly.

The AI tend to convert non-religious cities, even if it is far away from home, they avoid battling your cities if there are civ's/nation without their own religion.

If you get a religion first, picking + food for temple/srhine's (combined with +10% growth partinon)+ Jarusalem boost with that 30% range, spreading religion is easy, and on top of that you can pick your gold/science/culture bonus.

All in all religion is an investment, you get the most out of it around renaissance/industiral I think. (Never played no religion)
Lemurian1972 Mar 13, 2018 @ 8:51pm 
2. if you can spend resources elswhere for a lot more gain (totally unbalanced), it's not a well-designed system.

I disagree with this. Religion is a force multiplier. Used correctly, you get far more back from the few points of production you spend early, it works in parallel with other resources and spending some production on even just 1-3 Holy sites early can lead to massive gains across your empire even when you just work to maintain your religion within your borders. When you factor in how bad the AI is at task management and the fact you can consistently get them to overspend on religion while you counter everything they throw at you efficiently, it means you can create even more freedom for yourself in the late game than you'd get from mainlining along another path exclusively.

Even if you just create a solid slice of Faith income without a religion, and use it to pay for Great People every so often to speed up getting them, you come out ahead.

Religion isn't essential, but it does do a lot of good. You don't even have to be an expert at the game to get benefits from it, just some basic understanding of the systems goes a long way.
War Pig Mar 13, 2018 @ 8:51pm 
Nothing beats watching a buffed up Warrior Monk army taking a modern city...
not John Mar 14, 2018 @ 11:54am 
Kinda agree. Religious victory is pure cheese and if you go for any other victory type it's utterly useless.
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Date Posted: Mar 13, 2018 @ 11:24am
Posts: 28