Portugal is the final civ to join Civilization VI‘s brimming roster, at least at the moment. Indeed, with its trade-focused capabilities, this maritime powerhouse can outshine even Mansa Musa and Mali. Here’s our deity guide to help you with Portugal and its leader, João III, in your Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass playthrough.
Note: For more information, check out our Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass guides and features hub.
Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass – Portugal deity guide
- João III’s leader ability: Porta do Cerco – +1 sight for all units; +1 trade route capacity whenever you meet a new civilization; open borders with all city-states.
- Portugal’s unique ability: Casa da India – International trade routes (i.e., those that don’t go to your own settlements) can only reach cities on the coast or those with a harbor. However, international trade routes also gain +50% to all yields. Likewise, trader units have +50% range over water and can embark as soon as they’re unlocked.
- Unique building: Navigation School – +25% production for naval units in the city; +1 science for every two coast or lake tiles in the city; +1 Great Admiral points. This building is part of the Campus district chain and comes after the library.
- Unique unit: Nau – Replaces the caravel. This naval unit starts with one free promotion, has lower maintenance, and has two charges to build Feitorias.
- Unique improvement: Feitoria – Only the Nau can build this. The improvement can only be built on tiles owned by a civilization or city-state that you have open borders with. Moreover, it must be on a coast tile or lake tile adjacent to land, and also adjacent to a luxury or bonus resource belonging to that city. Feitorias provide the owner +4 gold and +1 production. Meanwhile, any trade routes you send to this city will gain +4 gold and +1 production as well depending on the number of Feitorias. Lastly, Feitorias cannot be destroyed and you cannot build these next to each other.
Note 1: Portugal is a money-making civ with huge snowball potential thanks to its trade routes, Nau, Feitorias, and other uniques. However, do consider the restrictions. If you’re playing on a Continents or Pangaea map, you’re practically gimped from the get-go. With only a handful of foreign cities along the coast, you wouldn’t be able to send that many trade routes. As such, you’ll be limited to just domestic ones, unable to make the most out of João III’s and Portugal’s uniques.
Note 2: Feitorias won’t be destroyed if the AI captures a city that has one. However, Feitorias can still be plundered for gold, and they can still get destroyed if the player chooses Portugal and captures an enemy city that has one (i.e., the civ was once a buddy and you went to war with them). Anyway, I’ll discuss the usage of Feitorias in detail a bit later in the guide.
Starting out with our Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass deity run as Portugal and João III
You can see my chosen settings above. I disabled all other game modes, but I did have six AI-controlled civs in the match. Likewise, I would advise choosing Island Plates or Archipelagos for your map setting. Other map types can really screw you over when it comes to limited trading opportunities.
Plus, if you’re playing on Island Plates or Archipelagos, there’s a good chance that you can bottleneck an aggressive AI’s advance (which is a given on Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass‘ deity difficulty). With only a couple of units, you can stymie an invasion force.
Note: If your settler’s on a coastal tile at the start of your game, that’s great. If not, and moving wastes a turn, you might wish to restart. You want your first city to be on the coast to get the eureka for Sailing.
Scout -> Slinger -> Builder/Galley -> Trader. This generally depends on how soon you can get Sailing. Once you have that tech, pump out a couple of galleys to explore the seas. For every new civilization you meet, you’ll gain extra trade route capacity.
- Celestial Navigation (Harbor district) and Shipbuilding (land unit embarkation and Colossus of Rhodes wonder) – Get these two after grabbing some early-game techs like Writing and those related to strategic, bonus, or luxury resources.
- Currency (Commercial Hub district and market) – This is another obvious choice since you’ll want to have as many trade routes as possible.
- Cartography (Nau, Casa de Contratacion wonder, extra gold from fishing boats, and crossing of ocean tiles) – Naturally, you’ll be grabbing this in a while.
- Education (Navigation School) – This is slightly out of the way, but you do need it for the Navigation School.
- Foreign Trade (Caravansaries policy, Trader unit, and trade route creation) – There’s a good chance that you’ll discover a new continent soon enough, so you’ll get the inspiration for this. Once unlocked, churn out a trader whenever possible.
- Exploration (Merchant Republic government) – The biggest downside here is that this civic is a dead end. Still, Merchant Republic is an ideal government type during the mid-game.
- Mercantilism (Torre de Belem wonder and Triangular Trade policy) – The Triangular Trade policy will rake in so much gold and faith since you’re focused on international trade routes.
- Capitalism (Market Economy policy) – Again, you’ve got bonuses to international trade routes here.
- Suffrage (Democracy government) – If you’re playing a peaceful deity game as Portugal in Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass, then, chances are, you’ll be everyone’s ally (or the suzerain of several city-states). Likewise, that 15% discount on gold purchases is nothing to scoff at.
I personally wouldn’t go with a Religious Victory as Portugal, and it’s going to be a doozy if you attempt this on deity difficulty anyway. However, if you really want to play around with it, then I suggest the following:
- Pantheon – God of the Sea or Religious Settlements
- Follower – Religious Community
- Worship – Wat
- Founder – Sacred Places or Tithe
- Enhancer – Religious Colonization
- Auckland – +1 production for shallow water tiles; extra +1 production once you reach the Industrial Era.
- Bandar Brunei – Trading posts in foreign cities provide +1 gold to your trade routes passing through or going to the city.
- Geneva – +15% science whenever you’re not at war with a civilization.
- Hunza – Trade routes gain +1 gold for every five tiles they travel.
- Kumasi – Trade routes to city-states provide +2 culture and +1 gold for every specialty district in the origin city.
- Mogadishu – Your trader units cannot be plundered on water tiles.
- Samarkand – Construct the Trading Dome improvement. Gives +2 gold and +1 gold for every adjacent luxury resource. International trade routes from this city gain +1 gold for every Trading Dome.
- Venice – Trade routes to foreign cities earn +1 gold for each luxury resource in the destination.
- Mausoleum at Halicarnassus – Given all the water tiles surrounding your cities, you might want something that grants extra science, faith, and culture.
- Casa de Contratacion – You’ll definitely want this one and not just for the three free Governor promotions. Assuming you’ve got a city on another continent (i.e., a “trading hub” close to various civs), you need the +15% production, faith, and gold that this wonder provides.
- Torre de Belem – All international trade routes from this city gain +2 gold for every luxury resource in the destination. Construct this in your “trading hub” to maximize the yields.
Note: The Torre de Belem wonder also automatically constructs the building with the lowest production value in every city that’s not in your capital’s continent. For instance, if such a city already has a monument, then it’ll receive a free granary.
General tips and constructing your Feitorias
I mentioned the term “trading hub” a few times. Basically, this is one of your cities that’s on another continent. Ideally, it’s close to most other civs with settlements that are along the coast. This will allow that hub to churn out and send more trader units, ensuring a steady influx of cash. Then, with the Casa de Contratacion and Torre de Belem, you’ll generate even more gold (along with other yields and benefits).
Still, to actually have a chance as Portugal, you need to be pals with various civ leaders. Ideally, once you meet them, you should send a delegation and gift 100 gold (and maybe an extra luxury resource) to get that green smiley face. Enact a declaration of friendship and, eventually, other agreements too (i.e., open borders, research, and the like). Just keep refreshing these diplomatic agreements whenever they’ve elapsed.
As for the Nau unique unit, your Ancient Era galleys can be upgraded into these and you shouldn’t have problems due to all your gold. Additionally, the galley will receive a free promotion upon being converted into a Nau.
Meanwhile, you should also check the destinations of international trade routes to see if there are multiple luxury or bonus resources. The more Feitorias you can build at those locations with your Nau ships, the more gold you’ll amass if a trade route is heading there. Just remember the placement restrictions. If a city owns a luxury/bonus resource and it’s surrounded by the sea on multiple sides, your Feitorias will definitely make a killing here. If the spot is enclosed, then the trade route destination won’t be as viable.
As you’ll see in the image below, there’s a huge difference between zero Feitorias in the destination city and once you have three or more:
I want it all, and I want it Nau
True to what we’ve seen in human history, Portugal in Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to trading. Although several uniques become available during the Medieval Era, João III’s ability (and that of the civ), can already make a difference early on. Try your best to play defensively and peacefully. This ensures good relations with your neighbors, all while you amass tons of gold.
For victory types, I wouldn’t suggest Religious or Cultural due to a lack of synergy. Indeed, Science, Domination, and even Diplomacy are more ideal. Play your cards right, and use your cash to bolster your forces or offset any deficiencies:
- Science – Research Alliances and production for the space race thanks to trade routes.
- Diplomacy – Diplomatic Quarters, alliances/friendships, and rewards from completing aid missions using gold.
- Domination – Spend your cash to field a strong military, conquering foes with land and naval forces.
Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass is available via Steam. The Portugal Pack, already included in the season pass, can also be purchased separately. For more information, check out our guides and features hub.