CIVILIZATION VI: RISE AND FALL - QUEEN SEONDEOK LEADS KOREA

Long before Seondeok was crowned Queen of Silla (now Korea), legends tell of her being incredibly clever. That insightfulness made her a diplomat to be respected and a strategist to be feared.

With no male successors, Seondeok became the rightful heir after King Jinpyeong’s death in 632. This lead to infighting and some outright rebellions – the notion of having a Queen instead of a King didn’t sit well with some factions.

One revolt leader claimed that a falling star signaled Seondeok wasn’t fit to lead. That it was a sign of the end of her reign. The Queen’s solution: Fly a burning kite high in the night sky to signal that the star is back in its place.   

All the while, she still set about major projects to improve the lives of the Sillan people. Welfare policies were put in place to help the most impoverished citizens. She invested heavily in education, allowing knowledge in the arts and sciences to flourish during her rule. Seondeok commissioned the Cheomseongdae, an astronomical observatory to be built in Silla’s capital. It’s no wonder that Seondeok’s big in-game bonus is for science. And while Buddhism was already the state’s religion, she integrated it further into society, refurbished old temples and broke ground on many new ones.

The Queen did all this during her 15-year reign while also fending off neighboring kingdoms. It was through her ability to balance shrewd diplomacy with threats of force when needed that she even accomplished what some would think impossible: Forging an unlikely alliance with Tang Dynasty China.

Seondeok not only managed to get China to support Silla militarily, she also rejected stepping down for them to rule in her stead. While she didn’t live to see it, Seondeok put pieces in motion to let Silla thrive by pitting neighboring kingdoms against each other…and getting one step closer to a united Korea.

UNIQUE DISTRICT: SEOWON

Replacing the Campus district, the Seowon is home to many academic endeavors. Built into the hills, they functioned as both Confucian shrines and scenic preparatory schools in 16th Century Korea. Seonbi (intellectual aristocracy during the Joseon Dynasty) sympathized with the commoners’ plights and this philosophy found its way into the Seowons – attended largely by aristocratic children. These academies became ideal places to discuss politics and explore new ideas regarding Neo-Confucianism, Korea’s contemporary culture and government.

UNIQUE UNIT: HWACHA

The hwacha is an unassuming two-wheeled cart, but this mobile ballista was deadly in the defense of Korea. A hwacha could launch a hundred rocket arrows against distant targets in seconds. Or, with a changeable module, fire off 200 Chongtong bullets.

Hwachas are considered to have turned the tide of the Imjin War. From 1592 – 1598, hwacha were widely used to aid in repelling Japanese invasions – roughly 50 units deployed in Hanseong (modern day Seoul) and another 80 along the northern borders. The most telling victory came during the Battle of Haengju where Korean soldiers beat back a force ten times its size thanks to 40 hwachas.

UNIQUE CIV ABILITY: THREE KINGDOMS

Korea’s unique ability is called “Three Kingdoms” and to make the most of it, be sure to build mines and farms adjacent to a Seowon. Mines receive bonus science and farms will yield bonus food from this placement.

UNIQUE LEADER ABILITY: HWARANG

Seondeok improved the lives of her subjects through education. Take advantage of that with Hwarang. It grants players a bonus to both science and culture in all cities with an established governor.

Seondeok is one of the nine new leaders coming with Civilization VI: Rise and Fall when the expansion releases in early 2018.

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