Brave New World DLC - Strategy Guide - Guide for Sid Meier's Civilization V

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Strategy Guide for Civilization V - Brave New World

Version 1.0

Written by: Scott "Zoogz" Jamison

Contact: zoogz22 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Version History:

Version 1.0:  10 February 2014
First publication of the guide, which currently includes strategies for
playing Civilization V: Brave New World ruleset (as based on victory


This strategy guide is the property of Scott "Zoogz" Jamison, first written
in 2014.  Permission is granted to for posting this material.
Permission is not granted to post this work to any other sites nor to make
alterations without my express written consent.  I reserve the right to
request this work to be removed from unauthorized locations (e.g. websites,
printed materials).


Table of Contents:

[Intro] Introduction

[vv1vv] First considerations when starting
a. Going in with a plan.

[vv2vv] Turns 1-15
a. What to build/research on turn 1?
b. Through turn 15 -- evaluating how to build your foundation

[vv3vv] Turns 15-50
a. What do I research next?
b. How do I protect myself early on?
c. Which should I build first - Wonders, workers, settlers, buildings,
d. Expanding your empire via (your first couple) cities.
e. How do I get the yellow stuff... Gold!
f. Religion

[vv4vv] Turns 50-250
a. Changing your goals.
-Remaining with the status quo?
b. Technology
-Technology Slingshots (important subset notes)
-Keeping up technologically
c. Happy Faces
d. Culture and the Culture Tree bonuses

[vv5vv] Completing the game
a. Winning via military (conquering)
b. Winning via culture (tourism)
c. Winning via diplomacy
d. Winning via space race (technology)

[vv6vv] Converting your resources

[Outro] Outro and concluding thoughts


Introduction to the strategy guide.

You might ask yourself, why does this strategy guide exist?  A short time
ago, I finished a game at level 6 (Emperor).  The computer randomly chose
for me a pangaea map, nine opponents, and gave me the Hunnic civilization. 
After about five-six hours of gameplay, I managed to guide the Huns to a
Scientific victory.  This was the optimal solution, as the Americans had
already built four of their six spaceship parts, and though I had managed
to get to thirty-four votes (out of forty) for Diplomatic victory as well
as about fifty turns away from a Cultural victory, the Space Race gave me
the win on turn 366 -- game year 1946.

I will go into this in more depth below, but this victory is the path that
the game offered me.  Once I realized that I could build and build without
anyone bothering me, I kept at it.  I set myself up to grab the Porcelain
Tower and get to the bottom of the Rationalization track... between that
and the gold I kept pulling in because no one wanted to fight, I was
signing research agreements left and right.  Since the majority of my
military advantage was for the beginning of the game and it was no longer
the beginning... why play militarily, even if I do have the Huns?

When I play Civilization I play it as pretty much the biggest puzzle game
around.  I get most enjoyment playing Civilization when I go in blind... I
don't know what the map will be, nor even the civilization that's picked
for me.  I find it most challenging and most fun when I have to figure out
strategies on the fly, especially when the computer players start stomping
around and making life interesting.  It's the reason that I've kept
leveling up, all the way from games on level 3 to winning games on level 6.
I think that playing this way has helped me to figure out strategies.  I'm
writing this guide to help someone who's currently behind the eight-ball
and looking online to see if help is around the corner, and either wants to
figure a way out of it or to try again fresh.

I have played Civ games ever since Civilization I came out in the 90's. I
am quite a fan of the series and have written reviews for all of the games
at my blog,  I had never really been moved enough to
write a strategy guide for the game until now.  Civilization V was released
a while ago, and I have put in (sadly?) some 1200 hours of playing Civ V in
all three configurations -- original, Gods & Kings, and now Brave New

The twelve hundred hours of play has also pretty much allowed me to
practice my tactics and strategies, from games ranging all the way from
victories to getting chunkified by the Huns or Aztecs by turn 60.  Even
then, I certainly have not playtested all of the different things that I
can do within a game... for instance, I still don't have the guts to turn
the map into a nuclear wasteland, even though there's a save button that I
can very easily use.  So yes, the "guide to going nuclear" is sadly
unfinished so far, though I will certainly playtest a couple of times as
well as invite others to provide ideas.

What this guide won't do is give you lists.  You have the Civilopedia
and/or other peoples' walkthroughs that can tell you what unit does what,
which bonuses each Civ has, all of the city-states, etcetera.  I'm
interested in figuring out ways to not only stay afloat when the computer
has all the advantages, but to beat them at the end of the game.

I have no shame and I am more than willing to accept ideas and thoughts, or
even to post your original research while crediting you.  Feel free to send
any ideas or other playtests to my email [zoogz22 (at) yahoo (dot) com],
especially if there's a savegame that I can pop open and check out... try
to keep them unmodded if at all possible.

Organizational notes:

Organizing this has been difficult at best.  That's because something you
do in the beginning of the game can have major ramifications for the
remainder of the game.  The problem is that everything's interconnected...
gold affects your military, your military affects your ability to gain
culture, culture affects your happiness meter, your happiness meter affects
your population, and your population affects everything from science
through culture through military through gold.

But!  If you have a strategy going, you will need to commit to it
throughout an entire game even as you reevaluate if you can set up a better
strategy.  If all I do is to organize this guide chronologically, I'll just
be dribbling it out in multiple sections without making it very easy to

My solution to this is to write a bit of a start-up guide to take you
chronologically through the first age or two so that you have your strategy
set, a middle-age set of information, and then to review game-long strategy
information afterward.  I will attempt to cross-reference various issues
between the two portions of the guide so that there's as little bandwidth
lost on copied sections.  There will also be a section on reevaluating your
strategy and changing it mid-game if necessary.

If there is a need/call for it, I can reformat some of the sections to take
into account victory conditions in the original Civilization V
configuration, or the Gods and Kings expansion.  The major changes between
original/Gods & Kings and Brave New World are the cultural victory/tourism,
the cultural tree, governments and their basis on culture, and religion. 
Most of the rest of this guide will bear out, but keep in mind that the
"Cultural" victory condition is completely different in Brave New World
than it is in Original or Gods & Kings, so that part of the guide will not

I will also be glad to post scenario information into updates of this guide
if others will provide it, as I have not delved into too many of the
scenarios except for the "Smoky Skies" and the "Scramble for Africa"
scenarios exactly once apiece.  


Strategy Guide for Civilization V: Brave New World.

Go in with a plan... before the game even starts

What does your civilization bonus do?  What will it help?

What are your civilization's special units/buildings/tile modifications?
What will they do?

When will you be able to access your civilization's special abilities?

What level did you choose?

How long will the game be -- short, standard, epic, marathon?

Asking yourself the above questions will hopefully allow you to plot out
some of the goals that you can hit with your game.  If you start out with a
civilization with heavy early bonuses, you'll need to figure out if you can
make those early bonuses work for you.  If you have a target period (such
as, say, the Chinese with the Chu-Ko-Nu crossbowmen), then you can tailor
your approach to build out until X age (in example, the Middle Ages) so
that you've prepared your cities to wage a protracted war.  

One recent for-instance was when I played as the Mongols, who have both the
Keshik, a mounted bowman with ranged attack as well as a Khan, a great
general who has five movement points plus the ability to heal adjacent
units as their special units.  This means that I have a pretty clear path
to take out any enemy city or even enemy civ around the middle of the game,
so I need to plan to put in place the basis of this plan... have the horses
ready, or better yet have the horsemen already built for a quick cash
upgrade.  If you have an idea of which way your game will go, that will
allow you to pick both cultural as well as religious bonuses so that they
will help you the most.

The two things that you intentionally chose above are the level and the
number of turns.  The level will tell you right off the bat how much
military you likely have coming after you and how much ability you have in
building Wonders / keeping up in research... for each level higher, you
will find more of a challenge.  The number of turns will also determine to
some extent how much military will play a role in the game... research
takes longer, gold is less plentiful, production takes longer, but a
warrior will still move two hexes in a turn... so the only thing that
doesn't get slowed down is your military.  The warning is that if you
choose a longer game (epic or marathon), this means that if you also choose
a higher level the computer's bonuses will be more magnified... kind of how
2% compound interest computed monthly is less than 2% compound interest
computed daily.

Turns 1-15

a. What to build/research on turn 1?
b. Through turn 15 -- evaluating how to build your foundation

Within the first fifteen turns, you need to look at the map, you need to
pick your research, and you need to start establishing yourself in the
world.  Here's a couple ways to help that process along.

a. What to build/research on turn 1?

This deserves its own special section... just because.  What do you see
first?  Move the warrior even before building your city to reveal maximum
terrain... there have been times that the autoseed has given me a good
spot, but a better spot is right around the corner.

I usually make the decision what to do next based on what I find.  If I see
at least 70% land or if I have been placed in quite a bit of rough terrain
(hills/forests/jungles), I'll go with building a scout first.  Popping
ruins can give you a good advantage, as can finding religious city-states,
good next-city locations, and also your rivals.

If you don't need that level of exploration, then just use your warrior for
exploration and put up the monument.  Getting the +2 in culture will triple
your culture generation and make the first three bonuses very quick.

(If you're Spain, there's really no decision here... get that scout out
quickly, and build a second for good measure.  If you find a natural wonder
first, you can BUY your first settler far quicker than producing it.)

Turn 1 research for me is almost always Pottery.  Getting a quick granary
can keep your growth up in the short-run, and Pottery will lead to both
Sailing and Calendar if needed.

If you intentionally want to play militarily, I would work through Archery
first.  Spearmen aren't all that much stronger than warriors, and archers
will allow you to range into others as soon as possible, saving your
warriors to heal and bide their time for your archers to knock down a city.

b. Through turn 15 - evaluating how to build your foundation

Questions to consider for this stage in the game: 

Are you in a crossroads or off in a corner?

Hemmed in by city-states, by a mountainous choke-point, or by the ocean?

Wide-open land with lots of luxuries / special resources available allowing
you to pick multiple locations?

Which civs did you make contact with?

Are there any religious civs you need to watch out for?

There are two major methods to building a civilization.  I prefer the
descriptions "tall" for a civilization that has a limited number of cities
-- perhaps seven or less -- but quite a bit of population in each.  I use
"wide" for a civilization that has a lot of land and quite a few cities,
eight or more being a good guide.

Two of the first four culture tracks in the game are "Tradition" and
"Liberty", and they work pretty well to draw a line between tall and wide
civs.  The tall ones would get a major boost from having half (or more) of
their cities gain a free Monument and would also get a boost from the +1
happy per each 2 population in the capital city.  The wide method would get
more of a happiness bonus from the -5% unhappiness in all cities along with
+1 per connected city along with the +1 culture per city, along with the +1
and 5% production bonus for each cities' buildings.  It is absolutely
possible to mix-and-match the two of them, but just remember that if you
do, you may not be able to hit the happiness bonus and that could have a
detrimental effect on your growth mid-game.

Culture and gold are easiest to gain in a tall civ... you need less culture
for each culture bonus, and gold gains due to you needing fewer buildings
and fewer roads to serve the same number of people.  Military and tourism
(!) are easiest to gain in a wide culture.  Military should be fairly
obvious, as multiple cities gain access to more strategic resources and
have the ability to build more units overall (as production will be more
likely to utilize special tiles).  Tourism is easier to gain in a wide
culture because of the museum/artifact vectors, especially if you can still
have one or two cities remain as your wonder-building dynamoes.  While
culture *bonuses* are easier to pop in a smaller civ, overall cultural
numbers are easier to gain in a wide culture because of your ability to
build multiple buildings.

Science is... about the same, actually.  There are advantages to a wide
civ, because whenever you want you can switch multiple cities to research
and definitely power through one or multiple techs quickly.  However, the
advantage to a tall civ in science is the ability to sign research
agreements easier, especially if you're cultivating friendships by not
creating border friction with others.

By turn fifteen or so, you'll know the type of lands you're starting on
(e.g. islands, continents, or a pangaea), and you'll likely have an idea of
some of the other civs.  If you are playing against religious
civilizations, they might have already formed their pantheons within ten
turns, fifteen at the outside.  In the beginning of the game, you're most
likely already waiting on either the monument to be built, or a scout (or
two), so there's not a whole lot of variance... but then you will be able
to figure out if you can start out as a builder, or if you need to get
defending.  If you're surrounded on all sides by enemy Civs, getting
defense is priority number one, to make sure that you can not only keep the
other civs out but to be able to exert force if necessary.  If no one is
immediately apparent, you could either squeeze out that extra settler or
begin that wonder a bit earlier to reap the benefits of the earlier start.

If your scout was lucky enough to find culture in a ruin, you should have
already picked a culture bonus by now.  If not, then you should hopefully
receive one by turn 20.  If you want to grow without worrying about
military, I would suggest picking the option between Tradition and Liberty
that you're planning to move your game in.  If you want to invade others
then by all means go Honor *early*, the earlier the better so that you can
get all of the culture benefits from killing barbarians.

Turns 15-50

a. What do I research next?
b. How do I protect myself early-on?
c. Which should I build first - Wonders, workers, settlers, buildings, army?
d. Expanding your empire via (your first couple) cities.
e. How do I get the yellow stuff... Gold!
f. Religion

At this point, there's less questions though there's more demands on you.

a. What do I research next?

Research what you need (and can use) immediately.

This is in reference to two contexts.   In the beginning of the game,
there's just so much that needs doing, such as getting the technologies to
develop your resources, building certain units (archers/composite
bowmen/horsemen), exploration (trireme), and Wonders that you need to get
set up.  It may sound trite, but it's pointless to work on a technology
that you really don't need.

So what do you do?  Figure out your strategy and plan accordingly.  If you
want to play culturally, make sure to work on technologies that can grant
you the Wonders you need, and research towards educational buildings so
that you can maintain a "first to the Tech, first to build the Wonder"
method of playing.  If money-based, go after Currency and Guilds for
markets and Machu Picchu.  If military, remember that getting to Civil
Service will give you not only Horsemen, but also Pikemen... and that
Pikemen are stronger than Swordsmen.  Also try to gun for Crossbowmen
(Machinery), because you can pick up Workshops on the way.

b. How do I protect myself?

Defending early on via military:

Keeping up with everyone is absolutely important in this game.  At the
higher levels, the computer needs less food to grow a point, less
production to complete units or wonders, and less science to gain a
technology.  This means you need to find replacements, and fast.

How much military do you need?:

The military part is pretty easy to take care of, considering what happens
in Civ V (compared to all previous Civ games).  Each city becomes its own
archer, and can hold out for a few turns depending on the number of units
and the technology of the units coming after the city.  The best defenders
for a city happen to be ranged -- ranged defenders do not take damage when
they attack, and they can be stashed behind a city yet shoot two squares
forward, making them devilishly hard to get to without deploying mounted
troops.  Two archers (plus perhaps a warrior to deal with the up-close
issues) are enough to snuff out 85% of threats to the cities of your


In the beginning of the game there are six acceptable reasons for killing

1. There's a free worker just sitting there.
2. You were asked by a city-state and will get influence.
3. You've opened the Honor track and will receive culture.
4. It's right next to your town and about to stomp your spice plantation to
5. It's astride a caravan route
6. You're the Germans/Songhai/etc. and you get extra bonuses from
flattening them.

Otherwise... leave them alone and let them be someone else's problem.
Letting them roam means that they'll kill enemy civ settlers that the enemy
civ got greedy with, or take city-state workers that you can liberate later
and receive bonuses for.  They will work as experience fountains, but only
for the first two levels... you can get those just with defending your own
territory.  In this case, the enemy of your enemy (your enemy being the
other computer Civs) is your friend, and if the other Civs want to build
cities, don't clear the way for them by taking out their threats.

Sniffing out external threats:

As I will discuss below, roads are not for the early-game anymore, which
means you may have to keep troops close to a city.  This means more
advanced sniffing is necessary to figure out where the threat may come
from.  There's ways to figure it out though, and here are a few:

-- A enemy civ capital city with no second city thirty to forty turns in.
A sure sign that military is being built.

-- In the diplomatic screen, hovering over the leader to find out ways that
your relationship is affected includes "They covet your lands!"  The
brighter it is, the more of a threat it is.

-- Finding three or more units of theirs on the move, especially if they're
moving towards you.

-- A warlike civilization with a very early specialized unit (Huns, Aztecs,
for naval battle - Carthage)

-- Check the Demographics and find out who has the largest military.
Increased scrutiny on this civ is a must, if they are known to you.

-- An enemy civ that has swallowed up cities and is currently razing them.
An absolutely sure sign that someone's out to eat up the map and mess
everyone else up.

-- Notifications that an enemy civ has had their capital taken.  The game
now tells you who took the capital, as well as who controls the most
capitals.  They have the military.

-- If you managed to place cities to essentially block another civilization
from expanding towards empty lands either intentionally or unintentionally.
If they keep building military, it's to come after you.

Yes, enemy Civs are 95% likely to be coming after you, especially since you
likely have the fewest military this early in the game.  It may be
"unfair", but did you sign up for a challenge or a squash?  I find that
there are times that if I have an interesting start position, I will save
it at the beginning of the game just in case I want to run a game again,
and there's no stigma in restarting or recovering from autosaved files.

FYI... it is absolutely possible to get bum rushed and killed, too... if
you get a mad Hun after you early enough, or a mad Aztec, they can
absolutely pump out five or six battering rams, or eight to ten jaguar
warriors, and your game is definitely over.  Just restart and try again,
knowing full well that if your start was that bad, going again is probably
the best option.  In a recent playthrough (and unless I completely misread
the damage indicator), I had a Hunnic battering ram hit my city for -167.
There's just nothing one can do about that, especially when you see three
more coming at you.  Just remember that if you do put down the Hunnic/Aztec
threat, they're not going to have such ridiculously overpowered troops for
the rest of the game.

I do note that on my other games, the enemy Civ is more likely to come
after you with their own specialized unit.  It's helpful to know or
remember what their special units are and to have plenty of troops
available that their type is weak against... for instance, make sure to get
pikemen or lancers when the Mongols start trotting out their Keshik
(cavalry-based archers).  Keeping scouts or other units that can station
outside an enemy Civ's land to find out what the troop movements are is
pretty helpful in this situation.

Shooting at the correct targets when defending a city:

Without a ground troop to occupy it, a city cannot fall.  You can throw as
many catapults as you want at it, but it won't go anywhere without a ground
troop.  So, you know what your likeliest targets are!  The ground troops
will come first anyway, and if the computer does it in ones or twos, your
two archers + city + warrior should do a good job of mopping up most of the
ground troop threat even before the catapults or archers set up.  Even if
the catapults and archers arrive, keep pounding those ground troops.  Three
archers + one city will down a warrior in one turn, and depending on the
bonuses can even get a spearman down too.  Two is minimum, but the computer
will either waste the troop re-attacking your (hopefully strong) city or
just retreat to lick their wounds.

Alternatively, if the computer comes after you with quite a few melee
troops and only a couple of siege units, you will know that it will be far
more important to get the siege units down first.  The city will deal
damage to each melee attacker, but if catapults/archers manage to put the
city too far down then the melee attackers will take it.  So, the moral of
the city defense story is to go after the troops that are in shorter supply
first, as the remaining troops will have a weakness that will allow them to 
be defeated easier.

What happens if you get taken?

Well, there's a couple things that you can do.  If it happens to be your
capital city, the "exit to main menu" button is pretty popular, especially
if you're at such a high level that you know losing the buildings you spent
~60-80 turns to build will submarine you for the rest of the game.

If you had a peripheral city taken, or if you're a determined Darrell who
wants nothing more than to redeem your capital city so that you can visit
death, destruction, vengeance, and salting the earth afterward, then
remember the following:

1. Move troops out of a doomed city.

Anyone left in there when a city is captured is lost forever.  If you have
a ranged troop in your city, position it so that you can shoot at your city
immediately afterward.  Position any melee troops right next to the city so
that you can take it at next convenience

2. Place all ranged/melee troops within range for immediate recapture.

What's nice is that the computer had to send a melee troop in to occupy
your former town.  So by the same token, you can knock down this melee
troop while at the same time reconquering your town.  Make sure that when
you place your troops for the imminent recapture that you do it on the
opposite side of the town from where you are getting invaded, so you have
the best opportunity of taking the town back first prior to getting

3. It takes time

If the enemy takes your city, it will be in unrest and unable to "defend"
itself against you with a ranged attack.  However, if you retake your city,
it can start shooting back at enemy troops without going through unrest. 
This is yet another of the challenges of taking cities in Civ, though I
find it a good strategy as well as historically grounded in fact.  This
means though that your ranged troops or siege engines can shoot to
recapture your town with very little fear of getting dropped by *the city*.
Just make sure that you can take out their ground troops where necessary

Remember that it holds for the opposite too... if you take an opponent's
city, it will go through the same unrest and you won't be able to use the
opponent's city to range-attack until unrest is over.

4. Recapturing gives you wings.

If your town got beat down to only a few points left, if it gets captured
by the enemy and then recaptured by you the town will receive half of its
hitpoints back.  It's almost as if the citizenry gets a boost when you give
them a show of force, so they redouble their efforts.  (Granted, this is a
second opportunity to knock down buildings, there is that issue...)

The aftermath:

If you do manage to take out the enemy civ's troops, immediately threaten
their lands (safely!).  The enemy Civs often (but not always) panic and
overreact with troops closer by. If they're currently out of troops you'll
get a far better deal.  If they have more than one town, you may even pick
up unexpected territory... just make sure that you're in the green happy-
wise before puppeting, otherwise weaken them by razing it.  Bonus note...
even if the city is undefendable, it will give you gold and science plus
perhaps a religious point or two at the cost of happiness.  If you can
spare the happiness, take it.  It will also be your new "canary in the coal
mine" if it is undefendable, as the enemy Civ will try to get that city
back first being such a juicy target.  You will then know if the enemy civ
will want to come after your core cities at the cost of increased gold plus
a couple happy faces.

If you do go with a large military early, just remember that you can get
other people to pay for it too.  How, you may ask?  Through the bullying of
city-states.  They'll also hand over workers if you have enough troops on
the outside of a town.  You need to have a large military to do this, but
it's a decent two-for-one (worker for the price of military) if you're not
trying to curry favor.  Heck, you can turn your military into effectively a
city-state-supported workforce if you're diligent enough, and by
threatening the non-hostile you could get quests where the hostile actually
want you to threaten the non-hostile, which will net you money AND a new
City-State friend.

If you had to sue for peace and came out second-best... well, try again!
The game does come with an autosave so that you can try to refight the last 
war.  Not only will it give you practice, but if you're playing at the
higher levels it will still give you a chance for winning.  When you lose
production and/or buildings for a long stretch of time it can only hurt you
going forward.  Of course, you can always just keep marching forward,
accepting it as a greater challenge too.

c. Which should I build first: wonders, workers, settlers, buildings, army?

The best answer I can provide is that losing production is NOT an option.


Don't go after wonders if your empire can't support it.  Trusting one
archer to defend against a horde of Aztec Jaguars while you finish
Stonehenge in a desperate attempt to make up for lost religion is pretty
much a white flag.  The best case scenario is that you're defending your
cities with a lone archer while getting +5 religion per turn.  The worst
case scenario is that there's no Stonehenge 'cause there's no city to build
it in.

Even in a normal situation, losing the production is not ever really a good
thing.  That's not to say to never build wonders, but to make sure that
your empire can support the possible lost production.  The replacement gold
is really crummy when you don't make it, and you could have been building a
military that could have taken the wonder from the city that builds it

In the upper levels, when you get past Level Four (Prince) and higher, the
computer goes from being even in production to needing less production to
finish buildings/projects.  All you have to do to verify this fact is to
get to the midgame on a King-level game and view a city that you've sent a
spy to.  The city will only need 90% of the production you need in order to
finish everything, including wonders.  If you lose 300 production to a
failed Alhambra, remember that it could have meant a trebuchet plus two
pikemen to take the city that ended up building it... and the gold that you
get for the consolation prize is definitely not enough to buy all three

Oh, and that losing production is not an option?  That goes for wonders
too.  Extra hint... the secret to military in the game is that military is
how you take someone else's production.  Not only in taking over cities
that have built buildings/Wonders, but even in tying up an enemy Civ's time
and resources into building an army rather than building improvements.  An
army costs money and does not come with an immediate boost in any resource,
unlike a building or a Wonder.


Additionally, don't build settlers that need to deploy ALONE you can't
retake through your military... in other words, if you send a settler into
barbarian-controlled lands alone, don't be surprised if it gets taken. 
Trying to redeem a settler can be hard if you have no army to start
redeeming it immediately, and that's quite a few turns of both production
and NO growth to lose in one go.  If you're reasonably sure that the
settler won't get taken, then by all means build and send it.  The thought
to keep in mind though is if you need to creep your settler forward, the
turns that it'll waste you could have already built the military unit


While it's less dangerous to do, don't build a worker that you can't
support with defense as well.  If you have multiple turns of the worker
hiding in a city and then having to come back out to repair tiles that
barbarians just rampaged over then you are wasting money, resources, and
turns that won't be redeemable by the end of the game.


Past that, use your current style of play to dictate what you need to do.
I would suggest always getting scientific buildings up as soon as possible,
especially on the higher levels, because a scientific building will help
you build either more buildings or better units down the road.  Past that,
make sure that you're putting up the buildings that will help your city to
be as productive as possible for the purpose you built it for (e.g.
granaries for plains cities, workshops for producing cities, etc.).  Try
out a few different things to see which works best.

d. Expanding your empire via (your first couple) cities.

Choosing sites, managing expectations, natural wonders:

Your capital should ideally be near two luxuries.  I've had games where a
third was in easy reach, but typically there's no way you're going to start
with three luxuries encircled by one city.  Typically, city #2 will be next
to a luxury, and if you're lucky you might find a spot where you can get
two luxuries as well.  Your first city spot has to be close, chosen pretty
early and focused upon.

In a good 60% of my games, I've found that my next favored spot for a city
just will not be there for two reasons.  Either the other civ(s) got to it
first, or the civ that would have gotten there first has eight warriors and
five archers to throw at me when I plant my settler.  However, there are
also games where I had to go to Spot #3 just because the computer
absolutely jumped all over Spot #2 before I could do anything.

The point?  It's rare if you manage to get Spot #2 and Spot #3 both, and if
that happens hang on tight.

See, this game isn't exactly a land-grab game anymore.  In Civ IV, as long
as you had a forward-looking phalanx, keep hopping those settlers forward,
and you can fill in the cities with phalanxes after you grab the territory.
In Civ V, you don't start off with happy people in every city you build...
you have to back it up with both workers to gain the luxury and with
military to defend it, or your position is lost.

HOWEVER!  There's hope!  Just remember, if the computer stakes out a city
in a spot you desperately wanted, it's a GOOD THING.  Let the computer
build it, farm it, etc and then you can swoop in with military to take it
later.  You want and need ways to maximize your shield count, and even if
you spend three warriors out of your force of multiple archers/catapults
and melee units, it's still likely less than you would have had to spend
with a settler, worker, etc. and it steals the production that the computer
worked so hard to set up to begin with.

Most natural wonders are imperative to take and can grow to provide +5
culture in the late-game depending on the World Congress.  Ones that
provide happy faces (Mt. Kailash, Fountain of Youth, Old Faithful) are most
important.  Natural wonders that provide religious bonuses (Uluru, Mt.
Ararat, Mt. Fuji, etc.) are also very important, and can even replace world
wonders such as Stonehenge.  The only ones that are not worth the time and
effort are the Grand Mesa (+3 gold and +2 shield, which you can get from
any developed luxury mine) and the Barringer Crater (+2 Gold / +3 Science,
which is easily replacable by any Jungle tile with a trading post in a town
with a University -- +2 Food, +1 Gold, +2 Science before Economics).  Only
get these as afterthoughts rather than as targets.

City specialization:

So when you have a city, what should you do with it?  High food cities are
good for getting the specialist buildings, such as the Writers Guild which
takes population points to be most effective.  Cities with plenty of hills
do good in building wonders and creating your army.  Cities with lots of
special squares, by rivers or by oceans are good spots for caravans to
operate from.  Just make sure to improve as many of the squares around the
city as possible so that the bonuses for resources are realized.  Cities
with lots of jungle make for amazing science cities mid-game, to the point
that waiting on a National College becomes a viable strategy... especially
since the computer players rarely (if ever) examine your other cities for
tech-stealing potential.  If you run a high-knowledge city that's not your
capital, that lowers the tech-stealing potential of your capital city and
typically the computer players won't figure out that there's a far higher
potential city elsewhere, which makes defending technologies easier.  And
since the game gives bonuses for stacking tourist improvements/Wonders into
one city, it may as well be the one that you've been building Wonders in
since you started the game, right?

Additionally, the game's governors help you to keep your specialization
going.  If you're trying to grow a city, feel free to leave it at "growth"
until it gets to the size you want.  If you're trying to obtain science,
then use the governor to reapportion your citizens to find science.  You
can certainly micromanage to the point that you're directing individual
citizens into individual tasks, but it will make your games take even
longer than they did already... and you get a feel for what real historical
rulers thought when they were asked what each individual citizen should do
instead of taking advice from trusted council.  Specializing cities will
keep you afloat technologically through the lean years, when all of the
other civs are gaining technologies left-and-right... to be covered in a
later topic.

Beginning-game city specialization info: 

When building new cities, do not let the computer dictate your
food/production ratio.  Make sure that you check the city to see what you
can produce and how quickly.  Setting the city to "production" can make up
the food you lose via the granary, though it may be more likely that it
will be much more important to get either defense (an archer) or culture (a
monument) to consolidate your new gain, grab a resource, etc.

As for the case against food-based growth off the bat:
Production drops by percentage points in each city with the new Brave New
World rules when you go underneath zero happiness.  It's better to get the
production and to make your few citizens work smarter, not to grow out the
city and make the whole rest of your kingdom suffer.  Building cities and
adding citizens will create unhappiness, so make sure that when you go to
claim new land with a city that you can support it via happy faces (+7
happiness is optimal for creating a new city, as long as you can find a
path to regain the +7 shortly after creation)

Additionally, there are wonders that are limited by either culture (e.g.
Forbidden Palace, Porcelain Tower) or by terrain (e.g. Colossus, Machu
Picchu) that a small city could absolutely build if given the time.  A food
focus early could defeat this purpose though, especially if you're also
trying to build the national wonders (e.g. National College, Heroic Epic)
because food-focused cities rarely build all the buildings you need quickly
enough to make the national wonders viable.

Resetting specialization back to "Food":

With the above, keep in mind to make sure that you are getting food-based
growth when additional happy faces present themselves.  Not only is each
point of population worth +1 science and +1 gold (in cities other than your
capital) per turn, but the multipliers (e.g. library, public school,
market, bank, etc.) will make extra citizens much more productive too.
I've found that the games that I typically have far more challenge with are 
the games that I failed to have my cities grow themselves out at some
point, and I have perhaps a third of the population of the largest civ(s).
It may seem like you're hamstringing your city or cities because of all of
the lost production when you switch over to a food-focus, but as above once
your cities grow out to use the majority of your happiness, your entire
empire will see the benefits of maximised population.

e. How do I get the yellow stuff... Gold!

That stuff is HARD to come by early.  There's a ton of things that you
need, including a military to beat off any foes, roads to keep your
military mobile enough to fight off other foes, a scout to find other civs,
and workers to develop your resources.  Not only that, but those pesky
buildings cost money too.

Taking care of your gold reserves can be almost like gaining another city's
worth of production.  A settler, for instance, is 500 Gold (on Standard
length game and King difficulty)... or, it's five or six turns of no city
growth.  A courthouse is multiple turns of unhappy faces, or about 600
gold(?, I don't completely recall).  1000 Gold can be worth ten happy faces
when it's given to mercantile city-states... or, in one of the most
interesting situations, 1000 gold can help keep an enemy civ who's declared
war off your back by allying with a city-state and letting the enemy civ
either get bogged down, picked off, or at least slowed down from invading
your position.  As a last resort, it can be used for walls/units if things
get desperate too.  And, most importantly, piles of gold will give you the
diplomatic victory that you may be searching for.  Where will it all come

Developing second/third copies of luxuries:

On my best games, I've developed redundant luxury items early.  Just
starting out, enemy Civs are usually willing to give you top dollar (e.g. 7
gold per turn) for extra luxuries.  Even if the redundant luxury is in the
water (yikes!), getting that extra gold that early will allow you to keep
the science coming while at the same time staying defended, which is
absolutely necessary.  Just remember that the trade-off for selling your
luxuries is possibly another new city for the Civ you sell the luxury to,
as the +4 it will give them is the number that is typically needed for each
new city.  (This can get them in trouble in the long haul if they can't
find ways to keep the luxuries flowing in, though.)

Roads and alternatives to building roads for workers:

Roads are for closers. [/Glengarry].  Don't get the roads built until the
city you're building to can support the road... if you're already gaining
negative gold per turn and your city is four spaces away, you're looking at
between twelve to sixteen losing turns just to break even again. Developing
that additional luxury could be worth up to +7, and it will take less time
than laying a road.  Yes, that means that you may have to stash troops in
the cities more likely to be invaded and cross your fingers, but hopefully
you read the invasion early warning signs listed above like a woodsman
collects deer tracks.

The alternative to building roads if you have an idling worker and little
cash... do all of the below in descending order.

1. Improve every single special tile you can find first.  These things will
help your civ grow the fastest.  (Possible exception - jungle bananas, see

2. Build farms in your outlying cities to grow them quicker.  (Or,
alternatively, set the focus to "food" in the city screen.)

3. Build enough mines/lumber mills to give your city a production boost
when it's needed.  Typically, I try to set up at least two more mines or
three more lumber mills than I would usually need.  This helps for when
you're trying to rush through units, or a Wonder, and don't have the gold
to deal with it.

4. Drain marshes -- unless you're the Dutch and can build polders.

5. Take out *unnecessary* forests.

6. Take out *unnecessary* jungles, but only as a last resort -- see below.

Jungle benefits:

With jungles, note that when the University comes available, each one is
worth +2 Science.  Keeping a jungle banana square will net you a +4 Food
and +2 Science, instead of the possible +5 Food (or +4 food +1 production
if on a hill).  Five jungle squares with trading posts and an in-town
University will net +10 food, +13 science (+10 through the University skill
and +3 due to the University bonus) and +5 gold.  Keeping Jungles is a
strategy that I follow, especially since you can't replant if you so

Jungles are forests are also places that you can defend with troops, though
it depends on how many ground troops (swords, spears, pikes?) you have
available to defend and whether or not those areas can be ranged into.


Caravans can only get you limited amounts of gold early on.  The more you
develop your city, the more gold a caravan will be able to net.  Caravans
will also provide science, definitely important in the early going too, and
as you develop the land around the home city for a caravan, the caravan
will net more money.  Having water nearby will add to the bonuses.  They
become far more important as the game wears on.

f. Religion

I must admit, to me this is one of the trickiest concepts in the game,
second only to the culture bonuses.  It's difficult to figure out where
your game will go in three hundred turns, and there are times that your
religious bonuses are either unhelpful, or undefendable.  What little I can
tell you to help you out I have below.


For your pantheon, the most logical choice is to choose something that will
net you a faith bonus based on where you're located... for instance, the +1
for all unforested Tundra squares, or the +1 for all Desert squares.
There's also a +2(!) for each stone/marble source you have, a +1 faith/+1
culture for each copper/iron/salt source you have, and a +1 faith/+1
culture for each gold/silver source you have.  These are definitely the
easiest to obtain, and if you have enough of a resource it would be best.
If you have a natural Wonder close, you can get an extra +4 faith from it
via the "One with Nature" bonus, which would make even the marginally bad
Natural Wonders listed above reasonable, but only if you can't get more
faith from another vector.

If you're going to be fighting quite a bit, the "God of War" bonus gives
faith for every battle you win within 4 squares of a city that follows your
Pantheon.  This is a good bonus if you're on defense quite a bit, but does
little for offense unless you first prime the city you're going to war

There's another bonus that I've found... it's actually a bit of a delay for
faith, but works really well.  If you choose the "Monument to the Gods",
you'll get an extra 15% discount to building ancient or classical wonders,
of which there's more than a few.  (E.g. Stonehenge, Colossus, Pyramids,
Hanging Gardens, Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, Temple of Artemis, Oracle,
Parthenon, Statue of Zeus, etc.)  Now, combine that bonus with one that the
computer almost never takes when it comes time to select religious
enhancements, which is +2 for every World Wonder.  Better yet, combine the
+15% pantheon bonus with the +15% Tradition bonus, and if you're really
lucky combine that with the +15% bonus from obtaining a source of marble.
It will only take a few turns to get Wonders up with all those bonuses!
And for later in the game, you now are getting a +2 for all of those
classical wonders that you were able to build with the bonus(es), not to
mention the fact that having the wonders gives additional bonuses to Great
Persons, to underlying statistics, and can generate tourism/culture later
on depending on what happens in the game.

At any rate, the pantheon bonus is going to be one of the last religious
bonuses you receive until you get to choosing your Religious Enhancement,
which comes with the second Great Prophet.  If you choose a pantheon bonus
that is not religious, you do run the risk of not being able to keep your
religion... there's only five in the eight-player game, and worse yet only
seven on the huge maps.  If you choose a pantheon bonus that is not
religious and you want to keep it, at that point it would be best to build
a temple or three.

The Piety track of Culture bonuses:

There's now the "Piety" set of culture bonuses, and you will find more than
a few computer players running down this set of bonuses.  If you're used to
the old culture from Civ V Original, or the Gods & Kings expansion... it'll
throw you for a loop, because previously you could not have Piety and
Rationalization open at the same time.  Now, there's no limits.  I think
that the game designers realized that while some religions inspire people
to stay in the dark so that the religion can continue to dominate, other
religions inspire people to discover new concepts... think of Islam in the
Middle Ages, with the advances in science, mathematics, and other fields.

However, the problem with the Piety track is that unless you use your
religion to gain the happy faces, none of the specific policies in the
track gives you happy faces.  The other three tracks (Tradition, Honor,
Liberty) all offer ways to get the happy faces, either via 1/2 of the
population of the capital through the Tradition track or by connecting
cities via road or by stationing military.  There are two religious tenets
that provide happy faces, either through the total number of cities or by
the population of foreign cities (IIRC), but that comes at a cost of some
of the more excellent religious tenets, either the science track where
missionaries/prophets can generate science by spreading religion, or via
the faith provision where you can get +2 faith for each enemy city
following your religion.

The good news is that you will be guaranteed at least some sort of religion
by going down the Piety track.  Purchasing units for 20% off will make it
so that you will have an inquisitor at all times to guard against an enemy
prophet coming by.  The Reformation beliefs are helpful, especially two...
one that allows for you to receive tourism for each building you purchase
with faith, or another that allows you to purchase any Great Person that
you want with your faith rather than having to go all the way down the
track.  Both can be useful, though it depends on how much religion you can
generate.  If smaller amounts, then the tourism bonus would probably be
best... the buildings you build don't need as much faith as the Great
Persons.  If you're able to generate gobs of faith points, then getting the
Great Persons reformation would be most helpful... you can get the Great
Persons you need to get the tourism points anyway, they'll come with
culture points too, and you can then fill in any of the empty slots you
have with the appropriate type of Great Person.  You can even make sure to
get the themed bonuses this way, especially if you need to generate those
Great Persons during a certain age -- e.g. Broadway, which requires three
Great Musicians during the exact same age to get the theming bonus.

The other benefit to the Piety track is to be able to effectively pick a
second Pantheon belief bonus via the Religious Tolerance policy, where a
city with a majority religion can receive the Pantheon benefit of the
second most popular religion.  The Pantheon beliefs aren't exactly the
best, to be truthful, but in this situation you can not only control which
one you get, but you can also pick on a per-city basis.  You can have an
ocean city gain the +1 Production bonus while at the same time have an
inland city receive the +1 Jungle Culture bonus... so they become more
effective now that you've been able to choose based on the city.

Religious bonuses can be applied to every method of winning... for those
people who want to send missionaries to civs that they will soon conquer,
there's a 20% bonus against enemy civs that follow your faith with the
"Holy War" enhancement.  Defense can also net you a +20% if your own city
follows a religion with the "Defender of the Faith" enhancement.

Optimum Religion Bonuses:

Rolling up the whole world under your religion is easiest with the
Pilgrimage bonus, which generates +2 Faith for each foreign city that
follows your religion.  Add to that the -30% faith bonus for
missionaries/inquisitors, and you can pretty much flood the zone.  There's
an extra -20% faith for all units purchased on the Piety track that will
make this even more effective.  Make sure to build temples as well as the
Great Temple for the extra +8 Faith and the extra pressure that the Great
Temple will exert.

So how necessary is religion to your world domination plans?

It really depends.  I've played games where religion mattered very
little... where for instance, one computer Civ ran away with the game and
the other computer Civs just fought over which religion the computer Civ
kept.  If you are one of the last to pick a religion (or did not pick a
religion) you can believe that religion will be only an accessory to what
you're doing.  If you're one of the first, though, you have the opportunity
to pick traits for a religion that will help you as you go along your path.
A discussion on changing religions is below in the Turns 50-250 section.

Changing religions:

If you're not crazy about where your religion is taking you, then feel free
to see if another religion will come by.  You can do this passively, as the
computer players will send missionaries to your towns.  You can do this
aggressively, as you can absolutely capture both prophets and missionaries
too.  You will not have the benefit of owning the holy city and getting the
nationwide bonuses (e.g. increased religion, additional happy faces, etc.)
unless you take the holy city.  However, there are town-by-town bonuses
that some religions will have (e.g. building Cathedrals/Pagodas/Mosques),
and you can take advantage of their enhancer beliefs too, such as +25%
strength or the +20% defense/offense for shared religion.  The other bonus
to this is if you're playing culturally, converting to the religion that
all the other civs have will give you the additional 25% shared religion
bonus that one of the civs is probably already reaping.  May as well even
that score if your religion is lacking in other ways.

Other odd and useful Religious strategies:

You can always block missionaries from either moving through your territory
or block cities from accepting a missionary via both military and civilian
units.  As a missionary needs to be next to a city in order to work its
magic, if it cannot get next to the city then it cannot do so.  It may also
take attrition damage while waiting for your city to become available.
Similarly, make sure that if you send a missionary into a city that you do
so while it still has moves left, or it could also absorb attrition damage.

If you happen to capture a Great Prophet before it can make one conversion,
you can use the Great Prophet to create a holy site.  Useful if you manage
to find one that was captured via barbarians, or if you preemptively take a
Great Prophet that an enemy civ thought to send to your shores.  Be careful
though, you won't know how many conversions the Great Prophet will have
left on it until you take it.

All units that you have control of, be they military or civilian, cost
gold.  If you happen to capture a Prophet or Missionary of another
religion, you will need to pay for that unit until the day you disband it.
Feel free to keep it around long enough to be useful, but remember that
you're paying for it each turn.

Turns 50-250


a. Changing your goals.
-Remaining with the status quo
b. Technology
-Technology Slingshots (important subset notes)
c. Happy Faces
d. Culture and the Culture Tree bonuses

Through this segment of the game, you're building towards the end game.
While you may need only one or two of the sets of tips below describing how 
to win in a certain method, the strategies below will set you up to get to
the end-game scenarios (here, roughly defined as the "modern age" and

a. Changing your goals.

It's around the end of this phase of the game that everything will be
fairly clear.  You will know how each computer Civ is playing and which
civilizations are pretty much dead in the water.  It's at this point that
you will need to know what your civilization can do best and how it will be
able to win.  You hopefully still have your plan at the beginning of the
game and followed it as best as possible, but maybe you had something
change your plan.  Here's a couple things that will help you to reevaluate
what you're doing and where you can go.

Getting blocked into going tall:

It's not uncommon to lose a couple of your favored spots.  The game though
will only allow cities to be built within four hexes of each other, and so
if a computer civ plops a city near where you wanted to plop a city, you
have to make a choice to either build the city but lose a portion of the
workable environment, or to not build the city at all.  If you find
yourself getting relegated further and further into a corner, then by all
means you may want to think about going with a tall empire (few cities)
compared to a wide empire (many cities).  Another indication that this
could be a winning strategy is the ability to stay ahead technologically or
being able to construct multiple Wonders before others are able to do so.
You need to make sure that exploration is undertaken at some point though,
even if you have to lose a Scout or two (gasp!) to the effort, because you
need to make sure you have an accurate picture of all of the city-states in
the game.

Remember that one of the main things that you want to do if you build a
wide empire is to not only get access to multiple luxuries, but to also
gain access to resources ranging from horses/sheep/cattle/deer/wheat/
bananas/iron/coal/fish/etc.  A wide empire is able to benefit more from
multiple cities if those multiple cities area working on bases of those
special items, as it will provide boosts to food/production/etc.  If you
can't get to those squares, give some thought to not expanding outward.

Unexpectedly finding enough territory to go wide:

Conversely, if you're finding that your nearest competition is quite a few
hexes away, then check out your land!  Figure out if it's feasible/helpful
to build the extra city or two.  Figure out what the land will give you
ALONG with the luxury or resources that you're currently salivating over...
if you're building a third production city, is it necessary or should you
reposition your settler to pull in more grassland?  Can you find a second
jungle city where your science output will dwarf everyone else?  After turn
150 or so, any new cities that you build may need to be specialized... you
will have to make sure that they're planned out so that they're effective.
So figure out the role that each new city would fill if you keep filling in
the map with your territory.

Growth through colonization:

Additionally, around this time figure out how likely or unlikely it will be
for you to target a colonization expansion approach.  If you have even one
oceanside city, build three or four triremes and have two settlers at the
ready.  Then target the heck out of "Astronomy" as a tech.  If you get
there first, you have the pick of the lands that were out of reach to the
others as long as you can find them first.  (If you're Spain, you get
handfuls of gold for finding these places first to boot).  If you go with
this method, make sure as well that you have at least one if not two
workers to send with your two settlers, and can get units to defend your
cities sufficiently.

Military decisions:

Defending territory and obtaining new territory implies two very different
military levels.  Depending on your setup, you can defend territory all the
way down to the second-to-last or even the last-place military size.
Keeping large amounts of troops should ideally only occur if you are going
to play militarily.  Keeping them as a deterrent will work to a point, but
you will be missing out on opportunities if you do, especially with your
gold.  So, make sure that you have enough military for what you want to
accomplish and no more... remember that the gold that you could be spending
on one of your troops could be going to a city-state for an alliance or to
another civ to create a research agreement, two very important ways to
spend gold that will help you far more in the long run than Archer #5
idling through fifty turns.

In other words... I have lost games before that I have started to play
militarily but have forgot to do my troop drawdown afterward.  Don't make
the same mistake... either use the military or lose it.  As a famous
philosopher probably once said, if you stick to the middle of the road,
prepare to get squashed by oncoming traffic.

Caveat: if you're in the crossroads around four other civilizations, feel
free to keep the military... or better yet, start neutralizing threats.
Or... give them some of the money you'll be saving from lack of military
and sign as many agreements as you can, making sure to remain friends so
that you can continue obtaining research agreements.  Being in the
crossroads hopefully means that you can maximize your caravan routes
regardless so that you'd be pulling in more gold than someone who needs
less military yet can't find as many good trade partners.

Reacting (or, proacting) to other civilizations:

It is so important to figure out who your greatest enemy is, so that you
can develop a plan to neutralize it.  The plan may be as pedestrian as
fighting a stalemated war to keep the fifty-pound gorilla tied up in
military production and drain his treasury, or it could be as elaborate as
specific checkpoints to gain science and filling in the blanks with spies
to outgain the tech advantage and beat a cultural Civ to their Wonders (or
artifacts).  Do NOT put off dealing with your greatest enemy... the longer
that you let them grow by themselves and leave them unchallenged, the more
of an advantage they will build up against you.  Just figure out the
pathways that the other civ gives to you, figure out who can benefit most
from having that civ taken down a peg, move your pieces into place and go
from there.  Feel free to use some of the strategies below outlined in the
endgame section for ways to deal with them.

-Remaining with the status quo?

Should you keep the game rolling how it is, or should you try to shake
things up?  This, to some extent, is one of the hardest things to figure
out in the game.  The Hunnic game I referred to in the introduction is
the best example that I can give you of a game that needed no shaking
up... because I was on top.  On the other hand, I subsequently played
another Emperor game where I was a solid second place throughout... and
really did nothing to try to figure out a way to become first place.  I
didn't attempt to outgrow, outgold, outinfluence, or out-anythings.
Not only that, I put my military away, which had the effect of me paying
only for deterrence... handsomely.  Rolling with the status quo meant that
I was happy with the way the game was going... and I was going to end up

If your goal is the victory and you see yourself in second, third, or even
fourth place, not going anywhere, you need to do something, anything to
try to get yourself in first.  The funny thing is that it may not even be
wholly necessary to target the first-place civilization in order to shake
up the map.  Here's a couple thoughts that will hopefully see you on top
of a reshuffled world.

Can you outgain in some way?

This is the safest and most pedestrian way to find out if you don't need
to go all-in militarily.  My go-to choice is to find out if I can outgain
(and heavily) in gold.  Outgaining in gold opens up both city-state
luxuries and food for you, as well as research agreements.  If you can
some sort of comfortable cushion outgaining in gold on the first-place
civilization, then you can turn that outgain into an advantage to be
exploited for the long haul.

A close second-place is to find out if I can outgain food-wise.  The food
outgain has a couple drawbacks though.  One is that a food outgain is
constrained by your happiness.  You can only grow out your empire so far
if you don't have the happiness to support it.  The other is the fact that
it will take longer to get your food production to translate into an
advantage compared to the gold advantage... for instance, you can't take
city-states (and luxuries) away from first place.

The way to find out if you can outgain with food or gold is:

Gold: Check the demographics for your GNP, find out if it is anywhere close
to first-place.  If you're more than 20%-25% off, then run your crash
program to upgrade gold.  If after a series of markets/caravans/other you
still find yourself lacking, check the diplomatic screen and see how many
city-states are allied with first place.  If there's more than three or
four, then it's pretty clear that you won't be able to press a gold
advantage. (It's far easier to keep a city-state's alliance than to have
to pay for it, and it's a good indicator that first place's gold advantage
is more extensive than you can overcome in the short-term)

Food: Check the demographics screen to see the "Total Population" figure
as well as the "Yield per Turn" figure.  It's still possible to come back
if you're only a third of the size of the leading civ, but you'd better be
able to at least equal their yield per turn if you want to keep up with
them food-wise.  But, keep a close eye on your happiness meter, if you're
already below 5 then you won't get very far.

A technology gap can be made up between the two items above, so even if
you are a few percentage points behind, find out if these things work.  If
you are more than seven percentage points behind, it may be time to find
out if you have a military solution in your future... and you'd better put
up as many tech buildings as you can get your hands on, and sign as many
agreements as you can with other Civs.

The warning is that a military solution when you're more than seven points
behind may mean that the civ that you are attacking has either your level
of advancement military-wise, or MORE than your level of advancement
military-wise.  If that is the case, you'd better figure out ways for the
first-place civ to grind their military against other people before you
have to start dealing with it.

So, if you can't dope out a way to get your civ to make up whatever gap
you see, you need to dope out a tactic to get the first-place civ to waste
their production militarily.  Here are a few ideas.

Target a city-state or two.

You can usually take out two without the other City-States giving you a
penalty.  The good news is that you can try to choose two that would really
throw a monkey-wrench into the top Civ's plans... even to the point that
they're trying to invade you, where you have the advantage in healing lost
hitpoints and possibly even (hopefully!) picking off their embarked units
with your navy, or capturing their capital ships with your harassing
privateers.  The only thing to be careful of is that ALL of the protectors
of a city-state will be the ones most likely to declare on you, and you do
obtain a warmonger penalty for taking out a city-state or two.  True
friends ignore the penalty and stay bronies forever, though.

Ally with the first-place Civ to take out civilizations BETWEEN you.

Remember how hard it is to get your troops in position because you have to
go around another civ?  Well, if you know who first place will be, feel
free to have them help you take out any obstacles between you.  This means
that the first-place civilization will be building militarily, and it won't
even be against you.  It'll be in SERVICE to you, and they'll have their
production taken away from someone who isn't even you.  And they're
destroying their own buffer zone, right?

If you manage to take all or most of the cities, then feel free to
integrate and defend against the time that you will be invading first-place
(if that is your true goal).  All that extra money, science, and production
can't hurt either, and you have territory that heals you at double-rate
(or two-and-a-half rate within cities) as it would have if it were empty.

If the first-place civ ends up taking some, most, or even all of the
cities... well, you know where the targets are, and now the enemy civ is in
the process of having to integrate and swallow up all that territory, which
could result in plenty of unhappy faces.  Additionally, if they took the
bulk of the territory, the hope is that they also took the bulk of the
damage to their military.  At this point, find out if you have any allies
that were just as "appalled" at the first-place civ's warmongering as you

Is there anyone else that needs a butt-whooping?

If first-place is firm friends with their buffer Civ(s), then find out if
there is ANYONE else that first-place hates.  It's harder to have to split
up your military, but getting first-place to declare war really is the goal
here... and you can absolutely satisfy goal #2, which is to hopefully pick
up territory, and goal #3 which will hopefully be to get the rest of world
opinion against first-place through their warmongering, as well as goal #4
hopefully weakening first-place through unhappiness.

Declaring war on the buffer civilization anyway:

Note though that if first-place is firm friends with the buffer Civ, you
can absolutely get both of them to attack you if you declare on the buffer
Civ.  This may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your ability
to counterattack... but it's food for thought that anytime you can fight
a *safe* war on your turf is a time that you can grind others' armies to
dust.  Just be sure to keep in mind how quickly first-place can restock
so that you're not overextending, but cheer yourself on when first-place
needs to restock because you're already throwing a monkey wrench in their
plans of world domination.

Ally with second-place, third-place, anyone else to go up against first-

If you're so deep on the chart that there's not a whole lot you can do,
then you need the preternatural ability to play gadfly and provoke the
whole world into war.  Anything you can do to get the top dog(s) fighting
against each other is absolutely necessary.  What's nice is that oftentimes
if there are two enemy civs that are close by and also leading in points,
they will ask for allies against another.

Gauge who is more willing to provoke a fight, for instance... and start
denouncing the other party.  You can also find out in the World Diplomacy
screen if one or the other party has already denounced.  If there's a
denouncment on record, that civ is the one that is at least spoiling for
a fight, and feel free to denounce on the same civ that was denounced.
This will get you noticed as a possible friend and war-partner in the

[If you don't like the status quo, change it.  Lessons for Civ V... lessons
for life.]

I cannot emphasize enough that getting your rivals embroiled into a war
will give you the ability to catch up and pass them.  In a recent level
6 game, I was actually all the way down in fourth out of five.  However,
when first-place and second-place decided to declare war on each other,
I'm still fourth-place but I'm first in four areas that will dictate
victory down the road... food generation, population, technology, and
GNP.  Without this war, I would still be in fourth place... but now I
can devote myself to scientific pursuits (e.g. getting Eiffel Tower/
Broadway) while first/second place duke it out, and I ended up going
from fourth in population to first in population in only a few turns.

b. Technology:

It is SO IMPORTANT that you keep up researching and either gain on the
leader or become the leader on technology through this area of the game.  I
cannot tell you how frustrating it is when you're fighting Great War
Bombers, battleships, and infantry when you only have access to riflemen,
cavalry, and artillery.  You will do nothing better than a delaying
action... which has its place, but if you're seven or more technologies
down, you need to come up with a way to get the research back quickly.  You
may be able to do so with an opponent that gets all the way to the Atomic
Age that many technologies up, but it will depend quite a bit on the level
you're playing... it may just be too late.

With that said, here's a few things to keep in mind about tech in the middle

Typically, the computer usually goes into specific tracks, especially to
pick up currency (to gain Petra) and to get to Civil Service (to gain both
pikemen and Chichen Itza).  You can use this to beat the computer either to
the Education track, setting up your research for the long haul, or to pick
up the lower end of the spectrum (Engineering/Metal Working) so that you
can boost your shields and your defenses.  Another way to go is one of the
new bonuses in the Commerce track, which is that Landsknechts are available
as the second Commerce bonus.  Of course, your defenses will be more than
set if you pick up Crossbowmen, and getting all your cities in shape to
start setting up a military to deal with those Civs that go in a different
direction would be helpful.

Just remember that if you follow the other Civs into the same track, at
higher levels they'll be likely to get the upgraded soldiers as well as the
wonders first unless you have a solid plan (e.g. a Great Engineer to help
finish Wonders, or a ton of catapults/spearmen just waiting for the Civil
Service tech to become a pikemen/catapult invasion force).  Whenever a new
tech comes up, have either a plan for what you're going to do with the
immediate tech or open up the tech screen to figure out a tech that's two
or three downstream that you can really make hay out of.

If you don't have a clear goal currently, go after the technology that will
bring you closer to the next-level research facility (university, public
school, research lab).  It will make the rest of the tech-tree that much
easier to develop.  Even if you *do* have a clear goal, balance that goal
against the possibility that you may fall behind somewhat in science

-- Technology slingshots:

When a new technology comes available for you, especially if it is a siege
technology, you need to capitalize on it as soon as possible for greatest
benefit.  Having spare money around is extremely important for the upgrade
possibilities that this provides.  Planning invasions around mass
technology upgrades will also give your army an edge in defeating an enemy
sooner... there's nothing more frustrating than ineffective bombardment
against an enemy city that newer technology could complete far sooner (and
with less casualties), especially since every turn you spend in enemy
territory kills your units that much quicker.

For what it's worth, obtaining Flight first will also give you a bit of an
advantage, especially against foes that are stubbornly resistant to
shellings from artillery pieces.  Just keep in mind though that new planes
are prohibitively expensive (recent game on King, each bomber was 980) and
bombers do take damage when attacking, unlike the siege pieces that are out
of range.  At this point though, just as Flight comes available, it is
possible to continue bombardment on a city through six to eight turns with
one artillery piece to ensure a city cannot heal plus the two planes
(hopefully with the City bombing bonus) alternately shelling and healing...
enabling you to take the city with either a cavalry unit or a melee boat at
the end.

If I were to characterize, on offense it is more important to get your
siege units upgraded than it is your front-line units (e.g. musketmen,
riflemen, great war infantry, infantry).  On another recent game, I ran
into this very situation, where it ended up being cavalry (at 34 strength)
against infantry (at 70 strength), and the difference was the fact that I
could aim four artillery units at the infantry and drop it in one turn...
then go back to shelling the city.  Of course you do not want to find
yourself in this position too many times, but I also knew that this was the
one civilization that was more advanced than other civs and I wouldn't be
having the same problem as my war machine marched on to the next civ.

For archipelago maps or extended sea battles, stock at least three or four
privateers.  They *CAPTURE SHIPS*!  It's so crucial to be able to not only
down someone else's ship, but to be able to use it against them.  In a
recent game against England, who must've sent the better part of fifteen
Ships of the Line against me, my Privateers managed to capture and keep
about four or so.  Important because Computer England kept building naval
units to send against me, while I was free to build both Eiffel Tower and
Broadway to ruin their cultural victory approach.

Privateers work even better against lower-level ships, triremes and
galleases get taken very easily.  Why is this part of the technology
slingshot section?  Taking the computer's galleases can transform your
all-melee navy into a ranged force with melee escorts.  Better yet, advance
once from galleases to get frigates.  Advance twice to get battleships.
Only paying ~650 gold or so per battleship?  For four battleships, 2600
gold, that's about ten turns or so of good gold generation, and you haven't
even wasted a single turn of production making them.  Battleships have a 65
ranged attack and a 3 range, so you've pretty much got an invasion fleet
with those self-same privateers running sub interference, though you'd
better get your own subs in the water shortly thereafter.  For those
playing militarily, privateers are amazing on archipelago/continental maps.

Try to make the privateer take the killing blow on all ships everywhere
unless your privateer is too short of health.  You can capture bigger and
better ships with the privateers (example: the previously mentioned Ships
of the Line), though make sure you don't send your privateers too far
forward if you want to keep them, and defintely do NOT count on them
winning ships because it's never a sure thing.

If you can find a barbarian camp that's pumping out ships?  It may as well
be your own personal shipyard, especially since you get a combat bonus
against barbarians and more often than not, they're pumping out lower-level
boats.  If you find any of these places in the polar regions, feel free to
send a privateer or two to "recruit" a few barbarians into the national
navy.  Dutch Sea Beggars are especially good for this, since they also come
with the "Supply" promotion, allowing you to heal +15 outside of friendly
waters.  (The "Supply" promotion is pretty key for all naval melee units,

Technology slingshots also work if you're not playing militarily.  I
already reviewed colonization above, but to remind you again upgrading
triremes at the moment you obtain Astronomy will give you a very strong
reconnaissance force to find everyone throughout the rest of the map. 
(Note -- if Spain, make sure you're building your Knight+Settler
Conquistador units as well)

Plus, now that the World Congress is unlocked via finding all civs, if
you're on a continent or archipelago map with unexplored space and a
possible Civ lurking, then you could reap the benefit of the caravels even
further via opening the World Congress in your own capital.  At the very
least, those same Caravels can find you the Natural Wonders, upping your
happiness, and perhaps gaining influence with City-States.

The last note with technology slingshots is that if your "special" unit has
a promotion, such as the American musketman that will move in hills at
double-speed and battle victories gain Golden Age points, that promotion
will remain in place if you upgrade the unit.  Therefore, if you build five
or six musketmen as they come out, they can subsequently be upgraded to
infantry (or mechanized infantry) who will also have double movement points
in hills and will contribute points toward golden ages.  This is a very
helpful/useful way to have a special unit continue to be active long after
that unit's putative usefulness is over.

Yes, this means that the English can have two-hex gatling guns and the
Chinese can get two-shot gatling guns in the late-game, based on each civ's
upgraded replacements for the crossbow.  I don't know if they'll ever
change this, but I believe that it gives that much more of a challenge and
is a good part of the game.

The flip-side to this is that when the Mongols upgrade their Keshiks...
they become just ordinary Cavalry, as any range bonuses become obsolete.  I
*believe* that health bonuses that are the same (example: March, where the
unit heals even if it performs an action) will carry over, and I also
believe that the Keshik's bonuses for creating Great Generals is still
active upon upgrading too.  (Please feel free to correct/add to this
section as necessary)

--Keeping up Technologically

This demands its own section, if for no other reason than this is one of
the few places that I will mention espionage in this strategy guide.  For
me, one of the only ways that I can keep up reasonably well with the tech
leaders through this section of the game is to immediately station spies
in enemy civ's capital cities.  Once you first send the spy and the spy
establishes their espionage in the city, you will hopefully find a city
that will give you a tech in less than twenty turns.  Putting your spy
in the capital city of the best civ will give you the best chance to get
a tech, but be careful of getting found.  You will have lost all the turns
that it took for your spy to get established, a five-turn spy penalty so
that you get a new spy back, and then another four or so turns just
getting the spy back to the city that you had surveilled in the first

Getting your cities set up with a university soonest is the best strategy
that I can endorse.  If you're able to dedicate one city towards science
generation, it would be optimal... but it's not always practical,
especially on smaller maps.  For those times that you can't get a city
dedicated to tech, make sure that all your cities have the latest tech
gear even if they're specialized in other ways (e.g. barracks in one
city, market/bank in another, etc.)

c. Happy Faces

Happy faces pretty much control the game.  Happier civs do more than
unhappier civs, just like people in real life.  Happy civs get to have
golden ages, which increase money and production.  Happy civs also get to
add more population to the game... and the civ's population goes a very
long way to telling whether or not they'll win a game.

---Happy Faces, More Cities, More Population:

It's not exactly a newsflash that the winner a Civ game is the nation that
has most of the population.  Having most of the population means that you
are gaining the most science, or the most gold, or the most culture, or the
most everything.  Having more population means that you can generate Great
People quicker as well... and cultural Great People benefit both tourism
and culture (with the Culture discussion below).  

Getting population points for all of these benefits requires the happy
faces.  If the happiness even dips below 0, all cities in a Civ take an
immediate -75% in growth rate.  There will be no new population born at
this point... and you can bet that at the higher levels, none of the other
civs will have this problem.  (They'll likely be on their way to getting
another Golden Age and further leaving you in the dust).  If you're not
growing in this game, you're on the path to not winning.

On top of that, in Brave New World rules, production takes a hit too... you
lose 2% production per unhappy face, and I believe that you lose 2% of gold
per unhappy face as well.  So, if you get caught while building your
colosseum, it may even take you an extra turn to finish it.

Building cities will give you an automatic -4 to your happiness meter, and
it will also make your culture and Golden Age meters reset to higher
numbers too.  This isn't a build-and-forget game anymore, and especially in
the beginning of the game you need to be super-careful where the next
couple cities go, so that you can continue to be happy and growing.  Also
keep in mind that cities typically go from 1 to 2 in size extremely
quickly, and from 2 to 3 in size fairly rapidly too... and typically as
each point of population equals another unhappy face, planting a city
without working on happiness (e.g. building Circuses/Colosseums, developing
luxuries) will result in a -7 unhappiness within a short period of time.

---Methods for keeping happy:

There are quite a few easy ways to keep happy in the game.  First and
foremost is to develop all your luxuries as soon as possible.  Each +4 that
you can gain off of a luxury is four more citizens that could be gaining
you production.  Closely related to the luxuries are natural wonders, such
as the Fountain of Youth (+10), Old Faithful (+3), and Mount Kailash (+2),
though these are pretty rare to run across.  Every natural wonder you
discover gives you a permanent +1, so exploring a normal-sized map should
give you a permanent +7/+8 or so depending on the terrain.

Building the happiness buildings is also important, such as Circuses /
Colosseums.  Circus Maximus is a national wonder, unlockable through
building Colosseums in all towns, and gives an additional +5 happiness...
so prioritize Colosseums over circuses when possible.

Trading luxuries is also an option in the beginning of the game, and
through the game depending on how you play.  There's no guarantee that the
computer players will have luxuries to provide to you, so stay diligent in
finding out when they're available!  Luxuries can go one-for-one (e.g. I
give you my spice for your pearls) with friendly/neutral civs and three-
for-one with "guarded" civs.  It's actually a good deal to get luxuries for 
luxuries compared to luxuries for money, because getting +4 citizens will
give you more production than the 7 gold per turn you get maximum... but on
the other hand, if you're close to 0 and the luxury is not renewed, going
negative is definitely not helpful.

Happy faces can come in groups from the Culture tree as well.  The main
ones that provide happy faces include Tradition, 1/2 of capital
population... Liberty, for number of cities connected to the capital...
Honor, for troops stationed in each city... Patronage, which gives a +2 for
all luxuries provided by a city-state, including copies... Commerce, which
gives a +2 to all different luxuries you own... Exploration, which gives a
+1 for all ocean-based improvements (lighthouse, harbor, seaport).  The
Ideology-based happy faces are Freedom, which is -50% unhappiness for all
specialists, Order which provides +2 per monument, and Autocracy which
provides +3 per Courthouse and +1 per defensive building (wall, castle,
etc.), and all three are entitled to the "National Healthcare" policy of +1
happy face per national wonder (e.g. palace, National College, etc.)

Note though that you will not be able to access all of the happiness-based
cultural bonuses.  For instance, to get to the Commerce cultural bonus, you
have to open the Commerce track and get two additional bonuses.  There is
nowhere near enough culture in the game to be able to obtain all of the
happiness bonuses, so you have to pick your culture bonuses carefully.

City-states provide happy faces too.  Be on the lookout for mercantile
city-states because there is a +3 for just being their friend (30
influence).  Being a full ally can net you +11, from the friend bonus
through their "special resource" (typically porcelain or jewelry) AND their
land-based luxury.  Allying other city states will get you the +4 for
luxuries as long as it's not a luxury that you currently have.  Try to
cultivate relationships if at all possible, and allying city-states may not
even cost any money.  If you do have to pay off a city-state, keep in mind
that the 1000 it takes for +50 influence may be better served in buying a
colloseum somewhere, especially if it's the last city before you can build
the Circus.

Religion can fill some of the gap, especially depending on the bonuses.
Buildings bought with faith usually give at least +1 happiness, such as the
mosque and cathedral, and the pagoda will give +2 happiness.  Other powers
include happiness based on temple/worshipper availability, or the number of
cities if you created a religion and follow the specific tenet.  

Wonders will provide happy faces, or at least decrease unhappiness.  The
biggies are Notre Dame, for +10 happiness, and the Eiffel Tower which gives
you +5.  Later in the game, the CN Tower gives +1 happiness and +1
population point per city... sometimes they do cancel each other out, but
depending on the way your cities are built it can give extra happy faces.
There is also the Taj Mahal, which offers a +4, and Chichen Itza also
provides a +4.  The Mosque of Djenne gives a +1 happy face (as it functions
as "a mosque").  Neuschwanstein gives +1 happiness and +1 gold and +2
culture for all castles in a civ.  Prora gives happy faces for those
following the Autocracy ideology, +2 base and +1 for every two culture
bonuses that you've earned.  And building the Forbidden Palace will
decrease unhappiness by 10%, but requires Patronage to be opened.

Lastly... free additional happy faces can come from the International Games
World Project, which can be voted on in the World Congress.  The
International Games can give you a +6 permanent happiness if you finish
silver and bronze -- which means if you get enough production to get up and
over a certain number, whereby silver will follow bronze because bronze
will be earned on the way to silver.

d. Culture

Gotta have it even in the beginning, or else the end game will absolutely
suck the bag.  There's two ways to go about it... either build it yourself
or take it from someone else.  Just remember a couple of principles here.

--If someone's building culture nearby you and building it quickly, they
may have a weak defense.  Getting them to stop building culture could be as
easy as declaring war and putting a few troops in position to threaten...
as above, forcing them to build military will be tantamount to wasting
their production, especially if you defend via ranged units (archers,
catapults) with the occasional horseman to keep their own ranged units

--If someone's building it far away, you're going to have to figure out a
way to get others around that Civ to declare wars against them, or to find
out if you can build culture buildings as a defense.  And whatever you do,
only engage in open border treaties with them when absolutely necessary,
and trade with them (via caravan) only when absolutely necessary.  Those
two things will help their tourism bonus overwhelm your culture bonus...
but their tourism bonus will definitely go down far quicker if they're
defeated.  Also remember, one of the culture tracks will raise the tourism
bonus for shared trade routes/open borders/shared religion.  Allowing them
to buy extra resources can also lead to them getting more happiness and
therefore additional culture as well, so be careful when dealing with the
culture hog!

Typically, the Civ that is building out culture is able to do so because
their scientific endeavors are so far advanced.  This is the surest sign
that this is the Civ that will become your greatest enemy towards the end
of the game.  If they manage to get some combination of Parthenon, Globe
Theater, Louvre, or Uffizi, this is pretty much the warning shot across
your bow.  Dealing with them is outlined more extensively below.

The Culture Tree: Early Game

This is the area that I still have problems with myself.  It feels
sometimes that I don't play this part of the game very effectively... so
feel free to take all of this with a grain of salt.

Firstly, I tend to stick with either the Tradition or the Liberty values in
the beginning.  Honor is good for maps with tons of barbarians, and you
need to have a force in order to collect all that sweet, sweet culture. 
The Piety track... is somewhat surprisingly replacable without tons of
extra effort, in my opinion.  At the very least, if you go with the Piety
track, you need to make sure to take it all the way down to the Reformation
bonus, because the bonuses on the way to Reformation are pretty chintzy.

At the higher levels, the tradition track and the Republic track allow you
to get happy faces and maximize production -- either through the food /
Wonder bonuses with Tradition, or the increased worker / quickbuild of
settlers setup with Republic.  Both Tradition and Liberty give instant
culture bonuses by just starting with the track, which makes both rather
attractive too.

Tradition will do best on fragmented maps (e.g. archipelago), where you
know full well that your city count will be anywhere up to about eight. 
Liberty does better at numbers larger than eight, though you have to work
hard to make sure that your military keeps up with the settlers that you
are pumping out.  It would be good for continent or pangaea maps.

Honor does have bright spots, typically on the pangaea maps.  Additionally,
if you are an early militant Civ (such as those Huns or Aztecs we spoke
about), Honor can help you nab cities early on, forgoing the necessity of
settlers and even workers entirely -- when I play Civ V, invariably I will
get a worker along with a city whenever invading as the computer players
tend to pull their workers back.  Just keep in mind that the only happy
faces that the Honor track generates now is if you station your troops
within a city, and that going to war may trigger your unhappy faces if your
army is not large enough.

The Piety track offers pretty much zero in the way of food, or production,
or even culture.  You get a gold benefit with temples, and the end of the
Piety track gives you both a Great Prophet and a reformation bonus.  The
Piety bonuses track well with Civs with larger numbers of cities.  If
you're feeling like you might get steamrolled with another civ's religion,
choosing to open the Piety track (half-price temples/shrines) and choosing
the Organized Religion bonus (+1 Faith from religious buildings) will stem
some of the tide, but it won't completely put you in the clear.  By that
time anyway, you can choose between the next set of unlockable paths, the
Patronage/Aesthetics/Commerce/Exploration group, which lead to better

The Culture Tree: Mid-Game

Of course, the same decision presents itself in the middle-game, and there
are far more factors when deciding which of the PACE culture tracks to

The biggest and brightest line that I can draw is to tell you that the
Patronage bonuses ARE NOT THE SAME anymore.  In previous Civ V rulesets
(Vanilla, Gods & Kings) you could open the patronage track, select
"consulates", and when the resting influence points for all city-states
reset to +20, you could then offer them protection, which gave you an extra
ten points and allowed you to "friend" all city-states for free.  No more!
Offering protection only nets you a +5 for city-states, which makes it
completely useless as a tactic... protection will NOT make your influence
drop any slower, and is only really useful if a city-state asks for your
protection (which rarely happens).  Whichever update comes next needs to
address this, as they need to have some sort of replacement for breaking
this portion of the game.

Unless you're a Civ with specific city-state bonuses (Greece, Thailand) or
if you've got a ton of city-states around you that aren't worth the time
and effort to kill off, then and only then would the Patronage track be of
any use.  At least note that the Patronage track helps if you're building
Wonders and want to put up the Forbidden Palace, though also note that the
vote benefit that the Forbidden Palace gives you lasts perhaps two World
Congress votes, depending on how early the World Congress starts.

Aesthetics helps those who are already playing culturally, or who need to
catch up culturally.  Half-production cultural buildings (monuments,
amphitheaters, etc.) are really useful, especially if you're putting up
more and more cities as you go along.

Commerce can help those who weren't able to get to the Caravan wonders
(Petra, Colossus).  Additionally, this style helps quite a bit if you want
to field a larger army, or if you already have quite a few luxuries...
gaining an extra +2 happy faces per luxury if you're already sitting on
eight or ten can trip a quick Golden Age.  Note that weirdly enough, there
are science bonuses in the Commerce track (just like, weirdly enough, there
are cash money bonuses in the Rationalism track) so it's pretty decent and

Exploration shines best on an archipelago map, especially one from medium
to large size.  Getting ships where they need to go is so important, it can
make or break your war efforts (or defense efforts).  Also, there are happy
face bonuses, gold bonuses, and production bonuses within the track.
Hidden Antiquity sites are also very helpful, especially since I've
 unearthed Great Works (not artifacts, but an example would be a Great Work
of Writing) underneath a hidden antiquity site, and making monuments can
really help your Culture score out too.

It takes a couple extra turns to get to the Rationalism bonuses.  If your
Science score needs a boost, then the Rationalism track can certainly help.
You absolutely have to play in a certain fashion to get the Rationalism
bonuses to work best for you though; you need to both be friendly to other
Civs as well as rake in cash to take advantage of the research agreement
boost.  If you build the Porcelain Tower, there's TWO research agreement
boosts that won't do you any good unless you sign research agreements.  As
well, the Rationalism unlock bonus is +10% science when your empire is
happy.  So... you cannot let your empire get into the unhappy faces, or the
Rationalism bonus is kaput.  BUT... if you're behind and getting to the
endgame, give the Rationalism bonuses a chance to see if they'll help you
draw closer at least.

The Culture Tree: End-Game

Once you pop up three factories, you can choose your own ideology. There
are three flavors -- Freedom, Order, and Autocracy.  They track rather
closely with the Tradition-Liberty-Honor decision that you already looked
at.  Yes, the Freedom matches best with Tradition, and the Order matches
best with Liberty.  You'll find out why soon.

Typically, the Freedom track will assist best with small empires, as there
will be happy face bonuses based on the number of specialists you have as
well as bonuses for any Great Person improvements.  There's a hidden bonus
on the Freedom ideology that provides for six free supported units, and
gives you six Foreign Legions (strength: 42) free.  These six units get a
20% bonus outside home lands too, like the old French specialized unit.
They can make a good defense force and an even better offensive unit.  As
you may note, this path would be best with cities that are >15 because
those are the cities that have a high food value and can support the
numerous specialists... also, these are the cities that were more likely to
have generated the Great Persons with which the improvements were gained.

The Order track does best with large Civs.  The main happy-face bonus here
is a +2 for all monuments.  If you have a fifteen-city wide Civ, and
considering monuments are the easiest building to build, that's a +30 in
happiness.  Pairing the +2 Monument bonus with the +1 per connected city
bonus (along with the 5% happier bonus), this brings the cost of each
additional city down to one unhappy face... which is easily overcome with
luxuries/happiness buildings.  One of the other hidden bonuses with Order
is a tourism bonus for other civs following Order, and there's a couple
Science bonuses lurking.  One is the original factories add 25% knowledge
from the old culture-track setups.  The other is allowing you to finish
spaceship parts via Great Engineers rather than having to take all that
time to build them yourself.

The Autocracy track does best if you've been gunning for a Domination
victory for most of the game.  This track is where you find the +1
happiness per defensive structure (walls, castles, etc.) that used to hide
in the Honor track.  Additionally, all courthouses generate an additional
+3 happiness. Even better, all barracks, armories, and military
academiesgive you a +2.  If you have only two or three original cities and
have depended on your military to take other cities, this is the way to go.
There's also a hidden surprising Tourism bonus in this track, which gives
you an extra Tourism boost each time an Artist/Musician/Writer is used.
The Autocracy track also contains the +20% for 50 turns military buff that
used to be in the original Autocracy track.

---Keeping your government, taking someone else's government:

Opening one of the ideologies first gives the Civ an extra two Culture
bonuses on that specific path.  Because of the first-one bonus, you often
see all three ideologies used in the end-game by different civilizations. 
However, this is where the culture push matters, in the end-game.  Civs
that are culturally dominant over another civilization will have their
government choice imposed on the other civilization too.

What is the penalty?  Why, it's those same happy faces that limit your
ability to spread all over the map.  Depending on how culturally dominant
one civ is over another, additional unhappiness is generated, all the way
from "dissidents" to "complete revolution".  For example, on "dissidents"
level, you will take an unhappy-face penalty hit of 1 per city or 1 per
every ten population points, whichever is *greater*.  Worse yet, if you
happen to be first to adopt an ideology but another Civ who is more
culturally dominant than you adopts a different ideology, those unhappy
faces will still appear and possibly derail your whole plan.

Losing your ability to choose your best-fit government is the reason that
culture and tourism need to be focused on throughout the whole game.  You
also need to know soonest which enemy Civs are focusing on cultural
victories, especially since one of the Culture bonuses in the Aesthetics
side is a +15% tourism conversion bonus for either the shared religion,
trade route, or open borders conditions.

On a recent game, I was only 8% influential over a Civ, while the Civ in
turn was 23% influential.  Neither was enough for "familiar" status, but
this still caused my favored government type to be hit with the dissidents.
 There were two things that submarined me: one was that the enemy Civ went
cultural, kept building the tourist Wonders and obtained the +15% tourism
bonus.  The other was, like a fool, I converted their cities to my religion
early on in the game, so that I could reap the +1 happiness per every two
cities bonus for my religion.

The options to deal with this include -- money to city-states for luxuries
to make up the gap, increased tourism/culture to dilute the impact of the
foreign civilization, voting your specific ideology as the "favored
government" in the World Congress, or... you guessed it, war to wipe them
out.  If war is your answer, make sure you're aware that for an immediate
impact, every single city needs to be wiped out.  If you make peace, then
you will have to wait for your culture to stabilize against the enemy civ.
If you manage to take their capital and/or their major culture/tourism
generating cities, you will have to wait additional turns because then your
culture will dwarf their own, but everyone still has their same slider bars
until they don't exist.

This game is SUPER picky about the culture gain/growth.  If anyone anywhere
near you has a higher percentage, even by a few points, that IS ENOUGH to
get your civ into a dissidents situation.  In another recent playthrough on
Emperor level (6), I was only 14% culturally beholden to the nearby
Iroquois, whereas they were roughly 8% culturally beholden to me.  This was
enough to give me -12 happiness based on dissidents.  This became a major
situation because I was sandwiched between two strong militaries and could
not sacrifice the -12 happy faces in order to ensure that they were
weakened enough.  So, my major tip here is to make sure to completely
eliminate any Civs who might be a problem to your ideology going forward,
or at least weaken them so much that their culture will crater while yours
will recover in time to invalidate the unhappy faces.

I will admit though, this situation is completely ridiculous and should be
rectified.  The other half of this is that their tourism number was a grand
total of 1400, whereas my tourism number to them was 1100.  Big felching
deal, right?  The "however" though is that the Iroquois in my playthrough
went up the Aesthetics tree and obtained the +15% tourism bonus.  This
should not be enough for me to crater my own happiness though, you stupid
game.  Better to take anyone out that could have the same effect before any
real damage happens.

If you happen to be in the position of culturally dominant over others,
then you get to not only choose your government but also make sure that you
can influence others to choose the same.  The for-instance is that there
are gold bonuses for trade routes between Freedom civs, or tourism bonuses
between Order civs.  As well, if someone decides to choose a different
path, then they will likely have a massively unhappy population, making
them an easy target for conquest, unable to grow, or even more interesting
enough... allowing someone to pick off their cities culturally.

Which leads to.... there are such things as culture flips for cities once
again!  This used to happen in Civ 3 quite a bit, and could in Civ 4
(IIRC), but was not possible in Civ 5... until now.  Getting below -20
happiness will start the timer going, and in a set number of turns unless
the victimized civ gets back above -20 happiness, the Civ who is most
culturally dominant over that unhappy civ will receive one of the unhappy
civ's cities.  I have been on both sides of this equation, in receiving
cities as well as having lost cities this way.  Keep in mind that if you
desperately want your city back and can't seem to get back to the -20 you
need, you can park your military around your city that will flip to
immediately take it back again.  The penalty to this is that you will end
up at war with the culturally advanced civ, you will lose half your
population, and  lose a majority of the buildings that you built in the
city previously.  I like this dynamic as a historically-accurate
possibility, as getting a city back after a revolt could cause a war with
another civ, and how many times in history have revolts been speedily
crushed with only a portion of the persons left.

---Culture conclusion:

There are quite a few things that you can do with culture even through the
end of the game.  If you get to specific Wonders (Eiffel Tower, Broadway,
Great Firewall) and/or specific technologies (e.g. Internet), your tourism
numbers can shoot up like a skyrocket.  However, playing against someone
culturally depends on more than just your tourism number, you need to pay
attention to that culture number throughout the whole game.  Culture exerts
your will in the end-games, prevents others' tourism from victimizing you,
and is pretty necessary for a victory.

Turns 250-end:

a. Winning via military (conquering)
b. Winning via culture (tourism)
c. Winning via diplomacy
d. Winning via space race (technology)

There's five victory conditions in Civ V.  The first four are to win either
militarily via taking everyone else's capitals, diplomatically via gaining
enough votes in the United Nations, technologically by researching specific
technologies and building parts of a spacecraft, or culturally via tourism.
 It may sound odd, but the victory conditions can't be combined though they
can be mixed.  For instance, you have to gain at least 100% of a enemy
Civ's culture via tourism for ALL of the remaining civs alive, even if they
don't have their capitals.  However, I have also finished games where I
completely conquered an enemy Civ, taking it off the tote board where the
remaining Civs were all culturally conquered, which in a way is a hybrid
victory between military and culture.  

The fifth victory condition is to run the game out of time.  I must
admit... I've never had that happen.  I can't quite tell you how to do that
one, though I'd be more than happy to add contributions from anyone who can
tell me the best way(s) to do that.

Throughout the game I'm focused completely on the victory, but when the
counter edges up to 250 it's pretty clear the best method(s) to get to
victory, and what I have to do to try to block others from victory.  Since
my challenge is whether or not I'll win, as opposed to how many points will
I garner when I win, I have listed each of the victory conditions below,
the ways to achieve them, and how to defend against those conditions.

a. Playing to conquer, defending against conquering:

In order for a Civ to win militarily, they must control all other enemy
capitals.  Compared to previous games, where you had to literally wipe all
other cities from the map, this is a far-easier requirement.  I have had to
chase Civ cities from Arctic to Antarctic in games long past, which turned
into a slogging mess.

---Defending against a playing-to-conquer player:

Is the easiest thing in the game, really.  Just make sure you have enough
military to keep your territory and capital.  You can get cities all the
way up to 200+ defensive strength through buildings and culture.  Defend
everything you can with ranged units, best would be through the hand-
carried range weapons -- e.g. the archer/compound archer/crossbowman
/gatling gun vector.  These units combine the ability to go offensive
without taking damage along with the ability to take a hit without dying.
However, once the pure siege units get to artillery stage, set up three of
those behind a town in danger to wipe out the better part of a front-line
unit per turn.

If you know where your invasion vectors are, don't be shy in setting up
either forts or the Great General special building fortresses.  Fortresses
can stand tall for a good while with a good front-line defensive unit, and
can be made effective putting an archer or other sort of ranged unit inside
too.  I kept the Aztecs off of me (and bottled up!) for an entire game just
through setting up a fort on a hill directly in front of my town, and
keeping it manned at all times.  It did lose me one shield per turn
production through the game, but by the end of the game the Aztecs only
kept three cities and were completely swayed by my culture regardless.

Playing-to-conquer civs have a rough time with culture, with happiness, and
with cash flow.  If you see a civ that is bullying other civs around and
amassing a large empire militarily, make sure that you can equal or beat
their culture first and foremost.  Past that, you can funnel troops to
city-states that are embroiled in the current war, especially if it is a
city-state warring against the big behemoth in another corner of the map.
I have conquered other computer Civs that end up paying attention to the
 city-state thorn in their side, not seeing the headman's axe swinging to
their neck.  If you have enough production that you can supply a city-
state, allying with them and declaring war on a large behemoth can give you
a country that is in a two-front war that they likely don't want to be in.

Playing-to-conquer civs will also have problems with world opinion, though
there's a caveat.  The playing-to-conquer civ will sometimes have friends
that benefit from the conquering civ, and the playing-to-conquer civ can
sometimes squash world opinion in their direction.  World Congress world
opinion can be swayed by your money though too, and you can certainly
weaken a military civ through the World Congress (e.g. standing army tax,
specific luxury embargoes, World's Fair, culture bonuses for Wonders, etc.)

---Winning through military:

If you're playing to conquer, you see the weaknesses you will encounter
above.  You need to neutralize the happiness issue first, foremost, and
constantly.  Secondly is the money issue, especially when other Civs can
buy off city-states and make them into thorns for your sides.  Thirdly is
the World Congress issue, with the same tourist/culture/luxury embargoes
that can cripple your war effort.  And of course, trying to keep up
culturally is important, though your military can snuff out the cultural
threats.  You MUST have the technologies, or know where to get them from as

Note that playing to conquer actually has a benefit in starting early.
Waiting for ranks of artillery pieces to strafe the opposition will piss
off everyone else in the world immediately... but if you catapult an enemy
civ into submission, especially one that did not have contact with other
Civs early in the game, then your world opinion will be far higher because
you will not receive the warmonger penalty.  What's out of sight is out of
mind for the most part in the beginning of the game.  Though, I did run
into an issue in one previous game...

As the Ottomans, I conquered a continent which held the Byzantines and
Venetians.  Both fell before the might of my catapults and swords.  After
finishing off the Byzantines, I had a challenge on my hands to take down a
puppeted Venetian city that was well-guarded by hills, and I knew I could
not take too much damage if I wanted to still take Venice while at the same
time continue to compete culturally with the rest of the unexplored map.
While positioning my troops, Venice got alarmed and asked if I was going to
declare war.  I said "no, of course not!", finished my positioning three
turns later, and declared war.  I did not take any sort of warmonger hit
for defeating both Venice and Byzantium... but for the rest of the game I
took the sneak attack hit to my diplomacy.  So, remain honorable while
beating up the other members of your continent, or you will have the same
diplomacy hit.

The sooner that you can direct a continent's worth of cities against other,
smaller civs, the more effect you will be able to achieve.

Continuing with the "sooner" theme, you have to make sure that if a
civilization is running away from you technologically that if you're
planning to go after them with military, you do it as soon as possible.
The longer you wait, the more technologically backward you will be.  Better
 yet, if you declare on a country and they can get their military at you,
you'd rather destroy their war machine in your own home territory (where
they can't heal as quickly and where you can have your cities hit them just
as hard), so that you can march against their lands and either extract a
diplomatically-won city or continue pressure and occupy more lands.

Waiting though is logarithmic... typically, technologically advanced civs
can come after you not only with more advanced units, but can also produce
them quicker due to production-bonus buildings (e.g. factories, Ironworks,
etc.) gained through technology.  Waiting an age could then mean that there
are 33% more troops and they're 33% stronger, instead of one or the other.
Additionally, civs in peace will feel free to pursue science maximization,
whereas civs at war will not turn production to "science" and gain
additional test tubes in that fashion.  It's even okay to declare war,
wait for them (or threaten them along your/their borders), or even create a
stalemated war, just to get them on a war footing to weaken them going

---International opinion:

Getting into war, especially in the later stages of the game, will mean
that other civs will like you less.  This will increase the costs of
luxuries (or decrease the selling prices of your luxuries).  This will also
mean that the World Congress votes will increasingly be against you, such
as luxuries that will be banned, or ideologies that aren't yours being
voted upon.  There's ways to make them like you more... and ways to get
them so hopping mad that they wash their armies up against your cliffs like
so many waves.

If you are warlike but also want to keep some friends, the best way to keep
it civil is to accept when other civilizations ask you to declare war on
third civs.  This is ideal, because then you have an ally going in as
well... and the civilization asking you to go to war will not hold it
against you in the future (that I have found).  There are times that I've
been asked to go to war and found myself pretty much squishing another civ
to dust, because EVERYONE has been called in and we've made it a world war.
Those are ideal, especially if you can win the prize (the enemy capital)
at the end.  Note though that there's a set number of turns that you have
to remain at war against another country, you can't ask for peace
immediately after declaring.

If you want to get the rest of the world pissed off at you quickly... find
a well-liked, well-protected city state and pound them into submission.  At
that point, it's all military, all the time for a good ten-twelve turns, if
not more.  You will take an extreme warmonger hit too... but if you want a
way to gain quick territory and weaken everyone's army, this is the method.

More territory may come when you completely neuter a civ's army and march
menacingly towards their lands, as the computer will often (but not always)
panic and offer cities to placate you.  If gaining nonspecific cities is
your goal, then invest in cavalry units to keep pressure on these other
civs and pillage land, and that will make them even more likely to offer
territory for peace.

This window only lasts for a short time.  The enemy civ who just lost the
majority of their military is already hard at work building another one.
Even if it a "sue for peace" situation, make sure that you either threaten
or sue for peace as soon as possible, before the next military is graduated
from their equivalent of West Point.

b. Playing to win culturally - defending against a cultural loss:

Culture is a game-long phenomenon, and if you are trying to play culturally
you need to start early.  I would counsel that you play most games as if
you're going to try to dominate culturally, because you can step into a
cultural victory depending on the late-game circumstances, and making sure
that you have the culture will lessen another Civ's tourism hold on you.

---Defending against a cultural Civ

To be honest, this is one of the harder things I can think of in the game.
A civ that is trying to win culturally is using their production advantage
over you in the best possible way.  They are researching and gaining techs
with less Science points than you need, and they are producing buildings
with less production points than you need.  There are two very good pieces
of news when defending culturally.

{} You only typically have to defend against one.

If two or more Civs are playing culturally, the Tourism points will not be
anywhere near the point that you will be in cultural danger.  Spreading out
the tourism wonders (Parthenon, Louvre, Uffizi, Sistine Chapel) among two,
three, or even four different Civs will not give them anywhere near enough
tourism points to mess with your culture.

BUT.... be very careful you know who is who.  If there are more than one
cultural civs against you, it's well within the game mechanics for one to
invade another and seize all of the culture.  At this point, it's directed
against you, and you better have a Plan B going.

{} It's hard to build the culture AND a military

Unless you're WAY up the difficulty chart, the computer will have a hard
time building both culture and military.  This is your chance to come at
them sideways, so to speak.  They may think that they're in a battle with
you to get as much culture as possible.  Declaring war on them has the
benefit of making them now build military, whether or not you advance into
their lands or defend your own.  They'll also research militarily, which
will keep them from the cultural/touristy Wonders.  You'd better advance at
SOME POINT if you want to force them, though, or they may take the threat
very casually and either not build military or research military tech.

At this point, you can use the benefit you have in spades... the computer's
inability to fight very well.  Your production deficit will be made up for
in spades by your ability to general, your ability to PROTECT YOUR TROOPS,
and the computer's inability to come after them with a cohesive front.

Typically, playing culturally means that you are going up a different side
of the technology tree than most other people.  The biggest for-instance is
that it takes quite a few technologies to earn artillery pieces when you
could be researching printing press / architecture and gaining the wonders
available from both.  If you are aware that someone is playing culturally
and you KNOW full well that they will get those wonders done, go up the
military side of the tech tree to take those wonders away.

Be careful though, if a nation is rich they can conclude multiple research
agreements quickly... also, if they are scientific and just building
culture when it's available because they can, there's no guarantee that you
will beat them to any specific research.  It could be a planes versus
artillery piece battle, and in that situation you will lose miserably.

Disregard ALL of the above if you are facing an opponent at King (5) level
or above.  If one country is building all the culture at that point, then
they will have a formidable Civ set up to deal with quite a bit.  Best of
luck dealing with them militarily, the best option is to try to drag as
many other civs into the battle as possible.

If all else fails...

Go nuclear...I'm assuming.  I've never tried, but to be honest there were a
couple of times that I should have, as I was losing anyway.  Make sure that
you have the troops to be able to capture a city AND to hold the territory
after you go nuclear at least, as I'm not entirely sure a Civ can win if
they have lost their original capital.  I might update this one, especially
if I playtest a couple of those previous games mentioned to find out how
this dynamic works.

---Winning a cultural victory:

When winning a cultural victory, you should have a few things in place:

{} The Aesthetics culture bonuses.
The +40%, double Theming bonuses, ability to purchase Great Persons with
faith, and the +25% generation rate will give you quite a leg up on your
competition.  Similarly, if any of the computer players are playing this
way, sniff it out as soon as possible and mitigate/neutralize it.

{} Wonders, wonders, wonders
There's a couple of National wonders that carry theming bonuses, including
the Hermitage and Oxford University.  Those two together are nowhere near
enough for you to gain a victory, especially if only one other computer
player is hogging all of the Tourism wonders.  There's a couple of tactics
you could attempt if you are having problems getting the tech and
production in time:

 -Send spies to the cultural civ's cities-
Spies can pull their technology, and if you're behind you'd better at least
make sure you can get to the technology previous if you need to try to take

 -Research agreements-
This means you have to be nice to other people... I'm guessing that if
you're having a problem with research, it's because you have a smaller
empire than others... well, the small non-threatening Civs are the ones
most likely to have friends too, at least until the long knives start to
come out.  Start shifting your productions toward gold in at least one city
so that you can give gifts, or give away extra luxuries, or anything else
to get others to like you.  After the friending, ask for those research
agreements as soon as possible.  Multiple research agreements can pop a
technology or two quickly.

 -Rationalism track-
There's no happy faces down this way anymore, so only do this when
necessary.  As stated above, make sure your empire is happy to get the full
benefit of Rationalism policies.

 -Great Engineers-
By setting one of your cities to pure production along with filling the
Workshop slot, you can generate a Great Engineer... who can rush a project
to completion in one turn (or to five remaining turns late in the game) in
any city you wish.  Just make sure that you spy out your competition to
confirm that THEY'RE not building your same Wonder, there's nothing more
useless than rushing a Wonder project to have another Civ build it on the
same turn.

Gardens (next to river/lake) will give you more Great Persons, as will the
National Epic.

{} Great artists/writers/musicians

In order to win culturally, make sure that you're generating as many of
these units as possible.  Each is worth a +2 in tourism without any theming
bonuses, and all three are actually fairly useful even if all of your slots
are filled... artists pop Golden Ages, writers give you a one-time Culture
boost that should get you more than halfway to the next Culture bonus, and
Musicians give you a Tourism boost by sending to another civ (with open
borders!).  Again, maximise their appearance with gardens and/or the
National Epic.

{} Build those cultural buildings quickly

Getting the Hermitage should be high on your list of priorities, and the
other culture buildings give you the slots you need to fill with your Great
Artists/Writers/Musicians.  The Aesthetics bonus of quick-building cultural
buildings should help quite a bit as well.

{} Artifacts

When Archaeology is obtained, you can start producing archaeologists and
sending them abroad.  My typical method is to build the archaeologist, then
the museum... you can send an archaeologist to foreign lands first to take
artifacts that other people would get to while "guarding" your own ruins by
placing units on them.  But, make sure that you have the spots for an
artifact first!  There's nothing worse than an archaeologist on the back
edge of nowhere that ends up with a built shrine that no one can use.

So, keep in mind a couple of things... you can pause your archaeologist in
the course of their excavations by interrupting him, just like you would a
worker.  Make sure that there's a place for the resulting artifact, and
then get back to work.  Another thing is that it's not always bad to "gift"
a cultural landmark to either an enemy Civ or to a city-state.  Gifting
cultural landmarks to other Civs is a permanent good check-mark in your
box, and if you are playing against another cultural player it can make the
Civ you give the landmark to more resistant to cultural takeover.  It can
also hopefully give you a friend to conduct more research agreements with,
or to trade with.  City-states will get a +50 (?) or so as a one-time
influence bonus, which can certainly go most of the way to an alliance.
Just make sure you're choosing the choice you want, because giving any
artifacts away like this is a -2 to culture and a -2 to tourism that you
could be earning.

{} Hotels / National Visitor Center / Airport

Hotels will convert culture obtained via Wonders into Tourism points.  As
you can imagine, if you've been building nothing but Wonders in a city, a
Hotel will dramatically raise your Tourism score.  The National Visitor
Center is a national Wonder that requires a Hotel in every town and will
raise your Tourism score much higher.  And the Airport will also give you
an extra 50% Tourism (if I remember the bonus correctly).  The Airport also
has military implications as an automatic tube for your troops (to go from
one town with an airport to another town in only one turn) as well as
expanding space in your town to support more than four aircraft units.

{} Great Firewall / Internet

The Great Firewall is a wonder that can allow you to make up a gap in
tourism, especially if the game gets as far as The Internet.  Internet is a
technology that can be researched now, which will double your Tourism score
permanently.  The Great Firewall will ensure that the Internet bonus is
invalidated for the Civ that builds it.  As you can probably imagine, if
the Great Firewall falls into the wrong hands, you'll have a rough time
earning a Culture Victory over that other Civ.

--Cultural Endgame:

I've noticed, on King level, that when I play *a winning game* culturally
that I will typically end up winning before Internet.  I don't know how
that is possible so often except for the fact that I involve my military
quite a bit, especially to deal with the Civ that's either in first or in
second place.  If you have pretty much every Tourism wonder, a group of
computer players that haven't cared about culture at all and one last
computer player that cared but had all their culture taken from them at the
point of a gun, the Culture victory actually becomes rather easy and earned
even before the game counter reaches 2000AD (on Standard turns mode).  I
have also noted that when I make it this far culturally, there's typically
not a Civ that can stand with me militarily, nor technologically, nor
financially either... I can pretty much choose my method of winning.

I also note though that I have a tendency to give up games where I end up
pretty far back in the dust either culturally or technologically when the
world ramps up to "Industrial" age.  So, take the above with a grain of
salt, because I'm certainly not a 100% victor by any means.

--Last notes:

If you are not playing culturally, I would suggest paying at least slight
attention to the tourism of your civ, and trying to at least match the
tourism rating of the best enemy Civ.  This will ensure that you will not
have governmental problems, it should allow you to operate your spies
easier, and the culture that you will generate should give you quite a few
bonuses that will make the game easier to win.  Additionally, if you match
the best tourism Civ, it will ensure that the best tourism Civ will not be
able to win a Cultural victory, freeing your resources to win in another

c. Playing to win financially -- defending against a financial civ

The Diplomatic victory in Civ V requires pretty much every single vote you
can glom from the city-states in a game.  There's ways to buff your vote
(build/capture Forbidden Palace, vote for world ideology, vote for world
religion), but the vast majority of the votes for you will come from the
city-states.  Almost always, you need to buy the heck out of these votes,
though there are tips and tricks you can use to help you with your vote.

Of course, there's the first level of this...

--Defending against a Diplomatic victory.

There are a variety of tricks that you can use in order to defend against a
civ gunning for a diplomatic victory.  First and foremost is your ability
to ally with other city-states to block their votes going to the enemy Civ
in the lead.  At some point, the money does run out for the enemy Civs and
if you can manage to keep a few of the city-states from their hands, that
will make their victory much more difficult.

If you are having a problem with the sheer financial weight that the enemy
Civ is putting on those city-states, then you do have an alternative.  Make
sure you can ally with at least a couple of city-states to block, and then
declare war on the larger Civ.  You will absolutely have to reposition your
caravans / cargo ships as they will be taken wholesale by all the other
city-states who remain allied with the enemy Civ, but declaring war will
make them "peace-blocked" with the city-states that you just allied with,
and leave them a few votes short of the goal.  Just remember though,
they'll likely be in charge of the World Congress and they will start to
use it politically against you... try to get as many other civs on your
side as you can, and defend against the city-states(!) that will be sending
units to your shores/borders.

If you do declare war on the enemy Civ, then take the opportunity to try to
blockade them.  You may not be able to get all of the caravans/cargo ships
going to their shores from other Civs, but you can absolutely plunder the
enemy Civ's trade routes in an attempt to cripple them financially.

The last alternative is to start conquering City-States that are allied
with the enemy Civ.  I have heard tell that there is a bit of a strategy to
this.... in that if you have to take four or five of them, you already know
that your honor will take a massive hit... so bribe some of the other civs
with the city-states that you take.  All you care about is that their +2
votes are wiped out... and you don't want to take massive hits to your
happiness, but you are stuck with city-states because they can't be razed.
If you give them to other civs, then you can be sure that they will get
involved if the enemy Civ tries to free the city-state and you'll have
somebody on your side.  Just make sure that if you start giving away city-
states that it can be reasonably defended by the third Civ you give it to.
Also make note of the fact that your influence will take a permanent hit
for all other city-states if you do this too much, so you'd better go quite
a distance towards that goal or not at all, because allying (and therefore
blocking) city-states will cost more gold.

--Winning a diplomatic victory:

The diplomatic victory depends on tons of gold and tons of happiness from
your city-state friends, as well as your ability to defend them in times of
trouble.  As a result, the following methods are pretty decent:

{} Always have max caravans/cargo ships

You need to make as much money as possible, which means caravans and cargo
ships.  On top of that, caravans/cargo ships will give you the ability to
earn Influence with city-states as they ask periodically to receive trade
from you, and fulfilling their wish gives you a +40, two-thirds the way to
allying (or forty further turns of alliance).  Make sure that you have the
requisite buildings (caravansary, harbor, East India Company) in the towns
that you base the caravans in, and that those towns are as well-developed
by workers as possible.

{} Complete the majority of their quests

This means having a decently strong military in the early-going to hunt out
those barbarians.  Beating up barbarians also nets you gold and there is
the off-chance that they will have a city-state worker in their camps... if
you complete a camp-clear and give the civilian worker back to the city-
state, it's an automatic alliance.

Keeping the decently-strong military is a must, especially since there are
some civs in the game that prey on city-states... Mongols especially, as
their natural Civ bonus is +30% strength against city states.  You need to
be able to either feed military to the city-state being attacked or to be
able to fight off the Civ with the strong military attacking the weak

If you're able to do so, there are scientific, faith, and culture-
collection bonuses for the city-states as well.  They're a free +40 in
influence for you not having to do anything, though you have to have the
ability to collect the requisite resource.

{} Free the city-state!

If a city-state is taken, it's not the end of the world... it's actually
not a bad thing, because at any time during the game you can swoop in and
liberate the city-state.  On top of that, you not only get zero war-monger
penalty for the city-state liberation, you get any current war-monger
penalty erased because of your magnanimous nature in bringing the city-
state back.  I am almost positive that you get a massively high influence
bump from the military action, but I can honestly say that I do not
remember whether or not you receive their votes on all future "leader"
elections in the World Congress.

[Quick tangent... once upon a time, I was finishing conquest of Austria,
who had allied and then diplomatically married city-state Sydney.  I went
after Sydney before going after Vienna, and freed Sydney because I did not
want to carry the extra unhappy faces from a puppeting.  Immediately,
Sydney declared war on me.  See, Sydney had been allied with Austria prior
to my liberation of Sydney due to the marriage function, and I was still at
war with Austria.  Point being... make sure that you know what the status
of the city-state was prior to your liberation of said city-state,
especially if it was obtained via Viennese marriage.]

{} Religion:

There are a couple of religious tenets that you can use to help your
relationships along with your city-state brethren.  One is to spread your
religion at double-rate within city-states, and another provides additional
influence to city-states.  Just keep in mind that as long as you share a
religion with a city-state that your influence will fall less quickly, by
about 25%.  Additionally... it doesn't necessarily have to be *your*
religion, just a religion, so if you find a Civ going hog-wild with the
converting, just go along for the ride (yet protect yourself against the
enemy Civ's possible cultural victory).  Additionally, using your city-
state friends to establish a world religion will give you an extra +2 votes 
if you follow that world religion.

{} Culture Tree:

There are two tracks that you absolutely need when playing towards a
diplomatic victory.  The first is the Patronage track, which will magnify
the bonuses you receive from befriending all of those city-states, and the
second is Commerce.  You need all that gold to keep being nice to the
city-states, right?  One of the Commerce bonuses include the ability to
create Great Merchants, which still can perform trade missions to give you
gold and influence boosts... or you can just park the Merchant at home as a
Customshouse to reap additional gold.

I prefer Freedom for a diplomatic victory as an ideology, for a couple
reasons.  One is that you will get happy faces for cash-based buildings
(markets, banks, etc.).  Another is the New Deal bonus, giving extra
abilities to Great Person-improved tiles... because if you've already gone
down the Patronage track, you should hopefully have received more than a
couple of Great Persons from your city-state allies.  On top of that, all
of your cities should get the happy-face bonus from having pretty much
permanent workers in your banks and stock markets.

{} Wonders:

There are a couple of financial wonders and also an influence wonder, but
oddly enough this set of wonders is the most dependent on outside factors.  
Netting Colossus is extremely important in the early-going, as having that
extra caravan slot as well as the gold that the Colossus generates
naturally and via the trade route bonus is super-important...... but you
need to have a city on the ocean in order to build this Wonder.

Obtaining Petra can be helpful, and it is straight up the tree where you
need to be (it's on Currency) in order to earn more gold.  However, you not
only need to have a city in desert, but this is a Wonder that other Civs
typically prioritize because of its ability to turn a terrible desert city
into a well-producing city.  It nets you an additional Caravan route, so if
you do not get it, you're not going to be overly affected.

Machu Picchu is also rather helpful, as it will give you an extra 25% gold
from all of your connected cities to your capital.  Machu Picchu requires a
mountain nearby though, and there's no guarantee that you can find one...
it's oftentimes less accessible than Colossus, and I have played games
where there was pretty much only one legal mountain to build this Wonder
on, and as a result it was not completed until the 1800s.  Weird, weird.

Popping Golden Ages can help immensely, and having them last 150% of their
time is rather helpful... so building Chichen Itza can be a good idea for
this method of victory.  Also, Taj Mahal gives an immediate golden age plus
happy faces for growth.

Obtaining the Forbidden Palace is extremely helpful as well, because that
will provide +2 extra votes as long as you hold it... and getting to the
high number needed for your diplomatic victory means that you need to
obtain every single vote that you can.

{} Great Persons 

Obviously, the previously mentioned Great Merchant is a big help, both as
an ongoing source of gold and as a one-time influence boost.  Great Artists
can also help, as they will enable Golden Ages for large gold boosts and
you can replace all artist tourism slots with artifacts.

{} Other civs:

Declaring war in a Diplomatic game is not the best of ideas.  Of course, if
you have a war declared on you there's not much you can do about it, but
whenever war is about, the caravans and cargo ships are the first to go.  A
strong enough military should dissuade most civs from going after you...
but you've got to be smart about it, because military costs gold upon gold,
and you're trying to funnel it to the city-states, remember?

With all the gold though, make sure to befriend and to conduct research
agreements.  Getting behind in science can cost you gold on the military
end, as the military cost is per-unit (if I remember correctly).  As well,
you can at least use that military to guard your trade routes if necessary

You do need to keep a lookout for spies.  More and more influence prevents
spies from coups, but there's always that chance that a successful coup can
pull a city-state away from you for free.  Station spies in city-states
that you know another civ is competing for, or in city-states where a few
extra influence could put you up and over the top of ally status.  (Bonus,
go on the offensive with your spies in city-state lands... if you lose a
coup attempt, five turns later you get your replacement)

Feel free to move spies about... what's nice is that there's the
omnipresent counter for the World Congress, and spies can be useful in
enemy capitals as diplomats... you can trade for votes and get a good idea
how an enemy civ will vote.  The more culturally-influential with a Civ you
are, the quicker your diplomats set up shop.

{} Globalization -- discussed below.

-- Cultural endgame:

The Globalization technology will boost the available votes by the number
of spies you have working as diplomats in enemy civ capitals. It comes
right at the end of the game (as with Internet).  And same with Internet,
you'll have to be ready for either using Globalization to your advantage or
negating its effects when it comes up.  Having all the gold in the game
will make production quite easier, especially with the Big Ben wonder, so
your difficulty in making sure you're militarily and technologically caught
up should be minimal.  Just remember though, it's not a percentage of votes
that is necessary for Diplomatic victory, but a number... so even if you
gain three votes via spies, if another civ gains five and gets up-and-over
the number necessary, you're still sunk.

-- Last notes:

Greece and Thailand are the biggest profiteers of city-state bonuses and
will often play diplomatically... but don't get suckered in.  Greece will
often play militarily first, diplomatically second, and the Thailand
"Naresuan's Elephant" is deadly in bunches.  Oddly, I don't see the
computer players often playing diplomatically... so there aren't too many
instances that you'll have to defend against it.

There are very few other Civs that have natural benefits to playing
diplomatically.  Portugal, perhaps, due to their "feitoria" bonus has a
stake in making sure each city-state stays free and independent, and the
monetary bonuses that the Moroccans receive would help them quite a bit
towards obtaining/maintaining influence.

If you're making money hand-over-fist and have a bunch of City-States as
your thralls because you have good religion and/or good culture, then it
may just be the best option going.

d. Playing to win technologically -- defending against a space race loss.

Unlike some of the other methods, playing for the space-race win means that
you're not going to hamstring your other efforts overly much.  The way that
the tech tree shakes out, you need to get both purely military (e.g.
dynamite) as well as purely aesthetic (e.g. archaeology) technologies in
order to gain the technologies for building the Space modules.  The danger
here is that the major cultural bonus technologies and the major diplomatic
bonus technologies veer off from the space technologies at the end, so you
need to defend your culture and defend diplomatically while at the same
time building your Hamdinger pod. [/MST3k]

--Defending against a space race loss:

The space race is a weird duck because after a while, you can earn
technology by yourself and it's not dependent on others.  The diplomatic
victory is dependent on other's ability earn gold and/or deploy spies, and
the cultural is dependent on obtaining those bonuses... without them, your
culture numbers will still probably be larger than another civ's.

The other bad news is that a technologically advanced civ probably managed
to get to many techs first and likely put up at least a few Wonders, so
they may not be very weak culturally.  You do still have a chance though,
even if the enemy Civ managed to get four of the six modules done.

The most major weakness for the Space Race provision is that all of the
parts go to the capital.  Therefore, if the capital is taken, all of the
parts to the spaceship are also taken.  (I think.)  I do not know if it
is weak to a nuclear attack, I'm sure that at some point there will be a
nuclear addendum to all these posts.

At any rate, going after a Civ militarily will tie up the most important
thing for them, which is production.  If you can't pile up the shields
necessary for each of the spaceship parts, then you won't be able to gain
the win.  Just make sure that if you can't win quickly that you draw the
computer into enough of a stalemate that you can survive many turns this
way and keep the computer from completing what they need to complete.

If another civ is already on their way to a technological victory, remember
that there's a shortcut lurking in the Order culture track.  One of the
third-level bonuses (which takes three first-level plus two second-level
bonuses to unlock) is the ability to rush spaceship parts with Great
Engineers.  If you have taken care of your faith through the game, you may
find yourself with enough to purchase multiple Great Engineers (given the
correct policy track) and therefore finish multiple spaceship parts.  There
is a similar shortcut in the Freedom track, where you can use money to pay
for spaceship parts.  During my most recent playtest (the Hun game referred
to in the Introduction), purchasing spaceship parts were about ~3000 gold
per part.

--Winning a space-race victory:

As with all of the other victory types, in order to win a space-race
victory you need to have a few ducks in a row.  Some of the more specific
ducks are...

{} Technology gathering

You need to have cities bring in the better part of 100 science per turn
toward the latter part of the modern era in order to get the science you
need to get to the space technologies first.  Of course, make sure that you
load up one of your towns with all of the latest in tech gear, including
your libraries, universities, public schools, and research labs.  Make sure
you prioritize those technologies so that you can set up your researchers
as soon as possible.

{} Getting everyone else's technologies

Send spies to try to clean up the techs on the tech tree that you don't
need just to make sure you are keeping up, leading to...

{} Don't forget to keep researching militarily

There's nothing worse than trying to fight off riflemen with crossbowmen.
It's absolutely not worth it.  If you get left in the dust a bit too much
militarily, prepare to get invaded.

{} But make sure you have friends.

Friends that want to conduct research agreements, at least.  Of course, in
the discussion above about culture, it applies to the military side as
well... you don't want civs getting too overly comfortable, or their
production/food/technology bonuses will shortly overwhelm yours.  Two of
the Rationalism culture bonuses -- the ability to build the Porcelain Tower
as well as one of the specific bonuses -- give +50% for research
agreements, and you don't want to miss out on that.

{} Don't get left behind culturally

If you do, you will lose some ability to choose your final Ideological
government, and leave yourself open to losing culturally.  Try to at least
keep up tourism-wise and make sure that you can keep ahead of any civs
trying to play for a Culture win by rejecting things that you can *keep
track of*, such as making sure you can reject open-border treaties as well
as changing religions if at all necessary/possible.

{} Culture bonuses to pursue:

The Rationalism track is a must.  As well, try to get as many happy faces
as you can, both for keeping the +10% research bonuses as well as continue
growing, as your citizen count goes a long way towards your science
gathering.  I would also suggest that a good bonus to pursue would be the
Patronage bonus.  If you are able to sign up a bunch of city-states to your
cause, they all donate 25% of their science output to your research.
Getting this research, especially from about six to eight cities, would be
almost like getting an extra two cities' worth of science.  Getting the
occasional great scientist through the great person bonus would also be
extremely helpful.  As well, this will hopefully help you to implement the
World Congress policies that you will be looking for, including the
scientific research bonus and the International Space Station (though, stay
away from the "visiting scholars" bonus as that will allow the computer to
catch up to you quicker.)

{} Religion:

The best path to follow here is to obtain the Religious Dialogue power,
which allows your missionaries to generate science when they spread
religion to cities with an established religion.  I've seen missionaries
generate +200 science at times using this power.  Another interesting bonus
is when you complete the Piety track to gain a Restoration power... the
Jesuit Education power allows you to build science buildings via faith.
This can be helpful because you don't have to take a few turns to switch
your production from science to shields... but the on the other hand,
through the Commerce track, you can just build the buildings via cash money
instead.  You may as well stick to the Patronage track.

One key thing that Religion does help with is when you share a religion
with a city-state, the influence you have over the city-state erodes at
a 25% less clip.  So using your religion to try to keep them in thrall will
lead to less money being necessary to keep them friended.

--End game and notes:

It is very possible that the special technologies to upgrade culture
(Internet) and diplomatic (Globalization) wins will come available to other
civs before you manage to uncover all the techs you need for the various
spaceship parts.  This means that you need to be just as concerned
defending against those as getting your tech win.  Make sure to sniff out
cultural threats as soon as humanly possible, and if at all possible drag
other civs against the forty-pound gorilla to make sure that you can score
the victory.  Keep expanding in the method that you've chosen (through
growth, or militarily) and don't lose too many opportunities.

Converting your resources:

I wanted to get a short blurb together, perhaps as a placeholder, to tell
you to review all your options!  In a recent game, going into the Atomic
Era I was about ten techonologies behind the lead Civ who was running away
with the game.  Noticing that I had a ton of unused Faith, I tried to
figure out the best method of catching up to the leader.. and realizing
that I could first convert the faith into Great Merchants, then using the
Great Merchants to gain huge monetary bonuses via trade missions.. then
using the money generated from the trade missions to sign quite a few
research agreements.  I might not catch up anytime soon (if at all), but I
at least gave myself additional space to *try* to catch up... and to be
truthful, if I'd done this more than a few turns ago, I would not still be
seven techs behind.

In another game, I was only staying even with the tech leader... but again
through faith and a completed Rationalism cultural tree, I built a series
of Great Scientists that gave me a three-technology edge which I managed to
carry to the end of a successful game.  Note a pattern with regards to

So, be cognizant of the ways that you can convert extra resources that you
may not be currently using (e.g. faith) into a resource that can help you
much more going forward (e.g. money).  Additionally, the more creative you
can be when trying to make these connections, the more likely it is that
you will find a way to gain what you need without weakening yourself too
greatly in the long run.

Outro and concluding thoughts:

As in the intro, to me this is really the ultimate puzzle game, with so
many moving pieces... it masquerades as a world-building game, but it could
as easily be Alpha Centauri with completely different, redesigned
civilizations.  Heck, since they already redid Colonization with the Civ IV
engine, couldn't they redo Col with Civ V along with redoing Alpha

At any rate, feel free to discuss, question, or blow raspberries.  So far
these tactics have done well for me, as I've recently made the move from
level 5 (king) to level 6 (emperor)... and hopefully I'll continue swimming
rather than sinking.  Maybe some additional strategies will come from
this... as above, there are more than a couple places that are unfinished,
and I may update them once I find out more.  I do have a ~50% or so victory
rate on Level 6, and I'm trying to learn to keep at it even if the chips
are down... those are where the epic stories are born.

As above, I am more than happy to receive submissions and revise the
document with successful ideas, thoughts, or charts.  I will always give
full credit, because a community of gamers can do far more than just a
single gamer alone.  I know that there are people far better than I at Civ
V, and if they're willing to share additional wisdom on what they've
learned about the game then I am more than willing to learn too.

Changes to this document may include a "frequently asked questions"
section, much like the previous FAQ that I wrote for Railroad Tycoon III
also uploaded to GameFAQs.  As you note from the guide above as well as the
Railroad Tycoon III guide, I am always interested in the nuts and bolts,
figuring out how parts move against other parts.  There's so many moving
parts in this game that it's been so absorbing to me, and hopefully reading
the guide will make the game more interesting for you to play as well.

May the random number leave you with 1HP for your units and zero for your

Best of luck!

Scott "Zoogz" Jamison
10 February 2014

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