Civilization V offers a vast number of multiplayer game options.
What is "Multiplayer?"Edit
Multiplayer is the same as single player except that instead of AIs, real people play against other real people. AIs may also be added to multiplayer if more players are required. Multiplayer is a simple term: multi- is an abbreviated version of "multiple," meaning "many," so a "multiplayer" game allows many players to participate.
Differences from Single PlayerEdit
Multiplayer does not offer as much variety in terms of playable maps. Maps like "The British Isles" (included in the Vikings DLC) may not be played; the only maps that are playable are the ones with adjustable sizes. Civilizations from DLC packs may be played in multiplayer; however, this must be enabled in the options menu, and doing so means that players who do not have that DLC may not participate. In-game players may talk using a talk panel beside the Diplomacy screen. Players may also trade and work in teams.
NOTE: The information below was originally compiled for version 22.214.171.124 (before the release of Gods & Kings and Brave New World), so portions of it may now be outdated. (Please remove this note if up-to-date information is added.)
Civilization V can be fun to play multiplayer. However, there are some "quirks" that can make things frustrating or difficult. This article attempts to list the quirks and workarounds to ensure people can have an enjoyable game. It assumes the reader is familiar with Civilization V in single player mode. The information provided here relates to version 126.96.36.199 - it may apply to previous or subsequent versions, but no guarantees can be made.
Civilization V currently only supports multiplayer with simultaneous turns, but there are rumours of other modes to come (link to references). This differs from single player and does take some getting used to. Simultaneous literally means that when a player moves something, every other player sees the move (hence the lag when moving things as confirmation of the move from all other players games has to be received before the game can continue).
Simultaneous Turns StrategiesEdit
- Set up automated move orders. The initial move happens immediately; the subsequent moves happen when everyone's turn has finished (this needs to be checked). This allows you to change your mind about automated moves and still have your unit do something else that turn. You can't automate combat.
- Set up orders to happen out of your turn - see Playing Out of Turn below.
Playing Out of TurnEdit
In the current version (188.8.131.521) this seems no longer possible - every action taken will automatically cancel the "Next Turn" action (check this please).
In a multiplayer game, there is a period of time between clicking the "Next Turn" button and the next turn actually happening, because other human players may not have finished their turns yet. This period of time is indicated through the UI with the button being greyed out and displaying "Please Wait" (check this), and can be used to do things, which happen at the immediate start of your next turn, if valid (this needs to be checked). This can be a little confusing as there is minimal UI feedback that the order has been accepted.
Fixed in 184.108.40.206! There is now an option to stop focus stealing in the options menu.
In their attempt to make the game easy to play/complete turns by forcing focus on units without orders, the game designers unfortunately made multiplayer combat more difficult, as simultaneous turns mean that timing becomes important for example to retreat an outgunned unit quickly, or strike decisively before the enemy, etc.
Unit Focus StrategiesEdit Ensure all your non-combat units (or even combat units not involved in the time-critical combat) have orders that last multiple turns to avoid them becoming the focus of attention. Queue orders utilising the Playing Out of Turn feature above. Ensure all your non-combat units (or even combat units not involved in the time-critical combat) have orders that last multiple turns to avoid them becoming the focus of attention. Queue orders utilising the Playing Out of Turn feature above.
Civilization V's multiplayer saving and loading for multiplayer games is currently a bit unpolished and inconsistent at present. Here are the current observations:
- Can load local autosave games ONLY.
- Can't launch a loaded game without all players present, and you can't kick absent players. You can have another human step in to allow the game to launch, and then leave as soon as that's done to allow the AI to replace the missing player.
- Can press Ctrl-S during a game to bring up the save dialog (it's missing from the options menu), remembering that only local autosaves work.
- As per Azekeil: "I once saved a multiplayer game on the Steam Cloud, but couldn't load it due to the first point. I managed to rescue the game by starting a single player game using the Steam Cloud saved multiplayer game, then saving it locally. I then had to replace one of the autosave games in the multiplayer directory with the saved game, and then I was able to load it and have the players join."
- Do nothing during the game, other than perhaps changing the autosave frequency to once a turn (you may need to do this from a single player game). When you exit, back up the multiplayer autosave folder which is (by default in Windows 7 at least) "Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization 5\Saves\multi\auto" for restoration before attempting to load the game next time.