Ideology (Civ5)

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Ideologies are a new end-game concept introduced in the Civilization V: Brave New World expansion pack. Ideologies take your society to the next level of social development, when tradition and custom cease to be the means for some additional bonuses for the empire and instead become a kind of a philosophical system which organizes your empire's view of the world. The three Ideologies available were formerly the Industrial Era Social Policies, which have now been expanded with additional content and more interesting gameplay mechanics in order to provide another level of depth in the late game.


Ideologies can be conceptualized as large, mutually exclusive social policy trees which affect not only one's own civilization, but also exert pressure on other civilizations. Besides bonuses provided, there are also diplomatic repercussions, especially when empires don't share an Ideology. 20xHappiness5 Happiness can be strongly affected by ideological interaction, and in fact hamper a nation's development.

Every civilization has to choose an Ideology when reaching the Modern Era, or after finishing three Factories. The choices are:

  • Freedom
  • Order
  • Autocracy

When prompted to choose, you can see the recommended Victory types per each Ideology; furthermore you can see all its tenets when you click on its details. Choose very carefully - the Ideology will channel the rest of the game for you!

By choosing an Ideology, you choose a path for the continued social development of your civilization. You can then focus on that path by adopting tenets for the chosen Ideology. These are basically theme-based social policies, and provide different bonuses for the empire. The way you adopt tenets shapes your Ideology, and tailors it to your needs and goals. See below for more information.

Ideology has a big impact on the diplomatic relations with other civilizations, both in standard negotiations and in the matters of the World Congress. One very obvious effect is that you can have an idea of a civilization's voting intentions in the Congress if you follow the same Ideology even if you have no Diplomat in their capital! But other than that, those that follow the same Ideology as yours will tend to be more friendly to you, supportive, and open to sharing information. On the other hand, those with different Ideologies will tend to become more hostile. Another effect for differing Ideologies is a penalty on your 20xTourism5 Tourism influence to other civilizations (which will make it harder to progress towards a cultural victory).

Public Opinion and Preferred IdeologyEdit

The new cultural concept which involves a civilization gaining influence over other civilizations with 20xTourism5 Tourism also plays a major role in Ideologies. As in real life, travelers and tourists spread not only the culture of their nation, but also its political ideas, so the 20xTourism5 Tourism generated by a civilization also creates ideological pressure on other civilizations. In other words, politics now becomes a major factor in a nation's life, with the potential power to cause serious harm. 

The main effect which expresses this is Public Opinion. Public Opinion refers to how well the people of one civilization feel about the Ideology they are currently following. As such, there is no Public Opinion present with civilizations that have not adopted an Ideology yet.

A civilization that is not being influenced at all, or otherwise being influenced only by civilizations sharing the Ideology, will have the default Public Opinion level of Content, which has no adverse effects. Conversely, when a civilization is being influenced by another one with different Ideology, its Public Opinion will drop to the lower levels of Dissidents, Civil Resistance, and Revolutionary Wave, based on how much cultural influence is present.

To determine this, the civilization's total 20xTourism5 Tourism output is compared to the others' 20xTourism5 Tourism - if the incoming influence is larger than the outgoing influence, Public Opinion drops. The larger the difference, the more severe the drop.

  • Note: If the Ideology of the nation influencing yours is the same as yours, then Public Opinion will stay Content (because their ideas are basically the same as your ideas). Public Opinion only drops if the nation influencing you has a different Ideology. 

The effect of low Public Opinion is the reduction of Happiness. Discontent from Public Opinion translates directly into a certain level of added Unhappiness (Civ5) Unhappiness for your empire (depending on the number of Cities, or the number of Population, whichever is greater). The Unhappiness penalty is more severe the lower the level of discontent is.

Based on the incoming cultural influences, the civilization will also have a Preferred Ideology. If the Public Opinion is Content, then the Preferred Ideology will always be the Ideology currently being followed. Otherwise, citizens will prefer the Ideology of whichever civilization(s) has the most influence over them. Depending on how severe the penalties are, a civilization may be compelled to change to the public's Preferred Ideology.

It is very difficult to maintain a Content Public Opinion level - you need to be a culturally strong civilization, be it in your Tourism stat or your total Culture generated, otherwise you will have to deal with some Unhappiness generated from Public Opinion. You can eliminate that by switching Ideology, but this cannot be done while the Public Opinion is Content (and of course, you have no reason to do it in this case). Making an Ideology the World Ideology will also remove the Public Opinion for civilizations following that Ideology, while at the same time applying an extra level of Public Opinion against civilizations of different Ideologies.


When the Public Opinion of an empire drops to the lower level of discontent (Civil Resistance or Revolutionary Wave), and their other sources of 20xHappiness5 Happiness aren't enough to counter the negative effects, allowing the empire to reach low general levels of Unhappiness (Civ5) Unhappiness (as low as -20), some cities within that empire will begin to revolt. This means that they will leave the empire on their own. The city to revolt will be whichever city is closest to the Capital5 Capital of a civilization following the Preferred Ideology, and it will defect to said civilization. Note that only cities will switch sides, along with the territory controlled by them - no units which happen to be in that territory will switch. All Great Works which happen to reside in a "rebel" city will also switch to the other civilization.

Because of the seriousness of these revolts, the game will give you advance warnings about impeding city revolts. Pay attention and try to raise 20xHappiness5 Happiness in time to prevent the defection, by whatever means necessary!

Another, less severe effect of ideological revolt is the appearance of Rebel units in random locations near cities in your empire. This happens on even lower levels of Discontent (with Unhappiness in the range of -10 to -19). Rebels will attack your empire randomly, like the Barbarians, but they won't behave exactly like them (don't be confused by their black and red colors!). Note also that Rebels are at the same tech level your civilization currently is, which means that they're pretty dangerous.

Finally, in order to satisfy the masses, the civilization undergoing revolution may be forced to switch to the Preferred Ideology. This brings the Public Opinion back up to Content, and gets rid of Unhappiness (Civ5) Unhappiness originating from Public Opinion, at the cost of the benefits from Tenets that had previously been adopted. Upon switching Ideologies, you get to pick a number of Tenets in your new Ideology equal to the number of Tenets you had in your old Ideology minus any Early Adopter tenets you may have received from being one of the first two civilizations to pick that Ideology.

In this way, Ideologies and Tourism, combined with the World Congress's ability to further reduce Happiness and sap the opponents' abilities to fight back, can be used as an effective weapon to cripple opponents' empires and steal cities from them without having to deal with the monetary, production and diplomatic costs associated with going to war.

Switching IdeologyEdit

It is possible to change your Ideology, whether by choice or by necessity, but this is highly inadvisable. When you switch Ideology, your empire will have a one-turn Anarchy, which means that all your cities simply stop working for one turn - they not only stop their current Production, but they also don't produce any stats! Another bad, far more serious thing, is the fact that you lose access to all tenets you had adopted from your previous Ideology. And if you had adopted many, this can turn out to be a complete disaster, since you may depend on them to maintain 20xHappiness5 Happiness or any other number of stats.

If the switch was a result of a social revolution, then you may not have much choice. At least, in this case you may end up actually recovering your empire's 20xHappiness5 Happiness, thanks to Public Opinion being set back to Content and removing all resulting Unhappiness (Civ5) Unhappiness.

Still, it is highly advisable to avoid switching Ideology at all costs! So, think well when you choose your original Ideology!

Ideological TenetsEdit

Each Ideology has a set of 16 Tenets, divided into three levels, which represent the gameplay effects of the chosen Ideology. Ideological Tenets can be unlocked by accumulating 20xCulture5 Culture, the same way you adopt new Social Policies. When you have accumulated a sufficient amount of 20xCulture5 Culture, you are given the option to adopt a new Social Policy or a new Ideological Tenet.

However, Tenets aren't organised in such strict 'trees' as in Social Policies - they are divided into three levels, true, but all Tenets from the same level are interchangeable - that is, it doesn't matter which ones you will adopt first, as long as you have the necessary number to unlock a next-level Tenet.

You first unlock a Level 1 Tenet slot, which you can fill with any effect you choose from the list of Level 1 Tenets. Every Tenet after the first in the same level unlocks one new slot for a Tenet of the next level. You may choose which Tenet you want to unlock first within a level, much like you choose Beliefs when founding or enhancing a Religion. Note, however, that unlike Beliefs, different civilization may choose the same Tenet (which won't become unavailable after the first civilization chooses it, the way Beliefs are).

Each Level 3 Tenet in an Ideology is associated with one of the victory conditions recommended for the Ideology you're currently following, providing some sort of bonus for achieving it. One of these helps you achieve a cultural victory, while the other two give you an edge to achieve two out of the three other recommended victory conditions.

The first two civilizations to adopt a certain Ideology will receive a reward, respectively two and one Early Adopter free tenets, giving them an early advantage to improve their Ideologies and gameplay.


Freedom Tenents

Freedom Tenets

Allows construction of Statue of Liberty.

Level 1Edit

Level 2Edit

  • Volunteer Army: 6 units are maintenance-free. Receive 6 Foreign Legion units immediately.
  • Urbanization: +1 20xHappiness5 Local Happiness per Water Mill, Hospital and Medical Lab.
  • Their Finest Hour: Combat Strength of Cities increased by 33%.
  • Universal Suffrage: Unhappiness (Civ5) Unhappiness from Specialists is halved. Golden Ages last 50% longer.
  • New Deal: Great Person improvements provide +4 value of the appropriate yield.
  • Arsenal of Democracy: +15% 20xProduction5 Production towards Military Units. Gain 15 Influence from each Military Unit gift to City-States.

Level 3Edit


Order Tenents

Order Tenets

Allows construction of Kremlin.

Level 1Edit

  • Hero of the People: +25% GreatPeople5 Great Person generation.
  • Socialist Realism: +2 20xHappiness5 Local Happiness from each Monument. Build Monuments in half the usual time.
  • Skyscrapers: 20xGold5 Gold cost of purchasing buildings reduced by 33%.
  • Patriotic War: +15% attack bonus when fighting in friendly territory.
  • Double Agents: Spies have double the chance to capture an enemy spy attempting to steal a technology.
  • Young Pioneers: +1 20xHappiness5 Local Happiness per Workshop, Factory and Solar/Nuclear/Hydro Plant.
  • Universal Healthcare: +1 20xHappiness5 Local Happiness from each National Wonder.

Level 2Edit

Level 3Edit

  • Dictatorship of the Proletariat: +34% 20xTourism5 Tourism to Civilizations with less Happiness.
  • Iron Curtain: Free Courthouse when capturing a City. +50% 20xFood5 Food or 20xProduction5 Production from internal trade routes.
  • Spaceflight Pioneers: May finish Spaceship Parts with Great Engineers. A Great Engineer and a Great Scientist appear near the Capital.


Autocracy Tenents

Autocracy Tenets

Allows construction of Prora.

Level 1Edit

  • Elite Forces: Wounded Military Units inflict 25% more damage than normal.
  • Mobilization: 20xGold5 Gold cost of purchasing units reduced by 33%.
  • United Front: Militaristic City-States gift units twice as often when at war with a common foe.
  • Futurism: +250 20xTourism5 Tourism to all Civilizations when a Great Writer, Artist or Musician is born.
  • Industrial Espionage: Spies steal technologies twice as fast.
  • Fortified Borders: +1 20xHappiness5 Local Happiness per Castle, Arsenal and Military Base.
  • Universal Healthcare: +1 20xHappiness5 Local Happiness from each National Wonder.

Level 2Edit

  • Militarism: +2 20xHappiness5 Local Happiness per Barracks, Armory and Military Academy.
  • Lightning Warfare: Great Generals receive +3 Movement. Armored units receive +1 Movement and +15% attack bonus, and ignore enemy ZOC.
  • Police State: +3 20xHappiness5 Local Happiness from each Courthouse. Build Courthouses in half the usual time.
  • Nationalism: Unit Maintenance cost reduced by 33%.
  • Third Alternative: Strategic Resources provide double quantity. +5 20xFood5 Food and 20xScience5 Science in Capital.
  • Total War: +25% 20xProduction5 Production towards Military Units. New Units receive +15 XP.

Level 3Edit

  • Cult of Personality: +50% 20xTourism5 Tourism to Civilizations fighting a common enemy.
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: Gain 6 more Influence (Civ5) Influence per turn with City-States you could demand tribute from. Military units are 50% more effective at intimidating City-States.
  • Clausewitz's Legacy: Receive a +25% attack bonus to all Military Units for the first 50 turns after this tenet is added.


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.

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.

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 TenetsEdit

You should choose the sequence of Tenets you adopt well, since not all of them may be appropriate to your playstyle, or chosen victory path. For example, 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), while many Level 1 Tenets may be more beneficial for the moment than Level 2 Tenets.

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. 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!

Ideology and Diplomatic RelationsEdit

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. 


The three Ideologies can easily be connected to the three major ideo-philosophical movements that gained momentum in the 20th century: Capitalism (Freedom), Marxist–Leninist(-Maoist) Communism (Order), and Fascism (Autocracy). The names of many Tenets (Five-Year Plan, Militarism, New Deal, etc.) also directly point to these connections. Of course, from a game standpoint, you can develop each Ideology in such a way that it does not resemble its real-world counterpart - the game gives you a lot of freedom in this matter.

Like Social Policies, Ideologies will grant a unique honorific to the nation's leader:

  • Freedom grants the honorific "President."
  • Order grants the honorific "Chairman."
  • Autocracy grants the honorific "The Terrible."

Related achievements

Steam achievement Axis Powered (Civ5)
Axis Powered
Win a Diplomatic Victory using the Autocracy Ideology.
Steam achievement Better Red Than Dead (Civ5)
Better Red Than Dead
Win a Conquest Victory using the Order Ideology.
Steam achievement Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Civ5)
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Win a Conquest Victory using the Autocracy Ideology.
Steam achievement Games Without Frontiers (Civ5)
Games Without Frontiers
Win a Diplomatic Victory using the Freedom Ideology.
Steam achievement One Small Step (Civ5)
One Small Step
Win a Space Victory using the Freedom Ideology
Steam achievement Radio Free Europe (Civ5)
Radio Free Europe
Adopt the Freedom Ideology and fill 10 Broadcast Towers with Great Works.
Steam achievement Rocking in the Free World (Civ5)
Rocking in the Free World
Win a Cultural Victory using the Freedom Ideology.
Steam achievement Strength Through Joy (Civ5)
Strength Through Joy
Win a Cultural Victory using the Autocracy Ideology.
Steam achievement Tear Down this Wall! (Civ5)
Tear Down this Wall!
Force an AI player with the Order Ideology to switch to Freedom.
Steam achievement Workers of the World - Unite! (Civ5)
Workers of the World - Unite!
Win a Cultural Victory using the Order Ideology.
Steam achievement Yuri-ka! (Civ5)
Win a Space Victory using the Order Ideology.

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