Sid Meier's Civilization VI

Sid Meier's Civilization VI

72 ratings
Zigzagzigal's Guides - China (Vanilla)
By Zigzagzigal
If you're willing to put in the effort, China will reward you with rapid technology and civic gain - making them suited to both scientific and cultural victories. Here, I detail Chinese 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This guide is no longer updated, but will remain for the sake of those without the Rise and Fall expansion.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.

Innovation requires the will to experiment. While the rest of the world attempts to carefully research what came before and see if they can form anything new out of it, China will take bold risks in furthering the causes of science and culture. Out of such innovation comes the Crouching Tiger Cannon, a fine invention ready to protect our ancient wonders against the barbarian hordes that await us beyond the Great Wall. With our external borders secure, we will need to look to our internal defences. Spies will lurk around every corner, seeking to steal our greatest discoveries. Be vigilant, and always ready to act.

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 section 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

China has no start bias.

Civilization Ability: Dynastic Cycle

  • All technology boosts (eurekas) and civic boosts (inspirations) complete 60% of the research for their respective technology or civic, up from 50%.

Qin Shi Huang's Leader Ability: The First Emperor

  • Builders have an additional charge (4 by default instead of 3).
    • This extra charge is kept if the Builder is captured by another civ.
  • Builders can use a charge to contribute 15% of the production cost of a wonder from the ancient or classical era.
    • This is affected by modifiers to general production and wonder production.
    • This is tied to the wonder's era, not your current era.
    • You cannot add a charge to a wonder that is not currently being worked on.
    • If you contribute more production via a charge than is needed to complete the wonder, the excess is carried over to the next thing you build.

Unique Unit: Crouching Tiger Cannon

A medieval-era ranged land unit which does not replace anything

Upgrades from
Upgrades to
Resource needed

Medieval era

Industrial era

Field Cannon
(260 Gold)
160 Production
640 Gold
320 Faith*
3 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.

Ranged Strength
Negative Attributes
Positive Attributes
30 Melee Strength
50 Ranged Strength
2 Movement Points
1 Range
  • Unable to capture cities
  • -17 Ranged Strength vs. city defences
  • -17 Ranged Strength vs. naval units
  • Does not exert zone of control

Notable features

  • Has 1 range; Crossbowmen, which are available at the same technology, have a range of 2.
  • Has 50 ranged strength; half-way between a Crossbowman (40) and a Field Cannon (60).
  • Costs 160 production, 640 gold or 320 faith, 11% cheaper than a Crossbowman (180 production, 720 gold or 360 faith)
  • Costs 260 gold to upgrade to a Field Cannon, 13% more than a Crossbowmen needs (230)

Unique Improvement: Great Wall

Terrain requirement
Constructed by
Pillage yield

Ancient era
Land tile on the border of your territory, free from woods, jungle, floodplain or resources, and not adjacent to more than two Great Wall tiles, nor two Great Wall tiles which are already adjacent to each other.

50 Gold

Defensive bonus
Direct yield
Adjacency yields
Miscellanious bonus
Maximum possible yield
4 Strength
1 Gold per adjacent Great Wall
2 Gold


Direct bonus
Adjacency bonus
Miscellanious bonus
New maximum yield

Medieval era
1 Culture per adjacent Great Wall
2 Gold
2 Culture

Modern Era
Culture yield added to tourism
2 Gold
2 Culture
2 Tourism
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.





Qin Shi Huang

Cultural victories work very well as China. Easy construction of early wonders can help you accumulate a substantial amount of tourism (not to mention the Theatre Square adjacency bonuses) while the Great Wall can provide you with some extra tourism late in the game. Finally, faster civic accumulation helps you get to the late-arriving tourism-boosting policy cards like Heritage Tourism sooner.

Domination victories, on the other hand, aren't such an effective option. While Crouching Tiger Cannons are strong for their era, their short range makes them far better-suited to defence. Nonetheless, getting through technologies and civics faster can provide you with a military edge, so China has some advantage at it.

If you want to pursue a religious victory as China, try rushing Stonehenge and taking the Divine Inspiration belief. If you can rush Mahabodhi Temple as well, you can get a mature religion early along with a nice faith output. The problem with this method is it heavily depends on factors outside your control.

Science is the other strong route to take as China. Stronger Eureka boosts means more for scientific victories than stronger Inspirations does for cultural victories, but on the other hand, the early wonder-building advantages and the Great Wall UI don't offer as much for a scientific game. China also lacks advantages to production, which can cause problems when trying to develop space projects.
Civ Ability: Dynastic Cycle

Note that the boost as shown on the Eureka dialogue box only displays a 50% bonus rather than the proper 60%. This also occurs when you look at potential boosts for technologies and civics you haven't yet unlocked - remember to account for the 10 percentage point difference if you want to partially-research something and get the boost later!

Boosts are important, especially to the cultural game and even more so for scientific victories. Getting half a technology or civic unlocked saves a considerable amount of time. Careful use of boosts can put you ahead of other civs even if your science/culture outputs are somewhat lacking.

For China, chasing up boosts becomes even more important. A good example to illustrate this is a hypothetical technology that takes 10 turns to unlock for both China and a competing civ. Both civs get the Eureka. China needs only 4 turns to get the technology now, while the competing civ needs 5. China essentially gets a 20% reduction in science costs, or to put it another way, a 25% science bonus!

This advantage is particularly strong early in the game, when most Eurekas and Inspirations are relatively easy to unlock. Many are tied to Builder actions, and the fact you have an extra charge on every Builder helps get you these Eureka/Inspiration boosts even faster. It gets rather trickier into the middle of the game, where many boosts require use of specific units or unusual research orders. You can try researching technologies or civics to 40% completion and then switch to something else while you try to unlock their corresponding boosts, but this isn't always the best option. If you come across an important technology or civic with a tricky boost (Mass Media is a good example), don't feel you have to wait for the boost - just go ahead and research it.

What to get the boost for and what not to can be a tricky The situation can vary substantially depending on how your game's going, but here are some general points to consider:
  • Boosts dependent on Builder actions are generally easy to obtain. Early in the game, if you lack an appropriate resource type for the boost, you can usually settle a new city in range of it. Later on, that's not always possible, so getting the technology/civic without the boost is often a better option.
  • Boosts dependent on constructing districts or buildings should be given special attention. Try to ensure all your cities have a diverse range of districts between them, and getting these boosts won't be too hard.
  • Boosts dependent on specific units are some of the hardest, requiring use of production or gold that could go towards development. It's often worth going without the boost.
  • Eurekas dependent on the civic tree and Inspirations dependent on the technology tree can vary considerably in difficulty, but on the whole if you keep your science and culture outputs reasonably balanced it should make the process much easier.
  • Boosts dependent on Great People can be tricky and pretty unpredictable. Don't dedicate too much effort to picking them up unless they're Great People you'd want to obtain anyway (e.g. a Great Artist to help with cultural victory)
  • Boosts dependent on other civs like the ones for Writing and Defensive Tactics are highly unpredictable. Unless they're on an important research path, it can be worth holding off researching them for a while to increase the odds you'll get the boost.

Some boosts you can find sneaky ways around. I didn't have enough units of the same type to form three Corps for the Mobilisation boost, so I simply bought a couple of Scouts and got them to form a Corps, saving me a considerable amount of time and money.

There's alternative means of gaining boosts as well, but you typically don't have so much control over them. Here's a list of those methods:

  • Randomly from ancient ruins
  • Various Great People (mostly Great Scientists); see the administration section of this guide for more information.
  • The city-states Seoul and Vilnius offer a Eureka and Inspiration boost respectively every time you enter a new era while being their suzerain.
  • The classical-era Great Library wonder (available at the Recorded History civic) grants you all ancient and classical-era Eurekas. This is one of the wonders you can rush with Builders thanks to Qin Shi Huang's leader ability.
  • Spies can steal Eurekas from other civs via the Steal Technology mission. You unlock Spies at the renaissance-era Diplomatic Service civic, and can build more with the industrial-era Nationalism civic, the modern-era Ideology civic, the atomic-era Cold War civic and the atomic-era Computers technology. You can build them faster with the Machiavellianism diplomatic civic card, unlocked at Diplomatic Service.
  • The modern-era Broadway wonder gives a random free atomic-era Inspiration boost.

Remember that scientific victories benefit from certain late-arriving civics like Space Race, and cultural victories benefit from some late-arriving technologies like Computers. Try to have a good output of both science and culture regardless of which victory route you're going for.

Ultimately, China's civ ability is a powerful one if used well, but does not require a particularly significant change in strategy relative to a typical game; playing around boosts is important anyway no matter your civ.
Qin Shi Huang's Leader Ability: The First Emperor (Part 1/2)

Rushing Wonders - Mechanics

Early-game wonders are often quite a risk to pick up. Dedicating a lot of production early on to something there's no guarentee you'll win (especially on high difficulties) instead of developing your cities can easily backfire. For Qin Shi Huang, however, smart use of Builders can see you secure multiple wonders even on the highest difficulties, setting you up for the rest of the game.

At the start of the game, you should try and expand fairly quickly. 3-4 cities is a good number to have. With the Ilkum economic policy card (available at Craftsmanship) you can affordably get Builders trained even in small cities, allowing your entire empire to contribute towards wonder construction. Just one Builder can cover 60% of the production cost of an ancient or classical-era wonder.

A good trick to speed up construction is to use three out of four charges on any Builders you have dedicated to constructing tile improvements. That way, when they contribute to wonder construction they will be depleted, freeing up the tile and letting you move another Builder in. This can allow you to contribute multiple charges in a single turn! If you get a one-charge Builder on a wonder surrounded by others (at least five surrounding them must have one charge remaining) you can rush an entire wonder in a single turn.

Another trick you can use to maximise production efficiency is as follows:

  1. Set a city to build a Wonder
  2. Contribute a Builder charge
  3. Set the city's production to something else
  4. End turn
  5. At the start of your next turn, switch production back to the wonder
  6. Contribute another Builder charge
  7. Set the city's production back to the other thing
  8. End turn
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 until the wonder is complete.

Essentially, it will allow your city to build two things at once.

This method in practice. Every turn, I switch between the two ensuring I can contribute towards both a Builder and the Pyramids.

You can go beyond the normal 15% of wonder costs by using bonuses that boost wonder production (or modifiers to general production, but they arrive too late to be relevant). Key ones include:
  • (Pantheon) Monument to the Gods: +15% production boost to ancient and classical-era wonders. This makes every Builder charge worth an extra 2.25% of ancient/classical wonder costs.
  • (Government) Autocracy: +10% bonus to wonder construction. This makes every Builder charge worth an extra 1.5% of ancient/classical wonder costs.
  • (Policy Card) Corvée: +15% production boost to ancient and classical-era wonders. This makes every Builder charge worth an extra 2.25% of ancient/classical wonder costs.
  • (City-State) Brussels: +15% production bonus to all wonders if you are suzerain. This makes every Builder charge worth an extra 2.25% of ancient/classical wonder costs.

The bonuses from Monument of the Gods and Corvée are the best to have around. Brussels won't appear in every game and the suzerain bonus may be hard to secure, while the Autocracy government has an awkward set of policy cards that the 10% wonder construction bonus doesn't make up for.

Rushing Wonders - The List

Now that the mechanics are out of the way, let's consider the wonders themselves. Here's a list of all ancient and classical era wonders in a rough chronological order.


Requires the ancient-era Astrology technology.
Must be constructed on flat land adjacent to stone.
+2 faith. Free Great Prophet and may found a religion on Stonehenge.

The temptation of an early free religion is great, but even with China's ability to rush wonders it's a hard one to pick up. Still, if you manage it, you can grab the Divine Inspiration belief and enjoy a strong early faith output.

Hanging Gardens

Requires the ancient-era Irrigation technology.
Must be constructed adjacent to a river.
+15% growth in all cities, and +2 housing in this city.

Requiring two technologies rather than Stonehenge's one, the Hanging Gardens is typically the earliest wonder you can get a good shot at grabbing even on high difficulties. Large cities are ideal for building post-classical era wonders.

Great Pyramids

Requires the ancient-era Masonry technology.
Must be constructed on a desert or floodplains tile without hills.
+2 culture. Grants 1 free Builder, all Builders receive +1 charge.

One of the best early wonders for China, an extra Builder charge will help you build future wonders even faster. The free Builder from this wonder will be enough to help you get 75% of another wonder built.


Requires the ancient-era Mysticism civic.
Must be constructed on hills.
All districts in this city produce +2 Great Person Points of their corresponding type (Theatre Squares only produce Great Writer Points). Patronage of Great People via faith costs 25% less.

A reasonable wonder which is particularly good in large cities that can support a large variety of districts. China doesn't get any direct bonuses to faith output, so the cheap patronage is a fairly niche bonus.
Qin Shi Huang's Leader Ability: The First Emperor (Part 2/2)
Great Lighthouse

Requires the classical-era Celestial Navigation technology.
Must be constructed on the coast (not a lake), adjacent to a Harbour district containing a Lighthouse.
+3 gold and +1 Great Admiral Point per turn. All naval units gain +1 movement.

Mainly useful for water-heavy maps. It's a pretty uncompetitive wonder which means you can pick it up late into the game, if you want to maximise Theatre Square adjacency or something like that.

Jebel Barkal
Requires the Nubia Civilization and Scenario Pack.

Requires the classical-era Iron Working technology.
Must be constructed on desert hills.
Awards +2 iron and +4 faith to all cities within six tiles.

Great in conjunction with the Oracle. China doesn't have a great need for iron or faith, so this isn't the highest priority wonder out there.


Requires the classical-era Games and Recreation civic.
Must be constructed on flat land adjacent to an Entertainment Complex.
+2 culture and +3 amenities to all city centres within six tiles.

A very good wonder to have in the hands of practically any civ, the Colosseum should eliminate any problems you have regarding amenities for a very long time. The one notable downside is the need to build an Entertainment Complex early in the game instead of something like a Campus or Theatre Square, but that's a pretty small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.

Requires the Persia and Macedon Civilization and Scenario Pack.

Requires the classical-era Political Philosophy civic.
Must be constructed adjacent to your capital's City Centre.
+2 Great Work slots of any type, +2 envoys, all future wonders built in this city provide +2 envoys.

Excellent for the cultural players among us who intend to carry on constructing wonders beyond classical-era ones. Even if you're not, some pre-medieval wonders are likely to still be available for construction after Apadana is done. The main problems with this wonder are that it arrives at a civic most civs want to obtain quickly, and that it's very limited in regards to where you can build it - just six tiles at the most are eligible.


Requires the classical-era Shipbuilding technology.
Must be constructed on the coast (not a lake), adjacent to a Harbour district.
+3 gold, +1 Great Admiral Point, +1 trade route capacity, gain a free Trader

The Colossus is a fairly uncompetitive wonder and has a rather useful benefit with its free trade route. That can help your smaller cities to grow faster via internal trading, getting you ready for the tougher technology/civic boosts in the middle of the game.


Requires the classical-era Mathematics technology.
Must be constructed on a desert or floodplains tile without hills.
All desert tiles (except floodplains) in range of the city gain +2 food, +2 gold and +1 production.

A very powerful wonder if constructed in a city with a lot of desert hills, though even flat desert can become pretty decent considering Great Walls can be constructed on desert. Bring a couple of Builders and even a new city can get this constructed in six turns at the most, or seven Builder charges. The main problems are finding an appropriate spot (you won't always start near desert) and getting to Mathematics reasonably quickly (its boost can be quite difficult, requiring three different kinds of speciality districts).

Terracotta Army

Requires the classical-era Construction technology.
Must be constructed on grasslands or plains adjacent to an Encampment district with either a Barracks or Stable.
+1 Great General Points. All current land units gain a promotion. All Archaeologists can enter other civs' territory without open borders.

Mostly useful if you intend to take China to a cultural victory, being able to send Archaeologists to foreign lands without open borders makes it easier to fill Archaeological Museums and get theming bonuses.

Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Requires the Persia and Macedon Civilization and Scenario Pack.

Requires the classical-era Defensive Tactics civic.
Must be built adjacent to a Harbour.
Free Great Admiral, Great Admirals can use their retirement ability an additional time, +1 charge for Great Engineers.

The admiral bonuses aren't particularly useful for China (although getting two Eurekas from Grace Hopper instead of one later in the game is nice). The extra Great Engineer charge is far more useful.

Great Library

Requires the classical-era Recorded History civic.
Must be built on flat land adjacent to a Campus district with a Library.
+2 science, +1 Great Scientist Point, 2 Great Works of Writing slots, gain all pre-medieval Eurekas.

An extremely powerful wonder if timed right, but has the problem of arriving at a tricky point in the civics tree. Manage your research right and you could gain an enormous amount of science at once.

Boom! Six Eurekas at once. China's ability to rush wonders with Builders combined with stronger technology boosts means you'll get a lot more science out of this than other civs.

If those boosts weren't enough, you also get a bit of science, a Great Scientist point and two slots for Great Works of Writing, helping you pursue both scientific and cultural aims.

Mahabodhi Temple

Requires the classical-era Theology civic.
Must be built on woods adjacent to a Holy Site with a Temple, and you must have founded a religion.
+4 faith and +2 Apostles

A tricky wonder to pick up and one that isn't particularly synergistic with China's other uniques. Still, if you managed to rush Stonehenge, this wonder lets you fill out all your religious beliefs without you having to spend any faith.

Maximising Theatre Square culture

One useful side-effect of getting a lot of early wonders is the ability to maximise culture yields from Theatre Squares. If possible, position your wonders to allow space for future Theatre Squares in between as many as possible, and you'll be rewarded with even faster civic accumulation (not to mention faster city border expansion).

Beyond the classical era

You can still rush ancient and classical-era wonders later in the game, and combined with the Serfdom economic policy card (available at Feudalism) this becomes even easier; just one Builder can rush 90% of a wonder's progress.

Otherwise, the main use of Qin Shi Huang's leader ability by this point will be more productive Builders. Keep in mind that Builders become more expensive for every one you build or buy, and training many of them early in the game to rush wonders with could make them pretty costly by the medieval era. Again, the Serfdom economic policy card will really help.

Building lots of wonders will reward you with a strong amount of tourism. Wonders produce two tourism each, plus one for every era since the era they first became available. An ancient-era wonder will be worth 9 tourism by the information era (not accounting for multipliers like the doubled tourism with the atomic-era Computers technology) and a classical-era wonder 8.


  • Expand to a few cities so they can train Builders and contribute to wonder construction
  • Strong wonders to aim for include the Great Pyramids, the Colosseum, Petra and the Great Library.
  • Builders may be quite expensive by the medieval era; use the Serfdom economic policy card to cut costs.
Unique Unit: Crouching Tiger Cannon

Crouching Tiger Cannons are a cheap way to keep your cities defended through the medieval and renaissance eras. Their low range makes them poor at offensive campaigns, but their high damage output makes them great at taking down would-be invaders. While they only have 30 defensive strength - the same as a Crossbowman and not particularly high for its era - planting them on Great Wall tiles (preferably those that also are on hills) helps them to take less damage before they have an opportunity to deal some damage themselves.

The high power and low cost of Crouching Tiger Cannons helps you keep your army small, saving you production that can go towards meeting eurekas or inspirations, as well as gold. However, they have a notable disadvantage of not counting towards the Metal Casting eureka (which requires you to own two Crossbowmen).

Once Field Cannons are unlocked, there's no need for Crouching Tiger Cannons any more. They have both better strength and better range.
Unique Improvement: Great Wall

It's not just your wonder placement that needs careful planning - the Great Wall unique improvement also requires good positioning. They can only be built on a tile on the border of your land, can't be built in a triangle, and can't be next to more than two other Great Wall tiles. For the maximum yield, you need a Great Wall tile adjacent to at least two others, so it takes three Builder charges just to get a +2 gold yield.

That makes the Great Wall tile improvement sound pretty bad, but remember that it has another function - providing a +4 strength bonus to units defending there. This is available a full three eras earlier than a Fort, and uses a more affordable Builder charge instead of a relatively expensive Military Engineer charge.

By placing a segment of the Great Wall on a chokepoint, I was able to stop Barbarians from accessing my city. If it wasn't for that defensive bonus, the Warrior wouldn't have survived the turn.

By having access to a Fort early in the game, China can keep a smaller army than most civs allowing you to put more emphasis on wonders and boost accumulation.

Once you've got the Castles technology, working Great Wall tiles becomes much more viable. +2 gold and +2 culture might not make a city grow faster nor be more productive, but for a city that's hit the housing cap and lacks Mines or Lumber Mills to work, it's a pretty decent yield. More culture means faster civic gain, and more gold can be useful for Great Person patronage among other things. Try to position Great Wall segments three tiles away from a city centre where possible so you don't disrupt adjacency bonuses for other improvements or districts.

With Flight, things get even better. Every segment of the Great Wall now produces 2 tourism when worked. Working two maximum-yield Great Wall tiles gives you the equivalent culture and tourism of a Great Work of Writing or Music, and more than a Great Work of Art. Grab the Replaceable Parts technology and the Urbanisation civic, and your cities can grow quickly to work lots of those tiles.

If you don't work a Great Wall tile, it won't generate any tourism.

If you're going for a scientific victory, you won't get so much out of the Great Wall improvement, so don't go overboard building them. Just place segments in key chokepoints (helping you stay defended) and you can generally leave it at that.
Administration - Government and Religion
The administration section covers the governments, policy cards, pantheons, religious beliefs, wonders, city-states and Great People which have particularly good synergy with Chinese uniques. Be aware that these are not necessarily the best choices, but rather options that you should consider more than usual if playing as China relative to other Civs.


Classical Era Governments

Autocracy's wonder construction bonus might look tempting, but Classical Republic is generally a better option due to its better array of policy cards.

Medieval/Renaissance Era Governments

Merchant Republic is a reliable choice that serves both cultural and scientific victories well.

Modern Era Governments

Democracy is a safe choice for both cultural and scientific victories. Communism's production bonus is handy if you need to get a spaceship built faster, but it offers more military policy slots than you really need.

Policy Cards

Ancient Era

Corvée (Economic, requires State Workforce) - It doesn't just help you build wonders faster the normal way - it also makes rushing them via Builders faster!

Ilkum (Economic, requires Craftsmanship) - Faster Builder training means you should be able to squeeze in more wonders.

Inspiration (Wildcard, requires Mysticism) - Many Great Scientists offer Eurekas, and some offer Inspirations. A bonus to Great Scientist Points should help you obtain more of them.

Urban Planning (Economic, requires Code of Laws) - This policy card in conjunction with Ilkum can be better than Corvée for wonder production speed if your entire empire is producing Builders for your key wonder-building cities.

Medieval Era

Aesthetics (Economic, requires Medieval Faires) - Extensive building of early wonders should provide you with some powerful Theatre Square adjacency bonuses. Make them even stronger with this policy card.

Feudal Contract (Military, requires Feudalism) - If you're really desperate for a quick defence, this policy card can help you get Crouching Tiger Cannons built faster.

Serfdom (Economic, requires Feudalism) - If there's any remaining pre-medieval wonders, just a single Builder can contribute 90% of their production with this policy card. Even if there isn't, Builders might be expensive by this point in the game with all the wonder-rushing you've done, so getting more out of them is a good idea.

Renaissance Era

Machiavellianism (Diplomatic, requires Diplomatic Service) - Faster Spy construction and operations means you can steal more Eurekas from other civs.

Industrial Era

Public Works (Economic, requires Civil Engineering) - Builders are now very affordable and come with six charges (seven if you own the Great Pyramids). If you're after a cultural victory, now will be a good time to build Great Wall segments for tourism yields once you have Flight.

Modern Era

Nobel Prize (Wildcard, requires Nuclear Program) - More Great Scientists means more Eurekas, or perhaps some production bonuses to spaceship parts.

Nuclear Espionage (Diplomatic, requires Nuclear Program) - Stealing Eureka boosts is doubly effective, giving you boosts for two technologies rather than one! Enjoy stealing vast amounts of science.

Police State (Diplomatic, requires Ideology) - Reduces your need for defensive Spies, allowing you to be more aggressive with your Eureka-stealing. Beware of the amenity penalty, however.

Atomic Era

Cryptography (Diplomatic, requires Cold War) - Helps your Spies both offensively and defensively.

Sports Media (Economic, requires Professional Sports) - An improved version of Aesthetics.


Divine Spark - An all-round useful Pantheon which is good for both scientific and cultural playstyles alike.

Lady of the Reeds and Marshes or God of Craftsmen or God of the Sea - All three of these pantheons offer a terrain-dependent production bonus. If you can make good use of one of them, it will probably be more useful than Monument to the Gods for wonder construction as it affects Builder construction.

Monument to the Gods - Get more out of rushing wonders, making your already considerable advantage at early wonder-building even better.

Religious Beliefs

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

Divine Inspiration (Follower) - By rushing Stonehenge along with other early wonders, you can get a surprisingly impressive early faith output. In combination with the Oracle, you can use this faith to cheaply acquire Great People via patronage.

Jesuit Education (Follower) - China should aim to balance science and culture output due to quite a few Eurekas being dependent on similar-era civics, and quite a few Inspirations being dependent on similar-era technologies. Jesuit Education makes that a little easier by letting you by Campus and Theatre Square buildings with faith.

Work Ethic (Follower) - A decent production boost that should help with Builder or wonder construction.
Administration - Wonders, City-States and Great People

All pre-medieval era wonders are covered in the section on Qin Shi Huang's leader ability. The most useful of those wonders for China typically are the Great Pyramids, the Colosseum, Petra and the Great Library.

(Cultural) Broadway (Modern era, Mass Media civic) - Broadway is slightly more useful for China than other civs as the free random atomic-era civic boost will be worth 60% of a civic rather than 50%. While this is the only post-classical era wonder with direct synergy with China's uniques, remember that it's not the only useful one to get.


Brussels (Industrial) - The bonus extends to Builder charges used to help rush wonders, so it's a very worthwhile suzerain bonus to have.

Seoul (Scientific) - Ensure the city-state's in your grasp when entering a new era, and you'll be rewarded with a Eureka from the new era.

Stockholm (Scientific) - Unlocking Great Scientists is one of the best ways of obtaining Eureka boosts. Increasing the Great Scientist Point output of Campuses will help with that.

Vilnius (Cultural) - Ensure the city-state's in your grasp when entering a new era, and you'll be rewarded with an Inspiration from the new era.

Great People

Remember that these are only the ones that have particular synergy with Chinese uniques, not necessarily the most effective options. Obviously, all Great Writers, Artists and Musicians are important for cultural victory, but it would be redundant to list them all.

Classical Era

Aryabhata (Great Scientist) - Provides three random Eurekas from the classical or medieval eras.

Euclid (Great Scientist) - Provides the Eureka boost for Mathematics (handy if you want to build Petra) and a random Eureka from the classical or medieval eras.

Medieval Era

Abu Al-Qasim Al-Zahrawi (Great Scientist) - Offers one random Eureka from the medieval or renaissance eras.

Bi Sheng (Great Engineer) - Provides the Eureka boost for Printing.

Omar Khayyam (Great Scientist) - Offers two random Eurekas and one random Inspiration boost from the medieval or renaissance eras.

Renaissance Era

Emile du Chatelet (Great Scientist) - Offers three random Eurekas from the renaissance or industrial eras.

Leonardo da Vinci (Great Engineer) - Unlocks a random modern-era Eureka.

Industrial Era

Ada Lovelace (Great Engineer) - Unlocks the Eureka boost for Computers.

Dmitri Mendeleev (Great Scientist) - Offers the Eureka boost for Chemistry as well as a random technology from the industrial era.

James Young (Great Scientist) - Offers two random Eurekas from the industrial or modern eras.

Modern Era

Alan Turing (Great Scientist) - Offers the Eureka boost for Computers as well as for a random technology from the modern era.

Albert Einstein (Great Scientist) - Offers a random modern-era Eureka boost.

Alfred Nobel (Great Scientist) - Offers one random Eureka boost from the modern or atomic eras.

Robert Goddard (Great Engineer) - Unlocks the Eureka for Rocketry. This is notable because Rocketry doesn't have a standard Eureka boost.

Atomic Era

Erwin Schrodinger (Great Scientist) - Offers three random Eureka boosts for atomic or information-era technologies.

Grace Hopper (Great Admiral) - Offers a random Eureka boost from the atomic or information eras.

Information Era

Abdus Salam (Great Scientist) - Unlocks all information-era Eurekas.
China can research quickly, defend reasonably effectively and get a lot of early wonders, but there's ways you can try to disrupt that.

Dynastic Cycle

It's not easy to slow down Eureka and Inspiration gain, but that's not to say it isn't possible. Generally, Eurekas and Inspiration boosts reward civs that pay attention to a wide range of gameplay features; the more single-minded a civ is, the harder it is for them to obtain all the boosts. The easiest way to force a civ to push in a specific direction is to start a war, pushing them to emphasise war-time industry at the expense of other districts.

A more reliable method to set China back is to try and ensure they don't get Great People who offer boosts. Keep an eye on the Great Person interface and look for opportunities for patronage.

Qin Shi Huang - The First Emperor

There's no warmonger penalties for declaring war in the ancient era, and pretty minor ones for doing so in the classical era. With this in mind, you can start a war with China and start picking off their high-charge Builders. Fast units like Heavy Chariots and Horsemen are ideal for this role. Not only will you send China's wonder production back, but you'll also grab some Builders with plenty of charges for yourself.

Qin Shi Huang - AI Agenda (Wall of 10,000 Li)

Qin Shi Huang likes civs that have fewer wonders than him, and dislikes those with more wonders than him. Early in the game, his bonus to wonder construction will usually give you a positive relations boost, but things may get difficult if you're a wonder-spamming cultural civ or a wonder-capturing domination civ. If you're one of those two, consider looking for a different alliance. If you're after a scientific or religious victory, however, this isn't a particularly hard agenda to keep to.

Crouching Tiger Cannon

Crouching Tiger Cannons pack quite a punch but defend only as well as regular Crossbowmen. Using Crossbowmen or Knights should work pretty well. Try to pick them off one-by-one so they don't have a chance to attack.

Great Wall

The trickiest part of facing the Great Wall isn't the gold, culture or tourism bonuses, but the early defensive potential. If the Great Wall is well-defended with units, look for another way around or try to use ranged units to pick off the defenders before using a cavalry unit to pillage the tiles.

Note that as with all unique improvements, Great Wall improvements will be removed if you capture the tiles, so you can't keep them for yourself.
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Margelatu Jan 28, 2018 @ 2:12pm 
Great guide, thank you ! Regarding the builder tricks & switching the city production, you can simultaneously build multiple wonders in the same city, giving you 2-3 wonders in under 10 turns. Just tried it out with the Pyramids and Petra, worked like a charm.
Zigzagzigal  [author] Oct 19, 2017 @ 5:38pm 
The 20 October 2017 Autumn Patch has made no changes of note for China.
Zigzagzigal  [author] Sep 3, 2017 @ 3:16pm 
Good point! I've added a little bit of text mentioning it with the Petra wonder, though without Petra their yields are typically too low on desert to be particularly worthwhile to build.
dumb answers Sep 3, 2017 @ 1:07pm 
Also worthy of noting of the Great Wall UI is that it can be built on desert tiles, which most of other civs can't access, making desert cities(especially with Petra) have acceptable yield.
Zigzagzigal  [author] Jul 27, 2017 @ 1:20pm 
Changes to China in the 27 July Summer Patch:

- The Hanging Gardens wonder now offers +2 housing for its city, making it more lucrative to rush.

- The Nubia DLC offers a new classical-era wonder you can rush: Jebel Barkal. Its bonus is faith-related so not especially useful for China, but consider using it in conjunction with the Oracle.
Zigzagzigal  [author] May 18, 2017 @ 9:04am 
Builders don't have a maintenance cost in Civ 6.
marcopolothefraud May 18, 2017 @ 12:50am 
What about unit maintenance? Seems like you'd struggle gold-wise with multiple 1-charge builders
How Zany May 16, 2017 @ 7:28am 
Even if you don't use the exploit the way I have described, having a builder with 1 charge remaining around is a good idea because barbarians and enemy players will frequently wreck your shit and that 1 charge builder will be able to repair everything at no cost to their charge, as opposed to you having to buy another builder with gold... just having 1 or 2 builders with 1 charge around per continent will help with repairs for most civs and if you are playing China, then having more around and then gathering them around the build site for your next wonder will do wonders for your ability to instantly secure that wonder. In multiplayer games you could even scout an enemy building a wonder and you think "oh crap, I can't let this guy have Petra, he will get out of control!" you can still essentially make that wonder in 1 turn if you have to.
Zigzagzigal  [author] May 14, 2017 @ 10:12pm 
I've thought briefly about massing Builders like that, but one problem is that you need to use all those other charges elsewhere first. Still, I like that idea so I'll throw it into the guide.
How Zany May 14, 2017 @ 9:25pm 
I'm surprised nobody has figured out China's strongest exploit/skill. You can save builders that have 1 charge remaining and surround the tile with them that you're going to build a wonder on. You can build the wonder in one turn by spending all the workers on that one tile since as soon as the last charge of each worker is spent you can move a separate worker on the tile wasting no turns. (as opposed to spending one worker charge per turn on the wonder, you get to spend multiple charges this way). This is kinda like an exploit but it isn't because it's perfectly legal and doesn't give an unfair advantage, it's more about micro management and being prepared to rush a wonder that you really want, like Petra, or Colloseum.