Civilization VI Portugal guide

Portugal is a Civilization that excels in maritime trade, which leads to amass large amounts of gold. The economic and diplomatic advantages can be leveraged to attain any type of victory. Science and Domination being the most suitable paths. We will review and learn how to win a Civ 6 game as Portugal in deity or lower difficulty.

How to win Civilization VI as Portugal?

To win a Civilization VI game as Portugal you will rely on international trade, accumulating large amounts of gold, and then buying your way into your prefered victory type. Science, Domination and Diplomacy are the easiest paths, although Portugal is decent at achieving any type of victory. However, it is worth mentioning that winning on a land-based map is way harder.

Portugal Overview

Portugal is a Civilization that excels in maritime trade, which leads to amass large amounts of gold. The economic and diplomatic advantages can be leveraged to attain any type of victory. 


Civilization Ability: Casa da Índia

International Trade Routes can only be sent to cities on the coast or with a Harbor, but gain a 50% increase to all yields. Traders have +50% range over water, and can embark as soon as they are unlocked.


João's Leader Ability: Porta do Cerco

"I am Dom João, by the grace of God, King of Portugal and of Algarves, and of lands overseas, in Africa, lord of Guinea, and lord of the conquest and exploration of, and trade with, Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia, and India."

+1 Sight for all units. Meeting another civilization grants +1 Trade Route capacity. Gains Open Borders with all city-states.

Portugal unique building: Navigation School

Portugal's unique building, it replaces the University. The Navigation School provides additional Science based on coast or lake tiles in its city. It also grants +25% Production towards Naval units in the city.

  • Effects:
    • +4 Science
    • +1 Housing
    • +1 Citizen slot
    • +1 Great Scientist points per turn
    • +1 Great Admiral points per turn
    • +1 Science for every two Coast or Lake tile in this city
    • +25% Production towards naval units in this city

Civic requirement


Base Cost


City requirements



250 Production

2Civ6 gold



Portugal unique unit: Nau

Portuguese unique naval unit. It has the same production cost and meele strength as the unit it replaces, the Caravel. However, the Nau has very interesting bonuses, starting with one free promotion and being capable of constructing Feitorias, while maintenance is lower (2 vs 4 Gold)




Upgrades to

Resources needed

Melee Strength



Build Charges


240 Production or 480 faith civ 6 or 960 Civ6 gold

2Civ6 gold



55 Civ6StrengthIcon




Additional information

  • Has  Sight of 3.
  • Starts with one free Promotion.
  • Has 2 build charges.
  • Can construct a Feitoria (Consumes a Build charges (Civ6).png build charge).
  • Lower Civ6 goldGold maintenance cost (2 vs. 4).


The Nau is a unit meant for economic rather than military reasons. Its main purpose is building Feitorias in order to boost both your trade routes and your allies tiles. Having a lower maintenance cost (2 vs 4) makes this unit worth having even if it is out of build charges. War, exploring, military deterrence,  or diplomacy (Leader agendas) are reasons not to dismantle Naus. 


Start Bias

Portugal has a bias towards copper, diamonds, iron, jade, mercury, salt and silver.

Types of victories

Portugal's easiest path to victory is Science, although you can buy your way into any type of victory.

Domination victory:

Domination is a suitable path for Portugal. Using gold as the main way of producing units allows for strategic advantages, such as suddenly spawning a unit in a city that requires it. International trade routes are always necessary, therefore you can't be enemies with every single civilization, make sure of having an ally to betray later in the game. Protecting international/maritime trade routes is imperative, as it is both your source of gold and units. Portugal's unique building, the Navigation School offers Great Admiral Points, which will be of great help in dominating the oceans.

  • Starting the game look out for a good place to place a Campus, 3 or more adjacency bonus is needed for staying at a similar level with the AIs in deity difficulty
  • Use your Slingers or Scouts to cheese an AIs unprotected settler. Denounce and go to war early on if you see the opportunity of catching the settler, grievances will be forgotten later in the game.
  • Use your Naus for both Feitoria building and protecting trade routes, while the unit doesn't offer strength bonuses, it has a lower maintenance cost that makes it worth it keeping it even after spending its building charges
  • Most important early districts are Campus and Encampment, ignore religion if playing in deity difficulty
  • Just play a water map, although if you do manage to win in deity as Portugal in a land-based map, please send me the file


Science victory:

Science is the best path for Portugal, the Navigation School and Research alliances let us progress rapidly through the Science Tree. High gold generation allows for buying buildings in new cities and therefore having more Navigation Schools sooner.

  • Ancestral Hall (+50% settler production and new cities receive a free builder) is recommended in the Government Plaza district -unless you're doing a 1-city challenge-. Exploring and having more cities with good Campuses is ideal
  • Make a Research Alliance as soon as it is available, but make it with a Civilization that won't take the Science victory from you
  • Have 2 or more cities with good Production output, these cities should have an Industrial zone and a tile reserved for a Space Port
  • Gold must be spent buying buildings and Great Scientists


Culture Victory:

International trade routes also provide Tourism, aslo having a high gold output will give us the option of buying cultural buildings and patronizing Great People such a Great Writers, Great Artists and Great Musicians. Culture victory is a 'good' path for Portugal. However, this is due only to indirect trading/gold bonuses.


Religious Victory:

Ignore religion, besides Portugal not having any bonuses in this respect. Religious victories are rather tedious (IMO). Nevertheless this victory path is achievable, if you're keen on it and still wanna try. 


Diplomatic Victory:

Diplomatic victories are a lot about knowing the game, predicting how the AI's will vote or you deciding those votes by sheer amount of Diplomatic Favours. Buying your way into a diplomatic victory is entirely possible while playing as Portugal, and is arguably one of the quickest paths to victory.


Best Secret Society for Portugal: The Owls of Minerva

The Owls of Minerva are hands-down the best secret society for Portugal. Mainly because of the first bonus (+1 Economic Policy Slot. Each Trade Route sent to a City-state grants 1 Envoy there), this is a powerful way of kick-starting the early game. Having envoys in city-states not only will help granting us their suzerain bonuses, but it will also help with Diplomatic Favor for a Diplomatic Victory or to sell it early game. The Owls of Minerva's unique building, the Gilded Vault, grants a huge bonus for Portugal, providing +1 Trade Route capacity if there is a Harbor in the city. However, constructing Commercial Hubs is rare as you have to prioritize Campuses and Harbors while playing as Portugal.


Second place goes to The Sanguine Pact, always useful and reliable when going for a domination victory. The Hermetic Order is third place, because it is a very unreliable secret society and also has a unique building that replaces the University, as Portugal does, making it so the synergy just isn't there. Last place is for the Voidsingers, while they are not that bad early game, thereafter they become a drag, because Portugal should not focus on religion output if played correctly.



The Owls of Minerva governor promotions

Promotion title

Unlocked by


Initiation Send an Envoy6 Envoy to a City-State (80% chance) +1 Economic Policy Card small (Civ6) Economic Policy slot. Each TradeRoute6 Trade Route sent to a City-State grants 1 Envoy6 Envoy there.

Reach the Medieval Era

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


Reach the Industrial Era

+1 Wildcard slot (Civ6) Wildcard Policy slot. +2 Spy capacity. Your cities gain +4 Loyalty per 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 Civ6Gold Gold,Civ6Faith Faith,Civ6Culture Culture, andCiv6Science Science that the targeted city earned that turn. Earn 3% of yourCiv6Gold Gold treasury asCiv6Gold Gold per turn (up to 1000Civ6Gold Gold per turn).


Portugal throughout the game

I played a deity game with the settings above. No game-modes. I got a bad start location, but I played it out.


Early game

While playing Portugal, you have to found your first city in a coastal tile in order to get the Sailing Eureka. Build order 


Build Order

Scout -> Slinger -> Builder -> Settler/Trader. Make a trader only if you're sure you have a city to trade with, this means either a city of your own or a coastal city in range (45 tiles due to Portugal's 50% range bonus).


Explore, find other Civilizations and City-states

Water maps make it so you won't have to face the AI in the early game as often as you would in a land-based map. Discovering chokepoints and city-states is essential, as you will avoid or engage in early wars. Also there is the possibility of finding a not well protected settler such as this one:

Despite having a terrible starting location (lots of Tundra, 0 good Campuses) I managed to settle 2 cities next to a Natural Wonder and also capture an AI settler, which helped a lot with further expanding and defending against Gorgo's (predictable) surprise war.



Ok, I recommend Magnus as first governor in most of my guides. This is because I always make use of 50% yields from plot harvests and feature removals, also Provision (Settlers do not consume Population) is a necessity in the early game. However, it is worth mentioning that this is my play-style and there are other good Governors.


Science: Have 1 decent Campus early game

I didn't get this luxury early game, and suffered because of it. I found a good place (+3 adjacency) to place a Campus in my sixth city. The idea is to rush a good Campus in either your first or second city. If no good places are found then a mediocre Campus will have to do.



Based on maritime, trading and science needs, necessary Eurekas you should focus on are:

  • Sailing: Found your first or second city on the Coast
  • Celestial Navigation: Improve 2 Sea resources
  • Writing: Meet another civilization
  • Shipbuilding: Own 2 Galleys (at this point of the game you should have enough money to buy at least 1)
  • Education: Earn a Great Scientist (buy if necessary)
  • Cartography: Build 2 Harbors
  • 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 tiles
  • Foreign Trade: Discover a second continent
  • Early Empire: Grow your civilization to at least 6 people
  • The Enlightenment: Build 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. However, you also have to be aware of barbarians or enemy civs plundering your trade routes. Have some ocean units patrolling the zone.


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





Portugal districts 

Harbor and Campus are essential, this is a civilization about trading and science.


Holy Sites

Disregard Holy Sites, acquire Campuses and Harbors.



Constructing at least 1 good Campus (3+ adjacency bonus) early game is enough to not fall behind in science (higher difficulties). Usually Harbor is going to be the first district for every city, but if there is a good tile for a Campus, then the Campus should be prioritized.



Encampments are important, but you don't really need them early in the game. They are only necessary in outer cities and if you see yourself going to war.


Industrial Zones

Industrial Zones are prioritized right after Harbors and Campuses. If you're friends with the VoidSingers, then don't go for Industrial Zones, prioritize third Commercial Hubs instead. Otherwise go for Industrial Zones. It is important to highlight that you will always need them for a Science victory (high productivity cities) and that they should always be constructed next to an Aqueduct (+2 adjacency bonus) and mines.





Harbor is the first district you should construct in your cities, as it will grant 1 Trade Route capacity, which is very important when playing as Portugal.



Commercial Hubs


Commercial Hubs are great for cities without access to water, they are also great if you're playing with the Secret Societies mode on and you're friends with the Owls of Minerva. However, most of the times you should not prioritize this district.

How to counter Portugal

Portugal AI is easy to counter by plundering its trade routes and crippling its economy. However, you will require a powerful navy and clever managing of the seas.

  • Plunder trade routes: Wait in Ocean Tiles and plunder those juicy trade routes, you don't need to directly confront its Navy, just wait in the right place and cripple Portugal's economy.
  • Attack early game: No bonuses or units early game makes it so Portugal is an easy prey. Cheesing their settlers or negotiating a favorable peace deal will be easy. Grievances will be forgotten
  • Ally Portugal: If Portugal AI is not a serious contender for the victory, then make it your ally. The AI will build Feitorias in your territory, which will make you have great tiles in your coastal cities. Also selling resources to Portugal is a great way of getting its money