3/3/14: A Guide to Politics: Interacting with Civs and Diplomatic Boosts and Penalties is up.
Civ Guides for Korea, Rome, Brazil, Portugal, and Poland are now available.
Science and Maxing Research Output, also Updated: Science Victory Guide.
Beginner's Guide: Early Game Strategy, Unique Units, The Huns, Barbarians, Policies, Wonders, and Civilizations/Leaders
Civilization 5 Cheats
With No Command Console Available, Turn to Debug Mode & Ingame Editor
Enough people search for Civilization 5 Cheats that I thought sharing a couple possibilities that resemble and even surpass cheating in power might be useful to some players. You see, no cheat codes or command console of that type exists for the game. However, Firaxis did include a debug mode for developers that can be exploited to reveal the entire map and gve your Civilization infinite Happiness. This tool pales in comparison to the mighty Ingame Editor which can modify or place just about anything in the world. In many ways, this is better than any simple cheat code for it can enable you to get through any negative situation your Civilizaton enounters while giving you the ability to cheat your gold, research, production, or military to ridiculously high levels and defeatng other Civs in just about any way you choose. Don't be frightened by the fact that it's a mod. This is a very stable tool that gives you incredible control over the land and Civilizations in Civ 5.
Before You Consider Cheating: Playing at a Low Difficulty
Unless you want to cheat for fun, use cheating tools to set up the world to your liking, or experiment with Civ 5's gameplay, you should first consider simply lowering the difficulty of the game to Settler. It's ridiculously easy to win a game, especially with knowledge of Victory conditions you can learn from my strategy guide.
Playing at a lower difficulty will give your Civilization bonuses, while imposing penalties on the AI. This is not a game that you will get much satisfaction from cheating to win anyway; there is no ending and the numerous difficulty settings give you a chance to gradually improve and expand your knowledge of Civ 5 game mechancs.
Ingame Editor: Powerful Cheats for Civilization 5
Civfanatics and the Steam Workshop host a powerful Mod for Civilization 5 that enables some great cheating ability. You can do most anything you want with the game's tiles, plant strategic and luxury resources, spawn units in control of any player, research technologies with a single click, and even take over another Civilization. I'll Guide you through the various types of cheating you can do using the Ingame Editor's interface, while I leave to you the creative use of this tool to win games or present yourself new challenges.
Installing the Ingame Editor
You can start cheating by getting Civ 5's ingame editor from one of the following sources. I recommend installing it via the steam workshop, since every legit Civilzation 5 owner has to use it. If you like installing mods yourself, you can go through Civfanatics:
Download from the Steam Workshop. Login, Subscribe to IGE and the Mod will be installed and updated automatically.
Download from Civfanatics, where you'll find manual install instructions, a FAQ, and troubleshooting for the IGE.
Using the IGE Mod to Cheat - Control + I
Once you've got the Mod installed, you're ready to start a game in which you can cheat to your heart's content. Load Civilization 5 and select 'Mods' and ensure that Ingame Editor is checked, then select next. You can now select Single Player and set up the game as you normally would. If the Mod is working properly, click the icon in the top right portion of the Civ 5 game screen or press Control + I.
Things to Note: Leader/City-State Selection and Reloading for Visual Changes
In the top-right portion of the IGE interface, you will see your Leader selected. You can change to any other Leader or City-State by selecting this. This will show you the game world as they see it, show their research tree and social policies, etc.
When you make some changes to terrain, like placing Natural Wonders in the world, you'll need to save the game, exit to the main menu and reload to get their graphics to show. Any tile bonuses will be in play, but your Fountain of Youth, for example, will be invisible until you do this.
Cheats: Edit Terrain - F1
The first tab in the Ingame Editor allows you to select a terrain hex and start editing. You can choose tile improvements, Natural Wonders, terrain type, and even select whom the tile belongs to by having the right leader selected and going to the far right in the interface, where you'll see 'Free Land' or 'Your Land', along with Explored/Unexplored. The blue lines in the bottom left let you paint rivers and the direction they flow by toggling the lines at the edge of the hex. As you can see, I made a strange circular river in one hex to demonstrate how it would be used.
Cheating Cities: Religion, We Love the King & Wonders - F2
Click to select a city or shift-click to create a new city on a hex belonging to the currently selected player. This is super useful for cheating - it'll let you instantly create any building or Wonder in the city, and also celebrate We Love the King day for 10 or 250 Turns. This second is a little less useful given you could just set the population to whatever size you want, anyway. You are also able to change the religious balance in the city or make it a puppet of the currently selected player.
Changing Terrain on a Mass Scale - F3
The Paint Terrain option is helpful if you want to change the terrain on a larger scale than the F1 tool. Select a terrain type and drag around with the right mouse button held down to change terrain all over. Press shift and you'll see the six tiles around the selected terran light up. Right click and drag with this to make big changes across the land. The Your Land option is found on the far right, which will let you claim massive sections of land for the selected player, explore it, or return it to an unexplored state.
Spawning Units and Giving Unit Promotions - F4
Use this tool to create units for the selected player. You can right-click to spawn a unit of any type, from workers, to missionaries, and even Great People. This is extremely powerful, but doesn't seem to let you edit an existing unit, although this hardly matters. You can use this Cheat to play with Unique Units from other Civilizations! Above the list of units, you can see the level box. Pick a number and it will give the unit that many promotions. Some units have a maximum of nine promotions, while a naval unit could have eleven. Either way, pick a number like 15 and you're likely to have a maxxed-out unt.
I'd warn you when using this cheat not to spawn too many units on one tile, although you can. I'm sure it could have a negative impact on your game and possibly cause a crash. Just how many giant death robots would you need in one area, anyway?
IGE Quicksave - F5
Pressing F5 with the Ingame Editor open will create a Quicksave named IGE so that you can avoid overwriting a non-cheated game's save.
Edit Civilization Stats - F6
With this IGE tab, you can use cheats that allow you to add gold, culture, or faith points to the currently selected Civ. Golden ages of 10 or 250 turns can be triggered at will, and religions founded. You may take over leadership of another Civilization on this tab by picking Take Seat option.
This tab is also particularly interesting for allowing you to make peace treaties, form declarations of friendships, embargoes or even trigger complex wars between various Civs and City States.
Research Cheats - F7
This is likely to be one of the most popular uses of the Ingame Editor. Research Cheats let you learn any technology in Civ 5, Gods and Kings, and Brave New World with a single click. Press Shift-Click and it will learn every prerequisite for the selected technology. You can also take Technology away in the same way - it is a toggle, so shift-click again and it will take away a tech and all prerequisites.
To Cheat and get all Technology, shift-click the Future Tech research project. Since it takes every one of the highest level technologies to research it, you will get every Tech at once. To remove all research at once, shift-click Agriculture on the opposite end of the Tech tree.
Social Policy and Ideology Cheats - F8
With the last tab, you may add and remove any social policy in Civ 5. You may also force the selected Civ to adopt an Ideology or remove one. You may even adopt all Ideologies and Ideological Tenets at once if you so choose, although that may have unforseen gameplay consequences.
Debug Mode, World Builder & Civ 5 SDK
Civ 5's Debug Mode - Reveal Full Map & Unlimited Happiness
Open config.ini located in Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization 5\ and locate the line that says DebugPanel = 0 and change the 0 to a 1 then save the file. To Disable Debug, you'd do the opposite. This will enable debug mode in the game, which seems to be primarily aimed at mod development. After restarting the game with Debug enabled, you can press Control + Z to reveal the entire map. This process will automatically introduce your Civ to all City States and other Civilizations. It also reveals the location of all Natural Wonders, giving a +1 permanent boost to happiness for each. If you do this over and over, you will keep rediscovering the wonders and accumulate massive amounts of happiness that can allow your cities to grow without worry of unhappiness, and also triggering golden ages over and over depending on how heavily you abuse it. For the most part, revealing the map alone is a potent cheat to a player capable of turning that knowledge into a workable strategy.
While Debug Mode is enabled, you can press the Tilde key to bring up an interface that offers different options specfically for debugging the game. It is unlikely that many useful things can be done with it as far as cheats go, but I'd welcome comments on this tool and its capacity for cheating from players who understand its menu options and how to apply them to a current game. If anything, it's probably not worth the effort of deciphering the debug tool given the power of the Ingame Editor.
The Civilization 5 Software Developer's Kit (SDK)
There are many tools provided by Firaxis that will let you modify Civ 5 or create your own maps. To install these tools, login to Steam and go to your Library. Hover over Library at the top of Steam and choose Tools. Scroll down the list until you find Sid Meier's Civilization V SDK, select it and choose Install. You will now have access to all the tools provided by Firaxis, through a link you should find on your desktop. Otherwise, right click it in the tools list and choose Play.
Yep, I love it for gameplay testing. Glad to help and that moat is a brilliant use of the terrain editor. You could do it with hills too, so that any ranged have to come in close to hit you - but only on the side with a potential enemy, perhaps?