Sid Meier's Civilization VI

Sid Meier's Civilization VI

51 ratings
Zigzagzigal's Guides - Sumeria (Vanilla)
By Zigzagzigal
With all of Sumeria's uniques unlocked at the start of the game, Sumeria is well-positioned to have the strongest start of any civ. Here, I detail Sumerian strategies and counter-strategies.
   
Award
Favorite
Favorited
Unfavorite
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This guide is no longer updated, but will remain for the sake of those without the Rise and Fall expansion.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.

The quest for immortality is the greatest of all pursuits. Shall immortality come from shows of strength, from rage against the gods, from fierce rivalries and war? Perhaps not. Perhaps immortality rests in legacy, in leadership, building a civilization to stand the test of time.

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

Sumeria has a tier 3 start bias towards river tiles. This improves the odds you can have Ziggurats with the best possible yields immediately, while also helping you to get as much housing as possible in your capital.

Civilization Ability: Epic Quest

  • Destroying a Barbarian Encampment grants rewards as if you visited a tribal village, in addition to the usual rewards.

Gilgamesh's Leader Ability: Adventures with Enkidu


  • When at war with a common enemy, Sumeria shares pillage rewards and combat experience with the closest unit of the other civ within five tiles.
    • This does not apply when fighting Barbarians.
    • Units you have levied from city-states are considered to belong to you for this purpose.
  • Any civ at war with an ally may be targeted for a declaration of war without warmonger penalties
  • -50% cost to levy City-State military units

Unique Unit: War-Cart


An ancient-era heavy cavalry unit which does not replace anything

Research
Obsoletion
Upgrades from
Upgrades to
Cost
Maintenance
Resource needed
None

Stirrups**
Technology
Medieval era
None

Knight
(195 Gold)
55 Production
or
220 Gold
or
110 Faith*
None
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.

**If you have no access to iron, you may continue to build War Carts even after researching Stirrups.

Strength
Ranged Strength
Moves
Range
Sight
Negative Attributes
Positive Attributes
30 Strength
N/A
3 Movement Points
N/A
2
None
  • Ignores Zone of Control
  • +1 Movement Point if starting on open terrain
  • No vulnerability to anti-cavalry units.

Notable features

War Carts have the following negative change relative to Heavy Chariots:

  • Slightly more expensive to upgrade to a Knight

And the following positive changes:

  • Available from the start rather than requiring the ancient-era Wheel technology.
  • Costs 55 production, 220 gold or 110 faith, down from 65, 260 or 130 respectively (-15%)
  • 30 strength, up from 28.
  • 3 movement points, up from 2.
  • No vulnerability to anti-cavalry units.
  • No maintenance cost

Unique Improvement: Ziggurat



Research
Terrain requirement
Constructed by
Pillage yield
None
Flat featureless tile in your own territory

Builder
25 Science

Defensive bonus
Direct yield
Adjacency yields
Miscellaneous bonus
Maximum possible yield
None
2 Science
1 Culture if adjacent to a river
None
2 Science
1 Culture


Enhancements

Research
Direct bonus
Adjacency bonus
Miscellaneous bonus
New maximum yield*

Natural History
Civic
Industrial Era
1 Culture
None
None
2 Science
2 Culture

Flight
Technology
Modern Era
None
None
Culture yield added to tourism
2 Science
2 Culture
2 Tourism
*This assumes you already have the enhancements of earlier eras.
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
Gilgamesh
6/10
(Decent)
9/10
(Ideal)
4/10
(Acceptable)
8/10
(Good)

Cultural victories as Sumeria rest mainly on the culture (and therefore tourism) potential of Ziggurats, though strong early science and culture is also great if you want a stab at early wonders - early wonders are worth the most tourism, after all.

Domination is far more effective. Aside from the immense rushing potential of War Carts, Sumeria also has incentives to pair up with other civs or city-states when carrying out wars and decent science to keep their military up to date. The main thing that holds them back is their fairly niche combat advantages beyond the time War-Carts are effective.

Religion isn't really a great path for Sumeria to follow, but they do have a couple of small advantages to their credit - getting tribal village rewards from Barbarian encampments can provide a helpful early boost to faith, and culture from Ziggurats can get to certain civics like Theology faster. You'll be better off going for any other victory route.

Science is Sumeria's second-strongest path. Ziggurats can offer a lot of science if constructed in large quantities, and receiving tribal village rewards from Barbarian Encampments can be a great source of eurekas.
Unique Unit: War Cart


In the earliest turns of the game, War Carts are basically unstoppable. They're fast, powerful, affordable and without an easy counter. You might as well start the game by building a couple right away and use them to explore and kill some Barbarians. Their high speed may even get you a few first-discovery envoy bonuses from city-states.

Clearing a Barbarian Encampment gives you the inspiration for Military Tradition, which in turn offers the Manoeuvre policy card, allowing you to build War Carts even faster.

Once you find another civ, bring some War Carts over and consider starting a war. Even though you might not get the bonuses from starting a joint war, you can worry about that later. For now, just ram your War Carts into their cities and enjoy a good-sized empire without having to train any Settlers.

The one notable weakness of War Carts is that they're not very mobile in rough terrain, which can make them prone to Archer attacks. For this reason, it may be useful to scout out an area before you attack it so you know the best path for them to take.

If your full civ opponents are well-defended, it can be worthwhile to instead take out one of the city-states that is less useful to you as a means of expanding your empire.

War Carts continue to be very effective until Swordsmen and Horsemen become commonplace or city defences get stronger, but even then their low cost makes them quite spammable. Once you see Pikemen, Knights or Crossbowmen, however, it's probably time to think about upgrading them.

So, ultimately, War Carts are pretty much a one-size-fits-all military unit that allows you to dominate the ancient era.
Civ Ability: Epic Quest

All this faith I'm getting... I don't even have a Holy Site!

You can do more than just conquer with your War Carts - they're also good for exploring with. You can find tribal villages and enjoy a variety of rewards, and you can also track down Barbarian Encampments to destroy as well. This variety of rewards will really help your early game to get off to a powerful start.

To find Barbarian Encampments, discover as much land as you can and pay attention for when a Barbarian Encampment spawns - there'll be a special sound that plays when that happens assuming it's in land you've uncovered. Barbarian Encampments can only spawn in land out of sight of any units, so be sure to keep moving your War Carts and avoid revealing too much of the map at once.

Remember that in addition to tribal village rewards, you'll also get gold which scales based on both game speed and difficulty settings. This steady influx of gold is usually enough to cover any maintenance expenses you might have early on.


Even in war-time, dedicating a small number of fast units to taking out Barbarian Encampments can get you a lot of rewards. So long as there's still Barbarians left in the world, keep taking them out!

Late in the game, Barbarian Encampments will mostly be found on remote islands. Naval Raider units are great for dealing with those as they're invisible to most units (so they won't get injured), have a ranged attack and the coastal raider ability, letting them destroy an empty Barbarian Encampment.

Tribal Village Rewards

Tribal Villages (and Barbarian Encampments for Sumeria) offer a random reward from a set list. First, it randomly chooses from one of six categories (culture, gold, faith, military, science and survivors; there's an even chance for all six) and then it chooses from a specific reward among them. Some rewards have set prerequsites; if you don't have them, you will receive a different reward from the same category, or reroll the reward entirely if all from the same category are invalid. Note that if you haven't founded a city yet, you can only get bonuses from the military category.

The "weights" in each of these following tables represent how likely you are to get the specific reward. Using that, it's possible to calculate the odds off getting each individual reward, assuming you have all prerequisites. Meeting all prerequisites is actually uncommon, so these probabilities in practice vary slightly. Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding.

Category
Reward
Prequisites
Weight
Probability
Culture
One relic
Must have at least one Great Work slot that can hold relics
15
2.5%
Culture
Two inspiration boosts
Turn 30 or later
30
5%
Culture
One inspiration boost
None
55
9.2%
Gold
120 Gold
Turn 40 or later
15
2.5%
Gold
75 Gold
Turn 20 or later
30
5%
Gold
40 Gold
None
55
9.2%
Faith
100 Faith
Turn 60 or later
15
2.5%
Faith
60 Faith
Turn 40 or later
30
5%
Faith
20 Faith
Turn 20 or later
55
9.2%
Military
Free recon unit in one of your cities
With Rifling, grants Rangers. Otherwise, grants Scouts.
40
6.7%
Military
20 XP
None
30
5%
Military
Recover all health
None
30
5%
Science
1 free technology
Turn 50 or later
15
2.5%
Science
2 Eureka boosts
Turn 30 or later
30
5%
Science
1 Eureka boost
None
55
9.2%
Survivors
+1 population for one of your cities
None
40
6.7%
Survivors
Free Builder in one of your cities
None
35
5.8%
Survivors
Free Trader in one of your cities
Turn 15 or later and must have at least 1 spare trade route capacity
25
4.2%

While many of the best bonuses take some time to arrive, that doesn't mean you should hold off on destroying Barbarian Encampments. Taking them out now will still grant you a reward, and Barbarians may very well return in the same area later anyway. It's also a good idea to take out Barbarian Encampments quickly to stop other civs taking them. Barbarian Encampments continue to be common far beyond the point where you'll generally be discovering new tribal villages, so Sumeria can really make the most of the stronger bonuses on offer here.
Unique Improvement: Ziggurat


While your War Carts fight Barbarians and other civs, get some Builders and construct some Ziggurats by riversides. They might not offer food, production or housing (so be careful not to work too many at once), but instead you can get both science and culture.

More science obviously means faster research of technologies, which is good for keeping your military up to date. The bonus is particularly strong early in the game, and can make the transition from War Carts to Knights fairly seamless (other than the need for gold to upgrade them, but destroying Barbarian Encampments will help with that). The science boost also neatly complements the eurekas you may be getting from Barbarian Encampments.

The culture output will help you with civics, but remember that culture can also aid with a city's accumulation of tiles. That can save you a little bit of gold on tile purchases over the course of the game. With the Flight technology, you'll also get some tourism, which helps towards cultural victory if you feel like taking that route.

As all you need for a Ziggurat to achieve its full yield is for it to be next to a river, don't worry too much about replacing one with a district if you want to maximise its adjacency bonus. You can always place it somewhere else. Science and culture are yields that mostly work on an empire-wide basis, so a replacement Ziggurat needn't even be in the same city.
Gilgamesh's Leader Ability: Adventures with Enkidu

A promotion? For me?! Russia! You shouldn't have!

Gilgamesh's leader ability pushes Sumeria in a direction unusual among warmongering civs. Despite all the bloodshed and city conquests, to achieve the full potential of Sumeria, you'll need to make friends. Now, these friends can be full civs or city-states, but either way, Sumeria gets far more out of war if they've got backup support.

Common war bonuses

Jumping on a war bandwagon allows you to exploit a civ's weakness, and forming a joint war against a civ can also be a great way to overpower them. So long as there's another civ or city-state on your side of a war as Sumeria, you'll also find war to be more profitable for both of you.

The easiest way to start a war with at least one other faction on your side is to start a joint war. In singleplayer, consider looking for a leader with a pro-military agenda like Alexander, Cleopatra or Gorgo to join you.

The second-easiest method is to be suzerain over at least one city-state. Remember that levied units count as yours for the purpose of shared experience or pillage yields, so be careful how you use that feature!

A third method is to declare war on someone who's already been the target of a war (or has initiated one). The problem with that route is it's often harder to take cities from such wars, as at least one of the factions involved was already prepared for war (if they're on your side, they may take cities before you can, and if they're against you, they're a tougher target).

Experience and pillage rewards are not tied to the conquest of cities. That's important because it allows you to enjoy the benefits of this leader ability without having to concede cities to the other civ involved. Let the other civ do the difficult fighting, then sweep in and take the city for yourself. If the civ you're fighting alongside has a problem, you can declare peace with the common enemy and declare war on them. Alternatively, let them have a few unimportant cities so they can remain a useful ally - but if you go down that route, you may have to consider a victory path other than domination.

Experience and pillage reward sharing requires you to have a unit within five tiles of that of the other civ. Early in the game, War Carts should be fast enough to find where your friend is. Later on, you may have an alliance which reveals where all their units are.

Declare war on an ally's enemy for no warmonger penalties

A simple enough bonus: if a declared ally (requires the medieval-era Civil Service civic) is under attack, you can declare war on their attacker for no warmonger penalties. So long as you don't take any cities in that war (aside from liberations), you'll have a war without any warmonger penalties while you can still sweep up the nice pillage rewards.

It's tempting just to immediately declare war on a civ that's attacking your allies, but consider putting in a little time to position your units right next to their lands. When you have no warmonger penalty for starting a war, it's you and not them who gets to decide where the war starts and under whose terms.

Half-price city-state levying



Hello, cheap army!

If you are suzerain over a city-state, you may levy their units. Levying city-state armies allows you to take control of all their units for 30 turns. You won't get any additional ones that they build during that time, though the ones you do get will be maintenance-free. The cost scales with how powerful the forces are.

For Sumeria, this option costs half as much. City-state armies tend not to be especially powerful but they often make up for it in numbers. Levied units can act as fodder to distract the enemy while your key siege units take on city defences. Don't worry about losing them - it's not like you'll be keeping them for very long, anyway.

Levying city-state units can also be a good option if you're suzerain over one far from your homelands and there's a Barbarian Encampment near them you want to take out.

Conclusion

Gilgamesh basically has two ways of using his leader ability: the nice way, and the mean way.

The nice way involves sharing the benefits of wars with allies. Be loyal to friends, and let them have a share of the cities. This works well if you're intending to go for a victory path other than domination.

The mean way involves flipping allegiances, sniping cities before your temporary "friends" can take them for themselves, pillaging the districts of any city you can't take for yourself and generally using the bonuses as selfishly as possible. Be careful, though - you might just turn the whole world against you.
Administration - Government and Religion
The administration section covers the governments, policy cards, pantheons, religions, wonders, city-states and Great People which have particularly good synergy with Sumerian uniques. Be aware that these are not necessarily the best choices, but rather options that you should consider more than usual if playing as Sumeria relative to other civs.

Governments

Classical Era Governments

Oligarchy works well even despite the fact the +4 strength bonus doesn't apply to War Carts. The experience boost has good synergy with Gilgamesh's leader ability, ensuring you're getting equal or more experience from joint wars as the other civ is, while the policy cards have a decent balance. Furthermore, if you end up with a load of Warriors or Swordsmen by levying city-state units, the strength bonus will come in handy.

Medieval/Renaissance Era Governments

Merchant Republic gives you good economic bonuses for peace and war alike. Unfortunately, the Exploration civic obsoletes the Discipline policy card (which offers +5 strength versus Barbarians), but that's a price worth paying.

Modern Era Governments

If you're still going to war, Fascism offers plenty of bonuses to fit that.

Otherwise, consider Communism to help with a scientific victory. Sumeria lacks production bonuses and gets a lot of science via tile improvements rather than districts, so it can be a better fit than Democracy.

Policy Cards

Ancient Era

Discipline (Military, requires Code of Laws) - As long as there's Barbarians left in the world, your quest will be to track down their evil Encampments and destroy them. This strength bonus will really help with that.

Ilkum (Economic, requires Craftsmanship) - The more Ziggurats you build, the fewer Builder charges you have left over for other improvements. Take this policy card and you don't have to worry so much about that.

Manoeuvre (Military, requires Military Tradition) - Get War Carts up at a rapid rate. If you're playing multiplayer, now's the time to apologise for the devastation you're about to unleash.

Classical Era

Charismatic Leader (Diplomatic, requires Political Philosophy) - The more city-states you're suzerain over, the easier it is to use Gilgamesh's leader ability.

Diplomatic League (Diplomatic, requires Political Philosophy) - City-states need just three envoys for you to become suzerain over it, assuming no competition. This policy card essentially cuts it to two.

Raid (Military, requires Military Training) - If you're in war to profit rather than to conquer, or simply want to share the rewards of pillaging with your friends, this policy card will help out with that. Keep in mind Raid only affects improvement pillaging - you'll want Sack, available at Mercenaries, for double district pillaging rewards.

Medieval Era

Professional Army (Military, requires Mercenaries) - By the time they obsolete, you'll have a very large number of War Carts. Take this policy card, and you can much more affordably upgrade them into Knights.

Sack (Military, requires Mercenaries) - Get more out of pillaging districts. Your friends will appreciate the increased yields.

Serfdom (Economic, requires Feudalism) - Any places you conquered can now be more rapidly developed the way you want it - with lots of Ziggurats.

Industrial Era

Total War (Military, requires Scorched Earth) - When it comes to ripping apart the livelihood of a nation, we all need to learn to share. Double pillaging rewards, and your friends will thank you. See, when we share, everyone's happy!

Pantheons

God of the Forge - Produce War Carts at even faster rates.

Initiation Rites - Sumeria's civ ability encourages you to take about Barbarian Encampments. This pantheon makes it even more rewarding by offering faith every time.

Religious Beliefs

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

Papal Primacy (Founder) - Gilgamesh's leader ability encourages you to get along with city-states, so you might as well maximise their envoy bonuses while you're at it.

Religious Unity (Enhancer) - Gives you a head start on becoming suzerain over city-states.
Administration - Wonders, City-States and Great People
Wonders

Pyramids (Ancient era, Masonry technology) - Getting extra Builder charges means you can get Ziggurats up and running without neglecting to improve key resources.

Terracotta Army (Classical era, Construction technology) - You might have quite a lot of War Carts by this point, so all the free promotions from this wonder will be quite powerful. Not just in terms of making the units stronger, but also by allowing all your units to heal 50 health from applying a promotion.

City-States

Kabul (Militaristic) - Gain experience faster, and share it with your friends! Note that this bonus only applies to battles you initiate, so you won't get any more XP from battles your nearby friends initiate.

Preslav (Militaristic) - Rough terrain is somewhere War Carts can struggle, but this suzerain bonus allows you to power through that.

Great People

Remember that only list Great People with particular synergy with Sumeria's uniques are listed here - not necessarily the most effective options. All Great Generals can be useful for domination strategies, but it'd be redundant to list them all.

Classical Era

Boudica (Great General) - Sometimes a Barbarian Encampment can be a little too much to handle - bring along Boudica and she can simply convert all the heathens (clearing the camp in the process if she's next to it).

Medieval Era

Zheng He (Great Admiral) - +1 envoy when retired. Getting more envoys means you can be suzerain over more city-states; that goes well with Gilgamesh's leader ability.

Piero de' Bardi (Great Merchant) - +1 envoy.

Renaissance Era

Jakob Fugger (Great Merchant) - +2 envoys.

Industrial Era

Simón Bolivar (Great General) - +2 envoys when retired.

John Jacob Astor (Great Merchant) - +2 envoys.
Counter-Strategies
The frightening early power of Sumeria makes a difficult foe to face, but beyond that point, Sumeria can be a manageable opponent.

Epic Quest

Put simply, the fewer Barbarian Encampments Sumeria destroys, the fewer rewards they receive. There's a few ways to achieve this:

  1. Take out Barbarian Encampments before Sumeria can reach them. This requires you to be able to commit some moderately fast units. Consider leaving Sumeria to do the hard work of fighting Barbarians, so you can get the last couple of hits.
  2. Settle as much land as possible so Barbarian Encampments won't appear, or you can block Sumeria off from potential Barbarian Encampment spots.
  3. Keep as much land visible as possible - land that's under the visibility of any civ or city-state will not spawn Barbarian Encampments. This is also a good strategy for making sure you know when enemy armies might be approaching your cities.

Gilgamesh - Adventures with Enkidu

If you can get along with Gilgamesh, not only will you avoid the prospect of being on the receiving end of War Cart armies, but you can also share the spoils of war. You might want to consider sending a joint war proposal early on to ensure you're on the same side in early conflicts - this can help buy you time to build up better defences.

If you are fighting side-by-side with Sumeria, you'll get to share experience and pillaging rewards. Even if you don't want to commit to the war, you can always send a Scout over and keep a safe distance from the actual fighting so you can benefit from pillaging rewards.

Assuming you're a militaristic civ opposed to Sumeria, be sure to attack them directly before you attack any of their allies. They have some incentives to protect their friends, but their friends don't have so much of an incentive to protect them. That being said, if you fear Sumeria's city-state alliances, the reverse strategy may be better - attack the city-states and destroy them before declaring war on Sumeria. Keep in mind, however, Sumeria will get a Protectorate casus belli against you if you do that.

Gilgamesh - AI Agenda (Ally of Enkidu)

Gilgamesh rewards loyalty. If you get along with him well enough to form friendships or alliances, he's unlikely to backstab you. Considering his military emphasis, he's a pretty good ally to have.

On the other hand, Gilgamesh hates those that denounce or declare war on his allies. That's rather nice if he's on your side, but if you're against him, it may be a good idea to attack him directly before you declare war on his allies - they're less likely to support him than vice versa.

War Cart

If Sumeria starts near you, drop everything and prepare your defences. War Carts are among the trickiest foes to fight in the game and it's better to slow down your start than to lose it all by taking a risk.

Once you have Horsemen or Swordsmen, you should be fairly safe. But until then, you've got quite an uphill struggle. Warriors have a 10 strength disadvantage against War Carts, though if you place them on rough terrain, and consider their lower production cost relative to War Carts, it gets a bit more manageable.

Archers offer a reasonable option once you have them. Their promotions against land units help against War Carts (unlike anti-mounted bonuses) and they cost about the same so you don't need to worry too much about being disadvantaged in an attrition war.

Remember that expansion is still important. If you can't make new cities, eventually Sumeria will overwhelm you with the combined production of multiple cities.

Ultimately, the best strategy against War Carts (aside from preventing there being a war in the first place) is slowing the war down. The slower Sumeria's war is, the more time you buy yourself and the better chance you have of getting a unit that can resist them more effectively. Sometimes, distraction tactics can help. Sparing a Scout to run into their lands and pillage their improvements can encourage Sumeria to keep some War Carts at home and not right on your capital's doorstep. Luring Sumeria into a Barbarian Encampment might distract them by encouraging them to finish it off rather than fight you.

Ziggurat

The lovely thing about Ziggurats is they're so great for pillaging. They have to be constructed in open land, making them really accessible, and they give you 25 science each time. You don't keep unique improvements when you capture a city, so go ahead and burn them down.

If you want to go on a pillaging spree against Sumeria, a good time to start is once War Carts start becoming outdated. Horsemen are good pillagers, though they only have a 6 strength advantage against War Carts. Knights can resist them much more effectively.

Assuming you can't burn them down, consider that Sumeria's high science comes at the cost of working other improvements. That can result in them having relatively low production, so they might not be as competitive in wonder races as you might immediately think.
Other Guides
If you like these guides and want to send a tip, you can click here![ko-fi.com]

Compilation Guides

Individual Civ Guides
6 Comments
Yensil Jul 31, 2018 @ 11:05pm 
I need to try him on R&F with the foreign ministry...1/4th cost and a strength boost to Levied units?
Other than that he's pretty much the best friend you could possibly have. I made a military alliance with him while playing as the Cree....that was fun.
Zigzagzigal  [author] Nov 15, 2017 @ 6:56am 
Just spam the carts. They're strong and fast enough that they can handle pretty much anything in the ancient era, and most classical-era threats as well.
GNU Hurd Enthusiast Nov 14, 2017 @ 7:30pm 
So should I bother creating Warriors and Slingers early game, or just spam the carts?
Zigzagzigal  [author] Oct 20, 2017 @ 12:57pm 
The 19 October Autumn Patch has made the following change to this guide:

- The new Religious Unity founder belief may help Sumeria to secure more city-state allies.
Zigzagzigal  [author] Aug 7, 2017 @ 2:41am 
All base game civs, yes. The DLC civs will follow, though not necessarily in release order.
kaeper Aug 6, 2017 @ 11:12pm 
I rather liked Sumaria for a brief thumping with the battle donkeys before focusing on science but the war-bro leader ability just seemed a distraction.

Is that all the core nations done now? Excellent set of guides (more please)