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Civilization VI - title

With the first expansion for Civilization VI due out soon, I wanted to try to get one more pre-expansion game strategy out of the gates. This time, I will be covering another of the DLC civs that is making its first appearance in the Civilization franchise: Nubia. If you purchased the Deluxe Edition of the game, then you received this DLC (among others) for free when the DLC was released. If you do not own the Deluxe Edition, then this DLC costs $5 USD.

Egypt wasn't the only grand ancient civilization that made a home along the Nile River. Starting around 5000 BC, into the 1500's AD, Egypt's southern neighbor was one of the many Kingdoms of Nubia that rose and fell. The Nubians who settled along the river were expert archers, and the contemporary Egyptians (who traded for Nubian gold, ebony, and pottery) referred to their land as "Ta-Seti", or "The Land of the Bow". But the history of civilization in the Nubian region goes back to the Neolithic revolution that occurred in Africa around 5000 BC. Archaeologists have found rock reliefs and even an astronomical stone circle that predates Stonehenge by roughly 2,000 years!

Kandake ["Queen"] Amanitore co-ruled Nubia from her capital at the Gebel Barkal in Meroë starting around 1 BC. The Nubian civilization had a maternal rule, with the mothers of kings having authority over their sons, and sometimes even deposing them or ordering them to commit suicide if the mother believed them to be unfit as rulers. Amanitore's kingdom was wealthy and prosperous at this time, and Amanitore oversaw the construction and repair of multiple Temples to Amun throughout her kingdom, as well as the construction of Nubian Pyramids. She is regarded as one of the greatest builders in her people's history, and is believed to be buried underneath one of her Pyramids in Meroë.

Civilization VI is still very early in its life-cycle. Strategies for the game (and for specific leaders and civs) may change as Firaxis applies balance patches, introduces new features, or expands the game through DLC or expansion packs, or as the Civ community discovers new strategies. As such, the following strategy guide may change from time to time. I will try to keep it up-to-date, and will make notations whenever changes are made. I'll also post links in the official 2K forums and CivFanatics, where I'll also report any changes made. If possible and practical, I will try to retain the original content of the strategy for posterity.

I welcome any feedback or suggestions that readers wish to offer. Feel free to post on the linked forums, or by posting a comment at the bottom of the page.

This guide is up to date as of the Fall 2017 patch (ver. (Southeast Asia DLC)

In Civilization VI, Nubia is a militaristic and religious civilization that specializes in rapidly developing city districts, especially in desert terrain.

Civilization VI - Amanitore of Nubia

Amanitore's and Nubia's uniques in Civilization VI

Nubia's capital start bias: desert and desert hills, as well as a bias towards all mineable resources (aluminum, coal, copper, diamonds, iron, jade, mercury, nitre, salt, silver, and uranium).

Civilization VI - Nubian flag

Nubian civilization unique: Ta-Seti

"+50% Production toward ranged units. All ranged units gain +50% combat experience. Mines over strategic resources provide +1 Production. Mines over bonus and luxury resources provide +2 Gold."

Ranged units are the backbone of the Nubian military, and Nubia receives a discount towards all ranged units over the course of the entire game. This includes Slingers, Pitati Archers, Crossbowmen, Field Cannons, and Machine Guns. These units also gain bonus combat experience. Nubia can therefore field a massive army of elite ranged units.

Nubia also has more productive mines. Mines over strategic resources provide an extra production, and mines over all other resources provide +2 Gold. Many Nubian cities will therefore be more productive and/or wealthier than other civs' cities, allowing Nubia to even more quickly produce those ranged units, and to more easily afford their upkeep.

Amanitore's leader unique: Kandake of Meroë

"+20% Production towards all districts, rising to +40% if there is a Nubian Pyramid adjacent to the city center."

Civilization VI - Amanitore portrait

Amanitore gets a production bonus towards building districts. District costs scale up over the course of the game, and cannot generally be bought with gold or faith. Amanitore will be able to produce districts earlier than most other civs, though the number of districts in a city will still be capped by the city's population.

Cities with a Nubian Pyramid adjacent to the city center will have this production bonus doubled to 40%. This makes the Nubian discount much more efficient than the Aztec ability to speed up districts with Builder charges. Nubia will only need to use a single Builder charge to create a Nubian Pyramid, rather than having to re-invest in additional Builders (or capture them).

Unique improvement: Nubian Pyramid

Game Info:

"Improvement that unlocks with Masonry and must be built on desert, desert hills, or floodplains. +1 Faith. Receives additional yields from adjacent districts. +1 Food if adjacent to city center. For all other districts that award adjacency bonuses: +1 of the appropriate yield if that district is adjacent."

Civilization VI - Nubian Pyramid

Requirements: Masonry technology. Must be built on deserts, desert hills, or floodplains.

Effects: +1 Faith,
+1 Food if adjacent to city center,
+1 Science if adjacent to Campus,
+1 Gold if adjacent to Commercial Hub,
+1 Gold if adjacent to Harbor,
+1 Faith if adjacent to Holy Site,
+1 Production if adjacent to an Industrial Zone,
+1 Culture if adjacent to a Theater Square.
Boosts Amanitore's district production bonus from +20% to +40% if adjacent to a city.

The Nubian Pyramid can be a difficult improvement to use effectively -- and on some maps might be flat-out impossible. You basically have to nest it in between your city center and at least one or two more districts in order for it to even be worth working. The tough thing is that such a location is usually where you want a Theater Square to go. Campuses and Commercial Hubs are generally higher-priority districts than Theaters, so you can plant a Nubian Pyramid improvement in between them early and then simply replace it with a Theater later in the game. Keep in mind that the Nubian Pyramid does not receive a bonus from being adjacent to an Encampment, Aqueduct, Neighborhood, Airport, or any other district that does not support adjacency bonuses.

Nubian Pyramids are a pretty terrible improvement on their own,
but nestled in between the city center and other districts, it can become a tile worth working.

If you're able to build multiple world wonders, then you can try to clump them together and then build your Theaters in between the wonders. That would allow you to keep the Nubian Pyramids tucked in between your other districts, while still getting a decent adjacency bonus from your Theater.

Having a Nubian Pyramid adjacent to your city center also doubles Amanitore's production bonus towards districts (to +40%). Districts are expensive (and their cost scales up as the game progresses), so even if you're not going to work the Nubian Pyramid, I still highly recommend putting one adjacent to all of your cities as soon as you are able. The amount of production you'll save on districts (and the benefits of having the district online sooner) will likely outweight the benefits of anything else you could have put on that desert tile.

Civilization VI - Pitati Archer icon

Unique unit: Pitati Archer

Game Info: "Nubian unique Ancient era unit that replaces the Archer. Stronger than the Archer with extra movement. Upgrades to Crossbowman"

Civilization VI - Pitati Archer unit portrait

Requirements: Archery technology.
Replaces: Archer.
Obsoleted: Machinery technology,
Upgrades to: Crossbowman.

Cost: 70 Production / 70 Gold [Standard speed] (+10 from Archer).
Maintenance Cost: 1 Gold per turn.

Attack Type: Ranged, Promotion Class: Ranged,
Melee Strength: 17 (+2 from Archer),
Ranged Strength: 30 (+5 from Archer),
Movement Speed: 3 (+1 from Archer).

The Pitati Archer is slightly more expensive than the default Archer (70 production instead of 60), but with Nubia's 50% bonus towards producing ranged units, this won't be a problem. The Pitati has slightly higher melee and ranged strength than the default Archer, so it deals more damage and can take a little bit more of a beating. More importantly, however, is that the unit has three movement. This allows the unit to act almost as a ranged replacement for the Scout (minus the reconnaissance promotion line). In combat, this also means that the Pitati can move onto adjacent rough terrain and still have enough movement left to make an attack. Use this feature to take up defensive positions on hills or in forests and still be able to make a pre-emptive strike against nearby enemies.

General Strategy: Queen of the Desert Bow

Amanitore and Nubia's uniques are mostly front-loaded into the beginning of the game. This can allow her to get off to a running start in terms of military development and infrastructure. Because of the production bonus for ranged units, a Nubian Slinger is actually cheaper than a Scout. You may want to skip building Scouts altogether and just produce two or three Slingers right off the bat. Research Animal Husbandry and kill a barbarian with a Slinger in order to get the boost for Archery. Once you have Archery researched, you can upgrade your Slingers to Pitati Archers and begin using them to explore the map, hunt down barbarians outposts for gold, or to Archer-rush and conquer a nearby city state of rival civ before they have a chance to build walls.

Civilization VI - early tech priorities
Amanitore's uniques are very early in the game.

The Pitati Archer's extra movement also allows it to enter adjacent rough terrain and still be able to attack (unless entering a forested hill or crossing water). The Pitati can take up a defensive position and still get off a pre-emptive strike on an enemy or city. This makes the unit exceptional at attacking un-walled cities or barbarian outposts, and it allows the Pitati to pursue most retreating units into rough terrain and still be able to attack. No mercy, no quarter!

You may want to adopt Maneuver for a short while to train some mounted units. With their faster speed, mounted units will actually be able to keep pace with your Pitati, and will therefore be superior melee support compared to Warriors.

Nubian Slingers are cheaper than Scouts. Pump out several and upgrade to Pitati as soon as possible.

Once you have an army of Pitati (and some supporting units) in the field, it's time to start developing your cities while your armies go out to pillage, plunder, or conquer. Put at least one Nubian Pyramid adjacent to every city center in order to maximize Amanitore's district production bonus and then surround the Nubian Pyramid with other districts in order to further boost the tile yield. You may want to change the way that you settle cities in order to accommodate this and ensure that you have at least one desert tile adjacent to a city center whenever feasible.

As mentioned above, the Nubian Pyramid can be a really tricky improvement to use effectively. One way to get a lot out of this improvement is to supplement it with Petra. This will generate +2 food, +1 production, and +2 gold on all your non-floodplain desert tiles. Any other civs that start out in or near deserts will likely be fiercely-competitive for this wonder, so you'll probably need to bee-line to Mathematics and build this wonder in your capital as quickly as possible.

Civilization VI - Nubian Pyramid with Petra
Petra and adjacent districts can turn Nubian Pyramids into super-powered tiles.

The Pyramids are also a worthwhile wonder for Nubia to pursue. The free builder and extra charges (especially combined with the Ilkum and Serfdom policies) will allow you to build more Nubian Pyramids (even in relatively weak locations), without having to feel like you're neglecting other important improvements. If you're fighting a lot of wars, you can also capture your enemies' Builders and spend them to create Nubian Pyramids and mines.

As you expand, you should try to focus on desert regions, especially ones with access to resources that can be mined. Mineable resources will make your cities more productive and wealthy. You should supplement your expansion with some wars and conquest in order to capture some Builders from other civs and city states in order to construct more mines and Nubian Pyramids without having to invest in Builders of your own.

Desert worship

Since the Nubian Pyramid generates faith by default, you'll probably always be generating at least a small amount of faith. You may want to invest in an early Holy Site and attempt to found a religion. The desert start bias of Nubia means that the Desert Folklore pantheon is usually a strong option. Nubia should also consider pantheons that boost mines (such as God of the Craftsman or Religious Idols). Lady of the Reeds and Marshes can also be a decent fall-back option if floodplains and oases are readily available. Another fall-back option could be City Patron Goddess, which will further speed up the construction of the first district in each of your cities.

Civilization VI - spreading religion
Nubia can focus itself on religion, or use its religious powers towards military conquest.

If you do found a religion and decide to aggressively spread it to foreign cities, you should consider the Crusade follower belief. This will give you a combat bonus when fighting near foreign cities that follow your religion. This will put you in a good position to push for either a religious or domination victory. If you can't convert enemy cities before a war breaks out, then take some Apostles and/or Missionaries out with your armies in order to try converting enemy cities before attacking them.

Beyond the bow

At first glance, Nubia seems primed to be a Domination-oriented civilization. Keep pumping out ranged units and sweep across the map, while using your district-building bonus to construct Commercial Hubs and Campuses to upkeep your army and keep it up-to-date with the latest tech. While that's certainly a viable strategy, the economic bonuses for mines and Amanitore's district bonuses can make Nubia a surprisingly versatile civilization. Early conquest can be a great way to get off to a flying start, but Amanitore can also use her uniques for more peaceful playstyles as well. Instead of using your Pitati for conquest, you can send them out in groups of two or three to hunt down barbarians in order to earn a steady stream of extra gold, or to protect your neighbors and allies.

The discount for districts means that you'll also be able to have well-developed cities relatively early. Faster district production means you start earning yields and great person points sooner, and can get to work on district buildings sooner. This can allow you to pivot your empire towards science, culture, commerce, or any other path that you desire. It also frees up some production that can be spent towards wonders, traders, more settlers, and so forth.

The production bonus towards districts also applies to late-game districts such as Neighborhoods, Aerodromes, and Spaceports. If you invested in Campuses early and recruited a lot of Great Scientists, then a production boost towards Spaceports will give you a good head start in the space race.

If you decided to skip Holy Sites and founding a religion, but still have a steady stream of faith coming in from Nubian Pyramids (or other sources), then you can ignore Missionaries and save up your faith for Great Person patronage, Naturalists, faith powers granted by city-states, or other late-game applications. These can be used towards generating great works and tourism, and can help you compete for a culture victory as well.

The Shiniest City on the Hill: Playing against Amanitore's Nubia

Amanitore's A.I. agenda: City Planner

"Always tries to keep the maximum number of districts in each city. Respects other civilizations who also develop their cities in this fashion."

Amanitore is up there with Gilgamesh, Tomyris, and Montezuma as one of the premiere early-game war rushers. She can build a large army of Pitati Archers that can quickly move to capture enemy capitals before they can build walls. Try not to let this happen to you!

Walls can be a very effective deterrent to invasion if Amanitore focuses on a Pitati swarm without support from siege and melee units. If you can focus-fire any melee units that she does bring, then her Pitati won't be able to actually capture your city. You'll probably also want a sizeable force of mounted units to chase down and kill any of Amanitore's Pitati. Once you start fielding medieval units, the window of usefulness for the Pitati will have expired. However, don't let this make you complacent. Nubia still gets production discounts and experience boosts to all its ranged units, so Amanitore will still be fielding large swarms of highly-promoted ranged units throughout the game.

Civilization VI - sieged by Pitati
Amanitore can be an early war rusher. Use walls and mounted units to counter her Pitati.

If Amanitore is able to place Nubian Pyramids adjacent to her cities, then she'll also likely be competitive in other fields besides warfare. A discount to districts will allow her to produce more districts earlier, giving her a head start in science, gold generation, faith, culture, great people, or whatever she decides to invest in. There's not much you can do to stop this, but it does mean that you might be able to capture some fairly well-developed cities if you go to war with her. She might also get a head start on generating great people. If there's any early great people that you particularly want, then you'll have to beeline towards the necessary district and building(s), and maybe even save up some faith and/or gold for patronage.

If she has access to a lot of mineable resources, then she'll also likely have pretty high production in her cities, as well as a sizeable amount of wealth to spend on purchases or trade deals. This also means that she'll likely have lots of excess money available for buying your luxuries or excess strategic resources.

If she gets unlucky with the map, and doesn't have desert tiles adjacent to her cities or mined resources easily-accessible, then her powers become pretty pedestrian. The 20% district bonus will still be present, but it's much less likely to be a game-changer. Such a lack of economic powers would likely lead a human player to double-down on military development and aggression. If you happen to possess deserts and mines in your territory, then she may put the crosshairs squarely on you.

If you have well-developed cities of your own (building new districts as soon as possible), then A.I. Amanitore will likely be amicable towards you. If you're on good terms, she can make for a pretty good trade partner. The earlier districts means you can potentially leech some extra yields from early-game and mid-game trade routes to her cities. She generally has a formidable army, so a military alliance with her can act as a serious deterrent to any would-be aggressors.

Civilization VI -
You'll earn Amanitore's respect by building as many districts as possible in all of your cities.

Discussions & Change Log

Thanks for reading. I hope this guide helps you to build a Nubian civilization that will stand the test of time!

[Show Change Log] [Hide Change Log]

9 August, 2018

Added start bias.

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