Sid Meier's Civilization VI

Sid Meier's Civilization VI

44 ratings
Zigzagzigal's Guides - Persia (Vanilla)
By Zigzagzigal
Persia has strengths in rapid warfare and terrain-centric cultural victories. Here, I detail Persian strategies and counter-strategies.
Legacy Guide
If you have the Rise and Fall expansion, click here for the updated guide.

This guide is no longer updated, but will remain for the sake of those without the Rise and Fall expansion.
Note: This guide only covers content released prior to the Rise and Fall expansion. Content from any DLC pack released between the base game and Rise and Fall is marked as such.

To play as Persia, you must have the Persia and Macedon Civilization and Scenario Pack.

We are part of an ancient and powerful realm; an empire that has endured conquerers and would-be conquerers; fierce rivals and uncertain allies. This new world that opens up before us is yet another filled with uncertainty except this: we shall thrive. We shall be the opportunists knowing when to strike and when to not. We shall be the empire-builders, who know that our artistic pursuits matter as much as our victories on the battlefield. In the end, Persia shall win by outlasting all who we meet.

How to use this guide

This guide is divided into multiple sections explaining how best to use and play against this specific civ.

  • The Outline details the mechanics of how the civilization's unique features work and what their start bias is (assuming they have one at all).
  • The Victory Skew section describes to what extent the civ (and its individual leaders where applicable) are inclined towards particular victory routes.
  • Multiple sections for Uniques explain in detail how to use each special bonus of the civilization.
  • Administration describes some of the most synergistic governments, civic cards, pantheons, religious beliefs, wonders, city-states and Great People for the civ. Only the ones with the most synergy with the civ's uniques are mentioned - these should be given more consideration than they would be for other civs but are not necessarily the "best" choices when playing as the civ for a given victory route.
  • Finally, the Counter-Strategies discusses how best to play against the civ, including a consideration of leader agendas if the civ is controlled by a computer.

Note that all costs (production, science, culture, gold, etc.) mentioned within the guide assume a game played on the normal speed settings. To modify these values for other game speeds:

  • Online: Divide by 2
  • Quick: Divide by 1.5
  • Epic: Multiply by 1.5
  • Marathon: Multiply by 3


Terminology used in this guide and not in-game is explained here.

AoE (Area of Effect) - Describes bonuses or penalties that affect multiple tiles in a set radius. Positive examples include Factories and Stadiums (which by default offer production and happiness respectively to cities within a 6 tile radius unless they're within range of another building of the same type) and a negative example is nuclear weapons, which cause devastation over a wide radius.

Beelining - The strategy of obtaining a technology or civic quickly by only researching it and its prerequisites. Some deviation is allowed in the event that taking a technology or civic off the main track provides some kind of advantage that makes up for that deviation (either a source of extra science/culture or access to something necessary for a eureka or inspiration boost.

CA (Civ Ability) - The unique ability of a civilization, shared by all its leaders. Unlike unique units, buildings, districts and improvements, civ abilites do not have to be built.

Civic cards - Another name for policy cards; you fill up your government with these for additional bonuses and can switch them for free every time you unlock a civic.

Compact empires - Civs with cities close together. This is useful if you want to make use of districts that gain adjacency bonuses from other districts, maximise the number of copies of the same district in the same area, or to maximise the potential of area-of-effect bonuses later in the game.

Dispersed empires - Civs with cities that are spread out. This is useful if you want to ensure cities have plenty of room for both districts and tile improvements. Civs with unique tile improvements generally favour a more dispersed empire in order to make use of them, as do civs focused on wonder construction.

GWAM - Collective name for Great Writers, Artists and Musicians. All of them can produce Great Works that offer tourism and culture, making them important to anyone seeking a cultural victory.

LA (Leader Ability) - The unique ability of a specific leader, which like civ abilities do not have to be built. Usually but not always, they tend to be more specific in scope than civ abilities. Some leader abilities come with an associated unique unit on top of the standard one every civ has.

Start bias - The kind of terrain, terrain feature or resource a civilization is more likely to start near. This is typically used for civilizations that have early bonuses dependent on a particular terrain type. There are five tiers of start bias; civs with a tier 1 start bias are placed before civs of tier 2 and so on, increasing their odds of receiving a favourable starting location.

Complete information on start biases within the game can be found in the Civilizations.xml file (find the Civ 6 folder in Steam's program files, then go through the Base, Assets, Gameplay and Data folders to find the file). If a civilization is not listed as having a start bias there, it does not have one, even if you feel like you keep spawning in the same terrain when playing as that civ.

Tall empires - Empires that emphasise city development over expansion, usually resulting in fewer, but bigger, cities.

Uniques - Collective name for civ abilities, leader abilities, unique units, unique buildings, unique districts and unique improvements.

UA (Unique Ability) - A collective name for leader abilities and civ abilities.

UB (Unique Building) - A special building which may only be constructed in the cities of a single civilization, which replaces a normal building and offers a special advantage on top.

UD (Unique District) - A special district which may only be constructed in the cities of a single civilization, which replaces a normal district and offers some unique advantages on top. In some cases, there may be minor disadvantages as well, but these are always outweighed by the positive features. All unique districts cost half as much to construct relative to the regular districts they replace.

UI (Unique Improvement) - A special improvement that can only be built by the Builders of a single civilization. Unlike unique buildings or districts, these do not replace a regular improvement. Some require a technology to unlock, and many have their yields improved with later technologies. "UI" always refers to unique improvements in my guides and not to "user interface" or "unique infrastructure".

UU (Unique Unit) - A special unit that may only be built by a single civilization, and in some cases only when that civilization is led by a specific leader. These usually replace an existing unit and offer extra advantages (and occasionally minor disadvantages as well in exchange for bigger advantages).

Wide empires - Empires that emphasise expansion over city development, usually resulting in more, but smaller, cities.
Start Bias

Persia has no start bias.

Civilization Ability: Satrapies
  • Gain +1 trade route capacity with the classical-era Political Philosophy civic
  • Internal trade routes are worth an additional 2 gold and 1 culture
  • Roads constructed in your territory are one tier more advanced than normal (classical roads in the ancient era, etc.)
    • Roads constructed by you outside your own territory are unaffected.

Cyrus' Leader Ability: Fall of Babylon

  • Declaring a surprise war has reduced warmonger and war weariness penalties, as if it was a formal war
  • All units gain +2 movement for the first 10 turns after declaring a surprise war
  • Occupied cities have no penalties to growth and yields

Unique Unit: Immortal

A classical-era melee infantry unit which replaces the Swordsman

Upgrades from
Upgrades to
Resource needed

Iron Working
Classical era

Renaissance era

(100 Gold)

(220 Gold)
100 Production
400 Gold
200 Faith*
2 Gold
*Purchasing units with faith requires the Theocracy government, which in turn requires the renaissance-era Reformed Church civic. This number does not take into account Theocracy's 15% discount on faith purchases.

**You may continue to build Immortals even beyond Gunpowder if you lack nitre.

Ranged Strength
Negative Attributes
Positive Attributes
30 Strength
25 Ranged Strength
2 Movement Points
2 Attack Range
  • -17 Strength vs. city defences and naval units if using a ranged attack
  • +10 Strength vs. anti-mounted units

Negative changes

  • Costs 100 production, 400 gold or 200 faith, up from 90, 360 and 180 respectively (+11%)
  • Costs 100 gold to upgrade into from a Warrior, up from 80 (+25%)
  • 30 strength, down from 36

Positive changes

  • No resource requirement
  • Less expensive to upgrade to a Musketman
  • Has an optional ranged attack (25 strength, 2 range)
    • If using the ranged attack, -17 strength penalty vs. city defences and naval units.

Unique Improvement: Pairidaeza

Terrain requirement
Constructed by
Pillage yield

Early Empire
Ancient era
Must be constructed on one of the following in your own land:




Tile must be featureless (e.g. no floodplains) and not adjacent to another Pairidaeza.

25 Culture

Defensive bonus
Direct yield
Adjacency yields
Miscellanious bonus
Maximum possible yield
2 Gold
1 Culture
1 Culture per adjacent Holy Site or Theatre Square
1 Gold per adjacent Commercial Hub or City Centre
2 appeal to adjacent tiles
2-7 Gold*
1-6 Culture*
*Due to conflicting adjacency bonuses, getting the maximum amount of culture means you get the minimum amount of gold shown in the range and vice versa.


Direct bonus
Adjacency bonus
Miscellanious bonus
New maximum yield*

Diplomatic Service
Renaissance Era
1 Culture
2-7 Gold**
2-7 Culture**

Modern Era
Culture yield added to tourism
2-7 Gold**
2-7 Culture**
2-7 Tourism**
*This assumes you have the enhancements of earlier eras.

**Due to conflicting adjacency bonuses, getting the maximum amount of culture and tourism means you get the minimum amount of gold shown in the range and vice versa.
Victory Skew
In this section, the civ is graded based on how much it leans towards a specific victory type - not how powerful it is. Any score of 3 or above means the civ or leader has some kind of advantage to the victory route above a hypothetical civ with no unique features. A score of less than 2 means some kind of aspect of the civ actively discourages a particular victory route. All values are subjective and may be edited in future.






Persia's Pairidaeza is the only tile improvement in the game that offers a +2 appeal bonus, making it very powerful at boosting seaside resort and national park tourism. Furthermore, it can offer tourism itself with the Flight technology, making it one of the best unique improvements for cultural victories around. Aside from that, Persia has a couple of small advantages. An extra trade route could mean squeezing in a 25% tourism bonus against another civ, while the culture boost from internal trade helps you get through the civics tree a bit faster. Finally, declaring a surprise war boosts the movement speed of all units - including Archaeologists.

Domination is what Persia's best at, although they're most effective at it earlier in the game. Extra movement from surprise wars is a humongous boost and can keep the war machine moving along even on faster game speeds, where warmongers tend to have less time to fight. Immortals can fight where Archers cannot thanks to their higher melee strength relative to them, and gold from internal trading means you can have a decent economy without worrying about routes being pillaged in war-time.

Religious victory isn't the best route for Persia, though a few unique advantages can really help. Early boosts to culture can help you get to key civics like Reformed Church sooner, an extra trader route could mean a bit more religious pressure on another civ, Pairidaeza appeal makes it easy to make lots of faith out of the Earth Goddess pantheon while movement bonuses for surprise wars can help your religious units as well as military ones.

Persia is weakest at scientific victories and lacks much in the way of direct advantages to it. Faster civic gain can help with a few eureka boosts as can extra gold to buy certain units or buildings with. Of course, early conquests can give you a strong base to go for a scientific victory with, but you'd be better off going for culture.
Civ Ability: Satrapies

Two trade routes without needing Currency or Celestial Navigation!

Persia's civ ability makes extensive internal trade much more effective, especially in the classical era.

Extra trade route with Political Philosophy

Political Philosophy is a key civic any civ will want quickly, and Persia gets even more out of it than most. The Oligarchy government offers a +4 strength boost to Immortals (the only unit with a ranged attack in the entire game that benefits) while you also get an extra point of trade route capacity. You'll want to be preparing for Immortal warfare early in the game, and with an extra trade route, you can put off building Commercial Hubs in order to focus more on that.

Extra gold and culture for internal trade

Internal trade routes are a good source of food and production, but don't offer much in the way of gold. For Persia, you can get all the food and production advantages while also receiving a reasonable sum of gold and some culture. This is particularly powerful early on - extra gold lets you support more Immortals while more culture gets you to Political Philosophy sooner.

Later on in the game, the small culture yield can help new cities to expand their borders right away without you needing to spend gold or construct a Monument. Generally, you should stick to internal trade until your tourism output balloons in the modern era and the 25% tourism boost for sending a trade route to a civ becomes more powerful.

Improved roads

Traders create roads when they travel along trade routes, helping you to move your units around more rapidly. Internal trade routes result in roads connecting up your cities, letting you move forces around more rapidly, relocate Builders to where they're needed, and so on. Aside from trade routes, roads are also automatically created on district tiles (including the city centre). Starting in the medieval era, Military Engineer units may construct roads directly.

There's four types of road in the game:

Road Type
Ancient Road
  • Units ignore terrain movement costs except for river crossings
Classical Road
  • Units ignore terrain movement costs
  • Forms bridges over rivers allowing units to cross them for no additional movement cost
Industrial Road
  • Units ignore terrain movement costs
  • Forms bridges over rivers allowing units to cross them for no additional movement cost
  • Units use 0.75 movement points per road tile instead of 1
Modern Road
  • Units ignore terrain movement costs
  • Forms bridges over rivers allowing units to cross them for no additional movement cost
  • Units use 0.5 movement points per road tile instead of 1

Normally, each type of road is unlocked as soon as you enter their respective era (whether through technology or civics). For Persia, however, you end up with roads a tier better than you'd expect - though only for roads within your own territory. You'll get classical roads from the start of the game, industrial roads in the classical era and modern roads in the industrial era.

Although this bonus might look like a powerful bonus to unit mobility in the classical era, the reduced movement cost will only help units get around your empire if they have at least three movement points to begin with. Thankfully, Cyrus' extra movement when you declare a surprise war will get all your units over that threshold.

After declaring a surprise war, Builders and Settlers in your lands may be able to move as many as 5 tiles a turn starting in the classical era - other civs won't manage more than 2 for quite some time! That can really help cut down the time needed to reach new spots for settling.

For the 10 turns following a surprise war, use Persia's enhanced roads to get any necessary reinforcements to the front lines sooner. Be prepared to purchase some tiles containing roads so you can get them upgraded to industrial roads, as roads outside your territory won't be bumped up a tier.

When you enter the industrial era, you'll end up with modern roads. Unlike industrial roads, these offer a strong speed boost to all land units. This advantage is short-lived, however - Flight, Radio and Conservation are key technologies and civics for the cultural game, and they all arrive in the modern era.


  • You should mostly trade internally until the modern era.
  • Industrial roads in the classical era is most effective when combined with Cyrus' surprise war movement bonuses.
Unique Unit: Immortal (Part 1/2)

Immortals have a really unusual status in the game. At first, they appear to be an Archer with a higher cost in exchange for much more defence, but they come with a host of distinct attributes which allow them to do things other units cannot do.


As a Swordsman replacement, Immortals need just three technologies:
  • Mining
  • Bronze Working (Boost: Kill three Barbarians - Training a Slinger or some Warriors early on will handle that)
  • Iron Working (Boost: Construct an iron mine - Once iron is revealed, sending a Settler over there to improve it could be a good idea.)

You may want to make a couple of small detours for key Builder technologies if necessary, but remember that with early warfare, the sooner you can get your UU up and running, the better. If you have time, get a decent number of Warriors trained so you can upgrade them as soon as you have Iron Working.

Immortals are unique among units with a ranged attack in that they can also attack from melee. As such, it's quite possible to have an army consisting of only Immortals. Nonetheless, you may want to get some Horsemen eventually to act as front-line bodyguards for them, seeing as Immortals have a lower melee strength than Swordsmen.

A Very Unusual Archer

When using their ranged attack, Immortals are more like Archer replacements than Swordsmen replacements in terms of their role in combat. Compared to Archers, Immortals have the following differences that affect how you train and support them:
  • Takes a bit longer to research
  • 67% Higher cost (100 production/400 gold/200 faith rather than 60/240/120)
  • Benefits from production bonuses to melee infantry rather than ranged units (currently that doesn't make a difference seeing as both unit classifications share policy cards offering more production)
  • Different upgrade path
  • Double maintenance (2 gold/turn instead of 1)

And here's the differences that matter in combat:
  • Can melee attack and therefore capture cities
    • When melee attacking, no -17 strength penalty vs. city defences
  • 30 melee strength, up from 15
  • 10 strength bonus vs. anti-mounted units
  • Imposes zone of control, which also means fewer units are needed to place a city under siege
  • Uses melee infantry promotions rather than ranged promotions
  • Can benefit from Oligarchy's +4 strength bonus
  • Counts as a classical-era unit, so unlike Archers there's Great Generals that can boost them

Let's look at all of those differences in that order:

Better defence

Although Immortals don't defend as well as Swordsmen do, they still have a 15-point advantage over Archers. To give you an idea of what that's like in practice, here's a table of the average damage received by Archers and Immortals when attacked by certain units. This assumes both units have no promotions or similar strength bonuses and are at full health at the start of combat. The values shown may vary by up to 25%.

Defending against
Archer damage
Immortal damage
Heavy Chariot
*This surprisingly low number is a consequence of the +10 strength bonus against anti-mounted units Immortals have.

That's a substantial difference! Immortals can survive at least one extra hit from any unit of its time, which helps to compensate for its higher production and maintenance cost.

Bonus vs. anti-mounted units

Even good terrain can't save you!

Because having a +10 strength bonus against anti-mounted units is a core feature of the melee infantry unit class, Immortals get to have it. You can kill Spearmen in 2-3 hits (Archers need 3-4) and defend against them very effectively. If you're using cavalry units to get the final hit on a city, having ranged units that can quickly clear enemy Spearmen is very handy.

Zone of control

Zone of control is a mechanic that prevents non-cavalry units from easily slipping past units, and also allows you to place a city under siege (which prevents it healing) without completely surrounding it with units. Archers need a promotion to impose Zone of Control, but Immortals do not, making sieges much easier to pull off - especially in conjunction with Cyrus' movement speed bonus.
Unique Unit: Immortal (Part 2/2)

The melee infantry promotion tree.

Now we're getting into some really interesting differences. Immortals use melee infantry promotions, which have a bit more of an immediate impact.

Let's go through each promotion and look at what they mean to Immortals:

Battlecry - Although slightly narrower in scope than the Volley promotion Archers have (which applies to all land units), a +7 strength bonus instead of +5 is a helpful little boost - especially as it works in defence as well as attack.

Tortoise - Gives your Immortals essentially 40 strength against ranged attacks. It's much better than the Emplacement promotion ranged units can pick up as it applies to all ranged units - not just city attacks - and also is on the first, rather than third, row of promotions.

Commando - With it, Immortals are the only ranged unit in the game that can disembark onto cliff tiles. More importantly, you receive +1 movement, allowing Immortals to move at an impressive 5 points per turn for the first 10 turns after starting a surprise war. This allows you to pillage, move and shoot all in the same turn.

Amphibious - This promotion has niche usage for Immortals. Although useless when you're performing a ranged attack, it can be helpful if you need to take cities across a river. You're usually better off taking something else.

Zweihander - Fight even more effectively against Spearmen. When attacking them, you'll have a 17 strength advantage, letting you kill them in two hits fairly reliably.

Urban Warfare - Unfortunately, this only seems to work defensively - it won't help you deal more damage against cities. The ranged promotion line has Incendaries, for a +7 strength bonus against cities while Immortals get no equivalent - one of the downsides of the different promotion set.

Elite Guard - Despite the differing descriptions, this basically works the same way as Expert Marksman in the ranged promotion tree.

Overall, these promotions offer slightly less in the way of damage output but an awful lot more when it comes to defence against enemy attacks. Thankfully, Immortals have a couple of extra tricks that help them catch up to and even exceed the damage output of Archers.


Because Immortals are classed as melee infantry units, they can benefit from the Oligarchy government's +4 strength bonus. This works both when attacking and when defending, making Immortals not just an Archer with strong defence, but also one that attacks better as well.

Great Generals

The earliest Great Generals in the game arrive in the classical era - too late to boost Archers just just in time to make Immortals faster and stronger. If you can get a few Encampments constructed or captured early on, you might be able to grab a classical era Great General (though keep in mind that building Encampments uses up district capacity you could be using for districts that boost the Pairidaeza UI).

An Immortal boosted by a Great General, Oligarchy and Cyrus' surprise wars has 5 movement, 34 ranged strength and 39 melee strength, which makes them almost entirely better than Egypt's Maryannu Chariot Archers for a lower production cost!

Melee Attack

Immortals can perform a melee attack like regular Swordsmen. This prevents the -17 strength penalty against city defences, allows Immortals to make use of Battering Rams and Siege Towers, and lets them take cities.

Against units, you should generally stick to ranged attacks unless the defending unit has a particularly strong defence against them (e.g. the Tortoise promotion for melee infantry units). You'll be able to tell when you hover over the unit.

The choice is yours between melee or ranged. Melee will deal a bit more damage, but your Immortal will take damage in the process.


Immortals are weird units falling half-way between Archers and Swordsmen. More than perhaps any other UU, you can rely on them alone to lead your early conquests.
Cyrus' Leader Ability: Fall of Babylon

Cyrus' leader ability lets you really be the opportunist and declare wars on a whim, but its true power comes in how it can help you put together a strong empire really quickly.

Lower penalties for surprise wars

Surprise wars have the advantage that they can catch opponents off-guard, but normally come with bigger warmonger penalties and more war weariness. Warmonger penalties are only a problem if there's AI opponents in your game, but war weariness will drain your amenities making your empire less productive. For Cyrus, surprise wars are no more punishing than formal wars. As a consequence, you don't need to worry about denouncing civs and waiting some time before starting a war; start as soon as you want to.

+2 movement for 10 turns after declaring a surprise war

Extra movement allows you to pull off a lot of manoeuvres that you usually can't.

Starting on your first turn after you declare war, all your units gain +2 movement for ten turns. Because this bonus is only for a limited time, you'll want to avoid getting involved in drawn-out wars. As such, make sure you have a strong enough army before you start a war.

On the front lines, extra movement allows your Immortals and other slow units to be as mobile as cavalry (except for the fact they don't ignore zone of control). This makes moving through rough terrain much easier, as well as evacuations of wounded units. Light cavalry units with the Depredation promotion become devastatingly effective pillagers, but even your slower units will still have a movement point left over after pillaging - particularly helpful for Immortals as a ranged attack makes it easier to make use of that final movement point.

Reinforcement also becomes faster with extra movement, especially from the classical era as it pushes slower units over the threshold where industrial roads start providing even more movement. This could cut your travel time by as much as 60%, making a five-turn journey possible in just two turns.

Explorers also will benefit. 2 extra points of movement for Scouts means you can uncover a lot more tiles and meet more full civs and city-states.

Even civilian units gain from extra movement. If there's some unclaimed land you want to grab, you can get a Settler over much faster. You don't even need to worry about sending an escort in most cases as the Settler's high sight and mobility will allow it to dodge Barbarians. Meanwhile, Builders can move onto rough terrain and improve it in the same turn, letting you have better tiles a little bit sooner.

Religious units can exploit the extra movement to weave through enemy armies and evade being pillaged, especially with the Missionary Zeal belief. Nonetheless, this is a risky course of action to take!

This ability is powerful throughout the game, but it falls off in effectiveness late in the game when units tend to be faster. Still, it can help relatively slow units like Submarines catch up to faster enemies.

Occupied cities have no yield penalties

It's almost like I founded it myself.

With the eyecatching movement speed bonus from surprise wars, it's easy to ignore the other huge advantage Cyrus brings to the table. Captured cities aren't prevented from growing, and produce things just as well as cities you founded yourself. You'll still have to deal with population loss and damaged buildings that need repairing, but recovery will be a lot faster.

So long as you make sure stronger captured cities have a reasonable supply of food to recover from population loss (internal trade is great for that), they'll end up competitive with your best cities. That's great for training reinforcements for your army, but alternatively you could fill out the districts you need or even start building wonders.

Aside from the advantages you gain to city development from this bonus, it helps to cover a potential weakness from Cyrus' surprise war movement speed. Because you only get a movement speed bonus for ten turns, your opponents are incentivised to try and drag the war out as long as they can. Without this bonus, this would mean dealing with captured cities that can't grow, but with it, you don't need to worry so much.


  • Formal wars are useless when playing as Persia; just go for surprise wars
  • Make sure you have a reasonably large military before declaring war so you can clearly get the upper hand in the first ten turns of war
  • Occupied cities can grow and produce as if you founded them yourself, which really helps with empire development.
Unique Improvement: Pairidaeza

The Pairidaeza plays very differently earlier in the game to later on. At first, it offers a reasonable mixture of culture and gold complementing Persia's civ ability. Come the modern era, however, and it becomes a tourism powerhouse - both directly and indirectly thanks to its high appeal boost.

Although Pairidaezas can be constructed in the ancient era, you'll probably want to hold off until you've launched your first Immortal war seeing as food and production are more important yields at that point in the game. The base yield is reasonable if not exceptional, but add some adjacency bonuses and you can end up with both an incredibly strong economy and rapid civic accumulation.

You can get adjacency bonuses from city centres, Commercial Hubs, Holy Sites and Theatre Squares. The former two offer gold, while the latter two offer culture. Generally, a point of culture is more valuable than a point of gold, though be careful. While Theatre Squares are worth building many of, you won't have a great need for Holy Sites until you need the faith for Naturalists in the modern era. Still, your Immortal city conquests might result in you having multiple Holy Site cities, and you may as well use them.

Positioning districts and Pairidaezas can be a bit of a puzzle. You'll need to decide whether you want a greater Pairidaeza yield, more district adjacency bonuses or more tile appeal for national parks and seaside resorts later.

Here is just one possible layout which offers high appeal for a future national park while also offering good Pairidaeza yields. "Districts" refers to Holy Sites and Theatre Squares, both of which add appeal to adjacent tiles in addition to boosting adjacent Pairidaezas. The big downsides to this arrangement are the need to have relatively open terrain, the need to remove resources from some tiles and the low adjacency bonuses for the Holy Sites involved. However, this formation will be make a national park worth 22 tourism at the absolute minimum, or 32 if all national park tiles are filled with second-growth woods.

Although the optimal layout can be tricky to achieve - especially when you're dealing with cities you've captured which already have Holy Sites or Theatre Squares built - you can still place Pairidaezas around national parks for strong tourism outputs.

Curiously, Pairidaezas may be constructed on desert tiles. Without the Petra wonder, Pairidaezas on desert tiles aren't especially worthwhile to work, but a formation of four Pairidezas offers just enough appeal that you can create a national park there. Although inferior to locations where you can plant trees for extra appeal, or mountainous regions, this does give open expanses of desert a use for Persia that other civs don't have.

Pairidaezas can be great for getting the most out of seaside resorts as well as national parks. It's easier to optimise seaside resorts as they don't have as strict positioning requirements, though remember that seaside resorts have to be worked by one of a city's citizens to provide tourism unlike national parks.

This image shows examples of how you can position Pairidaezas on different shapes of coastline to ensure every spot has at least breathtaking appeal.

If you sought to optimise gold and culture yields earlier in the game, you might have to remove and relocate some Pairidaezas for better tourism from national parks and seaside resorts later on. While it's true that a Pairidaeza that produces less culture will also produce less tourism, the appeal boost will nearly always makes up for that.

There's another use for appeal - maximising Neighbourhood housing. The Pairidaeza on the bottom-left corner of the national park was moved from a tile further left in order to maximise my tourism output, which also resulted in a free tile with lots of appeal.


While a reasonable tile improvement for strengthening your economy or getting you through the civics tree earlier in the game, the Pairidaeza really shines in the modern era thanks to the huge contribution to tourism - both directly and indirectly - it can offer. Positioning the tile improvement to maximise national park and seaside resort yields is generally more important than maximising its direct yields, but if you plan ahead, you may be able to do both.
Administration - Government and Religion
The administration section covers the policy cards, pantheons, religious beliefs, wonders, city-states and Great People which have particularly good synergy with Persian uniques. Be aware that these are not necessarily the best choices, but rather options that you should consider more than usual if playing as Persia relative to other Civs.


Classical Era Governments

Oligarchy is definitely your best option, seeing as Immortals gain a +4 strength boost from them. You can also gain experience at a faster rate.

Medieval/Renaissance Era Governments

Merchant Republic is great. Although it lacks military policy cards, which can be annoying if you want to continue down that route, it offers two additional trade routes and cheaper gold purchasing. That will both make your economy stronger and help you get more out of all that money.

Modern Era Governments

Democracy is a great choice if you're after a cultural victory. Persia's relatively strong economy means the discount on Great Person patronage goes a long way - excellent for grabbing those last few GWAMs. The high quantity of economic policy cards allows you to take lots of tourism-boosting ones at once.

Still want to go to war? Fascism offers a strength bonus to all your military units as well as a boost to unit production. Fast, strong units are quite a pain to be up against.

Policy Cards

Ancient Era

Agoge (Military, requires Craftsmanship) - Helps you build Immortals faster.

Caravansaries (Economic, requires Foreign Trade) - With this policy card, all your internal trade routes will be producing 4 gold each - better than the base yield for international trading! That's very helpful for supporting Immortal-led forces with.

Conscription (Military, requires State Workforce) - Immortals are costlier to maintain than Archers; this policy card makes it a fair bit more manageable.

Medieval Era

Serfdom (Economic, requires Feudalism) - The medieval era is a good time to start building a fair number of Pairidaezas, as by this point you should have a few Commercial Hubs and Theatre Squares to boost their yields. Extra Builder charges should really help out there.

Renaissance Era

Logistics (Military, requires Mercantilism) - Extra movement in friendly territory is a bonus that's useful in peace and war alike. Slower units will become just fast enough to benefit from the movement speed bonus of industrial roads, but declare a surprise war and your units will zoom through your realm at brakeneck speeds. Whether you're repositioning Pairidaezas ahead of the arrival of national parks, or getting military units to the front lines faster, that'll be useful.

Triangular Trade (Economic, requires Mercantilism) - Need a little bit more money from your powerful internal trade routes? Triangular Trade can help with that. You'll also get a little bit of faith as well.

Industrial Era

Public Works (Economic, requires Civil Engineering) - Get better Builders, sooner. Excellent for constructing Pairidaezas and Seaside Resorts.

Modern Era

Collectivisation (Economic, requires Class Struggle) - Domestic trade becomes all the more powerful with this policy card, offering +4 food for each one.

Information Era

Online Communities (Economic, requires Social Media) - Unfortunately, you'll have to move away from so much internal trade later in the game to get tourism multipliers, but remember that Persia gets one more trade route than most other civs. That makes it a little bit easier to use Online Communities' huge tourism boost.


Dance of the Aurora or Desert Folklore - Pairidaezas can make even desert and tundra regions suitable for national parks. Holy Sites offer appeal and make Pairidaezas stronger, but it's usually hard to balance that with trying to get lots of faith out of Holy Site adjacency bonuses. With one of these pantheons, you don't need to worry about that tricky balancing act.

Earth Goddess - Pairidaezas offer so much appeal you can easily get most tiles in your empire offering bonus faith.

God of the Forge - Helps you train Immortals and other early units faster.

Religious Beliefs

You can have one founder, one follower, one enhancer and one worship belief.

Choral Music (Follower) - Building up Holy Sites to boost your Pairidaezas? Enjoy getting even more culture.

Jesuit Education (Follower) - Pairidaezas benefit from you having lots of Holy Sites and Theatre Squares. Use the excess faith from the former to fill up the latter, and you can really boost your culture output.

Lay Ministry (Founder) - Not an especially strong bonus but has synergy with both Holy Sites and Theatre Squares, which boost Pairidaeza yields.

Missionary Zeal (Enhancer) - Want to play the religious game? Declaring a surprise war will make your religious units faster as well as your military units, and coupled with this belief, they'll move at incredible speeds.
Administration - Wonders, City-States and Great People

Pyramids (Ancient era, Masonry technology) - A nice wonder to capture as you may need to dedicate a lot of Builder charges to Pairidaezas.

Colossus (Classical era, Shipbuilding technology) - Extra trade route capacity goes further for Persia for most civs, as you can benefit from the gold and culture boosts.

Great Lighthouse (Classical era, Celestial Navigation technology) - On water-heavy maps, this wonder will go well in conjunction with Cyrus' leader ability to give you an incredibly mobile navy.

Jebel Barkal (Classical era, Iron Working technology) - A good source of faith to prepare you for building National Parks later. Unlike most faith wonders, you don't need Holy Sites or a religion to make good use of this. Requires the Nubia civilization and scenario pack.

Petra (Classical era, Mathematics technology) - Pairidaezas can be constructed on desert tiles. Petra makes desert tiles amazing. Put the two together, and you can make an incredibly rich city.

Great Zimbabwe (Renaissance era, Banking technology) - Find a city with lots of bonus resources and enjoy the sheer amount of gold it can produce, especially in conjunction with Persia's civ ability.

Broadway (Modern era, Mass Media civic) - Far less important for Persia than the Cristo Redentor or Eiffel Tower, but still handy for offering a +20% culture boost for a city, which goes nicely with Pairidaeza culture.

Cristo Redentor (Modern era, Mass Media civic) - One of the two really important modern-era wonders for Persia, Cristo Redentor makes all seaside resorts doubly effective. This means every point of appeal a seaside resort has adds 4 tourism instead of 2; having two Pairidaezas next to a seaside resort can now add 16 points of tourism!

Eiffel Tower (Modern era, Steel technology) - The other key modern-era wonder for Persia. All of those appeal-heavy tiles your Pairidaezas have made will be even more effective thanks to the empire-wide +2 appeal boost on offer here. All national parks will now generate 8 more tourism, and seaside resorts 4 (8 with Cristo Redentor).


Carthage (Militaristic) - Built a few Encampments with the hope of getting a classical-era Great General? Carthage gives you +1 trade route capacity for every single one you own, which could mean a lot of food, production, gold and culture.

Kabul (Militaristic) - Immortals mainly gain experience from battles they initiate, so you'll be gaining experience very rapidly with this suzerain bonus.

Stockholm (Scientific) - For the best Pairidaeza yields, you'll want plenty of Theatre Squares. With suzerainity over Stockholm, they'll produce lots of GWAM points, excellent for helping you work towards cultural victory.

Great People

As usual, I'm only covering Great People with particular synergy with Persian uniques. All Great Generals can be helpful for Persia - especially those in the classical era - but it would be redundant to list them all.

Classical Era

Zhang Qian (Great Merchant) - More trade route capacity.

Medieval Era

Bi Sheng (Great Engineer) - Whether you built an early Encampment to try and grab a classical-era Great General, or you built a range of districts aiming to maximise Pairidaeza yields, Bi Sheng's extra district capacity will help ensure that city can still construct other important districts.

Irene of Athens (Great Merchant) - More trade route capacity.

Leif Erikson (Great Admiral) - He might seem like an odd choice of Great Person to go for, but combine early ocean crossing with the surprise war movement boost, and you can discover lots of the world before most other civs get a chance.

Marco Polo (Great Merchant) - More trade route capacity.

Renaissance Era

Raja Todar Mal (Great Merchant) - Makes internal trade provide more money. Who needs international trade now? Well, aside from the tourism multipliers they offer.

Industrial Era

Ada Lovelace (Great Engineer) - Extra district capacity lets you squeeze in a Holy Site for its Pairidaeza-boosting, appeal-increasing or faith-yielding functions, or maybe a Theatre Square. Meanwhile, the Computers eureka is helpful as the Computers technology doubles your tourism output.

Gustave Eiffel (Great Engineer) - Both the Eiffel Tower and the Cristo Redentor are crucial wonders for appeal-centric cultural victories, and Gustave Eiffel can help you to rush them.

Horatio Nelson (Great Admiral) - Cyrus' huge movement boost after declaring a surprise war makes it easier to make the most of the flanking bonus on offer here, as you can more easily surround foes.

Modern Era

Alvar Aalto (Great Engineer) - Bonus appeal for a city, meaning even more tourism for its national parks and seaside resorts. Be sure to switch nearby national park and seaside resort tiles to be within this city's limits if they aren't already.

John Rockefeller (Great Merchant) - Get more gold out of your trade routes.

Sarah Breedlove (Great Merchant) - While this bonus does require you to trade internationally rather than internally, remember that Persia has one more trade route over most civs, making this bonus slightly easier to use than it may otherwise be.

Atomic Era

Georgy Zhukov (Great General) - Much like Horatio Nelson's flanking bonus boost on the seas, Georgy Zhukov's bonus on land works well with Cyrus' leader ability.

Melitta Bentz (Great Merchant) - An extra trade route and more tourism from international trade.

Information Era

Charles Correa (Great Engineer) - Two points of bonus appeal for its city. A tile in the city with an adjacent Pairidaeza will be immediately at Breathtaking level assuming no negatives to appeal like rainforests or mines are adjacent.
Persia can be a terrifyingly fast warmonger, and they can be a real threat for cultural victory as well. However, they're very vulnerable to pillaging.


Extra trade route capacity

More trade routes means more routes to plunder. This, along with the Pairidaeza UU, can make Persia very vulnerable to light cavalry such as Horsemen, which are excellent pillagers.

Bonuses for internal trade

Persia is incentivised to keep trade within their own borders - which means you know where they're all likely to be. Internal trading tends to cover shorter distances than international trade, often resulting in traders being easier to catch and raid.

Roads are a tier better

This makes no difference at all from the modern era onwards, and relatively little in the ancient era, but can be powerful between those two points. After declaring a surprise war, Persia's armies can rapidly zoom through their territory and even slower units like Spearmen can catch up to cavalry units.

The trick is to target parts of Persia's road network that go over rough terrain or rivers, and pillage it. The resulting gap in the road will greatly slow their units down until they can dedicate a Builder to fixing it.

Cyrus - Fall of Babylon

Surprise war bonuses

If Cyrus is amassing troops on your border, consider declaring war - even if you're not completely prepared. There might be diplomatic consequences from doing so, but it ensures the war is on your terms and not his. Try a joint war if possible so you can at least share the burden of fighting him and minimise the warmonger penalties.

If you're the target of a surprise war, make use of defensive terrain to ensure you can delay Cyrus as much as possible. The less Cyrus achieves in the first ten turns, the better.

Furthermore, be careful of pillagers (especially light cavalry) as they can very quickly tear apart your improvements and districts apart. Use your roads and some cavalry of your own and you should be able to catch up to them.

Occupied city bonuses

If Cyrus takes one of your cities, and you're not sure you can immediately recapture it, you might want to employ scorched-earth tactics - that is to say, pillage everything around it. Cities Persia captures off you won't have penalties to yields or growth and can rapidly contribute to their war effort. Don't let that happen! Pillaging farms, Aqueducts and Neighbourhoods will be particularly helpful as cutting down the city's housing limit will stop it from rapidly regrowing to its pre-conquest peak.

Cyrus - AI Agenda (Opportunist)

Cyrus likes civs that declare surprise wars, and dislikes those who don't.

Surprise wars have no warmonger penalties in the ancient era, and relatively little in the classical era. If you want to please Cyrus (and put him off attacking you), then might be a good time to do so. On the other hand, the AI like to attack civs which are already at war so be careful!

If you're playing a peaceful game and border Cyrus, be prepared for a war at any moment. Training a few military units might cost you a wonder now, but could very well save your empire later.


Immortals attack like Archers but defend like weak Swordsmen. Cavalry units such as Heavy Chariots and Horsemen cost less than Immortals do and deal good damage. Keep Spearmen without the Thrust promotion far away from them. Swordsmen of your own are also good, especially with the Battlecry or Tortoise promotions.

Remember that Immortals can perform both melee and ranged attacks, making them the only unit with a ranged attack that can capture cities.


Pairidaezas produce +2 appeal. Pillaged Pairidaezas produce -1 appeal. Careful use of Cavalry, Helicopters with the Depredation promotion or bomber-class aircraft can quickly set back Persia's tourism output while also giving you a reasonable sum of culture. Culture helps you accumulate domestic tourists, which slows down Persia's progress at cultural victory even more.
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Zigzagzigal  [author] May 10, 2018 @ 10:09am 
Thankfully I never got around to changing the guide to remove references to the melee attack, so that saved me some trouble now.
Francis Sinclair May 10, 2018 @ 7:45am 
The May 2018 update for PC and iPad fixed the bug preventing the Persian Immortal from using melee as its default attack. Immortals can capture cities again.
Zigzagzigal  [author] Apr 20, 2018 @ 3:04pm 
Also, the iPad version if I recall correctly is on an earlier patch before they got the ability to melee attack. Not certain of that though.
Zigzagzigal  [author] Apr 20, 2018 @ 2:34pm 
It appears to be a change that came about when Rise and Fall was released. I didn't update this guide at first because I thought it may be a Rise and Fall-exclusive change. I'll put up a temporary message for now and update this guide properly with the next patch.
Francis Sinclair Apr 20, 2018 @ 2:58am 
These are terrific guides and I use them a lot. Thanks for all the hard work it’s much appreciated. I discovered today that immortals cannot capture cities on the iPad version of the game.
Tama Jan 8, 2018 @ 11:40am 
Thank you for this excellent guide(s).
Zigzagzigal  [author] Oct 19, 2017 @ 2:45pm 
Changes from the Autumn 2017 update relevant to Persia:

- Immortals may now attack with melee, which avoids a -17 strength penalty against cities and lets them use bonuses from Siege Towers and Battering Rams.

- The new Earth Goddess Pantheon and Choral Music Follower belief are directly useful for Persia.

- Trade routes now spread religious pressure.

- National Parks are now immune to culture bombs.
Zigzagzigal  [author] Sep 10, 2017 @ 9:47am 
The guide to Nubia is now complete. It's the most straightforward of the DLC civs with strong early rushing potential.
Zigzagzigal  [author] Sep 5, 2017 @ 8:15am 
Whoops, must have got mixed up with one of the other city-states. I'll go and fix that.
paulski66 Sep 5, 2017 @ 8:07am 
For Auckland: I thought the bonus production applied to the shallow water tiles, not the coastal (land) tiles.