Civilization 6 is one of the most popular entries in its franchise and has received regular updates to improve upon its somewhat lukewarm release to become a spectacular game. Players who want to roleplay a particular leader or civilization have their pick from 54 (or 56 if you count alternate personas) options.
It is fairly challenging to decide who is the best Civ 6 leader overall, considering some have moderately tuned advantages that make them uniquely capable. We will try to outline our top picks for the best leader.
Best Civ 6 Leader Overall
For this part, you are confident in your ability to play the game somewhat optimally and have a few (hundred) hours under your belt. The best civilizations will have the most powerful early-game potential, or it can snowball out of control.
We cannot overstate how vital free policy slots and districts are in this game. One of the most powerful leaders overall was Frederick Barbarossa, leading Germany.
The almost unique power of Frederick to get a military policy slot for free for all governments is a definite advantage. It allows players to tune small early-game benefits into bonuses that can carry them well into the late game.
You can use the policy bonus to spearhead your efforts in finding new lands and fighting off barbarians that find your lands. This is one of the most challenging aspects of the early game, especially at higher difficulty levels.
The addition of a free district slot allows players to plan their civilization around having more special resource income and district bonuses. This bonus becomes less powerful against civilizations with naturally high population counts, but it is one of the best ways to get a district-based advantage early.
Finally, the Hansa is one of the strongest districts in the game. This strength is due to its lower cost, fitting in all cities without compromising other districts (due to the second passive), and better adjacency bonuses.
You can hunker down and become a production overlord by using Hansas to carry you throughout the mid-game. Using Hansas properly, you can benefit from a small empire, similar to Honjo Tokimune’s Japan, another powerful civ. For best results, place two Hansas between two Commercial Zones in a diamond pattern to provide a +4 boost to each Hansa.
Best Civ 6 Leader for Water Maps
The tier list for water-based maps changes drastically. You typically have less room to work with on water maps and can not place your districts optimally.
Read: Civ 6 Tier Lists
One of the highest-potential civs for water maps is, surprisingly, Harald Hardrada. While the obvious choice here is probably Gitarja due to her unique coastal-based tile improvements, Harald can become a menace.
His greatest asset is challenging opposing players’ economies and getting resources via coastal raids. Due to your early ocean navigation, you can sail the seas for new targets rather quickly. You can build a few ships, cover them with a unit or two, and then wreak havoc on every civ unlucky enough to have valuable coastal tiles.
Best Civ 6 Leader for Beginners
Peter I of Russia is one of the best civs overall and the best if you are still learning the ropes. His ability to spread your city territory far and get more usable tiles from tundra (which can be abundant) allows the player to make up for lackluster starts and infertile terrain. He also has excellent religion bonuses due to a unique Holy Site, allowing you to build it early and get more of those sweet prophet points before anyone else.
Become the Best in Civ 6
Whether you are new to the game or a genre veteran, a more powerful civ will make it easier if you decide to use all of its advantages. Consider giving Frederick and Peter I a few spins on higher difficulty levels to see why they are simply among the best civs you can have.
For more general advice on Civ 6 and gaming, check out other PlayerAssist articles or our official YouTube channel.