Sumeria might be one of the earliest cultures in recorded history, but its still a somewhat “new” civ, as it hasn’t been around lately in the Civilization series. Less well-rounded than Rome, this civ has a much more specific focus and should be played in a more streamlined way to achieve victory.
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Changes From Previous Games
Not actually appearing (well, outside of mods anyway) in Civ V, Sumeria last appeared in Civilization IV and now makes a triumphant return. With the Epic Quest special ability, defeating barbarian outposts becomes even more lucrative, as you get a tribal village reward each time.
This ability means there should be an early focus on military might and patrolling your borders, and every time you engage in combat with barbarians, you are giving yourself a bigger advantage over other civs.
The apocryphal Gilgamesh offers up the Adventures With Enkidu ability, which is all about engaging in war with an ally.
You (and your ally) share in rewards and experience with any unit within 5 hexes that engages in combat while you have a joint war going.
With such a lucrative bonus available to you and whatever civilization you’ve hooked up with, you should always have an ally and always be combating other civilizations alongside that ally.
Unique Sumerian Buildings / Units
Sumeria gets the devastating War Cart, and unlike other mounted units, it doesn’t suffer penalties from anti-cavalry forces and any unit wielding spears.
With bonus movement when starting on an open terrain hex, War Carts are excellent for both scouting and long range engagements early in the game.
The biggest advantage is that unlike nearly all other unique combat units, you don’t have to research anything to get a War Cart – they are available immediately, so you should be pumping them out straight away.
Going a total opposite direction of most of Sumeria’s other play style mechanics, the unique Ziggurat building offers bonus Science and Culture when placed next to a river.
Sumerian Victory Conditions
Sumeria is strongly focused on allied warfare in Civilization VI, meaning you probably want to go Domination and eventually turn on your ally. The ally is the key though – Sumeria isn’t meant to be played solo as a civilization forging its own path.
You can go other routes however, like using your two-pronged war to keep all the other civilizations at bay while you work steadily towards a Cultural or Science victory with your Ziggurats.