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Ideology is one of the most important features of the late game in Civilization V: Brave New World. With such profound effects on the late game, choosing an Ideology and developing it well becomes very important for ultimate success. You can have your Ideology help you achieve victory, or you may see it bogging down your empire, hindering your progress and ultimately costing you the victory. This article will discuss strategies and techniques for the various uses of Ideology in the game.

Adopting an Ideology Edit

Every player is required to adopt an Ideology at a specific point in the late middle game. This point may be one of two:

  1. When you build three Factories.
  2. When you reach the Modern Era.

Choosing an Ideology early may become a sort of race between civilizations, because of the free tenets the first two adopters of each Ideology receive. So, when you reach the Industrial Era, and if you have no other major strategy requirements, rush to the Industrialization tech, get access to Coal ASAP and start building Factories. This looks easier than it is - many times it turns out there is no source of Coal within your empire, and sometimes arranging access to it and then building the Factories will simply take too much time. An alternative method is to rush to the Modern Era, which eliminates the need to build Factories and can be accomplished quickly via Great Scientists or free techs.

However, if you manage to be the first to complete these requirements, you'll be able to choose any Ideology with two free tenets (they will necessarily be Level 1 Tenets, but needless to say, they may boost your empire considerably, paying off the price of the rush). Still, if you don't manage to be the first, don't necessarily choose just any Ideology to get the free tenets - look below for some considerations on choosing the right Ideology for your path to victory. Because each Ideology covers only three paths, however, each empire has the choice of two Ideologies that lead to the desired path - if one of them still offers free tenets, then grab it.

Choosing the Right Ideology Edit

There is actually no right Ideology to choose - just as the real world isn't black and white, there is no good or bad Ideology in the framework of the game. Still, some tendencies may help certain types of empires better than others, and each Ideology has been fitted to help you achieve three out of the four types of victory. In this sense, here are some general tips:

Other than that, all three Ideologies offer good paths to victory. Still, some general rules apply:

  • Freedom is best for relatively small, peaceful empires, because it has a number of tenets that enhance the city population, the performance of Specialists (of all types), and also of Great People, including their tile improvements. It also has a good means of defense, making it the choice of civilizations which favor a defensive playstyle.
  • Order is best for large, expansionist (but not necessarily aggressive) empires. Its tenets are primarily on a per-city basis and, as such, this Ideology encourages you to expand quickly even in the late game. Go grab all that unclaimed land and make a civilization that will stand the test of time!
  • Autocracy is undeniably the best Ideology for aggressive, militaristic empires which seek a Domination Victory first. Its tenets allow you to maintain a large army, produce military units faster, conquer and pacify cities more easily, and even improve the fighting capabilities of your army. Its other tenets also appear aggressive in nature, so go forth and leave no enemies standing!

Choosing the Right Tenets Edit

When developing your Ideology you are actually able to adopt almost all Tenets available (excluding two Level 2 Tenets, since you have only 4 slots and a total of 6 Tenets to choose from). However, you are not required to do so! You may choose to alternate adopting Tenets and Social Policies; or you may choose to keep adopting level 1 Tenets even after you have access to higher level Tenets. All depends on your playstyle, chosen victory path, or the actual game situation you're in. For example, many Level 1 Tenets may be more beneficial for the moment than Level 2 Tenets; even some Social Policies may be better. You will rarely need more than one Level 3 Tenet (since each one of these is hard to achieve, but fits only one victory path), so after adopting it you should concentrate on other Tenets or Policies.

So, always think rationally, and don't rush to the first available higher-level Tenet! Choose not only according to the benefits offered, but also to your current goals in that particular moment in the game, and to your general 20xCulture5 Culture output. As usual, when you can, choose whatever will provide the more immediate benefit - you will have more chances later, and meanwhile the boost you'll get right away is well worth the waiting.

It's also pertinent to keep in mind that while you could hypothetically get every single Level 1 and Level 3 Tenet, there are only four slots for Level 2 Tenets and each Ideology has six total Level 2 Tenets. This means that you can never get every Level 2 Tenet throughout the course of the game. Be sure to consider which two Level 2 Tenets you're willing to neglect.

There are many Tenets across all Ideologies which are building-related (usually providing extra 20xHappiness5 Happiness). If you don't have many of the relevant buildings, you don't need these Tenets! Or, if you choose to adopt them, then start building more of the relevant buildings right away.

Other Tenets are related to particular game actions, and in order to make use of these, you should engage in the relevant actions, otherwise you're wasting a Tenet slot! For example: the Freedom Tenet "Covert Action" gives Spies double the chance to successfully rig City-State elections. But, your spies will always successfully rig elections, even without this tenet, unless there is an enemy spy present in the same city! So, you don't need it if you have no competition by another civilization for the same City-States you're targeting; you also don't need it if your Spies are engaged in activities other than City-State election rigging.

Finally, some Tenets are time-sensitive, and will be useful only in a particular moment of the game. For example, the Freedom Tenet "Volunteer Army" gives you six Foreign Legion units, which are appropriate for the Modern Era - you shouldn't choose this Tenet much later, or you will need to first upgrade these units for them to be any good. Another good example is the famous Autocracy Tenet "Clausewitz's Legacy," which provides your units a Combat Bonus which only lasts for 50 turns - you shouldn't adopt it until you're ready to launch a major offensive!

Freedom Strategy Edit

When choosing Freedom, civilizations with large Population and 20xGold5 Gold production will benefit better. Also, you're usually not going for a Domination victory. So, your main military goal is defense, while your main economic goal may vary according to your chosen victory path. Still, some common patterns are valid:

  • Civil Society is always good for starting Tenet. It will boost immediately your 20xPopulation5 Population growth, especially if you already have many Specialists.
  • Covert Action is almost useless, unless you're REALLY interested in a particular City-State and there's a rival agent troubling you there.
  • If you need 20xHappiness5 Happiness boost, Capitalism is better than Universal Healthcare, because it gives potentially more points. As you progress, Urbanization is also good, although a bit limited, until you progress further and gain access to Medical Labs. So wait a bit before adopting it.
  • Economic Union is only good after other civilizations you're having trade with adopt the Freedom Ideology. Don't bother adopting it before.
  • Arsenal of Democracy is not that useful unless you find yourself into a prolonged war with an aggressive civilization. After all, if you adopted Freedom, you shouldn't be invading others, so you only need that military for defense (unless you're actually going on the offensive against other civs, in which case you should have just gone with Autocracy instead). The influence bonus provided by this Tenet, as well as its Production, can be used for mass-production of military units and gifting to City-States, although the Influence gain is still meager, and you'd be better off giving Gold gifts instead.

If you have large 20xPopulation5 Population and are thus able to assign many Specialists, a very strong starting sequence of Tenets is Civil Society -> Avant Garde -> Universal Suffrage. This will increase both 20xFood5 Food and Great People generation, while netting additional 20xHappiness5 Happiness. It serves well for all types of victory.

If you find yourself in a dire military situation, on the other hand, you should rush either Volunteer Army (which will give you free units of great worth), or Their Finest Hour (which will greatly increase the strength of your cities). Choose the second if you are playing purely defensively, and choose the first if you want to turn the table on your invader, or just engage in some good old-fashioned democracy export. Arsenal of Democracy may also serve you if you expect a protracted conflict.

The level 3 Tenets are all self-explanatory. In case you're going for a Culture or Science victory, you should delay adopting the relevant Tenets (Media Culture and Space Procurement) until you will actually be able to make use of them. When going for a Diplomatic victory, after adopting Treaty Organization you should methodically target with your Trade routes all City-States you still need to influence.

Order Strategy Edit

Order is ideal for sprawling, expansionist empires, even though you're not going for a Domination victory. In fact, maybe the greatest benefit of Order comes from settling new cities of your own (instead of conquering other nations' cities)! Socialist Realism helps you build Monuments faster (besides giving you extra 20xHappiness5 Happiness), Skyscrapers allows you to purchase buildings for less 20xGold5 Gold, Resettlement gives you a head start with 20xPopulation5 Citizens in new cities, and Party Leadership increases (almost) all stats in each city!

Besides that, Order greatly helps 20xScience5 Science- and 20xProduction5 Production-oriented empires. Indeed, this is maybe the best Ideology for a science victory, thanks to Workers' Faculties which boosts further science production in each city. You should aim to build Factories everywhere ASAP both to boost 20xProduction5 Production and 20xScience5 Science. You should use the ultimate Spaceflight Pioneers right at the end of the game to finish your last Spaceship parts almost instantly.

Order aids a domination victory in an indirect way - by ensuring the means to research new weapons and produce them quickly (Five-Year Plan is the best 20xProduction5 Production-boosting Tenet in the game). Also, the Iron Curtain both aids your pacification of conquered cities and helps bring them up to speed quickly, if you send internal Trade routes to them.

Cultural victory is also aided in a peculiar way. First, of course, Hero of the People is a must. Cultural Revolution comes next, but it will only work on other Order civilizations (though you may be able to force some of your opponents to switch to Order by instigating Revolutions). Next, you should adopt all 20xHappiness5 Happiness-boosting Tenets, and then the Dictatorship of the Proletariat will finish your work!

A good starting Tenet for Order is Socialist Realism, for the 20xHappiness5 Happiness boost (if you need it), or Hero of the People for increased Great People generation. Skyscrapers is also a good all-purpose Tenet, if you have lots of 20xGold5 Gold lying around.

Autocracy Strategy Edit

This ideology is tailored for the aggressive civilizations which like being at war, even if they aren't striving for a domination victory. There are no less than three Tenets which directly increase offensive combat abilities: Elite Forces, Lightning Warfare and Clausewitz's Legacy. Many other Tenets help raising a powerful army: Mobilization allows you to purchase units for less 20xGold5 Gold, Nationalism diminishes their maintenance cost, Total War speeds up military units' production and grants them additional XP. As if that weren't enough, Third Alternative ensures you will have enough strategic resources to literally crush your enemies!

That being said, Autocracy may help a civilization in other, not exclusively military ways. One of the biggest challenges of an offensive, conquering civilization is maintaining 20xHappiness5 Happiness, and Autocracy has some of the best Tenets to do that. And Autocracy has the best spy-related Tenet of all - Industrial Espionage, which will greatly improve the rate at which your spies steal technologies, and thus boost your tech development immensely! Also, Third Alternative is a good all-around Tenet to have.

As is the case with Freedom, the order of Autocratic Tenets adoption will depend strongly on the situation in the game:

  • If you have 20xHappiness5 Happiness problems in the first turns after adopting your Ideology, go Fortified Borders -> Industrial Espionage/Universal Healthcare -> Police State/Militarism. If you make heavy use of spies, Industrial Espionage provides an awesome increase to their tech-stealing ability, but if your 20xHappiness5 Happiness problems are really serious, go with Universal Healthcare instead. The problem with it, as 20xHappiness5 Happiness booster (and this is valid for all Ideologies, not only Autocracy), is that many times you haven't been able to build many National Wonders at the moment you adopt Ideology. This gives you much less 20xHappiness5 Happiness-per-Tenet immediate boost than other alternatives.
    The other choice - Police State or Militarism - will depend on your ultimate goal. If you're going for a domination victory, then you should adopt Police State first - its power to pacify cities is simply outstanding, and your conquest pace will just increase from now on. If you're going for another victory type, you may prefer Militarism, which is also very powerful. And should you continue having 20xHappiness5 Happiness problems after this initial combo, you should adopt the respective other Tenet.
  • If you have no 20xHappiness5 Happiness problems (which is very unlikely, but who knows!), you should start with Elite Forces, then Industrial Espionage, then Total War or Nationalism (depending on how badly you need 20xGold5 Gold at the time).
  • Do NOT adopt Lightning Warfare before you have at least Landships! You will waste the chance at adopting another Tenet which will grant you a more immediate benefit!
  • If you're going for a cultural victory, go Futurism (whose bonus starts adding up as soon as you adopt it) -> Industrial Espionage -> Third Alternative. This last one will boost 20xPopulation5 Population growth in your Capital5 Capital, which is usually your main Great People production center. Later, of course, you will adopt Cult of Personality, and as soon as you do, you should start some diplomatic negotiations and entice nations you want to influence more to join you in a war against a third party. This is how we spread Democracy in Civilization V!
  • Finally, it goes without saying that you should refrain from adopting Clausewitz's Legacy until you launch a major offensive. Otherwise, you will simply waste a Tenet slot.

If you're going for a Diplomatic victory, Autocracy is an interesting choice, which will help you in, again, a more 'aggressive' way. Namely, your main focus will be at producing units and moving them around the map so that you could threaten City-States. First, you should ensure your unit production is up-to-date, so go United Front (as a diplomacy civilization you should have at least 1-2 Militaristic City-States allies) -> Mobilization -> Nationalism -> Industrial Espionage/Fortified Borders (depending on what your 20xHappiness5 Happiness state is) -> Total War -> Gunboat Diplomacy. This last level 3 Tenet is effective immediately, unlike many other level 3 Tenets, so you should strive to gain it ASAP. After you do, all you need to do is spread your forces in a manner as to be able to intimidate as many City-States as possible. Remember, you do NOT need to actually demand tribute from them for the additional Influence (Civ5) Influence to work! Incidentally, this Tenet is very useful even if you don't strive for a Diplomatic victory.

Ideology and Diplomatic Relations Edit

You should be aware at all times of the effect Ideology has on relations with other players. First, you will incur a diplomatic penalty with all players who follow a different Ideology, and gain a boost with all players with the same Ideology. What's more, you'll gain free insight into their intentions in the World Congress! In general, you will know that you'll become gradually closer to players who choose the same Ideology as you, and you'll have problems with the other ones.

Try to use this to your advantage by forging more relationships, including but not limited to making trade deals, friendship declarations, and even military alliances! If you're weak in 20xTourism5 Tourism output, you may even have to deal with incoming ideological pressure - in this case try to get as much extra 20xHappiness5 Happiness as you can to offset the negative effect and continue normal gameplay. 

Finally, some Tenets are related to other players' Ideology choices - try to take advantage of that.