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.
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 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.
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.
"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'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.
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)
240 or 480 or 960
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.
Portugal has a bias towards copper, diamonds, iron, jade, mercury, salt and silver.
Portugal's easiest path to victory is Science, although you can buy your way into any type of 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Reach the Medieval Era
Allows you to construct the Gilded Vault building, a powerful replacement of the Bank.
Reach the Industrial Era
+1 Wildcard Policy slot. +2 Spy capacity. Your cities gain +4 Loyalty per turn and +1 Amenity when your Spy is in their territory.
Reach the Atomic Era
Whenever an offensive spy mission is successful, you also gain half of the Gold, Faith, Culture, and Science that the targeted city earned that turn. Earn 3% of your Gold treasury as Gold per turn (up to 1000 Gold per turn).
I played a deity game with the settings above. No game-modes. I got a bad start location, but I played it out.
While playing Portugal, you have to found your first city in a coastal tile in order to get the Sailing Eureka. 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:
In order to support trade and science development, you should focus on the following civic boosts:
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
Harbor and Campus are essential, this is a civilization about trading and science.
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 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.
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.
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.