Kublai Khan"s China is an excellent defensive civilization that also excels at science and trading. Cooperating with other civilizations (and not warmongering) is the prefered victory path. In this guide I will teach you how to win a game of Civilization VI as Kublai Khan"s China on deity or any difficulty.

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Envoy to a City-State (80% chance)+1
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Economic Policy slot. Each
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Trade Route sent to a City-State grants 1
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Envoy there.Ritual

Reach the Medieval Era

Allows you to construct the Gilded Vaultbuilding, a powerful replacement of the Bank.

Indoctrination

Reach the Industrial Era

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Wildcard Policy slot. +2 Spy capacity. Your cities gain +4 Loyaltyper turn and +1 Amenity when your Spy is in their territory.

Master Plan

Reach the Atomic Era

Whenever an offensive spy mission is successful, you also gain half of the

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Gold,
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Faith,
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Culture, and
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Science that the targeted city earned that turn. Earn 3% of your
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Gold treasury as
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Gold per turn (up to 1000
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Gold per turn).


China throughout the game

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I played a deity game with the settings above. Secret societies & Monopolies and Corporations games modes on. I got a really good start location with plenty of places for decent to godlike Campuses:

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I forgot to take a better screenshot at the start of the game, but as you can see I placed 2 Campus districts adjacent to geothermal fissures and mountains. I went as far as founding a city on a no-water tile. Sweden was settling really close and declared war on me, they lost a lot of resources and units against my archers in the Longxi-Goteborg chokepoint, after the war they lost Goteborg"s loyalty and I conquered it. This was a relatively good start for my game that allowed me to keep up or surpass the AI in science while holding my own in terms of territory and other aspects.

Early game

Make sure you have a good start location with a decent place (at least +3 adjacency bonus) for a Campus. There are players capable of winning on deity even with a bad starting location, that is not my case, I got lucky. Starting the game you have 2 objectives:

Kill an unit with a Slinger in order to gain the Archery eurekaPlace a good Campus

Build Order

Scout -> Slinger -> Builder -> Settler. Also 2 Slinger start is good if you already found a good spot for a Campus. Keep your warrior close to one of your slingers in case you find barbarians.

Expand

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Magnus every single game because I like removing features and making more stonks from it (chopping wood is really useful when constructing the first Campus), I also like to expand my empire and not lose any population in the process.

Eurekas

Based on Archery and trading you need the following:

Archery:Kill a unit with a SlingerSailing: Found your first or second city on the Coast, you need this for lighthouse (+1 trade route) in the futureCelestial Navigation:Improve 2 Sea resourcesWriting:Meet another civilizationEducation: Earn a Great Scientist (buy if you can)Scientific Theory:Have the Enlightenment Civic. Scientific Theory allows Research Agreements, which you should immediately make when it is available.

Civics boosts

In order to support trade and science development, you should focus on the following civic boosts:

Craftsmanship:Improve 3 tilesForeign Trade:Discover a second continentEarly Empire:Grow your civilization to at least 6 peopleThe Enlightenment: Earn 3 Great People

Trade routes, get the economy going

Fill your trading slots by simply making or buying more traders, we want to get that economy going as soon as possible.

Going for the Science victory:

Settle new cities, hurry new Campuses, buy every building possible. This way you will get way ahead of the AI and secure your technological advantage

What about war and diplomacy?

As Kublai Khan"s China you can afford declaring war very early in the game (to snipe a settler or something like that) as grievances will be low. However, as the game advances we want to have good diplomatic relations with all other civilizations as we need the trading more than they do. Often enough the AI will inevitably declare war on you, in this case you have to play defensively, make good use of your Great walls, ranged units and choke-points. After losing all its units the AI will come crying for forgiveness and a good peace deal.

Don"t forget to interact with the AI. Establish embassies and trade your surplus resources.

Kublai Khan"s China mid to late game

In science terms you should be on the same level or better than the AI. You have to delay the AIs victory conditions while advancing your own. To accomplish this you need the following alliances:

Research Alliance: Ally yourself with a civilization that is not likely to go for a science victory and that is close or behind you in scienceCultural alliance: If you"re not going for a cultural victory then ally yourself with the second or third best civilization in culture terms, this will ensure that the first place won"t get a victory. If you"re going for a cultural victory then ally yourself with the AI that has more populationReligious Alliance: Similar to the cultural alliance, you want to ally yourself to the AI that is second or third place in its path to a religious victory, but preferably choose an AI that is nearby, so it can convert your cities more easily

Delay the AI"s science victory: Have a lot of spies, send them to disrupt rocketry and steal tech boosts.

Be aware of sneaky diplomacy victories: Amass a large amount of diplomatic favor in the late game, vote against the AI that is winning. Keep an eye on diplomacy victory points.

China districts

Campuses, Commercial Hubs and Harbors are essential, this is a civilization science and trading civilization. Late game Theater Squares and Industrial Zones become important depending on if you"re going for a Cultural or a Science victory.

Holy Sites

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Playing on deity? then don"t.

Campuses

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Campuses are the most important district while playing Kublai Khan"s China, you should plan your cities/districts according to Campus adjacency bonuses. Having good Campuses is a requirement.

+2 Science adjacency bonus from Geothermal Fissure and Reef tile, +1 Sciente from Mountain tiles+1/2 Science bonus from Rainforest and Adjacent districts. If there are not enough natural bonuses, then helping your Campus with an array of 2 Districts next to it such as Commercial Hub+Government Plaza will help

Encampments

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If you are not going for a domination victory, then you don"t need Encampments when playing Kublai Khan"s China. Great walls, walled cities and ranged units are more than enough to defend your civilization.

Industrial Zones

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Industrial Zones are prioritized after Campuses and Commercial Hubs/Harbors, if you"re going vor a Science victory, then you will need some cities with high production outputs. Otherwise construct Industrial Zones if you see a "too good of a place to pass on", such a +3 or +4 adjacency bonus.

Harbours

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Harbours are secondary to Commercial Hubs, their main selling point is the trading slot that it grants, but remember you either have the Commercial Hub or the Harbor trading slot, unless you also have the Owls of Minerva"s Gilded Vault in the city.

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Commercial Hubs

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Commercial Hubs are second only to Campuses, the reason is that it provides a trading route, wich coupled with Kublai Khan"s Gereges grant Eurekas/Civic boosts once Trade Routes are completed. However, you should not rely only on Commercial Hubs for tech/civics development, as the boosts are totally random and some of them you would get anyways. Nevertheless, from my own experience playing Kublai Khan, I can say Gereges Eurekas/Civic boosts randomness helps more often than not.

How to counter Kublai Khan"s China

China AI is a hard match, it will advance through the ages faster than you and is also very good defensively. However, if played correctly you can easily win following these advices:

Go to war early or late in the game: China wins if they have Crouching Tiger and Great Walls, but they are really weak before and after that (assuming you didn"t fall too far behind in science). If you"re going to war anyways when they have their great defenses, then the following advice is for youDon"t fight in their territory: China is strong inside its territory, and weak outside. The AI is easy to lure outside its territory, eliminate all its units and only then invade its territorySpy/Steal tech boosts: China tends to get ahead in the science tree, presenting a good opportunity for espionage and stealing tech boostsHorses: Crouching Tigers are slow and China generally builds slow units, meaning mounted units can pillage at will. Great Walls and Campuses are great targets