Home Strategy Civ 5: Tips to make sure your civilization doesn’t suck

With the newest addon to Civilisation V just another few sleepytiems away, many people will find themselves coming back to the game after some absence.

Since you’re already experienced, why don’t you try doing it again one difficulty level higher? I’m sure you can manage to still spread your beliefs of free hugs and death across the world.

If not, try my personal top 5 tips you probably didn’t know for a more efficient empire.

5. Don’t start a fight you can’t win

Whether or not you like it, you’ll have to go to war eventually. It’s fun and profit too; There’s no easier way to slap the dude who kept demanding tribute and grow your empire in the process. However, know when to start a war and when to end it. Unless you have overwhelming forces (in which case it’s time to ramp up the difficulty) it will be extremely tough to break the last bastions where your enemy is hiding. In some cases, it might not even be worth it.

Ending a war before one side is eliminated can save you a lot of time that you would have spent fighting otherwise, freeing up resources that would be spent on reinforcements. Not only that, but being in a war reduces happiness across your empire even if nothing happens, so you’ll be sooner to start another Golden Age. Besides, if you did anyhow but crap during the war, you’ll already have both spoils of war and a crippled opponent who won’t be able to launch retaliation against you even if she wanted for a while. Take what you can and spare the rest.

4. Contre la bourgeoisie!

This is an easy mistake to make and you can technically work with doing it, which makes it all the more devilish. Build workers! They are a central unit throughout the game and constantly needed as your tech advances. Early game, their production cost can be tough (though buying them circumvents that) but mid and late game, they’re basically free and there’s no reason not to have plenty. As a rule of thumb, I’d say to use 3 or 4 workers for an average size empire, adding on more and selling them as the workload shifts, like with railroads or a new city.

Also, don’t put them on automation. You should know what the empire and the city which works the tile needs and build accordingly. There’s no shame in rebuilding either; Grab resources whenever possible and adjust to the growth of your cities.

3. Home ownership ain’t as easy as it seems

Assuming that you have a general idea of how many cities your emprie needs, you can still build them in the right and the wrong places. Rule of thumb, prefer Hills terrain over nearby luxury resources over rivers over coast tiles. Hills provide a strong production boost especially in the early game, contain lots of resources that will be automatically mined, and provide some sweet combat bonuses. Luxury resources are always lovely to have, rivers give some synergy with certain buildings plus a gold boost, and coast tiles are, well, coasty. Keep in mind when picking the spot that water tiles can’t be improved unless they hold resources, so a coastal city’s output can be underwhelming in the late game. Plus, one dedicated naval city is usually enough, unless your strategy involves many naval units.

2. Don’t work, give peas a chance instead!

Okay, we’ve all left cities on automatic management at one point or another. It’s beyond convenient, but unfortunately it’s not always effective either. The management AI heavily favors production even in fresh cities, meaning that they’ll never get off the ground. Do yourself a favour and set a fresh city to food (you can still use the focus options, but not auto management), then come back and be convinced. While it’s true that production is valuable most of the time, sometimes it’s better to focus on people with which to tend to all that land. Of course, other resources are an option too if needed. Experiment around; Setting a few cities to another focus for even a few turns can help power out an important tech quickly, for example. Just remember to set them back afterwards, or they’ll blast science without any time gain.

 1. Sharing is free hugs. And death. And free hugs.

Ever sat on a pile of silver and didn’t know what to do with it? You should try to avoid that. At any time in the game, trade all resources that you don’t need, and I mean all of them. Luxury resources are completely redundant if you have more than 1 unit of one particular resource, so ask around for trades with any player whose face you aren’t currently mashing in. You don’t have to take ripoffs, but try your best to convert anything that isn’t of use to you in the immediate future into something that is. On that note, gold is more powerful than one would expect, if only to make more deals to allow yourself access to more luxury resources. Just don’t give Uranium to Gandhi.


10 replies to this post
  1. The problem I face with the AI in this game is, if I ever try to trade something with them, they ask for everything I have in exchange for some Wine. It’s just ridiculous, I end up with 2/3 of some luxury resources because I can’t trade them away! It’s never a fair trade!

      • True, that’s an issue with the AI being an absolute idiot. It also shows in how you have to build cities they… lended to you basically from scratch.

        One solution I would recommend for the problem would be to grow a pair of bollocks and turn up the difficulty. Unfortunately, since I now have to represent TTT* in all matters, I can’t say something like that. So here’s another one.

        The AI will rarely mine more than one of each resource if at all, and they’ll really hold onto those singletons. You won’t be able to get rid of all of your stuff, but just try as well as you can to lose most of it in at least even trades that’ll leave you with more net happiness than before. It can be worth it to do a 1:1 exchange, trading your only unit of a resource, to gain the bonus of one or more We Love The King Days.

        As said above, if you can’t get luxury resources for something from anyone, you can sell it off for strategical resoures or gold. It’s not the most productive use, but anything beats the nothing those resources do when collecting dust in your royal stockpile.

        *TTT informs you that the points stated above are subjective opinions of the author herself and may not represent official TTT statements, even partially. However, they do most of the time, if only because nobody else on the staff plays the game.

  2. For those of you who actually own the game, do you think it would be worth it to buy the game with the add-ons or just wait to see if I like the game before getting the add-ons?

    • If you buy the game right now, as in right fucking now, you can still get a 75% discount on it, meaning that you’ll get the entirety of all Civ V content before the addon for 10€ or however much it costs for you. Probably 10$, because giving EU customers a 30% price raise for absolutely no reason is fair.

      Ah, anyway. I’d recommend you get the Gold Edition now, while the sale still lasts. The gameplay doesn’t really change all that much from its basic concept with the addon, so if you don’t like it as is, you’re not going to like it with the addon either. There’s no real reason to buy that too soon though, you can play a few games without it and then add it on, considering it’s rather pricey right now compared to the game itself, because Steam Sale.

      If you are somehow able to judge Civ V within the span of 18 hours or are reading this after the sale ended (bad luck for you) then you can buy the base game, play it a bit (again, the game’s style is not too different between the versions) and then upgrade to Gold Edition for the exact price difference that you would have had if you’d bought Gold Edition to begin with. And I suppose add Terra Novum too.

      So basic gist of it without lengthy text, you can buy the base game and it’s basically the same thing, but getting the addons if you like it will improve your experience.

    • Yep. Steam is awesome though, being the only “DRM software” that doesn’t eat your babies, so if you hesitate, it’s definitely worth it.

  3. Kinda disagree on the last tip. While trying to get ANYTHING you can for excess Luxury resources is probably OK occasionally or if you are desperate, most of the time – unless you are getting something decent for it (such as 1:1 trade of a resource you need) – I’d just keep it. You might be trading it with someone who is at -1 Happiness (and thus crippled and at 25% growth) and you just tipped them back into Happiness (100% growth) for a measly 200 gold? No.

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