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Civilization 4: Religion

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  • Civilization 4: Religion

    Barry Caudill, Civilization IV Senior Producer on Religion

    Religion has always played a critical part in human history. Through religion, man has sought to make sense of the universe around him and to determine his place in it. Religion has inspired, enlightened and ennobled man; in its name men have erected beautiful buildings, written books of great wisdom, and made music of surpassing beauty. In its name men have also murdered and enslaved their fellows. Given the importance of religion throughout history, it seemed fitting that we should try to address it in Civilization IV.

    Through our tests, it was determined that the optimal number of religions for gameplay purposes was seven (a number that seems to come up quite often when designing versions of Civilization). We then set about making a list of seven important and recognizable religions. After a lot of deliberation and more testing, we narrowed the list down to these: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism.

    If you are the first to discover the technology associated with a religion, the religion is founded in one of your cities. Religion can spread passively throughout your cities and even into neighboring cities belonging to your opponents. Establishing trade routes can help spread your religion faster and farther. Certain religious buildings can also help this passive spread but if you want to move the process along, you will want to create missionaries. Missionaries are units that you can move to another city (your own or an opponent’s) and attempt to directly convert that city to your religion.

    In addition, having cities that have converted to your state religion can give you monetary and happiness bonuses. You can also get some line of sight benefits, and provide yet another interesting decision in a game already filled with interesting decisions.

    A completely new feature in Civilization IV compared to previous Civ games is Religion. Religions spread through the world on their own, but of course there are ways in which players can influence this. Religions offer players a myriad of bonuses and tools to control their people. Note that different Religions don't have unique bonuses, they are all generic in ability. The game is about having Religions, it doesn't matter much which ones there are. This is of course to prevent controversy regarding this sensitive subject.

    Timbuktu as Holy City of HinduismReligions are founded by being the first to research certain Advances. The first player to research Polytheism gets to found Hinduism, the first to discover Meditation founds Buddhism, etc. When a Religion is founded, one City in the empire of the player who founds it is converted to this Religion and becomes the Holy City for that Religion. Holy Cities can be recognized on the map by an icon representing the Religion with a yellow star in the top-right [see image]. From the Holy City, Religions gradually spread to other Cities throughout the world. Players can build Missionaries to help the spread of a Religion. There are no restrictions on where Religions can spread: one City can have multiple religions and it's also possible for a City to be the Holy City for more than one Religion. The Religions that are present in a City are visible on the map, by means of icons near the City name [see image].

    Since Religions spread more or less independently from Civilizations, one Civilization can have several Religions in its borders and one Religion can be spread over the territory of several Civilizations. However, every Civ can choose only one Religion as State Religion. Other Religions that may be present in a Civ's territory then become Minority Religions. Depending on the Civics choices, the State Religion and Minority Religions have an impact on various aspects of the game [see Civics]. Regardless of Civics choices though, every City that has the State Religion gets a +1 Happiness bonus. The State Religion also has an impact on diplomacy: opponents may attempt to convert each other tot their State Religion and Civs who have share the same State Religion get along better (but the AI players do have a memory, just switching Religion for the sake of closing a deal will not work). One can change State Religion at any point in the game, but at the cost of 1 turn of Anarchy.

    Other advantages that Religions give is that they allow a City to build Religion-specific Buildings, such as Temples, Monestaries and Cathedrals. It also allows the construction of Missionaries, which can be used to spread a Religion further. Specialising a City towards Religion can generate Great Prophets, which have the ability to establish a religion-specific Shrine in a City. A Shrine is a World Wonder which helps spread its Religion faster and which generates Gold depending on how wide-spread the Religion is. Controlling the Holy City of a Religion has some notable advantages: the player who controls the Holy City of a Religion has line of sight in all cities with that Religion and Holy Cities also receive Gold for every City which has their Religion.

    The following 7 Religions are present in Civilization IV:

    Religion   Founded AtUnique Wonder
    JudaismJudaism Monotheism The Temple of Solomon
    ChristianityChristianity Theology The Church of the Nativity
    IslamIslam Divine Right The Masjid al-Haram
    HinduismHinduism Polytheism The Kashi Vishwanath
    BuddhismBuddhism Meditation The Mahabodhi
    ConfucianismConfucianism Code of Laws The Kong Miao
    TaoismTaoism Philosophy The Dai Miao
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