Sid Meier's Civilization VI

Sid Meier's Civilization VI

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Zigzagzigal's Guides - Rome (Vanilla)
By Zigzagzigal
Rome can create a strong empire early in the game, both peacefully and through warfare. Here, I detail Roman strategies and counter-strategies.
   
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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This guide is no longer updated, but will remain for the sake of those without the Rise and Fall expansion.
Introduction
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.

Once we realised no city could best the glory of Rome, we instead looked to standardise the empire around it. We ensured all roads led to our great capital, and all cities, no matter how small, commemorated the glory of the Roman Empire through our great monuments. We brought the people recreation in the form of baths. But most importantly, standardisation brought us the Legion - our greatest fighting force. The Roman Empire now is one defined by consistency and discipline, but we must be careful - what if Rome's authority was to be undermined by the spread of a heathen faith?

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

Glossary

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.
Outline
Start Bias

Rome has no start bias.

Civilization Ability: All Roads Lead to Rome

  • All owned cities start with a Trading Post, removing the usual requirement to complete a trade route to the city first.
  • Founding or capturing cities within trading range of your capital automatically generates a road to it.

Trajan's Leader Ability: Trajan's Column



  • All founded cities receive a free building when founded.
    • In ancient or classical era starts, the free building will be a Monument.
    • In medieval era starts, the free building will be a Granary
    • In renaissance or industrial era starts, the free building will be a Water Mill for cities adjacent to a river, or Medieval Walls otherwise
    • In modern or atomic era starts, the free building will be a Water Mill for cities adjacent to a river, or a Sewer otherwise
    • In information era starts, the free building will be a Water Mill for cities adjacent to a river. You will not receive any more free buildings relative to other civs otherwise.

Unique Unit: Legion


A classical-era melee infantry unit which replaces the Swordsman

Research
Obsoletion
Upgrades from
Upgrades to
Cost
Maintenance
Resource needed

Iron Working
Technology
Classical era

Gunpowder**
Technology
Renaissance era

Warrior
(110 Gold)

Musketman
(200 Gold)
110 Production
or
440 Gold
or
220 Faith*
2 Gold
None
*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 Legions even beyond Gunpowder if you lack nitre.

Strength
Ranged Strength
Moves
Range
Sight
Negative Attributes
Positive Attributes
40 Strength
N/A
2 Movement Points
N/A
2
None
  • +10 Strength vs. anti-mounted units
  • Has one charge to build a Roman Fort, road, or to clear woods/rainforests with.
  • May remove tile improvements
  • May repair tile improvements

Negative changes

  • Costs 110 production, 440 gold or 220 faith, up from 90, 360 and 180 respectively (+22%)
  • Costs 110 gold, up from 80, to upgrade to from a Warrior (+38%)

Positive changes

  • No resource requirement
  • 40 strength, up from 36
  • Less expensive to upgrade to a Musketman

The following bonuses are kept when you upgrade the unit:

  • Has one charge to build a Roman Fort or clear woods/rainforests with.
    • Unlike Military Engineers, using up this charge will not expend the unit, but it will disable the ability to remove or repair tile improvements
  • May remove tile improvements in owned lands
  • May repair tile improvements in owned or neutral lands
    • This depletes the unit's moves for the turn but does not stop it from healing if it hasn't performed any other actions that turn.

Unique Improvement: Roman Fort



Research
Terrain requirement
Constructed by
Pillage yield

Iron Working
Technology
Classical era
Any flat or hilly land tile without woods, rainforest or flood plains, in owned or neutral territory.

Legion*
None
*Units upgraded from a Legion with a build charge remaining may also build this.

Defensive bonus
Direct yield
Adjacency yields
Miscellanious bonus
Maximum possible yield
4 Strength
Occupying unit automatically gains 2 turns of fortification
None
None
None
None

Unique District: Bath


A classical-era non-speciality district which replaces the Aqueduct

Research
Terrain required
Required to build
Base production cost
Maintenance
Pillage yield

Engineering
Technology
Classical era
Must be adjacent to the City Centre and either a river, lake, oasis or mountain.
None
18 Production*
None
25 Gold
*All districts increase in production cost over the course of the game.

Adjacency bonuses
Other yields
Great Person points
Other effects
None
4 Housing for cities with access to fresh water
5 Housing for cities located on the coast and with no direct access to fresh water
6 Housing for cities neither on the coast nor with fresh water access
1 Amenity
None
  • Does not contribute towards the city's district limit

Positive changes

  • -50% production cost
  • +2 housing
  • +1 amenity
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.

Leader

Culture

Domination

Religion

Science
Trajan
5/10
(Decent)
9/10
(Ideal)
5/10
(Decent)
4/10
(Acceptable)

Although I've given Trajan relatively low scores for non-domination victories, it's more because the Roman uniques don't explicitly skew in those directions rather than them not being powerful. Starting with a free Monument helps to get through early civics which is useful for cultural, religious and domination victories alike. Legion conquests can help towards any victory path; if you conquer extensively enough you can pretty much choose any route you like.

The best choice for Rome is a domination victory. Early Monument culture can get you to Oligarchy quicker than most civs for the +4 strength bonus, which goes nicely with your 40 strength Legions to make a powerful early fighting force. Being able to get gold more quickly out of internal trading helps you to support or upgrade a large army.
Civ Ability: All Roads Lead to Rome

The moment I founded this city, a road appears to connect it.

Rome is a civ that matures quickly - the civ ability, Trajan's ability, the early-arriving Roman Fort and the Bath UD all help Rome to achieve things that would take longer for most. This maturity helps your empire to support Legion conquests and from there hopefully become the dominant power in the world.

Free roads


I captured a Settler from Spain and settled a city. Suddenly, that awkward rainforest isn't so hard to cross!

Getting immediate free roads when you found or capture a city is a surprisingly useful feature early on. Ancient Roads make all tiles (except river crossings) cost one movement point to enter, which is most effective for areas with lots of woods, rainforests and/or hills. Classical Roads (which you unlock immediately when entering the classical era, such as via the Iron Working technology) also allow units to cross rivers for no additional movement cost. This is great for helping you defend cities against Barbarians, or to send Builders from your more productive cities to newly-founded (or conquered) cities.

Where this ability really gets useful is when you start going on the warpath. Getting a road directly to cities you've captured from your capital (so long as the newly-captured city is within 15 land tiles of either your capital or a city connected to it) makes it much easier to bring in reinforcements. That means you can start a Legion rush with a small number of units, and back them up with more later. This also is handy for future wars conducted on the same landmass as your capital.

Trading Posts


Free money!

Trading Posts are one of the game's more obscure features. Here's how they normally work:

  • When you send a trade route to a city, after the trade route is completed (in other words, when you have to reassign the Trader) a Trading Post is created in the destination city.
  • Trading Posts are "owned" by the civ that created it. Multiple civs can own a Trading Post in the same city. Having a Trading Post from another in one of your cities gives no advantage or disadvantage to you.
  • Owning a Trading Post in a city resets the range of trade routes that pass through them. By default, trade routes can travel to a city within 15 tiles by land or 30 by sea. When they pass through a city with a Trading Post from their civ, that range resets.


    Screenshots don't illustrate that well, so here's a diagram. Cities A, B and C are all on a large landmass. The white hexagons are mountains; traders have to go around them. I can't directly make a trade route from City A to City B because the distance is one tile too far, but if I had a Trading Post at City C, it would give me enough range.

  • All trade routes gain +1 gold per Trading Post in cities they pass through.

Here's how Rome's civ ability changes all that.

  • All your cities have Trading Posts by default, meaning...
    • You can benefit from the trade range increase immediately; any city in your empire that gets a free road from Rome's civ ability can also send or receive trade routes to any other city in your empire that does.
    • Early in the game, you get better gold yields from trading than other civs so long as the trade route passes through at least one of your cities en route.

In a nutshell, you get more gold sooner. The more cities the routes pass through, the more gold you'll get, which generally means that routes that cross the entire length of your empire will be worth the most money.

The main impact of this unique ability is that you can pretty much ignore international trading in favour of domestic trade thanks to the good immediate gold yields. Considering you've got a unique district that gives you extra housing, and you've got a fairly expensive unique unit, you'll want plenty of food and production, and internal trading offers that. Even without the gold advantage, you'd probably want to use most (if not all) of your trade routes internally as Rome anyway, but having the gold allows you to support more units, afford to pay for unit upgrades and things like that.
Trajan's Leader Ability: Trajan's Column
Note: This section (and indeed, this entire guide) assumes an ancient-era start and as such you'll be getting a free Monument from Trajan's leader ability.


I've only just started the game, and I'm eating up that first civic. This gives me a few extra turns of Urban Planning, and its +1 production bonus, helping me construct things in my capital that little bit faster.

Trajan's leader ability is simple but effective: Every city you found gets a free Monument. In the first few turns of the game, this will double your culture output, and if you can found another city or two, the culture will get you to Political Philosophy quickly. Political Philosophy is an important civic as it gives access to three government options, including Oligarchy. Oligarchy provides +4 strength to your melee units, giving you Legions with 44 strength.

To speed up your progress to Political Philosophy, be sure to pick up as many inspirations along the way as possible:

  • Craftsmanship - Improve three tiles
  • Foreign Trade - Discover another continent (On duel-sized maps or continents maps, this often isn't possible, so be prepared to research it completely)
  • State Workforce - Build any district (An Encampment is a good idea - it can help you generate an early Great General for a +5 strength and +1 movement point bonus to your armies of Legions)
  • Early Empire - Reach a combined total of 6 population in your empire (This is easy once you have a second city)
  • Political Philosophy - Meet 3 City-States (A bit map-dependent; if you don't have this Inspiration by the time you can research this, go ahead and complete it anyway).

You should be able to pick up Political Philosophy around the time you'll start your Legion wars. It might come a little later, seeing as you need to unlock six civics for it versus just three technologies for Legions, or a bit earlier depending on what Inspirations/Eurekas/city-state bonuses you can get, but they should be reasonably closely-aligned. Don't forget also to pick up Military Tradition after you're done with Political Philosophy so you can use flanking bonuses for a small additional boost to combat strength.

Being able to get Oligarchy early to support a Legion rush is the main benefit of getting free Monuments, but it also gives your cities a slight head start at border expansion. This ability becomes less effective later in the game when you're mainly expanding by capturing cities (captured cities don't get free Monuments) but an extra edge to already-strong early combat is good enough by itself.
Unique Unit: Legion


Legions are what you need to to turn Rome from a small state among many to a empire spanning continents. They're stronger than regular Swordsmen letting them deal more damage and receive less, come without an iron requirement so you're guarenteed to be able to build them, have a charge to build a Roman Fort (which helps defend your homelands as well as newly-conquered lands or even neutral chokepoints) and curiously can even repair damaged improvements.

Preparation

As with any early military UU, the key is speed; you want Legions at the ready as soon as possible. It's not a bad idea to build a Warrior first in your capital - you don't need to build a Monument thanks to Trajan's leader ability and while it's a bit worse at exploration than a Scout, you can upgrade it to a Legion as soon as Iron Working's done. Having a second Warrior around will also make the process of getting to Legions quicker as the Eureka for Bronze Working en route to Iron Working requires you to kill three Barbarians. Alternatively, training a Builder first can get you the Inspiration for Craftsmanship quickly, and with it the Agoge policy card, which lets you build Warriors and Legions faster, among other things.

You'll also want a Settler early on. A second city means you can build a strong army faster, and the extra free Monument will get you through the civics tree sooner so you can use Oligarchy around the same time you launch your Legion attack. There's also the opportunity to settle a spot near iron (although you don't need it to build Legions with, improving the tile boosts the Iron Working technology) assuming you've already revealed it by this point.

Warriors cost 110 gold each to upgrade to Legions, so be sure to have a bit of cash ready for when you unlock Iron Working. If you're fast enough, you can take 2-3 Legions to war without even any siege support, but otherwise taking the Masonry technology for a Battering Ram isn't a bad idea. It won't take long to research. Masonry also unlocks Ancient Walls; building them triggers the Eureka for Engineering, which you'll need for the Bath UD.


Legions can use their build charge to remove woods or rainforests, helping you rush the production of more units.

Your initial attack should be supported by additional Legions to make the process faster (thus allowing you to get more out of the unit before it goes obsolete). Be sure to use the Agoge policy card - Legions are pretty expensive! As every city you capture within trading range of your capital will be automatically linked by road, it's quite fast to bring new units to the front lines.

Usage


Sorry Hispania, but a mere Warrior won't stop the mighty Roman Legion.

Assuming you've not strayed from the task of getting Iron Working and Political Philosophy quickly for Legions and Oligarchy respectively, you should have an enormous advantage over whoever you decide to attack first.

An unprepared neighbour might have nothing stronger than Warriors to defend with - Oligarchy Legions will kill them in just two hits. Getting the Battlecry promotion on top gives you a +31 strength advantage against unpromoted, non-upgraded Warriors, which will allow you to score one-hit-kills most of the time.


Have a mix of promotions between your various Legions so you can adapt to different situations. The Urban Warfare promotion gives you a +10 strength bonus against cities. Note how it makes my Legion nearly as strong as an unpromoted Musketman!

Don't worry about pillaging farms and other tile improvements in cities you want to capture (but be wary pillaging districts - they can take ages to rebuild). Pillaging farms will help keep your Legions healed so they can carry on fighting, and you can just repair them afterwards once you have the city.

Aftermath

Once you've captured a city, assuming it isn't completely awful (like a snow city or one without resources in a useless location), it's time to assimilate it into the empire. You can put your Legions to work repairing any tiles you pillaged, quickly making it productive again. Repairing doesn't use up the Legion's build charge.


If the Legion doesn't perform a different action (like moving or fighting) before repairing a tile improvement, it will heal as well (as if it was set to fortify). That's a nice time-saver.

Keep in mind that any Legions that build a Roman Fort will lose their ability to repair or remove tile improvements.

Upgrade

Legions have a pretty wide window of usage, but eventually you'll need to upgrade them to Musketmen. Interestingly,they don't lose their ability to build a Roman Fort nor the ability to repair and remove improvements. As such, there's little reason not to try and get Gunpowder relatively quickly once you have Engineering for Baths.


"We'll just shoot at the ground until it becomes fertile again."

Rome can simply carry on with the rest of the game the same way as before - using melee-heavy armies to take over the world with. Your strong internal trade routes will provide you with good production and gold to support that.
Unique Improvement: Roman Fort


Strictly speaking, the Roman Fort isn't a unique improvement - it's functionally identical to a regular Fort (although it doesn't trigger the Eureka for Ballistics) and is tied to the Legion UU. Why give it its own section? Because it still has some distinctions that are worth bringing up:

  • It's available two eras earlier than the regular Fort, making it earliest defensive tile improvement aside from China's Great Wall (the special Alcázar improvement from Grenada can also technically be unlocked sooner, but generally isn't).
  • It's built by a military unit which has other functions as well, meaning you don't need to spend additional production to make use of it
  • It doesn't contribute towards the Eureka for Ballistics unlike regular Forts.

Despite the fact Roman Forts are basically a free bonus for having Legions, don't spam them everywhere. Using up a Legion's build charge stops them being able to repair tile improvements, which is important for cleaning up after you capture a city. Instead, use them carefully. These are good examples of places to put a Roman Fort:

  • Chokepoints, such as passes between mountains, flat land in the midst of rough terrain or thin strips of land between seas and/or lakes.
  • In a line to make open terrain areas more defensible, so long as you have enough Legions for it.
  • Near an owned city, in the direction of a civ or city-state which is likely to attack you soon. Putting a couple of Roman Forts together and fortifying units in them can provide an effective obstacle to would-be invaders.

These are not good times or places to build Roman Forts:

  • As a last act of a dying Legion, far from home with no backup. You're just giving whoever takes that land a free fort.
  • In a line over open terrain, but with a gap between each one. Mounted units ignore zone-of-control and can just slip through it.
  • Somewhere you can't commit a unit to defend. The +4 defence bonus only works when there's something actually defending there.
  • Just for the sake of it. Don't waste your charges. Roman Forts are just as good later on in the game as they are earlier on in terms of their strength bonus.

Ultimately, Roman Forts are nice when you need a little extra advantage to hold a point (Oligarchy Legions defending hilltop Roman Forts are particularly tough to kill), but that's nothing unusual compared to regular forts. Use them when you need them, and don't waste a build charge putting them up when you don't need them.
Unique District: Bath


Beyond the construction of your early Legion army, you'll have other things you'll want to get done in your cities. You're going to need science so you don't fall behind in technology, you'll need gold and amenities to support further wars, and so on. When you've got a variety of things to sort out like this, having bigger cities will really help. That's where the Bath comes in.

To unlock Baths, you'll need Engineering, which is a little more expensive than Iron Working. You might want to clean up any necessary Builder technologies and Writing first (you won't need a housing boost that early). Masonry lets you build Battering Rams, which go nicely with Legions, as well as Ancient Walls. Building Ancient Walls gives you the Eureka for Engineering. You'll also need the Wheel technology along the way, but that shouldn't be a problem.

Baths have the same placement requirements as Aqueducts, so any cities you settle should be within a two-tile radius of a river, lake, oasis or mountain. They're the cheapest district in the game to build, so even new cities can manage to build them.

The description for Aqueducts can be a little bit confusing regarding how much housing they offer. This table will show you, assuming no other bonuses to housing, what a city's total housing capacity will be.

City Location
Initial Housing
With Aqueduct
With Bath
No water access
2 Housing
6 Housing
8 Housing
Coastal
3 Housing
6 Housing
8 Housing
Fresh water access
5 Housing
7 Housing
9 Housing
Notice that cities which initially start next to fresh water will gain the least from an Aqueduct or Bath, but still will end up with the most housing.

Lots of housing available cheaply means you can more easily manage settling on city spots that aren't directly adjacent to water.


The destination spot for this Settler doesn't offer much housing, but can build a Bath. The reason for settling there and not directly on the river is the iron resource three tiles away, which would otherwise be out of range. After settling the city, I bought tiles to get to the iron resource and improved it so I could get the Iron Working Eureka.

Every point of housing essentially increases a city's population limit by 1, so receiving two extra points above normal Baths allows you to have bigger cities than most civs at this stage of the game. Those two extra points of population require one amenity - something the district neatly provides you with. All you need is a bit of food and you can have an empire with many large cities. Every three population points allows a city to build one more speciality district, and the more speciality districts a city has, the better food or production yields you'll get from domestic trade with that city.

Ultimately, Baths take a district of varying usability and make it a more consistently effective way to make your cities bigger. A vast empire with conquered cities that can be repaired to their former glory quickly with Legions, become rich from internal trading, and grow to a large size thanks to the cheaply-available housing and amenity from Baths is one to be feared.
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 Roman uniques. Be aware that these are not necessarily the best choices, but rather options that you should consider more than usual if playing as Rome relative to other Civs.

Governments

Classical Era Governments

Take Oligarchy. It'll make your Legions have 44 strength, and the government itself has a nice mix of policy cards.

Medieval/Renaissance Era Governments

Merchant Republic is a reliable option. More trade routes means more food, production and cash, which means more support for the war machine.

Modern Era Governments

Fascism offers plenty of military bonuses to get you through the end of the game.

Policy Cards

Ancient Era

Agoge (Military, requires Craftsmanship) - Legions are costly to build, so grab this policy card to make it much more manageable.

Caravansaries (Economic, requires Foreign Trade) - Builds on the gold from internal trading you already get.

Conscription (Military, requires State Workforce) - This will help you support your Legion army.

Medieval Era

Meritocracy (Economic, requires Civil Service) - You'll get Monuments for free in every city you found, and combined with this you shouldn't need to worry about building Theatre Squares. Alternatively, you can go ahead and build them anyway and get to civics like Nationalism sooner.

Professional Army (Military, requires Mercenaries) - You can simply keep upgrading your Legions and sending them off to war for the rest of the game. This policy card helps you to save money when doing so.

Renaissance Era

Triangular Trade (Economic, requires Mercantilism) - Get even more gold out of your domestic trade.

Modern Era

Collectivisation (Economic, requires Class Struggle) - Rome should be using internal trading anyway thanks to the nature of the civ ability, so enjoy a strong food bonus on top.

New Deal (Economic, requires Suffrage) - Combined with your Baths, this allows you to grow cities to a good size without having to spam Neighbourhoods. The gold cost can be managed with your gold-granting internal trade routes.

Pantheons

God of Healing - Rome doesn't have synergy for religious victory, but there's a good chance a lot of the civs you'll be taking cities off do. Faster healing for units next to Holy Sites will speed up your conquests.

God of the Forge - Legions are expensive. This combined with Agoge helps minimise that problem.

Religious Beliefs

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

Defender of the Faith (Enhancer) - An Oligarchy Legion with a Roman Fort on a hill near a city with this belief is almost up to industrial-era levels of strength. Excellent for helping to safeguard your cities while the rest of your army is elsewhere. While the offensive counterpart of this belief, Crusade, is powerful, it's a bit harder to use as Rome due to the need to acquire religious units and spread the faith in the cities of other civs before invading them.

Feed the World (Follower) - While you may only have Holy Sites in captured cities, extra food will still be useful to grow your cities to meet the housing offered by Baths.

Gurdwara (Worship) - Similarly offers extra food to help hit the housing cap.
Administration - Wonders, City-States and Great People
Wonders

Hanging Gardens (Ancient era, Irrigation technology) - One to capture rather than build. The growth bonus helps your cities to fill the extra housing offered by Baths faster.

Colosseum (Classical era, Games and Recreation civic) - Position this somewhere in range of a few good city spots, and enjoy +4 culture for every city you found in range of it. The amenity bonuses will mean those new cities will have no downsides, and the extra Trading Posts and roads those cities create will be very helpful.

Colossus (Classical era, Shipbuilding technology) - An extra trade route means more gold, food and production.

Terracotta Army (Classical era, Construction technology) - While your Legions are off at war, building this at home will let you upgrade all of them. Highly-promoted Oligarchy Legions are even more of a nightmare for your enemies to face. The Great General Point is also useful - if you can get a classical era Great General, your Legions will be even stronger still.

Angkor Wat (Medieval era, Medieval Faires civic) - Build upon the advantage Baths offer you with extra population and housing in every city. Requires the Khmer and Indonesia Civilization and Scenario Pack.

Great Zimbabwe (Renaissance era, Banking technology) - Put this on one end of your empire in a bonus resource-heavy city, and send trade routes to the other end of your empire for enormous gold yields.

City-States

Carthage (Militaristic) - As a warmongering civ with trade bonuses, this is a very good city-state to have. Hold onto it - it can be quite a pain if someone else suddenly reduces your trade route capacity by becoming suzerain themselves.

Hattusa (Scientific) - Saves a little time getting access to nitre once you have the Gunpowder technology.

Lisbon (Trade) - Even land-based empires will usually have some trade routes that enter the sea. Being immune to those routes being pillaged saves you having to build a navy to repel Barbarian pirates.

Mohenjo-Daro (Cultural) - The bonus can be useful to help cities grow in the period before they have a Bath built. Once your cities all have Baths built (or have direct freshwater access anyway) then you don't need to worry about losing suzerain status.

Palenque (Scientific) - Faster-growing cities can fill up Bath housing sooner. Requires the Vikings Scenario Pack.

Great People

Remember that these are only the ones that have particular synergy with Roman uniques, not necessarily the most effective options. Obviously, all Great Generals and Admirals can be useful for the domination victory, but it would be redundant to list them all.

Classical Era

Zhang Qian (Great Merchant) - +1 trade route capacity.

Medieval Era

El Cid (Great General) - Although El Cid doesn't provide an area-of-effect bonus to Legions (you need Boudica, Hannibal Barca or Sun Tzu for that), retiring him on a Legion gives you a unit with 50 strength! Add Oligarchy on top and it's pretty much as strong as a Musketman.

Irene of Athens (Great Merchant) - +1 trade route capacity.

Marco Polo (Great Merchant) - +1 trade route capacity.

Renaissance Era

Mimar Sinan (Great Engineer) - Offering both housing and amenities, you can build on the advantage of a city with a Bath, or help a city that can't build one to grow.

Raja Todar Mal (Great Merchant) - Makes internal trading even better for gold.

Modern Era

John Rockefeller (Great Merchant) - Can help you get even more gold out of trade.

Atomic Era

Melitta Bentz (Great Merchant) - +1 trade route capacity.

Jane Drew (Great Engineer) - Offers Bath-esque housing and amenities, letting you hold off from dedicating production or tiles towards a Neighbourhood or Entertainment Complex.

John Roebling (Great Engineer) - Also offers Bath-esque housing and amenities.
Counter-Strategies
Survive Rome's classical-era onslaught and they'll still have a pretty strong empire, but their advantages will fade letting you strike back.

All Roads Lead to Rome

Rome doesn't have much of an incentive to trade externally, so look between Roman cities for good plunder targets. Fast-moving units will be the most effective at this task.

As for Rome's free roads, remember that you can pillage roads in neutral territory without needing to be at war. Do so and you can slow down their invasion of another civ.

Trajan - Trajan's Column

Free Monuments in Roman cities will get them quickly through early civics, but will fade in effectiveness later in the game.

If you're invading Rome, it's nice to know that the cities you capture will come with Monuments you can quickly repair and put to use outputting culture. Otherwise, it's generally more important to consider the threat of Legions than the power of this ability.

Trajan - AI Agenda (Optimus Princeps)

Trajan wants lots of cities and land. If anyone has more than him, he'll like them. If anyone has less, he'll dislike them.

If you want to befriend Trajan, you simply need to settle extensively (conquering also works, but beware of warmonger penalties). Keep an eye on your amenities - having lots of cities can be a strain on them.

Legion

What you'll need is either Horsemen or Swordsmen of your own. They both require resources, but Horsemen should be a little more manageable considering horses are revealed right at the start of the game.

Rome will probably have a slight head start in the race to classical-era units, so delay tactics are important. Planting units on defensive terrain means they should be able to survive a hit or two, before retreating and being replaced with another. The Agoge civic card will help you build pre-medieval units faster and will be pretty much compulsory. Legions are pretty expensive so even if you're losing units faster than Rome, you should hopefully be able to survive until you can get a unit that can more reliably face them.

If you can make it to Knights, they have more strength than Oligarchy Legions and can retreat quickly in case they take heavy damage. You'll need iron - not horses - to build them.

Roman Fort

An Oligarchy Legion defending on a Roman Fort seems horrible to deal with, but simply placing an Archer on a hill two tiles away allows you to shoot at it, while having enough time to retreat if the Legion wants to retaliate.

When it comes to Roman Forts in general, make use of those in neutral territory if possible, but otherwise pillage any others left empty. Horsemen make good pillagers as they avoid zone-of-control and have enough strength to withstand a couple of hits from Legions.

Note that unlike other unique improvements, Roman Forts are kept if you take over the tile they're in. You can then use them exactly the same way you'd use regular forts.

Bath

Because Baths have to go next to the city centre, they can be quite tricky to pillage unless you're actively attacking the city. On the other hand, because they have to go next to the city centre, it forces Rome into specific city placements. It's not a good idea to settle cities to deliberately prevent Rome from getting Bath spots early on - being on the receiving end of a Legion invasion isn't worth it - but that can work somewhat later on.
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40 Comments
SuspiciouspegasusTTV Jan 18, 2020 @ 2:35am 
Ok, Im just used to the increased culture and tech cost of civ 5 for expanding.
Zigzagzigal  [author] Jan 18, 2020 @ 1:03am 
That's probably a sign your science wasn't up to par with them. Usually expanding at a good rate early on helps, as does ensuring you have plenty of Campus districts. I'd say in Civ 6 it's worth aiming for six cities as a minimum, no matter your civ.
SuspiciouspegasusTTV Jan 15, 2020 @ 10:04pm 
BTW my game speed was on epic, I tend to like long games.
SuspiciouspegasusTTV Jan 15, 2020 @ 10:04pm 
I fought rome on the normal Diffuculty and they had fighter planes(along with germany) in the 1840,s as well as mech infantry, is this a fault of the tech tree setup or is it more a fault of me not expanding too much early on? Im used to Civ 5 increasing research and Policy cost per city.
Zigzagzigal  [author] Jun 7, 2018 @ 9:00am 
There's a lot of variables involved there. For Rome, for example, I find having around three cities is a good number prior to Legion wars. No matter your civ, you'll want to eventually have 6+ cities (whether through conquest, founding them, or so forth.)

Rome can go to war with just two Legions and a Battering Ram immediately after Iron Working, but you'll usually want at least four Legions. Opponents with weak early defence obviously don't need to be attacked with as many units as ones with stronger defensive capabilities like America.
precido Jun 7, 2018 @ 7:33am 
a couple of nooby questions for you Zig...How soon and with how many units do you start your first attack of first city and how many cties(roughly) do you found over the course of a typical game?
Zigzagzigal  [author] Jun 4, 2018 @ 5:29pm 
I don't have a YouTube channel (and somehow someone took the "Zigzagzigal" name despite it being a specific corruption of a fairly obscure tower in the Lord of the Rings).

Personally I prefer the guide format over YouTube videos partly because it's easier to check specifics (for videos you have to pause or rewatch certain segments), it's easier to edit and it's a good fit for a turn-based game.
precido Jun 3, 2018 @ 10:25pm 
Your guides are seriously some of the best on all of Steam-Do you have a youtube channel? I would like to watch you playing w/commentary as I am a total noob to Civ
Zigzagzigal  [author] May 18, 2018 @ 6:34am 
While cities without fresh water access get more housing from Aqueducts/Baths, the overall amount of housing after constructing it will be 1 point higher for cities initially settled next to fresh water. In other words, it's still better to settle cities where they can immediately access fresh water than a couple of tiles away.
HotPizza87 May 18, 2018 @ 1:19am 
Should players settle their all cities including Rome 2 tiles away from fresh water to get the max bonus from baths or is that suboptimal (is so, why?)?