The introduction of secret societies with the ethiopia game pack has opened a well of opportunities for players to steer themselves towards their victory condition of choice. if knowledge is what you seek, consider the hermetic order.
The pursuit of knowledge is always a justified pursuit, especially when creating an empire in Civilization VI. Whether you seek culture, science, or riches, the Hermetic Order can offer you power beyond limit – just keep it hush hush, okay?
Getting into this prestigious club is no easy feat – you’ll have to scour the landscape and the oceans alike to find a Natural Wonder, which will prompt an invitation on your Governor screen. Remember though – you can’t change your choice of Secret Society after you choose, so pick carefully.
The starter rank of the Hermetic Order reveals strange Ley Lines on random tiles on the map. Apart from looking weird and revealing that magic is not just a myth, these tiles provide a standard adjacency bonus to all specialty districts. This is a brilliant boost to your district placements throughout the game, and can help boost those districts up to a splendid +3/+4 district instead. Constructing a +3/+4 district will award you three Era Score the first time you do it per district type, so it’s worth doing for the Golden Ages!
Once you’ve joined the Hermetic Society, as with any other society, you’ll have to wait for the passage of time to gain access to their upgrades – the second stage of which is accessible when you reach the Medieval Era. Now that the higher ups know you’re not just a poser, you can spend one of your governor title upgrades to hit rank two and gain access to the Alchemical Society.
The society is a replacement for the University in your Campus district. As well as the standard +4 science, +1 housing, and +1 Great Scientist Point per turn, the Alchemical Society boasts an additional +2 production, +1 Great Engineer Point per turn, +1 Great Merchant Point per turn, as well as gold equal to the adjacency bonus of the Campus district it is built in.
Should your game continue further into the eras, those additional great people will play very well into the Order’s third tier of goodies…
Once you reach the Industrial Era, you can once again strengthen your bond with the Hermetic Order, this time improving the Ley Line tiles that you may have found (and utilized) dotting the landscape. Since the Order now sees you as part of the upper echelon, they are content to impart upon you the deeper knowledge about these strange magical channels – they have kick ass yields.
For every Great Person you have earned, the Ley Line tiles within your empire’s borders will improve their base yields to reflect it. For every writer, artist, or musician you have gained, the tiles will gain +1 culture. For every merchant, you’ll see +1 gold, for every engineer will be +1 production. Prophets – you guessed it – yield +1 faith, and scientists, generals, and admirals will net you +1 science.
A wide empire – a positive when pursuing a tourism victory like the screenshot above – is sure to have quite a few of these tiles present. I had 11 Ley Line tiles in my empire yielding, among other things, 242 culture per turn.
The climax, the finalé, the apex of the Hermetic Order’s lofty ambition comes to fruition in the Atomic Era, and you lead its cause. With the fourth and final contribution to the Hermetic Order, you unlock the Master Plan – the ability to engage in Occult Research in order to gain gold, science, and Great People Points.
While this project is running within a city, it will generate gold each turn. Moreover, once the project finishes, the city will gain science for each Ley Line in the city, as well as Great Merchant Points, Great Engineer Points, and Great Scientist Points. A great way to finish your late-game space race, or to gain the cash reserves to pursue a different route to victory – execute the Order’s vision as you see fit.
What’s the verdict?
This Illuminati-inspired society is brilliant for any game. The Ley Line standard adjacency is considerable enough to influence your city planning and shape your empire, the Alchemical Society is a worthy improvement on the University, and the Ley Line bonuses are absurd. As the eras continue, the bonuses may favor a more scientific pursuit, but are still a boon for any win condition.