The second pack in Civilization 6‘s Leader Pass includes Tokugawa Ieyasu as an alternate leader for Japan. One of history’s most famous samurai lords, Tokugawa started the Edo Period, isolating Japan from the rest of the world for centuries in an effort to protect its culture from Western influences.
Playing as Tokugawa in Civ 6 similarly means focusing your attention inward, using Japan’s unique abilities to construct efficient, productive cities. In the late game, you’ll probably see sprawling metropolises composed of several cities working in tandem to grant each other bonuses! Read on to find out how to do it.
As leader of Japan, Tokugawa has many of the same advantages as the country’s other playable leader, Hojo Tokimune. However, his isolationist Bakuhan ability necessitates a very different approach to your economy.
Named for Tokugawa’s historical system of government, which saw samurai serve as both military leaders and bureaucrats, the Bakuhan ability reduces the all yields and Tourism gains from international trade routes by one quarter. However, domestic trade routes provide an additional point of Culture and Science, plus two Gold for every Specialty District at the destination!
The Renaissance Great Merchant Raja Todar Mal adds another half a Gold per Specialty District to this total – be sure to recruit him if you can!
Additionally, Bakuhan guarantees that all Japanese cities within six tiles of the capital are locked at full Loyalty, preventing rebellions in your core territory. Those cities also produce one point of Tourism per District after Japan discovers Flight.
Combined with Japan’s signature Meiji Restoration ability (which, ironically, refers to the end of the Edo Period and the downfall of the Bakuhan), this means that Tokugawa is at his best leading a small group of large cities, thickly settled around the capital. With trade routes from each traveling to Tokyo, Japan can produce more than enough Culture, Science, and Gold to make up for any missed opportunities abroad.
Early Game Strategy For Tokugawa
Your immediate priority at the beginning of the game is to settle as many cities as you can within six tiles of Tokyo. Factors like terrain, water, and other civilizations are likely to limit how many cities you can fit, but the more you’re able to settle early, the more rewards you can reap later on.
After training your initial Scout, it can be a good idea to get a second Warrior to help chase off any Barbarians that settle near your prospective city sites. While founding a Religion isn’t strictly necessary for Japan’s success, having a Holy Site in each city helps you benefit from both Bakuhan and Meiji Restoration, so it’s worth building a few and making an effort to get a Great Prophet.
Once your core cities are established, the next step is to increase their Housing and Food yields to quickly grow your population. More citizens mean more Districts, which are the core of Japan’s gameplay!
Remember to build Farms in triangles or diamonds whenever possible, as this will maximize their output once you research Feudalism.
Assuming you don’t have any other pressing matters to attend to, like an imminent invasion, you should rush the Currency tech to unlock Commercial Hubs. Markets provide more trade routes, so you should have one in every city to ensure there are as many Traders plying the roads of your empire as possible.
The Colossus is a great early-game Wonder for Tokugawa, if you have access to the coast, as it provides a free trade route.
Should You Expand As Tokugawa?
Just because the cities closest to your capital get bonuses doesn’t mean that your entire empire should be limited to a six-tile radius around Tokyo. If a City-State happens to be within that distance (usually because you moved your starting Settler), then you should certainly conquer it. By the same token, if there is good land or a worthwhile enemy city farther than six tiles from your capital, there’s no reason not to claim it for yourself!
Bakuhan also means that you can ignore Loyalty penalties for settling too close to an enemy city, as long as your city is within range of the capital. This makes Tokugawa ideally suited for countering a neighbor’s expansion in tight quarters!
While Tokugawa might not be built for an aggressive campaign of conquest, having productive cities can lead to an impressive military. This goes double in the Medieval Era, when you can bring Japan’s unique unit, the Samurai, to bear. There’s nothing stopping you from sending your armies out to conquer, but try to pick fights that are easily won so that you can keep your focus on growing your economy at home.
Late Game Strategy For Tokugawa
By the time the Industrial Era rolls around, you’ll have a core of cities with several Districts each, ideally all clumped together to maximize the extra benefit they get from Meiji Restoration. Now it’s time to pick a victory condition and get to work. Tokugawa is best suited for a Science Victory, but can also gear himself toward a Culture Victory if you prefer to go that route.
If you’re going for a Science Victory, you’ll naturally want Campuses and Industrial Zones in all your cities – the latter lets you build Japan’s excellent unique building, the Electronics Factory. Keep expanding those Districts whenever you can, and save up Faith from the Holy Sites you built at the beginning of the game. Use that Faith to recruit Space Race scientists like Carl Sagan as soon as they become available, and use your impressive Production output to quickly assemble and launch all the spacecraft required.
Try to place Industrial Zones so that the extra Production from Electronics Factories reaches as many cities as possible. If you’re going for a
Culture Victory, do the same with Entertainment Hubs and Stadiums.
A Cultural Victory can be a little trickier, despite the extra Tourism boost you get after discovering Flight. You’ll need to be especially careful about the placement of your Industrial Zones so as not to reduce the Appeal of tiles that can potentially benefit from Preserves, Seaside Resorts, and Neighborhoods.
Since international trade routes are still very inefficient, you’ll need to make up for the Tourism you lose by keeping your trade internal. Fully-upgraded Entertainment Hubs and Water Parks help with this, along with Seaside and Ski Resorts when they become available. Use your Faith that you’ve built up from the early game to quickly produce Rock Bands and send them on aggressive world tours.
Regardless of which victory condition you pursue as Tokugawa, use the Collectivization Policy to add Food to the list of bonuses you get from domestic Trade Routes, growing your cities even larger!
It’s imperative that all of your museums get the full Theme Bonus for their type. Use the vast sums of money you’re making from your domestic trade network to purchase Great Works from other players. This is especially important on Deity difficulty, where you’ll routinely get beaten to artists, writers, and musicians by other players.
City-States And Vassals
Japan doesn’t do a lot of diplomacy under Tokugawa, but fostering City-States and making them your vassals can provide huge bonuses. Throughout the game, keep the Charismatic Leader Policy in play to maximize your Envoys, and be ready to use the Protectorate Casus Belli to keep your vassals (and the benefits they grant) safe.
Maintaining several vassals also increases your Diplomatic Favor, which you can either sell for resources or spend at the World Congress to keep Diplomatic Victory as an option.
Next: Civilization 6: Tips For Playing As Abraham Lincoln
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