Strategies (Civ5)

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This page is used to submit and view strategies for Civilization V.

Basic ConceptsEdit

Dollar DiplomacyEdit

Early on, try to find city-states (30 20xGold5 Gold if you meet them first, and 15 20xGold5 Gold if you don't) and sell your embassies to the AI for 1 20xGold5 Gold per turn. Remember though that this gives the AI knowledge of the location of your capital city, which could result in them coveting your lands. Think twice about giving embassies to warmongering civilizations (the Zulus, Mongols, Huns, etc.), especially on higher difficulties. Starting to trade with civilizations early on makes them friendlier and more likely to give you a Declaration of Friendship. Early alliances also allow you to sell your luxuries for 240 20xGold5 Gold instead of just 6 20xGold5 Gold per turn, which equals only 180 20xGold5 Gold (though this differs on slower or faster game speeds). Always start your game by building at least 1-2 Scouts on big continental maps and fewer on island maps to explore adequately and meet the most city-states first.

Citizen ManagementEdit

In the early game it's most important for your city to grow. Set your city on production focus and lock "growth" tiles (tiles with 3 or more 20xFood5 Food, so named because each citizen consumes 2 20xFood5 Food). When a city grows, the new citizen will automatically work the highest production tile and you will get the benefit on the very same turn, because food is consumed first, then the city grows and all the production and gold is used. If you left your city on food production instead, the new worked tile would go to waste. Lock down your citizen on a food tile for following turns.

Optimal City Placement and How to ExpandEdit

The perfect city placement needs the following, in order of importance:

While producing a Settler your city cannot starve or grow, which allows every tile to be devoted to production and gold generation. 3 20xFood5 Food counts for 1 20xProduction5 Production in Settler production. You generally shouldn't produce Settlers before having 4 20xPopulation5 Population, because it will take too long to build a Settler and your city will take too long to catch up to other players when you finish the Settlers.  

Your expansion should be located next to luxuries you don't have or settling a claim on an extremely good strategic position for further conquest or turtling. You should always aim at least for another luxury, because settling each city consumes 4 20xHappiness5 Happiness. It is often advisable to settle directly on luxuries that require a Camp (such as Furs and Truffles) or a Plantation (such as Cocoa, Citrus, Wine, and Cotton). Settling on a luxury delays the need for a Worker early, since the city automatically works it with the appropriate tech; however, it denies your city the tile yields of the improved luxury. Camps and Plantations only yield additional 20xGold5 Gold when improved whereas Mines and Quarries yield additional 20xProduction5 Production (a much more important resource); thus the opportunity cost of settling on a resource that requires a Mine or a Quarry is much higher.

Basic Worker UseEdit

The primary purpose of Workers early on is to increase the yield of tiles worked. Something very important to consider early on is that tile improvements can be changed later in the game. Your first focus should be around improving luxury resources you may have that you have the appropriate tech for. Improving tiles that can become Farms is equally important as this will significantly boost food. Improve tiles that do not require preliminary work, such as clearing a forest or a jungle, first so as to have the quickest yield from tiles. If you pursue the Liberty policy tree, be sure to unlock the policy that grants an additional Worker and 25% faster tile improvement speed, as this will help throughout the game.

Especially on higher difficulties, Workers are prohibitively expensive to produce. Do not be afraid to steal Workers from city-states or AI opponents early in the game. Doing so early often does not result in any meaningful diplomatic penalty later in the game while yielding you "free" Workers and potentially seriously setting the AIs back.

How to Ally City-StatesEdit

Don't ignore the value a City-State can provide as an Ally. Depending on the path a city-state follows, you can be granted 20xCulture5 Culture, 20xfaith5 Faith, 20xFood5 Food, military units (some of which you can't acquire otherwise), or 20xHappiness5 Happiness. You can increase your friendship with a city-state in several ways. Money gifts work well, and the bonus you get when a city-state is working on a project can increase your friendship level dramatically. Gifting units also provides an increase, but each city-state will ask for favors or make special requests, such as building a new world wonder or finding the territory of another civilization. Completing these missions provides friendship points that can be picked up rather easily. Fighting Barbarians is another effective way to gain influence with a city-state. You can gain 12 Influence (Civ5) Influence by killing a barbarian unit in or adjacent to a city-state's territory, and when the city-state asks for help in getting rid of a certain encampment, up to 50 Influence (Civ5) Influence can be awarded.

In certain situations, you can expand your friendship with multiple city-states at once, or rapidly increase the rate of gaining influence, with some careful planning and unit placement. If two city-states' territories come together, and an encampment spawns at their border, killing barbarians will increase friendship with both city-states. Also, rescuing a city-state Worker and returning it to the city-state is worth 45 Influence (Civ5) Influence. Playing with rampaging barbarians (selected on the setup screen) will increase the rate at which encampments will generate new barbarians. If you can rescue a Worker outside the encampment, it often possible to position your units in a such a way that you can control which direction the Worker heads. By keeping a Worker close to an encampment, you can allow barbarians to capture the Worker again and again, rescuing it each time and gaining points for killing barbarians as well as rescuing Workers. Just be cautious that a wandering unit from another civilization doesn't come and ruin your good thing by killing the barbarians (or their encampment) themselves.


Religion is not a win condition, but it helps you achieve cultural victory, because tourism has a greater effect with civilizations sharing your religion. If you want to have a strong religion game, you need to pick a civilization that has a religious theme (such as the Celts or Ethiopia) or have a city with a lot of workable desert tiles (especially oases and hills) while rushing the pantheon Desert Folklore (which makes each desert tile produce 1 20xfaith5 Faith).

Great early game faith generation allows you to found the first religion, granting you access to all religious beliefs available. Generally, you want to fit the religious beliefs to your playstyle but the best are Tithe (for gold generation), Pagodas (buildings purchasable with faith that grant happiness), Religious Texts (faster spread of your religion) and Jesuit Education (can purchase scholarly buildings with faith). If you can't pick those, get some that fit with your overall plan.

Warmongering on Immortal and Deity Difficulties Edit (single-player guide)

This guide describes how to pull off conquest assisted victories on higher difficulties (and Pangaea/Continents maps), and lists four good units to do so with: the Composite Bowman (Classical Era), Crossbowman (Medieval Era), Cannon (Renaissance Era), and Artillery (Industrial Era). It also has more information describing how best to start (build order; Tradition, Liberty, Honour; 3 city early National College; rush Oracle; etc.) Finally, it also drops hints on how to manipulate city-states in your favour during wartime. This guide is massively helpful in bridging the gap to a higher difficulty.

This guide assumes a Standard turn time; however, Epic or Marathon are much easier for war, as it takes longer for units to become obsolete.

Small Piety Edit (single-player guide)

This guide describes how to pull off a completely peaceful diplomatic victory using Piety to spread a religion all over the world, despite being behind in Demographics for a large part of the game and on Deity. Despite any bad start (with Greece, no rivers, spawning next to the Zulus), the guide demonstrates how it can still be pulled off on a Standard sized map. This strategy can likely be refitted for other map sizes and victories too. Because of the culture from a dominant religion, all the friendships and city-state alliances, you can take Rationalism easily, have multiple Research Agreements, and gain city-state science through Scholasticism, gaining a scientific victory. Cultural victory may be slightly harder with only 3 cities, but a "Sacred Sites" religious approach may work.

Basic Tech Order and BuildingEdit

Every win condition requires you to have a good science game. More science gives you more advanced units, better cultural buildings, a better chance at more advanced wonders, and the opportunity to find important strategic resources before your opponents do.

The first tech to research is Pottery, as it gives you access to two very important buildings: the Shrine, which allows you to found a Pantheon and eventually a Religion; and the Granary, which aids your city's growth and leads to greater science output. Next comes Animal Husbandry, which allows you to see Horses on the map (aiding your expansion placements) and allowing you to build a Caravan. Sending Caravans between your own cities causes them to grow faster. If your cities are coastal, Sailing may be a better choice as a second technology as sea trade routes are always better than land ones. Next, research the appropriate technologies to improve the luxuries in your capital and expansions (e.g. Calendar, Trapping, Mining, or Masonry). Next, go for Writing to allow you to build a Library, increasing your science output. Build a Library in all of your cities so that you can build the ever-important National College upon researching Philosophy. If you neighbor a warmongering civilization, you may want to research Construction prior to Philosophy to allow you to build Composite Bowmen. To further increase your science output, research Education. Build Universities in all of your cities as quickly as possible, but hold off on building Oxford University. Then, head into Metal Casting and optionally Machinery. Metal Casting allows you to build the Workshop, an essential building that increases the production of your cities while Machinery allows you to build the Ironworks National Wonder that further increases production (allowing you to complete important buildings and wonders more quickly). If any of your high science output cities are located adjacent to mountains, research Astronomy and build an Observatory wherever possible. The next important technology is Scientific Theory, which allows you to build Public Schools. Next research Electricity. While you are doing that, begin building Oxford University. Leave it with one turn left until you finish researching Electricity, then complete it and use the free technology it gives you to unlock Radio. This will push you into the Modern Era very early in the game, usually giving you first pick of Ideology. Industrialization should be next, allowing you to build Factories to further increase production. Plastics is another very important technology because it gives you access to both Research Labs and Infantry, an important science building and powerful military unit respectively. From this point on, begin focusing on technologies relevant to your chosen victory.

This, of course, isn't set in stone. Adjust your tech order to build important wonders and buildings specific to your intended victory type. There can (and should) be filler techs between those listed in the skeleton above.

Great Scientist BuildingEdit

After you complete Public Schools, or maybe a bit sooner, start saving Great Scientists. After you complete Research Labs in most cities, increase your science production to the max for 8 turns (employ all specialists, set cities to 20xScience5 Science production). After those 8 turns are up, bulb all your available Scientists for free technology advancement. You get more science this way because bulbing Scientists adds an average science production of the last 8 turns (though this differs depending on the game speed). 

Great Writers BuildingEdit

Bulbing Great Writers works the same as Scientists. You get the max return after 8 turns of cultural production. Ally all cultural city-states, max out culture in all your cities, win at the World's Fair and start a Golden Age with your Great Artist. After 8 turns, start popping your Great Writers.

Opening StrategiesEdit

The early game is the most important part of Civilization V, because if you fail early, you won't ever be able to win. The following are tested openers at least on Immortal difficulty (unless stated otherwise). They should all work on difficulties below that where they will be even more efficient. Click the expand button to open a strategy.

Strategy for Duel Maps with Lots of AI PlayersEdit

More than a complete strategy, because as always there are more possible ways how to play and win a game in Civilization V, there are some very useful tips to play on very small maps. Best if you have a lot of AI enemies, like 7 or more. (You have to add them in the advanced settings when creating a single player game.)

1) Start with a good civilization/leader for small maps. Good leaders include Pocatello (Shoshone), Washington (America), Gandhi (India), Ramesses (Egypt), Ahmad al-Mansur (Morocco), Maria I (Portugal), Gustavus Adolphus (Sweden), Enrico Dandolo (Venice), and Nebuchadnezzar II (Babylon). Simply pick a leader who is good to combine with Tradition. Pocatello is absolutely great for this, because of his extremely quick land grabbing.

Bad leaders include anyone specialized a lot to play with city-states, like Alexander (Greece) or Ramkhamhaeng (Siam) or warriors like Genghis Khan (you will be a warmonger too soon on extremely small maps).

2) Trade Caravans are great. And you have a lot of them soon. It is very important, because you need gold not only to buy buildings/units from time to time, but also to buy important land tiles with strategy/luxury resources.

3) You can trade luxury resources, but do not expect much. On small maps, only from time to time is there a chance to switch resources. So you must trade additional luxury resources for gold coins. On the other hand, even AI players with one city will gladly buy A LOT of Iron, Horses, or other strategic resources.

4) If possible, build cities on coastal tiles. Maps like donut or oval are great for this type of game.

5) Trade your embassy to enemies, so you have a few coins from the start. Try to get technologies like Writing and Civil Service quickly. Also, trade your borders for 50 20xGold5 Gold - from 10 enemies, this is 500 20xGold5 Gold! Use them wisely.

6) Creating wonders is important. If you are able to get the best tiles, then you can build a lot of them. And to get the best tiles, building like Monuments, Amphitheaters and Pagodas. Also, use gold from selling embassies or open borders to buy Workshops, Windmills or other buildings that allow you to improve your production.

7) If you made a religion early, try to build Missionaries quickly and spread that religion. On small maps, if you convert two other cities, others will (relatively soon) follow as well.

Infinite City SprawlEdit

Multiplayer Religion ICSEdit


You have to play a map with a lot of water for lots of coastal city locations. Get the Messenger of the Gods (+2 20xScience5 Science from 20xCityConnection5 City Connections) pantheon, fill out Liberty and the first few policies in Exploration, only found coastal cities, go Order. Each city will start with 4 20xProduction5 Production, 3 20xScience5 Science, and 1 20xGold5 Gold, which is huge in the mid-game. Each city only costs 2 20xHappiness5 Happiness to found, due to the immediate 1 20xHappiness5 Happiness from Harbors and 1 20xHappiness5 Happiness from the city connection. Also, every city will immediately get the 20% 20xProduction5 Production from railroads as soon as you research the technology, as well as an additional +3 20xProduction5 Production and +1 20xCulture5 Culture, 20xFood5 Food, 20xGold5 Gold, and 20xScience5 Science if you adopt the Five-Year Plan and Party Leadership tenets.

Hanging Gardens and Petra on ImmortalEdit

Difficulty Map
Immortal Desert start bias

This strategy guarantees getting classical wonders Hanging Gardens and Petra on Immortal difficulty. You will be behind in Science a bit, but it should kickstart a great capital city. The free Caravan from Petra will help with extra beakers from more trade routes with more advanced civilizations. The Great Engineer point from Petra combined with the free Garden guarantees an early Great Engineer, which you should implement into your plan after you finish this stuff.

Build order
Scout (Civ5) Scout Shrine (Civ5) Shrine Worker (Civ5) Worker Granary (Civ5) Granary
Archer (Civ5) Archer Hanging Gardens (Civ5) Hanging Gardens Petra (Civ5) Petra

Since a desert bias is fantastic for the belief Desert Folklore, you want to start with the Shrine. You can skip Monument and use Legalism to get it for free. It will delay your policies a bit, if you don't find a culture Ancient Ruin, but it is not an issue. There will be small window of time where you can't produce anything in the build order, use that time to put a couple of turns of hammers into a Worker or Caravan.

Technology order
Pottery (Civ5) Pottery Mining (Civ5) Mining Animal husbandry (Civ5) Animal husbandry Archery (Civ5) Archery
The wheel (Civ5) The wheel Mathematics (Civ5) Mathematics Currency (Civ5) Currency

You have to beeline Currency, otherwise you risk an AI getting Petra. You have more time, if there are no other desert starting bias civilizations in the game, but don't delay it too much. It's worth getting Masonry, if you have Marble, because its passive bonus speeds up production of classical Wonders. If you hit a science Ancient Ruin and you get a needed technology, squeeze in Writing for Libraries.

Social policy order
Social policies (Civ5) Tradition Legalism (Civ5) Legalism Aristocracy (Civ5) Aristocracy

Nothing too complicated here. Start Tradition, get Legalism for free monuments and then Aristocracy to speed up Wonder production. After that complete Tradition and transition into your mid game plan.


Desert Folklore is absolutely essential. You will have a lot of Faith generation early and you'll be able to secure a good Religion. Pick beliefs according to your overall game plan.

Babylon (rushing Great Library and Science Victory)Edit

Requirements for rushing a Great Library - 3 food tile from lvl 1 - hills, preferably uncovered

In any type of map, choosing Babylon as your civilization will give you an amazing head start. Build whatever buildings/units you want, but make sure to set research to Pottery, followed by Writing. Once Writing is obtained (in about 16 turns), you will gain a Great Scientist. Making an Academy with the Great Scientist will generate 8 more science per turn, more than doubling it from the 6 you should (already?) have at this point. This will effectively reduce the number of turns needed for each of the other starting technologies by more than half, yielding you a great advantage in the early stages of the game.

Tested on: Quick, multiplayer. (turn 23 - t1 city) (turn 25 - t3 city)

Tech order: Pottery, Mining, Writing, Calendar, pick Philosophy as your free tech.

Build order: Worker, put work into the Granary while researching Library tech, Great Library into National College. 2 Archers. Settler, Caravan, Worker.

Build order in expansion: Library, Granary, University.

Policy management: Tradition, Aristocracy.

Citizen management: Grow city until lvl 4; after that it's okay to stagnate and focus only on production. Set back to growth after you complete the Great Library.

Worker management: Park it on a hill until Mining is complete and build a mine. After the mine is complete, chop down forests around your city to speed up production. Tiles inside your territory give you more production.

Warrior management: Explore until you build a Worker, then move back the Warrior to protect it.

Shoshone Sub-220 WinsEdit

Poland UA (4-city superpower)Edit

Difficulty Map
Deity Pangaea

This 4 city opener is taking advantage of the Polish unique ability Solidarity which gives a free Social Policy when you advance to the next technological era. It uses these free policies to expand faster and more efficiently, giving you a headstart. It can be used with other Civilizations but it is not as effective. It works on every difficulty and maps with enough space for expansions that have 7 tiles between them.

After this opener aim for Hagia Sophia, Pyramids, Sistine Chapel, Chichen Itza (if not Deity) and Porcelain Tower, but judge wisely, if they are really obtainable. It supports all victory types. (Note that this requires the Brave New World DLC.)

Build order
3 Scout (Civ5) Scout Shrine (Civ5) Shrine Monument (Civ5) Monument Worker (Civ5) Worker Granary (Civ5) Granary
Caravan (Civ5) Caravan 2 Settler (Civ5) Settler Oracle (Civ5) Oracle National College (Civ5) National College

Only get Shrine if you don't find an ancient ruin with Faith or meet two religious city-states, which are enough for a free Pantheon. By the time you are producing Settlers, you should already have Collective Rule social policy active. When you get to constructing Oracle, Aristocracy should also kick in. Buy an additional Worker when you have 310 gold. You can also steal one from a city-state or an enemy civilization. They spawn around turn 30.

In your expansions first build Monument, Library (buy them if you have enough gold from selling Luxuries), Caravan, Worker, Granary.

Technology order
Pottery (Civ5) Pottery Animal husbandry (Civ5) Animal husbandry Mining (Civ5) Mining Writing (Civ5) Writing
Philosophy (Civ5) Philosophy Drama and poetry (Civ5) Drama and poetry Theology (Civ5) Theology Education (Civ5) Education

This is the most efficient technology order for quickly jumping ages and getting the free policies. You can add Archery, if you have issues with barbarians or neighbour an aggressive civilization. By ignoring the lower part of the research tree, your Caravans will provide a lot of extra Beakers, make sure to take advantage of that.

Social policy order
Social policies (Civ5) Tradition Social policies (Civ5) Liberty Republic (Civ5) Republic Collective rule (Civ5) Collective rule
Citizenship (Civ5) Citizenship Aristocracy (Civ5) Aristocracy Finish Tradition. Representation (Civ5) Representation

This social policy order takes advantage of Collective Rule and Aristocracy when you are actually abusing them to their fullest potential. Wait to take Legalism until you complete Monuments in all your cities. You can pick Oligarchy before it and pick Legalism with the free policy from Oracle.


Religion isn't vital for this strategy. As your Pantheon, take Fertility Rites (+10% growth) and build Hagia Sophia for your Prophet, but don't prioritize it over Oracle or National College. As your beliefs you will want Feed the World (Shrines and Temples provide +1 food) or Swords into Plowshares (15% faster Growth rate for city, if not at war). If you can enhance your religion, take Religious Texts (religion spreads faster).

Tier ListsEdit

Since part of the effectiveness of a civilization depends on individual playstyle and game settings, there is some subjectivity involved in coming up with a civilization tier list. They can, however, provide some helpful food for thought and advice for using the civilizations to their full potential. See the following tier lists and surrounding discussions for more information: