Basil II of Byzantium First Look and Analysis – Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass

TL;DR: Byzantium is coming with its horses and Religion, and not much is going to be able to stop it.

We are getting a new expansion for Civilization VI, well not quite, over the next year we have a season pass, the New Frontier Pass. This pack will give us several new Civilizations and Game Modes over the next year (which you can find out more information HERE). The following new Civilizations has been released so let’s dive into Byzantium.

Basil II of Byzantium Overview

Basil II of Byzantium in Civilization VI. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

Civilization LeaderBasil II
Civilization CapitalConstantinople
Civilization Bonus: Taxis Combat units and Religious units get a combat bonus for each Holy City Converted to Byzantium’s Religion. Byzantium’s Region is spread by defeating enemy units. Bonus Great Prophet points in cities with a Holy Site.
Leader BonusPorphyrogénnétos. Cavalry units do full damage against cities following the same Religion as Byzantium.
Unique UnitDromon – bonus range and attack than the Quadrireme that it replaces
Unique UnitTagma – Bonus combat or religious attack to units next to it, replaces the knight.
Unique District: Hippodrome Replaces the Entertainment District and is cheaper to build. Bonus Heavy Cavalry unit for each district and building constructed.

Right from the start, I feel two things when looking at these bonuses. The first is that I am sure that Byzantium is going to be getting a lot of side-eye from Phillip and Spain and second is that for the first time since March in 2017 I have a new champion of ‘oh no, I didn’t spawn next to you did I?’ Sorry Alexander, you have been replaced.

If I could distil Byzantium down into two words, it would be ‘horses and faith’. All of the civilization bonuses revolve around them, but also they work in tandem with each other, each side making the other stronger. The unique district gives you bonuses cavalry units on construction, those cavalries do full damage to cities, and for each unit you defeat you spread your Religion. This bonus is essential because if you convert a Holy City, you get an attack bonus that supports your horses even more and the pattern repeats. Even one of their unique units gets in on the act because the Tagma boosts the attack of surrounding units.

Droman in Civilization VI. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.
Dromans getting the job done. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

These bonuses are what we would call in a board game setting as an engine, a set of skills that if you get that feedback loop working right, you can powerhouse through the game. To the very point that if you see them near you, well that just jumped to priority number one. I don’t think I had felt this way about any civilization before. Well not since I was playing Venice in Civilization V and noticed that Austria was in the game.

However, this loop is built upon one thing, you getting a religion. Now, this is easier given you get a bonus to Great People points, but it is not guaranteed like it is with Arabia. You will need to focus on it from the start and get a Religion as soon as possible. You will also want to upgrade your Religion as quickly as possible to grab the Crusade Belief before anyone else, because let’s be honest you will be using it. The one exception to all this horse and faith push in the game is the Droman, but I like that it is in there because the oceans could do with a bit more variety.

Overall, I do like to play the faith game but not as offensively like this, so I am not sure if Byzantium is going to fit in with how I want to play the game. However, that is because I’m a builder when I play, if you are a warrior in the game, I think Byzantium just jumped up to the top of your list. Something I already see on the Civfanatics Forums. Though to be fair, my reticence with Byzantium might actually stem from the fact that it is going to create havoc for my map. Which I am not sure is a broad issue in the player base.            

To learn more about the Civilization: New Frontiers Pass, you can read it all in our Features Thread.

If you want to get to know the world of Civilization 6, you can explore our Map of Civilization VI

To join in the discussion about the New Frontiers Pass, come join the fun at Civfanatics  

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

What Civs would you like to see in Civ 6 New Frontier Pass?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy


1 thought on “Basil II of Byzantium First Look and Analysis – Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass

  1. Pingback: Map-It Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass – Byzantium and Gaul Pack | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

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