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Gandhi still loves nukes! Our Civilization 5 Gods and Kings Walkthrough gives you tips for the expansion's new systems, changes to combat, and strategies for brand new leaders.
Religion is a new system that can enhance your Civilization with benefits, or be used to hamper the competition. While there is no Religious victory, a properly designed religion can be used to bolster science, culture, relations with city states, or the power of your army. Religions are founded and enhanced via a new resource called Faith. New nations such as The Maya, The Celts, and Byzantium have abilities or buildings that are well suited for building Faith. For other nations, buildings such as Temples and Shrines will help you build Faith.
After gaining a set amount of Faith your Civ will be able to establish a Pantheon that gives cities a single bonus. This Pantheon will also be the basis for your future Religion. Try and pick a Pantheon that matches both your Civ and planned Victory. Such examples include picking Messenger of the Gods if you are playing as China and want a Science Victory, or choosing Ancestor Worship while playing the Aztecs for a Cultural Victory.
Upon gaining a second boon of Faith a Great Person known as a Great Prophet will be born. Move him to the city where you wish to establish your new order and the found Religion screen will pop up. You will need to pick a Founder Belief--bonuses that effect you (or the Civ that founded the Religion)--and Follower Beliefs that can be enjoyed by any city that follows your faith.
It's best to pick beliefs that complement each other and also align with your planned victory. For example, if you are seeking a Cultural Victory try coupling together World Church and Choral Music. Keep in mind that Happiness and Food are normally at a surplus, so basing a Religion around those can be a tad foolish. Once a second Great Prophet is born he can strengthen the Religion by adding a second Follow Belief and an Enhancer Belief. These Enhancers can include spreading your Religion faster or bonuses to combat, making them great for those seeking Domination Victories.
Keep in mind that only so many Religion can be formed (this can be set in the options before creating a game; the amount is based on map size and amount of Civs). If your Faith is too low you may miss out on establishing a Religion and can be at somewhat of a disadvantage.
Now for the most important step of your Religion: Spreading it to other cities and defending against other Religions. Religion on its own can spread to nearby cities, but to really increase global followers you will need to deploy messengers of god. As you build up Faith you can purchase more Great Prophets and also Missionaries that can spread Religion by moving next to a city and using their abilities. Great Prophets can do this four times, while Missionaries can only do it twice. These units can freely move through borders and can use their skills while embarked. This can also make them somewhat of a low end scout to watch over other Civs or spy on City States.
Another unit type that can be bought with Faith are Inquisitors that will purge rival religions from a city, or if garrisoned help defend against Missionaries. Keep in mind that some City States and Civs without Religion will welcome your new type of Faith. However, spreading Religion to nations of other home Religions can easily hinder diplomacy, especially if you tell those Civs that you will stop spreading your Religion but continue anyway.
Inquisitors are the only means of combating Missionaries in times of peace (Or directly surrounding all of your cities with units). On the other hand you can also outright kill or capture the religious units by going to war. This might not always be worth the trouble, as other Civs of the world may see you as a warmonger for taking innocent faith workers.
As you enter later technology eras Faith and Religion will start to wane, but don't neglect it entirely. Civs and City States that follow your Religion are more inclined to work with you, though that still won't override political alliances. Sidon and Lhasa might follow your brand of Hinduism, but don't be shocked if they attack you once Greece has some beef with you.
†@jessie82†I would agree untill this expansion was released. Now Civ V is better in any possible way, really.
Kurtis, great guide. Nicely done. Good to see there are editors that put some work into making a good guide.
One thing I found was missing was the ability to use faith to buy other great people, like great scientist, great engineer etc by following a certain policy. I think they kick in when you enter the†industrial era, so faith is of great use†also later in the game.