Civillization 5 Tips

civ 5 logo white

Civilization 5 is an empire building strategy game based on the games created by Sid Meier and developed by Firaxis Games. Some friends of mine have been asking about tips on playing Civilization 5 recently. I am no expert, but I thought I could put something together for them. Right now I am going to concentrate on the starting game and some general strategies, and I might add additional content later. I will try to make this applicable to Gods and Kings and Brave New World where possible.

Note that G&K stands for the Gods and Kings Expansion and BNW stand for the Brave New World Expansion

Also, two very helpful sites: Civilization 5 WikiCiv Fanatics

Victory Conditions

Game Setup

Starting Your Empire

Social Policies


Tile Improvements

City States


Civilization Perception

Capturing Cities




Victory Conditions

I think a good place to start this guide is how exactly you win the game.

Diplomatic: Voted to be the winner by other Civs

  • Majority of votes from other Civs and City States (vote with their ally) after UN world wonder is built (G&K) or reaching the Information (one Civ)/Atomic Era (at least half of Civs) (BNW)
  • I feel like no matter what you do, the other Civs always hate me, so this never seems like that much fun to get, but, if you are conquering the world, you can just vote yourself winner for a quicker victory

Cultural: Discover lots of social policies (G&K) or outperform other Civs in tourism (BNW)

  • Attain 25 social policies within 5 different policy trees (G&K), or ‘Influential’ level of tourism with other Civs (BNW)
  • Can be a fun condition to win with, but in general results in a more laid back game with lots of opportunity to micro manage cities
  • Being next to an aggressive Civ can make this significantly more frustrating
  • The tourism mechanic in BNW requires greater management and is a solid improvement over G&K version

Domination: Conquer all other Civs

  • Capture all other Civ’s capitals
  • I think often Civ 5 favors aggression, so this victory condition is the most ‘obvious’ choice for me and also is the most straight forward, but it can require a lot of work, especially when conquering Civs across oceans
  • The new Warmongering penalty (see later section) makes this much more difficult in BNW

Science: Build a Spaceship

  • Build all the required parts and send them to your capital to launch the Spaceship first
  • Another more passive victory condition, which focuses on improving cities to achieve a goal
  • Similar to the cultural victory but focusing on technology instead of culture (or tourism), except cultural policies are more difficult to acquire the more cities you have, but science output is directly related to population, so being aggressive with expanding and capturing cities can be a valid strategy

Score: Have the highest score after set number of turns

  • I feel like this one is the most lame and always turn it off since the game just ends at some point instead of when a goal is accomplished, but if you just want to play a set number of turns I suppose I can see the appeal
  • Your Score is related to factors which include: number of cities, population size, and number of wonders built (see here)

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Game Setup

civ 5 advanced set up screen

Advanced Setup Screen

Using the advanced setup screen to adjust the game to your preferences can make for a much more enjoyable experience. Below I have included some descriptions and recommendations.


  • The most important consideration is picking the map type that you enjoy playing on the most
  • Recommendation for ‘standard’ maps (separate land masses with a true world like feel):
    • Continents, Fractal, Terra
  • Recommendation for ‘let me have my own space’ maps:
    • Ring, Wheel, Archipelago, Islands
  • Recommendation for ‘slug it out’ maps:
    • Pangaea, Oval
  • Recommendation for ‘single land mass but still some room to breathe’ maps:
    • Lakes, Inland Sea

(list of map types, not complete)

Map Size

  • Bigger maps mean more players, longer games, often more difficult games, and more stress on your computer

Difficulty Level

  • Prince is considered the ‘default’ difficulty, in all the difficulties above this the AI ‘cheats’

Game Pace

  • I would say standard moves a little too quickly some times (units feel like they quickly become obsolete), but you also won’t hate yourself for playing the game for way too long (epic), and fast should only be considered if you don’t have time for a decent game

Game Era

  • You can start with all research prior to the set era discovered and begin the game with more units and settlers than normal, but I think the beginning of the game is often the most fun, so I’m not a fan

World Age, Temperature, Rainfall, Sea Level, Resources

  • You can change these to modify the world if you really want to, but the default values seem to work just fine
  • A younger world has more hills and mountains
  • Higher temperature means more jungles and deserts; lower means more tundra
  • More rainfall means more forests, grasslands, and jungles; less means more desert and plains

Advanced Game Options

  • I would just leave these alone, but ones to consider changing would be disable start bias (truly random starts), new random seed (if you reload the game combat rolls may come out differently), and allowing policy or promotion saving

Number of AI Opponents and City States

  • Removing an AI can make a game easier, and give you more room to initially expand
  • If you plan on largely ignoring city states, consider reducing the number (I think the default number is too many)

Playing on Teams

  • Players still have their own cities, units, social policies, happiness, economy, and religion
  • Players on the same team share research progress and total score, and they count as one ‘entity’ in the game (i.e. if a Civ declares war on one player, they declare war on both)
  • Research ability is cut by 50% per additional player on a team (or, if both people research the same thing, it unlocks at normal speed)
  • Players on a team have automatic open borders with each other
  • Players on a team can still trade resources and money with each other and set up trade routes between each other (BNW)
  • You cannot set up research agreements with between teammates
  • Units can be gifted to other teammates when they are in their territory (but this can be done even when you are NOT teammates)

Selecting your Civilization

See Civilization Traits Overview

  • Pick leaders whose traits mesh well with your preferred victory condition
  • Leaders tend to come in ‘flavors’ that make the choices not too difficult
  • Domination Suggestions: Bismarck, Oda Nobunaga, Augustus Caesar
  • Cultural Suggestions: Ramkhamhaeng, Egypt, France, Brazil, Morocco
  • Science Suggestions: Augustus Caesar, Alexander

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Starting Your Empire

General Game Layout Tips

menu screen shot 2

Civ 5 Game Screen

The interface between G&K and BNW is slightly different, but hopefully my tips help with both versions.

  • Hover over the faith, culture, ect. icons on the top bar to get more information about that aspect of your empire
  • Use the buttons just left of the map at the bottom right to turn on/off features like tile grid, tile resource yields, and highlighting luxuries
  • Pay attention to the notifications on the right hand side (especially in multiplayer where there are no full screen pop ups), in some games I have actually not noticed when someone declared war on me
  • Notifications on the right hand side sometimes overflow past the screen limits or refuse to go away, right click on these to dismiss them
  • If you are unsure of what to do, check with your advisers, sometimes their advice is pointless or silly, but it can be helpful
  • Take some time to fully explore all the menus that are associated with the function keys (F1, F2, ect.) on the top of your keyboard, some have very helpful information about your empire (make sure to check for additional tabs in each menu)
  • The city and economic (F2), and diplomatic (F4) overview windows can be particularly helpful to find out what cities are producing and what your current deals are
  • Check the diplomatic menu (world icon on the top right) once in a while to see an overview of current City State quest, some of these can be very simple to do (set up a trade route, build a road to, or spread religion to) and gain you favor with a City State

The City Screen

civ 5 city screen

City Screen

By double clicking on a city’s name on the map, you bring up the city screen. On this screen you can view information about your city and control features such as:

  • Current outputs of your city and amount of food it is taking in
  • What tiles your citizens are working
  • What buildings you have finished (you can also sell them from this screen)
  • Set a city’s priorities (i.e. culture, production, science, ect.)
  • Set what tiles you want your citizens to work
  • The default management option usually does a good job of assigning citizens, but consider changing the cities priorities if you wish a city to be more specialized in a certain area

What kind of Empire do YOU Want to Be?

alexander askia england

Do you want to be a large or a small empire? There are several factors that should affect your decision, for instance:

  • The more cities you have, the more cultural policies cost (15% for maps size standard or smaller, 10% for Large, 7.5% for Huge), so if you are looking to achieve a cultural victory typically smaller empires are better (think around 4 city maximum)
  • Science output is directly related to population with every citizen generating 1 point of science (times any modifiers from science buildings) and large populations can be acquired by having either very large cities or lots of cities
  • BNW adds a 5% increase to technology costs with each city
  • Also consider how many cities you want to / feel comfortable managing

Decide What to Build First

Deciding what to build on your first few turns sets the pace for the rest of the game. Try to decide what works the best for you over time, but here are some suggestions:

  • A scout to start exploring nearby territory for ancient ruins, finding out what other Civs are near you, and to start formulating a plan for where you will expand to
  • Additional warrior for clearing barbarians (gold and xp) and exploration with a more durable unit
  • A worker to start building tile improvements around your capital
  • A monument or temple to start generating faith or culture (getting an early culture boost seems more important)

My preferred build order is generally scout, monument, and then a warrior, worker, or settler depending on current game conditions (how many barbarians, amount of happiness, growth in my capital for instance).

  • Sometimes I start working on a World Wonder, such as Stonehenge or The Great Library,  after my monument or worker finishes to get an even bigger early boost to science or religion
  • Keep in mind that when you are building a settler your city stops growing
  • The earlier your next city is started, the quicker it can grow in to a useful city, but you do not want to stunt the growth of your capital too early either
  • I usually wait until a city has at least a population of 3 before I build any settlers

Some other points to consider:

  • Make sure to scout the area around you with your starting warrior since your city can defend itself against any stray barbarians at this point
  • If a lot of Barbarians are spawning near your cities, you might consider training additional military units to keep them at bay
  • Barbarians can destroy improvements, capture workers and settlers, and slow down your expansion rate
  • Almost all buildings have a maintenance cost associated with them, be careful to prioritize and not overspend
  • Several posts and guides I have seen say that the secret to winning Civilization 5 is by expanding as quickly as possible, but try to find a play style that works for you (and you have fun with)

Some helpful posts for other insights on this subject:

What to Get in the Following Turns

As the game progresses, consider producing some of these important structures:

  • library (+1 science for every two citizens)
  • granary (+2 food; deer, wheat, and bananas provide +1 extra food)
  • watermill (+2 food, +1 production, city must be on river)
  • market (+1 gold, +25% gold)
  • trade routes (BNW) to gain gold and science

Also Consider:

  • Building a world wonder
  • Always build some military units, even if you don’t use them, they make other Civs less likely to attack you in the first place
  • Consider diversifying cities such as a city with lots of farms for producing science or a city with lots of hills and forest for production and military
  • Consider an early war as a way to acquire a new city (warmongering penalty in BNW makes this less appealing)
  • Happiness is one of the major (if not the most major) factors limiting growth of your empire
    • Unhappiness can lead to penalties in city growth (below 0), production, unit combat ability, and spawn rebel units (-10 and lower)
    • BNW has implemented some changes to unhappiness penalties (see link below)
    • See here for more detailed explanation: Civ 5 Happiness
  • When you run out of money the amount needed to maintain a zero budget is subtracted from your science points and units will begin to disban
  • As a general note, unit’s heal rates are:
    • 5 in enemy territory
    • 10 in neutral territory
    • 15 in home or ally territory
    • 20 in a city not in resistance (15 in this case)
    • Boats only heal in your territory

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Social Policies

See Social Policies Overview, click on tabs at top to change expansion type

civ 5 g&k social policies

Social Policies Screen

The Social Policies screen from Vanilla Civ 5 is shown above. The Policy screen for Brave New World has been reworked with new policies, but this image should be adequate for a general explanation.

Social policies enhance certain aspects of your empire. What policies you should first enact depends once again on what type of empire you would like to build and what victory condition you are striving towards. For example, tradition is primarily for small empires, but some of the policies from the liberty tree can also help large empires.

What to Policies to Start with?

  • The first time I can obtain a policy, I almost always start by opening up the Honor tree
  • When the Honor policy tree is activated, your units immediately do 33% more damage to Barbarians, gain culture for each Barbarian kill (equal to unit strength, also true for city kills), and notifications warn you of new Barbarian encampments
  • Now killing Barbarians gets you gold, xp, and culture
  • Killing Barbarians also can gain you favor with City States

Your next, or first, social policies should probably either be Tradition or Liberty (unless you immediately want to start fighting people, which can be the case if a Civ starts too close to you).

  • Tradition is designed for small empires and gives buffs to culture (+3 in the capital), border expansion, and wonder production for example
  • Players considering founding large empires might still be interested in the policies which grant additional culture and increased wonder production
  • Liberty is designed for large empires and gives buffs to culture (1 for every city) and production, as well as a free worker and a free settler (plus faster production in the future)
  • Players who plan on having a small empire may consider investing in this tree for the free worker and maybe the free settler, as well as the +1 culture per city

From here, try to choose what you think aligns the best with your victory conditions. Even though it may not initially be an obvious choice, consider investing in the Patronage tree to get greater boosts from city states, especially if you already have several city states who are your friend. Gaining City State allies can give a dramatic boost to your happiness or faith and culture production.

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Founding a Religion



The Religion Overview Screen Shows the Benefits you Receive from beliefs and Current Faith Production

When your Civ accumulates enough faith points, you can found a pantheon (see Civ 5 Religion under Beliefs) that allows you to select a belief (basically a buff) from a wide variety of options. Faith points can be found in tribal villages or made in shrines and temples. Each time a pantheon is founded in the world, it increases the cost to found the next one. There should be a belief that benefits almost any play-style.

  • Make sure to look at the tiles you own and might expand to later before making a decision
  • Do any of these tiles provide geography or resources that might benefit from a certain belief (such as desert tiles for faith or incense for culture and faith)?
  • Consider founding a belief that gives guaranteed perks if you cannot make a decision, such as +1 happiness with size six city,+1 production for size 3 city, or +2 science per trade route

After founding a pantheon, any faith acquired begins to contribute to your Great Prophet pool. When this pool reaches a set amount you have a chance to automatically generate a Great Profit each turn, hover over your faith icon to see how much you need.

  • The creation of a Great Prophet uses all of your faith points (your total is reset to zero), even if that number is greater than the amount required to obtain the Great Prophet
  • Two Great Prophets can be used to enhance your pantheon by using their special ability in one of your cities (almost always the capital)
  • The first Great Prophet establishes a new religion (establishing this city as the Holy City of the religion),  and the second enhances that religion with additional beliefs
  • Each time a Great Prophet is created, the cost of generating the next one is increased
  • Great Prophets are the best unit for spreading a religion, but they can also be used to create a tile improvement that generates large amounts of faith (and other bonuses when you get social policies in the Piety tree)
  • Great Prophets generated with faith are ALWAYS of the faith you founded, even if another religion took over Holy City

Using Faith Points After Founding

Establishing a religion enables the ability to buy some units and buildings with faith points.

  • Faith points can be used to purchase missionaries to spread faith or inquisitors to remove it
  • Some beliefs allow for building religious structures that add additional culture, faith, and/or happiness to cities
  • The faith cost associated with purchasing these units and buildings increases each age
  • Later on in the game, faith can be used to purchase Great People

Spreading Faith

Now that you have a new faith, how do you go about spreading your faith to the world? Spreading faith to other Civs and City States can lead to several bonuses for your Empire.

  • Missionaries and Great Prophets are the most direct way to spread faith
  • A Missionary is placed next to a city (of your or other Civs) and uses its special ability to spread faith, they can use this ability twice by default (Great Mosque of Djenne World Wonder allows for three uses)
  • Missionaries lose 25% of their strength if they end their turn in another Civ’s territory dominated by another faith
  • Inquisitors remove religious influence of other faiths with their special ability but can only use their ability once
  • If you build an Inquisitor in a city that does not share the faith you founded, it will degrade your founded faith in any city you send it to
  • Civs will eventually get upset if you try to convert too many of their cities and ask you to stop
  • Civs that share your faith will generally like you better
  • Some religious beliefs give larger bonuses when more cities practice your faith
  • Your relation with City States deteriorates 25% slower if they share your faith

Spreading Religion without Missionaries

Your cities only benefit from pantheons and religions if it has spread to them.

  • Pantheons can only spread from one city to another through ‘radiating’ out of your founding city to any of your cities within about 10 tiles, but pantheon beliefs cannot leave your empire
  • Religion can be spread by exerting religious pressure on other cities within about 10 tiles (faith radiating out of the city)
  • A Holy City exerts more religious pressure than other cities
  • Distance and ability to spread faith through religious pressure can be enhanced with the Grand Temple in your founding city and by adopting certain religious beliefs
  • Cities only spread the religion of the dominant faith (at least half of people in a city), even if that is not the religion you founded
  • Religious pressure is also spread with trade routes (BNW only), but be careful because your trade routes also allow other Civs to exert pressure on you

How Useful is Religion?

Religion enhances almost any aspect of the game and can only help you, but developing it may take time and resources away from your other goals (time building religious structures or money for upkeep).

  • Religion may have the most benefits when you are going for a cultural victory because you can use late game faith points to buy great people who will boost culture and tourism (writers, musicians, artists), and religion also can enable additional culture producing buffs and buildings
  • Keep in mind that some civilizations (Theodora and Boudicca for example) are geared towards religion and might end up overwhelming your religion if you do not invest large resources in to it

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Tile Improvements

Tile improvements are vital to making gold, acquiring luxuries, and controlling the growth of your cities.

  • Workers create tile improvements and cost 1 gold a turn to maintain (possibly more expensive later on)
  • 1 maintenance may not seem like much, but in the beginning of the game +1 gold a turn can add up
  • While it is not necessarily wrong to improve every tile (limit road production though), there is no reason to have many more tiles improved than your city can actually use (unless your workers have nothing else to do)
  • Make sure to spread workers around so all cities are getting tile improvements
  • I like to have at least one worker per city, but you will ultimately need to add more
  • Some people recommend stealing workers from City States or weaker Civs in the beginning of the game but this tactic can potentially lead to a higher warmonger penalty (BNW)

Removing Tile Features

  • Forrests: +1 food, +1 production to tile, chopping down a forest generates a one time boost to production of closest city (can’t find exact number)
  • Swamps: -1 food to tile, always remove
  • Jungle: +1 food, -1 production to tile, +2 science with university, +1 culture with Sacred Path Social Policy, consider keeping

Some online posts have suggested chopping down forests in order to rush early production. This could be to rush settlers for quicker expansion or libraries for an early game science boost for example.


  • Roads and Railroads cost 1 and 2 gold, respectively to maintain, unlike all other improvements which are free to maintain from what I have read (though some people argue otherwise)
  • Connecting cities with roads  to your capital generates income at approximately 1.25*Population of the city connected to the capital
  • Roads also allow for greater movement speed in your territory


  • Always improve luxuries, and almost always do it first, they provide your empire with extra happiness, can be traded with other Civs for other luxuries or gold, and improved luxury tiles give better output when worked than normal tiles
  • Your Civ can only utilize one resource to gain a happiness of +4, so try to get as many different luxuries as possible
  • Try to trade additional luxuries to other Civs for, preferably, other luxuries or gold (but don’t go for crazy one-sided deals with the AI, especially if they are already ahead of you)


  • Always provide +1 food, +2 food with Civil Service and fresh water or with Fertilizer and no fresh water
  • Helps cities grow more quickly and support larger populations
  • Farms always remove forests and swamps
  • How many farms a city needs depends on several factors including how big you want that city to get, how big you want your Civ to get, and how much food a city has from the tiles around it
  • If you have no plans for letting your cities grow to a  large size, then you may not even want to build farms for that city (unless there is a perceived need due to food shortage)
  • You generally want your capital to be larger than your other cities, so building some farms here is almost always recommended
  • Cities on rivers are obvious choices for large cities with several farms

Trading Posts

  • Always provide +1 gold, +2 gold with economics, +3 gold when Commerce social tree fully explored, +1 science with Free Thought social policy
  • Considered by some to be THE tile improvement for winning, allowing the possibility of generating massive amounts of gold
  • Trading posts do not remove tile features
  • Vital early in the game when you can often be strapped for cash and in the late game to help sustain the cost of your empire
  • This should be your default improvement when you do not know what else to do with a tile
  • Placing a trading post in a space with jungle creates a very useful tile after you get Universities (+2 science in jungle tiles)


  • Add default production of +1, +2 with chemistry, and +3 with Five-Year-Plan Ideology (BNW)
  • Can only be built on hills
  • Usually a good idea if you have hills, unless you have a lot concentrated at one city

Lumber mills

  • Add default +1 production, +2 production with scientific theory
  • Can only be built in forests
  • A solid improvement, strongly consider these for forests

So Which Ones to Build?

Usually, I like to let the tile types help dictate what improvements to make, such as mines for hills and lumber mills for forests. If you have, for instance, 10 forest squares, you might consider chopping these to build farms or build trading posts in the forest instead of just having a ton of lumber mills.

Some players suggest making each city specialize in growth, production, or economy depending on the types of tiles around each city. I tend to prefer well-rounded cities, even though specializing may be a superior strategy.

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City States

civ 5 city state

City State of Monaco, Notice the Dotted Border that

Cities states provide bonuses to your empire at the cost of having to build and maintain influence over them.

Types of City States

  • Cultured: provide culture
  • Maritime: provide food
  • Militaristic: provide a free unit
  • Religious:provide faith
  • Mercantile: provide unique luxury only available through City States

Additional Information on Benefits

  • City States only give bonuses if you are friends with them and these bonuses increase if you are allies
  • Culture and religion bonuses increase as you move in to new eras
  • Friendly City States give you vision and open borders in their territory
  • City State allies fight alongside you in wars (with very minimal aid though)
  • City States automatically vote with you in the UN and World Congress (BNW), so make sure another Civ isn’t snatching up all these extra votes (or using these votes to ram through World Congress proposals)

Becoming Friends and Allies with City States

  • City state influence begins at zero (default resting point), and increases or decreases when you perform specific actions
  • Pledging to protect a City State increases your resting influence by +5
  • Units can be gifted to City States (look for present icon when in their territory) for influence points
  • City state influence degrades 20% slower if they are the same faith as you
  • Spies located in city states ‘rig elections’, which increases your influence and degrades that of other Civs
  • Completing City State quests can be an easy way to accumulate influence points so do not neglect them
  • Consider spending excess money on giving tribute (especially when they are requesting it)
  • Becoming friends and allies with several City States can help your empire much more than you might think

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  • City limits form approximately a circle with a radius of 3 tiles out from your city
  • Typically you only want to expand in locations that allow you to acquire a new luxury
  • Rivers and the flood plains they generate are some of the best tiles to acquire due to the food bonuses
  • Utilizing as many tiles as possible by strategically spacing your cities out is not an entirely wrong approach, but gaining new luxuries and giving each city the best tiles possible is the most important thing
  • Try to avoid cities borders overlapping, but don’t be too worried about it since cities hardly ever utilize all of their tiles
  • Founding a new city near the borders of another Civ is an almost guaranteed way to make them upset, but on the other hand if you don’t take that luxury your opponents surely will
  • BNW appears to have added a 5% increase in science for every city you own (built, annexed, or puppeted) on top of the 15% increase to cultural policies (for non puppeted cities)
  • With these things in mind, try to plan ahead and establish cities in a way that allows for maximum coverage and acquisition of luxuries

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Civilization Perception

civ 5 foreign relations

Other Civ’s Perception of You

Basics of Relations with other Civs

Other Civ’s have constantly changing opinions on how they feel about your Civ. This opinion of your Civ affects your diplomatic relations with them.

  • View how other Civs generally feel about you by opening up the diplomatic menu (world icon in the top right)
  • To get a detailed list of why they feel this way about you, double-click on a Civs name in the diplomatic menu to bring up the trade screen, and then hover over the word in the top right corner of the central text window (it should say something like ‘friendly’, or ‘guarded’)
  • Green text means things they are happy about, red text means things they are not happy about, and bright green or red text denotes a stronger feeling about that event

Some events that impact diplomatic relations negatively:

  • freeing captured units
  • liberating a city previously belonging to another Civ
  • donating gold
  • fighting common enemies
  • trading

Some events that impact diplomatic relations positively:

  • bullying City States allied with other Civs
  • competing with other Civs for City States
  • sharing borders
  • taking land they desire

see ‘What Influences relations’ secation at this site: Civ 5 Diplomacy Overview

Civs that do not like you are more likely to take actions against you, but the Diplomatic Relations aspect of the game sometimes (maybe even often) seems broken so don’t expect your friends to never declare war on you.


I am not overly familiar with this mechanic, but I thought it would be worth mentioning. I believe this is BNW only (?), or is at least less of a factor in G&K.

Warmongering is a public relations penalty (other Civs view you more negatively) caused by being aggressive and/or warlike.

  • The more other Civs perceive you as a warmonger, the less fairly they will deal with you (or want to deal with you at all)
  • Civs seem to team up against you if you are perceived as a warmonger
  • Warmongering penalties appear to make conquering other Civs much more complicated than before

You seem to gain points towards warmongering by:

  • Destroying City States
  • Destroying whole civilizations
  • Controlling a large portion of the world
  • Declaring war often
  • Capturing lots of cities in a short time

Some tactics that have been suggested to deal with warmongering:

  • Some of the Aggressive Civs do not care about you being a warmonger, so choose to ally yourself with these Civs
  • If your relations with other Civs are very good, then the penalty does not matter as much
  • Your warmonger rating slowly deteriorates over time
  • Going to war with other Civs gives you relation bonuses with them
  • You never get points towards warmongering if you only other Civ units in your own territory

see posts here CivFanatics Board for more information, especially the one by jdog5000

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Capturing Cities

In many games of Civilization 5, war is inevitable. It is also often one of the best ways to achieve your goals (but keep that sort of behavior in-game). Although, this may not be as true anymore with the warmongering mechanics. After capturing a city, you need to decide if you want to puppet it, annex it, or burn it.

  • Annexed cities generate large amounts of unhappiness until you build a courthouse
  • Puppeted cities do not generate extra unhappiness, and do not raise the cost of acquiring social policies, but you have no control over
  • In time puppeted cities might contribute more unhappiness than annexed cities due to uncontrolled growth
  • Puppeted cities generate 25% less culture and science
  • One tactic for empires wishing to not take a hit to cultural policy acquisition is to puppet all captured cities and not annex them
  • Cities that are puppeted can always be annexed later
  • If a city is of no use to you, or is not very good in general, strongly consider razing it

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From the Espionage Screen You Can Assign Spies to Different Cities and See What They are Currently Doing (note that the top and bottom spies are currently diplomats, BNW only)

  • Placing spies in your own cities allows you to thwart enemy spies who try to steal your technology
  • Spies can only be caught when they try to steal a technology (as far as I am aware)
  • Spies in enemy cities provide vision around that city, the opportunity to steal a technology, intelligence on any wonders that are being built (might be BNW only), and intelligence on plans to attack other Civs
  • If you reveal a plan against another Civ, you can inform that Civ about this plan by contacting them and accessing the let’s talk about something else option
  • Spies in BNW can also become diplomats in other Civ’s cities
  • Diplomats spread tourism to the city they are in, give you some feedback on how other Civs will vote on World Congress proposal, and unlock ability to trade other Civs to convince them to vote a certain way on proposals

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Ideology (BNW)



Ideology Screen with Public Opinion Towards Ideology Highlighted

Ideologies are unlocked when a Civilization builds three factories or reaches the Modern Era. Ideological tenets, much like social traits, enhance traits of your Civilization. Civilizations can chose from Freedom, Order, and Autocracy, and each one offers different perks that can be examined from the selection screen. The first Civilization to found a new Ideology receives two tenets for free.

Ideology Pressure

I am not that familiar with this mechanic either, but once again I believe it is worth mentioning.

  • Ideologies also exert pressure on other Civs with different ideologies
  • The level of pressure is directly related to the difference in tourism between you and other Civs
  • See the public opinion section at the bottom of the ideology screen to find out how content your people are with your ideology
  • Culture also factors in because it acts as a shield to block other Civ’s tourism
  • Ideology pressure can cause your public opinion to drop leading to unhappiness
  • Severe unhappiness (around -20) can cause rebel units to spawn in your territory and ultimately lead to cities leaving
  • Sometimes the only way to remedy this unhappiness is to switch to the other Civ’s Ideology

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Tourism (BNW)

civ 5 culture overview screen


Cultural Overview Screen Where Players can Rearrange Great Work Locations to Gain Bonuses

Tourism allows for the new BNW cultural victory condition to be achieved and can exert ideological pressure on other Civs.

  • Tourism is generated by Great Works (writing, music, art) or Artifacts
  • Great Works are generated by Great People (musicians, artists, writers) which can be generated by cities (some buildings, like guilds, speed up this production)
  • Great People can also be purchased with faith points once you reach the Industrial Era
  • Artifacts can be found by excavating Antiquity Sites with an Archaeologist
  • Another Civ’s Great Works and Artifacts are acquired when conquering a city with them present
  • Great Works and Artifacts require a slot to be placed in, otherwise they cannot be made/acquired, and they provide a base tourism of 2 points as well as 2 culture
  • Slots are provided by all general cultural buildings (excluding monuments) and some World Wonders

Great Works and Artifacts can be bundled together in certain buildings to allow for a ‘Theming Bonus’.

  • Check your Culture Overview menu to see a breakdown of the tourism you are generating
  • World Wonders have distinct Theming Bonus requirements that allow for large bonuses

civ 5 world wonder bonus

  • These usually include requirements for works from varying Civs and time periods
  • You can swap Great Works with other Civs to help you fulfill these requirements or put up your Great Works for other players to consider swapping with you
  • Some cultural buildings, like the museum, provide two Great Work slots which allows for a Theming Bonus

civ 5 theme bonus 4  civ 5 theme bonus 5

civ 5 theme bonus 7

  • This bonus is a bit more finicky and can require a good bit of trail and error, but in general you want to place tow items that have similar qualities here (theme, time period, Civilization, or even the same piece)
  • Theming Bonuses do not always seem to work, such as artifacts only appear to bundle with other artifacts

In order to win a cultural victory your tourism output must overcome the culture of every other Civ.

civ 5 tourism victory

Cultural Influence Over Other Civs

  • Culture is your main defense against other Civ’s tourism and ideology, in general you want your culture output per turn to be higher than another Civ’s tourism output
  • Tourism is automatically spread from your cities but can be increased through (+25% for each):
    • trade routes
    • open borders
    • shared religion
    • diplomats
  • Having a different Ideology from another Civ causes a -33% penalty to tourism output to that Civ
  • Some Ideological policies can increase tourism output to other Civs depending on their Ideology
  • How influential you are in other Civs can be viewed on the Cultural Overview menu under ‘Influence by Player’ (see graphic above)
  • In order to spread tourism faster make sure to find all other Civs quickly and establish trade routes and open borders with them (but only if you are actually outputting tourism) even if you have to bribe them to give it to you

Tourism also provides these additional buffs to your Civ which increase as your influence over other Civs increases:

  • Extra science from trade routes
  • Spies are more effective
  • Resistance periods and lives loss from conquest are reduced
  • Civs not following your Ideology suffer penalties to happiness
  • See ‘Other Gameplay Effects of Tourism’ here for more detailed information

One Response to Civillization 5 Tips

  1. Pingback: Civilization 5 Short Guide and Updates | Danger Blog

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