João III of Portugal First Look and Analysis – Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass

TL;DR: All about that money

João III of Portugal. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

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, which will give us several new Civilizations and Game Modes(which you can find out more information HERE). The final new Civilization has been announced, so let’s dive into Portugal.

João III of Portugal Overview

Civilization LeaderJoão III
Preferred Religion: Catholicism
Civilization CapitalLisbon
Civilization BonusCasa Da Índia – International Trade Routes can only reach cities on the coast or with a Harbour, +Yields on International Trade Routes. Trader units get +range on Water and can embark from the start of the game.
Leader BonusPorta Do Cerco – All units get bonus sight, bonus trade route when you meet a civilization for the first time, Open Borders with all City-States.
Unique UnitNau – Cheaper maintenance, Starts with one free promotion, has two charges to build Feitorias.
Unique Tile ImprovementFeitoria – +Gold, +Production, Portugal gains +Gold, +Production to all trade routes to a city with one. Must be built in a foreign city with Open Borders on the coast next to a bonus or luxury resource. Cannot be removed.
Unique BuildingNavigation School – Replaces the University, +construction of Naval units, +science for every two Coast or Lake tiles in the city, +Great Admiral Points.

João III of Portugal Analysis

As we headed towards the end of the New Frontiers Pack, you would have expected to turn up a couple of civilizations if this is the last thing we are getting for Civilization VI (which it might not be). The last of these was Portugal, so it was nice to see it as the last new civilization in the NFP. Portugal has been in every entry since Civilization III with some slightly perplexing leaders, so it was nice to see them come back with one of the prominent Portuguese history players with  João III, who has a strong history with spreading trading routes across the globe, which is thematically appropriate here.

If there is one civilization that has been consistent throughout the franchise, it has been Portugal. In Civilization IV, V, and now VI, the civilization has had a replacement naval unit and also been able to build the Feitoria in some way. While this gives Portugal Civilization a slight inevitability over its bonuses, there are also tweaks in each implementation that can change how you play the civilization.  

This iteration of Portugal is all about that international focus, conquering the high seas through military might and the power of gold. All of Portugal’s bonuses, both the good and the bad, are all focused on pushing out among the waves and securing every possible trade route.  I thought the bonuses from the trade routes might be a bit too much, Like Babylon’s Tech boost ability. However, restricting them to only naval trade routes might be enough to balance that out.

Feitoria. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.
Portugal is all about those trade routes. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

One thing that will set Portugal apart is the number of trade routes it will have because all those routes mean that you will have a larger gold base than most other civilizations. The more gold you have, the easier just about all of the victory conditions become. You still need to protect those trade routes, because thankfully, Portugal did not inherit Lisbon’s City-State ability. This means you still have to defend your trade ships and that it might incentivize people to declare war on you for the gold bonuses from raiding. However, it does feel like getting a free trade route from just meeting a new civilization is a bit too easy. There should be an extra component like getting a free trade route the first time you get open borders with a civilization, not just when you meet them.

While the gold gives Portugal a bonus in nearly every victory type, there is also a solid military element to Portugal’s game that could make them a considerable threat in the game. Their unique unit is fine on its own. Indeed you will likely be building it more for its ability to pump out Feitorias. However, when you combine this with the ability to build naval units faster than anyone else with the Navigation School, you could flood the oceans with combat units. Can you imagine if Portugal gets their hands on the Venetian Arsenal? But more than that, there is one small bonus that can make a real difference to Portugal’s military power, giving EVERY unit a sight range boost. This might be the best of all of their bonuses. It gives you the ability to better position your troops, see approaching armies, and get your ranged units into shooting range.

In the end, what do we think of this new addition to Civilization VI? Overall, I think I am pretty impressed with this flexible civilization. While you will need to work to get those trade route bonuses (but not the trade routes themselves), securing a solid gold foundation that can let you pivot in almost any direction. To add to this, you get a good science buff and military bonuses to round Portugal out. At this point, we don’t know if this will be the end of updates for Civilization VI or if this was only season one? But I have had fun with most of the new additions, and I look forward to giving Portugal a try.   

    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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.