Civ 5's current multiplayer state is buggy, laggy and crash prone. The game hangs with teeth-grating regularity. Units seem to just wander off or even disappear for no reason, time stops, and the world acts as if it's been smoking medicinal psychoactive substances.
In multiplayer, human player turns resolve simultaneously. That means that he who clicks first strikes first. Considering the size of the world, the spread-out nature of your armies, the persistent lag and the weird bugs, it's often hard to tell what's going on, much less formulate any sense of strategic control over your Units. No amount of preparation can completely compensate for the clunkiness of these mechanics, but we can put you on the right track.
- Make your key military moves at the beginning of your turn. If you have Units in close proximity to other players, make sure they grab the good ground first and fortify there. If you're at war, hover over the pertinent battlefield, and when the turn rolls over, attack with everything you have.
- Invest in a manageable number of powerful Units.
- Troops with balanced offensive and strong defensive values are especially important in multiplayer. Durable units have a better chance of survival when opponents get the jump on you. Try to concentrate you Units into clusters of three or four supporting one another. Controlling fewer Units help you keep track of everything in battle.
- Homogenize your forces. Using different types of Units together is a single-player staple tactic, but in multiplayer it's often too slow. Keep your forces as standardized as you can.
- Turn off Unit cycling! It draws you away from the action at the worst possible moment.
- Don't be a jerk and drop out of games when you're losing. You're part of the problem if you do!
The exploitative strategies, formations
and lessons that helped you
master Civ 5 on Diety level don't count for squat in multiplayer.
People know the same tricks and are too bright to fall for them.
Players online don't accept one-sided treaties. They aren't likely to move into positions to be taken enfilade. You can't draw them into making stupid attacks against well prepared positions.
Most importantly, they won't give you time to regroup. If you're playing against a human opponent, win the first time you rumble, because you'll rarely get a second chance.
We recommend the following adjustments to your game plan when playing online. Every match is different, but here are some fundamentals that can bring you success in most cases:
- No one will ever trust you, so don't try to make them do so. Everybody knows there's only one winner.
- You still need to keep your people Happy, manage your economy and improve your Tiles. Because of the clock you're going to have less time each turn to do these things than you are used to having, so keep your plans simple. Go for the fundamental Food, Gold, Research and Culture-generating Buildings from each era. Create reliable general-purpose Units and Research Technologies which lend themselves to making competitive weapons. If you're panicking about what to create and the clock is ticking down, build something that pokes holes in other people.
- Your first turns will be much like the first turns of a single-player game, although you should build a second Military Unit before anything else. Range less far afield than normal, and never let Settlers travel alone.
- Beware notoriety. The right side of the multiplayer dialogue constantly displays the Victory Point totals of each player. The guy on top is winning, and that makes him Public Enemy Number One. When you're ahead, prepare to get hit from behind. The best way to beat a dominant player is collusion and backstabbing, and you can bet that plans are being hatched in private-chat sessions to ensure your downfall. When your point total begins to rise significantly above the other players, consider all other players in the game, think about who stands to gain the most from your downfall, and make that person an immediate target. If you are in the top spot and fear an alliance against you, you may want to throttle back on creating Wonders. Note that Wonders of the World inflate your score quite a bit, making you appear all the more threatening. You may want to consider spending your current Production on Buildings or Units instead, and save Wonders for a better day. It makes you look less intimidating. All this is assuming you're still building up, recovering from a recent crisis, or otherwise not well-set to take all comers. Ideally, the preferable strategy while being ahead is to tear everybody else a new orifice.
- Conversely, never appear too weak. It makes you a target for opportunistic neighbors.
- To pull off a late game Science Victory, hide and conquer. If you can wrest control of a single large landmass and develop it to the hilt, you may pull well ahead of other players as they war with one another. Found Cities right and left, develop a great navy and air force, resist all invasions, build nukes for defense, makes a Spaceship and win.
- Plundering Improvements is an effective tactic in multiplayer, assuming you're fast enough to pull it off without getting blasted. A mobile Unit and quick-clicking player can sometimes go darting through a City's suburbs, pillaging Gold and running before the City can fire back more than once.
- Battles in Civ 5 multiplayer are quick-click slugfests. As the current Turn approaches Turnover, center your screen over whatever Units you'll be leading into combat.
- Do not get involved in two-front wars. You can't micromanage two places at once, which virtually guarantees you'll lose at least one battle every turn. If you find yourself engaged in hostilities with multiple powers, retreat from one while attacking the other. Try to space your Units so that you fight engagements in only one geographic area per turn.
- Since these two-front wars are so undesirable, try to force other players into them. Early in the game, seek out a partner in crime. You don't need to really trust one another. Just covertly arrange to team up against one rival, then another and so on, until all enemies are subdued, then battle it out between yourselves for world domination. And if your partner betrays you, well...why didn't you betray him first?!
- Keep Great Generals well-protected when you use them at all, sharing a space with an unexposed, tough Unit or hiding in a City. They're difficult to maneuver in multiplayer and are often put to better use starting Golden Ages.
- If you are playing on a small map, the Barbarian density is INSANE. Beware.
Keep a lot of Gold handy. Your Units will become obsolete fairly frequently, and you'll need the currency to pay for Upgrades. Units appear so fast they can sap your treasury. Be wary of this as well.
Since there are so many Units running around, micromanagement of your attacks is even more important and difficult.
These games have an almost real time strategy game feel to them, with enemy Cities taking the place of resource-generating structures. Following similar strategies to RTS games sometimes leads to success, although Zerg Rushes are not recommended.
Expand as quickly as possible. Tech up. Develop Tradition. Build Settlers, Workers, and soldiers. Thumb your nose at diplomacy. Horde Gold. Remember that every City you capture both strengthens you and weakens an enemy. And keep your people happy! Even in an all-out Domination game, an Unhappy kingdom stands little chance of victory.
If you decide to try dueling out, remember that there's not even an illusion of Diplomacy at work. Somewhere close by is a guy who wants to kill you.
A Duel game is not likely to be long. Let the chips fall where they may Technologically. Focus on building troops, troops and more troops, with occasional Workers and Settlers creating Cities that in turn build still more troops. Create Gold-generating Improvements and Buildings as they become available. Develop the Tradition Policy tree. Focus non-Unit construction on population stabilizers like Granary and Lighthouse. *
Friends are also more forgiving and more helpful when you have to restart. Meltdowns happen often enough that you'll want folks you know are not going to start screaming obscenities at you when the host crashes.
A lot of players drop from multiplayer games when they fall behind. Don't do this to friends or strangers. You're likely screwing someone over.
The AI takes over vacant spots, which can radically alter the playing field since the typical AI exploits and tactics work against the multiplayer bots. A Civilization that might have represented a threat to suddenly becomes cake, or a player's human ally is replaced by an AI antagonist. Don't do that to people.
GO TO: MILITARY STRATEGY AND TACTICS
GO TO: TECH CHARTS
GO TO: CIVILIZATIONS AND LEADERS