4/16/14: I'm back on the job and new Guides will be published regularly.
A Guide to Playing your Civ Tall or Wide is available.
Ideologies & Public Opinion is up. See also Freedom, Order, Autocracy
Also, Politics: Interacting with Civs and Diplomatic Boosts and Penalties is up.
New: Civ Guides for Russia, Mongolia, Celts, Morocco, Korea, Brazil, Portugal, and Poland are now available.


Civilization V Tips & How To's

for Vanilla Civ 5, Brave New World & Gods and Kings

This guide features a selection of tips for Civ 5 and its DLC, Gods and Kings and Brave New World. Civilization 5 can be very difficult to master, and for people not used to the turn-based strategy genre, very difficult even on the "normal", Prince difficulty. Here I hope to offer helpful hints about managing your Civilization. If you'd like to provide a tip for this list, please send an email to carl@carlsguides.com.


Civilization Management in Gods and Kings & Brave New World

Managing Your City - the Governor, Specialists, and Locking Tiles
You can tweak cites to get maximum output of multiple resources when utilizing Specialists like Scientists and Engineers. Make sure the manual specialist control check box is clear, then select the priority for your city - food, production, etc. The Governor will choose the best tiles available for your workers and assign specialists that boost that resource, if available. After ths, for each Specialist you add, the Governor will take a citizen off the worst tiles first, keeping your City's main priority intact while trying to prevent starvation. I say all this because you can only set one priorty for a city and seeking two or three goals requires some micromanagement of your population. You may tick food as the priority, lock a high gold tile, and assign some merchant and science specialists. Now your city is doing its best to make food to grow, some gold, and science. In this example, production may suffer.

You may choose to lock some tiles so that the Governor will not stop working them, which is very situational - perhaps you want to work a special tile with faith or culture while your city is set to prioritize food. To lock a tile, just click it when it's not worked and a lock icon will appear. Any that you select will be stuck, just as manual specialist control is automatically enabled when you assign those on your own. You can reset all tiles by clicking on the city's tile on the map while on the City management screen. The Governor wll unlock all tiles and pursue the priority you've set, while Specialists are not reassigned until you uncheck the manual box. The Governor is smart and usually efficient, but taking some control on your own can increase efficiency when you're pursuing multiple goals.

Explore the Overviews
You can learn a lot about your Civilization's status and that of Civs you have met through the various Overviews accessible in the top right of your screen. View Demographics to see how your Civ compares to others in a variety of categories from population, literacy (science progress), military strength, and more. The Diplomacy overview can show you the resources controlled by other Civs so you can set up trades to get Luxury and Strategic Resources. The Military screen can show you a quick list of all your units and help you find them on the map to invest in upgrades when you have researched new technology.

Have a Plan for your Start: Your First Social Policies
You should choose whether you'll go Tradition, Liberty, Honor, or Piety for your first Social Policies. Tradition will help your Capital City more, and also provides some helpful gold and happiness for growing empires while allowing construction of the hanging gardens giving +6 food to the city that builds it. Liberty will help you to expand faster by providing a free worker and settler, reduce culture costs for founding new cities, and grant you a golden age. Liberty allows construction of the Pyramids, boosting the speed of tile improvements and granting free workers. You can unlock the Hanging Gardens and Pyramids by merely adopting the policies, not actually finishing the trees. Honor is a good choice for Eliminating Barbarians and later upgrading your Military. Your units will gain levels faster and you'll be given the opton of buildng the statue of zeus, which raises unit combat strength. Again, adopting it is enough.

This all goes hand in hand with your first city's build order. You CAN make up for mistakes, but it's best if you know how you'd like to open development of your Civilization. Research choices should at first be based on the luxury and food resources available in your land, so you can boost happiness, the growth of your Capital, and allow for expansion. Build a shrine or find some other means of generating Faith so that you can found a Pantheon and later a Religion to get extra bonuses. Because of all the bonuses you get from Religion, you may choose to found one faster than usual by starting with Piety which boosts production of shrines and temples, while giving you more faith and gold from those religious buildings. You may give your Religion a greater spread on your continent and reap more benefits from bonuses like Tithe. Getting to choose a Reformation belief for finishing the tree can allow you to get some great options, such as buying post-industrial units with Faith.

Scout New Lands
You should build a Scout early to explore your continent and find ancient ruins (goodie huts) to get free tech, maps, unit upgrades, population, etc. This will also help your Civilization to find natural wonders, which increase happiness permanently. Eventually, make a trireme to explore the coast and locate all potential sea trade routes on your continent. Later, when your Civ is seaworthy, explore the rest of the world with a proper ship and see what you're up against. The earlier you accomplish these things, the better for you get bonuses being first to meet a city state and knowing all Civs and their locations helps you build a strategy. You may go in thinkng you will get a Cultural Victory and ultmately switch tactics to Dominaton or Space Race depending on the circumstance.

Score Can Be a Good Indicator, but Demographics are Better
When you view the Diplomacy screen, you'll see your current score. If you're higher than most Civs, you're doing fairly well but Score can be misleading as Wonders are valued highly while Military prowess is undervalued. Obviously, you want to be dominant in certain areas. Look to the Demographics screen to see where other Civs are passing you and shore up your weaknesses by booming research or building up your military.

Building New Cities and Expanding Your Civ's Land

Building Settlers FasterCities do not grow while building a Settler; it cannot even stockpile food, but nor will the population starve. With early cities, put cities on Production focus when creating a Settler, and consider even manually taking them off food to shave a turn or two off the production time. In fact, you can do better than the Governor by putting all your workers on tiles that have 2 production or more. Unemployed citizens give +1 hammer, so unless there is Gold on a tile, there's no reason to use a +1 production tile when making a Settler. If you're surrounded by mainly food tiles, unemployed Citizens can make your Settler faster.

Now, things get more complicated when your city is developed. Cities get bonus production at certain levels of excess food. Citizens take 2 food each, so if you had 4 citizens, they would require 8 food. You get +1 hammer at 1 excess food, in our example you'd need 9 food. Further gains are made at +2 food, +4 food, +8 food, and +12 food. So, for our example city needing 8 food, if you made it to 20 food you would have +5 hammers. Thus, the best configuration for building Settlers fast depends on the land and tile improvements around your City. With a little tweakng, you may be able to shave a few turns off the build time. If you'd like further explanation of the excess food production bonus, see this video.

Unhappy Civs: Be Careful About Expanding too Fast
If your Civilization is low on happiness, don't expand to a new city just then unless you can afford to buy some buildings in the new settlement. Your Civ takes a happiness hit based on the number of cities in this game. A rapidly growing new city can also cause problems. Unless you really need to snag a tract of land make sure you can afford the happiness hit because unhappy civilizations take a loss to production and growth. You can expect each new citizen and city to cost you one happiness, so a new city could drop 2 happy faces instantly. If you are at or near 0, you may want to switch to Avoid Growth on your cities to prevent them causing Unhappiness.

Maximum Workable Tile Radius for Cities
How far apart should cities be built in Civ 5? Cities can only work three tiles out. So, for optimal placement you'll want to shoot for placing new cities seven tiles away from one another. This could be visualised as:

+++C++++++C+++

However, you shouldn't consider this a hard and fast rule. Sometimes it's better to have another city than be anal about their placement. Cities do not have to be massive, they can serve as outposts to give you a resource. That is one scenario in which the Avoid Growth button comes in handy. You can get control of a strategic resource, and tell the Governor not to allow the city to grow. Also, only extremely far into a normal game will your cities begin to even come close to working every tile avilable to them. Often, you'll work most of the good ones while utilizing specialists.

Gathering Distant Strategic/Luxury Resources
Your cities can expand beyond the 3 workable tiles through culture, but they won't be able to work them. However, that doesn't mean you won't get resources for the land you control. If something you don't have, like a luxury or strategic resource, is situated up to 5 tiles away, you can eventually get posession of it through cultural land expansion. While you won't get the nifty gold bonus of collecting from Gems, you can at least get the +4 happiness having gems in your empire provides and use the extra resources for trade agreements with other Civs.

Land Ownership is Permanent, Unless War Causes Cities to Change Hands
Unlike Civ 4, in Civilization 5 you will not be able to flip tiles claimed by another Civ's city. So, when your city's limits expand beyond the three tile workable limit, those efforts aren't wasted. You'll be the sole owner of those tiles, so you can get a city into position to work them or prevent another Civ from taking the resource. The only way to take control of tiles claimed by another Civ is to conquer them or use the Great General's Citadel ability. Every tile surrounding them becomes yours. Use with caution: stealing another Civ's land can trigger war.

Buying City Buildings with Gold
Certain City Improvements are smart to buy quickly when you've just founded a city, and others are useless depending on the purpose of the city. Don't buy a market when a city has just been founded, instead buy a monument to expand your territory and gain control of those useful tiles and resources. One of the biggest factors when first starting a new city is getting the best tiles nearby. GIving your new city a culture boost will ensure tiles are bought quickly and automatically with culture. Otherwise, your city is best going for a food focus to take advantage of rapid early expansion. Have a worker nearby to begin improving important tiles soon after you use your settler.

Defending Your Cities
Each City should have a ranged unit, though Cities have a high Combat Strength and 2 Tile Attack Range so can defend themselves from attack. Having a ranged unit in your city gives you a second attack to protect against small attacks, like those by Barbarians. You'll need an actual military with mobile units and solid numbers to survive a real war.

Progress is Kept When Switching Production
You can invest a few turns into a unit or building project, switch to another building, and will find that all progress you'd gained on the previous unit/building will be kept. Use this to your advantage to keep cities efficient when a new vital building is coming up and you are waiting on the research project to finish.

Feeding New Cities
With a Granary built and The Wheel researched, you can create Caravans that usually trade with other Civs, but you can use up a trade route to send food to one of your Cities. This food is not subtracted from the sender, so you incur no loss - just a nice boost of growth to your new city.

Be Careful Expanding Near Other Civilizations and City-States. They do not like it when you expand too close and compete with them for land. If you do this too much, you can expect war. If you've already done this to a Civilization once, you should consider moving that next settler a couple of tiles further away. That is, unless you plan for the land to be yours soon anyway! You can try to be friendly and offer gifts to make that next settlement more acceptable, but be careful.

Game Option: Policy Saving & Ending Turns without Choosing
If you've enabled the Policy Saving option before starting your game of Civ 5, you are able to save Policies until a later time. Perhaps you have finished Tradition, and do not want to adopt another Policy until your Civilization reaches the Renaissance to adopt Rationalism. The game doesn't make it clear how this is done, but a simple Right-Click on Choose Policy will cancel the notification and allow you to move on and end the turn. This does NOT work with Free Technologies. Those cannot be saved and you must choose the free tech when you complete the wonder that let you do this (for example the Great Library. Thus, you should time Free Techs for when you can select a more expensive or desirable tech after researching its prerequisite. You can get Oxford (safe) or GL (risky as someone else might build it) to 1 Turn remaining, then complete it when you've finished the prerequisite tech you need.



Workers: Building Tile Improvements

Roads - Trade Routes
After the invention of the wheel, your workers can begin connecting your Cities by road. The connection usually makes up for the maintenance cost of the tiles and gives your units mobility to protect your land. Cities can also be connected via Rail to get a +25% Production bonus with the Railroad technology, and Harbors provide cities a means of connecting to the capital from afar. Certain types of terrain may also help to form City Connections dependng on the Civ you're playing. To learn more, read the City Guide.

Farms - Boosting Population
Early on, farms will help you a lot

Trading Posts - Increasing Gold Income
Trading Posts are more valuable than ever in Civ 5's Brave New World DLC. Whether your goal is to gift to City-States, form Research Agreements, or buy units and buildings outright, there's always a way to spend your Civilization's money. Trading posts give +2 gold to a tile when Economics is researched. That may not seem like much, but with a bank and market it's 3. While in a golden age, it's more - any gold-producing tiles are worth +1 gold because of the golden age, and the bank and market will boost that amount 50% per tile. These fractions of a coin can and do add up.

Another nice thing about Trading posts is that you can build them without removing jungle or forest tiles, the former being wonderful for boosting Science once your Civilization has researched Education and can use Universities. You'll earn enough food (+2) to support a specialist as well, so you can further boost your scientific research.

Marble & Quarries - Faster Wonder Production
When a city is working a Marble tile, it will have +15% production toward any Ancient or Classical wonders. You will need a Quarry to get this bonus, so Masonry needs to be researched. This bonus can stack with others, such as the two flat bonuses to ALL wonders with the Tradition social policy's +15% and Egypt's flat +20% bonus. Founding a Pantheon early can also give you a +15% bonus to building Ancient/Classical Wonders. Getting Marble through trade will not work. To get the bonus, the tile MUST be worked by the city producing the Wonder.

Landmarks & Archaeological Digs
You used to consume Great Artists to create Landmarks to boost culture, but with Brave New World, you'll now receive those from converting Archaeological Digs. You don't get to choose where these are placed; rather, they are found randomly around the map at the advent of Archaeology. It matters little unless it is in your territory on a workable tile. Most players will use Digs to get a Great Work Artifact that can be stored in a city to provide +2 Culture and +2 Tourism, which matters more for the game's improved Cultural victory condition.

Food Resources
Resources like Cattle, Bananas and Wheat do not require tile improvements to get their benefit of extra food. Improvements simply provide extra boosts, like pastures giving +1 production for Cattle. You are forced to use these upgrades, as even a cattle on Grassland won't take a Farm to boost it to four food. There is only one case where I might not build an improvement, and that is when a Banana is on a Jungle tile. Jungle gives +2 Science with Universities, and you can get +2 more food from a Banana tile with a Granary in town. That pits +4 food, +2 science vs +5 food and the Science wins, big time unless that city is desperately in need of more food due to poor access to food tiles.

Only Appropriate Improvements are Available
If a tile has a Luxury, Strategic, or Food resource available, your worker will be limited to building only the appropriate improvement for that tile. This is fine, but at times you may wish the restriction were lifted. Overall, you want to grab every resource your Civ can work. Don't bother improving food resources that are out of range. Otherwise, excess can be used to trade with other Civilizations.

Game Option: Stop Workers Replacing Improvements
Hit ESC and go to Game Options > Gameplay. From there, you may want to check the box disabling Automated Workers from replacing tile improvements. I get thing set up the way I want with manual control, then let them fill in the gaps and it works out well for me. You may also stop them from removing tiles like Jungle and Forest, which is good if you prefer those tiles for whatever reason (Science from Jungle).



Tips Keeping your Civ Happy

Unhappy Civilizations
At the early levels of unhappiness, your cities will simply suffer a growth penalty - an annoying one, bringing growth down by 75%. At -10 Unhappiness, your Civ will practically riot. Your military units will suffer a combat penalty and rebel units may pop up around your cities to attack and attempt to dethrone you. Raise happiness quickly to get out of this situation. Every turn your Civ is unhappy, it is not growing and you are falling behind other Civs in the game.

Generating Happiness
The main source of Happiness in Civilization 5 are Luxury Resources. Acquire these by constructing tile improvements to connect them to your trade network. Strategic and Luxury Resources will be added to your total when the tile improvements are in place whether your City works the tile or not. Buy tiles with gold to speed up this process.

Trade is the second method of getting Luxury Resources for your Nation. Find Civs that have resources that you do not have and offer up extras of what you have - if you have three copper, you can trade off two of them and keep the +4 bonus for having the copper luxury resource. Trading off your last copy is a bad idea unless you're playing the Dutch, who'll get +2 happiness (half) if their last copy is traded. So, if there is a (1) next to an item in a trade, you'll be giving your last copy and losing any happiness bonuses or losing the Strategic Resource you need to make more units.

City States can give you Resources when you're allied with them. Provide gold gifts, do quests, and kill barbarians within their borders to boost your influence. At ally, they will give you a copy of all their strategic and luxury resources. Selecting City States by type and the resources they have is an important strategy to use for growing your Civ. Mercantile City States are the top target, as they give you Happiness at friends level and more at allies along with their available resources.

Religion plays a role in Happiness, as there are beliefs that can generate it, along with buildings you can buy with faith if you choose to unlock them when founding your religion. You can choose to take up the religion of another Civ if you like their bonuses.

Along with city population and a high number of cities, other things can impact happiness, such as a sustained war. Having your Civ influenced by another with a different ideology may put a penalty on you and press you to change. Civ 5 gives you a base amount of happiness based on the difficulty you're playing on - for example, on Warlord you will have a base happiness of 12. Bumping the difficulty up will lower this base to 9, making it slightly harder to keep the populace happy and productive.



Great People & Specialists

Specialists: Dual-Purposes
Specialists serve a couple of purposes in Civ 5. First, they will generate a specific resource, be it gold, production, research, or culture. Secondarily, they'll generate Great Person points. You may be going for one or the other when allocating these. This is a feature in Civ that can go under-utilized by new players. It's very easy to keep progressing in the game without making tweaks to your specialists. You may only see them used when you select an off-beat focus such as science or culture. Even when focusing on food or production you can still utilize a specialist or two.

Boosting Specialist Output for more Gold, Research, or Culture
Specialists of any kind benefit from % increases from buildings, down to the decimal. So, your +50% to research from a university will give you 4.5 beakers for a Scientist specialist that usually gave three. Any Wonders or National Wonders that increase Science Output work this way. This is but an example: it also works for merchants, engineers, musicians, writers, and artists.

Great People
With the birth of each Great Person in your Civ, the cost of all future Great People will go up. That means that you going for a spread of all kinds may not be a wise idea, depending on your goals. If you want a Cultural victory, skip putting specialists on Science and focus on Writers, Artists, and Musicians to generate those.

Where's the Culture Bomb?
Great Artists used to be able to steal tiles by using a Culture Bomb of sorts that would convert one hex and all those surrounding it, giving you 7 new spaces of land. You could even steal them from enemies. Great Artists can now only create great works of art to raise culture and tourism or trigger a golden age. Great Generals are those who can steal land with their Citadel. It must be constructed inside or next to your border. This does the same as the culture bomb, but leaves behind a Citadel that gives a big defensive boost to units stationed inside. In most situations, you won't want the Citadel and can use a worker to change the tile to another improvement while keeping the new land for the glory of your Civilization. As before, these types of land grabs will piss off anyone with land nearby, especially if you flip control of their tiles.

Great Generals and Great Admirals
Great Generals are earned over time as you defeat enemies. It'll take quite a bit of combat to fill the bar, which you can see when you look at the Military Overview screen (F3). Both Great Admirals and Generals give a +15% combat bonus to all friendly units within 2 tiles of them, so bring them along for big battles - especially helpful when taking cities, but keep them safe as they will be taken by opposing military units if vulnerable. Thankfully, they can stack with other military units which makes protecting them easy. Great Generals can build the Citadel, a powerful defensive tile improvement that steals surrounding hexes, making the territory yours. Because of its extreme defense, enemies moving next to it will take damage. This consumes the Great General. Great Admirals can instantly heal all adjacent naval units, giving you a big advantage in a large fleet engagement. Its use is very situational; far better to keep the +15% bonus unless you can prevent the destruction of multiple vessels by using the ability.



Science and Technological Advancement

Population & Raising Science Output
Both the Library and Public School base the amount of Science generated by a city on its population. The University provides some flat Science and a +33% bonus to total output - ie all science multiplied by 1.33. Going further toward the Modern Era, you'll make Research Labs that boost Science by another +50% in the city. Have a library in all cities to build a National College for another 50%. Oxford University, a Natonal Wonder for having Universities in all cites will give you a free tech as well. You can place each of these buildings into your higher population city to get a massive boost to science output.

Specialists are Important
With the bonuses provided by the University and Research Lab, each Scientist Specialist you assign to your buildings will provide much more than the +2 you see. You can put a total of four Scientists into your buildings in the Citizen Management area of the City Screen. Prioritize Science and these will already be filled. I like to fill all science slots, keep manual specialist control checked, then put the city's focus on food - it'll grow and the Science along with it.

Ideologies, Social Policies, and Religion
The biggest boosts to your beaker output come from the Rationalism Social tree. You can get +2 Science per specialist, 25% faster Great Scientist generation, Science from trading posts and extra science from research agreements. As for Ideologies, Freedom is not a bad choice for Science. You can reduce the food needs of Specialists (you'll have them in every city when going hard Science), which will allow your cities to grow larger and produce even more. With Religion and when running out of direct science boosts from Ideologies, go for happiness and growth. Populaton is everything for a Scientific Civ after all, and your citizens must stay happy to keep growing in number.

Observatories
Building a city next to a mountaiin (one tile away), you can make an Observatory that will boost Science another 50%. Finding a spot with only one mountain and loads of grassland, you could make what was once known as a super science city by gathering this extra boost. It is still worth it if the city will be only medium-sized, as the output increase is huge enough to provide Science in ample amounts.

Research Agreements
Once you've researched Education, you can begin entering into Research Agreements with other Civs. First talk to them and go to discuss and sign a Declaration of Friendship. Both Civs need enough gold (300+ by modern era) to enter the agreement. You can gift gold if they can't afford it. After 30 turns, you'll receive a big boost to your research points that will inevitably grant you free technology. While the other Civ will get the same, you can gain an edge by doing these with multiple Civs - they'll get 1 tech each while you get 3 or more, advancing your technology swiftly. The Porcelain Tower and final social policy in Rationalism, Scientific Revolution, will each boost your take from RAs by 50%, ultimately doubling the research you get, which is based on your current tech level and the cost of all available projets - so knock out the cheap ones while the 30 turns pass so you can grab higher rank techs.

Stealing Technology
When a Civ is more advanced than you, or at least knows technology you do not, use your spies (available in the Renaissance Era) to travel to their cities and attempt to steal tech. When they do, they'll level up, which makes them better at this. When a Civ has run dry of new tech, you can move them on to another. Later, that leveled up Spy can make a great Diplomat or be inserted into City States to Rig Elections and manipulate them into liking your Civ while reducing relations with others.

To learn more about outpacing your opponents in Research, read the Civ 5 Science Guide.



Religion

Using Religion to Win
While Religion's benefits in the form of beliefs are obvious, Religion plays a role in Cultural Victory and can make this type of win much easier. Sharing a Religion will result in a 25% boost to Tourism output with other Civs when the majority of their Cities are following that same Religion. You can take on another Civ's Religion to do this or spread your own to their lands.

You may also tailor your Beliefs to aid in other types of Victory. Interfaith Dialog will give you Science each time you use a Missionary to spread Religion for example, and Beliefs can be chosen that allow you to purchase buildings that hold Great Works slots or even allow you to buy Military units with Faith to aid in a Domination Victory.

Religion and Diplomacy
If a Civ did not get to found a Religion of their own, which is common, they will gladly accept your Religion if it spreads in their lands. Naturally, they will benefit from this - but so will you. Your Founder Belief is the obvious benefit, but other Civs under the influence of your Religion will gain a positive Diplomacy modifier. If a Civ has a Holy City, they are definitely trying to spread that Religion and will be angered by you converting their Citizens, however.

Inquisitors
A little-known function of the Inquisitor is that they automatically stop Missionaries from spreading Religion in your lands. Positioning an Inquisitor within 1 hex of a City will prevent opposing Civs' Missionaries and Great Prophets from using the Spread Religion ability. This will not stop conversion through Religious Pressure, but does prevent them converting your people en masse with all the missionaries they may send throughout a game.

Removing a Holy City from the Game
Inquisitors can also be used to remove a Holy City you have conquered (but only then). An Inquisitor using Remove Heresy in a Holy City will remove all other Religions but the one to which they're tied (yours), and in this case prevent it from coming back unless there are other Cities nearby of that Religion and spreading through pressure. Without a Holy City, most Religions will quickly die off.

Learning More
Read my Guide to Religion to learn about the mechanics of spreading religion, the beliefs you may select, and how creating a popular Religion can help your Civilization.



Wonder Production

Don't Try to Build Every Wonder
Just because another empire may get a Wonder, it doesn't mean you should try to build them all. Cities that are constantly building Wonders aren't growing to be better economically. They aren't getting those bonuses that regular buildings provide, and that can set them back. You can stunt your scientific growth by skipping those libraries in favor of building Wonders, and won't get the growth benefits of a granary. Be selective about your Wonders, and build only those that fit your long-term goals. If you want to win the Science victory, by all means make a Great Library for its great scientist points and free technology that can be timed to move you up to the next Era. It is harder to get this Wonder on higher difficulties, and it may be best to focus on growth and simply build a Library to get your science going sooner without risking the wasted production.

If Another Civ Builds a Wonder Before You
When another Civ completes a Wonder you were working on, you'll get gold from scrapping your project, based on how much production had been put in. At least you can use this to buy an improvement. Installing Spies in other Civilizations can help you by giving you a head's up that they are starting a new Wonder, which may prompt you to rush it and go all out on production in the city or abandon the project if it is going to take a long time.



Military and War Tips

Having No Military is a Really, Really Bad Idea unless powerful allies. You should aim for a unit per city, at the very least but two would make you much less of an easy target. You have things that other Civilizations want, and even if you don't have something great you still have land. You must protect your people, so will need a larger military to maintain peace as you raise the game's difficulty.

Military Units and Health
All units have 100 health. The difference between them is their combat strength. A powerful unit will deal more damage to a weak one, and take less in the process. This normalization of health and emphasis on combat strength and bonuses is a simple system, yet open to strategic use when you're familiar with the system. Other than Japan, due to Bushido, all other units will deal less damage when they are injured - which makes sense and adds some strategic depth. After all, an Archer with only 20 health and a pair of figures can only fire so many arrows when they attack, meaning your offensive unit will suffer less damage and likely with the battle.

Unit Health Regeneration
Units that take no action on a turn, either skipping or fortifying, inside friendly territory regenerate +20 heath per turn, be it your territory or the territory of a Civ/City-State friendly to you. Outside of friendly borders, you'll heal only +10. In a city they'll heal +25 each turn. The unit must not have taken an action during the previous turn to receive this healing, even moving a single hex forfeits the healing. Units with the Medic promotion can help heal adjacent units faster, while Scouts can be upgraded to heal faster specifically when outside your territory - this lets them stay on the move longer, finding more goodie huts, natural wonders, meeting other Civs/City-States, and learning the lay of the land.

Zone of Control
Military Units have a Zone of Control that can be used strategically. If a unit moves into it, they'll lose a move point. This zone extends one hext around the unit. You can use all moves when LEAVING the zone, but entering another hex in the zone will consume your move. Use this to protect workers and other units. Place your unit such that the enemy must enter the zone and lose a move, while on their way to, for example, steal your worker. It's helpful to know when waging war and when you cannot protect a unit by directly blocking the enemy's advance.

Fortifying Units
When you Fortify a military unit, it goes inactive and proceeds to defend at its current location. The Fortification bonus is 25%, but after a couple turns will rise to 50%. This makes your unit very hard to kill, particularly when they are doing this in a city or Fort tile improvement. There are many other bonuses you can get, but Fortify is one that can give you an edge in combat when you know an attack is coming. Sometimes, it's best to attack first, however, when you know you can weaken the enemy unit enough that it will either back off or do little damage should it attack your unit.

Swapping Units
Any time you have two units with moves, and one is up front taking the damage, you can swap them by selecting then moving the injured unit to the tile with the healthy one, or vice versa. Swapping units from the front line and giving injured units a chance to back off can preserve your military, helping you to win wars by preventing the loss of units - particularly powerful units that have had many promotions. You may even keep a unit behind a Fort or Citadel so you can swap them in to relieve a unit from battle.

Siege
When a city's defensive strength is more than 50% more of your best units' attack strength, it's necessary to use ranged units to weaken them. Ranged units like archers and composite bowmen work well - the point is that you can weaken them while avoiding counterattacks on all your Melee units until the time is right to move in and take it over. So, use ranged to weaken while melee units like Cavalry can charge in and capture the city when its defense has been reduced to 0 or close enough for the melee to win and take over the City.

Aircraft in Cities: Where to Use Your Bombers
To access the list of aircraft in Cities, click the number above a city's defense rating on the map. From there, you'll get a list of all bombers and fighters in that base. You can rebase them to get them closer to intended targets - select rebase and then click a city in which to station them where your airstrikes can reach their targets. Really late game, you may want to leave fighters in cities near the coast to protect from airstrikes from carriers.

Puppeteering
You can bribe a Civ or convince a friend to go to war with a target Civ's ally to keep them tangled. If you can maintain your military edge while still advancing science, you will come out far ahead in military power through more advanced units. Civs tied up in war generally focus on Military while neglecting their economic and scientific advancement. You may even do quests or provide gifts of gold to your target's ally to steal their loyalty and take away the strategic and luxury resources available to them, getting them for yourself - but you must go all the way to allies.

Profit from Razing Cities
You are able to sell one building per turn in a City that you are razing. To sell a building, simply click it in the building list to the right of the City Management interface. Any time you're not doing this, you're letting potential gold burn to the ground. Start with the most advanced buildings and work your way down as the City's raze timer counts down. This can lead to a lot of extra gold from the razing process, and help you afford to buy buildings of your own or upgrade your units.

Trading Cities
Cities you conquer can be sold to other Civilizations for large amounts of Gold or Resources. Consider this instead of Razing or Puppeting a City if you have no need of it, yet needed it out of the hands of the Civ you're attacking. This is commonly used when you have been given a City through a Peace Treaty.



Early to Mid-Game: Barbarians and Barbarian Camps

Encampments
Barbarian Encampments are responsible for generating the Barbarians that will harass your city. It is up to all Civilizations to eventually wipe them out and civilize the world. Inevitably, you will need to deal with Barbarians near your borders to prevent harassment of your workers and, later, the plunder of your trade routes.

Fighting Barbarians
Often, a Barbarian encampment you are attacking will spawn a new unit. This leaves your unit outnumbered. Since you always have a bonus fighting Barbarians, it's wise to fortify in this situation or any other like it.Your unit stands a good chance of survival, and worst case will do more damage due to it taking more attacks to kill them.

Gradually beat down Barbarians and play it safe when more than one is in the area, possibly even backing off to heal for a few turns. Barbarians don't heal, so you have plenty of time to take them out. Work them down and a lone unit can gain a couple of levels, giving you a strong unit for later. You should almost never use the instant heal upgrade in these situations, rather pull back to a spot where no unit will hit you to fortify and heal. Fortify bonuses do not come into play if a unit has moved during that turn, even if you move only one hex.

Add Your Tips for Civilization 5 Gods and Kings & Brave New World
Civilization 5 is a very deep strategy game and many people have come up with clever ideas to do things more efficiently. Share your Civ 5 Tips with others using our comment form below and help this page grow as an information resource for new players.

Comments (9)

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Hirron says...
Not Taking Back Cities

A common error people make in war is to see one of their cities taken and then to immediately focus all of their forces on taking it back.

This is an issue, unless you can immediately protect your city it will be invaded again, not only will this damage your own units but it will damage the population, starting a war with 17 population and ending with 3 you may as well have lost the city.

Rebellion under most circumstances will last a good number of turns, look at the counter and see how long you have before it starts to fire, spend that time attacking your enemy and you can hopefully clean them up and take back city, or alternately if unable to beat their army, retreat your's
6th August 2013 2:48am
Jun Kohatsu says...
Correct me if i'm wrong but under the ROADS - TRADE ROUTES: you states that cities can be connected by rivers. I thought that that feature was removed on Civ V. If so, can you explain further? Thanks.
Admin:
You're aboslutely right and thank you for noticing the mistake. Road/Rail are the only land means of making City Connections. Harbors will connect to the Capital if it also has a harbor, and any cities can go through a distant harbor to get their Capital connection. I added a link to an explanation of City Connections on the City Guide at the end of that tip.

Cheers.
14th October 2013 9:34am
Martin says...
If you purde towards cultural victory, it's not bad idea to put all the guilds in one city, that:
-is built next to the river for a garden (Indonesian Candi and Hanging Gardens are an exception).
-has a national epic built in it.
Additionaly The Leaning Tower of Pisa and Austria's coffehouse will help you to generate more grest people. With all these bonuses you will create great people (including artists, musicans and writers) over twice as fast. And correct world congress proposal may help you too.
Admin:
Thanks for sharing the great tip. The Arts Funding World Congress proposal is what Martin is referring to. This will help immensely with your tourism generation, stacking up all your bonuses and slowing other scientific civs' progress - be sure to have a decent military to protect your lands in case you're playing with a Civ known for aggression.


30th November 2013 6:34am
Arek says...
I think it's worth mentioning, that you get +20 production for clearing a forest that is inside your territory and +10 for a forest tile outside of it. It can boost your early game Wonder's build time.

A good way to get some culture early on is by putting 1 point in Honor and kill as much barbarians that spawn without actually destroying the barbarian camp. Works amazing with raging barbarians option turned on.
Admin:
Good tip - chopping forests has its drawbacks later on though, especially if there are no hills or plains near that City. Lumber mills can greatly affect production later, while not as good as a mine, but providing some food to help growth continue. I do chop for Wonders and even buildings I need badly, but it's important to plan ahead and know if you'll be making this City have such pathetic production output that it cannot put out late-game buildings to keep you scientifically and economically competitive.
16th December 2013 9:04pm
jonesy says...
Great tips, thanks. I particularly appreciate your exposition on specialist use.

One thing that continually irritates me about the game is that one's own stats are included in computing demographics. Unless one is quite average it skews everything and makes the table nigh useless for making good comparisons - as well as removing a slot that would otherwise be used to include another civ. For all the years that Civ V has been out, no one has seen fit to fix this piece of innumerate idiocy.
24th December 2013 12:36pm
Mike says...
Hey guys, early on with the game. I was making a profit and was building a lot of tile improvements. Now my tile improvement costs are too high and I am tryin to figure out how to disband them and such. How do I get ride of unnecessary tile improvements?? thanks!
Admin:
The only tile improvements that cost maintenance are roads, and workers are able to remove those. You only need roads to connect your cities and perhaps help with troop mobility, but likely have far too many roads in your territory.

Commerce has a policy that reduces road maintenance costs. You can help your deficit by ensuring that you have all trade routes active (sea better than land) and are utilizing trading posts here and there to improve gold income.
24th January 2014 10:41am
ray says...
What a brilliant guide, the amount i have learned here will help me so much in my game, thank you.
18th March 2014 12:17pm
Josh says...
Trade routes (caravans and cargo ships) can provide you with gold, however using them to trade food within your own city is alot better. Near end game a cargo ship can produce up to Hanging Garden's worth of food. You can have 8 trade routes so that's essentially 24 hanging gardens for you to distribute throughout your empire.
13th April 2014 12:51pm
Tom says...
I'm unable to move my early planes, I tried to move them to a nearby Carrier, I tried to nearby cities, still no good.
I've got oil by the way. Do I need to have a radar so it works??
Anyone could help please? Thx
Admin:
The only time I've had a problem was when it was simply out of range - the planes have a longer range to transfer to another airfield (in this case the carrier) than their normal attack range, but sometimes Cities or Carrier are just too far away.
14th April 2014 10:41pm
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This site and all original strategy guides created by and © Carl Ratcliff. This is an unofficial Civilization V fansite and I am in no way affiliated with Firaxis Games, Developer of Civ 5 Brave New World and Gods and Kings.